Trick or treat on Duncan Street — by the numbers

Dan Conlin has kept track of the trick-or-treaters who called at his Duncan St., Halifax, home for the last 17 years. Yesterday’s numbers showed a modest uptick, but the overall trend is dramatic and downward:


This year’s visitors began arriving at 5:35 pm, peaked at 7 p.m., and had vanished into the night by 8:15. Vampires, Princesses, and Ninjas led the parade, at six each.

Only one cat made an appearance, likely the one pictured, feline fancier Rosa Eileen Barss Donham, who lives one street over from Dan.

Conlin gives his Best Overall Costume Award to an eight-year-old walking box of Ritz Crackers, English in front, Français au verso, with nutritional information on the side. Nutritional information about lard pills—what a card!

Complete details on yesterday’s West End Halifax’s confectionary extortionists here; For comparison purposes, see designer Kinnon Elliot’s infographic about Hallowe’en costumes here .

Less is more: the YHZ-YQY ripoff

Contrarian needed to make a reservation yesterday from Toronto to Sydney. The fact I had to get all the way to Sydney meant I couldn’t use Porter Airlines’ magnificent service from Toronto Island Airport.

Porter is the upstart airline known for its curious, retro habit of treating passengers as welcome guests. Leaving from the Island Airport avoids the time and money wasted getting to and from unspeakable Pearson.

So I made a quick check to see if Air Canada could accommodate me from Toronto Island. To my astonishment, I found the following:

$219.36 is an almost unheard of low fare. As I snapped it up, my flight-savvy friend wondered,  “What would it cost to buy the Halifax-Sydney leg by itself?” The answer will come as no surprise to Sydney travellers:

The poor sod taking the 50-minute flight from Halifax to Sydney in the most efficient aircraft Air Canada flies will pay $339.24 — more than half again as much as Contrarian paid to fly all the way from Toronto to Sydney, on an itinerary that included the same YHZ-YQY flight. The guy flying from Halifax pays $1.11 per kilometer; I paid 14 cents per kilometer.

I’m not quick to pull the regulation trigger, but the way Air Canada abuses its monopoly on the lucrative Halifax-Sydney run to gouge Cape Breton residents, business people, and tourists is crystal clear to everyone but the Competition Bureau and Transport Canada.

Seaport multitude

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to eat local:

Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market-450

A huge throng of regulars, plus tire-kickers, overwhelmed the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market‘s opening day this morning, forcing shoppers to wrestle with traffic tie-ups, inadequate parking, and impossibly long coffee lineups.

It is a gorgeous space, however, and congestion will likely ease once construction is complete and the market starts opening throughout the week.

Lead designer Keith Tufts, of the Halifax architectural firm Lydon Lynch, describes the building’s advanced environmental features in this video.

One sour note: US imposed, Homeland Security regulations prevent the market from opening the huge water-facing doors on sunny days, lest terrorists sneak through whilst no one is looking. How much longer will Canada adopt the US posture of cowering in the face of adversaries?