In 2011 the old Tangier Deanery Centre suddenly came up for sale. It had previously served as a much loved summer youth camp for nearly 75 years. In order to save the property from private development, and keep it in community service a group of local residents, environmental educators and youth-serving organizations formed a non-profit cooperative and were able to purchase the land. The word “Deanery” was retained as part of the new name to acknowledge its history and “Project” was added to show it was a new entity.

The buildings had fallen into disrepair and many committed volunteers rallied in the days after the purchase to put a new roof on the Main Hall, and to upgrade many other aspects.

Once the roof was secure, twelve Dalhousie University Architecture students became the first group to hold a program at the Deanery Project.  In a huge burst of inspiration and energy they designed and built the Cob Oven Pavilion, earth-plastered several interior walls, built a compost centre and milk-painted the exterior of the building, all in the space of nine days!

In the months that followed the Atlantic Youth Leadership Conference, “Mentoring in the Outdoors” and “The Power of Girl” (a YWCA Conference) were held on the site. A partnership was formed with Eastern Shore Forest Watch to host their meetings and resource library; community visioning and music events also got underway. During February and March 2012 a very successful forest workshop series and Forest Festival were held in partnership with Department of Natural Resources.

An important piece of the history of the Deanery Project was a permaculture design workshop in March where core project members put down on paper graphically many of our long term goals.