Driving force behind Trans Canada Trail in Guysborough County honoured

·3 min read

GUYSBOROUGH — “Being recognized in your own community with your family and friends, colleagues, trail workers…it’s really a very special moment for me. It’s something that I’ll always appreciate,” said Philip Hochman at the Wall of Fame induction ceremony at the Chedabucto Lifestyle Centre in Guysborough on July 27.

Hochman was nominated for the honour, under the builder category, by the Guysborough County Trails Association, a group he helped form more than 30 years ago, when he pursued the dream of building a section of the Trans Canada Trail in Guysborough County.

Hochman was on the ground floor of the Trans Canada Trail movement. Having heard of the idea at a conference in Calgary, he brought it home and convinced others the vision was one that could be achieved in the Guysborough area.

Following the formation of the trails association, the group created a multi-use recreation trail extending approximately 55 kilometres from the Guysborough fire hall to Cross Roads Country Harbour. This section of trail was the first to be identified as part of the Trans Canada Trail in Nova Scotia.

In further recognition of Hochman’s dedication to the trail, the association will name the section of the trail between the Guysborough fire hall and Spanks Bridge in West Cooks Cove, The Flip Hochman Trail.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Hochman told a few stories, including how he landed in Guysborough, coming from New York state in 1974. He spoke about his long tenure as recreation director for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, and his experience coaching in Africa through a position with Commonwealth Games Recruitment.

Hochman spoke of the impact his time in Zambia had on him, coaching a girls’ soccer team, where the players had so many challenges, but were physically, mentally and spiritually immersed in the game.

“While I was watching these girls play, I realized the power, the magic, the beauty of sport. Because all they were focused on was that actual activity, that game, that pass, that kick…and that’s what sport is all about,” said Hochman.

The Wednesday night ceremony also recognized the County Harbour Gun Club for establishing and running Smokey Hollow Holidays for more than 40 years.

The seeds of Smokey Hollow Holidays were planted when volunteers organized a community ball game 42 years ago. The next year a canoe race was held. Following that a full slate of activities from card and dart games to a dance, hootenanny and much more has been held annually in the first week of August.

After the first couple of years, said Mary Rhynold, one of the event organizers, people planned on being home for Smokey Hollow Holidays.

Stacy Barnes, another event organizer, said that while she lived away from the community, she never missed the Smokey Hollow Holidays, and she wasn’t the only one; every year people planned their vacation time to include a visit home during the event.

Paul Long, emcee of the Wall of Fame ceremony, said that Smokey Hallow Holidays, “is a sign that volunteerism is alive and well in the district [Municipality of the District of Guysborough].”

Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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