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🗞️ Halifax hits four-year COVID milestone

Plus, lower speed limits coming to Dartmouth's downtown

Good morning!

It’s the Ides Of March, a day of infamy originally remembered for Julius Caesar’s assasination, and later as the starting point of Nova Scotia’s pandemic. The province announced its very first cases of COVID on March 15, 2020, four years ago.

Am I the only one who feels it was more like 40 years ago? (You’ll get your chance to answer.) The fear, the swabbing, staying the blazes home. These are recent events. But my memories of the lockdown are like faded black-and-white photographs: The dour family huddled together, desperately seeking something new on Netflix. Developing an appreciation for Formula 1 car racing through the documentary series Drive to Survive remains high on my very short list of pandemic positives.

Yesterday in downtown Halifax, signs of COVID were everywhere yet unseen. Scraps of arrow stickers on a shop floor, or disused distancing decals—place your feet here. I went for a grimy hand sanitizer dispenser, and was told it's never refilled. A grocery store still has areas marked off for sanitized and "to be sanitized" carts. Does anyone actually clean these carts, I wondered. "Infrequently," said a clerk. “Those are old signs."

COVID-19 itself is present among us, even if the numbers are easy to miss. (Nova Scotia, which used to announce daily case numbers with the fanfare of a videocast and press release, now bundles weekly C19, flu and RSV stats into a single report, posted to an obscure website.) The latest numbers from the province, for Feb. 25-Mar. 2, show there were 73 diagnosed cases in the week, and nine deaths. That’s more than 10 cases and one death per day. Four years later, COVID may be forgotten, but it's not gone.

COVID arrived here four years ago, which feels like how long to you?

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– Kyle

🌡️ Traffic & Weather

Today: 🌧️ 5°

Tomorrow: 🌤️

Next Day: 🌧️

🚗 Driving, busing or biking today? Check out the current traffic conditions and ongoing road closures.

COAST EXCLUSIVE

EXCERPT: Martin Bauman’s Hell of a Ride wades into depression, family legacy and cycling across Canada

📸 Pottersfield Press / Submitted

Writers and alt-weeklies, it should go without saying, have a bit of a co-dependency arrangement. One cannot exist without the other. (May it always be so.) And best believe that in 30 years of telling Halifax’s stories, The Coast has had its share of writers. That includes writers who have gone on to produce books, films, plays, nationally-syndicated cartoons and albums. You name it; a Coast writer has done it. That doesn’t mean it gets old—to the contrary, it’s a special moment when one of The Coast’s own gets recognition for their work. And in the case of Martin Bauman’s newly-released memoir, Hell of a Ride (out now through Pottersfield Press), we’re over the moon.

A spiritual successor to the bicycle-bound escapades of Kate Harris's Lands of Lost Borders, Bauman’s book Hell of a Ride tells the story of a 7,000-kilometre solo bicycle trek across Canada. It was a ride that came in the wake of his father’s sudden depression, his cousin’s suicide and the stirring up of his own buried childhood memories. Completed in 2016, the ride raised more than $10,000 for mental health initiatives. Martin had billed the ride as a mission to encourage people—men, especially—to talk about depression. It was ironic, he concedes in the book, that he was so reluctant to talk about his own.

🤔 Need To Know

⚠️ Lower speed limits are coming to downtown Dartmouth—here’s where and why.

⚖️ A Halifax woman tells CBC News she’s “very disappointed” in the Nova Scotia Police Review Board’s recent ruling after she’d raised concerns that Halifax police mishandled her rape case.

🩰 Live Art Dance presents Ballet Edmonton, coming to Halifax on March 22nd, Spatz Theatre at 8:00 pm! Get your tickets TODAY!*

📈 Nova Scotia’s premier is slamming a planned federal increase to the carbon tax.

🏥 Nova Scotia’s health-care staffing shortage will take centre stage next week as doctors and nurses meet with the legislature’s standing committee on health.

*Sponsored Post

CITY HALL

HRM fences off Grand Parade, says “de-designated” tent encampment is now vacant

📸 Martin Bauman / The Coast

After months of calls for housing supports—and despite the protests of some advocates, who have fought for the rights of Halifax’s unhoused residents—the Grand Parade tent encampment is no more.

In a Thursday morning news release, the HRM said the downtown public square’s last remaining resident “accepted an indoor housing option from the Province of Nova Scotia” on Wednesday evening. City crews returned to the Grand Parade with Halifax Regional Police on Thursday for “clean-up efforts” and to complete the closing off of the Parade. The municipality says the square is now closed to the public for “remediation”—a familiar ring to the city’s approach with Meagher Park, which has been fenced off since August 2022. The HRM has not shared a planned reopening date.

The Grand Parade’s closure marks the fourth HRM park to close after previously permitting tent encampments, following Victoria Park, the Geary Street green space and the Correctional Centre Park.

According to the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia’s “by name” list, there are 1,164 Haligonians who were actively unhoused as of March 2024—a quadrupling since 2019.

🗞️ In Other News

🔎 Halifax police have shared a photo of a suspect alleged to have been involved in a hit-and-run with a police car last week.

⚖️ A 49-year-old man accused of attacking three Halifax women—including two in their own home—has been denied bail.

🏫 This week, a man testified that a former Halifax teacher sexually assaulted him dozens of times when he was a Grade 8 student.

🗞️ A Nova Scotia judge has approved creditor protection for SaltWire as one private-equity firm claims it’s owed $32.7M, plus interest.

⚽️ A Halifax Wanderers soccer player has earned a big call-up ahead of a must-win game between Canada and Trinidad & Tobago.

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🤝 Now hiring

💼 The Halifax Port Authority is looking for a port asset manager.

💼 Dalhousie University’s Mechanical Engineering school is hiring an administrative secretary.

💼 Scotiabank is looking for a bilingual (English-French) customer care advisor.

💼 Matrix Labour Leasing is hiring a welder.

🗓️ Things To Do

Looking for something to do this St. Patrick’s Day weekend? Check out these Coast picks:

🗓 Ian Sirota: See the Gemini Award-nominated comic who’s opened for Jerry Seinfeld and Robin Williams tonight and tomorrow at Yuk Yuk’s | Mar. 15-16 | 8pm | $22.50

🗓 Take in a weekend vintage market: Dozens of vendors will be at the Halifax Forum’s Maritime Hall with crafts, clothes, houseware, jewellery and plenty more this Saturday | Mar. 16 | 10am-4pm | $2 entry

🗓 St. Paddy’s Day Eve at the Seahorse: Catch local musicians Atay & JAX, Customer Service, Norc, Shaolin and Hooch in a special Saturday night show hosted by Electric Spoonful | Mar. 16 | 8pm | $16.58 ($20 at door)

🗓 Alan Doyle at Scotiabank Centre: The Great Big Sea frontman and Atlantic Canadian music legend stops in Halifax this Saturday for a solo show | Mar. 16 | 8pm | From $73.50

🗓 St. Patrick’s Day Drag Brunch: Freeman’s Little New York is hosting a drag brunch party with lip-syncing servers performing “your favourite songs” | Mar. 17 | 12-3pm | $11.98

🗓 Paddy Simms and the Lucky Charms: Catch a special show at The Carleton this Sunday with green cider and performances from guests Mairi Rankin and Troy MacGillivray | Mar. 17 | 3-10:30pm | $10 cover (no reservations)

Find more Halifax events in The Coast listings

⚓️ What’s In The Harbour

🚢 The 39,978-tonne MSC Sines R container ship arrives at Halifax’s South End Container Terminal around 6:15am. It’s inbound from Montreal and leaves—rather fittingly—for Sines, Portugal, at 5pm.

➡️ The 229-metre-long Asian Captain vehicle carrier leaves the CN Autoport for New York City around noon.

🚢 The NYK Remus container ship is due in Halifax around 3:20pm from Saint John, NB.

➡️ The 120-metre-long Nolhan Ava ro-ro/cargo carrier leaves Halifax’s South End Container Terminal for Argentia, NL, around 6pm.

➡️ The 14,222-tonne Sonderborg container ship departs Halifax for West Palm Beach, FL, at 6pm as well.

👀 In Case You Missed It

🏛️ The “Queen Bey of Homeric literature” visited Halifax for a special guest lecture on translating Greek classics. And she wants them to belong to everyone.

🎵 Mount Uniacke composer-slash-songwriter Alana Yorke tells The Coast her newest album helped her work through PTSD. And she’s about to make a grand return to the stage.

🗳️ After initially bowing out of the upcoming HRM election, Halifax West Armdale councillor Shawn Cleary has confirmed to The Coast that he’ll be running for another term in the fall.

🥌 Sydney is turning into a curling hotbed as teams from around the globe converge for the World Women’s Curling Championship.

🐓 Meet the Dalhousie prof who’s using AI to decipher what chickens are telling one another.

That’s it!

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