In the harbour


1. Nova Star


The company that operates the Yarmouth Ferry has published its monthly activity report:

Passenger sales are strong. We exceeded our June target for passengers and are pleased to report a 26 per cent increase over June of last year. In June 2015 of this year we had 8,530 passengers, compared to 6,768 in June of 2014. We are on track to meet our goal of 80,000 passengers for the 2015 season and if the trend continues, we will exceed our goal for 2015. 

Well, maybe. But as the Yarmouth Vanguard points out:

In 2014 Nova Star had also carried 2,924 passengers in May over 15 days. This year the service only began June 1.

So actually, by the end of June last year the ferry had carried 1,162 more passengers than it has by the end of June this year.

I get a kick out of this part of the Nova Star release:

Our social media team has been hard at work growing both our follower bases by around 10% in the last couple of months.

As of this morning, the Nova Star Twitter account has 2,052 followers. For comparison’s sake, the Halifax Noon Gun Twitter account, which tweets nothing besides “boom” every day at noon, has 2,306 followers.

2. Drunkenness and rowdiness

“The Canada Day concert at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth on Wednesday night was cut short because of ‘drunkenness and rowdiness’ of some outside the venue, says a police spokesman,” reports Metro. This comes “after a stabbing and a shooting at the free annual concert last year.”

This is becoming a Halifax Dartmouth tradition. As I wrote last year:

This is neither here nor there, but a few years ago I went with friends to watch the Canada Day fireworks from the foot of Best Street, on the Dartmouth waterfront near the Macdonald Bridge. About 50 people, mostly families with small children, were present, and all were having a good time until two jackasses got in an obscenity-laden fistfight, generally ruining the experience for everyone. Something about Canada Day, I guess.

3. Dingle

The Dingle. Photo: Canadian Encyclopedia
The Dingle. Photo: Canadian Encyclopedia

City press release:

Thursday, July 2, 2015 (Halifax, NS) – The Halifax Regional Municipality regrets to inform citizens the Memorial (Dingle) Tower in Sir Sandford Fleming Park is closed until further notice.

Vandals struck inside the tower earlier this week, leaving the structure in a state municipal officials believe is unsafe for public access.

Specifically, a safety screen at the top of the tower has been kicked out, meaning the potential exists for visitors to access unsafe parts of the century old building.

A sign notifying the public of the closure will be placed over the entrance to the tower.

4. Duck, Duck, Go

An RCMP press release from yesterday:

At 9:45 a.m., RCMP, EHS, Wolfville, Hantsport and Greenwich Fire Departments responded to a 911 call of a two vehicle collision involving a car and a motorcycle. A preliminary investigation has determined that a black vehicle travelling westbound stopped to allow a family of ducks to cross the road. A small westbound car stopped behind the black vehicle and was rear-ended by the motorcycle also travelling westbound. The male rider in his 60s from Upper Rawdon was seriously injured. EHS Lifeflight was called and the male was transported to hospital. The driver of the car was not hurt. 

RCMP is requesting public assistance in locating the black vehicle as it did not remain on the scene of the collision. RCMP would like to advise the public that Highway 101 will be closed to traffic between exit 10 (Grand Pre) and exit 11 (Wolfville) until further notice. An RCMP Traffic Analyst has been called in to assist in the investigation. The collision is still under investigation. 


1. Mills

Mills issued the following press release yesterday:

HALIFAX – After 96 years in business on Halifax’s Spring Garden Road, Mills Halifax closed its doors for the last time on Tuesday, June 30.

The company was placed in receivership at close of business Tuesday. Peter Wedlake of Grant Thornton was named the receiver to manage Mills Halifax’s responsibilities to its creditors, suppliers and employees. Wedlake, along with owners Lisa Gallivan and Candace Thomas, informed the company’s 20 full-time and part-time employees at a meeting this morning.

“This is a sad day for the people who work at Mills, as well as their families, the people who shop at Mills and the people who sell to Mills. Clearly, there will be difficult days and weeks ahead through the receivership process,” said Lisa Gallivan and Candace Thomas, co-owners of Mills. “As this historic chapter of Halifax retail history comes to an end, we would like to say thank you to everyone who supported Mills for close to a century of being in business in Halifax – customers, managers, employees, suppliers and past owners. Mills was a beloved shopping destination and holds a special place in the hearts of many Nova Scotians – making today all the more difficult.”

Mills and Thomas were part of an ownership group that purchased Mills in 2012, becoming the sole shareholders earlier this year.

“By investing in Mills close to three years ago, my business partners and I had hoped to better position this iconic company to succeed in a dramatically changing retail environment,” added Gallivan and Thomas. “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, as is the case with many other traditional retailers in Canada and the United States, it became clear that we would not be able to generate enough business to continue for the long term.”  

Gallivan and Thomas will co-operate fully with the appointed receiver to help him manage the sale of the firm’s assets to repay as many creditors as possible. Any and all questions related to the receivership process should be put to Peter Wedlake at Grant Thornton at 902-453-6600 or 

The closure provided Stephen Archibald an excellent opportunity to break out his photos from 1969:

I was trying to get a picture of life on the “high street” to be used in the advertising section of the Dalhousie Yearbook.

A very special wicker perambulator (with a baby in it) had been left outside Mills while the mother went in to shop. This was standard practice at the time — it would be stranger to see someone try to take a baby carriage into a shop. I took a series of shots hoping one would be useful.

Photo: Stephen Archibald
Photo: Stephen Archibald

Archibald also explains that “Liberty” sign above the doorway.

2. Roger Taylor says obvious stuff

I missed it, but the other day Roger Taylor went on about how Quebec is poised to out-compete Halifax for port business:

On Monday, [Quebec Premier Philippe] Couillard unveiled a “maritime strategy,” a detailed five-year, $1.5-billion plan to build up Quebec as an international entry point for eastern North America. It is structured around Canada’s expected free-trade deal with the European Union, and Quebec is counting on more container traffic as a result.


The new Quebec strategy has the potential to undo much of what Canada’s Atlantic Gateway has been working toward for the past several years.

The Atlantic Gateway and Trade Corridor has been promoting Maritime ports as being strategically located, able to connect North America with global markets.

A collaboration between Ottawa, the four Atlantic provinces and the private sector, Atlantic Gateway has been boasting about being at least one day closer to Europe than any other port on the eastern seaboard, and within a three-day drive to more than half the population of North America.

Montreal, meanwhile, has continued to be one of the busiest and largest ports on the Canadian east coast. Couillard refers it as “a hidden jewel” not well enough known, even in Canada.

His plan now calls for Montreal to be better promoted as a container terminal, while at the same time improving port efficiency by upgrading transportation infrastructure, including maritime transportation logistics hubs in in Vaudreuil-Soulanges, west of the city, and in Contrecoeur, to the north of Montreal.

No shit, Sherlock. As I’ve said repeatedly:

There’s the notion that because Nova Scotia is the part of mainland North America closest to Europe, it is perfectly placed to become a mega-transhipment point. But as I said before, this is 180 degrees wrong. Shippers don’t want the closest port to Europe; they want the port farthest from Europe, or at least the one closest to the ultimate destination of their goods.

The Atlantic Gateway has always been a scam, an idea that sounds just plausible enough to keep a bunch of economic development grifters, second tier academics, and think tank shysters employed promoting the delusion. But any real thought given to the matter will quickly reveal that Halifax will never be able to compete against the ports of Norfolk, Charleston, New York, and now I guess Montreal.

3. All about meeeeee!

Chantal Braganza, an associate editor at J-Source, writes about the Halifax Examiner.

4. Cranky letter of the day

To the Chronicle Herald:

Of the 100 people newly appointed to the Order Of Canada, 50 reside in Ontario (32 in Toronto alone), with Quebec a far second at 16. Seven provinces shared the remaining 34. No appointments came from P.E.I. or any of the territories.

Such a blatant concentration of appointees in one province is an affront to the rest of the country. Surely there are many Canadians, living throughout this great country (not just in Ontario) who deserve to be recognized for their outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

A more balanced approach to the appointment process is warranted. Congratulations to the four Nova Scotians who received this honour.

Bob Wornell, Dartmouth


No public meetings.

In the harbour

The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Friday. Map:
The seas around Nova Scotia, 8:30am Friday. Map:

Herma P, container ship, New York to Fairview Cove East
Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, Saint-Pierre to Pier 36
Maersk Palermo, container ship, Quebec to HalTerm (arrives tomorrow morning)
Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro cargo, St. John’s to Pier 41
Glovis Caravel, car carrier, Civitavecchia, Italy, to anchor


A very slow news week. And I’m waaaaay behind on emails. I see them. I’ll start answering them later today.

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Happier times at Mills:

    News stories are blaming taxes and panhandlers, but the Globe story suggests significant downsizing, hands-off investors with little experience, and a change in target customer may have been factors.

    “Now she and her partners have bought the Mills name and the contents of the nearly 8,000 square foot store. They are keeping the manager and the 13 other staff members, but they did not buy the Mills Tudor-style building. Instead, the women are redeveloping a 9,000 square foot space just a few doors down from where Mills is now. They purchased Mills from a local developer, who had significantly scaled down the original department store from 37,000 square feet.”

    “…and they acknowledge that although they have little experience with retail fashion – except that they all love to shop – they are counting on safety in numbers. There has to be for their plan to work: None of the women are planning to leave their day jobs.”

    “Their dream is to bring a new modern focus to the fairly traditional store, and bring in new contemporary brands so that women don’t have to leave the province to find an interesting cocktail dress, business suit or a great pair of shoes.”

  2. I think Halifax deserves a huge amount of compensation for the building of the St Lawrence Seaway.

  3. I hate to rise to the bait, but the “drunken Dartmouthians” teaser in The Examiner email really isn’t fair. I’d hazard a guess that the rowdy drunks represented communities from all across Halifax.

    1. I’ve lived in dartmouth and in halifax. I’ve never had to call the cops in halifax. I’ve never seen a toddler in the street at 2AM in halifax. I’ve never had my neighbours broken into at gunpoint in halifax. I’ve never had a police officer say “it’s not worth filing a report about your smashed car window, they’ll just retaliate” and refuse to press charges. I’ve never… you get the point.

      There are good neighbourhoods sure. But Dartmouth’s reputation is warranted.