Photo Feature: Faces From the Cape Breton Highlander

I’ve been going through old photos from the Cape Breton Highlander and decided to share some of them with you in this last Spectator issue of 2017.

Many of them are the work of photographer Ray Doucet. I asked John Campbell, who was the editor of the Highlander (and is my father) to write me something about Doucet and he obliged:

Ray Doucet (1935-2011) grew up in Membertou and took an early interest in photography, working first at Kelly’s Studio on Charlotte Street and later in Antigonish, before freelancing as the owner and sole employee of Raytel Photography.

His work began appearing in a wide range of media in the 1950s, including newspapers and magazines, and regularly in the Cape Breton Highlander. Ray and his camera were inseparable and the range of his work was almost unlimited and often pro bono, notably when related to religious events and organizations like the Knights of Columbus, of which he was a member.

He lived in Sydney much of his working life but always remained close to the Membertou community and was well known in the island’s other Indigenous communities. His photos in The Highlander contributed to the dynamic change begun in Membertou during Lawrence Paul’s time as chief in the 1960s.

Those Membertou photos will form the basis for a separate feature in the New Year. For now, I thought I’d just focus on group photos. The original plan was to identify the people in them, but time was short, and tracking down the photos in the actual papers proved too time consuming, so I’m going to ask for your help. If you see yourself or your grade primary teacher (I see mine) or a friend or a relative or a casual acquaintance in one of these photos, email me and I will include the information in the captions.

Featured image: Trampoline, YMCA Sydney, 1973.

Click on any of the images to enlarge them.


12th St. Joseph Brownie Troop. Thinking Day and Happy Birthday Party. February 1972.


Air Cadets, 1973


Cheerleaders. May 1973


Engineering training. Car plant executive and Charlie Campbell. 25 April 1967 (Raytel photo)

Engineering training. Car plant executive and Charlie Campbell. April 1967.


Primary teachers. 1973.


Open House, St. Joseph's, 1973.

Open House, St. Joseph’s, 1973.


Doris MacDonald School of Dance, ballet class, 1973.


Dressing Group of the Sydney Unit of the Canadian Cancer Society Annual Christmas Tea, December 1968.


Christiane Tanner class, June 1972.


Kids, 1972


Caledonia Peewees, 1966


“After a long, hot summer of good times and varied activities the children of Tupper Street tot-lot in Sydney bade farewell to summer vacation with a closing ceremony arranged by attendants Valerie Bobyk and Rose Forde who spared no effort to provide a fitting windup to a happy season. Ann Talbot was crowned Queen of the Tot-lot and Robert Corbett, King. From the left, seated in photo are Queen Ann Talbot and King Robert Corbett. Standing: Kimberley Sheppard, Loma Talbot, Eric Bobyk, Janice Corbett and Darlene Parris. (Raytel photo. The Highlander, 6 September 1967.)


Gib Whitney and relatives at his retirement party. May 1972.