Roundup: Gov spending $19M on Halifax hospitals, East Coast wineries persevere through pandemic, 30 years of community service, video game giant buys Lunenburg company

Survivors from HMCS Esquimalt. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nova Scotia has 15 known active cases of COVID-19, with two new cases (one in the Central Zone, the other in the Western) reported in the latest government update. One person is currently hospitalized with the disease.

Nova Scotian labs completed 1,749 tests on March 16, and 270,011 since the second wave of the pandemic began in October.

As of March 16, Nova Scotian health-care workers have dispensed 52,352 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 17,822 people getting the second shot to complete their immunization.

Zach Churchill

Improvements planned for Halifax hospitals
The provincial government also announced yesterday that it’s partnering with Ottawa to spend $19 million on three Halifax hospitals.

The projects include repairs and upgrades to the IWK’s cooling systems, electrical systems, water pump, exterior caulking, air-handling units, hand-washing sinks, and audio-visual infrastructure. Workers will replace privacy curtains with standardized barriers that fit health standards.

In the Halifax Infirmary’s emergency department, workers will expand supplementary spaces.

Projects at the QEII Health Sciences Centre include window renovations, a fire booster pump replacement, and generator system and casework upgrades.

“Infrastructure projects like this are about more than construction, as they help enhance Nova Scotians’ access to care and help with the retention and recruitment of health-care professionals,” provincial health minister Zack Churchill says in a press release. “We have an opportunity to rethink and rebuild the way we deliver health care.”

The federal government is spending $15.3 million on these projects, while the provincial government is chipping in about $3.8 million. The two governments are also combining to spend about $5.7 million on similar work at Cape Breton Regional Hospital.

HMCS Esquimalt. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The avoidable tragedy of HMCS Esquimalt
The end of the Second World War was in sight when HMCS Esquimalt left Halifax Harbour for a routine anti-submarine patrol in April 1945. But many of the men on board wouldn’t live to see peacetime, thanks to a combination of bad luck and bungling by a few key decision-makers.

The seasoned captain inexplicably didn’t take the standard anti-submarine precautions, following a predictable route that made it an easy target for a lurking German submarine, whose torpedoes crippled the Canadian ship.

The survivors spent hours struggling to survive in the freezing Atlantic, succumbing one by one within sight of Halifax, as naval command failed to notice the ship—long overdue to check in—was missing.

Bob Gordon explores the tragedy in this Halifax Magazine historical report, originally published October 2017.

Three decades of community service
Ever since they helped launch the event 30 years ago, Winston and Peggy Patriquin have been volunteering at a key fundraiser for the Wentworth Recreation Centre. That pancake supper has grown into an all-afternoon event.

This year’s edition was takeout only due to public health rules, but Peggy says there was no chance of them not helping out. “It just felt like something was missing if we didn’t do it,” she says. “I grew up in Wentworth so it’s like a coming-home sort of thing.”

Raissa Tetanish has the story for The Light.

Photo: Steve Smith

Atlantic Canadian wineries keep chugging along
In the last couple years, the Atlantic Canadian wine scene has seen steady growth in both quality and popularity. Around this time 12 months ago, COVID-19 seemed poised to derail all that. But East Coast vintners report that, while they’ve faced many unexpected obstacles, they’re soldiering on and continuing to draw critical acclaim.

“Our wines continue to tell a story of excitement and struggle, of potential and success,” says industry watcher Moira Peters, co-author of A Wine Lover’s Guide to Atlantic Canada.

Sara Ericsson has details in the new issue of East Coast Living.

Hole-in-one for Lunenburg company
Video-game giant 2K is about to buy Lunenburg’s HB Studios Multimedia Ltd. On March 16, 2K announced the deal and a long-term partnership with golf legend Tiger Woods. HB Studios is well known in video game circles as the developer of PGA Tour 2K21, widely hailed as the best golf game currently on the market.

“Through our new partnership and acquisition of HB Studios, we’ve reaffirmed our commitment to the PGA Tour 2K franchise, expanded on our successful independent studio model, and invested in both the right people and resources to bolster our portfolio of world-class sports experiences,” says 2K president David Ismailer.

Gayle Wilson reports for LighthouseNow.

Need to know
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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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