(Cover illustration by the fabulous Jacob at thefloatingworld.net)
When The Scope began running the Best Of St. John’s Readers’ Survey last fall we couldn’t predict who would win or even how many readers would respond. But, luckily, a trickle quickly turned into a good flow as hundreds of ballots started arriving at our office by fax, e-mail, and even good old fashioned snail mail.
As we started the neverending tally, patterns began forming in the data. And sometimes the results created a contradictory vision of this city we call home.
The idea was for The Best Of St. John’s survey to help figure out our collective attitude towards the community around us, and to help show how we live and interact in that environment.
There is no denying St. John’s is a special place. And it’s not just the row houses painted different colours, or the rocky cliffs.
The chance to win a prize was added as an incentive for people to send in their ballots, but we like to think the desire to share experience and knowledge of St. John’s was a pretty strong factor too. We’re all still learning about this city.
The survey also gave readers a chance to support the people and places they believe to be best. Again, the winners were chosen not by us but by everyone who voted. If you have a problem with the results, take it to the people who voted. If you didn’t vote, take it up with yourself.
Either way, hold on tight, because over the next several pages you will (hopefully) catch a glimpse of the vibrant, saucy, absurd, wise, contradictory spirit of St. John’s.
1. Best word to describe St. John’s:
Home is where 4% of our hearts are (is).
Runner Up: “Cultural,” “cultured” and even “culturific.”
Other: “Sin Jawns” aka “Fogtown” is also “booming,” “buzzin’” and “onthego” and more than ever, “happenin’.” For some St. John’s is “savage,” “sexy” and “superlative” spot. For others it’s “damp” and “hilly,” but “squattable,” “shippy” and “deli, like the sandwich.” And let’s not forget: “boozy.”
2. Best St. John’s Citizen:
The Scope readers have honored Andy with the title of 2006’s Best St. John’s Citizen. Anticipate pitcher plants sprouting along his path and sweet serenades piped from visiting ships proclaiming his greatness.
His chariot pulled by harbour gulls awaits!
All hail Citizen Jones!
Runner Up: Shannie Duff
Other: “Me,” Peg Norman, Hobo Bill (Bill Cherniwchan), Katie Temple, Liz Pickard, Danny Williams, Andy Wells, and Wallace Hammond.
3. Best Place to Impress Visitors:
(Nearly 1/3 of all votes)
A great city is often associated with the peak that overlooks it. Just as Rio de Janeiro can be identified by the granite outline of Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), Olympus and its ruins reflect Athens, and Diamondhead is the emblem of Waikiki-Honolulu, St. John’s is similarly blessed with the iconic protuberance known as Signal Hill, along with the stone buttresses of Cabot Tower that crown it. To denizens of St. John’s, Signal Hill is a marker of life: as children they walk its trail with family the scattered weekend, or with teachers on field trips. As young adults they clamber or cruise to the top for steamed-window sessions by moonlight and fog. As adults, locals take their CFA friends up the slope when weather permits, and as they age, constitutionals with and without canine accompaniment define their activity thereupon.
In recent years, the hill has developed attractions ostensibly for tourists that are equally enjoyable for locals (Hey, I like them…). The Geo-Centre, the Battery Hotel’s buffet with a view and renovated hot tub rooms, the Tattoo in July and August, the Interpretation Centre, and the trail down through the Battery are all ways to enjoy hours the iconic rock. For the CFA, the Bayman, the Townie or the unrepentant Downtowner, Signal Hill is the geological hub of the capital city whose hours of diversion are a short sweaty trek or gear-grinding uphill chug away.
Runner Up: Cape Spear
Other: “Seal tank,” “One large cylindrical tube by quidi vidi w/ def lepard ‘99 written on it”
4. Best reason to move to St. John’s:
(36% of votes)
It always comes down to the people. We take care of each other. We aren’t afraid of one another. And it’s just assumed a stranger will do the right thing. Some examples straight from the survey ballot include: People talk to you. Polite people, and safe. Nice people. Friendly neighbors. Mainstream culture without mainstream coldness.
Runner Up: Cultural scene (Art and music)
Other: Lifestyle. Apparently people choose to live in St. John’s because it’s regarded as a highly livable city. It’s “big, but not too big,” or “a great small city.” Others describe it as “isolation with conveniences” or “not an overwhelming place” with “no commute required.” On the flip side, for some St. John’s is a “fast-paced environment’ with “fast cars, fast women.”
Or as one person put it, “it has everything I want.”
5. Best Local Website:
NFlocals is a cornerstone in the young indie music scene here in town. This is the place where musicians hook up and fans give their two cents.
Runner Up: Bluekaffee.com (24%)
Other: thescope.ca (14%) (aww yeah baby!)
6. Best Kept Local Secret:
IT’S A SECRET
Try to get a Townie to spill the beans and you’ll likely meet some resistance. We sure did. Ballots were marked with all caps and exclaimation points asserting loudly: “It’s a secret.” “You would love to know, wouldn’t you?” “Why would I tell you that?” “I’m not telling.” “Then it wouldn’t be a secret.” “Shhhhh….Shhhhhhhhhhhh!” One clever balloter simply stated “standard answer.”
Another wrote “In this town? Are you kidding?”
Runner Up: The next most popular answer was no answer at all. That’s right. A big fat lonely blank staring The Scope’s ballot-counting elves in the face. Life is so unfair! Secrets are our vital essence.
Other: Luckily, there are a handful of generous Townies with loose lips who mined the cultural strata for gems. Here are a few:
“Guinness is for tourists.”
“Screeching is a joke on mainlanders.”
“Rooftops, rooftops, rooftops, whose identity we’ll protect for obvious reasons.”
“Herbs & Things garden”
“How to get to Cape Spear”
“Ladies’ Lookout for viewing meteor showers”
“The recipe for Ches’s fish & chips”
“Restaurant at The Rooms (Best view in town and fair trade coffee)” “The weather, ha!”
7. Best Public Space:
Bowring Park was voted “Best Public Space” for its beautiful green hills upon which children gambol with delirious childlike weirdness. For its tree-enclosed fields through which frisbees fly with nary a harsh wind to steal them away. For its ponds whose waterfowl are said to have the gift of prophecy, although like ordinary ducks they lack any speech by which to communicate these prophecies. All of these things overseen by the benevolent spirit of Peter Pan, piping away at his song of eternal youth, transfixing all the other animals and children around him.
Runner Up: Bannerman Park
Other: War Memorial. It even has a sonic anomaly!
8. Best Park Bench:
What constitutes greatness among park benches? If you don’t know, learn from the master himself – plunk ‘er down in the bench facing the baseball diamond in Bannerman Park. Better yet, plunk ‘er down a few minutes before sunset with someone you’re sweet on, shut your eyes tight, and we all but guarantee he or she will soon be planting one on you. After that it’s time to find a room, because there’s a thin line between greatness and unwarranted excess in the world of park benches.
Runner Up: Willicott’s Lane. Or is it Masonic Terrace? No one can ever say for certain.
9. Best Bathroom:
Small-bladdered folk everywhere know it’s often difficult to find a place to pee when you’re out and about. But if you find yourself on the east end of Duckworth St. with a bladder set to bust, an oasis awaits. They may not brag about it in their promotional materials, but The Fairmont’s lobby-level washroom, located across from the gift shop, is simply lovely, with luxury lighting, dark wooden doors on the stalls, and full boxes of Kleenex. No pressure to make a purchase, taxis wait in front of the hotel, and the friendly doorman even holds open the doors for you (to The Fairmont, not the loo).
Runner Up: A testament to the diversity of the Scope readership, the Best Bathroom runner-up is The Spur.
Other: Connoisseurs elected the fine facilities of Basho, Martini Bar and Bridie Molloy’s as their superlative temples of pee. We learned the ladies’ washroom of The Bagel Café has two toilets in one stall, and that a hollow shrub exists by the Colonial House, conveniently bordering onto Bannerman Park. The ladies’ room at The Ship was dear to many because of the graffiti-adorned walls which have recently been obscured by a fresh layer of paint (RIP). One wordsmith proclaimed her best washroom the Studio 12 “halls of stalls.” Clearly, St. John’s is not lacking for luxurious, fun and functional places to pee. There is a stall for every preference.
10. Best Place to Escape:
896 steps to freedom.
Runner Up: East Coast Trail
Other: “There is no escape.”
11. Best Political/Social Cause:
BETTER CITY PLANNING
For some it means no more sprawling supermarkets or super hotels on Signal Hill. For others, it means saving heritage buildings from the bulldozers of developers. For a handful of voters, it means preserving green spaces like the fen on Signal Hill.
Better city planning also included votes to make St. John’s a truly bike-friendly city.
Runner Up: Harbour clean-up
Other answers: “Newfoundland independence”, a city-wide recycling program and AIDS programs are important to us.
12. Best Local Eccentric:
The choice of William Cherniwchan, better known as Hobo Bill, as St. John’s “Best Local Eccentric” shows that Bill was still widely known and loved in St. John’s up to his passing this past Christmas Eve at the age of 74. Hobo Bill came to St. John’s intending it only as a brief stopover on his way back to his ancestors’ native Ukraine, but having stayed on (whether by choice or not) for 18 years, Bill will now be forever remembered and revered (whatever his faults) proudly, as our own.
Our readers showed their acute sense of irony by choosing Bill’s sometime nemesis, Mayor Andy Wells, as the runner-up in this category, just narrowly beating out “Zombie Jesus,” who we can only expect is hoping for a “comeback” next year.
(Thank you, I thought of that one myself.)
13. Best Doctor:
Runner Up: Proton Rahman
Other: Dr. Feelgood
14. Best Dentist:
Runner Up: David Williams-Jones
Other: “Not mine”
15. Best Prof:
“Time stops and all the time we knew and held is still and this man spans it.” So said Dr. Shane O’Dea in his eulogy of Dr. G.M. Story, and we would like to say the same of Dr. O’Dea himself, if only because stealing the orator’s own words saves us the trouble of trying to come up with a panegyric as impressive to honour the man our readers selected as St. John’s best prof. Perhaps it is this famous eloquence that has won him the respect of so many, or the sincere and personal concern he demonstrates toward each individual student enrolled in a class of his. More likely it is his aristocratic sense of fashion, displayed day after day with each new luminous cravat adorning his collar. Perhaps it is more properly space which stands still, cowering in awe and wonder each time it is occupied by Professor O’Dea’s magnanimously long and resplendent neck.
Runner Up: Katherine Gallagher
Other: Clearly St. John’s has its share of lot of well loved profs. We received a greater variety of votes here than in any other category of the survey.
16. Best Athlete:
It’s safe to say the whole province is still a little frayed and jittery from the collective simultaneous orgasm that took place in the loins of every Newfoundlander and Labradorian on February 24, 2006, when our boys won Olympic Gold in Italy. It comes as no surprise then that our readers should choose Brad Gushue and team as St. John’s favourite athletes of the year. Correspondingly, 2006 should be noted as the year when the word “goosh” first entered Newfoundland English as the secret-coded assertion to the world of our superiority.
Runners up: Carl English, Michael Ryder, Rod Snow, Sailor White
17. Best Local Politician:
Danny’s our golden boy given to showy publicity stunts such as taking the Newfoundland flag to half mast when the feds tried to back out of the Atlantic Accord. Clawbacks were wrestled into submission by his iron grip, keeping the feds’ hands off our cash… All from a little careful pressure during federal election time. Supporter of the arts and media mogul, Danny Williams has won the support of lots of Scope readers in 2006.
Runners up: Lorraine Michael, Andy Wells
Other: Shannie Duff, Peg Norman, Jack Harris
18. Best Neighborhood:
The fact that G-Town has its own neighborhood association that organizes events like parades and street fairs shows that people who live in these parts are active community builders out to make some fun happen, dammit. Cheap rent, a convenient location halfway between MUN & downtown and a neighborhood bakery and pub as convergence points definitely make Georgetown a desirable neighborhood to live.
Runner Up: Downtown (Including Gower Street – or “Gowerpower” as one balloteer wrote, Bond Street, etc.)
Other: Battery/Signal Hill, East End, Rabbittown and Cowan Heights all received a substantial number votes.
19. Best Building:
The Basilica of St. John the Baptist is one of the most splendid structures in the city. There are a couple of stories as to how it came to be built, but each one includes examples of great community effort on behalf of the Roman Catholic Community of St. John’s. It is definitely worth a visit as there are many interesting sculptures and shrines located around the building, my favorite being the Lady of Fatima appearing to the children given to the parish by the Portuguese sailors. Watch for St. John’s “Open Doors” days when you can get a tour of the crypt located underneath the altar. Indeed, having a Basilica is part of what makes St. John’s a city instead of a town and is one of the most incredible venues in the region for listening to music.
Runner Up: The Rooms
Other: Masonic Temple, Queen Elizabeth II Library, LSPU Hall, Anglican Cathedral and Cabot Tower.
20. Biggest Eyesore:
Not since the category of “Best Washroom’ have we witnessed such a wide gap between votes. The Rooms was voted Biggest Eyesore but was also runner up in the Best Building category. We even got a few votes for “Not The Rooms” in this category.
Want to start a brawl? Proclaim your love or hate for The Rooms.
Runner Up: Atlantic Place
Other: The bubble/St. John’s Harbour, Irving oil tanks branding the Southside Hills, the TD Building, Fortis Building, Scotia Building and abandoned buildings.
21. Best Public Art:
DUCKWORTH STREET MURAL
This summer past Derek Holmes and April Norman paired up to render over a century of St. John’s history in a 2760 square foot stretch of Duckworth Street
Runner Up: Spencer Girl by Moo Moo’s, various graff around town.
Other: Kym Greeley’s paper moths around Anglican Cathedral and “I always loved climbing on that white thing outside of the Arts & Culture Centre”.
22. Most Psychedelic spot:
BAR NONE ALLEY
Since the Duckworth Street entrance and base of the stairs were fenced off due to unsafe conditions it’s less an alley and more of a hollow. And if that hollow could talk a collection of trippy tales it would surely tell. A vibrantly coloured demon greets you at the Water Street access urging you to venture in. An intricate and seemingly commissioned mural covers the remainder of the Bar None side while the adjacent wall a provides a canvas for local artists and delinquents alike, bearing more markers of St. John’s living than any commissioned mural I know of. Follow the path around back and it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out how it won the distinction of being this city’s most psychedelic spot. The shroud of trees provides a deceptive dose of nature juxtaposed with a Laura Casey mural of Mr. 4-20 himself, Bob Marley.
Runner Up: Bannerman Park
23. Best Use of Local Tax Dollars:
Just as 18th century aristocrats frequented Bedlam to view so called ‘freaks of nature,’ today a walk along the notoriously polluted St. John’s Harbour can also serve to reveal some pretty freaky nature. St. John’s, Mount Pearl and Paradise flush 120 million litres of foul water into the harbour every day. Schools of condom fish, chronic farts from the bubble and trinklets floating over the 400 year strong coliform rich sediment are some of the sights. At this time the sewage treatment project is about $20 million over the $93 million budget, and there’s still a year to go. Whatever you do, don’t diss the gulls. They’re our little buddies in this mess.
Runner Up: Snow clearing, particularly on the sidewalks.
Other: Road repair/potholes, “roads to Wal-Mart,” “definitely not roads”.
24. Best Convenience Store:
What can one say about Moo Moo’s that hasn’t already been said better by our Food Nerd? For the benefit of newer readers, and those who don’t often go looking for ice cream, baking needs and beer all at the same time, let me enlighten you. The Market has been situated at 88 King’s Road for 17 years and if you pop by in the mornings, you’re likely to meet Mr. Ryan, who now well into his 80’s still works a regular shift. A fine selection of all your groc ‘n’ conf needs, great location, plenty of parking, and with the cow-inspired paint job, you can’t miss it.
Runner Up: Needs (Military Road)
Other: Caine’s, Halliday’s, Flower’s Hill, Long’s Hill, Jackman & Greene, Stockwoods and Breen’s (various locations).
25. Best Retail Clothing Store (Women):
Johnny Ruth’s shelves are stocked with mostly Canadian designed clothing made under ethical conditions. This is awesome in itself, but what adds to the awesomeness is the ethical selections appeal to contemporary tastes, moving well beyond the Rainbow Gathering set. Snappy professional wear, comfy, everyday casuals or something whimsical to wear to your hip cousin’s wedding – Johnny Ruth makes it easier for more people to fit ethical choices into their everyday lives.
Runner Up: Twisted Sisters
26. Best Retail Clothing Store (Men):
From basic casuals to fine cashmere suits. In house tailoring services available for a perfect fit.
What side do you dress on?
Runner Up: Ballistic
Other: Johnny Ruth, W.L. Chafe & Sons, Living Planet, Winners and The Gap.
27. Best Second Hand Store:
The very first Value Village (aka Savers) opened in San Francisco in the 60’s. In 1980, Value Village opened its first Canadian store on Hastings Street in Vancouver. Today The VV has over 200 stores with over 7,000 employees in the USA, Canada, and Australia.
Value Village has redefined the way we thrift. The row upon row of coats, dishes, shirts, toys, nostalgia and even undies triggers the thrill-of-the-hunt switch in a game where even lazy hunters are surely rewarded. If you look long enough, you are bound to find something that tickles you, but god only knows what it will be. My personal top finds include: Polaroid camera, black leather jacket, and a great old Singer sewing machine.
Offbeat finds? New and retro clothing? This is the place to find it.
Runner Up: Previously Loved
Other: Sandy’s Used Clothing
28. Did not exist.
There was no number 28.
We were waiting for you to notice so you would say “Number 28” in the “Best Thing We Missed” category.
29. Best Boat Tour:
If you’re in the market for a bird-n’-whale-n’-boat-tour, come summertime you are faced with a dizzying array of options. As one of Newfoundland’s first boat tour operators, and the very first out of Bay Bulls, O’Brien’s was the clear choice for Scope readers. Since their start in 1985 with Bird Island Charters, O’Brien’s Whale and Bird Tours has grown from one converted fishing boat into a tourism empire that includes two tour boats, a gift shop, a restaurant, a pub and special events centre, sea kayaking, coastal adventure tours, cocktail cruise and dinner theatre (in partnership with Spirit of Newfoundland Productions) and a shuttle service from town to Bay Bulls. Indeed, if you don’t feel like making the trip, they also have a gift shop on Duckworth Street and a branch office on the waterfront, where you can book yourself a spot on their newest tour, the St. John’s Harbour Excursion.
Thar she blows!
Runner Up: Scademia
Other: Ferry to St. Pierre
30. Best Liquor Store:
Rows of solid pine shelving nestled between exposed rock walls create an ambiance worthy of this province’s finest selections of wines and spirits. Venturing down into the cellar finds limited quantities and hand picked specialties, with energetic guides who know what they’re talking about but skip the pretentious airs. The cellar is also home to a wine-tasting station where for a paltry $1.25 you can sample extraordinary wines for less than cost. When I stopped in before New Years, a variety of sparkling wines and Champagnes were on the go. The sample station is open every Saturday and Sunday from 1pm – 4pm.
According to Paul, who serves up the wine samples, the best value for your money these days can be found in the Australian section.
Runner Up: “Elizabeth Avenue (open ‘til 11 fri and sat)”
Other: “All of them”
31. Best Laundromat:
Here they come to save the day! Mighty Whites is on its way!
You can do it yourself or just trust these folks to take your nasty laundry and sort it out, wash, dry and fold it ship shape. Mighty Whites is also a commercial laundry, who makes whites whiter for lots of hotels, restaurants and ships.
Seriously, if the Coast Guard is willing to trust these people with their unmentionables, then surely you can, too.
Runner Up: Merrymeeting Laundomat (32%)
Other: Franklyn Laundry (9%)
32. Best Taxi Driver:
Ian Nightengale, formerly of Fred’s Records, has gone on to drive for Jiffy Cabs, one of the most lauded companies in the city. If you’re looking for a cabbie who can chat about cool music, apparently he’s your man. Look for him in the evenings! Ask for him by name!
Runner Up: It was very difficult to distinguish between all the first name submissions. If your name is Ed, Mike, Billy, Don, Greg or Dougie, you got a lot of honks from Scope balloteers.
33. Best Bakery:
In a light sprinkling of years, the Georgestown Bakery has become St. John’s primary source of artisan breads and Montreal style bagels (known for their crisp outsides and chewy insides). More than a bakery, the homey atmosphere of Georgestown is a natural hub where neighbors can converge, enriching everyday life.
In December, a new fellow was hired on who is bound to steal many a heart with his fluffy, buttery croissants.
Runner Up: Michel’s Bakery
34. Best Bicycle Shop:
What do canaries have to do with cycles?
All we know is that according to local lore, a cage of canaries inhabited the former Campbell Ave. location. Today’s Canary Cycles (nestled in the heart of downtown at 294 Water Street), no longer has live birds, but it does have a beautiful flock of quality bikes. Whether you’re into downhill, cross country, road biking or stunt bikes like BMXs or even unicycles (which come in both standard and ‘giraffe’ sizes), Canary can hook you up with what you need.
They are also home to a $25 tune up and carry all sorts of gear and bike bling, including shiny odometers and full-on body armour for riding down hillsides at high speed.
Canary is a great place to find out which hillsides to ride down as well. Drop by the store or connect with riders on an online forum at www.canary-cycles.com
Runner Up: Bill’s Cycle Shop
35. Best Shoe Store:
One balloteer wrote: “Phonse & Kathy know all and are sweet to boot – no pun intended.”
Runner Up: Ballistic
36. Best Shop for International Foods:
ASIAN VARIETY STORE
Chances are if you’ve been to the Asian Variety Store lately you’ve noticed a bright new exterior sign and some new faces behind the counter. After her mother was assaulted by a robber this past fall, Tina Chiu, a financial software developer in Toronto decided to come home to St. John’s to help her parents with the store. And Marcus Ma, her lovely boyfriend, came along as well.
Irene, Tina’s mother, is at home recovering from the trauma and they say she is doing well.
These days Tina and Marcus are learning the ropes from Tina’s dad, who has semi-retired. Keeping the shelves full of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian foodstuffs as well as tea and plate sets and other delights is a big undertaking. No where else in the city will you find such a great selection of Asian sauces, vinegars and gifts, as well as tasty dumplings (gyoza) in the freezer. And it’s cheaper than you’d think. Take-out sushi is available at noon every Wednesdays and Fridays.
(Welcome to St. John’s, Marcus!)
Runner Up: Auntie Crae’s
37. Best Hair Stylist:
For 2006, Scope balloteers insisted their treasured locks be best snipped, clipped and razed by the steady hand of Tim Howard. Tim has been in the biz for over 10 years, snipping his way into haircutting teaching positions as well as tending heads at New York’s annual Fashion Week. Tim’s dreams for the future possibly include a men’s salon. Somehow I doubt this would be your typical barbershop.
Runner Up: Tonya Pottle (Icons)
Other: Joey Macky, Cyril Butler, Juan Perez and Trish Molloy.
38. Best Sports/Outdoor Shop:
Ask the folks at Outfitters what they do on their days off and you’ll be greeted with wide eyes, big smiles and infectious enthusiasm. Living an active, outdoorsy life is the rite of passage for folks wanting to work here. Whether you need hiking boot help, are trying to decide on a good first kayak, or are planning a January camping trip and need a winter tent… I pledge on the staff’s rosy cheeks they have the credentials.
A whole world of Outfitters exists outside of the Water Street shop. They offer kayak courses and tours as well as cross country ski clinics and rent everything from skis to backpacks and sleeping bags for your own self-guided trip. When your summer guests arrive and you’re swamped in work, sign them up for a day trip package with the packed lunch option.
Runner Up: Sportscraft
39. Best CD Store (New or Used):
(86% of vote)
In a land whose record shops number in the ones, it should come as no surprise that Fred’s Records won in the category of Bestest Ever Music Store Ever. Those of us who have ever listened to, played a note of,
or traded something for music in our lifetimes (you know who you are) have at the very least, heard of its greatness. Fred’s has been the music store for over thirty years now.
The proof? Have a look at the staff! They not only know the stuff… they are the stuff! If they haven’t played on the record you are looking for, and they don’t have it, between them they know it. I promise.
Who is Fred, you ask? Is he the cool older brother of that wooden spoon guy on Size Small Island? Maybe, but he don’t talk about it…
Runner up: HMV
40. Best Musical Instruments Store:
Established in 1939, O’Brien’s Music is “the oldest store on the oldest street in the oldest city in North America.” Owners (and brothers) Roy and Gordon O’Brien largely deal in instruments, repairs and CDs aimed at the traditional music junky.
Bryhanna Greenough regularly drops off copies of The Scope to O’Brien’s, and many a time she’s encountered an accordion undergoing surgery. So she asked Gordon O’Brien a few questions…
Where did you learn to fix accordions?
I learned mostly from a blind gentleman who used to travel here to Newfoundland from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He lost his sight when he was a teenager, one eye at a time. He had some kind of disease. And when he went blind, it wasn’t completely. He had a pigeon’s retina actually transplanted in his eye at a young age.
He could see mild shadows. He used to travel around the Maritimes. Every month he would go to a different community and he had a place to hang out and he’d play his piano accordion and sell pencils for a living. December was his month to come here to St. John’s. I’m going back forty years now when I was only a little fella he used to come here. He was a good friend of my dad’s and he’d hang out here in the store when he wasn’t working. He used to sit on a bench in front of Bowring’s and play his accordion every day. He learned to do repairs on his own and he used to do repairs for dad when he came here to Newfoundland. And as I got a little bigger, he got after me to do the repairs and he showed me how to do it. And what he said is “you’d better learn how to do this.” I’ll never forget it, for some reason. “You’d better learn how to do it cause I’m not going to be coming here forever,” and that’s when I took a keen interest then in repairing accordions. I was probably 17, 18, maybe 19 at the time.
And he was blind when he was teaching you how to do the repairs.
Was he able to do them himself at that time?
Yes, he mostly could. He did it mostly by feel. There were a lot of things he had to get someone to show him. Odd jobs he couldn’t do by feel. He’d just ask if it was the right colour valve or something like that. He was pretty handy at that stuff and he had all kinds of little tools and spare parts. He left that to me when he died. It was in his will.
What was his name?
What is your favorite sounding instrument? Is there one that steals your heart?
No there’s not. I’m not a favourites kind of person. My favourite sound is multiple instruments. I like to hear an accordion played with a guitar and violin, or guitar and a mandolin. I love the sound of groups that have multiple instruments. My dad always called the accordion a small orchestra because you have multiple reeds to play your melody and you have chords on the other side. And when you play them together like most good accordion players do, it sounds like a band. It’s a little different than just the guitar. It’s louder. You’re playing one part of the song on one hand and you’re playing the other part of the song with the other.
What are the future plans for O’Brien’s?
Keep chugging along the way we are and get my children involved in it. Hopefully provide a service to anybody who can’t get a service somewhere else.
Are your children old enough to work there?
Yes, both of them are here now with me all the time. They are 23 year old twins. [chuckle]
Runner Up: Boogaloo
Other: Music Stop, Music City and Griffiths Guitar Works.
41. Best Mechanic:
(KING’S BRIDGE SERVICE STATION)
Bryhanna Greenough spoke with Gerald Young, owner and operator of King’s Bridge Service Station
When did you first become interested in mechanics?
Oh, it’s all I’ve ever done! So I’d say 19… I was born in ’56 and since I was 6 or 7 years old I was here [at the station]. So ’61 or ’62…
I’m not that old – I’m only 50 – but you’ve got to remember this is a family-owned business, so I’d leave the house and we lived around the corner, so this is where I spent all my time, where I grew up.
Was it your father who started it?
My grandfather. In 1941.
So from a young age you were going into the shop to help out.
Oh god, yes. I used to have to fill the Pepsi machine. That was my first job. I was so young that the Pepsi used to come in wooden crates. And I couldn’t lift the wooden crates. That’s how long I’ve been here hanging around like this.
So it wasn’t really a decision, it just was something that kind of happened.
Oh no, it’s no decision. It was no decision. That’s it, that’s what I was doing. Fate, isn’t it? Destiny.
It’s good that you’re good at it. Some people don’t have mechanical abilities.
No, that’s right.
And this was something that your dad and grandfather must have been good at too.
This has been my thing for a lifetime, and dad the same way, until he retired.
Do you have any children yourself?
I have one son who’s following in my footsteps. He’s 22 and he works here at the garage. As many people who knows me knows him.
So back in 1941, what sort of things were being repaired?
Same thing. Cars broke down. Only thing is, back then we did painting and body work, which we don’t do now. We did a lot of that kind of stuff back then.
What is Kings Bridge’s specialty today?
Mechanical repair and tires.
What do you like best about the work?
Well I like meeting the people. I’m baffled with a lot of the new cars today. My young son, he’s in school now doing Automotive Technology. You’re not a mechanic anymore. You’re an automotive technologist. And it’s ongoing. There are always courses, courses, courses.
Because cars are getting more complicated?
Yeah, every day.
Soon they’ll be like spaceships!
Soon they’ll be at a point where you’ll need a computer that only the dealers are going to have. Eventually. But right now I can cope with it.
What sort of car are you into these days?
Chevy Blazer. I like Chevys. That’s a good brand. That’s my personal choice.
Runner Up: Bernie (Bernie’s Service Bays on Blackmarsh Road)
Other: “Richard at Tech Services in the basement of the QEII Library”
42. Best Real Estate Agent:
When Harry won the category of Best Real Estate Agent of ‘06, I admit I was pretty excited to have an excuse to call him up for a chat. I’ve often wondered about the van, and by seeing his name and picture around town I kind of felt like I knew him already.
Bryhanna Greenough: When did you begin working as a real estate agent?
That’s a good question. 13 years ago.
How did you get into it?
I did something else and when the fish moratorium came I couldn’t do it anymore.
But why real estate?
If you don’t have a doctorate degree and you’re my age, there’s either real estate, cars or insurance. Other than that you’ve got to work for The Man.
How have things changed in the 13 years since you’ve started?
It’s changed a lot actually. The prices have gone up, the market has become more sophisticated, you need a lot more tools to do your job. I’ve got a team, and there are four of us. Brad, Darren, Holly and myself. We also have a van. You’ve seen our van, have you?
Yes I have. What’s that for?
If anyone uses us to buy or sell the house, they can use the van for free. We also have the van for a community use vehicle. So charities, people at the Hall, arts people use it when ever they want.
How has real estate become more sophisticated?
It’s much more high tech.
I’d say 90% of the people we deal with, their first venture is in real estate is on the internet. And that would have been totally different 12 years ago. And even though internet usage is probably 75% in Newfoundland, it’s probably 95% in terms of people looking for real estate. People who can afford it, to buy a house, are generally on the internet. With a couple of exceptions. So internet presence is very important.
You mentioned the fish moratorium. Were you directly connected to the fishing industry?
No I used to have a footware industry and I used to travel the island for 20 years and all the local stores closed.
So you had to change when everything else changed.
I had to change. And unlike fishermen, we didn’t get packages. I had to change jobs.
So what’s a good strategy for selling real estate?
Making sure your house is staged right and shows well. In this market now we have a lot more listings. We seem to have the same number of buyers we had last year, but we have double the number of listings. So it’s a more competitive market.
What do you think makes a great real estate agent?
One who communicates and one who delivers.
What do you like most about your job?
Meeting people. Meeting people and solving problems.
Visit harrystone.ca for articles, links and real estate listings.
Runner Up: Debbie Hanlon
Other: Kay Haynes, Donald Pacholka and Wayne Amminson.
43. Best Computer Store:
Behind the mall is a land of wonder, where several interesting stores hide quietly. Avalon Software & Computers is situated on O’Leary Avenue, just on the other side of the road from the mall food court entrance. Why is Avalon the preferred computer store for Scope readers? Well, it could be their huge selection of computers and bits and pieces, but I reckon it’s their absolutely enormous service department, and the dependable work they do for the poor people whose machines “just won’t turn on”.
Whether it’s removing renegade Spyware or retrieving your thesis from a dead hard drive, Avalon Software is there when you need computer help.
Runner Up: MUN CPC Center
Other: Future Shop
44. Best T-Shirt Shop:
& WHAT’S UPSTAIRS
An interview with Dave Hopely, owner and operator of Living Planet and What’s Upstairs…
Bryhanna Greenough: When did you learn to screen print?
What’s the story with that?
A friend and I opened up a consignment t-shirt store in Vancouver and we had extra space in the back. One of the people who was consigning t-shirts to us was a screen printer and she needed space to set up her press. So we traded her space in the back of the shop for her to teach us how to print.
What was it about screen printing that interested you?
It’s a relatively simple process to learn and the creative possibilities are quite limitless. You can do a screen print and make it look like a wood block or an etching or a photograph. You can reproduce anything, almost any look with screen printing.
And I’ve always been a fan of interesting t-shirts.
When did you first realize that you needed to start a business?
It’s not so much I felt needed to that I sort of had the idea I wanted right from high school that I wanted to start my own business. It just sort of developed accidentally.
When did you start to involve local artists?
Right from the start. Right from the start in Vancouver when we were consigning shirts that actual craftspeople were making. Either hand painting or airbrushing or printing. So right from day one we’ve worked with artists and tried to represent artists’ work on shirts. When I moved to St. John’s I intended to do the same thing, and that’s what I did.
Do you do any of the designs yourself?
Some of them I do. Sometimes I have ideas to do designs that I get artists to illustrate. But I do some of the simpler stuff, but I’m not a very great graphic artist. I more or less use the computer to create the designs that I do. Mostly simple stuff.
What’s the deal with What’s Upstairs?
Well, we used to have our screen printing on the second floor and it was too crowded to operate effectively so we moved it up to Barnes Road. But while the printing was there people would always… well a lot of people would come into the store and see the stairs and go “what’s upstairs?” So when it came time to move the printing out and turn it into a retail space that seemed like a natural name for it. Just cause that’s how everyone was always asking about it.
So what is upstairs? [laugh]
What is up there is more shirts. Short answer anyways. The shirts upstairs are smaller edition run shirts. I’m not going to say more artsy, but they’re not Newfoundland themed shirts. They are shirts by Newfoundland artists but they have themes that are art for art’s sake on shirts.
How does it make you feel when you see someone wearing one of the shirts from your store?
I still get a thrill from it. I love seeing shirts from my store. I’m glad people find them interesting enough to buy them. That’s great.
What do you see in the future for Living Planet and What’s Upstairs?
We may be offering embroidery in the New Year. I’m trying to do something artsy with embroidery because I haven’t been that impressed with the things I’ve seen embroidered. I’ve never bothered with it. But now I’m convinced that there are more possibilities with embroidery than what I see on a day to day basis. We’re going to try out some new embroidery styles.
Runner Up: Spun
Other: Second Page Bookstore
45. Best Optical Store:
It’s an optical store with an actual commercial jingle… can you hear it now? “Vogue optical, your second pair is free! Laaaa-ahhhh-ahhhh-ahhhh…” Isn’t it the same tune as “Ted French Pontiac – and Buick – your business comes first!”?
Who cares? Your second pair is free, dude!
Runner Up: Vogue Optical (downtown)
Other: Marian Optical
46. Best Video Store:
What need have we of order, or signage, or a ceiling? We have videos!
Tim Conway’s little shop of video chaos, right there at Rawlin’s Cross, might be messy and slightly damp, but it delivers the goods. It’s nice to rent movies from someone who’s actually seen them, and who doesn’t mind telling you what’s great and what’s crap.
Runner Up: Blockbuster (which is like the anti-Capitol Video… except they both have videos.)
Other: Jumbo Video, Rogers Video, Allen’s Video
47. Best Bookstore (New or Used):
Used books! Local literature! Earrings! Wind-up hopping frogs! Those tiny glass animal families in the wee little boxes! Shiny rocks! Brocade-covered notebooks! Incense! In true St. John’s style, the winner in the Best Bookstore category is one where you may or may not find the book you’re looking for. We like adventure in our shopping experiences around here. Drop in for a dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged and walk out with a net bag of rubber duckies.
Runner Up: Chapters, your friendly bookselling monolith.
Other: Bennington Gate, Second Page Bookstore
48. Best Grocery:
Two words: flipper pie.
Some more words: Belbin’s ain’t the cheapest grocery store in town, but it sure is sweet. You can order your groceries over the interweb. And they support the Community Food Sharing Association and Shallaway youth chorus. That puts them in our readers’ good books.
Runner Up: Dominion (Blackmarsh Road), where you can buy tofu and an armchair on the same trip. Dig it.
Other: Sobeys, Colemans Food Centre
49. Best Exercise Instructor:
Yes, she’s the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Memorial, and president of the Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences. She’s part of the team that brings us the St. John’s International Women’s Film and Video Festival.
…But how can these accolades possibly compare to the adrenaline rush that comes from a good work-out?
Runner Up: Jerome Brennon (aqua arena)
Other: “ha ha ha”
50. Best Gym:
Originally a controversial addition to the MUN campus facilities, The Works has come to be appreciated by student and non-student users alike as a far better use of space than the parking lot that used to be there. This addition to the stratus of St. John’s rec centres offers reasonable rates (free for full-time students!) for memberships or drop-ins, and in return for your few bucks, you get access to the world-class facilities at the Aquarena, the Field House, and MUN Recreation.
Besides the pools, the machines, the indoor track and the many gymnasiums, The Works offers plenty of group fitness classes, and plays host to St. John’s Best Fitness Instructor, Noreen Golfman.
Runner Up: Nubody’s
Other: “You’re killing me.”
51. Best Travel Agency:
The TravelCuts branch at MUN prides itself on expertise in budget travel, adventure travel, backpacking and exotic destinations. If you’re in the market for advice on, or reservations for, a big Overseas Experience then these peeps can hook you up. Likewise, if you just want to hit Montreal on the cheap, they’ve still got your back.
Runner Up: Carlson Wagonlit Travel & Legrows Travel
52. Best Veterinarian:
(ST. JOHN’S VETERINARY HOSPITAL)
Ha. Some people thought we said “vegetarian.” Hence:
Runner Up: The Sprout
Other: “Eat a bit of meat for chrissakes.”
53. Best Place to Pamper Yourself:
SPA AT THE MONASTERY
The Spa at the Monastery is a posh yet comfortable place to go and get reenergized. The staff are professional and down to earth and you get to walk around in a gorgeous bath robe and sandals!
The first time I visited was for a “Body Scrub”. While lying on bed/tub, a lovely girl rubs you down with sea salts and oils to exfoliate and moisturize your skin. After a little rest, multiple showerheads rinse you off as if you were in a car wash. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it, because my mood and energy was lifted for an entire week afterwards.
The Spa at the Monastery offers lots of services, like massage, waxing, facials, a hair salon and a great line of Aveda products. You can treat yourself to a little something for under a hundred dollars and feel like a million bucks.
Runner Up: Sound Salon
Other: Cotton Club
54. Best Pick Up Line:
“NICE BOOTS! WANNA FUCK?”
Things have changed over the years. The fine, fine art of the pick up line has been distilled to two basic elements:
#1.) Compliment the person.
#2.) Suggest you should spend some time together.
“Who’s yer fadder?”
“Are you on myspace?”
“By’s, I owns two skidoos.”
“Hey did you see this week’s Scope? I’m the hot ticket!”
“I have 2 university degrees.”
“I love every bone in your body, especially mine.”
“Is it hot in here or can I just fuck you in the ass?”
“Is that a large fish and chips in your pocket?”
“Missus, you’re deadly!”
“My pants are falling down.”
“Nice shoes! Wanna fuck?”
“Wanna split a special?”
“Yo! He wants to date you!”
“You must work at subway because you just turned my 6-inch into a foot-long.”
“You’re some cute, give us a tongue kiss.”
55. Best place for a first date:
Ah, but which movies? The Hollywood wonders of the Mall? The forgotten but not gone Sobey’s Square? The artsy read-along MUN cinema series? The righteous rage of the Radical Media Society? You don’t care, you just want to sit in the dark and make out.
Runner Up: Walking around. (Truly, walking around in St. John’s is one of the best date activities ever.)
Other: “Feeding the ducks at Bowring Park,” “In your living room building forts,” “listening to records and kissing,” “Picnic in the park,” “Roller skating,” “The mainland – good for the gene pool.”
56 Best make out spot:
Oh, darling, hold me close in the bracing Atlantic wind! Heavens, a seagull has just careened into my head!
Let’s say, for sanity’s sake, that you meant the Signal Hill parking lot, where you would be making out inside some kind of vehicle. Signal Hill is really two make-out spots in one. Choose your backdrop: twinkling city lights, or deep, endless waters. The romance of it all!
Runner Up: Bowring Park
Other: “Bannerman Park on the swings,” “Behind the Masonic,” “Cannon on top of Battery,”
“Cape Spear,” “I’ve forgotten.”
57. Best Place to Buy Sex Toys:
The real surprise is not the winner, with their large assortment of dildos and dongs, their variety of personal massage units, and their (don’t forget the) water-based lubricants.
No. The real story is in the “Other” answers.
If you ever doubted that Newfoundlanders are an innovative, imaginative bunch, just check out some of the other responses we got in this category:
Runner Up: Online
Other: “Canadian Tire,” “Chester Dawe,” “Needs Convenience,” “The Big R,” “Walmart,” and “Montreal.”
58. Best Place to Break Up:
What, so you can drive up, break someone’s heart, and them leave them there in the parking lot where they have to choose between walking the roadway down, or taking the path past the surging, freezing ocean? Or do you break up with them and then face the drive down, not speaking, together but apart in one car?
You are cruel, people.
Runner Up: Online/Over the Phone. (Okay, cruel and cowardly.)
Other: The Bubble. (Okay, cruel and cowardly and gross.)
59. Best Local Writer/Artist:
Joel Hynes, star of stage, page, and screen. His first novel, Down to the Dirt, won him the Percy Janes First Novel Award, he’s got a second novel, Right Away Monday, on the way, he’s won awards for his acting and playwriting and he appeared at the always-anticipated Feast of Cohen VII at the Hall over the holidays.
St. John’s loves him.
Runner Up: Andy Jones. (St. John’s loves Andy, too.)
Other: Michael Crummey, Wayne Johnston, Lisa Moore, Craig Francis Power
60. Best Festival:
What started out in the 1980s as a bunch of punky peaceniks hanging out in Bannerman Park has become the subject of city debate, outrageous insurance costs, and round-about-town venue shuffling.
But it goes on! Thanks to its tireless, dedicated volunteers and a nostalgia factor that runs deep in all of us who remember the festival’s heyday.
Who’s to say another heyday isn’t just around the corner?
Runner Up: Folk Festival. (Which, by the way, got pretty heavily rained out this year and could use a few bucks to cover their substantial costs: http://www.nlfolk.com/donations.html)
Other: George Street Festival, Sound Symposium, Jazz Festival, Women’s Film Festival, Nickel Film Festival, 24 Hour Art Marathon.
61. Best Local Film/TV Production:
HATCHING, MATCHING & DISPATCHING
Do we watch it because it’s brilliant or because all our friends are in it? Does it matter? The cast members of Hatching, Matching are some of the funniest people on the planet. Everybody knows it.
Runner Up: Out of the Fog. (Apparently it’s the only television show on Rogers that anyone watches, ever. In the whole country. Go figure.)
Other: Pope Productions
62. Best Gallery:
Artist-run, community-focused, and lovely, Eastern Edge is all about the contemporary side of art. Featuring artists from Newfoundland and Labrador and from across Canada, they give the illusion of being laid back, when you know that in reality they must be working their butts off. Their annual 24-hour art marathon has become quite the end-of-summer event too, with live art-making, music, performance, and much fun.
Runner Up: The Rooms
Other: Leyton Gallery and Christina Parker Gallery.
63. Best Theatre Production:
(Written and acted by Andy Jones, directed by Lois Brown)
Everything Andy Jones does is gold. Whether or not you got out last November to see Uncle Val (which was held over into December, people loved it that much), you should rush out and buy the take-home-able “Letters from Uncle Val” from Rattling Books right… now!
Runner Up: High Steel
64. Best Cheap Thrill:
“DRIVING DOWN THE HILLS IN WINTER.”
Thrilling, yes. Dangerous, also yes. Be careful out there.
Runner Up: haunted hike. Also thrilling, but in a much less fracture-inducing way.
Other: “A slushie.”
“Crazy carpet on the Pippy Park Golf Course at night.”
“Day drinking in harbour front – Just add a mini bottle of booze to your coffee.”
“Diet Coke and Mentos.”
“Gallery openings – Free food and drink.”
“Jumping in the harbour.”
“Late night swimming in the Bannerman Park pool.”
“Shots of tequila.”
“Sugar Cane Lane.”
“Top of Signal Hill on a windy day.”
65. Best Bartender:
JOSHUA FORD REID
Spur bartender Josh Reid has been the star of more parties than most people attend in a lifetime, so we weren’t surprised to see him win this category. Musician Eric Penney once remarked that it worked to his benefit to put Josh on the door for shows because it would guarantee a turnout.
Generally amiable and charming, Josh is a natural at building a rapport with just about anybody. He has been tending bar at The Spur since the Bar None management took over operations. Well-known and liked at both establishments, Josh was a perfect fit for the job.
Further evidence the masterminds behind Spur-None know what they’re doing – upstairs tender Diane Weston was second runner up in the category.
Runner Up: Diane Weston (Bar None)
Other: Sandy at CBTG’s and Tony and Adam at The Ship. “That girl at Grumpy Stump,” “the guy at The Attic” and “buddy at Duke.”
66. Best Watering Hole:
Like my mother before me, I (me, Dreae) am a bit of a Ship-goer. It’s my home-down-the-street-from-home. As a youngster I watched CODCO’s “Beautiful Ship Inn Man” video and dreamed of a time when I, too, would join the beautiful people there. Why isn’t that video on youtube? Could someone do something about that?
Seriously though, some of this community’s greatest cultural figures have clocked time at – and been forcibly removed from – the Ship. Great live music, lovely staff, and relatively un-skanky washrooms.
Runner Up: Bar None
Other: The Grapevine
67. Happiest Happy Hour:
Well, yes. Friday Happy Hour especially, when the regulars get to rub elbows with uptown nine-to-fivers over fish cakes. That’s good times.
Rumour has it as soon as they heard they won this category they started answering their phone “Hello, The Ship [sob] Happiest Happy Hour [weep].”
Runner Up: Lottie’s Place
Other: 4:20. 5pm. 2am. Sundance deck in the summer.
68. Best Staff:
Bartenders are by nature very patient and good-humoured individuals, no matter how often they try to convince you otherwise. That’s just part of the act, so the 5am drunks won’t think they’re pushovers. The crew at CBTG’s, led by Sandy, the ever-cheerful sports fan and White Stripes aficionado, will bring a smile to your face as surely as they will put a beer in your hand.
Runner Up: The Ship
69. Best Place to Play Pool:
Not quite a pool hall – in that there’s only one table – but the best place to play pool according to our readers. When I (Rachel) think of Bar None I think of music first, atmosphere second, and pool comes somewhere after staff and clientele. Ambience is what makes the Bar None the best place for a game of pool. Oh and it helps that it doesn’t cost anything to play. The quirk is the table is operated as a winner’s table so you sign up on the chalk board to play the winner for your chance to control the table. So beloved is the Bar None table, one night a customer wandered in with a miniature replica, complete with the plywood and leather covering that sometimes conceals the table during special events.
Runner Up: Dooley’s (26%)
Other: West Side Charlies and The Brass Rack.
70. Best Place to Dance:
A wise woman once said something I’d like to quote, unfortunately it has too many expletives in it, so, to paraphrase: If you are oppressed, over who you are. Once you overcome that, you can kick up your heels and enjoy yourself.
That in essence is what makes the Zone’s the best dance-floor in the city, where every weekend sexuality and life in general is celebrated, in all its variety.
With a stage for the show-offs and low lit benches for the wallflowers, there’s something about the anything-goes environment that charges the room for maximum fun. The Zone 216 has created a space which is safe and welcoming for all persons to be loud and proudly individual, and they go out of their way to please their regular patrons with annual events such as Drag Idol and Holy Thursday (aka Madonna night!)
Runner Up: Sundance
Other: The Ship, Liquid Ice.
71. Best Open Mic:
Planet Chaos, the open mic hosted by Danny Keating (aka Dank Eating) recently celebrated its fourth anniversary at its current home The Spur, where it has been residing since Bar None and The Spur amalgamated.
Every week patrons are treated to selections from Danny’s vast catalogue of songs, spanning various projects. A lot of credit for the enduring appeal of Planet Chaos is owed to its unique talents and its loyal following. It has always encouraged the weird and spontaneous, and discouraged the standard fare. Known simply as “open mic” to the regulars (as if there were no others) Chaos for years has serviced the local underground scene by providing a testing ground for developing songs and songwriters.
Runner Up: O’Reilly’s
Other: The Breezeway
72. Best Karaoke:
Queen of the Kar-ee-o-gay/Spur-ee-o-gay genre, Mikiki (né Michael Hickey), could not be reached for comment, but I’m sure he’ll be overjoyed when he finds out he’s taken the prize on this one. Multi-talented visual/performing artist and activist, Mike can make you laugh, cry, and question everything you believe in in one go.
It’s been quite a while since he’s hosted a karaoke night in town, but if we sing loud enough, maybe he’ll come back soon.
Runner Up: Grumpy Stump (no night specified)
Other: Stanley’s Pub
73. Best Patio/Deck:
Indeed, it has a deck. And the deck is large, and bright and provides shelter from the rain. Beer nectar flows freely (but not quite free)! The tables are large enough to seat an entire rugby team. And you bet your pennies it will be packed to the gills on any given sunny June day.
Runner Up: Between CBTG’s & Roxxy’s. (I’m not sure that’s really, by definition, a deck.)
74. Best Place to Start Your Night:
So easily pleased, you fine people of St. John’s. But what are you doing at home, at the start of your night? Hmmm?
So the mystery begins!
Runner Up: Grapevine
Other: “Your house.”
75. Best Place to End Your Night:
Again. In bed. Whose bed, huh? Doing what? With whom?
So the mystery continues!
Runner Up: CBTG’s
Other: “Eating pizza in the street,” “Face down in a ditch.”
76. Best Radio Station:
It’s your campus and community radio, its 93.5 CHMR FM! Everyone and their uncle has had a show, or been a guest on a show, or – in the old days – slept on the sofa. Still, St. John’s only alternative radio station, CHMR broadcasts 16 hours of scheduled programming each day, and is available for listening online in both mp3 and realaudio.
Runner Up: CBC radio 1
Other: 99.1 Hits FM
77. Best Local TV News:
Where would we be without Geoff Stirling, Jim Furlong, Lynn Burry, Fred Hutton, Toni Marie Wiseman, Sharon Snow and Danielle Butt? Or all of the on-location journalists around the island and up in the big land? NTV covers every relevant and kooky aspect about Newfoundland and Labrador and beams it around the world via satellite. And if you can’t afford cable, they are right there on your TV set.
When the news is over, stay tuned! Captain Canada definitely dances to his own drum while he shares his ideas about uniting the world. Who else can weave a Mosaic?
And thank goodness for the late late night broadcasts of, well, whatever Stirling wants. Never a dull moment.
Runner Up: CBC Here & Now
Other: “They have to work on it.”
78. Best Local Radio Host:
Currently hosting Hits 99.1 FM’s morning show from 6-9am, Randy Snow is a veteran St. John’s radio personality. His familiar voice has guided many of us through the wee hours, giving us the school reports, the bus reports, and at this time of year, the snow reports.
Runner Up: Jeff Gilhooley
Other: Ted Blades, Mack Furlong.
79. Best Local TV Personality:
TONI MARIE WISEMAN
She has a Yahoo group dedicated to her which boasts some 304 members. St. John’s singer/songwriter Cara Lee Coleman wrote a song in her honour. People in other time zones accidentally picking up NTV on their satellite dishes have been known to fall in love immediately and record every evening’s forecast.
Her acceptance speech at the Scopies was so heartfelt and sweet that we now get all giddy whenever we see her on the NTV News Weather Checkpoint.
All hail the queen of Newfoundland and Labrador TV!
Runner Up: Krysta Rudofsky
Other: “The woman who did that craft thing on cable 9.”
80. Best Section of The Scope:
Naturally. Because you are cool, on-the-go readers, and you want to know what’s going on. It’s what we’re here for, friends.
(Except this month, when even the wicked need rest.)
Runner Up: Food Nerd. (Thanks, guys! – Dreae)
81. Best Beer:
How do you let people know you’re a hipster without saying a word? Get seen drinking an India, that’s how. Loved by downtown twent-somethings, seemingly mocked by everyone else, it’s a fine beer, and I don’t mind saying it. Word has it that their sales have doubled in the last year and a half and Molson didn’t even have to do a thing.
Now that’s brilliant.
Runner Up: QV Honey Brown
Other: Storm Raspberry Wheat
82. Best Cheap Eats:
You can always tell a good vegetarian restaurant by the number of non-vegetarians who willingly (eagerly, even) will drop their cash there. The dazzling brunch, the substantial-but-never-stodgy main courses, the blindingly beautiful desserts… The Sprout is giving St. John’s exactly what it needs.
Runner Up: International Flavours
Other: Mustang Sally’s, Fabulous Foods.
83. Best Pricey Eats:
Runner Up: Fairmont Cabot Club
84. Best Ethnic Restaurant:
It’s always dangerous for a restaurant to exist off the beaten path, even if they’re only off by a few blocks. But this doesn’t seem to be a problem for International Flavors. They’res no complicated decision making – do you want meat or not? – and the prices are great. You can even pick up a few exciting groceries while you’re there.
Runner Up: Sun Sushi
Other: Afghan Restaurant
85. Best Restaurant Atmosphere:
Big windows, sturdy tables, bright washrooms, big giant mirror, plants, good tunes, always-changing art (it’s an exhibition space too) and a genuinely, neverendingly sweet and interesting staff. It’s a comfy place, at once intimate (back corner booth) and kid-friendly (window table).
Runner Up: The Casbah
86. Best Cup of Coffee:
I go for the dark roast, myself, but it’s all lovely. If big, steamy, milky espresso drinks are your thing, you’ll be happy at Hava. I, for one, believe that the deliciousness of the coffee has something to do with the jovial nature of the staff, who seem to be having an awful lot of fun back there behind the counter.
Runner Up: Coffee & Co
Other: “The first one of the day.”
87. Best Breakfast:
The coffee cups are like swimming pools. Which is clearly the kind of thing you like in a breakfast.
Runner Up: The Sprout
88. Best Pizza:
Looks like a fish’n’chips joint on the outside, tastes like a Mediterranean holiday on the inside. In just two short years, Giovanni’s has developed a fan base in this town, thanks to their insistence on fresh ingredients and their dedication to making everything from scratch. The pizza’s awesome, but let’s not forget the artichoke dip. Oh, oh, delicious artichoke dip.
There should be a Best Artichoke Dip category, because they would win it too!
Runner Up: Stoggers Pizza
89. Best Fish and Chips:
You know, Ches’s is more like a cultural signifier than a restaurant, really. It’s a “this is who we are, this is where we’re from, this is what we eat” kind of thing. They’ve even got a franchise in Gander. They’re tha bomb.
Runner Up: Leo’s
Other: Big R
90. Best Sandwich:
All together, to the tune of the Hallelujah chorus: “Braaa-vo-ca-do! Braaaa-vo-ca-do! Bravocado! Bravocado! Bra-vo-oh-caaa-do!”
Runner Up: Auntie Crae’s
Other: “The Rachel sandwich.” ?
91. Best Dessert:
I can’t think of a single thing that couldn’t be improved by the addition of Moo Moo’s ice cream. First date walking around town? Moo Moo’s – Double Dutch. Big plate of curry at International Flavors? Moo Moo’s – Coconut Fudge. Long walk down Signal Hill after having been unceremoniously dumped? Three pints of Turtle Cheesecake.
It heals all wounds.
Runner Up: The Casbah
Other: “Mom’s chocolate cake.”
92. Best Thing We Missed:
What were we thinking!? Maybe next year.
Runner Up: Best Venue for Live Music
Other: “Best recreation or activity spot.”
“Best way to waste time.”
“Best new guy (or gal).”
“Best bum.” (Male or female?)
“Best place to buy a bed.”
“Best place to eat alone.”
“Best sleazy drive.”
“Best theatre group.”
“Best tattoo studio.”
“Hottest hot tub.”
“Best swimming hole.”
Written by Bryhanna Greenough, Andreae Prozesky, Dana Cooper, Diana Daly, Danielle Devereaux, Rachel Jean Harding, Jonathan Adams, Ted Bonnah, Zander Pierson, and Elling Lien.