News Release Archive

Call him a visionary, a romantic or an entrepreneur and you won't
be far off the mark.  In fact,  Claude Ferland, owner of Pictou's
Old Foundry Art Centre, may be a subtle blend of all three. One
thing is certain - he knows how to take a seemingly lost cause
and turn it into a valuable, meaningful asset for the town
of Pictou.

Now a loan from the Economic Renewal Agency's community business
loan program has allowed him to better promote the results of his
work and draw attention to a preserved part of Pictou's past.

Mr. Ferland, originally from Quebec City, visited the Pictou area
15 years ago and never left. "Nova Scotia is a beautiful place in
the summertime. I fell in love with it," he said. 

He liked it enough to buy the Brayside Inn in Pictou and turn it
into a renowned restaurant/hotel. Four years ago, it also
triggered Mr. Ferland's relationship with the town's old foundry

"The manager and president of the shipyard came into the hotel
and were talking about demolishing the foundry," he recalled. Mr.
Ferland recognized the building as one of the last remaining old
buildings in the town and decided it should be saved. Within
three to four months, he had raised enough money to buy the
three crumbling buildings in partnership with Don Gunning and
George MacKay.

"There are three different owners all under one roof - one
identity but a joint venture, " explained Mr. Ferland, whose
building includes the old blacksmith's shop. Renovations started
about 18 months ago and the joint venture cost more than

His determination to save the buildings stems from a vision of
Pictou's future, which acknowledges tourism will play the major
role. Mr. Ferland has already had the building designated a
Provincial Historic Site. "Right now it may be a white elephant,
but in a few years the Old Foundry will be significant," he

For the four people employed in the Art Centre in the summer (25
work in all three areas), the building is already significant.
Besides the art centre, gallery, blacksmith's shop and museum, it
houses an antique auction house, a restaurant and stores
featuring "Dockside" clothing made by a local entrepreneur,
handmade Micmac crafts and German art and sewing.

In the summer of 1994, Mr. Ferland used a community business loan
from the Economic Renewal Agency to promote the centre in
newspapers, on radio and via pamphlets. "The Economic Renewal
Agency gave very good assistance to me. If they were able to help
me out, they did; they were flexible and efficient," Mr.
Ferland said.

He added applicants must show a willingness to think long-term,
and have a good business plan, demonstrating greater employment
opportunities in the future. "It takes time; it doesn't come
overnight," he said.

However, response to his advertising was swift. "We got a lot of
people," he said.

Time features prominently in Mr. Ferland's view of Pictou. He
believes it is vital for the tourist industry to develop
attractions in the town, such as dining and entertainment, to
bring tourists in and then keep them in town at night time.
"The more we can offer them, the better it is," he said.

Economic Renewal Minister Ross Bragg said: "Tourism is the second
largest sector in Nova Scotia's economy. The Economic Renewal
Agency is pleased to assist Mr. Ferland in further developing the
tourism potential of Pictou. His efforts have the added bonus of
highlighting and preserving the historic nature of the town." 

Mr. Ferland's Old Foundry Art Centre does more than forge links
with Pictou's past; it casts a blueprint for the town's
successful future.
Contact: Joe Cottreau, 902-424-3970
lm                                      January 19, 1995