The things people care about

Last month, Halifax Magazine celebrated its five-year anniversary (and our recent redesign), with a party at the Halifax Train Station. We brought together readers, advertisers, writers, photographers and our staff. Amidst the entertainment (thank you, Jon Mullane), there was a lot of lively discussion about the city, how it’s changed over the last five years and what the future holds. To capture some of that, we had a big sheet of paper and some Magic Markers and asked people to jot down their thoughts on how they want to see Halifax change in the next five years. This is not, of course, a representative poll of anything—it is, however, an interesting snapshot of what a few citizens want for their city.
Transit and transportation are always lively conversation topics in Halifax. “Bike lanes everywhere!” and “better public transport!” recur. My favourite is the call for a zipline between Halifax and Dartmouth. Ah, to dream…
One transit comment sparked a mini debate (complete with smiley faces), as one reader called for “Better transit from the suburbs” and another promptly rebutted “More people living in the city, not the suburbs!”
Lots of comments dealt with the downtown, and the fate of its businesses: “Barrington back to life!!” “More businesses on Barrington.” “More shop local!” “More mom n’ pop-type businesses.” “Finish the [Nova] Centre!” “I would like to see the many small eyesores in the downtown beautified.” And, because readers (like magazine editors) always enjoy discussing food, there was a handful of comments about relaxing regulations to allow more food trucks.
Other comments focused on the kind of people Haligonians are, urging less consumerism, more savvy use of social media and “more caring about each other!” Along the same lines: “Born and bred Haligonians, open up social networks to new arrivals—be friendly and welcoming.”
As I said, this wasn’t a scientific poll. There is no broad lesson we can learn from this. The only thing all the commenters have in common is that they want a more pleasant, livable city. As far as common ground goes, that’s not bad. And consider this parting thought: “I like it just the way it is! Except, more garbage pick-ups.”
If you’ve been reading this magazine for a while, you may recall that it’s just about a year since I started working with GoodLife Park Lane to get fit and lose weight. My goal when we began the project was to lose 40 pounds between November and Canada Day, which—much to my pleasant surprise—I managed to do. Since then, I’ve been trying to get in running shape and shed another 10 pounds. The last 10 pounds has been tough, mostly because my focus has waned a bit, and I’m going to the gym a couple of times a week, rather than four or five times.
So, it’s time to refocus. I’ve found that team training is best for me (I’m kind of competitive, and seem to work better when I’m accountable to someone else). I’m just starting another round of team training at GoodLife, and intend to continue exploring various group-exercise options for the next few months. My new goal is to be in shape to run in one of the BlueNose marathon events this spring. Follow my journey at

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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