Old Barns United Church
The Old Barns Church members come primarily from the rural community situated west of Truro and along the beautiful Cobequid Bay and up the Shubenacadie River, an area known world wide for its tidal bore and for its fertile farm lands which date back to the Acadian Seigneury in the late 1600's. This area is now known and respected for its history of agriculture with its well-kept farms, and the use of modern technology that has kept our dairy, beef and greenhouse operations prosperous.
Although farming is now the main industry here, other industries were very important in our earlier history. By 1800, the first shipyards were in operation in Riverside and Lower Truro, and up until 1900, shipping, too, was a big industry, with a custom port at Princeport, and with sawmills and grist mills located on every brook. In the early years, every settler had a farm, but of the more than one hundred farms that once were recorded on the early maps, just over a dozen large farms now occupy this same area. The dyked Acadian low lands, as well as thousands of additional acres of upland, are all needed for the few huge farms in this area today. Here is found some of the best agricultural land in Eastern Canada, and the farmers are determined to keep it for that purpose, buying up every acre that becomes available. Most of the farms are dairy but there are some beef cattle raised here as well, and there is a large greenhouse operation that produces tons of tomatoes and cucumbers throughout the year.
What makes this area unique is that many descendants of the first English settlers of 1763 are still farming or living here, and some are actually farming the acres once granted to a direct ancestor, or to an ancestor who was not a grantee but bought land here in the 1700's. Our roots run deep here lending stability to a community of people with a shared history. Fortunately, it is not an exclusive one because as the Truro area tends to spread outward, new families are welcomed and soon become involved in the spiritual and social life of the community.
Although the United Church is a focal point, the community is also tied together from Truro to the Gosse Bridge by the Clifton Federation of Agriculture, and the Clifton 4-H Club with members coming from all areas of the entire community. Also, there are luncheon socials on a regular basis that meet at the church and include all seniors in the area. Each summer, the Men's Club of our church, and the Knights of Columbus men from the Immaculate Conception Church in Truro, plant and tend a large vegetable garden on land donated by a local farmer. Their work provides tons of food for the food bank. The Men's Club, with help from the UCW, serve a lobster dinner every spring to a large clientele. The money raised goes to the church and other worthwhile community projects.
Although agriculture is financially the major business of this community, there are other commercial enterprises. Lumber mills, machine shops, a knife molding factory, a tree nursery, and a flower nursery, are all found within our community. There is an elementary school in Old Barns, with the junior high just across the Bay, and an excellent high school in Truro. Except for a few students who live near the school, the students all travel to school by bus. The Agricultural College is a degree granting university in Truro with an excellent science program, and a Community College is located in Truro.
Since Truro is called the hub of the Maritimes, the Trans-Canada Highway, which forms our northern boundary, provides easy access to all of Canada and to the ferries that connect us with New England, and Newfoundland. We are less than an hour from the International Airport and an hour to the city of Halifax, which offers cultural and medical facilities not available in Truro, although both of these are improving yearly. We have a volunteer fire brigade with two stations, one in Lower Truro and the other in Beaver Brook, so that all areas can be reached quickly in case of fire. We are within 20 minutes of the hospital in Truro, as well as the new Civic Centre. Clifton Acres, a home for senior citizens, located in Beaver Brook has recently expanded. Set where it has a scenic view of the area, it contains eight two-bedroom apartments, with a large area available for outdoor recreation.
Our congregation supports many outreach programs, within our boundaries as well as nationally and internationally. Our congregation is healthy in numbers and finances, and is spiritually alive. Our church building is well maintained, with a large modern annex which provides space for youth activities, as well as being used by many community based groups for meetings and local events.