Posts Tagged ‘Halifax’

Aside from Stuart McLean, I can think of few people capable of distilling a town’s essence to mere words, and I am certainly not one of them. Nonetheless, pressed as I am with the choice between fumbling my feelings towards a dear city that I have just left, and saying nothing at all, the former seems immeasurably more desirable.

It occurs to me that the songs and stories that best express what it means to be in Halifax or Nova Scotia are the ones about moving away from here. Songs like Farewell to Nova Scotia, Joel Plaskett’s Love This Town [see below], Stan Rogers’ The Idiot; books like Alistair MacLeod’s No Great Mischief; films like Donald Shebib’s Goin’ Down the Road. I don’t know what it says about a place that those are the stories that resonate. It might say more about me. (more…)


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Mi’kmaq figures view Halifax from across the harbour.

Well, I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m feeling the post-turkey melatonin hangover this week. Three feasts and a few left overs besides have left my poor, would-be vegetarian stomach in recovery mode, after this most North American of holidays. Thanksgiving, we are told, began with the sharing of harvests between settlers and indigenous peoples in early colonial North America, and continues to be associated with the “harmonious” nature of colonial relationships in popular culture today (if not always within family traditions).

That much is contentious – perhaps offensive – but the holiday is at least a reminder of the nature of our settler society. We, the relative newcomers to Canada, have not always been here, and yet we are seldom reminded of this fact (or its implications), because settler society has by and large marginalized the voices of the societies that preceded it. So, allow me take advantage of the holiday to go back to those early colonial days to tell a settler origin story. (more…)

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Several weeks ago, after more than several years of living in Halifax, I finally got around to exploring one of our local national historic sites – the Halifax Citadel. Along with some new friends from Boston and busload of history-savvy seniors, I went along for the full deal: the college students with egregious 18th century facial hair, the bagpiping, and, of course, the tour. About half-way into ours, at the bottom of a grassy trench, another couple of students gave our guide a break to give a special presentation about the War of 1812.

Celebrating 200 years of child soldiers – boy scouts play War of 1812.

Funny that. Was Halifax ever militarily engaged during the war? Weren’t the states of New England that shared our border overwhelming against that little imperial adventure? Don’t get me wrong – those students earned their tuition this year – but I left unsure as to why exactly they were showcasing this event here, in the Halifax Citadel, of all places, and to a busload of seniors, of all people. (more…)

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