About Halifax and Folding Sidewalks …Sorta…

Halifax boasts the second largest natural harbour in the world. Two suspension bridges span that harbour, the oldest of the two — the Macdonald — was built in 1955 and has been illuminated at night since New Year’s Day 2000. It’s not a particularly apt illumination, but what makes it worse is that they would turn off those lights at 1 a.m. To me, that’s the equivalent of folding up the sidewalks at night.

Yet Haligonian like to think of themselves as sophisticated and cosmopolitan. At the same time and with far too much pride, the weekly (and free) entertainment rag in town once proclaimed Halifax “the world’s biggest small town.” Setting aside this odd sense of pride (or was it sarcasm?), I have to agree that this assessment wasn’t so far off the mark, though. It’s certainly more accurate than considering this place “sophisticated and cosmopolitan.”

Halifax is the home of more than one-third of Nova Scotia’s residents. But do the math: The entire province doesn’t have a million inhabitants. Now I grant you that “sophisticated and cosmopolitan” isn’t synonymous with “large population.” It’s more a matter of culture and manners. But what gets to me is how Haligonians try wearing one hat when they want to come across as “just a friendly bunch of people,” and another hat when they want people to consider Halifax a “world-class city.”

Suck or blow. You can’t do both at the same time.

If you want to remain the “biggest small town in the world,” then go on turning off the lights at night. Keep on revelling in tartans and one-too-many Celtic band. And keep on electing provincial governments — and I mean “provincial” in both senses of the word — that legislate against Sunday shopping for the sake of saving Families Values. But these AREN’T sophisticated and cosmopolitan stances, so don’t have a collective temper tantrum when outsiders give you that “aren’t-they-cute” smile when you claim that this place is a “world-class city.”

Oh, okay. I suppose I should be fair.

For about a month now, they’ve been turning off the lights on the Macdonald at 2 a.m. It’s a start, I guess.

{6} Thoughts on “About Halifax and Folding Sidewalks …Sorta…

  1. The turning off of the lights deal sounds a lot like Jax, as it happens. Last night, around 8, I went to pick up my brother and a friend of his from the mall. Although it’s the shopping season, there was remarkably little traffic anywhere. It seemed more a normal Monday evening (i.e., nothing going on past 9 PM, since all the good doobies are at home and not out raising hell).

  2. I seem to recall that the bar you like so much, Kevin, is what the locals call “The Liquordome,” because of how an atrium is at the centre and actually links a couple of bars. I think the last time I was there was in 1985… Anyway, maybe it’s just me who’s aging, but the bar scene in this town simply isn’t what it used to be in the ’80s. In fact, Halifax overall seemed more vibrant and giddy back then, and it wasn’t as plastic.

    Another thing I forgot to mention that gets on my nerves about Halifax is that, not counting Dirty Ronnie’s and other fast-food joints, you can’t get a decent meal after 10 p.m. I don’t shop much, but if I would, it would be next to impossible for me to wind down in a restaurant afterwards. Quite pathetic.

  3. Oh right! JJ Rossi’s! You told me that but I’d forgotten. I think the place has changed a bit since you’ve been there — not as big. JJ’s was one of those neat places that cropped up in the mid-’80s but that seems to have turned sour over the years. I will say that pubs in this port city are pretty good if you’re looking for good (as in tasty, not “good for you”) and inexpensive grub. But isn’t that the case for most pubs anywhere?

  4. Too bad to hear about JJ’s. But, yeah. I’m into the kind of place where you can relax with some friends, get some decent grub & good beer, and have some cash left in your pocket at the end of the night.

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