News / Halifax

Beasts from the east: Tristan Cleveland on why Halifax is superior to Toronto and Vancouver

Metro Halifax's columnist has come up with seven reasons, and it includes housing prices and what we call traffic.

Part of the Halifax waterfront.

File / Metro

Part of the Halifax waterfront.

Metro columnists in Toronto and Vancouver recently fired shots across the bow, listing the reasons their cities were better than the other. They can relax, because Halifax already has both cities beat.

Let me clarify for my confused colleagues why Halifax is evidently the superior city.

1. Arms, legs not needed to buy homes.

Three young couples in their early 30s I know just bought homes right in the core of Halifax, on the peninsula. Remember when that was possible, Torontouver? No surprise inheritance from an aristocratic fortune necessary. Home ownership is still a conceivable aspiration for many young people here.

2. Our big city is a big town.

We got cafes, theatres, restaurants, sports teams, galleries, and one of the best bar scenes in the country.

And yet, walk down Portland Street with someone from Dartmouth and they’ll be saying hi to friends the whole way. Big enough for action, small enough to feel like you belong here.

A view of the downtown Vancouver waterfront.

File / Metro

A view of the downtown Vancouver waterfront.

3. We’re not spending a billion dollars on our stupid downtown highway.

Next year, we are demolishing our concrete spaghetti loop — the Cogswell Interchange — and turning it into seven new downtown city blocks. Sure makes more sense than dropping a billion on a suspended highway from the 60s, eh Toronto?  

4. We have more Maritimers.

A funny thing happens when you’re driving in Halifax and you want to turn left: other drivers let you in. I don’t know how this basic decency has survived the tough realities of the 21st century, but like an endangered species, we still have friendly, unpretentious people.

5. When you leave the city, you leave the city.

The amount of time it takes to drive, or even bike, from City Hall to nature is still measured in minutes.

The downtown Toronto skyline from 2015.

Torstar News Service

The downtown Toronto skyline from 2015.

6. Our traffic jams are so short they’re adorable.

Haligonians think 30 minutes is a hard drive home. Oh the pleasures of having such an inconvenience be so small.

7. Over 200km of trails right from downtown.

OK, counting eggs before they hatch here, but by 2020 you’ll be able to bike from downtown Halifax and Dartmouth to beaches, lakes, camping and small towns, from Eastern Nova Scotia all the way to Lunenburg in the South Shore.

We’re an affordable, easy-going city on the ocean in nature with a ton of universities and awesome local businesses and one of the fastest growing economies in the country.

Bring it on Vanonto! We’re gonna steal your young!

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