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On our cover Immigration lawyer Lee Cohen reflects on how Nova Scotia’s attitude towards newcomers is evolving. Photo: Bruce Murray/VisionFire

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CONTENTS

PHOTO: TAMMY FANCY

Vol. 18 No. 3 | April 2018

PHOTO: GBVCB

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7 | EDITOR’S MESSAGE Nova Scotians deserve reliable power service, and they won’t get it until government steps up

18 | A TALE OF TWO COMMONS Comparing how Halifax and Boston treat their iconic green spaces 20 | JUSTICE FOR EARTH DAY You can’t have a sustainable society without a just society, and it takes more than one green day

8 | CONTRIBUTORS Meet the writers and photographers who work on Halifax Magazine 9 | CITYSCAPE What it’s like to take part in community theatre, the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, and more 26 | DINING: DIFFERENT BUT THE SAME The philosophy behind the dishes never changes, but diners never know quite what to expect from Eliot & Vine 28 | DRINKS: NEW BREWS FOR SPRING With warmer weather comes a yearning to drink beer outside. Here are some new offerings worth donning a sweater 30 | OPINION: “HIS SOUL WAS MADE TO CARE” Remembering Wray Elias Hart

PHOTO: BRUCE MURRAY/VISIONFIRE

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READERSHIP SURVEY

14 | MAKING NOVA SCOTIA BETTER FOR NEWCOMERS Lee Cohen reflects on three decades of helping people start new lives in Canada

24 | MAD AND PROUD The mad pride movement comes to Halifax, reclaiming a hurtful label and shedding stigma

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21 | SPOILING A SPECIAL PLACE The Eagle’s Nest is a natural treasure, and a handful of people are wrecking it

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EDITOR’S MESSAGE

Power to the people Most people hold Nova Scotia Power to a pretty low standard, as essential services go. Several times a year, sometimes in rough correlation with the weather and sometimes for no discernible reason, thousands of Nova Scotians lose electrical service. And these aren’t brief outages: blackouts that used to last an hour or two now last much longer. (I endured three blackouts of 12+ hours this winter, and I wasn’t alone). As if shivering in the dark isn’t enough fun, Nova Scotians get the added bonus of never knowing how long these outages will last. During a storm in March, my power went out at 7 p.m. The outage update line assured me that I could find up-to-date information on Nova Scotia Power’s online map. That map made the amazing prediction that power would be restored at exactly the same time all over the province: 11:30 a.m. the next day. The next morning, my outage disappeared from the map, even though the juice still wasn’t flowing. After a while, it reappeared, with a new restoration time of 11:30 p.m. In a final twist, power returned around 1 p.m. Yes, it’s lovely they had it done “early” (using the term in its loosest possible sense), but it illustrates how meaningless the restoration estimates actually are. I share this story not because it’s exceptional, but because just about everyone I know has many similar stories. And it makes me wonder how much we can trust the other information we get from Nova Scotia Power. According to Hydro Quebec’s annual rates survey, we pay among the highest power rates in Canada. And for that, we get some of the country’s least-reliable service. Nova Scotia Power and its defenders will tell you these outages are unavoidable. If you live on the North Atlantic, you have to expect this sort of thing. Weather is erratic. Salt damages equipment. Neither phenomenon is unique to our province. Yet all around the North Atlantic, utilities have better reliability records. If you don’t believe that, ask anyone who lives in the U.K., Norway, Iceland, New England, etc. how many power outages they have and how long they last. In your heart, I bet you already know how Nova Scotia compares. I’m not an expert on power-grid maintenance, so I don’t know what specifically Nova Scotia Power must do to solve it. But Nova Scotia Power has experts, and I bet they can figure it

out if they apply themselves. Right now, Nova Scotia Power seems disinclined to change the situation. We hear little about preventative maintenance to forestall power failures or any long-term strategy to improve reliability. Instead, we hear a lot about how hard line crews work (as if anyone disputes that) and how lucky we are that outages aren’t longer. There’s no motivation for Nova Scotia Power to change anything, because it keeps raking in profits. The solution has to come from Stephen McNeil and the provincial government. Service will get better when Nova Scotia Power faces real penalties for its failure. A hit in the revenue stream is the best way to convince any profitdriven company to change. Until then, we’ll keep having to expect power outages whenever there’s a strong wind, and wonder if the next failure will be the one that lasts for days instead of hours.

PHOTO: TAMMY FANCY

BY TREVOR J. ADAMS

tadams@metroguide.ca  Halifax Magazine @HalifaxEditor @HalifaxMagazine

Dark as Keji. The colour is dark like winter, but the flavour is bright like spring.

APRIL 2018 halifaxmag.com | 7


CONTRIBUTORS CHRIS BENJAMIN “Justice for Earth Day” A freelance journalist and editor, Benjamin is the author of three awardwinning fiction and nonfiction books plus short stories published in journals and anthologies across Canada. He is managing editor of Atlantic Books Today.

HEATHER WHITE “A tale of two commons” A Halifax journalist, Heather has also lived in Toronto, London, England, and Melbourne, Australia, helping to provide perspective on her hometown’s distinctive offerings.

JON PEIRCE Cityscape Jon is a Dartmouth-based freelance journalist, actor, and playwright. His essays, reviews, and op-eds have appeared in numerous publications. As an actor, he has appeared at all three Metro-area community theatres (Bedford Players, Dartmouth Players, and TAG), his most recent appearance having been as Mr. Kemp in Isabella at Bedford Players.

PHIL MOSCOVITCH “Mad and proud” Philip is a regular contributor to Halifax Magazine, East Coast Living, and Saltscapes. His story on smalltown wrestling for The Walrus was nominated for a National Magazine Award.

RICHARD WOODBURY “Making Nova Scotia better for newcomers,” “Different but the same” Richard writes for both local and national publications and his work has been published by Reuters, Metro, and Enterprise Magazine. richardwoodbury.ca

SUZANNE RENT Cityscape Suzanne is an editor and writer whose work has appeared in The Coast, Lawyers Weekly, Canadian Business, Globe and Mail, Bakers Journal, Our Children, and more. She hosts the radio show Cobequid Magazine on 97.5 Community Radio.

TAMMY FANCY Photos for Cityscape Tammy has shot for East Coast Living, Bedford Magazine, Profiles for Success, and Our Children magazines, plus two cookbooks from Formac Publishing. fancyfreefoto.com

BRUCE MURRAY Photos for “Making Nova Scotia better for newcomers” Bruce has been creating food and lifestyle photography for over 20 years in the Maritimes and in his original studio in Vancouver. visionfire.ca

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CITYSCAPE PUBLIC GARDENS

Celebrating the heart of Halifax BY SUZANNE RENT

Suellen Murray often walked through the Halifax Public Gardens on her way to work. During one walk, the lawyer, researcher, and author saw a blue heron sitting on an island in the garden’s pond. “She took a photo of it so everyone would know she was telling the truth,” says Janet Murray, Suellen’s mother. Suellen died from a brain tumour in 2014. Her parents, Janet and Jock Murray, created the Suellen Murray Educational Bursary to honour her memory and support projects that would recognize the importance of the gardens.

The Murrays, along with a sub-committee comprised of members of the Friend of the Public Gardens, choose the project each year. In 2017, the bursary was awarded to Claire Halstead, a social and cultural historian. She first discovered the Public Gardens in 2008 when she was visiting her partner, who is from Halifax. “I always went to the gardens and loved it, of course,” Halstead says. “As a social and cultural historian, I like to hear what people say about the past. Fortunately, I am never short of ideas.” Halstead’s project is called 150 Years as the Heart of Halifax: A Study on Public Engagement and the Halifax Public Gardens. Halstead completed historical research looking at how the gardens have been used for the past 150 years. “That’s different than a history of the gardens,” she says. “It’s how it’s connected to the people of Halifax.” Besides archival research on the gardens, the project included a public engagement piece where people could share their stories of the gardens. Halstead strung simple, old-fashioned clotheslines in Horticultural Hall. Guests wrote their stories of the gardens on pieces of paper and clipped them to the clothesline with wooden pegs. Like Suellen, many others had stories of the gardens, too. A little girl wrote about

how an eagle stole her popcorn. One woman wrote how she parted from her ex-husband for the final time at the garden’s main gate, and walked through the gardens as a calming start to a new life. There were countless stories of proms, wedding celebrations, or even enjoying ice-cream on a summer day. “We can see the legacy of the gardens, how it was used, and how it’s still used to today,” Halstead says. “I think [the project] really does illustrate that people want to share their stories and want to be heard. I tried to make sure to do Suellen’s memory proud.” Janet says she hopes the bursary reminds people about the importance of the gardens to Haligonians and others. “I think we have to understand that this is important to the city,” Janet says. “Building is important, construction is important. Bringing cruise ships to the city is important. But in the heart of Halifax, we have something that is precious to the people of Halifax and our children and their children, but also to the people just passing through.” That blue heron Suellen spotted years ago now returns to the gardens every year. Janet and Jock have taken photos of it and Jock created an oil painting of the bird, which now hangs in Horticultural Hall. The heron is also on the logo for the bursary. That heron has become a symbol of Suellen’s connection to the gardens. “I think Suellen would love the project,” Janet says. “The gardens were the heart of Halifax for her, too.”

tadams@metroguide.ca  Halifax Magazine @HalifaxEditor @HalifaxMagazine

APRIL 2018 halifaxmag.com | 9


CITYSCAPE OPINION

Experiencing the Halifax Explosion anew: a local actor reflects on a unique role BY JON PEIRCE

Acting in Karen Waterfield’s Isabella, Jon Peirce finds a new perspective on one of the best known chapters in Halifax’s history.

My initial response to the Bedford Players audition notice for Isabella, local author Karen Waterfield’s play about the Halifax Explosion, was less than enthusiastic. Was there really anything new to say about the calamity? At the last minute, I decided to audition. I do always enjoy being on stage, and as one starting to write biographical plays myself, I figured I would learn something useful from being a part of this venture. And I liked the idea of the playwright directing her own play. Who better to show what was meant by a certain speech or gesture than the playwright herself? By the time I’d been cast as Mr. Kemp, a kindly, avuncular retired chap, and had attended a few rehearsals, I sensed there was something quite special about this Explosion play. Karen told the now-familiar story through the prism of a single, extraordinarily compelling (and exceptionally gutsy) female character, Isabella Sudds, who at the opening curtain has just recently arrived in Halifax from her native Scotland. Secondly, by starting in 1914, Isabella offers a good look at the social history of early 20th century Halifax, and an equally good look at the effects of the First World War and the Explosion itself. As Karen said in a post-production interview, “It was important to me to show that Isabella’s was not the only story to be told. I wanted her to be part of a neighbourhood that was affected in a variety of ways.” Pivotal to the play was the direct involvement of the Sudds family, Isabella’s descendants. Karen was, as she said in the interview, initially inspired to write the play through conversations with the late Keith

10 | halifaxmag.com APRIL 2018

Sudds, Isabella’s grandson and a co-worker at Bell Aliant, where she was then employed. The two initially met over after-work drinks. “I met Sudds over the suds!” she quipped. They would begin to talk about Isabella only after Karen had induced Keith to start working at Bedford Players, where she was already heavily involved. “I think my grandmother’s story would make a great play!” she recalls Keith saying. Their frequent conversations about her provided much of the material used in the play. Later, Keith’s extended family would become involved, undertaking a good deal of research and sending Keith factual information about Isabella’s life, as well as some possible

explanations as to how Isabella met Herbert Sudds (her second husband). The family’s involvement continued right up to the actual performance run. Many Sudds family members attended on opening night. Knowing that family members would be seeing the play made Karen feel an obligation to keep the characters recognizable, particularly to those family members. But this would also facilitate her work as director. “Knowing the person a particular character represented made it easier to see how he or she would act in a given situation.” Having grown up in Halifax’s North End, the playwright was in a position to place the Explosion’s effects in the broader context of


THE PITCH

the city’s social and cultural history. As she noted in the interview, “The story of the Explosion was entrenched in the neighbourhood. The wall around the playground at my school was made from stone damaged in the explosion. Fort Needham was our playground.” Many of us in the cast would come to know that neighbourhood ourselves by walking through it on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in October, with Karen as our tour guide. A distinctive feature of Isabella is its sizable number of “crowd scenes,” with a large number of people on stage together. Often what is most important about these scenes, which Karen wanted because they link the world of the play to the larger community, is what people do and say when they don’t have formal lines to deliver. My personal favourite, and one that we worked extra hard on, is the “wake scene” late in the first act. Set in Isabella’s home, the scene depicts a wake held for her first husband, Roy, recently killed in action at Passchendaele. In attendance are many close family friends. I (as Mr. Kemp) am there, along with my son Lawrence and wife Charlotte. The scene focused on the tension between community members and Mrs. Meek, Roy’s mother, who is unable to accept her son’s death and takes out her rage and frustration on her daughter-in-law Isabella. Slowly, painstakingly, through such means as private chattering and suggestive facial gestures, Karen showed us how to create common community moods, from gentle humour as we remember Roy and some of the things he did to collective outrage as we witness Mrs. Meek’s bullying of Isabella. Building the scene entailed numerous, sometimes minute changes in entrances, exits, and seating arrangements, and in the props some of us carried. In the end, the effect was very much that of a classic realist painting, in which the numerous precise details all contribute to the larger overall effect. Working together to create that larger common effect helps build a camaraderie within the cast, even greater than what I’ve experienced in the comedies I’ve acted in. Even very experienced actors sometimes tend to overlook what their characters are doing when they have no lines to deliver. By inviting us all to take a closer look at the subtle, non-verbal world beneath the surface of the script, Karen Waterfield has added depth and texture to Isabella’s poignant story and has also taught me, for one, valuable lessons about how to create a scene without the use of words—lessons I’m sure will prove valuable to me in my subsequent acting ventures.

Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia

In this space, Halifax Magazine invites local non-profit organizations to share what they do, and how readers can help. If you know an organization that would like to share its story, email the editor: tadams@metroguide.ca. The Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia works to improve the quality of life for people affected by schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar, and related mental disorders. SSNS does this through education, support programs, influencing public policy, and encouraging research. SSNS supports healthy minds, bodies, communities, and lives. SSNS is a registered charity and every year, raising funds through events and grant writing to ensure we continue our work in communities across the province. Recovery happens in community. SSNS offers peer support to both the person and to family, friends, colleagues through support and education/ discussion groups and one to one for people and supporters. “Peer support” refers to people using their experience with mental health to inspire others in similar situations and offer social and emotional support. Peer support is grounded in hope, empowerment, and recovery. Peer support is based on relationships in which each person is considered equal within the relationship and self-determination is highly respected. SSNS offers a safe affordable housing opportunity to people looking towards recovery and in recovery. SSNS helps people navigate to find the right services, at the right time, access to care and treatment, support, education and resources. Due to chronic under-funding, SSNS looks for creative ways to grow, enabling us to have the greatest impact for the people and families we serve in Nova Scotia. Early intervention is key and that requires education: know the signs and symptoms. Learn more at ssns.ca. tadams@metroguide.ca  Halifax Magazine @HalifaxEditor @HalifaxMagazine

APRIL 2018 halifaxmag.com | 11


CITYSCENE

CREATED BY JARED KEESO, BEST KNOWN FOR HIS WORK ON THE COP DRAMA 19-2, THE CRAVE SERIES LETTERKENNY TELLS THE TALE OF RURAL ONTARIO SLACKERS WHO LIKE HOCKEY, DRINKING, AND FIGHTING. CRASS AND HILARIOUS, IT’S QUICKLY BECOME A CULT FAVOURITE. PHOTOGRAPHER TAMMY FANCY WAS THERE WHEN LETTERKENNY LIVE VISITED HALIFAX.

Jared Keeso (Wayne).

K. Trevor Wilson (Squirrely Dan).

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LETTERKENNY LIVE

Nathan Dales (Daryl).

Dinner’s on us! Enjoy a delicious meal featuring seasonal local ingredients at The Wooden Monkey, courtesy of Halifax Magazine. Enter now for your chance to win. Enter at halifaxmag.com | Contest closes April 30, 2018

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ENTERTAINMENT The hottest things to see and do in Halifax this spring

APRIL 5 TO 21

Theatre Arts Guild Bill vanGorder directs the poignant story of a Jewish family’s struggle to survive in Nazi-occupied Europe. See it at the Pond Playhouse in Jollimore (just off Purcell’s Cove Road). tagtheatre.com

APRIL 13

Stars Want to feel old? Stars formed 18 years ago. But the good news is that the indie-pop sensations are fresher than ever. When they take the stage at the Marquee Ballroom on Gottingen Street, you’ll hear lots from their new album There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light. sonicconcerts.com

APRIL 26 TO 28

Live Art Dance Wrapping up its 35th season, Live Art features a world premiere of new work from award-winning choreographer Heidi Strauss (one of Toronto’s most prolific and successful creators), performed by Mocean Dance. See it at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue. liveartdance.ca

Jean Paul

APRIL 25 TO 28

Halifax Comedy Fest Stand-up comedians from around the world alongside local talents. This year’s lineup includes Tom Papa, Kabir Singh, Greg Proops, Nikki Payne, Martha Chaves, Jean Paul, Jenn Labelle, and many more. Various venues host. halifaxcomedyfest.ca

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir

APRIL 27 APRIL 28

Harlem Globetrotters The “clown princes of basketball” return to Scotiabank Centre for a display of ball handling-wizardry, hoops artistry, and oneof-a-kind family entertainment. Tip: never bet on the other team. ticketatlantic.com

Stars on Ice At this year’s edition of the annual figure-skating showcase, Olympic heroes abound, including PyeongChang medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Patrick Chan, Eric Radford and Megan Duhamel, and Atlantic Canada’s own Katelyn Osmond. See them at Scotiabank Centre. ticketatlantic.com APRIL 2018 halifaxmag.com | 13


| COVER STORY |

WHY LEE COHEN SAYS TEA AND CAKE ARE IMPORTANT FOR ATTRACTING MORE PEOPLE TO THE PROVINCE

14 | halifaxmag.com APRIL 2018


MAKING NOVA SCOTIA BETTER FOR NEWCOMERS As Nova Scotians prepared to welcome Syrian refugees in late 2015, the Bayers Lake building that formerly housed a Rona was set up as a donation space to provide refugees with things like clothing, toiletries and furniture. Organizers shut it down less than a month later because they received more supplies than needed. “You wouldn’t have seen that 20 years ago,” says immigration lawyer Lee Cohen. While Cohen is the face of immigration law in Nova Scotia, that wasn’t always his practice area. After getting his law degree from Dalhousie in 1980, he began doing criminal and family law, but didn’t love it. Things changed in July 1987 when a boatload of Indian refugees (173 Sikh men and a woman) landed in Shelburne County. The World Sikh Organization hired a Toronto lawyer to act as counsel for the refugees. The situation intrigued Cohen, so he contacted the lawyer to volunteer his services, even though he didn’t have any immigration-law experience. After some persistence, the Toronto lawyer agreed to let Cohen come on board. After a few days, the lawyer went back to Toronto because he had a practice to manage. The refugees became Cohen’s clients. The anger some Nova Scotians had for them appalled him. As global media descended on Nova Scotia, Cohen would often do scrums outside. “It was very, very ugly what was happening,” he says. “A lot of people driving by and walking by would say very horrible things about my brown clients and were saying very horrible things about me, anti-Semitic stuff. I was just blown away by how racist the whole thing was.”

BY RICHARD WOODBURY PHOTOS BY BRUCE MURRAY/VISIONFIRE STUDIOS

APRIL 2018 halifaxmag.com | 15


| COVER STORY |

Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab.

Aseel Ali, volunteer-program co-ordinator with ISANS.

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The sanitized version of what people were saying to the refugees was: go home. People said the same thing to Cohen, who’s originally from New Brunswick. Cohen brought on lawyers he knew and articling students to help out. Eventually, the 174 refugees were able to stay in Canada. Attitudes toward immigration have changed in Nova Scotia since then. In late December, the province released data from Corporate Research Associates that found 85% of Nova Scotians surveyed believed immigration is good for the province. One year before, the number was 36%. Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab says she was “jumping for joy” after she found out about the results. “This is a huge step forward and it’s one that we really need to celebrate and talk about,” she says.

“IT WAS VERY, VERY UGLY WHAT WAS HAPPENING. A LOT OF PEOPLE DRIVING BY AND WALKING BY WOULD SAY VERY HORRIBLE THINGS...I WAS JUST BLOWN AWAY BY HOW RACIST THE WHOLE THING WAS.” —LEE COHEN

A huge step maybe, but not the last step. “I think it would be wrong for me to say it’s not better, [but] it would also be wrong for me to say it’s good,” Cohen says. Nova Scotia is more multicultural today; people realize that people from different cultures share their aspirations: having a roof over their heads, a bed to sleep in, food to eat, job opportunities and a good education for their kids. But he sees how hard those people have to fight for their share of the Canadian dream. As Cohen built his legal practice, he worked in his West End Halifax home. This reduced his overhead so he could discount fees. He says clients have paid him in food countless times. Before he moved to an off-site office, Cohen would often find bags hanging on his front door filled with foods such as samosas and pakoras. Cohen says there’s a simple thing Nova Scotians can do to make our province more welcoming to newcomers. “I have heard this refrain over and over for 30 years: Canadians are very friendly when we bump into people on the street we’ve met before … but they would say, ‘I can’t get into anybody’s home. I’m never

invited in for a tea and some cake,’” says Cohen. The symbolism of Cohen meeting in his home with clients meant a great deal to them. Aseel Ali came to Halifax in March 2014 as a refugee from Syria with her parents and sister. She loves living here but would like to see businesses be more open to hiring immigrants. “Don’t look to the language,” she says. “Don’t look to the accent. They will absolutely do a great job.” When Ali came to Nova Scotia, she only spoke Arabic. Today, she speaks fluent English and works as the volunteer-program co-ordinator for the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). Ali says when you’re an immigrant and don’t speak the language, every day is a challenge. “It’s really hard,” she says. “You have to deal with it everyday without demanding an interpreter or any support. You have to work hard to … go shopping, to live, to communicate with people.” Since taking office in late 2015, the federal Liberals have introduced policy changes that have made Canada more pro-immigration, but there’s a lot of work left. “There have been some legislative changes that have been important, but not very many,” says Cohen, pointing to policy changes on cohabitation requirements when sponsoring a spouse and the age of dependent children. In November, the federal government announced it was increasing immigration targets for the next three years, from 310,000 in 2018 to 340,000 in 2020. This is up from 2017’s goal of 300,000. However, these numbers are still far short of the goal of 450,000 established in 2016 by the Liberals’ own economic-advisory council. Cohen says if people want to see increased immigration, they ’re going to have to demand it from politicians. He says when voters get angry enough, politicians will change their attitudes. Asked about policy changes the province would like to see the federal government make, Metlege Diab declined comment. “All I can say is that we’re pleased now the federal government is increasing the immigration levels for the coming year,” she says. “They are taking a new approach. It’s a three-year plan, which is a good thing because it allows us some flexibility and some time to sort of develop a plan and it’s not a let’s wait every year to see what we’re going to do. We will continue to keep working with the federal government to keep growing our Nova Scotia population. That is our number-one aim.”

tadams@metroguide.ca  Halifax Magazine @HalifaxEditor @HalifaxMagazine

APRIL 2018 halifaxmag.com | 17


| FEATURE |

PHOTOS: GBVCB

While development has nibbled away Halifax Common over the years, Boston Common’s size has been strictly protected.

A TALE OF TWO COMMONS COMPARING HOW HALIFAX AND BOSTON TREAT THEIR ICONIC GREEN SPACES BY HEATHER WHITE The American Revolution aside, Halifax and Boston have more in common than not. Over the years Boston has become home to thousands of expatriate Haligonians, people who migrated south to find work (including James Ernest McLaughlin, who designed Fenway Park). Both cities pride themselves on rich history, university population, lively arts scenes, East Coast charm, and seafood in general (lobster rolls in particular). And both the Halifax Common and the Boston Common are the oldest urban parks in their respective countries. Both commons in part initially encompassed swamp-like areas and were pastures for grazing farm animals. Then they became grounds where military regiments set up camp. Today, both host gatherings of all sorts: concerts, sports, and festivals. But there are big differences. Halifax’s common originally sprawled across about 100 hectares and is now 12 hectares. Early on, Boston put a fence around its common and retained its 20 hectares as a singular space. Officials wrote a commitment to protect the land from sale or encroachment into the city charter of 1822. Boston’s Friends of the Public Garden maintain its common (the Public Garden being adjacent to the Common), in collaboration with 18 | halifaxmag.com APRIL 2018

Boston Parks and Recreation. HRM manages the Halifax Common. “The Friends of the Halifax Common is an advocacy group with no official status,” says former HRM councillor, MLA and lawyer Howard Epstein, a long-standing member of the group. “We do have a decent working relationship with the municipality, however.” While Halifax has cultural festivals and concerts on its common, Boston’s is a hub for public assembly and free speech. In 1634, the town of Boston bought 20 hectares from the land’s first European owner. Townsfolk used it as a cow pasture; householders paid tax accordingly. With limits imposed on how many could graze at one time, cows foraged there for two centuries; a municipal order banished the bovines in 1830. Workers planted trees and levelled the ground, replacing a rustic post and rail fence with an iron fence. Like the Halifax Common, Boston Common sometimes saw military use. British forces camped there before the American Revolution and, up until 1817, the site hosted public hangings, most of which were from a large oak (until they built a gallows in 1769). The Boston Bread Riot of 1713 began on the Common. Charles Lindbergh held court there to promote commercial aviation. There were

civil-rights and anti-war rallies. Pope John Paul II held Mass. On January 21, 2017, approximately 175,000 people met at the Common to demonstrate against new president Donald Trump. Last August approximately 40,000 people gathered to protest white supremacy and hate speech. The Boston Common was declared a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1987. Halifax Common also began as an agricultural site. In 1763 King George III granted about 100 hectares of common land “for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax forever.” A rocky, lightly forested, swampy area, it was designated to provide pasture for horses and livestock that belonged to the military garrison and Halifax citizens, create an area in which regiments stationed in or in transit through Halifax could encamp, and provide clear lines of fire for the Citadel garrison, so enemy forces would have no cover if they attacked the fort. However, as early as 1871, Halifax City Council authorized the selling of lots to private citizens in order to encourage suitable development without public cost. “ There was an understanding that the private owners would limit their use of the space, maintaining open areas, but that didn’t happen,” says Epstein. Institutions such as the Public Gardens, Camp Hill Cemetery, Poor Asylum, School for


OUR AMERICAN FRENEMY the Blind and Dalhousie College, built on the South Common, followed by hospitals and schools, the Nova Scotia Museum, and the old CBC building. Meanwhile, recreation and sport took ahold of the North and Central grounds. The Wanderer’s Amateur Athletic Club leased what is now known as the Wanderer’s Grounds from 1882 to 1992. The Halifax Harness Horse Racing Club, used the North Common from 1946 to 1966. In 1991, council changed the Halifax City Charter to permit Grand Prix auto racing on the perimeter of the North and Central commons. Planners originally said the skating Oval, a track the size of four NHL rinks, was a temporary site to host events in the 2011 Canada Games. Due to strong public support, it became a permanent year-round facility. A Rolling Stones concert on the North Common in 2006 hit a nerve: many said it put commerce over protecting a public space for all and damaging the land itself. Military monuments, tree-lined malls, and historic plaques define Boston Common. But competing interests have fragmented Halifax Common. Still, last

December, 23 years after the City adopted a plan to protect the public space, HRM started a series of consultations to determine how the space should further develop with public interest in mind. A Halifax organization called the Halifax Common Link Association is hoping to at least in part, help connect the fragments. “We’re developing a pathway to link green spaces in partnership with HRM, which will help inform the Halifax Common Master Plan,” says association president Ronald Scott. “There will be several loops to define the path, and decals to brand it, taking you from, say, Victoria Park to the Public Gardens, Halifax Citadel, and North Common.” The Emerald Necklace in Massachusetts, a chain of linked parks that includes Boston Common, helped inspire the idea. “I was impressed by the emphasis they give to walking and enjoying what the city has to offer in terms of green space,” says Scott.

tadams@metroguide.ca  Halifax Magazine @HalifaxEditor @HalifaxMagazine

Halifax and Boston have a long-standing relationship, but not always as allies. The colonial politics and alliances of its day shaped each burgeoning town, sometimes pitting Haligonians and Bostonians against each other. As the American Revolution (1775 to 1783) progressed, some 34,000 Loyalists migrated north to what is now Nova Scotia, walking away from what they worked hard to establish. During the War of 1812, Joseph Barss Jr., from Liverpool, N.S., was a successful privateer on the Atlantic coast, capturing, sinking, or burning dozens of American vessels. As captain of the Liverpool Packet, he became the most wanted man in New England. During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), when the United States was beating the Confederate rebels, newspapers urged its troops to carry on until they’d driven the British out of Canada. But sometimes, the worst brings out the best in folks. An hour after the Mont-Blanc exploded in The Narrows between Halifax Harbour and Bedford Basin on the morning of December 6, 1917, leaders in Montreal, Toronto, Boston, and New York received a brief telegram about the Explosion. “Doctors and nurses arrived from outlying provincial towns and substantial help was on the way from Montreal and Toronto, but the first and most valuable assistance came from the ancient foe beyond the Bay of Fundy,” wrote Explosion survivor and Halifax historian Thomas Raddall, referring to Boston. Although Canada and the U.S. officially became allies when the latter joined the First World War in April 1917, “it took Canada’s greatest disaster, and the Americans’ surprising response, to change their relationship,” writes John U. Bacon in The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism.

APRIL 2018 halifaxmag.com | 19


| OPINION |

JUSTICE FOR EARTH DAY

YOU CAN’T HAVE A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY WITHOUT A JUST SOCIETY, AND IT TAKES MORE THAN ONE GREEN DAY

BY CHRIS BENJAMIN Hypothetical scenario: a large company offers to buy a piece of land you own, farmland adjacent to your house. You would get to keep the house because it’s the fields they want, or what’s under them actually. Because the fields are adjacent to a larger piece of land that the company wants to frack. You are a poor settler-farmer just getting by on a few thousand dollars of produce sales each year and some odd jobs. You don’t sleep because you don’t stop thinking about the expired warranty on your truck or the second mortgage on your house, the fact your kids can’t wait for university and careers in a faraway city. This deal would make you pretty well off. But you’re concerned that if you sell the land and keep your house, you’ll be living next door to a daily dose of heavy duty chemicals, thousands of them. Your family will be exposed, maybe get sick. So it’s poison or poverty, take your pick. That’s when the word environment gets real, no longer an abstraction, no longer about a jungle in some country you’ll never visit or invisible things surrounding you that you know are important but you don’t give much thought. Two complications: 1. That land you own is actually on Mi’kmaq territory. If you’re a settler, you’re really only a guest. 2. A lot of Mi’kmaq and black communities in this province (Lincolnville, Pictou Landing First Nation, Africville) have faced this sort of scenario for real, except they haven’t even been offered the financial compensation. Their choice was poison and poverty or get lost; surrender your ancestral territory. The more real environment gets, the more people it involves, and people are diverse. And 20 | halifaxmag.com APRIL 2018

while equality has long been our stated goal, we rarely achieve it. So when we drill down to it, we see that environmental threats and inequality are much the same thing. These days we’re having, via mass and social media, some of history’s most open discussions about important social issues, all orbiting around the axis of inequality. I’m talking issues of race, gender, and occasionally, poverty. These conversations have become pervasive, with a recent snowballing of #blacklivesmatter and the #metoo movements, groups demanding equity, truth, and reconciliation. They may or may not progress toward improvements in the human condition. But at least we—most of us anyway—are acknowledging the existence of inequality, oppression, violence, and hate. Meanwhile, the other conversation that might hold relevance to our hypothetical farmer, explicit talk about the environment, seems to have stalled outside a fairly tight circle of professional, passionate policy wonks, some of them still willing to chain themselves to one another to protect living things or essential habitats. Maybe this is the hangover of the Harper years, during which our government’s own scientists were banned from speaking publicly on their findings. Or maybe Trump’s realignment of the Environmental Protection Agency with climate-change denial has us all too flustered to think too far into the future. The concept of human extinction is a little too heady for most of us. In North American mass media (our conversation “of record”), we don’t see the kind of enthusiasm for sustainability we’ve seen recently for social justice or anti-oppression. Yet the stakes, in a sense, are the highest: all our survival.

Interestingly, when Elsipogtog First Nation land defenders and their allies took on Texas big gas company Southwestern Energy, it made national news. When the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies fought the Dakota Access Pipeline, it sparked a long national and international debate about pipelines, fossil fuels, and renewable energy. Increasingly often we are hearing the phrase “environmental racism.” Dalhousie sociologist Ingrid Waldron has been conducting studies on the subject for years and has an insightful new book, There’s Something in the Water, which analyzes the historical and current health impacts of environmental racism on Indigenous and Black communities in Nova Scotia, and the resistance from those communities. Environmentalists—the professionals and also anyone who hopes our species will still be around in another century or two—should take heed of this resistance, where it has succeeded and failed, and where white settler Canadians have either succeeded or failed to follow, to help or impose. With the rise of, at least, talk about social justice, equality, and resisting oppression, there is perhaps a reason to hope we can also talk about how inequality also hurts the environment we all need to survive, and how the effects of that harm are harder on some groups than others. Morally, any solutions to our environmental problems without involvement from all sectors of society will invariably be unjust. Practically, a day planting trees is nice and all but we need a change of vision. We need to see a sustainable society and a just society as the same thing.


PHOTO: TIM MYERS

| FEATURE |

SPOILING A SPECIAL PLACE THE EAGLE’S NEST IS A NATURAL TREASURE, AND A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE ARE WRECKING IT BY RYAN VAN HORNE High above the head of Bedford Basin, overlooking Long Cove, is the Eagle’s Nest. The Mi’kmaq call the area Kitpukusisek, which means “at the eagle’s nest.” One can easily imagine the area’s original inhabitants admiring the eagles soaring over the unspoiled wilderness before European settlers arrived. It offers spectacular views amidst one of Nova Scotia’s finest sylvan settings. “It’s very pretty up there,” says Bedford resident Erika Proctor. “It’s very natural because it’s not widely used.” But after hours, it’s a popular teen hangout and that’s when the mess happens. Now, it’s a launching pad used by drunken teenagers who want to throw garbage off a cliff. It’s in view of one of the city’s ritzier neighbourhoods, with one home at the end of Shore Drive boasting a private golf hole and a

dock. The juxtaposition of trash and opulence is jarring, especially since this is not your garden variety littering, even though there is plenty of that, too. This is littering on steroids. At the base of the cliff, strewn about a field of rocks, are the mangled remains of sundry appliances, bicycles, patio tables, basketball nets, paint cans, and tires. Proctor, who walks her dog in the area, says she was surprised when she saw the garbage on a recent hike. “It was disappointing to see all that stuff,” she says. “It’s just stuff that people dragged into the woods and tossed off that cliff. It’s disgusting. It’s beyond littering, it’s contaminating.” Donna Lugar, who grew up in Bedford, says it’s been a teen hangout for as long as she can remember. “That area was always a spot to go,” she says. “People sit up there. They drink or smoke and there are articles of clothing, so they obviously do other stuff up there.” It’s a great place to watch the sunset, take in the scenery, or just get some solitude and fresh air in the daytime. It’s also a popular rock-climbing location and the go-to spot for after-work climbs in the city. With all those things going for it, the garbage dump at the bottom of the cliff baffles Lugar. “I can’t imagine someone going through all that effort,” Lugar says. “You wouldn’t go all that

way just to dispose of a non-functioning appliance. Why would you do that? Unfortunately, there’s always someone that gets a thrill out of breaking things.” Proctor adds that it shows a lack of education. “[The kids] are not thinking about what is left,” she says. “They see it explode, and they turn back to whatever they’re doing.” Proctor has teenagers of her own. “That’s typical when you get a bunch of kids together,” she says. “They can’t be seen and no one can catch them because they know that they’re deep into the woods. It’s a waste, because at some point someone is going to have to clean all that up.” When contacted about this story, Bedford Councillor Tim Outhit sighs. “It’s ridiculous,” he says. “It’s a beautiful area. Why would you carry it up there? That’s crazy to throw something off a cliff just to see it fall and break.” Outhit says HRM Parks staff go in there occasionally to clear things out, but he was concerned about the appliances and other garbage, which he didn’t see on a hike there before Christmas. He asked to see pictures so he could share them with staff. Outhit doesn’t consider this the same kind of dumping that one sees in rural areas where people are just trying to avoid tipping fees. “This is more of a littering and vandalism problem,” says Outhit. APRIL 2018 halifaxmag.com | 21


| FEATURE |

PHOTO: TIM MYERS

Whatever you call it, it’s ugly and potentially harmful to the environment because of the contaminants in the appliances and cans of paint, not to mention the shards of glass. Both are harmful to the wildlife in the greenbelt. It also mars a beautiful natural location. “I like the fact that people go in there and enjoy the view,” says Outhit, who is working on a plan to improve the park and is looking for public input. One of the things he would like to see, in addition to a clean-up of the garbage, is some kind of upgrade to the trails. Proctor fears drawing attention to the dumping might inspire copycats, but hopes some different tactics might curb the behaviour that’s been going on for years. Outhit says the police already patrol the area and respond to noise complaints from partying teenagers. “I’ve asked police to monitor the area for gatherings,” he says. “But I’ve never asked for an enforcement or investigation.” When asked if police have ever set up wildlife cameras to catch the perpetrators in the act, he says it’s not something he’s requested, but would look into it. “I would certainly love to deter it and find out who’s doing it,” Outhit says. How to deter the perpetrators is the challenge, though. “I don’t know how to change that kind of attitude, because you’re always going to have those kinds of kids,” Proctor says. Perhaps a poster that speaks to them in their own terms might work, she says. High above Bedford Basin, the Eagle’s Nest overlooks Long Cove.

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halifax.ca/whatgoeswhere 22 | halifaxmag.com APRIL 2018


PHOTO: SUBMITTED

“‘This is a beautiful place to visit and share. Please respect it by cleaning up after yourself. If you like being up here, and you like the freedom, then don’t draw so much attention to yourself by littering.’” If teenagers want to be able to use the space without being monitored, they might stop tossing trash after hearing this message, she says. She likes the idea of reminding kids they could get caught. “Kids think they’re going to get away with it because everybody else has done it or talked about it,” Proctor says. Proctor thinks it would be great if some environmentally conscious students at Charles P. Allen High School could take this on as a project and raise awareness of the harmful effects of dumping. This would be peers targeting peers because she thinks it’s local kids. “Why would anyone from Sackville, or wherever, drag themselves out here and drag garbage into Bedford?” Proctor says. “I’m sure there are lots of places there where they toss things.” Proctor hopes residents, some of whom are parents of the perpetrators, put some pressure on them to stop. “I know those people really take pride in their homes and their location,” she says. “It’s a nice asset to Bedford.”

tadams@metroguide.ca  Halifax Magazine @HalifaxEditor @HalifaxMagazine

A popular teen hangout, the Eagle’s Nest offers some of the city’s most spectacular views.

APRIL 2018 halifaxmag.com | 23


| FEATURE |

MAD AND PROUD THE MAD PRIDE MOVEMENT COMES TO HALIFAX, RECLAIMING A HURTFUL LABEL AND SHEDDING STIGMA BY PHILIP MOSCOVITCH Anna Quon approaches, holding out a tray filled with dozens of little paper pill cups. “Would you like some mad meds?” she asks. “No thanks,” says a woman in her twenties. Then, realizing the “meds” are M&Ms that come with a one-line “prescription” she changes her mind. “If you have any questions about your meds, ask me!” says Quon, carrying on with her rounds. The young woman eats her M&M and unrolls the paper in the pill cup. It says, “Nothing about us without us.” She approaches Quon, who sports a red heart painted on her cheek and a floppy straw hat with a silk flower pinned to it, to ask what it means. “It comes from the disability rights movement,” Quon says, explaining that people should be involved in developing policies that affect them. It’s a beautiful 2017 summer Sunday on the Common. Perfect weather for the Mad Hatter Tea Party, an early, tentative step in the city’s nascent mad pride movement. Organized by the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (SSNS), the event features people making and wearing a wide array of wild hats, along with yoga classes, live music, spoken-word performances, and of course, tea. A sign with a quote from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is prominent. “You’re entirely bonkers, but I’ll tell you a secret: All the best people are.” Quon is one of the people who first came up with the idea of the tea party, a celebration by and for people who broadly come under the umbrella of “madness.” Mad pride is about “having ownership of who you are and feeling comfortable with how you want to live life, whether or not you want to go by a diagnosis or not,” says Robyn Badger, one of the event organizers. “You’ve heard about queer pride, gay pride, black pride, and different pride movements,” says Quon, a writer, artist, and filmmaker who describes herself as “mixed-race middle-aged Mad Woman.” (She specifies that “Mad Woman” be capitalized.) “It’s a way of reclaiming the word ‘mad’ and all the slurs and negative associations that come with it,” she says. “Some people in the mad pride movement are very much against psychiatry. They would probably call themselves antipsychiatry activists. And some like me are more in the middle. I just want to say I’m here, I’m mad, and I’m OK with that.” 24 | halifaxmag.com APRIL 2018

Mad pride started in Toronto back in 1993, with an event called Psychiatric Survivor Pride. Eventually, it developed into a weeklong festival including music, art, theatre, and most famously, a parade that features hospital beds pushed through the streets of the city’s Parkdale neighbourhood. Halifax therapist Laura Burke, who has been active in the local mental-health community for years, spoke at the tea party. She says mad pride is in part about celebrating differences, getting away from a purely biological description of mental illness, and recognizing “that it’s not wrong to be anomalous in these ways.” Toronto’s mad pride has inspired similar events around the world. There is an annual Loonies Fest in East End London, and there have been mad-pride-style celebrations in various Canadian and American cities and farther away, in places including Australia, Ireland, and Ghana. Mad pride festivals usually run in mid-July. Quon says she isn’t surprised it’s taken this long for mad pride to make an appearance in Halifax, in part because of Nova Scotia’s size and history. “We had a hardscrabble kind of living in this part of the world for a long time, and I think families who had loved ones with mentalhealth problems probably didn’t talk about it much,” she says. “In Nova Scotia how you make a living still depends so much on who you know. And if people know you have a mental-health challenge, you may not get hired as easily.” Not long after the tea party, Burke drinks iced coffee at the Alter Egos café on Gottingen Street and prepares for a session of the new group she’s developed with SSNS for people who hear or have heard voices. It draws on the thinking of the international hearing voices movement, which started in Holland in the 1980s. Burke says this isn’t the first group in Halifax for people who

hear voices, but it is unique in that it is run by and for people who have experienced them. “Just to be able to talk about hearing voices with people who understand what that means is healing in and of itself,” she explains. “Some people might think of it as mental illness, some people might think of it as just a phenomenon they deal with, and there’s no right or wrong.” The group is co-facilitated by Chris O’Halloran and Derick (he asked that we only use his first name), both of whom have heard voices for much of their lives. “We’re trying to offer an alternative treatment method that includes peer input,” Derick says. “We acknowledge the voices instead of treating them solely as hallucinations, and this hopefully allows people to get more from the group than if they were just given a medical explanation. We talk about how to live with the voices as a part of our own lives because they are part of our lives.” O’Halloran adds that while he sees medication and psychiatric care as an important part of his own well-being, one of the values of the group (like the mad pride movement) is in putting control into the hands of people who aren’t clinicians. “I think outside of a medical context you can innovate more,” he says. “People who hear voices don’t usually have an outlet to talk about it. And if you do, it’s usually with someone who doesn’t hear voices themselves.” The group’s first 10-week session was a pilot, but SSNS executive director Diane MacDougall says the organization is currently running a second session and hopes to continue with the group in the future. Encouraged by the turnout at the first tea party, SSNS is planning another for this summer. “The plan is to do another Mad Hatter Tea Party in July to go with mad pride,” says MacDougall. “A lot of people dropped into the tea party and didn’t know who we were, but had a good time and reached out to us later to say what a great event.” And Burke says Nova Scotia could benefit from a larger made pride movement. “Mad pride is like a seed; it’s like a cultural shift,” she says. “I love Nova Scotia, but I think there’s a shame about it in the culture here: Be quiet, don’t be too big for your britches, don’t protest, just go with the status quo.” tadams@metroguide.ca  Halifax Magazine @HalifaxEditor @HalifaxMagazine


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DINING

DIFFERENT BUT THE SAME THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THE DISHES NEVER CHANGES, BUT DINERS NEVER KNOW QUITE WHAT TO EXPECT FROM ELIOT & VINE BY RICHARD WOODBURY

Chef Brenan Madill joined Eliot & Vine in January, launching a new menu showcasing local ingredients.

26 | halifaxmag.com APRIL 2018

Eliot & Vine’s variation on the Waldorf Salad includes fermented grapes, local Blue Harbour Hip Hop cheese, and a buttermilk chive emulsion.

Johanna Eliot wanted to open a wine bar on Clifton Street. But provincial liquor laws wouldn’t allow one there. Serving food would circumvent that, so Eliot decided to go all in and open a restaurant: Eliot & Vine. The move came naturally. She also runs a company called Ocean Entertainment whose niche is producing food television shows. She’s worked with food personalities like Pete Luckett, Michael Smith, and Laura Calder. Besides being in a lot of different kitchens and seeing what works and what doesn’t, television has another benefit that carries over to real life. “To create food television, it’s about the beauty of the food and it has to look good,” Eliot says. “You can’t taste it as a viewer, but you want to eat it.” Head chef Brenan Madill employs uncommon cooking techniques, which can be time consuming. One example is sous-vide (sealing the food in plastic and cooking it in water or steam. The finished product is incredibly tender and cooked uniformly.) They do this with most of the restaurant’s protein offerings. When Halifax Magazine spoke with Madill, it was on a Monday, which is a day when the restaurant is closed. “I have to go [there] today,” he says. “I’ve had something in the circulator … for 28 hours. I have to take the lamb out. We usually have two circulators running non-stop.” Madill’s been with Eliot & Vine since January. Before that, he worked in kitchens in the Halifax area such as the Atlantica Hotel, Il Trullo, Cut, and Shuck Seafood. He also won bronze competing with Team Canada at the Culinary Olympics in 2016. For him, sourcing local ingredients is key and dictates what’s put on the menu. It’s also the reason why the menu changes with such frequency. Madill says sometimes Eliot will post an image online of a dish and in no time it will no longer be available. “That’s how it works. You buy enough product and when it’s gone, it’s gone. That’s it,” he says. One recent menu included offerings like lobster, pork belly, beef tenderloin, lamb and halibut. As part of Eliot & Vine’s focus on local,

Restaurateur Johanna Eliot.

ingredients are sometimes sourced from a foraging firm, such as mushrooms, juniper berries, sea buckthorn and sumac. Foraged ingredients are appealing in part because it adds an even more local connection to the dining experience. “The more contact you feel like the person that you’re paying to do a task has with what they’re doing, the more interested and safe you feel as a customer,” says Madill. Glenn Anderson goes to the restaurant about twice monthly. The St. Margarets Bay resident makes the 30-minute trek so frequently that he’s become friends with Eliot. He loves the food and the presentation. “The prep and the plating is phenomenal,” he says. “Every time I’m there, I get a different plate.” He adds that the roasted hen and lobster risotto are his favourites. Eliot & Vine’s décor has a distinct Mediterranean influence with its abundance of blue, tile and a marble bar countertop. Eliot grew up in Greece. The space, which is mostly a long rectangle shape, was designed by Breakhouse and Eliot. Wherever diners sit, they’re close to the bar, which pretty much runs the length of the room. “The whole restaurant flows around you,” Anderson says. In the summers, he loves how


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the large windows that front Cunard Street open to provide a breeze, while allowing diners to hear the sounds of the city. Given the restaurant’s name and its original vision as a wine bar, vino still plays an important role in the restaurant’s identity. The wine menu isn’t huge, but features a good variety at different prices, with a selection that changes frequently. Eliot & Vine also aims to minimize waste with its food ingredients. “Utilization of product is one of our biggest things,” says Madill. For example, if the restaurant buys chicken, the legs will be used for a dish like coq au vin, the breasts for something else and then stock will be made with the bones. If they make pasta and there’s some of it leftover, that will be turned into gnocco fritto. Going to Eliot & Vine is a surprise because it’s constantly changing, but its core values ensure you’ll have a great time. “It’s not just about the food, it’s about ambience, the servers, wine, the whole experience,” says Eliot.

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tadams@metroguide.ca  Halifax Magazine @HalifaxEditor @HalifaxMagazine APRIL 2018 halifaxmag.com | 27


DRINK

NEW BREWS FOR SPRING WITH WARMER WEATHER COMES A YEARNING TO DRINK BEER OUTSIDE. HERE ARE SOME NEW OFFERINGS WORTH DONNING A SWEATER BY KIM HART MACNEILL

AS SOON AS THE SNOW STARTS MELTING, I DIG AROUND IN THE BASEMENT FOR LAWN CHAIRS. MOST YEARS, I HAUL THEM OUT TOO SOON. I LOVE A SPRINGTIME BACKYARD BEER, BUT YOU’LL ENJOY THESE NEW BREWS NO MATTER WHAT THE WEATHER DOES.

TWO BY FOUR |8.5%| (DOUBLE IPA) Lunn’s Mill Beer Co. Lawrencetown, N.S. This small Annapolis Valley brewery celebrated its first anniversary last month. Brewer and co-owner Mark Reid says the taproom is going strong, attracting an array of locals who didn’t originally see themselves as craft-beer drinkers. (Plus day trippers coming from Halifax for growler fills). The small brewery also brewed its 100th batch last month. The beer in question is named for its imperial strength, and four hops (Mandarina Bavaria, Azacca, Huell Melon, and Ekuanot). Think big beer packing a suitcase of juicy, citrusy flavours.

SURF AND TURF |6.2%| (SCOTCH ALE) Meander River Farm and Brewery Ashdale, N.S. Meander River started brewing this beer for Dining on the Ocean Floor. The annual summer event gives diners information about wild edibles, pairing local food and drink, all on the floor of the Bay of Fundy at Burntcoat Head Park. The 2018 events are already sold out and the waiting list is maxed, but you can grab a bottle to sip on as the tide rolls in. The locally foraged seaweed adds a hint of salt, but mostly body to this sweet, caramel-flavoured beer with a hint of smoke from the peat. Watch for it at the brewery and at Bishop’s in April.

MEAN JOE BEAN |4.2%| (BLOND COFFEE ALE) Trider’s Craft Beer Amherst, N.S. “It’s just a mean-drinking beer,” says Joe Potter, Trider’s co-owner and brewer. Potter is a big fan of combining beer and coffee, but he grew tired of seeing the same handful of dark styles. He added Morning Mantra coffee beans from Lunenburg roaster Laughing Whale to a blond ale. This isn’t Trider’s Yellow Beer’d repurposed, but a new brew featuring wheat to give the ale enough body to support the coffee. The result is aromatic, crisp, and low on hops. It pairs well with bacon. 28 | halifaxmag.com APRIL 2018

FIRK’S ROOT |6%| (PALE ALE) FirkinStein Brewing Bridgewater, N.S. Anyone who says pale ales are boring hasn’t tried this returning ginger-infused ale. Subtle ginger offers a pleasant slow burn, adding refreshing depth to this beer. “It’s kind of mild for a FirkenStein, at 6%,” co-owner and co-brewer Devin Fraser laughs. (The brewery’s core line up tends to be boozier: in the 7% and 8% range.) You’ll only find this one at the brewery, but FirkenStein has a lot to make it worth the trip. Every Friday and Saturday the taproom hosts live music. There’s no food service yet, but says Fraser, “Right across the street there is a ’50s diner, burger and shake place, and you can text them to bring food over.”

BETH’S BLACKOUT |6.1%| (OYSTER STOUT) Sober Island Brewing Sober Island, N.S. This beer isn’t new, but it does have news. Sober Island will expand its seven-barrel brewhouse by an extra 15 barrels to supply NSLC with cans of its oyster stout. Look for it on shelves April 30. “It’s huge,” says co-owner and brewer Rebecca Atkinson. “We’re seasonal,


MILLION ACRES WILD BLUEBERRY IIPA WITH MOSAIC |8.5%| so especially in the winter that extra volume will be great to get out. We were always brewing more oyster stout than anything else, but now we actually had to put in a double tank.” This roasty brew features whole oysters, (shell, juice, and all) tossed into the brew for the last 10 minutes of the boil. They lend the beer a mineral, briny flavour that blends well with sweet, smooth malt.

WICKED GOOD |5%| (NEW ENGLAND APA) Garrison Brewing Halifax, N.S. One of the things I love about local beer is that while brewers are always eager to get in on a trend like the hazy New England-style IPA, they don’t necessarily all follow the same path. Garrison’s offering is an American pale ale, which means along with bursting tropical flavours, it brings a solid malt backbone to support all of those hops. Garrison released this as a test batch at the Craft Beer Cottage Party in March, but sales manager Jeff Green says we’ll see it more widely available in April or May, likely in cans.

SEVEN YEARS |5.2%| (PALE ALE) Breton Brewing Company with Brathair Brewing Coxheath, N.S. Again, more news than new, Seven Years is coming to NSLC shelves in May, where it will replace Stirling Hefeweizen. This big juicy beer named for its seven massive hop additions is made in the hazy New Englandstyle, but doesn’t always hold its hazy in the can. Regardless of what it looks like, it tastes fantastic. Tropical sweet hop flavours, low on the bitterness. There is a reason it took home gold at the 2017 Stillwell Open, a tasting event where customers don’t know which brewers made which beers.

40 Years of great books

IF I HAD AN OLD HOUSE ON THE EAST COAST

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Upstreet Craft Brewing Charlottetown, PEI Upstreet describes its Million Acres series as “unique barrel-aged and farmhouse-style ales, hand-bottled and bottle-conditioned in very limited batches.” The 750ml bottles are corked and caged to lend an extra air of special to the beer inside. “We’re doing sours under that label and some exotic fruit beers,” says Michael Hogan, co-owner and brewer. “We’re trying not to put any limit on ourselves when we’re making these beers.” While blueberry comes first in the name, this beer is a double IPA, not your typical fruit beer. Firm malt flavours give the light blueberry notes space to play on your taste buds. Watch for the third release from this limited series this month. KIM HART MACNEILL Kim is a freelance journalist and editor of East Coast Living. Read her weekly beer column on HalifaxMag.com and follow her on Twitter. @kimhartmacneill

100 THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT ATLANTIC CANADA (FOR KIDS) 978-177108-567-0 | $14.95 Children’s Non-Fiction | April

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SECRETS OF SABLE ISLAND

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APRIL 2018 halifaxmag.com | 29


OPINION

“HIS SOUL WAS MADE TO CARE” REMEMBERING WRAY ELIAS HART BY RYAN VAN HORNE The true measure of a person is not how much money they make, it’s the good they do in the lives of others. By that standard, Wray Elias Hart had no peer. He proved that outward appearances can be incredibly deceiving. It illuminates the cruel nature of our society that someone such as Hart would ever be shallowly dismissed as simply a “homeless man.” Such a term was never used by anyone who knew him or stopped to talk to him as he sat on his spot along the wall by the old Spring Garden branch of the Halifax Regional Library. To them, he was “Wray,” and the quality of his interactions with those people were revealed in the countless testimonials and tributes that poured in after Hart was killed. “He looked out for everybody, regardless of his own situation,” Natasha Pyke told CBC News. “He helped everybody. He never said no to anybody. He had a really hard life and he struggled a lot, but he remained positive through every bit of it.” Said Farah Henry: “[He] was somebody that would make friends with everyone and he took a lot of people under his wing.” Cat MacKeigan was one of those people and she recalls meeting Hart 20 years ago. In a Jan. 29 tweet, MacKeigan wrote about Hart. “Ray, I first met you as my teenage self, sharing my lunch with you sitting on the Halifax Library wall. You noticed when I left for school, commented when I came back home, shared your stories with me, and left your imprint on my soul. You will be missed.” Toward the end of his life, Hart had found a new apartment and placed his bed near his window so he could look out at the stars, just as he used to when his usual spot on the street was the corner of Spring Garden Road and Brunswick Street. Hart was only 62 when a driver jumped the curb on Queen Street, hitting him on the sidewalk, pinning him under the car and killing him. It was just before 3 a.m. on

30 | halifaxmag.com APRIL 2018

January 27. Hart was out looking for bottles so that he could buy a friend some cigarettes. It was a final selfless act by a man of limited means. Dennis Patterson is facing charges of operating a motor vehicle while impaired and impaired driving causing death. He’s a 23-year-old MBA student at Saint Mary’s University. Amid the outpouring of tributes to Hart, there was also financial support as Haligonians donated more than $5,000 to help pay for his funeral. But Hart deserves a more tangible legacy. If the driver is convicted, part of his fine should go to a homeless shelter and any community service he’s ordered to do should help people like Hart. We should do something to remember Hart and my suggestion is to build a residence for homeless people and name it after him. It could be funded from all three levels of government and administered by a group such as Hope Cottage, which already works with the homeless. It should be more than a place to get a bed, a meal, and a shower. That’s all good, but they also need a place to use as a fixed address and help them make the transition to independence. Some have a different view of what success is. I hope the outpouring of grief and love for Hart causes many to reconsider. It’s hard to imagine a more apt compliment for Wray Hart than the last line of his obituary, published on the Dignity Memorial website: “His soul was made to care.”

RYAN Van HORNE Ryan is a Halifax journalist, playwright, and documentary film director. His work appears in magazines and newspapers from coast to coast and at ryanvanhorne.com.


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Halifax Magazine April 2018  
Halifax Magazine April 2018