Woven Wire Fences

Here's a little project for your summer adventures in our cultural landscapes. Take note of vintage, woven wire fences. They are not too common, but they crop up all over the province (and elsewhere on this continent), and can be delightfully decorative. Clementsvale, Annapolis… Read More


The other day on Twitter, Elizabeth Cushing posted an extraordinary blueprint for an apartment building on Oxford Street in Halifax. The plans were undated, but from the Harris and Horton architecture firm that was dissolved in 1926. I suspect the design dates somewhere around 1920. I also assume the apartment was not built. Twitter had… Read More

Fountains of Schlock

Tim Bousquet in the Halifax Examiner drew my attention to a tender that the city has issued for "Detailed Design: South African Memorial Fountain Rehabilitation." This is exciting news for fans of decorative cast iron (like myself), so I was distressed, but not surprised, that Tim's response was "blow the damn thing up." The fountain… Read More

Encounter at Kwacha House

Every few years I look at a National Film Board film called Encounter at Kwacha House. It's described as "a lively discussion between black and white youths at the interracial club in Halifax, touching on racial discrimination in employment, housing, education and interpersonal relations." I'd describe it as essential viewing, particularly at this moment when… Read More

Playing Bridge

Listen. Do you hear the wails of despair and anger from the thousands of commuters that use Quinpool Road everyday? The bridge over the railway cut is going to be repaired, and the road will be closed for four months. Lots of ideas are wafting around about how the project could have been planned better.… Read More

Meet you on the government wharf

These days there is lots of talk about place: place making in communities, and the importance of places that reflect our values, or places that inform our narrative. For Sheila and me, government wharves are such places, and we seek them out on our rambles around Nova Scotia. In many coastal communities, they are a… Read More

An Extraordinary New Building on Gottingen Street

The other day Matthew Halliday tweeted a picture of an "extraordinary" new building stretching along the Gottingen Street edge of the sprawling Canadian Forces Base. I stopped to take a look for myself, and, although unfinished, the building appears committed to presenting an exceptionally dreary face to the street. It is the new Consolidated Seamanship Training… Read More

Real Fake Wood Grain

Do you have feelings about fake wood grain finishes? For many of us, who came of age in the 60s and 70s, it was synonymous with cheap, artificial, and unattractive, because we were surrounded by wood-grained crap. Sheets of wood grain paneling covered the walls of innumerable rec rooms, and vinyl siding with embossed wood patterns… Read More

A Seaside Cemetery

When we decided to buy our house, 25 years ago, one of the reasons was the harbour view framed by an overgrown cemetery across the road. See a few stones poking through the vegetation? That's the old refinery area of Dartmouth on the other shore. And just over to the left is the container port.… Read More

You Really Rock me

There was a time when most people in Halifax could look at the photo below and know exactly what was happening and where. Today, I'm guessing, not so much. It was taken on a Sunday afternoon in the spring of 1958, and that's 11-year-old me in the centre, leaning on a pole with my older… Read More