BEST PLACE TO DANCE
The Seahorse Tavern
BEST ACTIVIST GOLD El Jones SILVER Carly Sutherland BRONZE Rana Zaman There really are no losers in the Best Activist category. A single individual calling for change; a single act of resistance means just as much, can have just as much impact, is just as brave as all those fighting the good fight. Which is not to undercut the sheer volume of inspirational labour El Jones continues to do for this city. The Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Study at Mount Saint Vincent University has spent another year speaking out against racism in the Maritimes and fighting against injustices like Canada’s failure of Abdoul Abdi and the prison conditions inside Central Nova. Jones takes home her fourth straight win as Best Activist in Halifax but she shares it with a city full of strong hearts. Winners, all. BEST ACTIVIST ORGANIZATION GOLD Youth Project SILVER Autism Nova Scotia BRONZE YWCA Halifax Well, this is awkward. In the days leading up to this issue, news broke that Kate Shewan, executive director of the Youth Project, has been suspended pending an external investigation into “workplace environment and office culture.” A public statement on the LGBTQ+ non profit’s website says all workshops and internal programming are also cancelled for the next two months. Meanwhile, an “extraordinary general meeting” will be held November 24 at the Glitter Bean Cafe. Whatever’s happening, we’re sure all the Youth Project’s supporters want to see the organization tackle this situation with openness and accountability—so the city’s Best Activist Organization can resume offering its much-needed programs and supports.
BEST ATHLETE GOLD Ellie Black SILVER Jill Saulnier BRONZE Courtney Baker Canada’s greatest gymnast vaults to another first-place finish atop a podium of all-female candidates in this year’s competition for Best Athlete. Black’s accomplishments are too many to name, but nonetheless worth noting. This year, she was honoured as the youngest inclusion in the provincial Sport Hall of Fame’s Top 15 Athletes in Nova Scotian History. Black came in ranked number 12 of all time, even at the young age of 22, and as one of only three honourees still actively competing. The two-time Olympian isn’t showing any signs of slowing down either, having recently won gold at the World Challenge Cup. She’s joined by Olympian and team Canada hockey star, Saulnier and Dalhousie volleyball standout and national team player, Baker. BEST BLOGGER
GOLD Arthur Gaudreau,
Halifax ReTales SILVER Kate Ross, Halifax Noise BRONZE Kayla Short, Short Presents It’s a golden year for Arthur Gaudreau—the brains behind the ubiquitous Halifax ReTales brand— and not just because he’s picked up a repeat win as Best Blogger. Earlier this fall, ReTales also made the transition to print media. Gaudreau has partnered with the
Chronicle Herald for a newspaper version of his popular weekly web updates on Halifax’s openings, closings and other sundry business items. The man himself also got married this year. All told, not too shabby of a 2018.
BEST COMMUNITY PROJECT GOLD Hope Blooms SILVER Feed Nova Scotia BRONZE Common Roots Urban Farm There’s a riot of giggling noises as Jessie Jollymore answers the phone, struggling to be heard over the din. The executive director at Hope Blooms is in the midst of a product launch planning meeting with some of the organization’s younger entrepreneurs, a group of girls under 12. “The older youth do the dressing and their younger siblings and some younger kids wanted to know about making something from nothing and about putting some good into the world.” To start, the all-girls group is launching a hibiscus tea with notes of blueberry that features fair-trade leaves harvested by single mothers in Senegal. While the brew hits shelves mid-November, Hope Blooms is keeping busy with other initiatives like a book launch on November 20 and a mentoring system that’ll help other youth groups build their own community gardens and small businesses. “We want to turn the product into doing good,” Jollymore adds.
BEST COUNCILLOR GOLD Lindell Smith SILVER Waye Mason BRONZE Sam Austin The councillor disputes these rankings, for the record. Smith assumed the winners would go Sam Austin in first place, Waye Mason for silver and then, maybe, himself. Don’t get him wrong. He’s “100 percent grateful and thankful” to all the people who voted for him and “everyone who’s been patient with me as a councillor in learning the ropes” over the past two years. But Smith says he’s tried to keep a semi-low profile over the past 12 months as he gets ready for the second explosive half of his first term. Hopefully come the next re-election, he adds, if his residents want to see him come back he can let loose and have a little more fun with the often Sisyphean slog of municipal governance.
BEST DRAG PERFORMER GOLD Elle Noir SILVER Bridget Von Snaps BRONZE Farrah Moan When, after days of trying to connect for an interview, Chris Cochrane’s intense schedule finally allows a phone call, the makeup artist, actor and drag performer is understandably exhausted. Fresh off the set from Stage Mother— a Thom Fitzgerald-directed flick dropping next year that has Cochrane on deck as makeup artist, actor, and trans and drag consultant— Cochrane is full of thoughts about why she snagged gold. “What sets me apart is that I’m very diverse. All the new queens wanna be Beyonce and Britney but you gotta know the older girls like Tina and Cher,” she says, adding she makes all of her own costumes and is the