Chebucto And Friends
At Word On The Street!

text by
Andrew D. Wright
Beacon Correspondent

photos by
David Murdoch,
Jason Kenney,
Michael Smith,
Chris Wood
CCN Technical Committee

          The Chebucto Community Net was celebrating its 5th birthday and we decided to celebrate the event at the annual Word On The Street literacy festival. Chebucto Executive Director Leo Deveau worked tirelessly for the weeks before the event, making arrangements for power, for networking facilities, for T-Shirts and a cake, for fire permits, and of course the tent. When he was done, we had this:

[An Empty Tent]

          It's eight a.m. on a Sunday morning. We'd done as much advance preparation as we could and we had three hours to set up before the crowds descended on us. The warm weather and cloudless skies guaranteed a record turnout and we had to be ready for them. We'd decided that we'd be doing account renewals and signups onsite, we'd be providing public web access and we'd be providing Chebucto Information Providers with facilities to display what they were about. We had freshly minted brochures to hand out, recruited CCN Board members to act as greeters and all that was needed now was to put all the pieces together.

[Is this table stable?]
          CCN Tech volunteers loaded up the vehicles hauling all the equipment from the CCN office in the Chase Building on the Dalhousie campus down to our empty tent, which we discovered hadn't been set up on the DalTech parking lot but on the lawn next to the parking lot. It was a better location, closer to Spring Garden Road, but it didn't make running cables any easier and the lawn looks perfectly level until you try to set tables up on it. Leo Deveau tries here to stop the wobbling.

[Making it work]
          Meanwhile, after several trips back and forth to the CCN office, all the pieces of the new mobile office are in place and just need to be assembled. Of course that is easier said than done.

[Maybe the power button?]

          We'd rented a giant monitor for the IP displays and discovered that it didn't come with any cables. Fortunately cables from another monitor fit it so we were able after some struggling to get it working.

[The tent is ready]
          By eleven we were ready and already supply lines had formed to the nearest coffee shop. It all looks so peaceful here, but soon an estimated 40,000 people would turn out to fill the streets.

[Rush hour]

          Here's a view of what it soon looked like out on Spring Garden Road. A line of tents ran from South Park Street all the way to Barrington and there were all kinds of different displays and promotions. People seemed to be enjoying themselves and the weather could not have been better.

[Getting busy]
          It wasn't long before things were starting to jump. Account renewals were a big hit, with a daily total that more closely resembled a weekly total. Leo Deveau and Board members Doug McCann, Krista Olmstead, David Murdoch, Michael Colborne and especially outgoing Communications Chair Sue Newhook greeted and helped direct the scores of people that came into the tent. The various Information Providers held their displays and gave talks about their groups. The afternoon passed in a blur of activity. The main Chebucto web site was updated with a live page featuring fresh photos taken with a digital camera loaned to us by the Eastern Passage CAP site.

[The Presentation]
[The Certificate]
          At four p.m. it was time for the party. Halifax West MP Gordon Earle gave a short speech and presented CCN Board Chair Michael Colborne with a congratulatory certificate.

[The Cake]
          This was the great cake donated to us by Sobey's on Windsor St. This didn't last long. We all had a wonderful time and got to meet many of the people who usually never run into us or don't know who we are. It was an extraordinary day and a long one. It was around eight in the evening when we had finally gotten everything stowed away. Many thanks to everyone who dropped in to say hello and we'll see you all again next year!



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Andrew D. Wright,


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