City BEST OF Liv­ing

A snap­shot of life in Hal­i­fax, from ac­tivism to In­sta­gram, dance par­ties to shop­ping sprees, and ev­ery tat­too in be­tween.

The Coast - - CITY LIVING -


GOLD Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre SIL­VER Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory BRONZE Mar­itime Mu­seum of the At­lantic It feels strange to even call the Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre a mu­seum, be­cause most mu­se­ums aren’t this fuck­ing cool. Haligo­ni­ans have known this place rules since even be­fore the new lo­ca­tion opened, and go­ing on a field trip there was (is?) a rite of pas­sage for many stu­dents in the Hal­i­fax Re­gional School Board. No matter how old you get, that bub­ble room up­stairs is prob­a­bly one of the most up­lift­ing places to be. Wanna learn about science and stuff? No, put down that text­book. In fact, never read a text­book again. Go to the Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre. It’s way more fun.



GOLD El Jones SIL­VER Quen­trel Provo BRONZE Rebecca Thomas Let’s just let El Jones take it from here: “I want to shout out Paul Vi­en­neau and the re­ally im­por­tant work he does around dis­abil­ity,” she says. “And also to all the women, in­clud­ing Rebecca Thomas but also Rebecca Moore, Griz­zly Mama, Suzanne Pa­tles, Tayla Fern Paul, Dorene Bernard, the water de­fend­ers who are out there on the front lines ev­ery day. The ac­tivists who are out there in our com­mu­ni­ties un­named are the true rocks. Also shout out to the in­car­cer­ated peo­ple whose strug­gles and sto­ries shape so much of my work... For women of colour in th­ese times, we’re see­ing vi­o­lent and vi­cious ef­forts to stop us speak­ing and re­sist­ing. But we all stand to­gether, work in sol­i­dar­ity and we can­not be si­lenced.” BEST AC­TIVIST OR­GA­NI­ZA­TION

GOLD Ecol­ogy Ac­tion Cen­tre

SIL­VER The Youth Project BRONZE Autism Nova Sco­tia It’s hard to call the Ecol­ogy Ac­tion Cen­tre ac­tivists when at this point the group’s ef­forts—their cam­paigns, re­search re­ports, their ded­i­cated team of staff and hun­dreds of vol­un­teers—are an in­sti­tu­tion of the Hal­i­fax ecosys­tem. The en­vi­ron­men­tal non-profit was founded nearly 50 years ago and has been voted Best Ac­tivist Or­ga­ni­za­tion ev­ery year by Coast read­ers for just about as long. Pol­icy di­rec­tor Mark But­ler says all those wins, and all the cen­tre has ac­com­plished, are a re­sult of the lo­cal col­lab­o­ra­tion and com­mu­nity the EAC thrives on. “On many is­sues, where we win, it’s be­cause we’re not work­ing alone,” he says. “Usu­ally when we get things done in Nova Sco­tia, it’s be­cause we team up with other groups—other sec­tors—and that’s how we make a dif­fer­ence.” In recog­ni­tion of ev­ery­thing the or­ga­ni­za­tion has ac­com­plished over the decades (and its on­go­ing un­de­feated streak), The Coast is proud to in­duct the Ecol­ogy Ac­tion Cen­tre into our BOH Hall of Fame. But that doesn’t mean you can start tak­ing things easy, EAC. Keep up the good work. We’re all count­ing on it. BEST ATH­LETE

GOLD Sid­ney Crosby SIL­VER Ellie Black BRONZE Nathan MacKin­non “We went through a long stretch there where [with] well­paid ath­letes the no­tion was: just be quiet and get your en­dorse­ments and don’t make waves,” said pres­i­dent Barack Obama in 2014, while com­mend­ing NBA su­per­star LeBron James for wear­ing an “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt. “LeBron is an ex­am­ple of a young man who has, in his own way and in a re­spect­ful way, tried to say, ‘I’m part of this so­ci­ety, too’ and fo­cus at­ten­tion.” “Look at him, he’s shy,” said pres­i­dent Trump when vis­ited last month by Crosby and his team­mates. “Do you know how to win, or what? Great, great job. What a job you’ve done.” BEST BLOG­GER

GOLD Hal­i­fax ReTales SIL­VER Hal­i­folks BRONZE Eat This Town Here’s the mil­lion dol­lar ques­tion: how does Best Blog­ger win­ner Hal­i­fax ReTales al­ways know so much about which busi­nesses are open­ing and clos­ing? It’s down­right spooky. “That is the ul­ti­mate ques­tion that I get all the time,” says mas­ter­mind Arthur Gau­dreau. “It’s not a sil­ver bul­let...It’s dif­fer­ent sources. I get a bit here and a lit­tle bit there.” It also doesn’t hurt that peo­ple in this town love their gos­sip. Servers, con­struc­tion work­ers, real es­tate agents—every­body has some bit of news, and

ReTales is will­ing to lis­ten. “You just un­cover as many rocks as you can.” BEST BUS DRIVER

GOLD Jill Webb SIL­VER Brad Verge BRONZE Linda Cruick­shank “Are you se­ri­ous? I got gold? Oh, you just made my whole life.” Jill Webb is ex­cited. And why not? Af­ter six and a half years be­hind the wheel of nearly ev­ery tran­sit route in the city, she’s been voted Hal­i­fax’s Best Bus Driver. Not only does Webb keep the wheels turn­ing, but she makes sure to treat her pas­sen­gers with re­spect and kind­ness. “I took the bus my whole life, and I know what it’s like tak­ing the bus, so I try to treat peo­ple as good as I can,” she says. BEST COM­MU­NITY PROJECT

GOLD Hope Blooms SIL­VER Com­mon Roots Ur­ban Farm BRONZE Dart­mouth North Com­mu­nity Food Cen­tre Hope just keeps on bloom­ing from the in­spir­ing hearts over at Hope Blooms. Not ones to rest on their lau­rels, the city’s reign­ing Best Com­mu­nity Project keeps com­ing

up with new ways to be awe­some. This past sum­mer the or­ga­ni­za­tion suc­cess­fully com­pleted its sec­ond an­nual out­door film fes­ti­val and started de­liv­ery of CSA boxes via elec­tric bike to cus­tomers all over the penin­sula. The money raised from that so­cial enterprise goes to de­liv­er­ies of soup and fresh bread for se­niors in the neigh­bour­hood, says Hope Bloom’s Alvero Wig­gins. They also re­cently in­stalled a fancy aquapon­ics sys­tem at the Hope Blooms green­house to har­ness fish waste to fer­til­ize plants. “It’s a re­ally cool closed sys­tem,” says Wig­gins. BEST COUN­CIL­LOR

GOLD Lindell Smith SIL­VER Waye Ma­son BRONZE Sam Austin Rookie sen­sa­tion Lindell Smith takes home the gold for Hal­i­fax’s Best Coun­cil­lor just over a year af­ter his land­mark cam­paign brought the north end res­i­dent to City Hall. Smith’s pop­u­lar­ity hasn’t wa­vered in the process. He’s fought to cre­ate a liv­ing wage pol­icy for HRM con­tracted em­ploy­ees, spoke with con­vic­tion about the need for bet­ter so­cial hous­ing and held the line vot­ing against out-of-con­trol devel­op­ments. In be­tween, he’s been stay­ing busy by sit­ting down with res­i­dents in his district over tea, and show­ing up on The

Na­tional’s Canada Day spe­cial. He’s also—with­out ques­tion—the best In­sta­gram user at coun­cil. “I feel that I lived up to what I said I was go­ing to do, which is rep­re­sent my res­i­dents and try to be as avail­able as pos­si­ble,” says Smith. “At the end of the day, it’s one year into be­ing a coun­cil­lor.” True, but it’s been a pretty great year so far. BEST DRAG PER­FORMER

GOLD Rouge Fatale

SIL­VER Elle Noir BRONZE Contessa “I’m a lit­tle boy from Glace Bay, it just blows me away,” says Ja­son Rose-Spurrell AKA Rouge Fatale, chok­ing back tears, of the news of his 10th con­sec­u­tive win for Best Drag Per­former. “I went from work­ing for a drink ticket or two, to work­ing my butt off to help make it main­stream here. I got to see my face on a bill­board, per­form at the casino, travel across Canada”—he says as he, co­in­ci­den­tally, gets ready to head to Yel­lowknife with mem­bers of the Gla­ma­zon Army—“I got to prove Hal­i­fax has a thriv­ing drag com­mu­nity. I’m so proud of not only my ca­reer—but ev­ery­one else in the com­mu­nity too.” Over the last decade, the city’s fa­tal(e) at­trac­tion for Rose- Spurrell’s al­ways-sparkling, buxom and ba­bely al­ter ego Rouge has con­tin­ued to grow to keep up with her larger-than-life per­sona. Along with be­ing in­ducted into the Best of Hal­i­fax Hall of Fame thanks to this win, she also takes home a bronze award for Best Lo­cal Per­son­al­ity. Rose-Spurrell says this sup­port for the lo­cal drag com­mu­nity is noth­ing short of un­real. “To see the vari­a­tions of drag now—the hy­per queens, the drag kings, the gen­der fuck and the non-bi­nary—all th­ese phe­nom­e­nal per­form­ers! It proves there’s no wrong way to do drag, as long as you’re do­ing it your way that’s all that mat­ters.” BEST EF­FORT TO IM­PROVE HAL­I­FAX

GOLD Bike lanes SIL­VER Argyle streetscape project BRONZE Water­front con­struc­tion Hey, Hal­i­fax, can we talk for a minute? Just over here, around the cor­ner. Um, so this cat­e­gory was about the best ef­fort to im­prove the city. I don’t know if maybe you didn’t read that clearly enough, or thought the phras­ing was some kind of dou­ble pos­i­tive mak­ing a neg­a­tive? I mean, bike lanes win­ning gold again is fine. Ob­vi­ously you’re into bike lanes. Even the Argyle streetscape project—while in­op­por­tune and widely lam­basted—is go­ing to look nice when­ever it’s done. But water­front con­struc­tion? Not water­front improvements or Queen’s Mar­que, lit­er­ally the con­struc­tion it­self is so im­pres­sive you voted it third? Is ev­ery­thing OK? BEST FES­TI­VAL

GOLD Hal­i­fax Pride SIL­VER Hal­i­fax Jazz Fes­ti­val BRONZE Hal­i­fax Busker Fes­ti­val “This past year, Hal­i­fax Pride pri­or­i­tized com­mu­nity out­reach while reimag­in­ing how we run the fes­ti­val,” says ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Adam Reid. Af­ter com­plet­ing its 30th an­nual event in the sum­mer, Hal­i­fax Pride has won gold in this cat­e­gory, so they must be do­ing some­thing right. “So many peo­ple have been work­ing hard to en­sure the fes­ti­val is in­creas­ingly com­mu­nity-ori­ented, ac­ces­si­ble and diverse, so it’s nice to feel that maybe the ef­fort didn’t go un­no­ticed. We truly ap­pre­ci­ate the votes and will con­tinue to work to build a fes­ti­val of which we can all be proud.” BEST HAL­I­FA­MOUS PER­SON

GOLD Joel Plas­kett SIL­VER Clas­si­fied BRONZE Steve Mur­phy Your long­time fave Plas­kett—this round he’s a four-time win­ner, the Big Lit­tle Lies of BOH—has had a typ­i­cally ac­tion-packed year pro­duc­ing and play­ing, in­clud­ing re­leas­ing and tour­ing Sol­i­dar­ity with his dad Bill. And that’s in ad­di­tion to run­ning his down­town Dart­mouth com­mu­nity hub, New Scot­land Records, where you can catch him just hang­ing out. His up­com­ing pro­duc­tion slate is full too, with records from Dennis Ellsworth, Bend the River and Jimmy Rankin on deck. “This city, The Coast and its read­ers have been so kind and sup­port­ive to me over the years,” says Plas­kett. “I’m hon­oured again with th­ese awards. This com­mu­nity and my great friends here con­tinue to in­spire me. My sin­cere thanks.” BEST HO­TEL

GOLD The Prince Ge­orge Ho­tel SIL­VER Lord Nel­son Ho­tel & Suites BRONZE The Westin

Nova Sco­tian It’s so fancy/You al­ready know/

It’s on Mar­ket

Street/Down­town, not in Tokyo. OK, Iggy Aza­lea im­pres­sion aside, The Prince Ge­orge Ho­tel makes for a fancy lit­tle stay­ca­tion in Hal­i­fax (or some­where to sug­gest to your vis­it­ing rel­a­tives if you don’t want them sleep­ing on your fu­ton). With a restau­rant and bar (AKA the Best Ho­tel Restau­rant), pool and fit­ness cen­tre on-site, you prob­a­bly won’t even need to leave the build­ing. The best part, ar­guably, is that there are pet-friendly ac­com­mo­da­tions so you can bring your furry friend with you. MOST IM­POR­TANT LO­CAL IS­SUE

GOLD Af­ford­able hous­ing SIL­VER Con­struc­tion down­town BRONZE Tran­sit Mov­ing up from sil­ver last year to take the gold for Most Im­por­tant Lo­cal Is­sue is the city’s lack of af­ford­able hous­ing. Take that as a sign that the de­vel­op­ment boom and ris­ing in­come in­equal­ity are push­ing Hal­i­fax fur­ther to­wards a full-blown crisis (as­sum­ing you’re not con­vinced we’re al­ready there). At least ev­ery­one at Hal­i­fax Tran­sit can breathe a sigh of re­lief and re­lax now that bus ser­vice is no longer in the top slot. Next stop: don’t get cocky. BEST IN­STA­GRAM AC­COUNT

GOLD @hal­i­faxnoise SIL­VER @hal­i­folks BRONZE @dave.cul­li­gan For the sec­ond year in a row—and the sec­ond year we’ve handed out this award—Best In­sta­gram Ac­count goes to @hal­i­faxnoise and the un­de­feated Kate Ross. The cov­eted sec­ond-place hash­tag is awarded to the pro­fil­ing power- houses at @hal­i­folks and their un­end­ing quest to show­case the faces and sto­ries pop­u­lat­ing this re­gional mu­nic­i­pal­ity. Slid­ing into third place once again is su­per­star @dave. cul­li­gan, who ful­filled his 365-day video blog­ging project ear­lier this year but has still main­tained a pres­ti­gious In­sta-out­put. #Congrats to all, keep do­ing it for the ’gram! BEST LI­BRARY

GOLD Hal­i­fax Cen­tral Li­brary SIL­VER Alder­ney Gate Pub­lic Li­brary BRONZE Keshen Good­man Li­brary We’re go­ing to need to build an­other li­brary if we ever want the iconic jewel of the down­town to stop dom­i­nat­ing this cat­e­gory. Some­how, af­ter be­ing open for a few glo­ri­ous years and wel­com­ing count­less visi­tors with its colour­ful sights, walls of glass and di­a­met­ric stair­cases, the sheer place of the place still hasn’t got­ten old. May it never, lest our dreary eyes sud­denly lose sight of all that’s won­drous and whim­si­cal in the world. You know, the kind of things one should al­ways find in a li­brary, and the books in­side. BEST LO­CAL CHAR­AC­TER

GOLD Theodore Tug­boat SIL­VER Trailer Park Boys’ Bub­bles BRONZE Rouge Fatale It’s been 16 years since new episodes of Theodore Tug­boat graced our air­waves, but the show’s Dick­en­sian look at the bro­ken lives and po­lit­i­cal strug­gles hap­pen­ing through­out Hal­i­fax’s sep­tic dock­yard still rings rel­e­vant to­day. Its post-mod­ern de­con­struc­tion of ne­olib­eral poli­cies and the moral­ity of the “good” ush­ered in a new era of pres­tige ca­ble dra­mas. Fin­gers crossed that the long-ru­moured

mini-se­ries Theodore Tug­boat: The

Re­turn will fi­nally an­swer all the dis­turb­ing ques­tions tan­ta­liz­ingly left lin­ger­ing by the se­ries fi­nale. BEST MEM­BER OF PAR­LIA­MENT

GOLD Andy Fillmore SIL­VER Ge­off Regan BRONZE Dar­ren Fisher Andy Fillmore loves his job, but he also loves it when you hate him. “Bring­ing the voices of our dynamic com­mu­nity di­rectly to the House of Com­mons is the most re­deem­ing work, and I’m able to do it ef­fec­tively be­cause I rep­re­sent a city brim­ming with ac­tivists who never hold back,” the re­peat-Best Mem­ber Of Par­lia­ment tells The Coast. So go ahead, Hal­i­fax, let him have it! “In ev­ery way, the peo­ple of Hal­i­fax make me a bet­ter par­lia­men­tar­ian, and it’s a ter­rific hon­our to be voted our city’s best MP.” BEST MEM­BER OF THE PRO­VIN­CIAL LEG­IS­LA­TURE

GOLD Gary Bur­rill SIL­VER Lenore Zann BRONZE Lisa Roberts The Nova Sco­tia NDP leader snuck in un­der the wire this year to be el­i­gi­ble for Best Mem­ber Of The Pro­vin­cial Leg­is­la­ture. Bur­rill went all out to win his Hal­i­fax Che­bucto seat dur­ing the late-spring elec­tion. Yes, it’s af­forded him a seat at Prov­ince House and added re­newed strength in leadership to the still third-place pro­gres­sive NDP as they push for a $15 min­i­mum wage and battle for rent con­trol. But it also lets Bur­rill take gold in this year’s BOH. “It’s a big hon­our. It’s a big thing,” he says. “I know it’ll mean a lot to our party that peo­ple have sup­ported me for this.” BEST MU­SEUM

GOLD Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre SIL­VER Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory BRONZE Mar­itime Mu­seum of the At­lantic See page 26 for a full de­scrip­tion of the Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre. BEST PARTY VENUE

GOLD The Sea­horse Tav­ern SIL­VER The Lower Deck, Hal­i­fax BRONZE Durty Nelly’s Au­then­tic Ir­ish Pub “Whether it’s live mu­sic, dance par­ties, comedy nights or com­mu­nity events, the fact that we con­sis­tently host a diverse range of en­ter­tain­ment means we’re ca­ter­ing to many dif­fer­ent groups each and ev­ery week. There’s some­thing for ev­ery­one,” says Jeff Pineau, the leg­endary bar’s booker/igniter of good times. He also cred­its the his­toric char­ac­ter and the ded­i­cated bar staff for adding to the venue’s rep­u­ta­tion for re­li­ably great party throw­ing. “The Sea­horse is a very wel­com­ing and warm venue, and I think peo­ple feel that as soon as they step in the doors.” BEST PLACE FOR A FIRST DATE

GOLD Hal­i­fax water­front SIL­VER The Board Room Game Cafe BRONZE Still­well Beer­gar­den Although there’s cur­rently some con­struc­tion go­ing on, the water­front is still pretty damn ro­man­tic, and it doesn’t cost you a dime to take a stroll along the board­walk. It’s hard to re­sist spend­ing some cash while you’re there, how­ever. There are restau­rants, cafes, places to grab an ice cream (see Best Ice Cream) as well as a beer gar­den dur­ing the sum­mer. Choose your own ad­ven­ture. There’s also the wave statue that you’re not sup­posed to climb but ev­ery­one does any­way. BEST PLACE TO DANCE

GOLD The Sea­horse Tav­ern SIL­VER Re­flec­tions Cabaret BRONZE Boomer’s Lounge If you’ve never felt the ceil­ing of The Sea­horse drip on your shoul­der thanks to the con­den­sa­tion of hun­dreds of hot (lit­er­ally) bod­ies danc­ing like no­body’s watch­ing, you haven’t lived. The up-close­and-per­sonal vibe of this cave-like bar has decades of clout with lo­cal party an­i­mals, but we’re bet­ting this gold win comes thanks to reg­u­larly oc­cur­ring events like The Jam, Retro Night, That ’90s Night, It Felt Like A Kiss, Home Bass and The Mel­lotones, which pro­vide the ban­gin’ sound­track. And of course, ev­ery sin­gle per­son who’s busted a move on The Sea­horse’s close quar­ters dance floor this year— you’re all cham­pi­ons. BEST PLACE TO GO RUN­NING

GOLD Point Pleas­ant Park SIL­VER Shu­bie Park BRONZE Salt Marsh Trail Go­ing for a run is less of a chore when you have a pretty place to do it, and for most of our read­ers, Point Pleas­ant Park is that very place. The scenery’s nice, yes, in­clud­ing views of the har­bour—but the best part is ar­guably all the dogs you’ll see on your run. And you won’t have to worry about cars. Fun fact: The park is ac­tu­ally owned by the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment, and HRM pays a shilling a year to lease it. BEST PLACE TO GO SWIM­MING

GOLD Rain­bow Haven Beach SIL­VER Crys­tal Cres­cent Beach BRONZE Canada Games Cen­tre At­lantic wa­ters may be cold, but the ma­jor­ity of Coast read­ers agree the beach is the best place to take a dip around here. In par­tic­u­lar, the sand-and-cob­ble Rain­bow Haven hits the top spot. It doesn’t hurt that its name sounds like some­thing out of a fairy­tale, but that’s prob­a­bly not why the Cow Bay beach got all those votes. It may have some­thing to do with the showers and change houses on-site, eas­ily nav­i­ga­ble board­walk and the killer view. This Haven’s one of the pret­ti­est places to kick back and re­lax, or brave the waves and dive in. BEST PLACE TO PLAY POOL

GOLD Dooly’s, Port­land Street SIL­VER Bearly’s House of Blues & Ribs BRONZE Free­man’s Lit­tle New York, Grafton Af­ter be­ing usurped in 2016, Dooly’s is back on top as the Best Place To Play Pool in HRM. Specif­i­cally, it’s the Port­land Street lo­ca­tion that strikes gold this year. While Dooly’s is a chain—there are five of ’em in town—it’s a busi­ness born in the Mar­itimes with a comfy and re­laxed vibe vot­ers seem to love. Bearly’s is com­ing in hot at the sil­ver spot, while the Free­man’s Grafton Street lo­ca­tion takes bronze (be­cause, let’s face it, pizza and pool sounds swell).


GOLD Nova Sco­tia SPCA SIL­VER IWK Health Cen­tre BRONZE Feed Nova Sco­tia

Of course the SPCA is the best place to vol­un­teer. It’s true that there is no short­age of good causes to help out with around HRM, but who wouldn’t want to be sur­rounded by an­i­mals all day? To vol­un­teer at the Dart­mouth lo­ca­tion of the SPCA, most roles re­quire you to be over 18 years of age. Vol­un­teer teams in­clude cat cud­dlers and dog walk­ers (THE DREAM), shel­ter greeters and fos­ter fin­ders. BEST PLACE TO WALK YOUR DOG

GOLD Point Pleas­ant Park SIL­VER Shu­bie Park BRONZE Long Lake Pro­vin­cial Park As long as your doggo likes other dog­gos, Point Pleas­ant Park is the best place to bring your good boy (or girl). There is plenty of space for pup­pers to do zoomies. Com­mon dog­gos, spe­cial dog­gos, smol dog­gos and heckin’ big floofers are all al­lowed. Just make sure to be ex­cel­lent and nice by keep­ing your doggo on a leash un­less you are in a marked off-leash area—you don’t want to do a frighten to any other dog­gos or hoomans.






BEST BAR­BER Phat Luong, Phat’s Bar­ber Shop

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