Map: tracking Halifax’s best messages
Contribute to our map of the best spots for messages in the HRM
March 22, 2017, 9:48 am ADT Last Updated: March 22, 2017, 9:48 am ADT
The Signal made a Google map to track where messages that can be shared publicly with others could be found in the city.
A number of people contributed their favourite examples of intimate messages.
Let’s see who’s behind these messages.
Harvard Street Chalkboard
Halifax poet Sue Goyette has a chalkboard in front of her house on Harvard Street on which she writes weekly lines of poetry.
“I intentionally walk on Harvard Street to see what poem is chosen every week,” says Lisa Johnson, a fan of the chalkboard.
Johnson says the poems are usually an affirmation of people’s existence and they inspire her to live thoughtfully.
Three of the spots for favourite messages mentioned for the map were in public bathrooms, including The Lion & Bright Café Wine Bar on Agricola Street.
Owner Sean Gallagher says he notices a difference in messages between the women’s and men’s bathrooms.
“There are a lot of positive and sometimes funny messages in the women’s bathroom, but if the men’s bathroom has something written, it’s usually something stupid,” he says.
When Gallagher opened Lion & Bright, he decided on chalk walls over paint walls for the bathroom because “when people get drunk they want to steal or vandalize something; it’s human nature.”
Good Robot Brewing Company is another place whose public bathroom is on the map.
The co-owner of Good Robot, Angus Campbell, says the messages change depending on the event being held at the bar.
“On International Women’s Day, the messages were empowering, and on the U.S. election night, the messages were political and raised concern for the state of the world.”
Victoria Bell, one of Good Robot’s bartenders, cleans the chalkboard every morning. She has a favourite message that someone wrote. It said, “I feel so comfortable here that I almost forgot to close the door.”
Michael Kennedy and his father Ken Kennedy, owners of Kennedy’s Autopro on Quinpool Road, have been putting funny quotes on their business billboard for 30 years.
They get ideas for it from customers, friends and staff.
“We do it to stand out,” says Kennedy Jr.
The person behind the quotes on Halifax Central Junior High’s billboard is vice-principal Jason Flinn.
When he arrived in his new role as vice-principal last September, he says he was told that having a quote on the billboard was high priority for the school. As vice-principal, it is his responsibility to pick a new quote every week.
“When I pick a quote, I look at the time of the year and try to think of something timely … like African Heritage Month, or a quote from a recent guest speaker,” says Flinn. “I also try to keep it uplifting and something the students would like to hear.”
In the alleyway behind Riot Snack Bar, where they keep the garbage cans, there are personal messages written on the bricks of Riot’s back wall.
Rachel Joy, a server for Riot Snack Bar, says that the messages are from when Garden of Eat-In was still in business at that location.
Garden of Eat-In used the alleyway as a hookah patio, and patrons would write messages there.
“I remember writing messages there myself,” says Joy.
Some of the chosen landmarks feature graffiti as a message form.
Steffan Hoddinott, a student from Dalhousie University, wrote his thesis on Halifax graffiti. He finds that often graffiti writers use the medium as motivation for a message they want to communicate with others.
Hoddinott also points out that, sometimes, graffiti can be used to intimidate others. However, the graffiti landmarks on The Signal’s map are colourful and convey a positive message.
If you would like to contribute message landmarks to The Signal’s Google map, please do so!