SYDNEY, N.S. -- A certain celebrity may be thinking about learning to survive -- the Cape Breton way.
Officials with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality confirmed Tuesday that Richard Hatch, winner of the first CBS Survivor show, was at the municipal land sale at Centre 200 on Saturday.
Hatch, of Newport, R.I., bought 17 pieces of land for a total of $13,800. They included a commercial lot, and 16 residential building lots in places such as Sydney Mines, Donkin, Sydney, Glace Bay and New Waterford.
Blair Brewer, manager of financial services for the municipality, was at the event.
He said when he first saw Hatch he thought he looked familiar. Then he realized who he was.
Brewer said there were about 100 people at Saturday’s sale, and a number of them recognized Hatch.
“I only talked to him briefly about a piece of land, but there were quite a few people who did get to talk to him. Some had pictures taken with him; others got autographs. He is a very personable person.”
Hatch, a corporate trainer, was 39 when he won $1 million on Survivor two years ago by outlasting 15 other contestants on the island of Pulau Tiga in the South China Sea.
When the series aired in the summer of 2000, it was a runaway hit. The winner’s identity was kept a closely guarded secret until the final episode.
Brewer said he has no idea why Hatch was buying Cape Breton property, but he did overhear him comment, “This is a lovely area.”
Most properties, some of them small or landlocked, went at low prices, Brewer said. The most expensive sold for about $6,000.
Brewer said he was told Hatch also sent a representative to the municipality’s last tax sale, a couple of months ago.
Shaun Kennedy Dieltgens, 10, who was also at Saturday’s auction, said it was exciting to meet Hatch.
“I said ‘hi’ to him, and he said ‘hi’ back and shook my hand.”
Shaun said Hatch looks smaller in person than he did on television, and has definitely lost weight. “He is a really nice person,” he said.
Gary Moore, manager of the Delta Sydney, confirmed Hatch stayed at the Delta and left on Sunday.