One of the biggest events of summer 2010 to rouse people's interest (at least on a superficial level) was Queen Elizabeth's visit to our fair little port city. Whether folks were excited about her arrival, annoyed at the pomp surrounding her short visit and the resulting traffic delays or decidedly indifferent to her presence, it was hard to avoid her presence and the appropriate dos and don'ts for a visit by Her Majesty. In addition to a number of more exclusive events planned around the city, Liz had three 10-minute walk-abouts scheduled. Thanks to some massive rain just prior to one of these visits, those who ventured out to see her on the Common got front row glimpses (at about a 15- to 20-foot viewing distance) of this iconic lady.
INTERNATIONAL FLEET REVIEW WEEK
At the end of June, the Navy decided to celebrate its centennial in a big way: 28 war ships---and their crews---from Canada and around the world graced our shores (and streets) for a display of military prowess and drunkenness. Haligonians got a chance to go on board the battleships and sailors swelled the land-lubber population looking for some on-shore fun and libations. The actual review took place on the 29th with the Queen aboard HMCS St. John's. To add to the week's festivities, battalions of soldiers were in Halifax preparing for the International Tattoo. Simply put, if you're a lover of people in uniform and weren't in town---ya missed out!
THE MAYOR'S SUMMER
Mayor Peter Kelly had an interesting season for getting his name in the public's eye. Not quite a summer event---but worth noting anyway---Kelly accidentally brought a bullet through airport security. That's right---a bullet. But that's not nearly Kelly's only embarrassment in recent weeks: In a memo he chastised municipal councillors for being publicly drunk and implied that they had been guilty of drunk driving. He didn't list any names, though, implying that any one of the councillors could have been the guilty parties, although in interviews he said it was a specific few. His goal was to emphasize the importance of being wary and cautious, but it seems he could have handled it better. Say, having firm evidence and taking some sort of individual disciplinary action.
The Common has been out of commission to lovers of the outdoors for a fair part of the summer. The Black Eyed Peas performed to an audience of thousands, though Kid Rock was supposed to be on the Common summer line-up as well, the previous evening, but was a no-show. Country Rockfest brought such big-hat-wearing performers as Alan Jackson, Kevin Costner and Lonestar. Off the Common, the Summer Rush concert at Alderney Landing added LMFAO, Jay Sean and Kardinal Offishall to HRM's summer music lineup. The Halifax Jazz Festival, always a treat for music lovers, closed off its final year in the Spring Garden and Queen festival tent---the future new library location ---with a final show from 18-year running ensemble, Afro-Musica. With people partying and shaking their groove thing from ages eight to 80, it was a night to remember.
The Brewery Farmers' Market has long been a charming staple of this city. A perfect place for chatting with old friends, taking a date or picking up some yummy groceries, the beautiful and intricate space will never be quite the same again. Those vendors unable to agree to the minimum three days open a week expected from the new Seaport Market at Pier 20, or who just wanted to stay in the old space, have started a new venture: The Halifax Historic Market. It doesn't look to be anywhere near as robust as the Brewery Market once was, but time will tell. The Seaport Market opened with an impressive and expansive attendance, but again, only time will tell whether the excitement of a new space will keep crowds coming---check both out for yourself and see where your market devotion lies. Maybe both?
In the past year and a half we've heard more about the sewage plant than anyone really wanted. The breakdown two Januarys ago and the subsequent months it took to do something about it is nothing short of a debacle and smelly blemish on Halifax's history. The Halifax Water Commission didn't reach its goal of having the plant working by spring, but it is now operational---just as long as not too much rain messes up the flow.
It hardly seems necessary to say too much on all the hype surrounding the World Cup as the excitement certainly wasn't limited to Halifax. Pubs, bars and restaurants were flooded with fans for the big games and singing, cheering and honking horns could be heard in the streets after exciting wins. For more details on how it all went down Hali-style, check out archives of The Coast's World Cup blog, Footloose.