Thu, Dec 5, 2013
Local graphic designer Jud Haynes spent two months driving around town in his busted up Neon researching his screenprinted map of St. John’s-area neighbourhoods.
Elling Lien called him up to talk about fuzzy boundaries, friendly seniors and neighbourhood pride.
How did you start this project?
I spent the whole summer driving around and just meeting people in all these different neighbourhoods and getting info. And then, once I had the whole thing done, and I kind of was like: “Okay, I think I have as much as I can get now,” then I put it online. Before I printed it, I put it online and basically opened it up to my friends and the public to kind of give me some feedback. “Is anything wrong here?” And things like that. I did get feedback, there was a whole thing.
That’s probably very wise.
Yeah, exactly. There was feedback then. I got a few comments from people, and then I even took it to some real estate agents, and some home appraisers, and even some taxi drivers.
I drew it all directly on top of an actual city map, and then kind of figured it all out that way. Then I scanned that map in and drew my map on top of it to get everything to scale and all that. But yeah, realistically, that’s part of it too is the fact that people don’t actually see as far as each street goes. If I have a border line that’s one away from where it really should be, no one really knows or… I’ve got it as accurate as I possibly could. The main thing is I guess all the neighbourhoods are definitely in the right order and they’re in all the right placements.
What kind of response did you get from people when they heard that you were putting this together?
Before I started it I talked to a few people and a lot of them… I got kind of mixed reviews; some people thought it would be really kind of cool, and others thought I basically had too much spare time on my hands or something.
But as I would drive around, that was where I got the funniest reactions, like once I actually started doing it and I was driving around from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. We just got rid of it, but we were driving a real piece of crap car. So I’m driving around in a pretty-much-destroyed Neon with my Blackhorse trucker hat on, and the big beard and glasses, and rolling into all these neighbourhoods and just randomly finding people outside. If I saw anybody outside gardening or mowing their lawn or something like that, I essentially would pull the car in, jump out of the car, and go over and talk to them and at first I would get crazy reactions. Basically, no matter what neighbourhood I went to—from harder neighbourhoods right up to the most affluent neighbourhoods—I got the same reaction from everybody: They all looked at me like I had 10 heads. Everybody looked like they thought I was either going to ask them for money or I was going to solicit them to buy something. It was kind of amusing to watch time and time again.
What was your opening line?
“Hello.” I would usually start with that.
[laugh] That’s it?
Yeah, I usually just said: “Hello.” And then I would say: “Can I ask you about this neighbourhood?”
Even then people would look at me like I had 10 heads. They’d be thinking, “Uh, where is this going?” Then I would pull out the map I was drawing on and show them. I would actually have the map out and be kind of unfolding it, while I’m talking and just say to them: “Yeah, I’m working on a map of all the neighbourhoods of St. John and I’m having some problems finding some info on this particular one.”
Then people would usually brighten right up.
I had conversations that went on from someone talking to me for only 30 seconds and giving me the name of the neighbourhood and then going right back to what they were doing to people inviting me into their houses.
In Kent’s Pond, for example, I had a wonderful chat with a lady who was in her 90s who apparently has lived there her whole life in that one neighbourhood, and remembered it when it was just Kent’s Farm. She said her house was the first one on her street, and she’s watched over the years as all of the other streets have been built and all the houses have been built in the area. She kept me at her place for almost three hours, just chatting.
Wow, that’s cool.
Yeah, it was amazing. Her neighbours came over and chatted too, so here I was, myself and this lady and her neighbours all just chatting about the neighbourhood. It was really cool because that was an area that I’ve never lived in that part of the city, so I didn’t really know anything about it.
I had no idea why it was called Kent’s Pond, other than the pond being there, but I didn’t realize it was actually a farm there.
So you were basically giving them an excuse to think about their neighbourhood. To think about the history of it.
Yeah, definitely. Everybody has a certain level of pride in their own neighbourhood. Half of the neighbourhoods I would go to, the people who I would talk to would tell me that their neighbourhood is the best neighbourhood and tell me all the reasons why.
Like what? Which neighbourhood?
Oh geez, one guy I talked to in Brookfield Heights, and apparently it’s the best neighbourhood in the city, he says. He told me “they get all the best weather, they don’t get the fog, it’s sunny all the time, and the weather’s always a little bit warmer” because they’re a bit more inland. Anyway, he was giving me the whole spiel about how Brookfield Heights was the best neighbourhood.
Then he turns around and asks me if I wanted to buy his house.
Which I thought was pretty funny. Yeah, this is a great neighbourhood.
And he wanted to move out of the best neighbourhood!
Yeah, yeah, exactly. He was like: “Do you want to buy it? Do you want to live in this neighbourhood? It’s the best. Best neighbourhood.” And he was saying: “Look at how far apart all the houses are! Look how big all our backyards are, and all the neighbours are really nice. There’s never any trouble in this neighbourhood.” He made a very convincing case. By the end of it, I was totally ready to pack up and move out there. [laugh]
Sometimes, I would go to a neighbourhood where the people I would meet were really kind of hard, kind of aggressive, almost. But then the same thing happened: the minute you start talking to them about their neighbourhood suddenly they just brighten right up and they’re super proud of the area that they live in, and have all sorts of fun stuff to talk about and say about it. It was pretty cool.
Did the meaning change of the project chance for you as it went on?
Yeah, definitely. I didn’t realize there would be so many neighbourhoods. That’s the one thing a lot of people have commented on when they’ve seen the map is they didn’t realize that there was so many little sub-neighbourhoods.
When I started, I was kind of expecting to find a dozen or maybe 15 different main neighbourhoods, and I expected to find a whole lot of areas that didn’t really have neighbourhood names, but I was very surprised. I’d drive into area after area that people have given names to—whether they had an official name or not. But whether it was a name that existed for decades or not didn’t matter to me, I was looking for names.
It’s pretty cute to see the names that have come up, like the “Little Canada”, for example. That’s not what that neighbourhood was initially supposed to be called. It was supposed to be named “Centennial Park.” That neighbourhood was built and launched for Canada’s centennial year in 1967. For two years before it, they built it, and they were selling the properties as: “It’s going to be Centennial Park. We’re going to be opening on the 100th anniversary of Canada,” and all this. That’s the neighbourhood that all the streets are named after different streets in Canada. But they call it “Little Canada”.
I thought it was cute that certain neighbourhoods have taken the name and adjusted it on their own. I drove up to Shea Heights and spoke to people in Shea Heights, and asked them if names like: “The Brow” or “The Hill” was considered to be offensive to them… But everybody I ran into said they have no problems with those names at all.
Do they use them themselves?
Yeah, they’re proud of them. Which I thought was great. For that area, I actually put all three names; I put Shea Heights, The Hill, and The Brow.
It’s interesting, with a street map you’d miss a lot of the peoples’ history of these places. But a neighbourhood map really incorporates that.
Definitely. People get really of their neighbourhoods. The same way they get proud of, say, a local sports team they get very proud of their neighbourhood. It’s interesting how that whole thing takes on a whole life of its own.
I’m curious to see how it will evolve too because I was trying to represent the city that exists now, not necessarily the old St. John’s. Some of the neighbourhoods have changed names over the years or have grown to encompass different borders. There are quite a few neighbourhoods in the city that have only existed for 10, 15, 20 years. When you look at areas like Southlands for instance, areas like that, that was just a field 15 years ago and now it’s a full, bona fide community and neighbourhood. Will the names that are there now stick? Kenmount Terrace, will it still be referred to as “Kenmount Terrace” in 10 years or 20 years?
You can track down a copy of the map online at RehearsalsRehearsals.com, downtown at O’Brien’s Music and Ballistic, and in Torbay at Treasure Cove Antiques.
Fri, Oct 4, 2013
We know you’re full of opinions. So tell us: What’s awesome about town?
The Best of St. John’s readers’ survey is your chance to vote on the best that St. John’s Metro Area (including Mount Pearl, Paradise, Torbay, Portugal Cove-St. Philips, and CBS) has to offer. The results of this eighth annual survey will be published in a special print edition of The Scope in early 2014.
By voting in a minimum of 15 categories you’ll automatically be entered in a draw to win tickets for two to North Atlantic Ziplines in Petty Harbour.
Wed, May 2, 2012
The perfect antidote to the dreary grind of the nine-to-fiver, the glorious tradition of happy hour dates back to at least the Prohibition era, when some genius decided that pre-dinner drinking was acceptable. Fast forward to 2012, where dozens of St. John’s bars and speakeasies boast some version of the tipple-iscious temporal vortex of cheap drinks known as the double-H. Here The Scope presents a mostly-exhaustive list of all conceivable happy hours on offer in this thirsty town. Information collected by Nathan Downey & Bryhanna Greenough.
246 Duckworth Street
This popular brunch spot (and winner of Best All Day Breakfast in our 2011 Best of Food & Drink survey) offers caesars, mimosas, cranberry vodka, and fuzzy orange for five bucks ‘til 3pm every day of the week.
55 Rowan Street
Though it’s right on the university’s doorstep, Big Ben’s is still within stumbling distance of downtown. Their happy hour runs from 4pm to 7pm, Monday to Friday; Saturdays from 2pm to 8pm; and all day Sundays. Bottles of domestic beer and highballs are $4.05, buckets of beer are $17.25, and pints are $5.75.
Stavanger Drive & Kelsey Drive
If the wind’s whistling, forego the outdoor deck and head inside to an oversized booth big enough for the bunch of you. On Wednesdays 34 oz “Thunder Mugs” are eight bucks and it’s $4 pints every Thursday. If your thirsty enough to drink a small pond, Fishbowl Fridays are the way to go with 3oz highballs for $9/$10. On Saturdays a bucket of five brews is $19. $5 martinis on Mondays, house wine on Tuesdays, and Caesars on Sundays. Drink specials last all day, and the pizza is served on old-timey pedestals.
$4 beer and highballs every day from 4pm to 7pm. Bet you never knew there’s even a small deck with a few tables. Hot tip: If you venture to the Celtic Hearth side, the same special is $3.50.
411 Torbay Road
$3.50 bottles of domestic and $3.20 highballs everyday from 4pm to 9pm in St. John’s only Greek-style establishment.
2 Kings Bridge Road
Hotel bars often serve as a place to hang on the down-low, and this one is off the beaten track. Happy hour specials change all the time, but there is always free pool.
7 Queen Street
Score four tapas (Hot Smoked Pork Belly with Tomato Jam anyone?) and a pint of QV for $27 on Ice Caps nights.
106 Airport Road
Attached to the Comfort Inn, in close proximity to the airport, this spot offers $4.25 highballs and beer every day from 5pm to 7pm. Don’t miss your flight though, kay?
16 Queen Street
This stone building sits on the corner of Queen and George, and they offer a daily happy hour from 4pm to 8pm with domestic beer and highballs going for $4.25. There’s happy hour pricing on most other beverages too, they say.
290 Freshwater Road
Named after the colourful, outspoken hockey host whose portrait is hand-painted on the building, Don Cherry’s offers buckets of five Corona for $15 and singles for $3.50 on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
325 Duckworth Street
Where everybody knows your name. In the heart of downtown, the Duke feels like a neighbourhood pub. Rub shoulders with lawyers from the neighbouring firms, film crew workers, and maybe even the occasional collared pastor. Highballs and bottles of domestic are $3.95 from 3pm to 7pm every day.
186 Water Street
While you might come for the Scope-reader-approved traditional tunes (Best Traditional Session winner in our Best of St. John’s readers’ survey), you’ll stay for the happy hour prices. $3.50 will snag you a bottle of local beer from 2pm to 6pm every day.
48 Kenmount Road
Every once in awhile I love to head to the mall for a good ol’ fashioned dinner and a show. Fog City has eight varieties of draft beer on tap of which half pints are two for $6.50; full pints of domestic beer are two for $13. You can get a discount on the price of your movie ticket with a meal.
80 Hayward Avenue
Located in the oh-so-trendy ‘hood just north of downtown, the Georgetown Pub is a friendly spot with plenty of local colour. Their happy hour runs from 4pm to 11pm Monday to Thursday, and all day Friday though Sunday. Happy hour pricing is $3.75 for domestic beer and highballs.
123 Quidi Vidi Road
Not exactly a happy hour, but happy enough for me: They don’t sell alcohol, but patrons are invited to bring in their own bottles of wine in the evenings for a $10 corkage fee.
206 Water Street
This slick and sexy lounge is strategically located at roughly the geographic middle between the east Water Street watering holes and George Street. The ‘Vine’s happy hour runs daily between 4pm and 8:30, featuring $4.50 domestic beer and highballs.
14 George Street
Green Sleeves boasts the quintessential outdoor deck from which you can watch all of George Street drift by on a sunny afternoon. Bottles of domestic and highballs are $4.50 from 3pm to 6pm daily.
Fall River Plaza, Torbay Road
The stump might be grumpy, but the hours are always happy. Happy hour lasts all day, and features domestic beer and highballs for $3.75, and double White Russians for absurdly cheap price of $4.75.
389 Elizabeth Avenue
Take in Old English ambiance, $3.75 domestic beers, and $4.10 highballs from 4pm to 7pm every day. Daily food specials such as Monday and Tuesday wing night, and mussels on Wednesdays. Plenty of specialty scotch, and beer on tap.
179 New Gower Street
Across the street from Mile One, this could serve as a nice pit stop before a show or game. On Fridays from 4pm to 7pm bottles of domestic are $4.25 and highballs are $4.30.
125 Queens Rd
Its storefront is so incognito that if you didn’t know what you were looking for, you’d pass right by, but Jay Dees Lounge dishes out domestic beer for $3.50 between the hours of 12pm and 7:30pm.
286 Torbay Road & 657 Topsail Rd
On Wednesdays a bucket of four Molson is $12.99 with the purchase of a pound of wings from 4pm to close. Available at Torbay Road and Topsail Road locations only.
10 George Street
Everyday buckets of five domestic beer for $16.25. That works out to $3.30 each, plus there’s a wraparound deck at the corner of Adelaide and George Street.
3 George Street
With its nostalgic tunes, signature White Russians, and lack of cover charge, a visit to Lottie’s is pretty much an inevitable part of the George Street experience. More of a night joint, double highballs or two bottles of Molson are $6.50 after 10pm, Sunday to Thursday, and double White Russians are $5.25 all the time.
In the last year or so Martini Bar expanded the outdoor seating and it may well boast the largest street-level deck on George. One dollar off all Labatt products every Friday from 5pm to 9pm.
201 Water Street
Nautical Nellie’s offers unpretentious pub grub in a cozy downtown setting. They also feature free live music a couple nights per week. Their happy hour stretches from 4pm to 7pm on weekdays, with highballs and domestic beer going for $4. During brunch on the weekends caesars are $5.
13 George Street
Serving up traditional tunes and distinctive North Atlantic flare. Their happy hour runs from noon to 8, Sunday to Thursday, and from noon to 10 on Fridays. Highballs and bottles of domestic beer will run you $4.50, Yellowbelly beers are $5.50 a pint, and Molson Canadian and Coors Lite is a buck off. Their patio can seat about 30 thirsty souls.
29 Cookstown Road
Happy hour? More like happy day! The Peter E just might have the happiest happy hour in town, with beer and highballs going for $2.95, from freaking 9am to 6pm. See you there.
15 Barrows Road
The view from the bar is epic: along the gut the sea laps against rocks, moored boats bob in the waves. Brewery tours ($10) are offered year round and include a sampling of the varieties all made on premises. In the summer, the bar is open to the general public is from 4:30pm to 7:30pm with live trad some days.
57 Rowan Street, Churchill Square
Say hasta luego to your work week at Quintana’s, with happy hour on Thursdays and Fridays from 4pm to 8pm. Beer is $3.50 for domestic and $4 for imports, and sangria, margaritas, and
pints of draft are $4.50. They feature a nacho bar for $5 a tray, and you can wash that down with a $12 pitcher of beer.
62 Hamlyn Road
Rack and roll all night, or at least during happy hour, which runs from 12pm to 6pm daily and all day on Tuesdays. Two bottles of domestic beer will run you $7.50.
208 Water Street
On downtown’s main drag. They open early, but happy hour runs from 12pm to 8pm seven days a week. Domestic beer and high balls are $4.50, are double $7.25.
272-276 Torbay Road
Tucked away in the east end at Fall River Plaza, Rustler’s features a daily wing special. With the purchase of any alcoholic beverage, you can get two pounds of wings for the price of one, between 7pm and 10pm.
340 Water Street
A fairly new addition the traditional Irish/NL pub scene. Comfortable and dark with food service available. It’s a buck off highballs, draft and bottled beer from 2pm to 7pm every day. Live music to follow.
265 Duckworth Street
A local live music favourite, The Ship also happens to have quite a comprehensive happy hour. On the daily from 3pm to 8pm, bottles of domestic beer and highballs will run you $3.95, pints of Black Horse are $5.95, two bottles of Jockey Club are $7.25, doubles of Lamb’s Navy are $7.25, and you can get 3 Jager Bombs for $14.95. (Maybe you should share that last deal with a friend.)
131 Duckworth Street
If you like your booze with breathtaking views, hit up Smitty’s at the Courtyard Mariott on Duckworth. In the lounge every day from 5pm to 8pm, house wines are half price, Iceberg Rum and Vodka doubles are $6.50, pints of QV 1892 are $5.25, and pints of Iceberg Beer are $5.50.
7 Hutchings Street
Located under an overpass—not The Overpass, though—the Station Lounge is a quick jaunt from downtown west. They’ve got a patio for the hot days, and their happy hour prices are dece: $7.25 for two bottles of domestic beer or two single highballs, and buckets of five beer for $16.25. It runs from 11:30am until 7pm, daily.
48 Ropewalk Lane
Steve’s isn’t on the usual well-trodden trails to the watering hole, but might be well worth the journey for its happy hour prices. It features double highballs or two bottles of beer for $6.50, and runs from 12pm to 12am daily.
33 New Gower Street
Boasting one of the biggest patios in the downtown battle of the decks, The Sundance is invariably blocked solid on sunny days. There’s plenty of daylight during their happy hour, which runs from 3pm to 7pm daily, with domestic beer and highballs available for $3.75.
23 George Street
Apart from being an unpretentious and slightly kitschy Newfoundland bar, Trapper John’s is well known for its screech-in ceremonies, of which over 100,000 have been performed according to the bar’s website. Their happy hour runs daily from noon to 10pm, and features two domestic beer for $7.50, and $6.50 for doubles of Screech and Old Sam’s.
Features a semi-private-but-exposed-to-the-sun rooftop deck overlooking George Street. Everyday, beer & highballs are $4.25.
288 Water Street
Known for brewing its own beer in house, Yellowbelly is a commanding presence on the corner of Water and George. Skipping out of work early will bag you pints of their delicious beer for $4, between the hours of 4pm and 6pm.
Thu, Mar 1, 2012
Groomed lit trails trails for classic and skate skiing, and snowshoeing. Free to use. Rentals on site.
Fri 6pm–10pm, Sat 10am–10pm, Sun 10am–5pm
Skis & Snowshoes $4/hr; $12/day
Sat and Sun, 11am, $6.
Pre-registration is required, call 737-3651 (weekends), 576-8522 (weekdays).
Friday Night Snowshoe Adventures (call for details), 7–9pm, $11.
Groomed walking trails throughout St. John’s.
Groomed trails for classic and skate skiing, and snow shoeing. Free to use.
(Day Rates for non-Avalon Nordic Club Members)
Cross Country Skis $30
Skate Skis $30
Arrange by appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org
Private lesson: $45/hr (non-members)
Group lesson: $20/hr
Free, call 685-1853
Groomed trails near downhill skiing resort for classic and skate skiing, and snow shoeing.
Cross Country Skiing $16
Cross Country Skis $29
Snowshoes $19 (pass incl)
Cross Country Skis $25/day
Full Day $39
Half Day $29
Night skiing (Fri) $20, $36 (with rentals)
Ski or Snowboard set $29
Full Day $54/$39
Half Day $39/$29
Night skiing (Fri) $19
Ski or Snowboard set $34/$29
New Gower Street
(Call or check website to confirm)
Adults only: Weekdays 12:30–2pm, Thu and Sun 9–10:30pm.
13 & Over: Sun 7:30–9pm
Family Skate: Sun 2–4pm
(Call to confirm)
Family Skating: Sat & Sun, 2–3:15pm, $3, $2 child
All-Age Skating: Sat, 9:30–10:45pm, $3.50
Adult Skating: Mon–Fri, 12–1:15pm, $3 Mon, 9–10:15pm, $4
Free General Skating: Fri, 3:30–4:30pm.
(Call to confirm)
General Skating: Sat, 4–5pm, Sun, 3–4pm, $4
Adult Skating: Mon–Thu, 12:30–2pm, $4
Ice $60/hr per sheet
Available by request
Logy Bay Road
726-4021 ext 203
$55/hr per sheet
Bring your own sliders
Lessons available for $75
Wed, Feb 1, 2012
Breaking up is the worst, even when it’s for the best, and it’s even worse in a small city like St. John’s. Sarah Smellie gets personal.
It was sometime this summer. Finally, after a few months of sleeplessness, weight loss, incapacitating vulnerability and emotional evisceration, things were looking up.
Then I learned that my freshly ex-ed partner’s new girlfriend was moving just down the street from me.
Ah, the joys of breaking up in a small town.
No matter where you are, break-ups are scientifically verified shit storms. During a breakup, neurobiologists say your brain acts like that of a drug addict. Thoughts or sightings of your ex trigger the parts of your brain that control motivation and reward, and flare up your pain centres. In your ex’s absence, you experience neurologically-certified withdrawal in a post-trauma brain state.
Barbara Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University, is known as an expert on the neuroscience of breakups. And breakups, she says, are ruled by dopamine. In the first stage of a split, dopamine and norepinephrine receptors buzz frantically. This is what leads to obsessing, phoning, pleading, accusing, and maybe even stalking. In the second stage, certain specialized cells stop making dopamine. This brings on feelings of depression and lethargy.
So, what happens when you fling a mess like that onto the streets of St. John’s?
For me, at first, it felt like every other person in the city was smiling happily with their partner and wondering what my deal was. Statistics seem to support that delusion: Recently the Vanier Institute of the Family published a study of 2006 census data showing that Newfoundland has the lowest divorce rate in the country, with only 21.6 per cent of all new marriages estimated to dissolve before their 30th anniversary. 54.3 per cent of Newfoundlanders are married, the highest percentage in the country. By comparison, 48.4 per cent of Quebec marriages were forecast to dissolve.
But according to John Murphy, a couples counselor with the Atlantic Consulting and Counselling Associates, things are changing. He expects the local divorce rate will catch up to the rest of Canada pretty soon.
“The economic upturn in Newfoundland has made us very busy,” he says. “People have more work and less time. It’s a lot of stress, and it’s impacting relationships.”
The Vanier Institute report also said that, of all Canadians, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians feel the greatest sense of belonging to a community.
My friend Chris Shortall agrees. “Everybody knows your business!” he laughs. “And if you’re part of a subculture, like the downtown community, or an even smaller one like the queer community, it’s even worse.”
Close social quarters can also bring about some awkwardness and paranoia.
Another friend, Darcy Fitzpatrick: “So there was this one time when I had this nasty breakup, like me-crying-at-the-Ship-with-her-and-the-new-guy-there-to-see-it nasty,” he says. “This new guy at work was there that night and he saw the whole sob fest go down. I expected some form of comment from him on Monday, but he never said a word, which may have made things worse in my imagination.”
Tight social circles also help trigger neurological withdrawal symptoms. Most of the people I spoke to agreed that, although it’s extremely delicious, gossip about sightings of your ex can break your heart all over again.
Even the small size of the city comes into it, agree Chad Pelley and Olivia Heaney. “There’s a sort of invisible graffiti on every inch of the town blaring memories back at you. You can’t escape,” Pelley says.
“When I walked by a place that reminded me of my ex,” says Heany, “I would say to myself, ‘Focus, Olivia.’ I wouldn’t let my mind go there.”
The good news is that heartbreak heals. Even in St. John’s.
One fine day, I opened my door, looked down the street, and saw my ex leaving his new girlfriend’s house. Instead of wanting to heave a Molotov cocktail, I smiled and got on with my life.
You want a job? Stay in St. John’s. Thanks to the power of Have, and according to the city’s Economic Outlook 2011 report for the metro area, employment in the city is expected to increase by 3.8 per cent this year. The unemployment rate should drop by 1.1 per cent, and personal income should go up by 5.8 per cent. This is good news if you’re in the booming sectors like construction, finance, real estate, insurance and leasing. According to The Telegram, the entire province should expect 70,000 jobs to open in the next 10 years. And according to the CBC, Newfoundland and Labrador will be leading the country in wage increases for the next two years: 2011 should bring about a 3.5 per cent wage increase and 2012 will increase that by another 3.4 per cent. Ahhh, the power, THE POWER! Muahahaha!
We’re not saying it’s easy to make a living as an artist, but you might have just an easier time of it in Newfoundland. According to StatsCan’s Government Expenditure on Culture, The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador allocated an amount equivalent to $139 per person in the 2008-2009 fiscal year. That was the highest per capita amount in the country. For comparison, B.C. came last at $62 per person. If you’re an artist looking for money to help your project, you can avail via the bi-annual Newfoundland & Labrador Arts Council project grants programs, the Arts and Letters Awards, or the Cultural Economic Development Program.
The coke problem: Does it really exist? Is it really getting worse? Doesn’t this discussion happen every year?
Sandy Chisholm, owner of CBTG’s bar, is about to celebrate his 21st year working on George Street. He’s got a lot to say about all this.
“It’s not just coke,” he says. “There’s an overall escalation of chemicals, it’s practically all there is. The coke is probably the single biggest problem, but to me, it’s everything: it’s the oxycontin, it’s the crystal meth, it’s the E. People pop E like it’s Aspirin, they don’t even hide that anymore. And it’s not restricted to a certain age group or type of people—it’s everybody.”
He thinks that it is definitely getting worse. It’s affecting his business and it’s affecting his enjoyment of his business. “People wasted on this stuff don’t buy drinks,” he says. ”Between the chemical culture and the late hours, I’m probably the most serious that I’ve ever been about trying to find another line of work.”
And does he really think that it’s harder to find pot than it is to find the other stuff?
“Yes. I can’t tell you how often people approach me at the bar, looking for something to smoke because they can’t find it anywhere,” he says. “But I don’t think that there’s ever an issue finding chemicals.”
There are about 30 weekends to fill between the first and last day of lectures in an average academic year. That’s 240 weekend nights over the course of an undergrad degree. With only 50 or so pubs and clubs in the downtown area, you’re going to have to get creative in order to avoid Same Old Bar/Same Old Band Boredom.
Some nervy households are taking the house party to the next level and holding full-blown house concerts. The head of one such household—who’d like to remain nameless in case his landlord gets upset—got his start hosting shows by the Wiles. “We have a nice big living room, with a big fireplace,” he says. “We always had a potluck at supper time and then a few hours later we’d have a show. And we never have loud shows, we’ve only had folkier stuff.”
His advice? “There doesn’t need to be much planning, really. The more effort that we put into them, the more stressful they were. If you can get a good group of people together that are going to be respectful and quiet regardless of whether you’re drinking or not, and invite one or two musicians that don’t require a lot of gear and can play acoustically, pass the hat around for pay-what-you-can donations for them, and you can have a really beautiful night.”
St. John’s is one of the few remaining Canadian cities where you can buy a house, a whole house, for cheap. Now, they aren’t all cheap. It is a boom town after all, and people are paying top dollar to live in giant McMansions in Paradise. But a lot of pretty row houses downtown can be had for a song—a $150,000-or-so song that is.
With a 5 per cent down payment on that $150,000 house in Georgestown—with the 6 foot ceilings, 90-year old wall paper for insulation, one leaky toilet that doesn’t flush, 100-year old knob & tube wiring, and knobbly upper floor that makes you seasick to walk on it—you will have mortgage payments of less than $700/month, around the same as rent for a one-bedroom apartment of equally dubious quality. The only catch is that 5 per cent. You’ll need $7,500 for the down payment (it can’t be borrowed from a bank), and another $2,500-or-so for the lawyers and such.
With the nearest Ikea some 2,500 km away, there is no chance of inadvertently losing an entire day in a warehouse full of cheap furniture. Instead, you can spend that time hunting for bargain treasures here in town.
The best deals are always those left on the curb. But if you prefer to shop for free stuff from the comfort of your unfurnished home, Freecycle is an online place where people post all sorts of free things for the flock of Freecycle Vultures waiting to swoop in and take any old crap for nothing. Other online classified sites, like Kijiji and NLClassifieds have some free stuff, as well as plenty of cheap rundown furniture that is suitable for “students or cabin” since being a student is a lot like living in the woods with no running water or electricity.
If you can’t find the perfect couch for free on the internet there are a variety of places to find them around town. Salvation Army, Value Village, and Previously Loved are all out by the Avalon Mall. Furniture, Oddities, Antiques & More at 1 Colonial Street and the row of antique stores on the west-end of Water Street have deals on furniture too. There are also a variety of larger stores that sell new and used furniture, like East Coast Liquidators in Mount Pearl, or XS Cargo on Kenmount Road.
An afternoon spent picking a peck of fresh Signal Hill blueberries
Splash of lemon juice
Bit ‘o butter
Package of Pectin
A lot of sugar
6 small mason jars
Pick dirt and leaves out of berries. Boil jars to sterilize. Smash berries without mercy until you have 4 cups worth of berry goo. Mix-up the berry goo, butter, lemon juice, and pectin. Get it boiling and stir in the sugar. Boil for one hard minute. Remove from heat. Scrape off foam. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch room. Use non-metallic something to poke out the air bubbles. Screw on hot tops.Boil the whole kit-and-kaboodle. Remove jars. Let cool for 24 hours without touching. Try not to eat the entire batch in the next 24 hours.
St. John’s has the crappiest weather in the entire country. And we’re not just saying that out of frustration because there were only six rain-free days this July. No, Environment Canada actually compiled thirty years of weather data to determine the Canadian cities with the “toughest” – ie, cloudiest, windiest, wettest, foggiest, snowiest, iciest – weather and guess what? St. John’s won. Followed by Gander.
“Anecdotally, there’s a lot more Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) here,” says Sarah MacAuley, who is just about to finish her PhD in Clinical Psychology. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the MUN Counselling Centre and has a specific interest in the student experience. “When we have less sun, that becomes a real issue. And SAD can definitely lead to major depressive disorders.”
That’s not the only perk of experiencing 215 days of precipitation each year.
“There’s new research suggesting that Newfoundlanders are chronically Vitamin D deprived, due to the lack of sunlight,” says MacAuley.
The MUN Counselling Centre has a full-spectrum SAD light in their waiting room, ready to make you feel less crappy. Regular, ten-minute spells under that light should make your winters (and springs) far more bearable, psychologically-speaking.
Vitamin D is cheap and available over the counter at most drug stores. Talk to your doctor about dosage, do a little research yourself, and see what you feel comfortable with.
Otherwise, MacAuley stresses that the best way to get through the months of lousy weather is to take care of yourself: get outside, get some exercise and keep socializing, even if you swear you’re happier at home with carbs and Arrested Development DVDs. In the long run, you won’t be.
A quick primer, for the CFA:
CFA—”Come From Away.” Anyone who’s not a Newfoundlander. “I heard she’s shacked up with a CFA.”
Deadly—”The gear.” “B’ys, dat band is deadly.”
Gear—Friggin’ deadly. “It’s the gear, b’y.”
A Time—A good time. “We was havin’ a time on George Street when buddy had the lips smacked off ‘im.”
Whadayat?—Not much, b’y, you at?
Whereyato?—Where are you? “Whereyato?” “Me mudder’s.” “Where’s she to?” “Kilbride.”
Townie—Not a bayman. “Friggin’ townie!”
Bayman—Not a townie. “Friggin’ bayman!”
The Overpass—To a townie, this is the end of the universe and the beginning of The Void. Mysteriously, these days no one knows where this point begins or ends. “Beyond the overpass, there be monsters.”
Okay, so it was already a little depressing to have only one gay bar here in the City of Bars, but now we have none. Zone 216 shut its doors for good on January 1st of this year and, since then, nothing solid has come up. Zone DJ Fabian Fitzpatrick has been organizing parties at the Bella Vista and the Majestic (check out the Zone216 Facebook group to stay abreast), which is good, but it’s not the same.
“We at LBGT-MUN sympathize with the frustrations within the queer community in St. John’s over the lack of an explicitly queer bar,” says Kyle Rees, Director of External Affairs for LBGT-MUN. “The closure of the Zone made St. John’s seem much less accommodating to their needs. What we wish to say to the community is this: don’t be discouraged. While yes, we have lost one gathering place, many more exist and many more will come if we demand recognition, respect and are insistent.”
For students, the LBGT-MUN Resource Centre, in UC6002, is always open. They also host coffee houses, mixers and the annual Queer Prom party.
In the meantime, says Rees, keep frequenting queer-friendly businesses in the city and head out to queer-friendly events like Planned Parenthood’s LBGTQ youth groups and Zone216’s nights.