Today is the last day of the Examiner’s November subscription drive. Over the last month, we shared why we all love being part of the Examiner team and why our subscribers are so important to our work. When you support the Examiner, you’re doing more than supporting local journalism. You’re supporting writers, like me, who get to work with an amazing team. We also get paid well and on time. I want to thank all of you who have supported us for years, those who subscribed this year and this month, and those who will subscribe today (you can do it!)
New annual subscribers (over $100) will get a free t-shirt. If you want other swag, like a hoodie — which is really soft on the inside — we have that on the website, too. Click here to check out that swag. And click here to subscribe.
1. COVID-19 update: 10 new cases
The Halifax Examiner is providing all COVID-19 articles for free.
Tim Bousquet has the update on COVID-19. There are 10 new cases, all of which are in the Central Zone. The total number of active cases is 125.
Here is the graph of new daily cases and seven-day rolling average for the second wave
And the graph of active daily caseload for the duration of the pandemic:
2. “Saving lives is more important than business”
Stephen Kimber looks back at the new restrictions put in place across the province and HRM last week. There were the restrictions from the government, of course, but many businesses themselves decided to close down before those restrictions were announced. That included bars and restaurants, led by recommendations from the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia. Neptune Theatre cancelled opening night of the theatre’s annual staging of Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. And the Mooseheads cancelled games. About all this, Kimber says:
Having seen, even briefly and incompletely, a dim light at the end of this long dark tunnel, my sense is that we collectively are ready to accept a little more short-term pain now.
Make no mistake. There will be pain. For restaurants and bars and small businesses, and their employees in particular. Which is why it’s important for those of us who are lucky enough not to be suffering the financial pain of the closures directly to find ways — take-out, local online ordering, etc. — to help our neighbours get through this too.
3. The Tideline is now available for all
This item is written by Tim Bousquet.
We’re seven weeks into The Tideline podcast, so as an inducement, we’ve made all seven episodes free for all.
You can download The Tideline on Spotify or Google Podcasts; it will show up on Apple soon, but it’s not there yet. However, we’ve also added each of the seven episodes to the Examineradio podcast feed, which is available on Apple, so you can get them there if that’s your preferred aggregator. The other aggregators will catch up with both feeds eventually.
The idea behind The Tideline is to produce a subscriber-supported local arts and entertainment podcast. We think $5/month is a reasonable and affordable price to support independent arts journalism.
Here’s how it works:
Click here to subscribe to The Tideline. It takes just a few simple clicks to subscribe via your credit card, and then you’ll be sent an email with a link to a premium feed to The Tideline, which will work on any of the regular podcast aggregators and players.
There is no other way to subscribe, and subscriptions to The Tideline cannot be bundled with other Examiner subscriptions.
After the first seven non-premium episodes that are now available, only premium subscribers will get the Thursday episode. Non-premium subscribers will get every other episode on Friday, but except for a stub asking you to subscribe, half the episodes won’t be available to non-premium subscribers at all.
This is, frankly, an experiment. The Examiner believes in community-supported journalism, and we think The Tideline can demonstrate that that model will work for a locally-focused entertainment podcast as well. The goal is to pay Tara a good wage, and at least come close to covering the Examiner’s costs. We’ve set some time and subscription goals, and if we meet those, all good! If not, we’ll revisit.
Advertising doesn’t work for small-scale local journalism, whether it’s for straight news reporting, arts reporting, or otherwise. It takes reader and listener financial support.
I hope to use the (free) Examineradio podcast feed more often for one-offs and special reporting, and tomorrow we’ll use it to publish a special “Ask Me Anything” podcast that’s ready to go. I’m supportive of audio and podcasts, but while people have asked me to consider bringing on other reporters in an audio format, this is an emerging field, and I’m not going to risk the financial health of the Examiner until and unless I get some sense that people will actually put money forward to pay for it.
So if you support independent local journalism, and if you want to see more audio reporting from the Examiner, please subscribe to The Tideline.
4. Halifax Convention Centre to lose $11.1 million this year
Zane Woodford reports on the total losses for the Halifax Convention Centre for the current fiscal year, which add up to $11,096,000. That makes the new deficit $5,493,000 higher than forecast pre-pandemic.
The 2020-2021 Events East Business Plan is on council’s agenda Tuesday. Events East is the Crown corporation that runs the convention centre. Woodford writes:
According to the attached staff report, prepared by regional recreation services manager Maggie MacDonald, provincial Business Minister Geoff MacLellan and municipal chief administrative officer Jacques Dubé gave Events East permission in March to defer the tabling of its business plan.
“The request to defer was based on the uncertainty created by and exceptional circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health restrictions particularly on large gatherings,” MacDonald wrote.
“At the time the deferral was requested to June 2020. Due to on-going uncertainty and changing public health guidelines, the business plan was submitted to the Minister and CAO by new board chair Nancy MacCready-Williams on October 8, 2020.”
The new plan is “focused on the safe resumption of event activity and supporting the community and economy through recovery from the pandemic and its impacts.”
The pandemic has had a predictably devastating impact on the convention centre’s ability to host events, and the business plan assumes it won’t be hosting any major events for the rest of this fiscal year — until April 2021.
5. Hope for geese after all
Zane Woodford reports on the geese of Sullivan’s Pond, who are now at their winter home at Hope for Wildlife in Seaforth. The animal rescue won a contract to continue providing winter shelter to the birds. There was one other bidder on the tender. Woodford writes:
The municipality will pay Hope for Wildlife $10,800 for a three-year term. That price is inclusive of “round-up, capture and transport” of the geese; food and water for eight to 12 geese from Nov. 20 to April 20; a report before returning the geese to the pond outlining “any outstanding health or behavioral issues;” and transport of the geese back to the pond.
It’s really challenging not writing any foul puns about this story.
Hidden hero of the Halifax Explosion
David Woods was set to stage a reading of his play, Extraordinary Acts, at the Halifax Central Library with Voices Black Theatre, later this week as part of the remembrance ceremonies for the 103rd anniversary of the Halifax Explosion. But new COVID-19 restrictions around public gatherings put an end to that. Woods’ play tells the stories of the experiences of the Black community during the explosion. It’s inspired by the acts of people we rarely, if ever, hear about in the telling of the explosion. I’m sure many of us know about the heroics of Vince Coleman, the train dispatcher who sent a message stopping a train that was heading to the city, and then died in the explosion. But how many of us have heard the name Dr. Clement Ligoure and stories of his heroics?
Woods started researching the stories of the Black community and the Explosion back in 2015, with the goal of creating a play to be staged on the 100th anniversary of the explosion. The play centres on the stories of five lives, including Dr. Ligoure; Rev. Capt. William White, a preacher and co-founder with the No. 2 Construction Battalion; James Johnston, the first Nova Scotia-born Black lawyer and an advocate for the establishment of the Halifax Colored Institute; H.D. Nicholas, semi-fictionalized character, a porter and pioneer jazz entertainer; and Edith Macdonald-Brown, a painter from Africville (there’s more of her story in this blog over at Her Art Story, which mentions how Woods uncovered Macdonald- Brown’s unknown story).
That play never happened, although Woods did stage Black Explosion, a one-hour reading that included Wanda Robson, whose sister, Viola Desmond, was three years old when the explosion happened; in the reading were also Wanda Lewis, who did a dramatic impersonation of Macdonald-Brown, and Geraldine Browning, a descendent of Andrew Upshaw, one of the Black victims of the explosion.
Last week, Woods shared details of his play and the lives of its characters on his Facebook page, and he included a list of members of the Black community who were killed in the explosion. Click here to read that.
Woods and I spoke on Saturday about his research, and in particular the story of Dr. Ligoure — his heroics, and his life in Halifax before, during, and after the explosion. Woods says he knew about Dr. Ligoure, but learned so much more during his research.
I always wanted to do something with his story. I knew he had a hospital and they said he was a hero. I didn’t know the extent of his heroism.
Ligoure’s life is a story not only of his heroics, but of the barriers he faced here and elsewhere.
Born in Trinidad, Ligoure came to Halifax after studying medicine at Queen’s University, which would later go on to expel Black students from its medical programs. Ligoure was Nova Scotia’s first Black physician. (The Queens University Journal wrote this article on the expulsion and highlighted the careers of some of its students, including Ligoure).
Ligoure and William White co-founded the No. 2 Construction Battalion and recruited Black soldiers. Ligoure was set to be the battalion’s chief medical officer, but he couldn’t take on that role — he was told by the defence department that he failed the medical exam by one point and was unable to join the battalion. During his research, Woods connected with the great-granddaughter of Lieutenant Colonel D.H. Sutherland, who shared with Woods her great grandfather’s letters. The letters contained details of Ligoure’s betrayal by the department of defence.
Ligoure also took over as the publisher of the Atlantic Advocate, the first newspaper for African Canadians, whose founding publisher W. A. DeCosta left Halifax to join the war effort as a member of the No. 2 Construction Battalion. It was through the four surviving issues of the newspaper that Woods collected his research and stories that inspired Extraordinary Acts. (Click here to read those four issues online at The Nova Scotia Archives).
In Halifax, Ligoure was denied hospital privileges, so he established the Amanda Hospital on North Street. His hospital served as a dressing station for the injured from the Halifax Explosion. Ligoure treated almost 200 patients there, at no charge. Says Woods:
This man saved hundreds of lives. In the two weeks after the explosion, I don’t think the man even slept. At nighttime, he would go to their homes. For two weeks, night and day, that’s literally all he did.
Here’s text from Ligoure’s testimonial about the aftermath of the explosion (Click here to listen to a audio reenactment of the testimonial).
Immediately after the Explosion, my office was filled with the injured. I was the only doctor in the Cotton Factory and Willow Park district. Very severe cases, jaws cut, noses off. One hand hanging off (this has since been saved). My only assistance was my housekeeper and H.D. Nicholas, a Pullman porter who boarded with me. In spite of the warning of a second explosion I worked steadily till 8 pm. Some people who had been turned away from the hospital came to my office. Seven people spent the night in my office, laid upon blankets. On December 7th, 8th and 9th, I worked steadily both night and day, doing outside work at night. Monday, I went to City Hall and told Lieut. Ryecroft of RSA Medical Relief of the urgent need of a dressing station in his district. There was an immediate response, and I was given two nurses Mrs. Monpetit and Miss Walsh of Montreal to work in my office. Work was still very heavy. Eight more nurses were sent and six to do district work. Also Private Sutherland A.M.C, T. Henso, HMS, and Captain Dr. Parker, assistant M.O. It was called No. 4 Dressing Station. Upwards of 10 people were dressed per day. It carried on until December 28th.
I have not charged a cent to anyone since the Explosion and still do relief work, for which I use a motor. At present I have upwards of 51 cases due to the explosion and the conditions it created. They are scattered over Hungry Hill, the Lady Hammond Road, Willow Park etc. On Sunday December 9th in the blizzard which turned to rain, about 1 am I went to Willow Park. The horse was up to his knees in the drifts. Returned to his office. A woman on Hungry Hill sent for him, saying she was dying of convulsions. I reached her home to find her calmly eating an apple. I returned to my office at 3 am. A man and a woman were waiting for me and arguing as to whom I should accompany home first. One lived on Gottingen the other on Windsor Street. I took the woman home first, thus enraging the man. I attended to both cases arriving home exhausted at 6:15 am, when I snatched half an hour’s sleep.”
Afua Cooper, historian and Halifax’s former poet laureate, wrote this poem about the explosion that includes Ligoure.
Ligoure lived in Halifax for several years. He eventually closed his hospital and bought a house in Schmidtville, but he died shortly thereafter after a life of service. Says Woods:
He was very altruistic and I wonder if he wasn’t overwhelmed. He died at age 32 and there’s absolutely no records. And I don’t understand why there’s no funeral, no mention in the local newspaper. The vital records are not there. All we have is him purchasing a house and a couple months later, he’s dead.
Woods says he would like to get Ligoure on a stamp during African Heritage Month, and he’d like the city to officially honour Ligoure and his contributions. And Woods says he’d like to get a partner to help him stage Extraordinary Acts in 2021 — he’s already reached out to theatre companies. Woods wants more people to know his story.
Everything reveals more and more and more. This is a story that’s a whole bunch of Canadiana. He was connected to everything. I didn’t start off knowing about all these things. Every thread I followed in the research led to another bigger thing.
One thing I hope to achieve is that Ligoure become a known entity. If that, at least, is achieved because no matter what people do, no matter what doubts they have, everything is provable.
Woods’ research goes well beyond the story of Ligoure. He also created a list of members of the Black community who were killed in the explosion. Back in 2017, Troy Adams, an African-Nova Scotia actor who was in the play Lullaby: Inside the Halifax Explosion, about racism during the explosion, talked about the inaccuracies in an exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic that said only one person from Africville died in the explosion. Sherri Borden Colley with CBC wrote this story after talking with Adams, who did his own research on the Black community and the explosion.
The museum has a photo of Ligoure online here and a photo of a badge from the No. 2 Construction Battalion, mentioning Ligoure’s connection. There are also mentions of Africville here. I contacted the museum to see if they included more details in the exhibit since 2017, but haven’t heard back. I’ll update this when I do.
Speaking of the Halifax Explosion, the Nova Scotia Archives has an online transcription tool that allows anyone to go online and transcribe the thousands of records online. The archives recently added records from Archibald MacMechan, who worked at the Halifax Disaster Record Office from 1917 to 1918. The records include newspaper clippings, copies of reports, memoranda, and MacMechan’s own personal memories of the events.
The transcribing tool is pretty easy to use. You just type in your name and start searching records you want to transcribe. The archives is continually adding new records. Final transcribed records will be shared online for anyone searching.
Community Services (Tuesday, 9am, Province House) — Families Plus Program, with the Department of Community Services and Family Services of Eastern Nova Scotia; also agenda setting. More info here.
Health (Tuesday, 1pm, Province House) — Nova Scotia Health Authority; Dr. Beed and the ongoing work with organ and tissue donation. More info here.
Digital Diplomacy and International Organisations (Monday, 11am) — book launch and panel discussion with co-editors Cornelia Bjola from Oxford University and Ruben Zaiotti from Dalhousie, joined by contributors to their new volume. More info and link here.
Woodwind student recital (Monday, 11:30am) — via Zoom, students of Patricia Creighton, Eileen Walsh, and Brian James. Link here.
Practising Social Work from a Two‑Eyed Perspective (Monday, 5:30pm) — interactive conversation with Mi’kmaq Social Workers , with speakers Kristen Basque, Dorene Bernard and Ann Sylliboy. Info and link here.
Machinal (Tuesday, 7:45am) — pre-recorded performance of Sophie Treadwell’s 1928 play, by students of the Fountain School of Performing Arts. More info and link here.
The Food Security Project: Cooking with Andy Hay (Tuesday, 12pm) — In this 20-minute cooking class, Andy will teach attendees how to prepare a simple, delicious meal with easy-to-obtain ingredients. More info and link here.
Advancing a structural approach to preventing intimate partner violence (Tuesday, 1pm) — Alexa Yakubovich from the Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto will talk.
Intimate partner violence is estimated to affect at least 1 in 3 women, making it the most common form of violence perpetrated against women and more prevalent than some of the top diseases among women, including breast cancer. While there is ample research on intimate partner violence, few studies have rigorously investigated the relationship between intimate partner violence and community- or structural-level factors and many gaps remain in our understanding of what works for structural prevention of this violence. In this talk, I will demonstrate why and how a structural approach to intimate partner violence needs advancing in terms of both etiologic theories and preventive interventions using as examples my research on neighbourhood deprivation and intimate partner violence and housing solutions for survivors. In the process I will show how epidemiologic methods and interdisciplinary collaborations are critical to this work and will ultimately generate evidence for the design, implementation, and evaluation of intersectoral approaches that reduce social inequities in violence and its negative consequences.
The four squares problem and its application in operator approximation (Tuesday, 2:30pm) — Xiaoning Bian will
first walk through an algorithm of Rabin and Shallit that efficiently solves the four-square Diophantine equation n=x^2+y^2+z^2+w^2. The efficiency comes from the use of randomness – there are enough “good seed numbers”, so by randomly choosing a number, it is likely that we can hit a good seed that will grow into a solution. Then, I will explain how this algorithm can be adapted to solve the problem of approximating any 2×2 unitary using matrices of a certain kind. The resulting algorithm is a “baby” version of Ross and Selinger’s algorithm.
Link here. Bring your own seeds.
Architecture travel exhibition opening (Tuesday, 6pm) — students who received a scholarship to travel pre- or mid-pandemic will present their findings. Info and link here.
In the harbour
05:30: Grande Houston, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Davisville, Rhode Island
10:00: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Montreal
11:30: Grande Houston sails for sea
15:00: Dalian Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
16:00: Tropic Hope, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for Palm Beach, Florida
19:15: Acadian, oil tanker, arrives at Irving Oil from Saint John
My kid has a birthday coming up and I asked what she’d like as a gift. She gave me permission to share her response:
“A vaccine, a normal life, to go to prom, and for Boston Pizza to put the chipotle chicken burger back on its menu.”
This article was amended on November 30 to correct the spelling in various names. Thank you to the readers who spotted the errors.