Conrad Byers (“Con”) was a lifelong friend and distant relative who passed away in 2017 at the age of 74.
“We saw the End of an Era” Conrad told me during one of our many conversations about our experiences growing up in the town of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia in the 1940s and 50s.
Throughout our “grownup years” we shared a passion for the Parrsboro Shore and our common heritage there.
This website is dedicated to Con.
– Kerr Canning
|“Born February 14, 1943 in Parrsboro, Conrad was a son of the late Nema E. (Canning) and Walter R. Byers. During his time in Parrsboro High School, he was drum major for the Parrsboro Citizens Band and was involved in Sea Cadets through which he was selected to make a trip to Germany on a U.S. troop ship.After graduating from Nova Scotia Teachers College and Saint Mary’s University with concentrations in History and Spanish, Conrad taught junior and senior high school students in several schools.
Later Conrad operated Time Frame Photo on Main Street in Parrsboro for many years where he took, developed, tinted and framed pictures. He specialized in the preservation of heritage photos, as well as writing articles, giving talks, and publishing “Age of Sail Heritage Scrapbooks”, historical calendars and booklets relevant to the local area.
While attending Saint Mary’s University, Conrad did volunteer work one summer in a remote rural village in the mountains of Mexico. During another summer he studied Spanish in Spain. His subsequent extensive travels included South America, the Trans-Siberian Railway in the USSR, the U.S.A, the Philippines, Malaysia, the Middle East and the Far East.
In 2012, Conrad was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canada. Over the years Con has been named Citizen of The Year on more than one occasion.
Conrad was involved with a number of community projects and organizations such as Parrsboro Town Council, The Age of Sail Heritage Centre, Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, Handley Page Air Cadet Squadron (first Commanding Officer), Save the Band Hall project, Chignecto Park Committee, town, county and provincial tourist associations, and the Harbour Board.
Conrad played a significant part in the 1980s re-floating and towing of the Kipawo (the last Minas Basin ferry) to Parrsboro from a beach in Newfoundland and the subsequent establishment of The Ship’s Company Theatre.
The Parrsborough Historical Society’s Ottawa House Museum was a major passion with Conrad for many years and much of his work will live on in the exhibits and archives now being housed there.
Con had an enduring interest in the history of ships and the sea. He also built boats and sailed them and some years ago he obtained his coastal captain’s papers and served as master of the Avon Spirit (one of the last Nova Scotian sailing vessels to be launched) sailing out of Halifax and Inverness, Cape Breton.
Conrad was proud to be a part of this maritime tradition. In addition to history, he loved life, people, writing, poetry, story-telling, and dancing to the music of his favourite local band, the Wazoo Blues Band.