BOSJ2007 – City Life

Best Word To Describe St. John’s – Best St. John’s Citizen – Most Unique Local – Best Reason To Move To St. John’s – Best Local Activist – Best Local Politician – Best Neighborhood – Best Local Website – Best Place To Waste Time – Best Park Bench – Best Washroom – Best View – Best Walking Trail – Best Cove – Best Place to Go When It’s Raining/Snowing – Best Place To Read A Book – Most Psychedelic Spot – Best Local Scandal – Best Place for A Wedding – Best Drag Queen/King – Best New Trend – Worst New Trend – Best New Guy/Gal

To see the other sections, go to the Best Of index.

Best Word to Describe St. John’s

Winner: “Home”

Awww, home. There’s no place like it. For some of us, St. John’s is home by default—through some stroke of fortune, we opened our eyes to the harsh lights of the Grace or St. Clare’s, and our identities were stamped upon our heads as soon as we uttered our first hollers. For others, making St. John’s home has been a choice—work, family, politics, or straight-up love for the place have all dragged people here. In the last ten years, people have been coming from farther and farther away to call this place “home.” And you can’t forget the contingent of people who consider St. John’s home even though they haven’t lived here in decades. St. John’s is their comfy sweater, their broken-in jeans, the place where everybody knows their name. AP

Runner Up: “Quaint”
Others: “Deadly-by”, “Delovely”, “Cock-eyed”, “Friggin wikkid”, “Embarrassingly unhip for the most part yet comfortable and entertaining”, “White and half stupid”, “Quirky”, “Stellar”, and “Best kind.”

Best St. John’s Citizen

Winner: Danny Williams

Rhodes Scholar, lawyer, millionaire, Premier, and—there’s no hiding it—townie.
Re-elected to the legislature in a mega-super-landslide victory for the Conservatives this past October (43 out of 47 seats) Premier Williams’ popularity is now, people say, on par with that of Joey Smallwood at his prime. Bigger than the Beatles? Sure. In this town, Danny’s bigger than Jesus.

Runner Up: Andy Jones
Other: Andy Wells, Jon Hynes, Wallace Hammond, Shannie Duff, “the Yabba dabba do guy”, “Chip the dog”, “Dance Party of Newfoundland—as one collective citizen”, “the Jiffy “right away” dispatcher”, “Zombie Jesus”, and “Christ, now there’s a question! All of them.”

Most Unique Local

Winner: Marilyn Cooper

Not everyone who frequents the downtown area knows the lady who pushes the shopping cart by name, but she does make an indelible impression, whether you’ve exchanged words with her or not. While her story may remain a mystery, one cannot deny that with her shopping cart and leopard print coat she is a distinct character in St. John’s pantheon of characters. The city would not be the same without her. It might surprise some to know that she has inspired art both near and far, and we have been told that interviews with Marilyn were the basis of a performance art piece in Montreal. A likeness of Ms. Cooper appears in a recently exhibited textiles piece by local artist Jason Penney. RJH

Runner Up: Andy Wells
Other: Andy Jones, Beni Malone, Boyd Chubbs, Jason Sellers, Liz Pickard, Meghan Beresford, Nancy Maher, Perry Harris, Ron Hynes, and Pete Soucy.

Best Reason to Move to St. John’s

Winner: People

Sure, on your surlier days you can stomp around, grumbling at the perhaps inaccurate perception of Newfoundlanders as innately friendly people. “Friendly!” I’ve been known to mutter under my breath while wading through a cruise-ship-load of Tilley-hat-wearing, camera-wielding tourists, “oh, I’ll give ya friendly!” I usually spit this out just before I voluntarily and smilingly give someone accurate directions somewhere. I can’t help it. I really am friendly. And we may get angry when other people point out how many artists and writers and musicians we have and how supportive the arts community is, and how helpful everyone is to one another, but, I’m sorry, it’s true. St. John’s is nice. It has nice people in it. Now stop sniping and take someone you don’t really like out for a beer. AP

Runner Up: Clean Air
Other: “Big city excitement with small town charm”, “Smell ocean, see ocean, get great glutes”, “You can toss your daybook”, “Hot, young, single mothers who can hold up a pint and hold down a job”, “You can do what you like and not starve”, “We gots da flavour”, and “Where else are you going to live?”

Best Local Activist

Katie Temple. Original photo by Richard Kelly.

Winner: Katie Temple

Runner Up for “Best St. John’s Citizen” in last year’s survey, Katie Temple is a dynamo. She started on her path of endless community volunteering in university with MUN Oxfam, and now volunteers with the Food Security Network, and Project Green’s Bikeshare program. Just this year she was named Executive Director of the NL Environment Network—an umbrella group that helps spread information about environmental issues. “I really strive to connect the work of all social justice and environmental activists to show that we are all working for the same goals,” she says. EB

Runner Up: Gemma Schlamp-Hickey
Other: Lorraine Michael, Fred Winsor, Lionel West, Kaya Payne, Lori Heath, Remzi Cej, and Stella Magalios.

Best Local Politician

Winner: Danny Williams

Runner Up: Lorraine Michael
Other: Andy Wells, Gemma Schlamp-Hickey, Peg Norman, Shannie Duff, Steve Kent.

Best Neighbourhood

Winner: Georgestown

G-Town is not the new downtown. There’s no indication that the neighbourhood is on the verge of going commercial, so don’t worry. One bakery and one karaoke-hosting pub add up to plenty of bustle for quiet, comfortable Georgestown. With posh Monkstown Road on one side and weird St. Patrick’s apartments on the other, Georgestown still has a few affordable houses up for grabs, which is more than can be said for many of St. John’s other old neighbourhoods. Says Georgestown resident and backyard archaeologist, Andrew Draskoy, “It’s a diverse and interesting place—historic but lively. It feels like a neighbourhood in the truest sense of the word: its great location lets you walk where you need to go, so you meet your neighbours instead of driving past them.” Naturally, there’s a Georgestown group on Facebook, where loving remembrances and warnings of thefts (notably of a tin of mints from a car) are posted. AP

Runner Up: Downtown
Other: Airport Heights, Cowan Heights, Merrymeeting Road area, Pleasant Street, Power’s Pond, Mount Pearl, The Gut / Quidi Vidi Village, and “WEGO (West of Georgestown).”

Best Local Website

Winner: thescope.ca

As someone who has absolutely nothing to do with the design and maintenance of thescope.ca, I feel perfectly comfortable agreeing with the people on this one. In fact, I often use it to refer to things I wrote months ago and then forget that I’ve written. The listings are top-notch, there are all kinds of special photo features, and there’s plenty of room for comments. And do you ever look at The Log? So good! Makes you feel like an insider. Love it. AP

Runner Up: bluekaffee.com
Other: 709locals.cjb.net, nflocals.com, towncryer.net, vocm.com.

Best Place to Waste Time

Winner: Hava Java
216 Water Street

Whiling away the hours listening great music, drinking as many Sicilians as your budget will allow, reading the paper, and chatting with practically everyone you’ve ever met—sound good? Sounds like Hava Java. While it is possible to get work done there (I work from there all the time), you have to play by the rules: upstairs, headphones on, and keep your eyes on your laptop screen, else you’ll end up involved a series of forty-minute conversations with everybody—cousins, exes, bartenders you’ve never before seen in the daylight, that guy from that band/tv show/poetry reading/art opening… Next thing you know, it’s three thirty and the high school kids are flooding the place, and you haven’t even started writing your food column, or whatever it was you were supposed to be doing. AP

Runner Up: Downtown
Other: Afterwords Bookstore, Avalon Mall, Bannerman Park, Coffee Matters, The Rooms, Value Village, “Online…Facebook. Offline…Chapters”, and “Poking around the alleys and nooks of downtown with a camera.”

Best Park Bench

Winner: Bannerman Park
(variety)

There aren’t too many spots left where you can just sit without having to buy something or answer to someone. Bannerman Park, though, is one place where you can park your butt for hours and observe the world around you. In the spring you can sit by the flower beds and witness the blossoming of the hyacinths. In the summer, there are festivals, picnics, slow-pitch tournaments and the occasional water fight to spy on. And if you want to watch fall leaves, a Bannerman Park bench is the place to do it. Just clear out during spanworm week, or stick to the less tree-shaded benches. AP

Runner Up: Bowring Park (Duck Pond)
Other: “Above the stairs at LSPU Hall”, “Any on the Haunted Hike”, “Dick by’s bench…too bad it’s gone”, Food for Thought, Harbourside Park, “Larch Park waterfall,” “Should be one on Lieutenant-Governor’s grounds”, “Ladies Lookout watching the sunrise”, and “the one underneath the willow tree in Bowring Park.”

Best Washroom

Winner: Tangled Up In Blue (Men’s)
5 Bates Hill

What makes a bathroom great? Cleanliness? Ambiance? …Or is it the element of surprise? BG

Runner Up: Fairmont Hotel
Other: “The Vault – it’s like walking into a whole new world”, “Basho – sooooo gorgeous”, “The ones I’ve had sex in”, “The Keg, although they could use an infant change table”, “8th floor of office building next to Delta…Smells like Froot Loops”, “INCO Building at MUN”, “Bar None because the graffiti is both insightful and informative,” and Coffee Matters.

Best View

Winner: Signal Hill

Daytime, it’s a choice between wraparound horizon and bustling city. Nighttime, it’s eternal empty blackness on one side and streetlights that spell “sex” on the other. If you ever have access to a car at lunch time, grab your brown bag and head up there to observe the scenery while eating your sandwich. Even in the rain. It’s a great way to bring a bit of awe and wonder into an otherwise drab workday. AP

Runner Up: The Rooms
Other: Atlantic Place, The Rooms cafe, The Battery, DFO, KFC parking lot, “Passport office in TD Building,” “49 Queen’s Road – 360 degree view of downtown, unobstructed view of The Narrows, you can see six churches from sunroom,” and “From a kaleidoscope.”

Best Walking Trail

Winner: Signal Hill

Well, yeah. If you want to make the most of the scenery, you could, well, walk up. It’s a lot of stairs, and the path gets a little hairy at points, but it’s well worth it. If you haven’t done it since you were a stupid teenager wandering on cliff edges in the dark in inclement weather and in a state of compromised mental with-it-ness, be warned: it’s a harder walk than you remember. The feeling of absolute aloneness and insignificance, at once combined with complete amazement at the complexity of the universe and each molecule’s perfect place within it, however, is the same. And it’s wicked exercise for your glutes, too. AP

Runner Up: East Coast Trail (variety)
Other: “Rennie’s Mill – it’s in the woods but still feels safe,” MUN Botanical Garden, and The Concourse.

Best Cove

Winner: Middle Cove

Top choice for whale-watching, capelin-scavenging, bonfire-lighting and sneaky overnighting (I’ve done it, I’ll admit). It’s also a popular spot for wedding photos, memorial services, and performance art. It’s accessible by car with no trouble at all, save short parking on capelin days. Most people head out on during theot weekends, but it’s pretty phenomenal in crappy weather, too. Some springs there’s the sort of amazing, seething, deadly pack-ice that really has to be seen to be believed. If you haven’t seen it, google “Middle Cove Ice.” Actually, google “Middle Cove Beach” and you’ll get a dozen people’s sets of vacation photos. Some pretty cool stuff in there. AP

Runner Up: Cuckhold’s Cove
Other: “Beachy Cove,” “The Gut,” “Stiles Cove,” “Portugal Cove,” “Pouch Cove,” “Outer Cove,” “Grebe’s Nest – Bell Island,” “Moke Cove,” and “Your mother’s.”

Best Place To Go When It’s Raining/Snowing

Winner: Home

This speaks volumes about how hellishly bad the weather can be around here. There’s no place the average St. John’s dweller would rather be on a snow day, or a rain day, or a falling slush day, than cozy at home under a blanket with a cup of tea and a book. Or with a loved one. Doing whatever it is you get up to. Even if it means a day’s lost wages, a snow day is one of the greatest pleasures of the winter for most of us and we can look forward to a good few of them. AP

Runner Up: Hava Java
Other: “Da mall”, “The Duke”, “Raining: The Rooms. Snowing: Bowring Park”, “Raining: St. John’s International Airport observation deck. Snowing: Bannerman Park gazebo”, “Under a blankie with someone cute”, “For a walk with a cuddler”, “Churchill Valley for giant snow people”, “Down to mom’s for hot chocolate and toast”, “Ferry to Bell Island”, and “the Battery Hotel bar”

Best Place to Read A Book

Winner: Chapters
70 Kenmount Road

Hold on: do you mean that you stand at Chapters and read their merchandise in the aisles then place it back on the shelf? Or do you queue up to pay for your books and then grab an enormous Starbucks coffee and find a spot to sit for a spell? I’m always surprised to find how many people migrate from downtown to Kenmount Road on the weekend for a read and a coffee. But, then, if you’re going to go all the way out there, might as well camp out for a bit, no? AP

Runner Up: Hava Java
Other: “Under a wind shielding tree”, “Bannerman Park —as long as the tree worms are gone”, “Coffee & Company on those big comfy chairs”, “Intermission at a Fog Devil’s Game”, “I use my truck”, “Snuggled up in bed”, “Bathtub”, “Kitchen table at mom’s”, and “Too bad we don’t have a downtown library.”

Most Psychedelic Spot

Winner: Bar None Alley

I had a dream I was a gangster…or was it hamster? Aliens huddling together, faces appearing out of the abyss, bizarre messages from other worlds and paradoxical dimensions. Bob Marley greets you at the end of a long psychedelic journey for 4:20 and advice on group dynamics and peace. Bar None Alley is no stranger to those seeking out a partner in crime to contemplate the universe. SL

Runner Up: Hempware
Other: “Cuckhold’s Cove in a dense fog when it’s purple outside”, “Downtown rooftops”, “Fort Amherst”, “Robin Hood Bay Dump”, “Roxxy’s with its round pool table and neon fetus with a gun”, “Any Gaping Lotus show”, “’Sex’ in the lights”, “Royal Order of the Purple Elk”, “Costume bank at Arts & Culture Centre,” and “Waterford Hospital.”

Best Local Scandal

Winner: Who’s sleeping with who now?

Goodness. Don’t you have anything better to talk about than who’s hopping in and out of whose bed? Of course not. Apparently, our public figures get up to all sorts of trouble when we’re not looking. It may be completely fictional trouble, but, hey, aren’t we Newfoundlanders meant to be great storytellers? I’d wager that many of your entries, involving certain persons of political authority, fall into the tall tale category. I mean, they’d have to. AP

Runner Up: MHA Spending Scandal
Other: “How does Andy Wells keep getting elected?”, “I lent this dude $5 and he didn’t pay me back”, “The Hall vs. the old CBC building”, “The recycling program is happening when now?”, and “Oh dear.”

Best Place For A Wedding

Winner: Bowring Park

Last summer I saw a ring-bearing dog in an orange waistcoat happily charge the stage at the Bowring Park amphitheatre, joyous to be included in the wedding celebration of his owners. While it’s unlikely that his vote was counted in our poll, he was definitely having fun on a beautiful summer’s day. A friend of mine currently planning her wedding next summer mentions, “the Bungalow is run by very helpful people and is a lovely, intimate space.” Bowring Park is charming, with its lovely walking paths, beautiful trees and gardens, and ponds where the ducks runneth over. EM

Runner Up: Middle Cove Beach
Other: “On an ice floe”, “The bubble”, “Think again,” and “Fuck weddings.”

Best Drag Queen/King

Joey Mackey. Original photo by James Breen.

Winner: Joey Mackey

No stranger to competition, Joey Mackey (who performs as Ika) in addition to being a celebrated drag contestant, is also an award winning hair stylist/colourist …and bodybuilder. It is the combined talents of Mr. Mackey that distinguish Ika from the ever-increasing drag pack. The fact that he won this category over a year since Ika’s last performance speaks volumes of his star quality. Whether sashaying on a platform or walking on Duckworth Street, Joey Mackey is a captivating presence. Congratulations Joey! RJH

Runner Up: Mike Hickey
Other: “Annie Cockadoo,” “Barry Buckle,” “Betty Boo Kakke,” “Chris Shortall… I’m sure he must have tried,” “Doris Anita Douche,” “Lola”, and “Felicia Cox.”

Best New Trend

original photo by ryan davis

Winner: Hula Hooping

They’re spinning up a storm and taking over your dance floor, knocking beer out of your hands, and stealing your girlfriend. How many hoops can one city hold? I have been bitten by the hula bug and find myself a changed woman. I no longer need to wait for someone to dance with, personal space is visually defined, and it’s an instant conversation piece. Everyone wants to give it whirl, take it for a spin, and show off that they were the grade five hula hooping champion. SL

Runner Up: Recycling
Other: “Baked goods at rock shows,” “Downtown coffee shops,” “Bathing,” “Brunch,” “Dominion as the new India,” “Facebook,” “farmers’ markets,” ”People moving home, not away,” “Reusable grocery bags,” “Skinny jeans,” “smart cars,” “Sunshine,” “Trivia nights,” and “New trends here are old everywhere else.”

Worst New Trend

Winner: Skinny Jeans

Also known as “carrot leg pants”, “cigarette pants”, “drainpipes”, or “pencil pants.” Worn by Elvis, James Dean, Edie Sedgewick and The Clash, these cock-huggin’ jeans were once an essential component of the rock n’ roll baddie image. Re-popularized in the last few years by celebrities whose thighs don’t rub together when they walk, this trend hit hard and fast—Borg-style—assimilating all other makes and models of jeans. Their enemy? Your ass and hips. Though admittedly useful for tucking into boots or wearing under dresses, it’s somewhat disconcerting when Luke Major looks better in my jeans than I do. JC

Runner Up: Crocs
Other: “The Secret,” “American Eagle pandemic,” “Being criticized for using the term ‘Newfie,’” “Obesity,” “Blo-caine,” “Crime,” “Cancer,” “Digging up every street at the same time,” “Driving over crosswalks before stopping at a corner,” “Facebook,” “Hula hoops,” “Moving to Alberta,” “Overpriced restaurants,” “Oxycontin,” “ “People in the recycling pilot not giving a shit!,” “Purse-sized dogs,” “Rising cover charges,” “Sexual assaults,” “Sucking the soul out of CBC radio by moving them,” and “Wearing pyjamas in public.”

Best New Guy / Gal

jacob rolfe. original photo by emilie bourque

Winner: Jacob Rolfe

A native of Halifax/Ottawa, Jacob Rolfe is our readers’ fave new Townie. In the short time he’s been here, he’s already graced the pages of The Scope many times—he’s created two covers for us (including last year’s ‘Best Of’), he was featured in our ‘People’ column back in July, and he’s been in the Sprout’s ‘Family Tree’ ad series. You may know him as that dude (also named Jacob) from Trailer Park Boys (“Baaaaam!”) or that cook from The Sprout. Or the guy behind the amazing Idlers’ posters. Either way, Scopers agree: there’s lots to love about Jacob. EB

Runner Up: Sarah Smellie
Other: “Nile the cute Irish guy”, “the Aussie guys and gals at Tangled”, “Aliyah-Jasmine (MTV) got screeched in!”, “I don’t like popularity contests”, and “All of the guys and gals who’ve moved home from away.”