I’m in Halifax.
Michelle’s here, with me. Her mom and brother came, too, to meet my mom.
A few observations: people are (a little) slower here, kinder, more grounded. In the US, just about everyone is like me to some extent (or far more so): caffeinated.
The indigenous language of the native Mi’kmaq is here, now, given more equal translation everywhere along with French and English. This feels like a big step forward. The land is acknowledged, past wrongs are acknowledged. The MAGA-like fringe here feels smaller, taken less seriously. The leftward side of the political aisle is, however, split between two or three parties.
The developers dominate this city, tearing down whatever historic characterful beautiful quality anything they want. And of course they’re not building what the people want or need: affordable housing. We could save old buildings, build density along corridors where transport is easy, and build not for cars but for people, first (including cars).
There are a few new developments that are hip, green, wonderful. The Library, of course, first. But the bulldozers and wrecking balls are removing character and craft by the block, apace.
The bike community is strong here. Protected bike lanes springing up. The farmers markets seem strong here. Vegan food options are everywhere—ate at a hip upscale non-vegan-seeming-type-place last night that had a whole separate vegan menu, on request. Boulder has none-such.
Cruise ships plow in every other day, here. They’re huge, sideways skyscrapers. Cruise ships suck. Rather, they dump: sewage, speedy tourism.
Tourism is rampant here: in fuel leaking amphibious shitty vehicles, along the waterfront. Tourism feels like it can be an engine for good: supporting local, history, tours about education…or for ill, buying plastic crap, trinkets, made in China Halifax shirts…same dynamic everywhere. Local Heritage tourism shop is full of local-seeming stuff made cheaply in China. It’s sick, and shallow.
There’s a newer element in Halifax that’s loud (motorcycles, fancy cars) and speedy. Feels American, who knows. The housing market went insane during Covid years, here, folks can’t afford to live here, as elsewhere. Folks from overseas, around Canada, buying up properties as investments, apparently, are a part of this. Also more wholesome forces like folks just moving home, discovering the Maritimes, letting go of the hipper cities like Toronto or Montreal or Vancouver.
Mostly relaying what I’ve been told, or heard, or seen firsthand. That said am anything but an expert, here. Tourists should be modest in our assumptions and observations.