Top News

LETTER: A bus trip to remember: From Digby to Wolfville through the storm of the century

 ..
..

Greg Turner of Smith's Cove sent us this letter about his unique viewpoint on the Groundhog Day Storm - looking through the windows of an Acadian Lines bus.

Feb. 2, 1976, Ground Hog Day, was a Monday. I remember because I had spent the weekend visiting my girlfriend in Digby, and was headed back for afternoon classes at Acadia University.

I took the Acadian Lines Bus out of Digby at 11:05 and arrived Wolfville three hours later.

It was an extraordinary day to be traveling on the bus. Extraordinary because my fellow travelers and I, from the relative comfort of the bus, witnessed the effects of the greatest storm to hit this area since the Saxby Gale of 1869.

The bus was already partly full when it pulled up to the garage at the corner of Warwick and Montague Row in Digby.

The passengers were abuzz with stories of what they had already witnessed. The Digby passengers knew the wind was blowing a gale but had no idea of the wider effects of the storm.

As soon as we left our stop and proceeded through the downtown we saw business signs whipping around in the wind, some of them, already hanging by one side, trees were bending at extreme angles and waves were crashing over the street.

As we drove along Water Street, water sloshed across in front of us lapping at the steps of the post office. The driver skirted around some branches already in the street and drove on.

Acadian Lines always followed Route 1 through the Annapolis Valley. Through the windows of the bus we saw some incredible sights: barns with their roofs blown off, some buildings flattened altogether, mobile homes on their tops, trees down across power lines and some houses with trees smashed through their structures. We knew we were in a strong hurricane.

And yet, the driver continued, weaving around branches and in some cases whole trees partly across the road.

We stopped in Middleton at the usual place for lunch. Surprisingly, they still had power and were able to serve us.

There was more of the same damage all the way to Wolfville. We sat with our mouths agape wondering if we would make it back. No one said much, but we sat with our fingers crossed.

Arriving at the bus stop, next to Wheelock Dining Hall, I was glad I had a short walk to Crowell Tower, a residence at the top of the campus.

Later, standing with my buddies looking out the lobby window on the tenth floor, we had the whole university in our view.

The buildings of stone, brick and sturdy wood withstood the frenzy of the storm; not so the many beautiful trees throughout the campus. Although I don’t remember many whole trees coming down, there were branches everywhere. The Tower itself was swaying in the gale and we watched as my friend Allie, coming up the walkway towards us had his legs whipped from under him as he was deposited on the lawn.

Many of the phone lines were down, so it was a couple days before we, in the relative safety of our residences, knew the extent of the damage in our hometowns all around Nova Scotia. We never found out if the bus made it all the way to Halifax. I have no doubt it did.

Greg Turner,

Smith’s Cove

 

 Read more special anniversary coverage here.

 

Feb. 2, 1976, Ground Hog Day, was a Monday. I remember because I had spent the weekend visiting my girlfriend in Digby, and was headed back for afternoon classes at Acadia University.

I took the Acadian Lines Bus out of Digby at 11:05 and arrived Wolfville three hours later.

It was an extraordinary day to be traveling on the bus. Extraordinary because my fellow travelers and I, from the relative comfort of the bus, witnessed the effects of the greatest storm to hit this area since the Saxby Gale of 1869.

The bus was already partly full when it pulled up to the garage at the corner of Warwick and Montague Row in Digby.

The passengers were abuzz with stories of what they had already witnessed. The Digby passengers knew the wind was blowing a gale but had no idea of the wider effects of the storm.

As soon as we left our stop and proceeded through the downtown we saw business signs whipping around in the wind, some of them, already hanging by one side, trees were bending at extreme angles and waves were crashing over the street.

As we drove along Water Street, water sloshed across in front of us lapping at the steps of the post office. The driver skirted around some branches already in the street and drove on.

Acadian Lines always followed Route 1 through the Annapolis Valley. Through the windows of the bus we saw some incredible sights: barns with their roofs blown off, some buildings flattened altogether, mobile homes on their tops, trees down across power lines and some houses with trees smashed through their structures. We knew we were in a strong hurricane.

And yet, the driver continued, weaving around branches and in some cases whole trees partly across the road.

We stopped in Middleton at the usual place for lunch. Surprisingly, they still had power and were able to serve us.

There was more of the same damage all the way to Wolfville. We sat with our mouths agape wondering if we would make it back. No one said much, but we sat with our fingers crossed.

Arriving at the bus stop, next to Wheelock Dining Hall, I was glad I had a short walk to Crowell Tower, a residence at the top of the campus.

Later, standing with my buddies looking out the lobby window on the tenth floor, we had the whole university in our view.

The buildings of stone, brick and sturdy wood withstood the frenzy of the storm; not so the many beautiful trees throughout the campus. Although I don’t remember many whole trees coming down, there were branches everywhere. The Tower itself was swaying in the gale and we watched as my friend Allie, coming up the walkway towards us had his legs whipped from under him as he was deposited on the lawn.

Many of the phone lines were down, so it was a couple days before we, in the relative safety of our residences, knew the extent of the damage in our hometowns all around Nova Scotia. We never found out if the bus made it all the way to Halifax. I have no doubt it did.

Greg Turner,

Smith’s Cove

 

 Read more special anniversary coverage here.

 

Recent Stories