THE BOOK SHELF: N.S. feminine athletes, in all their sweat and glory | Native-Life | Life

In her new book, the photographer Lyndsay Doyle not only captures strength and sportiness. Often shown sweaty, dirty, tired, and sometimes even injured, they do what they love: games and sports.

By the time Doyle began photographing a handful of her athletic friends and hearing about the obstacles they faced in their sports careers, she had no idea that her project would turn into a book containing dozens of stories and color photographs of women who have participated in 50 different sports such as marathon running and soccer, jumping rope and cheerleading.

Legacy Circus’ Erin Ball and Vanessa Furlong perform at the Neptune Theater during the Halifax Fringe Festival. – Lyndsay Doyle

Doyle published Strong and Free: Stories and Photos of Canadian Women in Sports from the popular #superROLEmodels (Friesen Press) project, not to highlight well-known athletes, but to focus on ordinary women who consider exercise an integral part of their lives.

“My goal was to simply show women in sport as role models for younger girls. To show them that they participate authentically in various functions in sport and to give them the recognition they deserve for their achievements and successes, ”Doyle writes in her book.

If a girl hasn’t played any sport by the age of 10, there is only a 10 percent chance that she will be physically active as an adult, Doyle said, citing these statistics from Canadian Women and Sport, an organization that is in the making dedicates an equitable Canadian sports system that empowers girls and women.

“When this collection gets into the hands of readers young and old, I hope they are reflected in these role models and feel the same as me. I hope they feel strong and skilled, ”writes Doyle, a professional photographer who raises her two athletic sons in Tantallon.

“I hope you feel inspired to keep moving and encourage others to move too. Like the women on these pages, I hope they will realize their endless skills and bright future regardless of age or background. I hope this book helps you find your thing. Or light a flame they thought had lost. I hope you see a future for yourself in sport and a community that supports you. Because you have to see it to be it. “

Doyle’s inspiration for her project came in 2018. When she watched the Winter Olympics on television, she noticed that the media covered both women’s and men’s events alike. She knew it usually wasn’t, so she dug a little deeper to find out how uneven the coverage usually was. She was shocked to discover that women’s sport accounts for three to five percent of mainstream media coverage.

Tammy Cunnington prepares for a swim at the Michener Aquatic Center in Red Deer, Alta.  - Lyndsay DoyleTammy Cunnington prepares for a swim at the Michener Aquatic Center in Red Deer, Alta. – Lyndsay Doyle

Doyle also discovered that youth participation in sports fell 22 percent, according to 2016 Canadian Women & Sport statistics. She saw a connection between the high drop-out rate of young girls in sport and the low media coverage of women’s sport.

Wanting to find more inspiring female athletes interested in photography, Doyle called on Facebook. She was overwhelmed with the answers. Due to time and budget constraints, she had to limit how far she could travel and how many athletes she could include in the book.

“It wasn’t uncommon for me to pack up my photography gear to work out on the lawn across town at 10 p.m. or at the gym at 5 a.m. to capture some of my subjects,” she writes.

Heather Lane trains on the battle ropes at Blended Athletics in Burnside, Dartmouth.  - Lyndsay DoyleHeather Lane trains on the battle ropes at Blended Athletics in Burnside, Dartmouth. – Lyndsay Doyle

In the book, readers meet women like Denise, a 50-year-old marathon runner in Dartmouth who runs with her daughters. Sabra, a 43-year-old highland dancer in Antigonish County who shares her knowledge with younger generations; Jordan, a 29-year-old Mi’kmaw athlete and active community leader; Brenda, a 20-year-old visually impaired skier, and Marion, a Halifax woman who was in her 80s still exercising every day and walking everywhere.

“She’s such a wonderful cheerleader,” said Doyle, an avid soccer player and runner. “She’s someone I look up to.”

In October it took Doyle 10.5 days to walk 273 km through PEI to promote her book and celebrate her 40th birthday. “I’m not a top athlete, so I wanted to show that everyone can do it when I can.”

To order Doyle’s book, visit:

the recluse

Jan L. Coates’ new book, The Hermit (Nimbus Publishing), follows 11-year-old Danny Marsden, who unexpectedly stumbles upon a scruffy man who lives alone deep in the forest behind Barnaby’s Brook one summer. Danny’s curiosity overwhelms him and he slowly becomes friends with the hermit.

Just as he discovers a hidden connection between himself and the old man, disaster strikes and other secrets are revealed that could help Danny save a soccer field in his community.

The hermit in the book is loosely based on a real man who came to be known as the Hermit of Gully Lake. Before his death, Willard Kitchener MacDonald lived as a hermit in a small, cave-like shelter in the woods of northern Nova Scotia for 60 years.

Fish and tails

Childhood friends Jim Prime and Ben Robicheau co-authored a book called Fish and Dicks: Cases Files by the Digby Neck and Islands Fish-Gutting Service and Detective Agency (Moose House Publications). The short stories in the book, illustrated by Catherine Prime, follow two fishermen, one from Freeport on Long Island and one from Westport on Brier Island, who decide to diversify and become old-style detectives. Despite a lack of training, they manage to solve a number of crimes in the Digby County area.

“We dedicate this book to the Long and Brier Islands, the people and the places because both are unique. They have shaped our lives in so many ways, giving us both a sense of community and a sense of humor. The islands will forever be home to both of us, ”write the authors.

Loose woman

Beth Kaplan’s new memoir, Loose Woman: My Odyssey by Lost to Found (Iguana Books), tells how she lived and worked for four months in an L’Arche community in Provence, France, and how that experience gave her Heart opened and her life changed. L’Arche, an international volunteer organization, runs homes, programs and support networks for people with intellectual disabilities. Kaplan writes that she returned to Canada as a different person and changed her life within a year.

Kaplan’s memoirs, who grew up in Halifax from 1950 to 1966, touch on growing up in the city, attending acting classes and her time on stage as a child actress. Her father, Gordin Kaplan, who taught Physiology and Biophysics at Dalhousie University, was an active member of the community and a key figure in the founding of Halifax High School.


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