By Andrew Macdonald
Editor’s Note: Due to time deadlines, part three of my recent hour-and-half chat with land developer Bassam ‘Sam’ Nahas will run next weekend, when he explains why there are 55 Lebanese apartment and condo developers – now the biggest segment of our Halifax housing scene.
This following article is a repeat:
The new Macdonald Notebook column, The Halifax Developers, has caught the attention of a Nova Scotian book publisher.
The column, which made its debut four weeks ago, aims to tell the story of our modern city builders. The inaugural column featured the life and times of Andrew Metlege, the dean of 55 Lebanese apartment and condo developers.
The column will examine how our modern builders got their first break, and how they built formidable rental empires during the years from the 1950s to present day.
After the Notebook reaches critical mass and talks to many of the developers, the column will be turned into a coffee table book.
I’ve recently signed a contract with Lunenburg publisher MacIntyre Purcell, a 20-year-old entity owned by John MacIntyre, an Antigonisher, who now lives in historic Lunenburg.
MacIntyre is modest about himself, but at the same time proud of his publishing company. Listening to him describe the process of book publication from concept to print is much like listening to a proud parent talk about raising a child.
Recently, MacIntyre learned that his bestselling cookbook Out of Old Saskatchewan Kitchens had just received the One Book, One Province Award in Saskatchewan, an award delivered by the Saskatchewan Librarian Association.
MacIntyre’s path took him to Mount Saint Vincent University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. After that, he lived in a variety of places, including Montreal and London, England.
He returned to Nova Scotia where he wrote a statistical column for Canadian Lawyer and the column Figuratively Speaking at the Chronicle-Herald.
He recalls his breakthrough in journalism when he was hired by Atlantic Fisherman, where he feels he had the best on the ground training for the work he does today.
He was just scraping a living but an opportunity to write two books for a Chicago-based publisher, Sourcebooks, led to bigger things, and out of this connection came his concept for the Book of Everything series.
If you have not heard about the bestselling Nova Scotia Book of Everything, here’s what you are missing (credit: Nimbus Publishing website):
“From the number of kilometres of coastline to the stories behind those weird place names (hello Ecum Secum) to profiles of Joe Howe and Alexander Keith, there is no book as comprehensive as the Nova Scotia Book of Everything. There is also no book more fun.
“Well known Nova Scotians like (former) premier Rodney MacDonald weigh in on subjects like the five Nova Scotians he admires most; Ashley MacIsaac tells us his five greatest Nova Scotians; Joel Plaskett gives up his favourite hangouts. The worst weather, Nova Scotia slang, the greatest crimes…it’s all here!”
The Nova Scotia Book of Everything has been followed by the Montreal Book of Everything and similar content in a “101” series on Maine, Rhode Island, Minnesota and South Korea.
MacIntyre says that being based in Lunenburg doesn’t mean he can’t take on the world. He says he is just a “small, hardworking publisher that believes there is a lot of talent and Nova Scotia is not an exclusive market — the market is the world.”
Recently, MacIntyre Purcell published a novel Where the Rivers Meet by Danny Gillis that takes place in Antigonish. MacIntyre is a bit nostalgic about his birthplace, noting that hometowns always hold a special place in our minds. He says the novel’s story is beautiful.
I asked MacIntyre what motivated him to write and publish his book Eva and Me, a personal story about him and his adoption in 2004 of his oldest daughter from Guangdong Province in China.
MacIntyre thought about this for a few minutes and said, “(Cartoonist) Bruce MacKinnon once said how hard it is to capture decency, love and those things in a meaningful way through cartoons.” MacIntyre says this applied to writing as well his book ‘Eva and Me’ “is simply our story — it’s just that ours is different.”
There is no shortage of books from MacIntyre Purcell Publishing. Along with the Book of Everything and 101 series, the company has published the Saskatchewan cookbook mentioned above and this year You Might Be From Canada If… by Michael de Adder, The Little Tree By the Sea — From Halifax to Boston With Love by John and Belle DeMont, and 6-12-17 The Halifax Explosion by John Boileau.
With files from Lunch With Alison (Alison Strachan, a Halifax lawyer).