River Bourgeois Community Services was formed in 1978. The purpose of this volunteer organization was to arrange financing and the construction of a new hall to replace the outdated parish hall which was in great need of repairs. Charter members of the registered society were Edwin Bona, Terry Boudreau, Mary Cosman, Louis Digout, Arthur Doary, Leda Konning, and George A. Landry. The building was completed in the same year by Leo Fougere and two years later Clifford Touesnard added an extension.
On March 19, 1991, under a special resolution, River Bourgeois Community Services became River Bourgeois Community Services Society (RBCSS). A new Memorandum of Association and By-Laws replaced those of 1978 and both were updated again on March 25, 2009. In early 2012 the Society Policies & Agreements were updated & approved along with job descriptions for all positions on the board.
The RBCSS is a registered non-profit organization. Its mandate is “to provide facilities, programs and services for the benefit of all members of the River Bourgeois community including recreational, cultural, social and educational activities, as well as carry out fund-raising for projects to meet such objects”. (quoted from Memorandum of Association, 2009)
The original objective of this organization i.e. the new community hall continues to be a great asset to our community. The hall was renamed the Tara Lynne Community Centre in 1995 after Tara Lynne Touesnard. Tara Lynne, a member of the community, was a violinist who performed at many of our local concerts and was well known for her dedication to music and the community. She died in a motor vehicle accident in April 1994 at the age of 21. Over the years the hall has been expanded (in 1980 & 1998) and renovated. During 2002 a spacious (20’ x 60’) outdoor deck was added. In 2003 an alarm system was installed in the hall along with new lightweight tables. In 2009 the furnace, hot water heater and deep freeze were replaced. In 2010 the hall sound system was replaced in addition to new chairs for the main floor of the hall and an industrial food warmer being purchased. A major renovation of the kitchen was completed in the spring of 2011 along with the entire hall roof, power saving indoor lights & the riding lawnmower replaced in the summer/fall of 2011. Our community hall is an Emergency Measures Resource Centre and a potential evacuation site for the Richmond Villa should the need arise in an emergency to provide shelter, heat and water to residents.
Over the years RBCSS has expanded to provide many services to River Bourgeois. Besides the Tara Lynne Community Centre its volunteers have been responsible for the River Bourgeois Visitation Parlour, Seniors 50+ Club building, Edwin Bona Ball Field, Tennis Courts, River Bourgeois Technology & Training Centre, Cenotaph and Veterans Memorial Wall and the reconstruction of River Bourgeois Lighthouse.
The River Bourgeois Visitation Parlour was built in 1989. Previous to its construction, “Visitations” for the deceased were held in the vestry of the local church. Community pledges, volunteer labour and fundraising activities helped fund this project which has greatly benefited the area. The roof was replaced by volunteers in 2009. A large portion of the carpeting was replaced early in 2012 along with the interior paint & baseboards being updated. In 2016, the Visitation Parlour had new carpeting installed through out, new draperies and in the family room, new furniture.
The River Bourgeois Seniors 50+ Club was formed on March 25, 1993 with Bob Pettigrew as President. The seniors organization leased the vacant building which had originally been built as a community museum and renovated it into a cozy clubhouse. Members attend regular monthly meetings, hold weekly card games, mini bingo’s once a month, and gather for other social events throughout the year. River Bourgeois Seniors 50+ Club continues to lease this building from RBCSS.
Edwin Bona initiated and brought to reality the community ball field project. The first ballgame was held in September 1985. The ball field was renamed the Edwin Bona Community Ball Field on July 16, 1988. A lob ball tournament is held during the River Bourgeois Annual Festival each year and was organized for many years by Edwin’s son, Brian.
The Tennis Courts were built in 1987. The courts are open for use from early spring to late fall. The Playground area has had many additions over the years, the most recent being the addition of the gazebo. Volunteers from the community also repainted and repaired the play equipment that had been donated to the hall when the local elementary school closed. A fully fenced ground hockey court was added in 2002/2003.
The River Bourgeois Technology & Training Centre (RBTTC) officially opened in October 2000 in the basement of our hall under the direction of Sherry Baccardax & Glenda Sampson and as a division for RBCSS. In 2008 River Bourgeois Technology & Training Centre became its own entity. The CAP site provides affordable access to technology for all community members. The River Round Up, a local newsletter is a very successfully special project of the CAP site that has been published since September 2000. During this time it has been published under the dedicated leadership of volunteer editors Sharon Digout and Sharon Chilvers. Unfortunately due to government cutbacks, a marked decrease in utilization of the site over the past four years and the increased presence of alternates, the RBTTC board unanimously has decided to close to the public as of September 28th, 2012.
August 2003 was the opening of our new lighthouse (a replica of the original which was built 100 years ago in 1903). It is back to being a guide for boats entering or exiting our harbor. The River Bourgeois Lighthouse is a significant part of the heritage and history of River Bourgeois. It was destroyed by fire in the spring of 1990 and rebuilt though the efforts of the community after purchasing the land from government officials.
In 1954 “The River Round Up” was re-activated by Marie Boyd and continued by Peter Digout and Stanley McPhee as a means of raising funds to construct a memorial to commemorate their legacy “(i.e. the War Veterans). Located in the center of our community, overlooking the picturesque waters of River Bourgeois it is a reminder to all who pass of the courageous sacrifice made by the men of our community . . .” In 2008/2009 our Cenotaph was updated and a new Veterans Memorial Wall with plaques to commemorate all veterans of World War I, World War II, Korean War, Persian Gulf, Peacekeeping & Afghanistan was constructed. The re-dedication service was held on August 29, 2009. This site is in the center of the community along Highway #4.
To all the community members that have served on the various boards or have provided manual labour and advice in these accomplishments, the community is extremely grateful. We also want to recognize the funding made available for these many projects from Richmond County Council, as well as the provincial and federal granting agencies.
R.B.C.S.S. also provides two $500 Tara Lynne Touesnard Bursaries awarded annually in June of each year and paid out in October upon confirmation of post secondary enrollment. See the bursary policy & high school web sites for information.
RBCSS sponsors a foster child through World Vision monthly.
These RBCSS activities are funded by various fundraising events such as a weekly bingo, concerts, and hall rentals but most of the annual budget is derived from the annual River Bourgeois Festival Days. The festival runs for ten days and has been held on the Labor Day weekend for the past 30 years. See fundraising policy for more information.
To donate to RBCSS send a cheque payable to River Bourgeois Community Services Society. Mailing address:
PO Box 56
River Bourgeois, NS