Victoria County Physical Activity Strategy Renewed 2018-19 (Year 8)


Municipal Physical Activity Strategy Renewed for 8th Season:

(April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019)



 Physical Activity Trends in Nova Scotia – May 2017


Municipal Physical Activity Strategy  Progress Report – Oct. 30, 2017 

“Hi Vince: Excellent presentation StrategyProgressReportYear7Oct302017PDF

StrategyProgressReportYear7Oct302017   (Coordinator Proud to Present the Municipal Physical Activity Strategy Progress Report – Year 7 (Oct. 30th, 2017) to Council). Great job! Thanks for your assistance and support” – Ann Marie MacNeil, Iona Rep – Victoria County Action Network (VCAN) (Nov. 1, 2017) / Good work Mr. Forrestall! ” – Wayne McKay, Cape Breton Regional Physical Activity Consultant (Oct. 31, 2017)

Municipal Physical Activity Strategy Renewed for 7th Season:

2017-18 (Motion Feb. 28th)

Thank You for Your Continued Support, Assistance & Contribution to the successes of the Implementation of the Municipal Physical Activity Strategy – Naturally Active for Life Victoria County (Est. 2011) since 2011, It’s greatly appreciated.

Good News: Feb. 27th saw a presentation to Municipal Council to Renewal the Strategy by Eileen Woodford (Chair of the Strategy Partnership Management representing Residents) – The Strategy was renewed (Motion Feb. 28th) . The following is from the approved minutes: 


Courtesy of Council was extended to Eileen Woodford, Chair and Vince Forrestall, Coordinator, Victoria County Physical Activity Strategy.

Eileen Woodford presented an update on the Victoria County Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Strategy – Naturally Active for Life (See attached).

Ms. Woodford provided an outline of who they were and what they do. The importance of physical activity and healthy eating was summarized indicating that they are key to health and well-being. The results to date were provided, as were the results of a survey of residents.

The budget allocation for physical active living was explained and the opportunities looking forward were provided, including infrastructure, programs, policy and system supports.

Access to schools and the cost of accessing same were discussed. This is an obstacle and as the Superintendent of the CBV Regional School Board will be in attendance at Council tomorrow evening, it was felt that this is something that can be addressed then.

The successes in the northern area of the Municipality were discussed indicating that cost and safety are two issues that are brought forward by the residents.

The successful events taking place in District #5 were also outlined. Congratulations were extended from all Councillors on the events, promotions and successes as a result of the strategy.

The lack of statistics for the under 15 population was discussed. With summer coming, it is hoped that there will be plans in place for this population.

Along with the health of the community, it is also the social aspect that is equally as important.

After further discussion, Warden Morrison extended a thank you to Eileen Woodford and Vince Forrestall for the presentation and indicated that if there is anything Council can do, to ask.


Deputy Warden Dauphinee referred to last night’s presentation with regard to the Active Living Strategy and the fact that council did not renew the strategy at this meeting.

It was moved and seconded that the Victoria County Active Living Strategy be renewed. Motion carried.

Strategy Renewal Presentation to Municipal Council – Feb. 27, 2017

by Partnership Chair Eileen Woodford

-Municipal Physical Activity Strategy Renewed for 2017-18-

Feb. 27, 2017 saw a Presentation to Municipal Council to Renewal the Municipal Physical Activity Strategy by Eileen Woodford (Chair of the Strategy Partnership Management representing Residents) – The Strategy was renewed (Motion Feb. 28th) for 2017-18:

March 20, 2017 Ashton, Aron – “Hey hey! Great news indeed Vince! Well done!”

Elyane Saul, March 20, 2017 – “Sweet!! Amazing Vince!

Ann Marie MacKay MacNeil, March 20, 2017 – “Excellent news  and congratulations on a great job Vince!” 

Patsy MacKenzie, March 20, 2017 – “Congratulations Vince & Eileen! Fantastic work for residents of Victoria County.  We are lucky to have you!”

Wonderful program, – 100% feedback…Continue to do what you are doing” – Norm MacDonald, Councilor, District 8 (Feb. 27, 2017)

Has had an impact North of Smokey, especially youth & seniors; Very successful open house held at Ski Cape Smokey; Presentation had points well taken” – Larry Dauphinee, Councilor District 6 (Feb. 27, 2017)

Congratulations and keep up the great work” – Fraser Patterson, Councilor District 5 (Feb. 27, 2017)

Congratulations to both Vince and Eileen presenting and thank you for taking it upon yourselves in keeping us alive longer! Keep up the great work” –   Merrill MacInnis, Councilor District 4 (Feb. 27, 2017)

Great job, you are my favorite people” – Perla MacLeod, Councilor, District 2 (Feb. 27, 2017)

Increase in Physical Activity and Social is great with economic benefits – benefits everybody” – Paul MacNeil, Councilor, District 1 (Feb. 27, 2017)

Hats off to you both, especially Eileen” – Warden & District 3 Councilor Bruce Morrison  (Feb. 27, 2017)

Hi Vince: You are doing a fantastic job – Thanks” – Ann Marie MacNeil (Victoria County Action Network Strategy Implementation Team for Iona, Washabuck Peninsula), Feb. 27, 2017

(Media release) on the Victoria County Physical Activity Strategy – VICTORIA COUNTY COUNCIL VOTES TO PROVIDE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY STRATEGY FUNDING FOR ANOTHER YEAR (Apr. 15, 2016):




(Baddeck, N.S.)  Victoria County council has approved funding for the municipal physical activity strategy. This next year will see work concentrate on making programs self-sustaining.

The Victoria County Physical Activity strategy has been very successful and much has been accomplished,” said Warden Bruce Morrison. “The strategy’s goals were to raise awareness, create partnerships and get the residents of Victoria County moving. We are definitely on the right path”, he said.

Launched in 2011, the program saw consultations with community groups and leaders. From these talks came the creation and development of physical activity programs for youth, seniors, First Nations Communities, women and more.

We have built a strong foundation for the future of physical activity, healthy eating and general health and wellness for our residents,” said the warden. Health & wellness policies have been developed within the county and in area schools and partnerships are now in place.

Before this program, for example, many area schools – with excellent wellness facilities, were out of reach for community members after school hours. This program has seen partnerships and policies created, that provide access to the facilities in the schools for our residents,” said Morrison.

A recent phone survey found that Victoria County residents had increased their level of awareness and their level of physical activity since the launch of the strategy.

Naturally Active Victoria County Year 5 Ends June 13, 2016 (Est. June 13, 2011)

Victoria County Naturally Active PARTNERSHIP met Nov. 16, 2015 in Wagmatcook

-Updated the Victoria County Physical Activity Strategy 2011-2016 from the June 3, 2015 Strategy Review / Update Session at St. Ann’s with Facilitator Ruth Schneider, Victoria County Resident.

Presentation to Renewal the Victoria County Physical Activity Strategy 2016-2021 to Municipal Council (Feb. 22, 2016): 

Presentation to Council Feb. 22, 2016 Approved Minutes:


  • “What We’ve Achieved”



  • Report Card 2015



  • Presented Updated Strategy : 2016 – 2021



Requested: Municipal Council For a 5 Year Renewal in Partnership with the Province 2016-2021.

Victoria County Active Living Citizens Survey Completed – November 2015
Wagmatcook Active Living Citizens Survey Completed – December 2015
THANK YOU TO ALL Victoria County residents for completing the Active Living “Citizens Survey” carried out by Nova Insights in Partnership with NS Health & Wellness Active Living Branch and Victoria County – Naturally Active Victoria County (Municipal Physical Activity Strategy Est. 2011)
200 surveys were completed. The results of the survey were used in updating / reviewing the Strategy.
Alicia Lake with Vince Forrestall.

(February 22)

· “Vince presents 5 years of wellness at Victoria County (Renewal of Physical Activity Strategy Presentation To Council – Feb. 22, 2016) – Great work Vince!!”

Your very welcome. Making a big difference in all communities …” – District 8 Councilor John Buchanan – JB – John Buchanan, Councilor (Feb. 23, 2016)

Hi Vince – Glad it (Renewal of Physical Activity Strategy Presentation To Council – Feb. 22, 2016) went well” – Eileen Woodford, Chair of Strategy Partnership (Feb. 23, 2016)

Andree Crepeau – President, Velo Cape Breton: Congrats!! (Renewal of Physical Activity Strategy Presentation To Council – Feb. 22, 2016) – Feb. 23, 2016

Wallace Bernard – Physical Activity Coordinator, Waycobah”Congrats buddy:) (Renewal of Physical Activity Strategy Presentation To Council – Feb. 22, 2016)” – Feb. 23, 2016
Wanda Hart MacLeodWay to go Vince Forrestall! You are amazing!!” – 
Feb. 22 at 6:05pm – (Renewal of Physical Activity Strategy Presentation To Council – Feb. 22, 2016); Wanda Hart MacLeodAwesome!” – Feb. 24, 2016
Lennan MacIsaacGreat job Vince Forrestall ” – (Renewal of Physical Activity Strategy Presentation To Council – Feb. 22, 2016) – Feb. 22, 2016

Victoria County Citizens Survey Held November 2015

200 Residents participated in the Victoria County Citizens Survey (November 2015) with Nova Insights. It allows us to see how the how far we’ve come as a strategy and to give direction to the strategy now and in the future benefiting residents.  The consultant contracted by NS Health & Wellness Active Living Branch to conduct MPAL (Municipal Physical Activity Leadership) Surveys was “Nova Insights” and has commenced data collection (300 telephone surveys) in Victoria County (Started November 13, 2015)

First thing the interviewer did was introduce themselves and the study. Below is their intro script….

Hello. My name is [INTERVIEWER] calling on behalf of the {Municipality of the County of Victoria) from Nova Insights and Vision Research. We have a survey that should take about 20 minutes. It covers important topics for your community’s planning and we’d like to include your opinion. All your responses will be kept strictly confidential and will only be reported as a group, not identifying you with your responses. As a thank you for providing your perspective, we will enter your name into a draw to win one of two $50 grocery gift cards being given away in {Victoria County}.

The Strategy had an Ipsos Reid Survey ipsosreidrecreationandphysicalfitnesssurveyreportvictoriacounty completed in 2010 assisting to guide the current Physical Activity Strategy that ends its 5 years June 13, 2016. Naturally Active Victoria County Physical Activity Strategy appreciates your continued support & contribution and looks forward to meeting your needs now and in the future.

Strategy Update Session Held June 3, 2015

Chair of Strategy Partnership – Eileen Woodford discussed with Steve Sutherland, CBC Radio Sydney Morning and shared the strategy update/review process to date.

St. Ann’s United Church Hall Tea Room
with Management (Strategy Partnership & VCAN-Implementation Team)

Included Facilitator Ruth Schneider (Local Resident), Chair of Strategy Eileen Woodford & Elaine Shelton, NS Physical Activity Manager. 6 Table Facilitators Led Table Discussions on Updating the Strategy 6 goals: 1. Education & Awareness; 2. Partnerships & Networks; 3. Programs & Events; 4. Barriers; 5. Infrastructure and 6. Policy.

Session included updating the Strategy Vision, Values and Principles as well.

The common theme of the session was that “We Have Come A Long Way”, but the “Strategy is spread too thin and there is a need to focus more” – need to close in on what we have here; Other comments included: Strategy Structure is set, pull it in, “Freedom” when solidified…What can be done and self sustained. “Awareness” = Self-sustaining…Keep It Moving. “Financial viable”…Money = spin-offs; Improving communication is much better now since the strategy-a lot of improvement can be done VCAN (Victoria County Action Network) – Implementation Team to Residents; Focus more on “Learn To” which has a lot of impact & ‘Leadership Development”; Partnership can offer Policy piece-need to be stronger in policy.

Focusing In 2015-16


The Update Session was followed by a Citizens Survey (Sponsored by the NS Dept Health & Wellness Active Living Branch) November 2015, followed by community consultations (Including Series of on-line offerings) with residents, leaders, service providers and facility operators to make sure the Strategy is updated/priorized, meeting the needs of the aforementioned, sustainable and being positive so that the two keys partners under the NS MPAL Program will renewal.

MPAL – Municipal Physical Activity Leadership Renewal

It was Elaine Shelton’s (NS Physical Activity Manager) first visit to Victoria County and she commented during the session: “Great Experience…Community-based discussion, Cool experiences….’Cool'”. “Enthusiasm when strategy built”; “Agree with focus more as nobody has enough money for a Comprehensive Strategy”. “Use Networks; Surveys; Inclusion Important; Policy Implementation” – “A lot of commitment-strong network to implement and very expensive. Congratulations…Community Team Effort” – Elaine Shelton

Vince Forrestall, Physical Activity Coordinator, Presented on “What We Achieved” (2011-15):


Notes were packaged and there was a regrouping in Sept. 2015.

June 13, 2016 will see the 5th year of commitment of Victoria County & NS Dept Health & Wellness Active Living Branch in Partnership supporting a Coordinator and a Strategy. Victoria County Municipal Council will decide to:

  1. Renewal for another 5 years: 2016 – 2021
  2. Renewal yearly / annually
  3. Opt out of the program

Letters of Support to Renewal Strategy – June 13, 2016 – 2021:

Monika Dutt, Medical Officer of Health


NS Health Authority – Healthy Communities Team:

StrategyRenewalSupportLetterNSHealthAuthorityHealthyCommunitiesTeam – Oct. 16, 2015

Cape Breton Regional Library

StrategySupportCBRLOct202015 – Oct. 20, 2015

I am writing in support of, Vince Forrestall, and the Naturally Active Victoria County (Municipal Physical Activity Strategy Est. 2011 –  ) with a 5 year Renewal of the Strategy by the Municipality of the County of Victoria in Partnership with the Province-Health & Wellness Active Living Branch (MPAL: ). I am the Youth Liaison Officer for the Victoria County Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP, detachment stationed in Baddeck, I work with students and schools to determine new and innovated projects to assist youth with issues that are precursors to criminal activity. The programs assist to prevent youth from entering the Criminal Justice System or minimalize recidivism. In this role I also look at other organizations and groups that offer extra-curricular activities and opportunities for youth.  Mr. Forrestall’s leadership and creativity with Naturally Active Victoria County is a prime example of a strategy that creates programs and opportunities that I seek out. I have had the opportunity to sit on the Body Active Mind (BAM) planning committee and have seen firsthand the knowledge and enthusiasm that Vince brings to the table. The Naturally Active Victoria County strategy with Vince at the helm has brought some fabulous activities to the County and residents with many more I am sure to come with a 5 year extension for the strategy and Vince. If there are any questions or concerns please contact me directly. Best Regards” – Cst Eric LATWAITIS, Youth Liaison Office, RCMP-GRC, Victoria County – Ph 902-295-2350 /

To Whom It May Concern – I am writing in strong support of a 5 year renewal of the Naturally Active Victoria County Strategy. Overall, this Strategy addresses an absolutely critical need in our County:  Improved health of our citizens through exercise and better nutrition. I have had direct, very positive contact with the Strategy and it activities in three main ways: 1.        The Strategy’s support of North Highlands Nordic Cross Country Ski Club:  I am a member of this Club which offers professional quality ski trails and programs.  I use its facilities both for skiing and for snowshoeing and as a senior, I appreciate the Club’s programs for seniors.  I also appreciate the in-person visits which Vince Forrestall makes to our Club.  The Club is one of the most important fitness opportunities North of Smokey during the winter, for very young children, youth, adults and seniors and thus is important in the County fitness Strategy. 2.       The Cabot High School Student Garden Project (with the Cape North Farmers’ Market):  The Cape North Farmers’ Market has as one of its goals the improving of the quality of nutrition in our North of Smokey communities through more local production of fresh produce.  As part of our strategy for achieving this goal, our Farmers’ Market is working with the teachers and administration of Cabot High School to “turn on” our youth to the benefits and pleasures of home production of food.  A student garden has been created as a learning tool for students at Cabot High.  The garden has been in existence for 2 years, 2015 being a better harvest year than 2014, as the fertility of the student garden improves. The student garden project is ongoing with the goal of reaching out and turning on more and more young people to home gardening.  In 2015, the Naturally Active Strategy provided financial support for this student garden/fresh local produce/better nutrition for better health project. 3.       As a volunteer in the Sun Gym at the Bay St. Lawrence Community Centre, I am aware of the several ways in which the Naturally Active Strategy has assisted the Centre to work with children, youth, adults and seniors on different activities intended to encourage regular exercise and nutrition in our community.  The Centre plays a hugely important role in our community and the Naturally Active Strategy has been one of the most important sources of support for the Centre’s fitness/nutrition programs. Based on my first-hand experience, I believe that the Naturally Active Strategy is playing a very important role in improving fitness and nutrition in our County and that its various activities have been successful in enhancing fitness, including improved nutrition in our County.  Vince Forrestall , in my opinion has done an excellent job as the Strategy coordinator working in a county with very dispersed communities.  He has worked effectively with local organizations to link their activities with the goals of Naturally Active and thereby achieved great “leverage” for Naturally Active’s various initiatives.  Improving fitness and levels of nutrition in any setting does not happen quickly.  A good start has been made.  I support a further 5-years for the Strategy. Sincerely” – Rob Macdonald, Dingwall 

St. Ann’s Bay Community Health Group – “The St. Ann’s Bay Community Health Group strongly supports the Municipality of the County of Victoria and Nova Scotia’s Health & Wellness Active Living Branch in their renewal of the Naturally Active Victoria County Strategy. Our Community Health Group is known in Victoria County not only for wellness clinics, but for our progressive work based on the Determinants of Health, particularly our Seniors Lunches, our Speakers’ Programs, Workshops and Community Hikes, all of which have benefitted from our partnership with Naturally Active Victoria County. Over the past five years, we have been able to expand and upgrade our hiking trails, to host “Taking the Roof off Winter” events, and to increase the effectiveness of our lunches and speakers’ programs throughout the year. It is important that the Naturally Active Victoria County program and position be continued for the next five years. A stable, ongoing program both assists the work of its partners and enhances the image of Victoria County throughout the Province of Nova Scotia. A five year renewal commitment ensures that the program is valued by local government and that its volunteer partners can continue the work they have begun without loss of momentum. We hope to hear this spring that Naturally Active Victoria County will continue” Sincerely – (signed) Ruth M. Schneider, Chair (Oct. 19, 2015)


I want to congratulate the Municipality of the County of Victoria for its work the past 4.5 years to promote physical activity and healthy eating across its communities. The strategy has focused on key goals and objectives such as increasing awareness, building partnerships, developing/supporting public policy, and increasing opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity for residents and visitors of all ages. Physical activity and healthy eating are important to promoting and maintaining good health and preventing illness. The Rural Chronic Disease Steering Committee was established in 2009 to increase support for people with chronic illness who live in rural communities. The committee’s work has focused on providing both education and specific physical activity for participants. In addition the committee has worked with many partners to advocate for and develop community based supports so that there are opportunities for people with chronic illness to eat well and be more physically active. The partnership with Victoria County has been invaluable in developing community wellness rooms, increasing access to school facilities, supporting community groups in increasing many opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity and in supporting leadership development. I encourage the County to continue to fund the Strategy for the next five years so that policy, infrastructure and programming can be solidified and sustained. That way physical activity and healthy eating will become a way of life for residents of Victoria County. On behalf of the committee, we encourage Victoria County to continue this important work for at least the next five years. Sincerely” –  Carol Ferguson, Co-chair, Manager Heart Lung Wellness Program, Eastern Zone, Nova Scotia Health Authority & Eileen Woodford, Retired (Co-chair, Director Rural Health, Eastern Zone, Nova Scotia Health Authority) – Oct. 13, 2015

We, at North Highlands Nordic are asking the Municipality to renew Vince Forrestall’s five year Naturally Active Victoria County, Municipal Physical Activity Strategy for at least another five years. At North Highlands Nordic, since 1985 we have maintained over 10 km of groomed trails behind the North Victoria Community Centre. We have a strong volunteer base that is proud of the facility that we offer in northern Victoria County. We hire a room manager for three months so that the facility can be open and have available both cross country ski and snowshoe equipment. The county has always been very generous in the support we have received over the years. We have seen Vince grow into his position over the last five years.  He has been easy to access and is a font of knowledge. He has made great efforts to get to know and understand us.  He has been very supportive of our initiatives. For example, he has not only provided funding for our Open House, but he has made the effort to attend it also. If we have a germ of an idea he helps make it happen.  For our Girls on Skis program he helped with our proposal and funding and even came down North to see how the program was going. We appreciate this enthusiasm. He has always shown a keen interest in what we are doing.  We do not want to loose Vince or the support he has been providing over the last five years.  There is still a lot to be done and we feel very fortunate that he even would want to continue in his position.  Any funds that are spent on keeping our residents physically active seem like a win-win situation.  At North Highlands Nordic we are as committed as Vince in seeing that this happens. Sincerely” – Linda Murray, President, NHN-North Highlands Nordic, Cape North, NS (Oct. 2015)

My name is Angela MacKinnon, and I had the pleasure of being the Facility Development and Enhancement Coordinator of the  Northern Victoria Community Center, in Cape North, Victoria County. This job opportunity was made possible through a Job Creation Program brought to us by Naturally Active Victoria County.  Thanks to the work experience I earned, ( April – July 2015) I was ultimately offered a full time position being the Coordinator of the NVCC after my JCP work term ended.   Our center did not have a Coordinator in 5+ years, and with the help of Naturally Active Victoria County, we finally had someone here to answer the phones, write the emails, and apply for the grants that we needed to develop our center once again.   Our community center has counted on the support from Naturally Active Victoria County and coordinator Vince Forrestall immensely in the last 6 months.  With his great leadership, interpersonal skills and genuine care for residents and visitors, Naturally Active Victoria County has benefited our small community, the ”North of Smokey’ area, and the county as a whole. Renewing the strategy for another 5 years ensures this great work will be able to continue, benefiting all those involved. Thank you for your time and consideration” – Angela MacKinnnon Coordinator, Northern Victoria Community Center 29235 Cabot Trail, Cape North, Victoria County 902 383 2515 (Oct. 6, 2015)

On behalf of the South Haven Community Hall, we would like to add our support for the renewal of the Muncipal Physical Activity Strategy for an additional five years. Many in our community have benefitted greatly from this strategy over the past five years from activities such as physical exercise programs, square dance classes, healthy eating events and other organized outdoor activities. Yours truly” – Jim Eldridge, President – South Haven Community Hall (Oct. 6, 2015)

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of support for the Physical Activity Strategy of Victoria County. Since its inception in 2011, I personally have seen and enjoyed the many initiatives that this strategy has produced. The County’s dedication to this program has enabled each community to have access to physical programs, information and resources that otherwise may not have been as easily obtainable. Mr. Forrestall’s resilience and friendly manner has moved the physical aspirations of individuals in a positive direction. Having access to programs and services of the strategy in our own backyards, so to speak, has provided individuals with entertainment, choices, triumphs and, of course, much needed physical activity. As a member of several community organizations within the County, I also see the wealth of information on grants and services that has been brought to the attention of county residents and organizations. I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Forrestall on a community level and enjoy his enthusiasm and hard work to make the strategy a benefit for everyone“. Regards, Donna MacDonald, Nova Scotia C@P Regional Coordinator, Victoria County, NS (Oct. 7, 2015)

Mary and I have recently discovered that Victoria County’s “Naturally Active” program will reach it’s fifth anniversary in June of 2016 and that a decision about it’s future is being made. What follows are some thoughts about the program. We often hear reports of health problems caused by lack of exercise, diabetes being the number one example. It’s also a well known fact that Nova Scotia is faced with a rapidly aging population. Each of these issues contribute to an ever-increasing, and probably unsustainable, burden on the health-care system. It therefore seems that programs focused on improving the health of the general population should be a priority. Council has the difficult task of determining how best to allocate available funds for the benefit of all residents. When faced with this challenge, organizations often resort to a cost-benefit analysis as a basis for gauging a program’s worth. Performing such an analysis on a program of this type would be a significant and very expensive undertaking… a consultant’s dream-come-true! Wouldn’t it be better to “go with your gut” and continue funding a program which seems obviously beneficial? And now, a few words about the current program coordinator…Vince Forrestall has been a tireless promoter of numerous forms of physical activity, many of which highlight our beautiful natural environment. I’ve participated in a number of his organized hikes to destinations such as Bald Mountain, the “Steam Boiler”, Goldbrook Mine, Humes River Falls, McNaughton Falls, MacMillan Mountain Look off, and, of course, Uisge Ban. Being a relative newcomer to the area, these events have introduced me to some unfamiliar and wonderful locations. I follow Vince on Facebook and I’m constantly amazed by his non-stop work to promote physical fitness. He’s always on the move – a great example for everyone. He and his family have been a wonderful addition to the area and Baddeck in particular. Mary and I would like to take this opportunity to express our full support for extending this very beneficial program for another five years with Vince as it’s coordinator” – Sincerely, Bob & Mary Hill (Oct. 7, 2015)

I write on behalf of Hike Nova Scotia in support of the continuation of the Naturally Active Victoria County initiative. Naturally Active has created and is implementing the municipality’s physical activity strategy, which is crucial in getting residents of the area more active and leading healthier lifestyles. Hike NS is happy to see that Naturally Active Victoria County has scheduled many guided hikes in all seasons and promoted local hiking trails over that last few years. This is definitely in support of Hike NS’s mandate to encourage and promote hiking, walking and snowshoeing across our province. Without local partners like Naturally Active, Hike NS would not be as effective in fulfilling its mandate. Hike NS has helped to promote hiking events organized through Naturally Active and, in turn, it has helped to promote Hike NS events. This is an excellent partnership that we hope will continue. Victoria County has such wonderful outdoor beauty for hiking. It would be a shame if Naturally Active no longer played its current role of engaging residents and visitors alike through promoting hiking and local trails. Hike NS looks forward to seeing Naturally Active Victoria County continue to make a difference in the community. Sincerely” – Janet Barlow, Communications Coordinator, Hike Nova Scotia (October 21, 2015)

Re: Municipal Physical Activity Strategy We moved to Victoria County in mid 2012 so do not have first-hand knowledge of the local activity situation prior to the implementation of this strategy.  However, it quickly became evident that a serious effort was being made by the Coordinator to boost the activity level of the residents.  My first exposure to the program was through weekly Saturday snowshoe hikes on various trails in the St. Ann’s Bay area.  Vince participated at many of these hikes and was a powerful advocate for getting out, enjoying the scenery and boosting our activity levels.  The  exertion varied from easy to challenging, depending on the specific terrain, but it is safe to say that over the last three winters we all benefited from the workouts and felt healthier for the effort. Vince was also a strong supporter of the Square Dance Classes at the South Haven Community Hall. I have heard comments from a number of first time participants that they were astonished at the level of physical effort required during these two hour sessions. As with the hiking, residents were benefiting from weekly physical activity while at the same time strengthening community involvement. As a director with the Biosphere North East Trails Association I witness Vince’s ongoing support during the past year for the development of additional trails within the County that will enhance the physical activity of residents and visitors alike. A side benefit may also be an increase in the number of tourist days and the dollars that flow. Unfortunately, many of us require prodding and/or incentives to escape our sedimentary lifestyle and become more physically active. In the long term it has to be a benefit to not only the participants but also reducing health care costs in general. Maintaining momentum now is critical to the realization of long term benefits. As a County taxpayer I support the continuation of this strategy” – Don Buchanan, 50972 Cabot Trail, RR 4 Baddeck (Oct. 9, 2015)

On behalf of the Bras D’Or Archers Association; as its president, as a member of the Baddeck Curling Club, as a member of the Bell Bay Golf Club, as an executive member of the Biosphere Northeast Trails Association, and as a resident of Victoria County, I provide this letter in support of the current Naturally Active Victoria County Strategy. The strategy and initiatives implemented are of great value to the community as a whole. As the initial phase of the strategy winds down, I think it is imperative that the County continue on with this initiative by extending it another 5 years. With an aging population and increasing pressure on our health care system, a strategy to keep people involved in physical activity will have long term benefits for our residents from a mental, physical, and social well-being perspective. Hats off to Vince and the many people who have worked hard to develop and implement the strategy and to keep it front and center in the County through social media and community postings. I think the initiatives and programs that have arisen from the strategy should make the County proud that it is actually implementing a strategy that appears to be working and achieving the goals and objectives it set – not an easy thing to do in today’s environment. The County has a good thing going and I think it should support the Naturally Active Victoria County initiative for another 5 years. Respectfully” – Stephen Kerr, Baddeck Bay (Oct. 24, 2015)

My name is Mary Ivey and I have worked with Vince Forrestall on several occasions with Active living for Victoria County.  In my opinion,, it has been wonderful working with Vince and the programs that he offers through Active Living.  Several programs which I particular enjoy is the hiking and having leaders to follow and the snowshoeing programs and also the yoga programs. I strongly support his hard work and please keep the programs in Victoria County on active living  alive. We have to keep the people active and interested in maintaining good health through exercise. Thank you” – Mary Ivey (October 9, 2015)

The investment in continuing to support the Municipal Physical Activity Strategy in Victoria County will have a payback many times greater than the dollars spent. We will not only save health dollars but we will have safer, happier communities. We will have more viable communities that will attract new residents. One of our greatest assets is the natural beauty of our wilderness, but we can only take advantage of it by staying healthy ourselves. A physically active lifestyle is the best way to insure the physical and mental health of our residents. Becoming physically fit is not a ‘one shot deal.’ A person does not engage in physical activity, get into shape, and then stay in shape. Fitness must be an ongoing process. Life style changes require sustained hard work over a long period of time. Our needs change as we get older. The activities we engaged in last year are not the same as the activities we need next year. As young people grow they need to have programs available to keep them physically active. School sports programs do not reach the majority of our students. The challenge of engaging young people in physical activity is becoming more critical and cannot be left to the schools. In our rural county we have few recreational facilities. But we do have many community halls and we are very sociable. We have a rich tradition of community gatherings. The coordinated leadership of the Municipal Physical Activity Strategy in the county has been able to capitalize on the many small diverse groups to get people together and to get them physically active. Activities like yoga, walking, hiking, snowshoeing, exercise groups are both social and healthy. But they require continual renewal and reinvention. Individuals with an idea need the help and support of a coordinator to bring the idea to fruition. A coordinator’s job is never done. As adults age, their needs and abilities change. Young people grow and require leadership to get out and be active. The composition of our communities is constantly changing. If we are going to maintain a physically active healthy community lifestyle we need a coordinator who can keep an overview of our changing needs. I urge Council to continue to support Vince Forrestall and the Municipal Physical Activity Strategy and to renew its funding for at least another five years. Sincerely yours” – David Rasmussen, Bay St Lawrence (Oct. 12, 2015)

I strongly support Vince Forrestall and the renewal of Naturally Active Victoria County Strategy. Vince has a wealth of knowledge and made connections all over the Island he has responded in a very timely manner to all of my request.  I feel he is completely dedicated to this program. The strategy has made it possible for me to pay hall rentals and buy equipments that has sustained my groups for the last number of years. I have recently joined the St. Ann’s Bay Community Health Group and I understand that Naturally Active Victoria County Strategy has been a key partner for many years as well.  The members of our community need these programs and directors to continue their support. Victoria County needs more programs like this and more individuals like Vince. Yours truly” – Lisa Dixon, Coordinator of Our Journey To Better Health & Shaunackie Circuit Gym (October 22, 2015)

Naturally Active will continue to be a great success in the many years to come” – Kelsey Peters, Destination Cape Breton

Angelo Spinazzola commented on Strategy Review / Update 2015

On behalf of myself and the staff of North River Kayak Tours we would like to express our support for the programming and exciting inititives Mr. Forestall has been involved in over the past number of years. The feedback has been nothing but positive. Mr. Forrestall is the man for the job and we do hope to have the Naturally Active Programming renewed for another 5 years. His work has put many smiles on many faces as well as giving people great opportunities to GET HEALTHY! Good work sir!!!” – Angelo (Nov 4, 2015)

I hope that they will support. Certainly deserve it!” (Strategy Renewal Scheduled for June 13, 2016) – Julia Sable, Corporate Strategist, Youth and Entrepreneurship at NS Dept of Economic & Rural Development (Oct. 9, 2015)

Hi Vince: You work very hard for Victoria County and Residents” – Ann Marie MacNeil, VCAN (Victoria County Action Network Implementation Team) – (Oct 15, 2015)

Dear Naturally Active, Sue and I permanently moved to Cape Breton about four years ago. Prior to moving to Nova Scotia I spent plenty of time hiking in a semi wilderness provincial park not far from our cabin. Most of my hiking was done alone. When we moved to Cape Breton I couldn’t help but hear that an organization had been set up to get people active, presumably to help increase the health level of the population and therefore cut down on mental and physical problems which can be very costly. Plus it was just a heck of a lot of fun. Because I wasn’t familiar with many trails around here, I joined a hike or two and was quickly involved in other hikes, and soon began guiding a few. It all just came naturally. Vincent Forrestall, who represents Naturally Active, was personable and easy to hike with. Vincent was as much into the activities as the rest of us were and always kept me aware of the up and coming events. Only a few days ago, Vincent gave me two maps promoting hiking and biking trails. This will be a big help to me and others. Also, it was Vincent’s enthusiasm that got me into snowshoeing and last year we had some great fun snowshoeing in the Victoria County mountains. I will be busy the next few months just keeping up with the number of hikes and events that Vincent and Naturally Active have scheduled. It is my hope that Vincent and Naturally Active will be helping to  keep Victoria County residents healthy for a very long time. Yours sincerely” – Larry Gibbons (Resident – Goldbrook Mine Road) (Oct. 14, 2015)

On behalf of Nova Scotia Department of Energy, I am writing to express my support for Naturally Active Victoria County to work on a 5-year renewal of the Victoria County Physical Activity Strategy by the Municipality of the County of Victoria. The Department of Energy through our Sustainable Transportation Strategy: Choose How You Move launched in April 2013, promotes, encourages, and supports active transpiration. The vision of the Physical Activity Strategy complements our Choose How You Move strategy. Investments in active transportation have far-reaching benefits, from health and wellness to the environmental benefits and beyond. Strategies like this promote active living within our communities and among residents of all ages. Vince Forrestall has been an active stakeholder of the department in the past years and his work in completing the Victoria County Moves project (improving cycling capacity through bike racks, AT lanes, and AT Plan) under the NS Moves Grant Program has been greatly appreciated. We are happy to support Naturally Active Victoria County in its effort to promote the renewal of the Victoria County Physical Activity Strategy. Sincerely” – Mana Wareham, B.Sc., MPA, Sustainable Transportation Program Administrator, Sustainable and Renewable Energy, NS Department of Energy

On behalf of the Cape Breton Regional Library I would like to forward this letter of support for the Naturally Active Victoria County program. We have worked closely with Vince Forrestall on a number of initiatives since this started that have been a great benefit to the residents of Victoria County. Below are the observation of Kate Oland from the Baddeck Library on this program. “Over Vince Forrestall’s tenure, he has made several efforts to find ways to partner with the Cape Breton Regional Library, and Baddeck Branch in particular. I’ve been particularly impressed that he reached out to the library, since it’s not often immediately thought of as a “fit” for physical recreation and wellness activities.  Some of our partnerships have included: * A Summer Bookmobile series which had a student from Vince’s department show up at various bookmobile stops to teach kids healthy, active games and activities.  This partnership gave us an opportunity to highlight related books and DVDs in our collection, and also to reach out to students who might not have connected with the bookmobile before. * A Winter Swim partnership in which Vince’s department paid the pool and lifeguard fees, and the library hosted a swim for area kids who had library cards.  It was a great way to connect the library to the wider community, and to reward card-holders for their library membership. * Baddeck Library has a permanent “Healthy Active Living” display at the branch, which features useful material from Vince’s department along with rotating displays on a variety of health and wellness issues. Again, this gives us a great opportunity to highlight items in our collection, and it helps our patrons get connected to opportunities in the community. * Baddeck Library is partnering with Vince’s department in an active gear equipment loan program, to be launched this winter. Patrons will soon be able to check out snow shoes, walking poles, ski sets, and other winter equipment using their library cards.  The program will increase access to expensive equipment and encourage more people to try winter activities; it may bring new patrons through our doors; and we’ll be able to deliver the equipment county-wide on the bookmobile. * Vince’s department has also sponsored two yoga sessions at Baddeck Library – one for children and families, and one for adult beginners, both of which have been very much appreciated. * Vince is also good to promote any of the library’s programs and services that coincide with this Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer Active Fests.” As you can see, there have been many collaborations with the Library over the last 5 years that have helped to promote wellness and healthy living for Victoria County. We hope that this initiative continues to provide unique opportunities for residents of Victoria County. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Kate Oland. Thank you” – Rosalie Gillis, Coordinator Community Support Cape Breton Regional Library, 50 Falmouth Street Sydney, Nova Scotia Canada B1P 6X9, Tel: (902)562-3279 / Fax: (902)564-0765

Our community-based, not-for-profit company, Central Cape Breton Community Ventures, has been encouraged by your enthusiasm in promoting fitness in Victoria County. One of our Committees, is the Wellness Committee, which deals with physical and mental wellness to the residents and visitors of Central Cape Breton. We promote an active and relaxing atmosphere for people of all ages of Central Cape Breton to get “fit”. Without your support over the last 5 years this would not be possible. We would like to congratulate you for taking the many initiatives to improve physical and mental wellness throughout the County of Victoria and offer our support to the continuation of Naturally Active Victoria County. We look forward to continuing working with you. Sincerely” – Ann Marie MacNeil, Chair, Central Cape Breton Community Ventures, Inc) Nov. 8, 2015)



Support from Active Cape Breton Communities – Naturally Active Victoria County MPAL Renewal

Dear Mr. Morrison: “Please accept this letter of support from the CBRM Recreation Department for the above noted initiative – ACBC: Active Cape Breton Communities, a Cape Breton Regional Professional Development Organization, which Naturally Active Victoria County is a regular participant. There are many benefits to the Municipal Physical Activity Strategy and its impact on active living and healthy lifestyles in the Victoria County area. An intricate collaboration of partnerships has evolved from this program, from volunteers, leaders, facility operators and on all government levels that has lead to the success of Naturally Active.  Fostering healthy living initiatives, collaborative partnerships and a supportive strategy shows a Municipality’s commitment to positive lifestyle change. There is still more that can be done and by renewing the program as it benefits the community and visitors alike. We support the request for a 5 year renewal of this valuable strategy” – Regards, Christa Dicks, former CBRM Recreation Manager (Oct. 27th, 2015)

StrategyReviewLetter of Support- Ingonish Triathlon.png

As a chef, the importance of a healthy, nutritious diet has always been at the forefront of my use of local and sustainable ingredients when planning meals and menus.  I have always considered it part of my job to make people aware of healthy dietary choices coupled with an active lifestyle.  To that end I believe that Victoria County’s implementation of the “Naturally Active” Physical Activity Strategy is bringing about a more accessible, with the leadership of Vince Forrestall, means to that end. All too often I hear it said by those who lack knowledge and opportunity that they do not know where to start for a move towards a healthy and active lifestyle, so there is still more work to be done in Victoria County.  I have worked on several programs with Vince on bringing basic healthy cooking skills to places in the county where this guidance would not be otherwise available, and I believe this is a very important building block in the health of our area residents. Therefore, this strategy and Vince Forrestall’s work within it, should be built upon and not be removed from Victoria County’s health and wellness plan; thus continuing to provide both knowledge and opportunity for its residents. Thank you” – Chef, George Smith (Dec. 8, 2015)

Angelo Spinazzola commented on Strategy Review / Update 2015

On behalf of Angelo Spinazzola and the staff at North River Kayak Tours, I would like to extend my support to Vince and Naturally Active. It is instrumental to have such an organization in the community. It creates a great venue for people to connect as well as get exercise at the same time and gives people a sense of accomplishment. I look forward to participating in the future. Great work Vince!” – (Nov. 4, 2015)

“Vince … just wanted to say “good luck” (not that hard work needs good luck!) with this evening’s gathering (Strategy Review/Update June 3rd, 2015). You’ve worked diligently in providing leadership for the Strategy’s development and implementation. GREAT WORK!”Ellen (Ellen Polegato) Former Regional Physical Activity Consultant, Cape Breton



2 Responses to Victoria County Physical Activity Strategy Renewed 2018-19 (Year 8)

  1. On behalf of myself and the staff of North River Kayak Tours we would like to express
    our support for the programming and exciting inititives Mr. Forestall has been involved in over the past number of years. The feedback has been nothing but positive. Mr. Forrestall is the man for the job and we do hope to have the Naturally Active Programming renewed for another 4 years. His work has put many smiles on many faces as well as giving people great opportunities to GET HEALTHY! Good work sir!!!

  2. On behalf of Angelo Spinazzola and the staff at North River Kayak Tours, I would like to extend my support to Vince and Naturally Active. It is instrumental to have such an organization in the community. It creates a great venue for people to connect as well as get exercise at the same time and gives people a sense of accomplishment. I look forward to participating in the future. Great work Vince!

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