The History of Long and Brier Islands


by | Mar 19, 2022 | Brier Island, Freeport, Long Island, Tiverton, Westport | 2 comments


          Since the arrival of our Island’s early settlers, there has always been someone that would stand up and solve our problems.

         When the people needed to cross the passages, there was always someone that would row people across. Islanders always had another Islander to take you across our passages, until 1945, when the Nova Scotia Government took our ferries over.

          When there was a need to have an ambulance for our Islands, Warren MacIntyre stood up and started one. Although there was no money operating  it then, he had two stationed here on our islands. Other Islanders operated this service up until the Government of Nova Scotia took it over in March 2000.

          When the Internet was started in the rest of the world and Islands wanted to be connected, Kevin Leeman stood up and started one. This was taken over by people on the mainland in August 2014, thinking we could not manage our own Internet, and they could make it better. Now it is 2022, is it any better?

         I could continue this on and on where Islanders have stood up and found a solution to our problems and then was forgotten.

Source; Digby Courier July 30th 1970

         In 1970 the Department of Fisheries contacted the Digby Municipal Council, that people were throwing garbage off the wharves. The Municipal Council told the Islanders Village Commissioners, they had to start their own garbage removal for the Islands.

         The Islanders stood up again, and Boyd Outhouse started our first garbage dump and bought his first truck to haul the garbage.

Before we start on the history of “Our Garbage” we will look back to see when the problem with garbage started.

         Our Islanders have always been self-sufficient. Most Islanders were fishermen or worked in the fishing occupation. They were also farmers who grew their own food and raised their own animals for their own use. There was not much that had to be brought in. There was not much waste as they used whatever they had over and over again and always found a use for what they had.

         When I was growing up in the late 50’s and 60’s, whatever garbage that we didn’t burn in the stove went down to a small garbage dump at the tree line in our field. Islanders didn’t buy much canned goods at that time about the only thing that would go to the dump would be large bones, broken glass or something that wouldn’t fit in the stove. Our food scraps were feed to our pigs.

         It was probably around the mid 60’s that Islanders were buying most of what they needed from the stores, thus increasing the amount of garbage. By the early 70’s you could see there was a problem.

         This is the truck that Boyd started out with in 1970. It was a 1967 Chevy ½ ton pickup. This truck was big enough to handle the garbage at this time. You will see as we continue this story the size and the number of trucks increased quite quickly.

Boyd Outhouse and His First Garbage Truck (Pic. Taken July 1976)

         It was decided by how many rate payers that each of our three villages had as to how much each village was to pay to have their garbage removed. Our villages rate on our taxes had to increase to pay for garbage removal.

         Collection days were; Mondays= Westport, Tuesdays= Freeport, Wednesdays= Tiverton, Thursdays= Garbage Burning Day, Fridays= Commercial Business Day (Stores, Fish Plants, etc.).

         The Garbage Dump, in Central Grove, that Boyd hauled his garbage to was on land owned by Gordon Theriault of East Ferry. Boyd leased this land by the year. Those of you who do not know where this garbage dump was, it was at the lower end of Pines Lake about three quarters of the way to Tiverton, on the North side of highway 217. Some Islanders remember it as the field where the fair used to come to in the late 60’s. Today this field is all grown in with trees and alders. The land was sold soon after Boyd stopped using it, and has been sold several times since. Not sure who owns the land now.

After the Groundhog Storm of 1976 There was a lot of destruction in our villages of Freeport and Westport that had to be hauled away. The contractors hauled garbage from our roads for two weeks, it all ended up at Gordon Theriault’s land in Central Grove (Boyd’s Dump).The large sections from the wharves were never burnt, and a lot of this rubbish is still there today.

Boyd Outhouse

         Soon after Boyd started his garbage dump, he found it necessary to find a way to burn mass amounts of garbage.  At that time there happened to be a large oil tank that was abandoned along the side of the road in Freeport. The only way I can show you readers what it looked like is show you this movie clip that was taken in 1968.

         In April 1968 the first organized Fire Department was formed in Tiverton. Clifton Outhouse was elected Chief, Aubrey Elliott Deputy Chief and Chester Outhouse Secretary – Treasurer.

         The Ladies Auxiliary of the Tiverton Fire Department decided to raise money for their fire hall by having a Walk-A-Thon from Tiverton to Freeport and back. Watch at the end of the movie clip to see the large tank that I am talking about.

         I don’t know how many noticed on the film, at the end there is two tanks ahead of the ladies walking. The first is the oil tank where we filled our oil truck. The second is a larger tank that Irving Oil brought down to us and was going to stand it at the head of the cove on their land. There it sat till 1970. The village didn’t want it there so they asked Irving to take it back. They had such trouble getting it across the ferry at Tiverton (because only the steel scow that later became the ‘Yellow Submarine” was our only ferry scow at that time) they didn’t want to take it back.

         The white patches on the tanks were painted there to cover up the graffiti that was put on the tanks Hallowe’en 1967.Yeah, we had graffiti back then too.

         Boyd Outhouse bought the tank at a very good price and had it taken to his garbage dump up the Island and had it stood up in 1971.

         I was asked to turn this 20,000-gallon tank into an incinerator for burning garbage. While cutting the first hole at the top, I was on a ladder with my acetylene just starting to cut, and the tank blew up. I was blown off the ladder and on the ground with the tank just rocking. I was afraid it would roll over on me, thankfully it didn’t. I finished the job. The incinerator held a whole truck load of garbage and there were some big fires in it. The incinerator eventually melted down into a lump of steel as it is today.

         I do not remember all the people that worked for Boyd on his garbage truck, here is a few that helped him during his 25 year operation. Douglas Cann, Colin Nichols, Mark Nichols, Richard Nichols, Craig Buckman, Randy Outhouse, Glen Outhouse, Kendall Ossinger, Elaine Porter, Brenda Porter, Alfred Cann, Gordon Nichols.

         Early in the dump operation Boyd needed something to push the garbage in piles when sorting. He first bought a small pony tractor with a back blade to handle the garbage.

Next he bought a larger tractor

                 It looked similar to this one. He had so many flat tires he soon had to trade the tractor in for a small dozer. Similar to this. I believe Dan Kenney bought this dozer after Boyd was done with it.

                 As the amount of garbage grew, the need for a larger truck became necessary. About 1977 Boyd bought a larger truck. It was a 1970 Dodge Army Surplus dark green 2 ton truck. I could not find a photo of his truck but found this photo of one that was similar to his but a different colour.

         Later in 1977, Boyd started not feeling well, was diagnosed with Gallbladder problems and he had to have it removed at Digby General Hospital. Soon after he was home Boyd became sicker and sicker till he was rushed to the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax.

         After doing numerous tests they decided to open him up to see what was causing all the infection. They found that when he was operated on at Digby general, the surgeon had nicked Boyd’s bowel, and this what had caused Boyd’s peritonitis.

         Boyd had become so sick the hospital thought he may not survive so they called the family in.

          Boyd had a total of two operations before he was finally able to come home.

         Through all this time Kendall Ossinger and Glenn Outhouse (Boyd’s Son) took over the garbage collection for him and continued until Boyd was back on his feet again.

         Boyd started back to work again after not being able to work for over three quarters of a year. He found it very difficult but kept at it and built his strength up.

         Now during these early years of our garbage we were not obligated to put our garbage in garbage bags. Some people put their garbage out in cardboard boxes, some in bags, as long as it was in something that didn’t allow the garbage to blow around and they could throw the garbage up in the truck.

          As the garbage still increased, a larger truck was still needed again. By 1985 Boyd had another truck to haul garbage. It was a 1975 Army Surplus Dodge 3 ton with a longer body. I couldn’t find a photo of this truck either. The only difference from the picture and his truck was, his truck had plywood side boards which was a little higher. His truck was Dark Green.

         In 1985 Boyd took his truck with a load of garbage that he had collected here on the Island back to his garbage dump. He was all alone and started to raise the dump body on the truck to unload the full load of garbage. He only had a short lever on the hydraulic pump to make it operate. At first the body started to go up, and then it stopped, he reached in to active the handle again and the truck body came down jamming his first and second fingers on his right hand.

         He made it out of the dump by himself, went home and got his son to take him to the hospital. He had lost a lot of blood and he had lost the ends of his two fingers.

         He went back hauling garbage but always wondered ,what if he had lost his hand.

         In 1994 the Nova Scotia Government Started to make big changes to Garbage Collection for the Province with the Solid Waste-Resource Management Strategy. The new changes were to come in effect in January 1995.

         Boyd gave up his garbage collecting in January 1995, as he felt he could not keep up with all these changes just doing garbage collecting on these two Islands. He also had just turned seventy, time to retire. Boyd, his wife Winnie, and sons drove to British Columbia for his grand daughter’s wedding in April 1995.

         In 1995 Nova Scotia became a World Leader is waste management by adopting the Solid Waste-Resource Management Strategy. This strategy includes a disposal ban on items that can be diverted from the landfill and made into valuable resources.

         When the strategy was adopted the province was split into seven different regions to make managing solid waste easier. The western region, Region 7 has a population of approximately 43,000 and includes 22,000 households. Waste Check formed an Authority made up of two municipal representatives from each of the six municipal units it represents. This Authority is named Waste Check and includes the following Municipal units:

         Members of Region 7

•       Municipality of Argyle

•       Municipality of Clare

•       Municipality of Digby

•       Municipality of Yarmouth

•       Town of Digby

•       Town of Yarmouth

         Everyone, including all residents and businesses in our region, and the Province are required by law to sort their waste into proper streams. In Region 7, there is curbside collection for recyclables, organics and garbage. The curbside collection is provided through contracted haulers by each of the Municipal units.

         Recyclables are collected in blue bags through a 2 bag system which means papers go in blue bag #1 and plastics, metal and glass containers go in blue bag #2. Recyclables from Yarmouth and Digby Counties are transported to Scotia Recycling where they are sorted, processed and shipped out to markets to be recycled into useful items.

         Organics are collected bi-weekly using a green cart at the curb in each municipal unit. There are two carts sizes available 65 gallon and 35 gallon. Only paper liners are accepted in the green cart. Organics are transported from our region to the Compost Plant in Yarmouth where it is processed on site into valuable compost.

         Garbage is collected bi-weekly in clear bags however one black/green bag is permitted per garbage collection for each household. Garbage is taken to the three transfer stations in our Region which are located in Yarmouth, Clare and Digby. The garbage is then loaded into tractor trailers and shipped to a second generation landfill in the Region of Queens Municipality.

         Under the old system the garbage was the responsibility of our villages and paid for through village supply taxes. This all changed in 1995, the garbage was now the responsibility of the Municipality and paid for with Municipal taxes, which increased our tax rate again.

         Preston Andrews won the original bid to collect garbage for the Municipality of Digby. He started with a compactor truck and an open body truck that collected recyclables. His company name was (P. & D. REFUSE COLLECTION SERVICES LIMITED). But he was able to pick up all the garbage in one day. The day for the Islands collection was Monday and has been right up to day.

         There were some problems that occurred after start-up. The first being the stores not having the different coloured bags for separating garbage. Next was Islanders were not sure which bag to put the garbage in. Red tags were put on bags that was not sorted right.

         A little later came the garbage police. They followed behind the garbage trucks and if something was wrong with your garbage bags the garbage police would come to your door and say they were going to fine anyone that didn’t sort their garbage correctly.

         These garbage police were in vans with New Brunswick plates. When asked who was going to collect the fine money, they didn’t know who was responsible for that. After a while no one paid any attention to them.

We learned after all this change-over was started Nova Scotia had started this type of garbage collecting as an experiment. The first to show other provinces it could be done.

Here is a story that is in www.communitystories about Boyd Outhouse.

Boyd Outhouse Early 1940’s

As he remembers in the Early 1940’s

Butchering cattle was a problem.

Although Austin Westcott and others butchered individual cattle for families, if a large number of cattle were sold to people from “away”, the cattle would have to be walked or “driven” to Digby. Boyd Outhouse remembers driving a herd to Digby in the Early 1940s, a distance of approximately 40 miles. Boyd, along with Vincent Howard would make the trip for $7.00 to share between them. Staying overnight on Digby Neck, they would go to bed around 1 a.m. and then rise at 4 a.m. to feed the cattle and get on the road again. Walking on the gravel roads, they would fill their pockets with rocks and use them to manage the herd’s journey.

Boyd Welton Outhouse

BIRTH        4 Apr 1925

Tiverton, Digby County, Nova Scotia, Canada

DEATH       7 Aug 2001 (aged 76)

Digby, Digby County, Nova Scotia, Canada

Boyd Welton OUTHOUSE, 76, died August 7, 2001, in Digby General Hospital. Born in Tiverton, he was a son of the late Israel Earl and Doris (WEBB) OUTHOUSE. He was a past master of the Masonic Lodge, Freeport; Noble Grand of Rainbow Lodge, Tiverton; member of Central Grove Baptist Church, caretaker of Central Haven Cemetery, Central Grove; and a former chief of the Tiverton Volounteer Fire Department. Surviving are his wife, the former Winnifred CANN; a daughter, Barbara (Mrs. Murray HAIGHT), British Columbia; two sons, Glenn and Randy, both of Tiverton; a brother, Woodrow, of Tiverton; two grandchildren and a great grandson. He was predeceased by a brother, Alvin. The funeral was held Aug. 10 in Central Grove Baptist

I would like to thank Boyds family and Douglas Cann for supplying some of the information for this blog. I add more information to my blogs as it becomes available. So check back from time to time.


  1. Barb

    Good Job Rodney

  2. Marjorie Kane (cann)



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