Gary Long became a town crier in 1984. Originally the town crier for the Heart of the Valley, Middleton until 2012. Having moved from Middleton to Canning in 1988, Gary found that he was out of touch with things in Middleton, so he resigned and became the Canning Village Crier. He also represents the Apple Capital of Nova Scotia, Berwick.
During his many years as town crier, Gary and wife Sara have been involved in organizing 5 town crier competitions - 2 in Middleton (1988 & 2009), 1 in Halifax (1990), 1 in Summerside, Prince Edward Island (1989) and one that involved the whole Annapolis Valley (2017). They have participated in competitions all over Nova Scotia, Saint John and Fredericton (2 times) New Brunswick, Kingston Ontario, Kingsbridge (2 times), Dartmouth (2 times) and Honiton Devon England, Bermuda and Gent Belgium.
Gary and Sara have given town crier time to many worth-while causes such as Children's Wish Foundation, Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Special Olympics, Down Syndrome Society of Nova Scotia.
Gary also devotes time to researching the history of town criers, in particular chronicling the many deceased town criers throughout history around the world. This data base can be found at towncrierslastpost.com. And he administers a Face Book page for town criers worldwide. https://www.facebook.com/groups/6611849132/
Outside of the town crier world Gary has been involved in a number of endeavours including: community adult recreational hockey administration, Scouts Canada, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Annapolis Valley, training horses, teaching horse back riding, 10 years RCMP Citizens Patrol, 10 years RCMP Community Assistance, 3 years vice-chair Kings Crime Prevention Association, 10 years as a volunteer fire fighter, 3 years President Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival, 2 years chair Fieldwood Heritage Society, 2 years chair Community Association People Real Enterprise, 5 years Secretary Canning Area Business Development Association and Charter member, founding Member Nova Scotia Guild of Town Criers, founding Member of Association of Annapolis Valley Town Criers, Canning Area Food Bank worker, and 6 years Board member of the Merritt Gibson Memorial Library in Canning. Since 2014 Gary has also been the keeper of the light in the Canning Lighthouse, which is situated now where the Canning wharf was located in Canning's heyday.
Gary spent 10 years in the Canadian Armed Forces (starting at CFB Cornwallis, then CFE Lahr, CFB Borden, CFB Greenwood and CFB Calgary) and 30 years at the Waterville Michelin Tires plant. His travel bug started early, beginning at RAF Station North Luffenham then RCAF Station Rockcliffe, RCAF Station Moncton and RCAF Station Greenwood.
Hobbies that Gary is involved in include genealogy, Canning history (including trying to recreate the railway through Canning in Z scale), gardening, tending to a 152 year old house and travel. Their travel has taken them all across Canada, to Alaska, Los Angeles and Washington DC in the USA, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, England (7 times), Estonia, Finland, France (3 times), Germany (3 times), Gibralter, Greece, Hungary (2 times), Iceland, Ireland, Italy (2 times), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands (2 times), Poland, Portugal, Romania (3 times), Russia (2 times), Serbia, Spain (2 times), Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Vatican City, Wales.
It is said that retirement only makes a person busier. And for Gary and Sara, this is the case. Both are involved in volunteering in the community. Sara volunteers at one of the community hospitals and at the regional hospital; and is on the audit committee for the Village of Canning. Gary volunteers time in Canning by being on the board of the community library, which includes keeping the lawns mowed; assisting the local heritage group by ensuring that the historic lighthouse has a light burning in the window at all times; mowing the grass at the local hiking trail and recreation area; and Gary and Sara give a number of hours per week in the operation of the local food bank.
Although Gary has had many, many great experiences during his life, there are four events that stand out:
While serving in the military, Gary was sent to Montreal in 1976 to serve as one of the transport drivers at the Montreal Summer Olympics. During this tour, he met and had a conversation with the Princess Royal, Princess Anne.
During his time with the RCMP Community Assistance Program, in September 1998 he spent many hours assisting the families of the Swissair Flight 111 disaster. Also meeting family members during the summer of 1999 as they visited the Memorial sites. And also during the week of the 1 year anniversary of that event.
In September of 2017, he organized and co-hosted an international town crier competition involving 19 town criers from around the world in the Annapolis Valley.
In November of 2017 Gary was presented with the Senate of Canada 150 Medal by (now retired) Senator Kelvin Ogilvie, for service to his country and his dedication to and promotion of his community. There were only 1,500 of these medals produced, and less than 1,000 were presented.