When Juanita McKenzie came home in 1998 to find two men in white environmental suits posting a sign that read “Human Health Hazard” behind her neighbor’s house, she knew that something was terribly wrong. For the people of Frederick Street in Sydney, Nova Scotia, the past was about to come crashing into the present. They were living next door to one of the worst toxic waste sites in North America.
Frederick Street: Life and Death on Canada’s Love Canalis the story of ordinary people like the McKenzies who are fighting not only the daily devastation of disease and early death from toxic exposure, but are also battling officially sanctioned destruction of the environment and their own fears about the death of their future — and their children’s future. It is also a meticulously researched story of how what was once a pristine body of water became a cesspool containing 700,000 tons of toxic sludge, a site 35 times worse than the infamous Love Canal. And it is a passionate indictment of public and private interests that ignored the increasingly dangerous signs of contamination.
Written by Maude Barlow, one of Canada’s most respected activists and bestselling authors, and Elizabeth May, a dedicated environmentalist and writer, Frederick Street is a story that will not go away, as it continues to play out through our national media.