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Mantua celebrates being halfway between equator, North Pole


Paul Saunders and West Hants Councillor Shirley Pineo shake on a job well done near Mantua’s newest roadside sign.

There’s a story behind Mantua’s newest road sign.

Paul Saunders, of Lower Burlington, has his doubts about two of the three signs in the province that tell motorists they are halfway between the equator and the North Pole.

But, he’s satisfied the sign in Mantua, which was placed in mid-January using a GPS, is dead on.

“I’ve always been interested in history, geography and legends of the area,” Saunders said, peering at the road sign he had installed along Avondale Road.

“I knew that the line was here and finally I decided to do something about it.”

Saunders mapped out the coordinates for the new sign about two years ago, then asked Shirley Pineo, a West Hants councillor, to see to it that a marker was put in place to recognize the significance of the area that is commonly known as the Lady Slipper Capital of the Maritimes.

“There’s increasingly more traffic on this highway and [I wanted] more people to know that it’s here,” Saunders said, adding that he gets a “warm feeling” whenever he sees the roadside sign his hard work inspired.

“Now they know.”

Pineo says the sign is one more attraction to add to the area that already boasts the Avon River Heritage Museum and renowned tidal bores.

“This is just another little something that [might make] tourists go, ‘Oh, that’s a nice little spot,’” Pineo said, noting that the municipality’s planning department verified Saunders’ claims using a GPS.

“I’m very pleased that a citizen came forward with the idea.”

The halfway point is designated by the 45th parallel north. There are also signs in place naming Falmouth and Stewiacke as midway points between the equator and the North Pole. 

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