Roundup: HRM bars & dining rooms reopen, N.S. copes with grief, Lunenburg woman earns Order of Canada, local books for kids (and parents)

Today, government is lifting the public health restrictions that kept local bars and dining rooms closed since late November.

“Given low case numbers over the holidays, restaurants and licenced establishments in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality and Hants County can reopen for dine-in service,” says the government press release. “They must follow the provincewide restrictions, including ending service by 10 p.m. and closing by 11 p.m… The Halifax casino and VLTs remain closed.”

The government hasn’t provided an update on provincial COVID-19 data since Jan. 2. At that time, Nova Scotia had 27 known active cases of COVID-19, with 13 new cases tallied on Jan. 1 and 2.

Five of the cases reported on Jan. 1 were at Churchill Academy, a private school in Dartmouth.

“This is another reminder of how COVID-19 leaps at any chance to spread,” says Premier Stephen McNeil in a press release. “As we start this new year, let’s remember to be vigilant about following public health protocols.”

Bill Mont. Photo: Lois Legge

Scrounging all the time
It’s hard to live in Halifax for long without hearing Bill Mont’s name.

The retired businessman is a local legend, with an endless supply of stories about the city and its history. He speaks from firsthand experience: a notorious reform school and a hardscrabble Depression-era childhood left Mont with a lifetime of tales.

In 2018, he took writer Lois Legge on a tour through his extensive collection of historic mementos and artifacts. “I’m a child of the Depression, broken home—the whole friggin’ thing. And you’re scrounging all the time… Things were so tough even today I don’t want to throw nothing away.”

Legge’s interview with Mont is one of Halifax Magazine‘s most-read stories ever—find it in the free archives.

Coping with grief during a pandemic
Most people want to forget about the year 2020 as quickly as possible. But in Nova Scotia, tragedy after tragedy piled atop the pandemic. When Margaret Mauger helped launch a counselling service a year ago, she planned to offer free therapy sessions for people suffering from trauma one day per week.

Now she’s up to three days per week, helping people affected by the April shooting, suffering financial hardship and fallout from the pandemic, and some with sex abuse and other trauma triggered by isolation.

“It’s just been unimaginable,” she says. “Nobody ever would have thought we would wake up one day and all of the sudden the way we conduct ourselves and live in the world is upside down.”

Janet Whitman has the story for Hub Now.

Barbara Butler

Lunenburg County woman appointed to Order of Canada
Barbara Elizabeth Butler, a long-time champion of traditional music, is getting one of Canada top honours.

Butler’s appointment as a member of the Order of Canada recognizes “her contributions to the musical landscape of Nova Scotia, notably through her promotion of numerous concert series across the province,” says the citation from the Governor General of Canada.

For many years, Butler worked with Lunenburg’s Musique Royale group, working to bring a variety of musical offerings to the South Shore, including house concerts, family events, and major presentations with symphonies and choral ensembles. Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Local books for kids (and their parents)
A fanciful imagining of the origins of hockey, happy memories of warmer weather, natural explorations, and encouragement for parents—Nova Scotia’s talented authors just keep cranking out new books, providing lots of great reading material for the next snow day. The latest issue of Our Children has reviews and recommendations aplenty.

Need to know
Know a community group, good cause, or inspiring local story we should share? Email the editor.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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