Glancing Back

Everywhere people are doing end of year commentaries and “best of” lists. This has encouraged me to look back over my little collection of noticings to see if I could convert some into a year-end listicle. It turns out I don’t have any great insights, so basically I’ve combined some favourite images and added some numbers.

1)  My, there is a lot of building going on downtown. I like to think that we are all getting better at talking about good design – the new library could help us with that conversation.

We could also get better at saying goodbye to old buildings. What if folks had been invited into the Roy Building for a first and last view. Or if there had been a special illumination of the building before it came down. Because a building has outlived its usefulness doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate its life.

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The last moment in the old Library sounds like it was an emotional acknowledgement of how important the building has been. That helps people move on.

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2) It is exciting that there are still amazing spaces to discover in Halifax.  Last winter I was told to seek out the marble clad men’s washroom in the Halifax Club.  A revelation.

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3)  Sometimes photos I’ve snapped on a particular day make interesting pairs and help me see and appreciate the familiar in a new fashion. Morning light in the winter made both stately Government House and playful Vintage Row look their best. Such a contrast and only a couple of  blocks apart.

March 201420

On a Saturday morning in Spring it was a short stroll between the beautifully detailed ceiling in the exhibition gallery of the Public Archives  to the roof trusses of Horticultural Hall in the Public Gardens (and an ice cream cone). There is such visual richness around us.  We can be as  visually wealthy as we choose.  And try looking up more.

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4)  In 2014 it felt like we had many newish options for our eating and viewing pleasure.  A selection we enjoyed (and happen to have photos of) are:  Field Guide, Canteen, Stillwell, Efendy, Lion & Bright and Parentheses gallery.

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5) We don’t always make the effort to experience the wonder of our natural world.  And really it does not take much effort. The Backlands are just across the road from us and are an amazing, fire maintained landscape. I’m surprised that developers can get insurance as they push development into this treasure in sight of town.

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All of our seasons have special charms but spring is sometimes the most challenging. In May we were lucky to be invited to the countryside and witnessed banks of ephemeral spring flowers, and ate special treats from the land and sea.

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6)  A selection of critters and people from around town.  How many do you recognize?  I’m always pleased when people tell me that my posts encourage them to notice more.


And some moments with our built environment: old, new, domestic, industrial , modern or vintage. What a crazy mixed-up world we live in – 2015 is  going to be as good as we can make it!



About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.