Wrap-up: Celebrate the Common 250

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Halifax Common, Friends of Halifax Common organized one big party. On October 4, 5 & 6th, 2013 we  hosted 3 days of over 50 events to commemorate the gift of the Halifax Common “to and for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Common forever,” by King George III in 1763.


The events included a series of public walks & talks on and about the Halifax Common.  Eight commissioned works to Celebrate the Common included theatre, circus & dance performances, exhibitions, sculptures & installations.  Lots of activities happened throughout the entire area of the Common – meditation, yoga, cricket, baseball, kite-flying, henna tattoing, biking, bike-repair, drumming and potlucks.

Two books were published to highlight the history and place of the Halifax Common in the everyday lives of the people of Halifax.  Gaspereau Press and FHC launched a special anthology of original poems, “Writing the Common”.  These were selected from submissions to a special request from over thirty  authors inspired by the Common.

And a commemorative collection of archival images and maps contrasted with present day photos by Alvin Comiter documenting 250 years of the Common was be exhibited and printed, “Celebrate the Common”.

Over 11,000 people came out to view, participate and share food during the 3-day celebration.


Celebrate the Common 250

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Halifax Common, Friends of Halifax Common have organized one big party. On October 4, 5 & 6th, 2013 we will host 3 days of over 50 events to commemorate the gift of the Halifax Common “to and for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Commons forever,” by King George III in 1763.

The events are displayed to the right. You can roll your cursor over an event to hilite it. A window will pop up with more info. Click on the title to see the full page for that event. Use arrows on the bottom of the pages to see the next event. Because there are so many events we have made an download of the full schedule with a corresponding map. New events were added to the roster after this was printed.

The Printer-friendly version of events (below) is an up-to-date version of events and is a handy summary of the on-line schedule. We’re sure ONE of these schedules will work for you!

> Download Celebrate 250_Event Schedule/Mapacrobat_icon
> Download or print-out Printer-friendly Event Schedule (7 pgs.)acrobat_icon

> See Online Events Posterboard/Schedule
> Download the entire schedule to your calendar (iCal, Outlook or Google)

> Volunteer at Celebrate the Common 250

> Register with Friends of Halifax Common to make comments on this site.

for immediate release

September 24, 2013

Friends of Halifax Common Celebrate the Common’s  250th

(Halifax) On October 4, 5 & 6, Friends of Halifax Common invite the public to join in the free festivities to Celebrate the Common 250 and help mark the 250th anniversary of Canada’s oldest Common. Events at <http://www.halifaxcommon.ca/>www.halifaxcommon.ca are being updated daily.

In 1763, King George III gifted the 235-acre gift of the Halifax Common to the “inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Common forever.” Numerous free public walks and talks, like October 4th’s “The Halifax Common: 250 Years of Community Use (cows, cricket, circuses, Catholics, Sir Paul and the skaters)” will explore the history and changing landscape of Canada’s oldest Common.

Commissioned art installations like Fenn Martin and Tj Ediger’s Dead Falls and Ashley Bedet’s Rabbit Trap, and performances like DaPoPo Theatre’s The Poor House, and Mocean Dance’s Common Flock will connect the audience to the Common through themes of nature, community, safety, personal inspiration and fun. Other art installations and performances like Halifax Circus take place throughout the North, Central and South Common on Saturday October 5.

Inspired by FHC and published by Gaspereau Press, a book launch of the special 250th anniversary anthology of contemporary poems, Celebrate the Common, will be held on Sunday, October 6.  FHC will also launch a commemorative collection of archival images and contemporary photos by Alvin Comiter documenting 250 years of the Halifax Common.  A  public slideshow of these images, projected on the exterior wall of the Nova Scotia Museum next to Bell Road, is scheduled.

All activities including lectures, music, tours, art projects and sports and leisure activities; such as baseball, football, cricket, Nordic Pole Walking, Yoga, meditation, kite-flying and bicycle maintenance; are free to the public. And everyone is invited to bring a Picnic, food to share, or make a purchase at the Popup-Picnic-Potluck hosted by the Common Roots Urban Farm.

As of 5pm Sept. 24 daily schedule updates will be available at:  www.halifaxcommon.ca

For more information:
Peggy Cameron, friends@halifaxcommon.ca (t) 429-4372/902-258-3354
Keith McPhail, keith-mcphail@halifaxcommon.ca, 220-1967


Poetry Call for Submissions

The call for poetry submissions is now closed.
Celebrating the Halifax Common – 250 Years

Friends of Halifax Common and Gaspereau Press look forward to launching the poetry anthology as part of the October 3, 4 and 5th celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Halifax Common.

We’ll keep you posted on details.

Welcome to our new site!

The Friends of the Halifax Common are happy to connect with you via our new site. We now have an interactive calendar of events.

Registered users can now log in and make a comments. Over time we will develop this site to facilitate discussion between FHC members and the public.

Media Release – Cost of Oval

HRM City Staff Not Calculating Real Cost of Oval

oval(Halifax) In its rush to Save the Oval, the HRM staff report on the Canada Games Oval, recommending a single centralized skating facility on the North Halifax Common, has miscalculated the price tag and budget implications.

“One cost missing is NSPI’s forecasted 20% electricity rate increase by 2015, on top of the 43% since 2002″ says Alan Ruffman, Executive member of Friends of Halifax Common.

“Another is the increased cost of energy consumption and maintenance of such a large outdoor ice surface when Environment Canada is telling us that, thanks to climate change, we’ve just come through the warmest winter on record- the 14th in a row, and one with many extreme weather events that bring high winds, high rain and snowfalls and lots of power outages,” concludes Ruffman.

Derek Hawes, project manager for the Ice Rink Energy Programme that is operated through the Recreation Facility Association of Nova Scotia, raised several concerns with HRM about the oval.

“This one facility has a similar refrigeration capacity as eight indoor community arenas, and in another location such as the Central Common or Beasley Field, the waste heat could be used to heat approximately 140 homes or the equivalent number of public buildings such as hospitals or a school,” said Mr Hawes.

“I suggested a number of other skating options, including skating paths in Victoria Park, on the Grand Parade or other community destinations where the waste heat could be used, but for the staff, the oval on the Common was a done deal,” Mr. Hawes continued.

Hawes is also concerned about the quality of the refrigeration units the city purchased: “I have reason to believe the long-term operating and maintenance costs will be significantly higher than staff projected.”

“Unfortunately, Council was misled and based their decision on misinformation provided in the staff report- If the oval goes ahead, it would be the most expensive and environmentally unfriendly rink ever built in the province.” concluded Mr. Hawes.

Friends of Halifax Common presented at several HRM Community Council meetings to urge more time be taken so the best decision is made. Members suggest that the oval could be a focus for the redesign of the Central Common or, as proposed in the original plan for the Canada Winter Games Skating oval, to have a network of community neighbourhood skating venues throughout HRM instead of forcing everyone to drive to one destination.

The North Common is less than one-third of the original public open space on the Halifax Common.

“The skating oval is another example of where the HRM staff are rushing into a poor planning decision for the Halifax Common instead of respecting a long-term master-plan,” said Beverly Miller, FHC Co-chair. “Public open space on the Halifax Common will be lost, or continue to be covered with concrete or remain under threat of commercialization as long as there is no proper public process,” concluded Miller.

The estimate for making the oval permanent is approximately $6 million dollars. Although sponsors have come forward, all HRM taxpayers will be contributing $8 per $100,000 property value. No estimates have been provided for multiple outdoor skating rinks throughout HRM.


Media Contact: Peggy Cameron-902-258-3354 / Derek Hawes-902-403-6511 (c)
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