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Catching cliches 

Who in the world is talking about Halifax.

—from Saskatoon and New Zealand

Finding out how others see you is educational—you get to discover how out of touch they are. Articles from different ends of the planet help make the point. First up is a piece in Saskatoon's Star Phoenix about riding the train from Montreal to Halifax to take part in a relatively new VIA Rail service, the Learning Experience. During the 20-hour trip, VIA's "learning co-ordinator" Francois Cote touched on subjects from Canadian history to local wine tasting to keep passengers pleasantly occupied. Then came the lobster talk, with attendees including Star Phoenix reporter Peter Wilson and an eight-year-old boy. "Using a scale model lobster trap and a rubber lobster, Cote demonstrated how lobsters get themselves captured." Wilson writes. "The demo was good, but the youngster stole the show, even answering questions on the perfect way to cook the crustacean. Then we realized he was from Halifax and had been practically raised on the delicacy." It's a miracle I can tear myself away from my lunch (lobster roll, lobster poutine and lobster-blood milkshake) to read such dreck.

The other article is "48 hours in Halifax, Canada" from www.stuff.co.nz, a site collecting stories from several New Zealand newspapers. An hour-by-hour tip sheet for visitors with some surprisingly un-Celtic reccos (brunch at jane's on the common, drinks at Ginger's, dinner at Bish), the piece lost me at 2:30 Saturday afternoon: "Take a stroll along the "harborwalk,' perhaps stopping to speak to fishermen casting their rods from the piers while sail boats glide past." Note to tourists: This sounds quaint, but anyone fishing near the harbour's boardwalk nowadays is suicidal and/or a tourist and/or just playing you. Eat something caught in the harbour and it could be your last 48 hours.

In sickness and in wealth

—from Montreal

The Westmount Examiner reports on Tuesday's announcement of plans to build a bigger, better emergency room at the QE2 health centre. According to the Examiner's story, it's a much-needed project: "The current facility at the Infirmary was built to accommodate 35,000 patients a year but that number has since climbed to over 60,000." Premier RodMac ponied up 17 million taxpayer bucks to the facility. He may see the cash as more than spending on the health of Halifax's NDP-voting taxpayers—if Montrealers feel safer visiting Metro because of the new ER, it's also an investment in tourism.

Close to home

—from New York

"It's not Halifax," a Burning Ears reader emails, "but I thought you might be interested to know that Cape Breton (Keltic Lodge, specifically) showed up in my...uhh...umm...my roommate's copy of GQ this month as one of "THE' places to vacation before summer's gone. Can't wait to see Mr. and Mistress 5th Avenue trying to find the boardwalk to go rollerblading on in Ingonish."

Indeed, gentle reader, I am interested. Those Americans you describe could end up buying property in Nova Scotia (as Tim Bousquet writes about in his "On the rocks" feature) or being airlifted to an overcrowded emergency room in Halifax. You sounded the warning that they're coming, giving us all a valuable chance to escape—perhaps to Pueblo, Mexico, which was first on the GQ list.

—Kyle Shaw

No matter what you’re reading, keep an eye out for mentions of Halifax and tell me about them at: editor@thecoast.ca.

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Vol 24, No 27
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