Closing announcements begin before Fiona arrives

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As Nova Scotia prepares for the landfall of Hurricane Fiona, governments and organizations have begun announcing closures.

As of noon Friday, all provincial beaches, campgrounds and day use parks will be closed.

“Safety is our priority as we prepare for significant storms Friday night and Saturday,” Natural Resources and Renewable Energy Minister Tory Rushton said in a statement.

Parks will be assessed after the storm passes and will reopen when it is safe. Anyone with reservations at provincial parks will be contacted to provide refunds.

Parks Canada has announced that camping accommodations in Cape Breton Highlands National Park will be closed at noon Friday, and those who booked Sept. 23-25 ​​will be refunded.

The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site will be closed all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site will close at noon on Friday and will remain closed on Saturday, but is expected to reopen on Sunday.

WATCH | Nova Scotia officials provide update Thursday on storm preparations

Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site and Kejimkujik Seaside will be closed beginning at noon Friday. Anyone currently staying at the parks will be asked to leave and new visitors will not be allowed entry. People who have booked for the nights of September 23 to 26 will be contacted and refunded.

Shubenacadie Sam ventures out of his burrow to spot his shadow in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia on Saturday, February 2, 2013. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

The Shubenacadie Wildlife Park will also close at noon on Friday.

Park superintendent Devan Graham said most animals will be locked in their dens overnight, where they’ll be protected from the elements, and given extra food in case staff can’t arrive right away.

“They tend to like it in there,” Graham said. “With the amount of rain we’re getting, most will probably be indoors anyway if they weren’t locked in.”

Some species, such as kestrels, penguins and eagles, can be taken to the park’s health center, where there are no trees around that could pose a danger to their shelter.

As for Shubenacadie Sam, the park’s weather marmot, Graham said he would be safe.

“I guess he’ll be underground for this one,” he said.

Groundhogs sometimes enter their burrows for the winter at this time of year, so Sam may have already started hibernating, Graham said.

Transportation

WestJet suspended operations in Halifax from Friday evening to Sunday morning. Air Canada also warned of service disruptions in the area and asked travelers to check ahead.

Bay Ferries and Northumberland Ferries have canceled some sailings over the next few days.

The Cat high-speed ferry between Yarmouth, N.S., and Bar Harbor, Maine, will not operate Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

All MV Confederation and MV Saaremaa 1 Saturday sailings between Wood Islands, P.E.I. and Caribou, N.S., have been canceled, and scheduled Friday trips may also be disrupted.

MV Fundy Rose service between Saint John and Digby, NS on Saturday is cancelled.

Marine Atlantic has canceled several departures between North Sydney, N.S. and Argentia, NL, and Port aux Basques, NL, including:

  • North Sydney at Argentia Friday at 5:30 p.m. AT.
  • North Sydney to Port aux Basques on Friday at 11:15 p.m. AT.
  • Port aux Basques to North Sydney on Fridays at 11:45 p.m. AT.
  • Argentia at North Sydney Saturday at 5 p.m. AT.
  • North Sydney to Port aux Basques on Saturdays at 11:45 a.m. and 11:15 p.m. AT.
  • Port aux Basques to North Sydney on Saturdays at 11:45 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. AT.
  • North Sydney to Port aux Basques on Sunday at 11:45 a.m. AT.
  • Port aux Basques to North Sydney on Sunday at 11:45 AT.

Sports

Several Quebec Major Junior Hockey League games scheduled for the next few days will be postponed, including:

  • Moncton versus Cape Breton on Friday.
  • Charlottetown versus Halifax on Friday.
  • Halifax against Charlottetown on Saturday.
  • Acadie-Bathurst v. St. John Saturday.
  • Cape Breton against Moncton on Sunday.

The Halifax Wanderers home game scheduled for Saturday has been rescheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m. AT.

Cultural events

The Hants County Show, which includes events, livestock shows and a midway, was canceled this weekend in Windsor. Organizers hope to reschedule some elements of the weekend lineup, including the demolition derby and the beef show.

The Halifax Oyster Festival, which was due to take place on Friday and Saturday, has been postponed. The organizers are working to find new dates for the festival.

The shelves of a Halifax grocery store are cleared Thursday night ahead of Hurricane Fiona. (Anna MacQuarrie)

Education

St. Francis Xavier University announced that classes and labs will continue as scheduled on Friday, but the campus will close and buildings will be locked down starting at 6 p.m. It will stay that way until Sunday at noon.

Morrison Hall is the only exception.

Essential services — security, residences and facilities management — will be maintained.

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