Thursday, February 24, 2011

NovaFamous: Radio, Radio

If you never heard of Radio Radio then you know little to nothing about the Quebec music scene. That’s okay because neither do I. In fact I even forgot to include them in our Juno’s post.... The worst part is, they label themselves as an Acadian French rap group and I’m an Acadian! Possibly a very out of touch Acadian???

Okay, sooo...I know what your asking yourself... SOO what does all this group have to do with Quebec’s music scene? Just so happens Radio Radio have been blowing up Les Chart Qubecois for the couple years. Two of the three rappers hail from the region of Clare down in the Baie Ste-Marie along the Acadian Shores of Nova Scotia. That’s right, two big Vedettes (stars) in La Belle Province are Nova Scotian made. The other guy is from Moncton so he’s not that far off either...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Great Big Sea .... of People!!

Their was absolutely no band more perfect to play Grand Celebration Square  than GREAT BIG SEA for the big FREE outdoor concert on Saturday night during the Canada Games! The city of Halifax loves them and I’m pretty sure the love is mutual. It was the place to be for sure. It didn’t matter that it was cold and snowing, the 15000 people showed up. The crowd was a sea of people, both young and old, all singing along to every song. 

If their was ever a band who knows how to read the Halifax audience so well, it’s Great Big Sea. As always, their concert turned out to be like going to a huge ass, high energy kitchen party, minus the liquor of course (although I did see a couple of flasks). The crowd was into every song and jumped up and down to most of the tunes. When you’re packed like sardines that’s all there is room enough to do. The band came back for two encores. Their were signs in the crowd asking the band to play the Haligonian favorite “Old Black Rum” and the crowd were not going leave until they heard it. Personally, I think that was a well calculated move on the bands part. They didn’t want us to leave either....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nova Scotia Breaking The Canada Games Attendance Records in Men’s Hockey

Yeah, That’s how we do it here in Nova Scotia. When it comes to supporting local events, we’re all over it. Last night’s gold medal game between British Columbia and Quebec for men’s hockey at the 2011 Canada Winter Games was no different. With almost 9,000 tickets sold, we set the record ticket sales for any sport at any Canada Games ever!!! The tickets available online had been sold out for weeks prior to the event. Pretty much everyone who could get their hands on a ticket showed up to watch some of Canada's best hockey prospects duel it out for gold.

If you were lucky enough to get a ticket, you were not disappointed with last night games either. There was some great hockey being played. The crowd was into to all night long as well. They sang along and clapped to every classic Maritimer song played between the whistles. It did not matter to them who scored. The crowd was celebrating every goal...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Made In Nova Scotia: Terra Beata Cranberry

I decided to do our first Made in Nova Scotia on Terra Beata Cranberry Juice. I want the world to know how much better it is the leading national brand’s cranberry juice/drink. If I had to name my favorite product made in the NS, this would be it. This is the Nova Scotian product I use the most often. I drink it almost every morning and every night.

I know what your thinking... “What? She didn’t say one of Nova Scotia’s beers, she must be out of her mind”. Well I am..... but just slightly.

I first came across the Terra Beata Company at Christmas at the Forum a few years ago. I’m a big fan of cranberries so I bought their Cranberry Mincemeat preserve (which tastes unbelievable on ice cream or even on just plain soda crackers). Then I notice their juices at Sobey’s and decided to forgo my regular juice to try this one out. Usually this always backfires on me but I was pleasantly surprised with Terra Beata. I never went back. Well.. unless they are sold out at Sobey’s for a few days and I’m too lazy to walk to Pete’s Fruitique.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Scotian Rant: 5 Best Things...

Browsing through the twitter #hashtags on my hootsuite of #Halifax for the past couple weeks, {Hootsuite is my new love!}, I came across a couple of feeds that were lablled “Five Best whatevs in Halifax”. It shows up as a series of consecutive tweet of the the best locations, restaurants, etc.... So curiosity got the best of me. I love list so I just had to click to see if they lived up to my extremely low expectations.

Sigh...all I could do is face palm. It is painfully obvious that the writers of these... umm...things have never set foot inside the city and rely too much on Internet search engines to gather their information. Now, the tweets just continue to show up on my #halifax feed every day, three times a day and I just cannot take it anymore!! What gets to me is that some people might actually be looking at this information and making choices based on some of their, their ummm... how do I say this nicely... ill-informed information.

First up, they list East Side Mario’s in Bayers Lake as the best restaurant to eat. I hope this one was gaged on reviews of customer service because I mean...EAST SIDE MARIO’S!!?? (hey ba da boom ba da bing)….I like East Side Mario’s but come on, it’s like generic food. You can order the same thing in Halifax as you can in Toronto. I see that I am also not the only one who seemed taken aback because our friends Bonesheads Smokehouse commented about it on their twitter too. Halifax is full of local restaurants that offer excellent food paired with great customer service. When I think of casual dinning I’m thinking The Hart & Thistle, The Fireside, The Shoe Shop and hey, let’s not forget Boneheads on the corner of Barrington and Inglis. (They have the most amazing cornbread and pulled pork).. Oh, let's not forget our Pubs like The Lower Deck, Henry House, Dirrty Nelly’s, Foggy Goggle, The Old Triangle, Maxwell’s and The Ale House whom all have awesome Pub fare. Since Halifax has the most bar and pubs per capita than anywhere in North American! And Those are just off the top of my head.

Their “best of Accommodations” doesn’t really get much better. While the business hotels listed pass my standards, the Haliax Spa and Retreat’s only selection is Atlantica Oak Island, which technically ...errr...isn’t even in HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality). Not to take anything away from Oak Island because I love the place and I would like to point out they don’t even use it’s proper name in the listing. I love their sister hotel, Halifax Atlantica which actually is in Halifax. They kindly let us use one of their photos in our oval post. They are also accommodating all the media who are here for the 2011 Canada Games and housing the big media war room as well. That it in it's self should speak to their caliber of customer service. But there are several hotels that offer spa service here in HRM as well, such as The Westin Nova Scotia, Marriott Courtyard and Marriott Harbourfront. As for the motels.... well I’m not even going to go there with this one.

I saved the best for last. “Best Five Locations”. You’re thinking The Citadel, The newly designated Canadian Museum of Immigration of Pier 21 or maybe even a Brewery Tour at one of our fine breweries. Nah, numero uno is “Explore Halifax” Whhhhhhhhhaaaatttt?? That’s not a location! It’s like saying the best part of Nova Scotia is Nova Scotia. But don’t worry, they narrow it down on number three where they tell you to explore the downtown. Unfortunately it gets worse, number four and five is explore the South Shore and the Eastern Shore consecutively. I’d like to take this time to point out that here in Nova Scotia we don’t call those places Halifax, we call that........ other regions of the province. Very much places worth seeing but they have towns and villages with their own names, thanks.

If you really want to know some of the best places to stay, things to do, and places to see then you might want to check out what the locals think. it’s best to check out The Coast’s Best of Halifax List. They poll readers each year for the best of the city. Click here for the link. Let us know what your opinions on the list in our comment section.

Now I got that off my chest. Deep Breath.... okay now I feel better.
Does this not irritate anyone else?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pier 21 No Longer A National Historic Site

Ya, you read that right.

Pier 21 is no longer a National Historic Site. It now has officially received the designation as one of the 5 National Museums of Canada (with a 6th in the works). Defence Minister and Central Nova’s MLA Peter MacKay made it official last Monday. It’s shiny new title is The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Meh..... it’s kinda awkward and doesn’t exactly roll of your tongue ….. but hey, it’s an official government title what do you expect? Most people are still going to call it as Pier 21 anyways.

With the new title, Pier 21 will also receive about $25 million in funding over the next 5 years for upgrades and exhibit development. Now they says that 1 in 5 Canadians can trace their heritage back to Pier 21 which is kinda amazing since it was only open from 1928 to 1971. That’s a lot of traffic coming through. However, it makes me wonder how many of those immigrants actually stayed in Nova Scotia since I’d says that for the most of us, our ancestors have been here since at least the late 1700s. I wonder where I could find such a statistic... someone must have it.

None the less, if you’re even just a tiny bit interested in history it’s a really unique museum to visit. There is lots of interactive displays and exhibits. It’s not your typical “here’s stuff that people use to use long before there was electricity” with a cue card next to it indicating what it is exactly that you’re looking at and how it was used. It’s really presented in a modern and engaging way. It’s been a few years since I last went but the three screen 3D documentary movie of the story of Pier 21 was my favorite part.

 I’d like to get back and check their new memorial to the boat full of Jewish immigrants that they turned away on the eve of WWII called the Wheel of Conscience. I see from the museums website that it is in Toronto for some fine tuning and will not be back ‘til March which is a shame since it will miss the Canada Games.......

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Save The Oval!

If you live in Nova Scotia and you haven’t heard about Ovalgate then I must conclude you’ve been living under a rock, or in a cave maybe, and have no access to electricity or even a radio. In fact, you probably won’t even be reading this post. I will admit that upon first hearing Halifax’s proposal of building an outdoor rink for the 2011 Canada Games I wasn’t exactly jumping out of my seat - actually I was, but it was for a different reason; I thought it was a stupid idea. There was something about the idea of ruining The Halifax Commons, digging it up and cementing a section for some speed skating competition, and then tearing it all down, just didn’t sit well with me. It felt like the city was selling out to the Canada Games. I know, it’s a typical Nova Scotian response - don’t be selling out to the big guys. And NO, I’m not on the Heritage Trust.

Thanks to the Atlantica for this great picture
I passed by the Oval everyday on my way to work. I watched them bulldoze, put fences up, lay down the piping and cement, and everyday it stirred up all sorts of negative emotions inside of me. I couldn’t believe they were actually ripping up the commons for Speed Skating, of all things. I would just sit and shake my head in disgust. I believe the Commons is meant to be Halifax’s COMMON SPACE. It was given to the city in 1763 by King George III and it’s Canada’s oldest urban park. Its history goes way back to the creation of The Citadel and this city.

But then, when it was all done and the first sheets of ice were starting to build, I thought, “oh, it does look pretty cool,” but then the other voice inside of me said “grr.. it ripped up the commons!!!” None the less, I was more intrigued everyday. I even vowed to myself that I would actually try it out when it opened to the public for free...because, you know, I couldn’t do anything about it now, it was there, so I might as well give it a try.

When it opened up in December, something miraculous took place. Maybe it was because it was Christmas time but I think my heart must have grown three sizes. As corny as it sounds, watching the people skate and the joy on their faces was heart warming. People from all over the city were excited to try out this new oval. It was everyone’s favorite topic of conversation. People couldn’t wait to get their skates sharpened and get on that sheet of ice and it has inspired many people to wake up from winter hibernation and participate in an fun outdoor activity. HRM has even included a SkateHRM section to their website to keep everyone up to date on the activities and schedules of the Oval. (Or you can just follow them on twitter or facebook. To date, over 65,000 people have visited the Oval. It’s gotten us moving and, best of all, it seems to have united the city in ways that no concerts or large events has ever done in the past (or at least to my recollection). It was not just an sheet of ice in the form of an oval anymore, it became something that means just a little bit more...

Now here comes the heart-wrenching part...... the Oval is scheduled to be dismantled in March when the Canada Games are finished which would leave Halifax without an outdoor skating park once again. But fear not, we are a passionate city and we will fight for the things that mean the most to us. I will admit, there are some of us who want the Oval gone for a variety of reasons, like cost and wanting to preserve to The Commons for... umm... the people who like to sit on the grass (??). But those are few and far between. The majority of people in this city believe in the Oval as a much needed change.
Support has been pouring in from all areas in an effort to help save the Oval after the Canada Games. Several interested citizens and business owners decided to build their own website entirely dedicated to the cause and post an online petition to help Save our Oval, its called.. ba dap ba... On Tuesday January 26th, they presented the petition that has been signed by over 9,000 residents in efforts to save the Oval. Other business have also been getting involved, and Goodlife Fitness was said to have pledged upwards of $200,000 for the naming rights. The 1990 World Figure Skating Championship Legacy Fund has pledged $100,000, no strings attached, to help provide funding. Until hearing that, I didn’t even know we held the 1990 World Figure Skating Championships in Halifax (hey, I wasn’t very old at the time).

Rick Mercer has said that the Oval is Halifax’s feel good story of the year and I believe he’s right. Not only has it brought the community together to rally for a common cause, it has caused an excitement about the upcoming Canada Games beyond what anyone could imagine. It has ignited a sense of pride that will probably be looked upon as the greatest legacy that the Canada Games 2011 will have left us.

To learn more about the Oval, ways they are hoping to save it, how you can donate towards funding, and to sign the petition please check out  But if you really want to show city counsel that the the Oval is worth saving, the best way is  to get out there and use it.

Do you think Halifax should save the Oval? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

NovaFamous: 2 Cups and a Super Bowl

Super Bowl weekend is almost here and do you know who the only person to ever to have won the Vanier Cup, the Grey Cup and the Super Bowl? It’s Nova Scotian Tyrone Williams. I’m not going to lie, football is not my forte. Like most Canadians I’m a hockey fan. I’ve gone to a quite a few Saint Mary’s Huskies games and I do get the very basics. And by basics I mean, Williams is a wide receiver and I had to wikipedia it to find out what exactly that position entails.

Williams was born in Halifax and played both football and basketball at the no longer in existence Queen Elizabeth High School. (He more than likely practiced on the Halifax Commons so I wonder what he thinks of The Oval?) He went to the University of Western Ontario where he won the Vanier Cup along with the Ted Morris Award as a Mustang. For those how are football illiterate like me, the Ted Morris Award is the Vanier Cup’s MVP, Vanier Cup being Canadian universities Super Bowl. He was also a two time Canadian All-Star and Four time Ontario All-Star.  After graduation he was off to the NFL where he technically won a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys in 1993 even though he never actually dressed for the game. He was suppose to play but due to other players injuries they had to dress different positions (or something like that).

After that he then headed to the CFL where he joined the Toronto Argonauts. Footnote: Argonauts were a group of heroes that sailed around in a ship ...well, being heroes in Greek Mythology such as Hercules and Orpheus. (something I didn’t have to wiki, yay!) Anyhoo, in 1996, he helped them win the 84th Grey Cup. Apparently the weather wasn’t the best, it was -10c and heavy snow fall...brrr  Take a look at the video from a Grey Cup Classic Moment and watch the players slide through the snow to a touche down.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Grand-Pré is One Step Closer to UNESCO!

Last week the National Historic Site of Grand-Pré inched closer to receiving a World UNESCO Heritage Site designation. On January 21st, with all three levels of government present which includes Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Peter Kent, the Minister of the Environment whom is also responsible for Parks Canada. They completed the final proposal for the nomination and the members of government all signed letter of support to help the process along. If approved, it will the third World UNESCO Heritage Site in Nova Scotia, behind The Town of Lunenburg and Joggins’ Fossil Cliffs and it would be the first World UNESCO Heritage Site dedicated to the Acadians. Now all we have to do is wait 18 months to see if the United Nations will approve the designation. 
This nomination is a big deal to the French Acadians in Nova Scotia, mainly because it does not just focuses on their cultural history and the deportation of 1755 as so many people tend to do when they think about Grand-Pré. It’s because it focuses on something more positive; the contribution that the Acadian made with building their dykelands in the area of Grand-Pré and the agricultural value it has brought to history of agricultural technology worldwide.
I believe their is also an additional benefit to celebrating Acadian history in Nova Scotia. It shows the example that it is possible for both individuals and communities from two different cultures who share a very difficult history, can move past their differences and come to live together peacefully side by side as we have all done here in Nova Scotia. It should really be set as an example for the world to see. When you go to Grand-Pré, you should not just look at it from the prospective of the injustices suffered by the Acadian people in the past but rather look how far we’ve been able to move forward together as a province in creating a better society which their is room for all of us. Personally, those are the reasons why I hope Grand-Pré will be designated a World UNESCO Heritage Site.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Nova Scotia @ the Junos

The Juno nominations are in! And seems that Nova Scotia did fairly well especially with all the Beiber Fever going around. The Junos are celebrating their 40th birthday this year and rapper Drake is the host for the ceremony in Toronto. A few of our artist got nominations in the “big” categories such as Classified’s nomination for Single of the Year for “Oh Canada” which really excites us since some of us here at the blog may have been part of the crowd in his video which was shot in Halifax at Granville Square.

Harbour’s Matt Mays contributed.  And yes, there is someone else that famous that comes from Cole Harbour other than King....oops I mean Sidney Crosby. Okay, okay... Matty Mays may not be Land of Croz famous but we love him just the same.

Halifax rapper Ghettosocks is up for Rap Recording of the Year and I believe he wins the most awesomest rapper name ever award as well. He was one of the artist that I wanted to go see during Halifax Pop Explosion but didn’t get out to. Hopefully the fact that he is up against the host, Drake doesn’t work against him.

And Chester’s Old Man Ludecke is nominated for Roots Traditional Album of the Year: Solo for My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs.  Old Man Ludecke get a nod for awesomest name of the year as well because his name is... well, just fun to say! Now to be honest, I haven’t really heard most of his new album but “I Quit my Job” is still my favorite from 2 albums ago.

There are others as well that have Nova Scotia DNA (NSDNA), like members of Holy Fuck who are from Yarmouth, NS and nominated for Electronic Album of the Year. Luke Doucet was born in Nova Scotia and Nominated for Adult Alternative Album of the Year and of course Sarah McLachlan who was born in Dartmouth but doesn’t like us so we don’t really count her as our own. Then there is Meaghan Smith who is originally from London, Ont but began her music career here in Halifax so Music Nova Scotia loves her.

I’m disappointed that Wintersleep and their album New Inheritors wasn’t nominated for anything besides their Art Director Graeme Patterson being nominated for Record Package of the Year. WHAT?? They just played Letterman...

Congrats to all our Nova Scotian Nominees, let’s bring home the … crystal.

In case you haven’t seen Classified video, “Oh Canada” here it is...