Thursday, December 23, 2010

Random Halifax Picture #13

When I first saw these stocks set up between the buildings of the Privateers Wharf Historic Properties, I just thought it made for a funny picture. For the last few months though, I had worked at a Subway restaurant, and it just dawned on me that a Subway restaurant would be the perfect place for one of these.

I can see it now: Anyone who asks for "extra extra onions" or "loads of pickles," or lets his/her son squish his nose and mouth up against the sneeze guard I had just cleaned, gets locked up in the stocks. Anyone who was made late by the person who ordered five subs during the supper rush gets two free throws of a rotting tomato or onion from the compost bin. The over all customer satisfaction rate from all those non-offenders who now get to have some pickles on their subs too would soar through the roof! Think about it Subway, and give me a call.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nova Scotia National Historic Site #13: Duc D'Anville Encampment

On September 18, 1710, 42 British vessels carrying 2000 troops set sail from Boston in an attempt to capture Port Royal - the French stronghold in what was then known as Acadia. Though the Acadians fought valiantly, they were eventually forced to surrender to the overwhelming British attack (the British honoured the formidable French defenders by allowing them to march out with colours flying, drums beating, and with all their bags and arms in hand).

The capture of Port Royal signalled the beginning of the end of French rule in Acadia - which was officially ceded to the British at the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. However, the French would not stop fighting to regain control of their former capital for the next 50 years, and that leads us to Duc D'Anville's Expedition.

After losing another battle in what would later come to be known as Cape Breton Island, Louis XV ordered Jean-Baptiste Louis Frederic de La Rochefoucauld de Roye, Duc D'Anville, to lead a massive fleet of 64 ships and 11 000 troops to Port Royal (by this time renamed Annapolis Royal by the British in honour of Queen Anne) in one great effort to regain control of New France.

Long story short, the Expedition was a complete disaster, with numerous ships being battered by severe storms - one ship was even struck by lightning - and large numbers of troops succumbing to typhus and scurvy. After nearly 3 months at sea, the shattered Expedition (now only two-thirds its original size - limped into what is now known as Halifax Harbour in 1746, where it encamped at Chebucto, just north of what would later become Halifax. It was here, six days later, that Duc D'Anville and a great number of his men would die from disease.

Now though, Chebucto is just a small plot of grass and trees (see picture at top of article) next to a restaurant on the Bedford Highway, with only this cairn and plaque to indicate that anything significant happened here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

HRM Monument #30: North Is Freedom

This 20-foot structure located in front of the Halifax North Memorial Library is one of the newest Public Art pieces to have been unveiled in Halifax, having been publicly dedicated in 2007.

The sculpture's artist, Doug Bamford says that the idea for the piece is that "we can achieve on the strength of our shared experience, and that 'knowledge is power.'" Engraved into the side of the monolith, along with images illustrating North End Halifax' history, using a method called surface water jet cutting, is the poem "North Is Freedom" by the award winning poet, playwright and essayist, not to mention native of North End Halifax, George E. Clarke.

(The figures climbing the structure were actually modelled after students from a local school using plaster casting.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

HRM Point of Interest #19: Freak Lunchbox

Freak Lunchbox, in downtown Halifax on Barrington Street, has won The Coast's Best Of Halifax Best Retail Sign award for the least two years, and one look at even this low quality photo of the store front (above) will tell you why. However, Freak Lunchbox is so much more than just a great exterior.

It is also covered on the inside with great original artwork by the owner, which makes the roof and walls of the store look like a Ripley's Believe It Or Not Cover. I wasn't allowed to take a picture of them though, so I thought this shelf full of candy and bobble head dolls would be a good substitute. Moreover, Freak Lunchbox makes its money by selling candy, toys, etc., which is the reason I went there in the first place.

I first discovered Freak Lunchbox while exploring the streets of downtown Halifax during my original cross-country voyage back in May. At that time (my inner Korean is coming out now), I was overjoyed to discover that my favourite candy, Lotsa Fizz, while absent from many convenience store racks across the country, was still on sale at FL. When I came back again during the Christmas Tree Lighting just last week I discovered a reinvention of a Canadian classic - The Pop Shoppe bottled beverages.

And that's the best part about Freak Lunchbox. There are just so many items to peruse that it's almost impossible to see everything the first time. Long story short, you'll have to go back again and again and again to find out what you missed the last time. Freak Lunchbox: great business model, or greatest business model ever?

(Who's that handsome guy?)