A letter to Sam Austin, about downtown Dartmouth | Shoptalk | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

A letter to Sam Austin, about downtown Dartmouth

The city councillor takes issue with The Coast's restaurant review, and our writer responds.

A letter to Sam Austin, about downtown Dartmouth
Sam Austin has stated downtown Dartmouth is not a horror movie.

Dartmouth Centre councillor Sam Austin sent a letter to The Coast earlier this week in response to writer Melissa Buote’s review of Picnic on March 9. Austin took issue with Buote’s comparison of downtown Dartmouth at night to the old horror movie The Haunting, saying it was an “attempt at a clever analogy taken too far” and a dated stereotype that doesn’t “match the kind of place downtown Dartmouth has become.”

The letter missed our cutoff for the print edition of this week’s paper, but the councillor has now published his response on his website and you can read it there. Since Austin published his letter, we thought it only fair to also put up Buote’s response to his response, which you can read below.


Hey Sam! I actually grew up in Dartmouth. And I currently live in Dartmouth. Downtown Dartmouth to be more specific. On Portland Street if you want to give chase. And guess what? It can totally seem sketchy! (Fun fact: amount of times a complete stranger on Portland Street has followed up an unexpected—and always unwanted I should note!—“hello” with an “I'm not going to hurt you” makes me think it might actually be an unofficial motto.) But it's actually great! (I mean, how kind is it of those men to let me know they aren't going to hurt me! Awww!) Something can seem sketchy while actually being great. Walt Whitman contains multitudes, I contain multitudes and so, too, does Portland Street!

I really like my neighbourhood and I have seen lots of great things happening here, but as someone who actually lives here I am also keenly aware that there is very little foot traffic downtown at night. Maybe you should spend some evenings downtown when there aren't family-oriented events that bring crowds of families and photo-ops onto one specific block. You know, when the neighbourhood is what it really is and not what the marketing plans of business groups say it is. And while I appreciate your ability to rhyme off a list of great businesses that run around the brightly lit curve of Alderney, give me a call when you're a single woman walking home at night through the dim, empty corners around Wentworth and Queen and let me know how you feel. In the night. In the dark.

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