David’s Dream

Posted on November 2, 2018 under Storytelling with no comments yet

This story was previously posted in 2014. David Miller left us yesyerday and what a legacy he left behind. Thank you David for your tireless efforts to make Antigonish a better place to live.


“I have an idea.”

And with those few words, a twenty-six year conversation began between David Miller and me.  David and his wife and soul mate, Aida Arnold, arrived in Antigonish in 1988 to open a McDonald’s restaurant.

I was on Town Council at the time and had three small children.  A fourth was soon to follow.  McDonald’s quickly became a magnet for families, especially families with youngsters like ours.  David and Aida became engaged in the community almost instantaneously.  And we are all the better for it.

Sometimes you have to step back from the forest to see the trees.  They saw the great potential that Antigonish town and county had at their fingertips, right from the word go.  And they have both been bringing ideas, energy and enthusiasm to many worthwhile endeavours since the day they landed here.

Aida was one of the driving forces behind “Communities in Bloom”.  Just walk around town and see all of the beautiful flowers hanging from posts and buildings, or overflowing from boxes adjacent to shops and stores along the Main.

During the recent street fair held in the downtown core, I was talking with an old neighborhood friend who spends her summers here.  Aida happened by, and once introductions were made, my friend said that in all her travels, the McDonald’s in Antigonish was her absolute favorite.  I don’t think it was because of the fries.  Their fries are always the best, whichever outlet you go to.

No.  It wasn’t the Big Macs either.  Our local McDonald’s franchisees festooned the interior of their building with local art and brought it to life with beautiful and unique landscaping outside.  I agree with my friend.  I have never been to a McDonald’s that was more esthetically pleasing or welcoming.

For many years I heard David talk about the local cultural scene.  He was always passionate in his support of actors, musicians and all manner of artists and artisans.

And, he had a dream.

On many occasions he asked me “What can we be doing to promote the area?”  Recently, he answered his own question with the creation of the Antigonish Art Fair.  While he will point out, in his self-effacing way, that many others were responsible, he was, and is, the driving force behind this bold new initiative.

The Antigonish Art Fair has begun with a series of five “Art in the Park” events, showcasing the immeasurable creative richness of our community.  The idea is to turn Antigonish into a cultural mecca; a not-to-miss destination for art tourism.

The Fair was launched a few weeks ago.  I had a bird’s eye view of the proceedings, acting as Master of Ceremonies.  The event was held at Chisolm Park, on the banks of the Brierly Brook.  Staring out from the gazebo, I could see dozens and dozens of artists showing their works.  There was a children’s corner and lots of tasty food from around the world. The dignitaries cut the ribbon and moments later, David’s dream unfolded like the first flowers in spring.

We were entertained by an eclectic mix of entertainment on the stage at the gazebo. Everything from very young Highland dancers, to a fire eater and belly dancers.  Chisholm Park is named after the late Mayor, Colin Herman Chisholm.  As I watched the belly dancers, I smiled, wondering how Collie Herman would have enjoyed this particular exhibition.  He would have thought it was just fine.

The Antigonish Arts Fair is up and running.  We are thankful for David’s vison and unbridled enthusiasm.

Stealing a line from McDonald’s, “We’re lovin’ it”.

Thanks, David.

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