On campus
In the harbour


1. Gloria McCluskey could not be more wrong

The bust of Gloria McCluskey is displayed in the sales office at the King's Wharf development. Photo: Halifax Examiner
The bust of Gloria McCluskey is displayed in the sales office at the King’s Wharf development. Photo: Halifax Examiner

Last week Halifax council rejected a proposal to begin the planning process for developing the privately held land in the proposed Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes wilderness park boundaries, agreeing instead to direct staff to find a way to buy that land. As I wrote the next morning, “the one no vote came from councillor Gloria McCluskey, who claimed her constituency is against the acquisition of the parkland because it isn’t in Dartmouth, and they can’t get there.”

Since then, park advocate Chris Miller directed me to 91 letters to council written by Dartmouth residents in support of the wilderness park. Yesterday, I linked to and quoted from a handful of those letters. Over and over again, Dartmouthians said they personally go to the wilderness and want to see it protected.

It’s sad that McCluskey’s last significant council vote is a mean-spirited anti-Halifax move, and doubly so when many of the residents she represents have risen above such parochial rivalries.

2. Ship of Theseus

Bluemose II. Photo: Halifax Examiner
Ship of Theseus. Photo: Halifax Examiner

“Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador, the Bluenose II, is having a trouble-free sailing season this year,” reports Jean Laroche for the CBC. “According to Wilson Fitt, the consultant hired by the province to oversee the project, that’s proof the much-delayed and over-budget schooner rebuild has delivered a good vessel.”

Laroche had filed a Freedom of Information request for emails about problems with the boat, and he received many such emails from 2015, but none from 2016.

3. Nova Scotia is connected to the rest of Canada

Two men standing on bridge abutment for Chignecto Ship Railway : close-up view showing metal pipes and rope in foreground and out-buildings, pulleys and houses in background. Photo: New Brunswick Archives
Two men standing on bridge abutment for Chignecto Ship Railway: close-up view showing metal pipes and rope in foreground and out-buildings, pulleys and houses in background. Photo: University of New Brunswick Archives

Back in the 1880s, engineer and businessman Henry Ketchum had a scheme for a Chignecto Ship Railway. Explains a page dedicated to the project published by the University of New Brunswick Archives:

The Chignecto Marine Transport Railway Company was formed in 1882 to construct a ship railway for transporting vessels across the Isthmus of Chignecto, thereby facilitating shipping between the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  The proposed Chignecto Ship Railway would be 17 miles long in a straight line from Fort Lawrence on the Bay of Fundy to Tidnish on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with a dock at each end.  Ships would be raised by hydraulic lift from the water onto the railway, drawn by two locomotives across the isthmus, and then lowered into the water to resume their journey.  Ketchum acted as managing director of the project.

Construction began in October 1888, but the Chignecto Ship Railway soon faced serious financial difficulties. The 1890 collapse of Baring Brothers and Company, the London bank backing the project, signalled the death of Ketchum’s dream.  In 1892 The Canadian Parliament refused to extend the time period for their contract with the Chignecto Marine Transport Railway Company, thereby destroying any possibility of the project being completed. Three-quarters of the work  was completed at that point, including the docks at Fort Lawrence and Tidnish Bridge, 16 of the 17 miles of rail-bed, and 13 miles of track.  Soon after, on 8 September 1896, Ketchum died unexpectedly in Amherst, Nova Scotia. He was buried at Tidnish within view of the ship railway terminus.

One of the bridges from the railway still carries traffic. Photo: Stephen Archibald
One of the bridges from the railway still carries traffic. Photo: Stephen Archibald

Now, a century-plus later, the never-completed rail bed is being added to the Canada Trail, connecting Nova Scotia to New Brunswick, and hence the rest of the nation, reports Christopher Gooding in the Amherst News:

The Cumberland Snowmobile Association, with their counterparts in Sackville, N.B.,  were working on opening the corridor between the two provinces when Trans Canada Trail started vetting interest to close the gap between the two. The primary challenge, project manager and Cumberland Snowmobile Club member Andrew Wallis says, was the terrain.

“Nobody wanted anything to do with it. It was mostly flooded under three feet of water over the trail at the other end. Essentially impassable,” Wallis said.

There was hope, however. In the winter the club could use the trail. Fast forward three years and over $300,000 later, over 45 km of trail have been developed along the former ship railway and have been brought into a new era thanks to the many funding partners looking to connect the nation via its provincial trail systems before 2017. An official opening ceremony was held Sept. 12.

While Nova Scotia is connected to the rest of the nation, as of June there were still significant gaps in the trail system within Nova Scotia, reported Pam Berman at the time.

4. Cyclist struck

From the end-of-shift police email to reporters:

At approximately 11:30PM last evening HRP police attended a motor vehicle collision involving a bicycle. The bicycle was travelling south on Gottingen Street going straight through the intersection at Cogswell Street. A car was travelling north on Gottingen Street and was turning west on Cogswell Street when it struck the bicycle. The cyclist, a 24 year old female was taken to the QEII hospital with serious injuries. Officers from the Accident Investigation Unit were called to the scene and will be conducting the investigation.

5. Peter MacKay

Peter MacKay made The Borg's arrival in downtown Halifax possible. Photo:
Peter MacKay made The Borg’s arrival in downtown Halifax possible. Photo:

“Peter MacKay has decided against joining the Conservative leadership race,” reports the Canadian Press.

El Jones, white courtesy phone please. (Does anyone younger than 40 know what a white courtesy phone is?)

For me, MacKay’s greatest legacy is when in 2011, while announcing federal funding for the Halifax Convention Centre, he said that the Nova Centre would “take the ‘no’ out of Nova Scotia.” I guess with yesterday’s announcement, MacKay is putting the “no” back in Va Scotia.

During the same 2011 announcement, I asked Darrell Dexter if the government would further subsidize the Nova Centre by kicking in some payroll rebates for a tenant for the office building above the convention centre. “That’s a ridiculous question,” he said.

Good times.

6. Rich people give each other prizes

The Queen Mary 2 is in town over the weekend, and so this absurd ceremony was held:


Explains a press release, which for some unexplained reason is datelined in Valencia, California:

VALENCIA, Calif.Sept. 10, 2016 /CNW/ — The 2016 Samuel Cunard Prize for Vision, Courage and Creativity was awarded today to John Risley, President of Clearwater Fine Foods Incorporated. This second annual award was bestowed upon Mr. Risley at a luncheon onboard Cunard’s flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 as she was docked in Halifax. Risely was joined by Captain Kevin Oprey, Master of Queen Mary 2, along with local dignitaries, port officials, and key members of the community including The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board of the Government of Canada; The Honourable Tony Ince, Minister of Communities, Culture, and Heritage of the Province of Nova Scotia; and John Young and Allan Shaw, Co-Chairs, Canadian Maritime Heritage Foundation.

There is no greater human being than John Risley, apparently. Vision! Courage! Creativity!

You just gotta wonder what the backstory on this is.

7. Mike Savage

This morning, Mayor Mike Savage is kicking off his reelection bid by tooling around the harbour on Theodore the Thugboat.

I’m not sure the symbolism quite works, but it’s his campaign.

I was invited to join the festivities, but I’m afraid of that boat.


1. Incest

Stephen Kimber weighs in on a Dartmouth incest case. I’ll leave that for others to parse.


Yesterday, nine of the 11 ships involved in Cutlass Fury paraded out of Halifax Harbour:

The parade begins.
The parade begins. Photo: Halifax Examiner
HMCS Fredericton, Canadian frigate. Photo: Halifax Examiner
HMCS Fredericton, Canadian frigate. Photo: Halifax Examiner
USS Bulkeley. Photo: Halifax Examiner
USS Bulkeley. Photo: Halifax Examiner
USS Gonzalez,. Photo: Halifax Examiner
USS Gonzalez,. Photo: Halifax Examiner
The parade continues. Photo: Halifax Examiner
The parade continues. Photo: Halifax Examiner
FS Languedoc. Photo: Halifax Examiner
FS Languedoc. Photo: Halifax Examiner
HMS Monmouth. Photo: Halifax Examiner
HMS Monmouth. Photo: Halifax Examiner
HMCS Athabaskan, Canadian destoyer
HMCS Athabaskan, Canadian destoyer
HMCS Goose Bay. Photo: Halifax Examiner
HMCS Goose Bay. Photo: Halifax Examiner
HMCS Summerside. Photo: Halifax Examiner
HMCS Summerside. Photo: Halifax Examiner
HMCS Windsor. Photo: Halifax Examiner
HMCS Windsor. Photo: Halifax Examiner



Halifax & West Community Council (6pm, Halifax Council Chamber, 3rd Floor, City Hall) — the hated Wellington Street development is back.


Standing Committee on Economic Development (1pm, One Government Place) — Deputy Minister Kim MacNeil will be asked about aquaculture.

On campus


“Tur Malka: The Other Side of the Poem” (7:30pm, Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — composer Henri Oppenheim pays tribute to the Yiddish poets of 20th-century Montréal.

In the harbour

The sea off Halifax, 8:45am Tuesday. Map:
The sea off Halifax, 8:45am Tuesday. Map:

10am: Pick Up, yacht, sails from the boardwalk for sea
10:30am: Ningbo Express, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Cagliari, Italy
11am: Atlantic Conveyor, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from New York
11am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, arrives at Pier 41 from St. John’s
11am: Tortugas, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
7:30pm: Radcliffe R. Latimer, bulker, sails from Pier 25/26 for sea
9pm: Atlantic Conveyor, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England

1am: Ningbo Express, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
5am: NYK Rumina, container ship, arrives at berth TBD from Rotterdam
6am: ZIM Alabama, container ship, arrives at berth TBD from Valencia, Spain


I slept in today, so a relatively short Morning File. I’m immediately off to edit an article written by Linda Pannozzo, and that will be posted on the home page later this morning.

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

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    1. HAHA!

      Used to be, back in the days before cell phones, if you had to reach someone in an emergency, who was travelling, like in airport, you called the airport, and the airport operator would get on the airport PA and announce, “El Jones, white courtesy phone. El Jones, white courtesy phone.” And you’d go to one of the white phones hanging on the wall and they’d connect you through.

      It was in all the movies.

  1. The city and its harbour was founded on imperial conquest followed by genocide, so it is most certainly a military harbour. These events exist to scare us into acquiescence. How much filthy bunker fuel is burned on these exercises–every one of which moves us closer to the insane logic of nuclear war.

    The Risley crowd needs validation and ceremony to distract from the fact that they are grifters (so there is a parallel with the military circus). I wonder if he has a spot picked out, next to Cunard, for a statue. At least the pigeons will do him justice.

    Crankiness is a very reasonable response to the day’s events.

    1. The western conquest of the Americas is actually unique in the sense that the original population still exists in numbers which are approximately the same as what they were when white people showed up. Disease came first and killed a whole lot of native americans of course, but well, shit happens.

      Historically, when a stronger population from area A moves into area B, the natives of area B are typically all murdered, except some of the women – in any case they are gone in a generation or two.

      White people have done some bad things, but our crimes are hardly unique or disproportionate to our numbers. And we might want to ponder our fate here in Canada – there’s 30 million of us, mostly fairly old. A weeklong boat ride across the Pacific lies 1.3 billion Chinese people. China is currently engaged in colonial adventures in Africa every bit as rapacious as European colonialism, and their notions of indigenous rights are absolutely correct:

      Indigenous rights only exist if the indigenous people can enforce them. If a population of people, whether that’s native Americans over the last 500 years or Africans today, cannot physically resist colonialism, they will be colonized by their stronger neighbours.

  2. I don’t understand what all the hoopla about the warships was about. Mostly our own ships, which we see daily and 4 guest ships, 2 of whom, the USS Burkeley and the USS Gonzalez, were enormous a-holes for holding up a ferry (not mine) who was trying to pass between them, despite the fact that they were much further apart than the designated 500 feet. The most interesting looking ship was the FS Languedoc with her trapezoidal ‘stealth’ radar scanner spinning madly atop her wheelhouse. Two of our ships, the Fredericton and the Summerside promptly came back after the parade and dropped anchor mid-harbour and our submarine, the HMCS Windsor went straight back up to the Bedford Basin, which makes me wonder if the Navy just trotted them out to plump up our numbers.

    Sometimes, I think the Navy should be reminded that this is a civilian harbour, not a military one and that we are in peacetime, not on a war footing. Restricting legitimate harbour traffic because some old boys want to boast about how big their dicks are shouldn’t be permitted. And as far as the Navy spokesperson’s remark about this being a historic event, didn’t we just do one of these a few years ago when the Queen was here? I have a distinct memory of the Queen and Prince Philip on a ship moored mid-harbour while an assortment of NATO craft paraded by.

  3. Hi Lynne, Vincent Young, Halifax Pedestrian Observer in reply, I would like to say that the landscape of Halifax is in complete change. The economic tectonic plates must be pushin’ things up, like dasies? See how the glass cancerous bulbs grow, out of some of our best look out spots. Now I need an elevator to the top to get a view of what is goin on. Well, we are here to do our litirary poetic best, to try and illustrate the goings on. Be we, a Jester, Joker, or Judge.

  4. John Risley and Jim Irving should get special awards about how to fleece taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars and yet still get to call themselves business people. They’re professional trough feeders.

    It’s the Atlantic Canadian dream.

  5. I sure wish the Halifax and West Community Council could choose to refuse the proposed development on WEllington Street. This is a little jewel of a neighbourhood. It will be decimated by this ostentatious hulk of a monster building.

    I feel so sorry for the residents who will have to put up with the destruction of their neighbourhood. I sat though numerous excruciating round table meetings during ‘Halifax By Design’ , which I thought was going to ensure that developments like this would never be allowed. I was wasting my time.

    1. While I agree that council should stop granting willy-nilly zoning exemptions to developers, the neighbourhood will certainly not be destroyed. The project has been downscaled and the design improved since its first iteration, and even then it was smaller than the towers flanking the corner of Wellington and Lundy Lane, just up the block.

      Only four houses (on very large lots that are inappropriately low density for the peninsula, at least above Inglis) will be demolished, and none are of significant historic character. And while the condos are certainly not cheap, they’re probably more accessible per square foot than the single-family houses in the area, so it’s not going to push up median prices. (The area needs reasonable, regular injection of housing stock to keep price inflation in check.)

      The origins of the project are shady as hell, and it should never have been approved simply because it grossly exceeds the zoning (whether the zoning is excessively restrictive is a different issue). But it’s not going to destroy anything.

  6. Vincent Young here, self appointed blabbing troll like comentor here, boy howdy the Bedford Basin was busy yesterday, I saw all these war ships and Helicoptors, no explosions though!