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After watching the trailer for the film Midway I was horrified by the havoc plastic is wreaking in our oceans. So I tried going plastic-free for a week and I produced this piece for the Greenpeace podcast about my attempt:

After watching the trailer for the film Midway I was horrified by the havoc plastic is wreaking in our oceans. So I tried going plastic-free for a week and I produced this piece for the Greenpeace podcast about my attempt:

In the summer of 2013 I was happy to co-co-ordinate an inter-generartional radio project called Sound+Story.
Supported by The Centre for Art Tapes and the 4C’s Foundation. The Sound and Story project brought together radio producers, storytellers, documentarians and youth to find new ways of telling stories with sound. Over six weeks of workshops, we taught the basics of audio production, interviewing, and narrative storytelling.  Once we got the basics down, participants got a recorder, a partner in crime and all the support they needed to put together a five minute radio-ready story. Here’s a playlist of what came out: 

To learn more about he project you can check out our blog here.

In the summer of 2013 I was happy to co-co-ordinate an inter-generartional radio project called Sound+Story.

Supported by The Centre for Art Tapes and the 4C’s Foundation. The Sound and Story project brought together radio producers, storytellers, documentarians and youth to find new ways of telling stories with sound. Over six weeks of workshops, we taught the basics of audio production, interviewing, and narrative storytelling.  Once we got the basics down, participants got a recorder, a partner in crime and all the support they needed to put together a five minute radio-ready story. Here’s a playlist of what came out:

To learn more about he project you can check out our blog here.

I produced this podcast for Visual Arts News talking to the brilliant Annie MacMillan about her project Little Lakes. 
This summer as part of the Fieldwork residency project—a series of residencies in the HRM this summer for artists who “employ research methodologies and fieldwork practices generally associated with the natural and social sciences”—artist Annie Macmillan is seeking out every lake in the Halifax Regional Municipality with the name “Little Lake” and swimming its perimeter. Her plan is to turn those maps into drawings that tell the story of each swim. I talked with her about her underwater adventures, her artistic process and her exploration of “the edge”.

My dear friend Katie McKay took photos of one of Annie’s excursions, you can see them here.

I produced this podcast for Visual Arts News talking to the brilliant Annie MacMillan about her project Little Lakes. 

This summer as part of the Fieldwork residency project—a series of residencies in the HRM this summer for artists who “employ research methodologies and fieldwork practices generally associated with the natural and social sciences”—artist Annie Macmillan is seeking out every lake in the Halifax Regional Municipality with the name “Little Lake” and swimming its perimeter. Her plan is to turn those maps into drawings that tell the story of each swim. I talked with her about her underwater adventures, her artistic process and her exploration of “the edge”.

My dear friend Katie McKay took photos of one of Annie’s excursions, you can see them here.

This is a piece I produced for the Visual Arts News podcast.  I had the great pleasure of interviewing Halifax-based artist and curator Kate Walchuk in a dark closet at the Seeds Gallery. Unphased by the lack of light she said a lot of lovely things about memory, nostalgia and her show Good Shape.

photo by Katie McKay

This is a piece I produced for the Visual Arts News podcast.  I had the great pleasure of interviewing Halifax-based artist and curator Kate Walchuk in a dark closet at the Seeds Gallery. Unphased by the lack of light she said a lot of lovely things about memory, nostalgia and her show Good Shape.

photo by Katie McKay

This was my submission to the 2013 Third Coast Short Doc Challenge. The piece had to involve ‘appetite’, it had to be told in three courses, it had to be three minutes long and had to have a flavour in the title.  This is what I came up with -

This was my submission to the 2013 Third Coast Short Doc Challenge. The piece had to involve ‘appetite’, it had to be told in three courses, it had to be three minutes long and had to have a flavour in the title.  This is what I came up with -

I produced this piece for CBC’s Spark about the future of sound online. I had the pleasure of speaking to the illustrious Dr.Michael Bull (director of the European Sound Studies Association), Nic Boshart (manager of Digital Initiatives at the Walrus) and I mention the glories of the online-storytelling site Cowbird. Grab an earful:  

Photo by Andrew Norton

I produced this piece for CBC’s Spark about the future of sound online. I had the pleasure of speaking to the illustrious Dr.Michael Bull (director of the European Sound Studies Association), Nic Boshart (manager of Digital Initiatives at the Walrus) and I mention the glories of the online-storytelling site Cowbird. Grab an earful:  

Photo by Andrew Norton

This is a podcast I produced for Visual Arts News talking with artist Will Robinson about his Killam Library Artist Residency.  He took it upon himself to find a way to play this brutalist building like a record

This is a podcast I produced for Visual Arts News talking with artist Will Robinson about his Killam Library Artist Residency.  He took it upon himself to find a way to play this brutalist building like a record

This was an audio interview produced as an online exclusive for Visual Arts News 
Eleanor King is truly an interdisciplinary artist—her work spans from audio installations to drawings and, of course, to her fascination with sculptural stacking. Her artistic practice in its various forms addresses issues of excess, technological obsolescence and environmental degradation. On a snowy day in Halifax, I sat down with the Halifax-based artist to discuss her experience being shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, her recent exhibition, Stacks, at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (until January 27) and her oscillation between different media.
Featured music is by King’s band, Wet Denim. Photo by Doug Tewksbury

This was an audio interview produced as an online exclusive for Visual Arts News 

Eleanor King is truly an interdisciplinary artist—her work spans from audio installations to drawings and, of course, to her fascination with sculptural stacking. Her artistic practice in its various forms addresses issues of excess, technological obsolescence and environmental degradation. On a snowy day in Halifax, I sat down with the Halifax-based artist to discuss her experience being shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, her recent exhibition, Stacks, at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (until January 27) and her oscillation between different media.

Featured music is by King’s band, Wet Denim. Photo by Doug Tewksbury

This is a film that I wrote and directed with my friend and collaborator Andrew Bateman for the Berlin Film School.

For Visual Arts News
TUNING INTO SOUNDING SELVES
Escaping the hubbub of Dalhousie Graduation mayhem, I entered the Dalhousie Art Gallery and felt an eerie calm. There was a dark sparseness to the space: black walls, limited light and silence. Well not complete silence—after all I was there to listen to the Sounding Selvesexhibit. Curated by The National Gallery of Canada’s Heather Anderson, Sounding Selves is a compendium of sound experiences provided by five internationally acclaimed artists and housed in the discrete nooks of the gallery.
In curating a show of sounds, Anderson had the double task of curating silence as well. “I didn’t want to create spaces that were too isolated,” she tells me. “I also kind of like the way you hear murmurs of the other works, so they can have a conversation together in that way.” It’s true, once enveloped in the gallery’s barren fullness, I did start to hear the low rumbles of sounds in hidden spaces. The sense was that these sounds were alone together.
From Czech artist Jana Sterbak’s stuttering Declaration to Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay’s intermittent Return, each soundscape invites the listener to contemplate the influence of the sonic on our perception of and interactions with the world. Sterbak’s piece, as well as that of Berlin-based artist Anri Sala, does this by acknowledging the linguistic realities of sound. Sterbak depicts the individuality of the language act with her video of a man stuttering the International Declaration of Human Rights, contrasting his individual impediment with the universal language of law. With Lak Kat, Sala explores the use of linguistic repetition as a means for teaching not only language but the classifications associated with any given language. He illuminates the colour distinctions in Woolof, a language touched by French colonialism in Senegal, where most words for colours borrow from French, except for those referring to white and black.
Other works configure sound beyond its use in language. Ramsay questions the implication of the gendering of pitch. He cleverly contrasts the mythology of the chaotic female energy of the Sirens with the emergency siren call of 13-year-old boy. The result is a potent criticism of the socially constructed ideas of what sound means.
Antonia Hirsch recedes from the sonic in order to illuminate it. Her piece Tacet (Anthems of the Member Nations of the North American Free Trade Agreement: Canada, United States of America, Mexican United States) (2005) confronts us with our inner sounds. The video installation shows the three conductors of these anthems experiencing the music in their heads. They silently live out the full orchestral thrust of these national sounds.
I ended my stroll through Sounding Selves in the space inhabited by Jani Ruscica’sBatbox/Beatbox. Here two videos face each other on opposing walls. One video documents the inaudible sounds of bats, those nocturnal flyers who use echolocation to understand their environments. This concept is extended on the opposite wall, where a young spoken word artist in New York rhythmically enunciates how she hears her city. She breaks down how she echolocates herself. She understands herself through the sounds of her city. She sounds herself.
On the opening night of this exhibit, Halifax based sonic artist Lukas Pearse and musician Geordie Haley performed an inverted interpretation of a musical score inspired by the improvisation of beatboxers interpreting the sounds of greater horseshoe bats. The score sits silently on music stands outside of the Batbox/Beatbox space. Its presence perfectly encapsulates the feeling of this exhibit: sound, layered with interpretation, mediated by human translation and documentation, known in its silence.
Jana sterbak, Declaration, 1993. Photo©national Gallery of Canada

For Visual Arts News

TUNING INTO SOUNDING SELVES

Escaping the hubbub of Dalhousie Graduation mayhem, I entered the Dalhousie Art Gallery and felt an eerie calm. There was a dark sparseness to the space: black walls, limited light and silence. Well not complete silence—after all I was there to listen to the Sounding Selvesexhibit. Curated by The National Gallery of Canada’s Heather Anderson, Sounding Selves is a compendium of sound experiences provided by five internationally acclaimed artists and housed in the discrete nooks of the gallery.

In curating a show of sounds, Anderson had the double task of curating silence as well. “I didn’t want to create spaces that were too isolated,” she tells me. “I also kind of like the way you hear murmurs of the other works, so they can have a conversation together in that way.” It’s true, once enveloped in the gallery’s barren fullness, I did start to hear the low rumbles of sounds in hidden spaces. The sense was that these sounds were alone together.

From Czech artist Jana Sterbak’s stuttering Declaration to Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay’s intermittent Return, each soundscape invites the listener to contemplate the influence of the sonic on our perception of and interactions with the world. Sterbak’s piece, as well as that of Berlin-based artist Anri Sala, does this by acknowledging the linguistic realities of sound. Sterbak depicts the individuality of the language act with her video of a man stuttering the International Declaration of Human Rights, contrasting his individual impediment with the universal language of law. With Lak Kat, Sala explores the use of linguistic repetition as a means for teaching not only language but the classifications associated with any given language. He illuminates the colour distinctions in Woolof, a language touched by French colonialism in Senegal, where most words for colours borrow from French, except for those referring to white and black.

Other works configure sound beyond its use in language. Ramsay questions the implication of the gendering of pitch. He cleverly contrasts the mythology of the chaotic female energy of the Sirens with the emergency siren call of 13-year-old boy. The result is a potent criticism of the socially constructed ideas of what sound means.

Antonia Hirsch recedes from the sonic in order to illuminate it. Her piece Tacet (Anthems of the Member Nations of the North American Free Trade Agreement: Canada, United States of America, Mexican United States) (2005) confronts us with our inner sounds. The video installation shows the three conductors of these anthems experiencing the music in their heads. They silently live out the full orchestral thrust of these national sounds.

I ended my stroll through Sounding Selves in the space inhabited by Jani Ruscica’sBatbox/Beatbox. Here two videos face each other on opposing walls. One video documents the inaudible sounds of bats, those nocturnal flyers who use echolocation to understand their environments. This concept is extended on the opposite wall, where a young spoken word artist in New York rhythmically enunciates how she hears her city. She breaks down how she echolocates herself. She understands herself through the sounds of her city. She sounds herself.

On the opening night of this exhibit, Halifax based sonic artist Lukas Pearse and musician Geordie Haley performed an inverted interpretation of a musical score inspired by the improvisation of beatboxers interpreting the sounds of greater horseshoe bats. The score sits silently on music stands outside of the Batbox/Beatbox space. Its presence perfectly encapsulates the feeling of this exhibit: sound, layered with interpretation, mediated by human translation and documentation, known in its silence.

Jana sterbak, Declaration, 1993. Photo©national Gallery of Canada

I am an editor and contributor for the GoodQuestionPodcast, the show with one question and all kinds of answers.

I am an editor and contributor for the GoodQuestionPodcast, the show with one question and all kinds of answers.

This piece was produced for WCAI’s Creative Life series, as part of the Transom Story Workshop and is available  on the Public Radio Exchange.  It has also been featured as part of the Working Now project.

This piece was produced for WCAI’s Creative Life series, as part of the Transom Story Workshop and is available  on the Public Radio Exchange.  It has also been featured as part of the Working Now project.

These are sonic IDs.  Interstitial moments produced for WCAI to introduce listeners to their neighbours.

These are sonic IDs.  Interstitial moments produced for WCAI to introduce listeners to their neighbours.

This story was produced as part of the Transom Story Workshop and is available on the Public Radio Exchange
There is bacteria everywhere, it is almost impossible for something to not come in contact with bacteria. That’s a problem for pharmaceutical companies. Before drugs go to market they have to be free of any potentially harmful bacteria. How do they do that? Well, today, the pharmaceutical industry relies on a test using horseshoe crab blood. Yes. Crab blood. This is the story of how it all started.

This story was produced as part of the Transom Story Workshop and is available on the Public Radio Exchange

There is bacteria everywhere, it is almost impossible for something to not come in contact with bacteria. That’s a problem for pharmaceutical companies. Before drugs go to market they have to be free of any potentially harmful bacteria. How do they do that? Well, today, the pharmaceutical industry relies on a test using horseshoe crab blood. Yes. Crab blood. This is the story of how it all started.


For OpenFile and Halifax Magazine
Halifax’s Hidden Tunnels
There are tunnels in downtown Halifax.
Beneath the streets, houses and businesses we see everyday there are hidden passageways and unseen corridors. Though their existence is often denied they’re there. And on August 27, I went into one.
Ward Skinner is an ex-president of the Halifax Club, when he started the job he had heard all sorts of rumours about a secret tunnel in the basement. I met him in the Club’s cigar room.
“The rumours that went around were that it would be the tunnel to Georges island, or down to the harbour or perhaps to the Bank of Nova Scotia across the street into their vaults,” says Skinner. “Eventually, I got around to it and thought, OK, where is this tunnel?”
So he went down to the boiler room, pulled up some floor boards and there it was.
Skinner has come up with his own theory as to what the tunnel was used for but he invited me down to the depths to take a look for myself.
After shimmying into the hole in the floor and landing on a well-placed bucket, we crawled on our hands and knees over a mound of dirt until we were standing in a 200-year-old stone archway that went for nearly fifty feet of beautiful stone and cob-webbery.

In 1989, an archaeology conference on heritage preservation was held at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax. At that conference, there was a discussion held about the lack of public interest in the history that lies beneath our city. According to the Chronicle Herald at that time, a representative of real estate developers claimed that archaeological studies of their sites were too daunting and weren’t being requested by the public so they weren’t being done.
The existence of secret underground spaces like the one Skinner found, are a matter of public record and yet the denial of their existence and confusion about their purpose persists.
In October of 1973, Barbara Hinds was working as a reporter with the Chronicle Herald. During lunch one day, she got a call from a repair crew that was digging a hole on George Street, three blocks from the base of Citadel Hill. The road beneath them had caved in and they had found an underground tunnel.
Hinds went and checked it out with her photographer, Lee Wamboldt.
“It was wet and it was dark, but I think we took flashlights,” she tells me in her new home at The Berkeley, a retirement home in Halifax. “The arch was built obviously by talented masons. The tunnel was made of hand-hewn rock. Its’ direction was upwards toward Citadel Hill.”
This was not the first or last time that tunnels have been stumbled upon in Halifax’s downtown. In 1919, a city engineer named James Gowen discovered a tunnel at the top of George St. And after Hinds’ exploration, a conduit also leading from the Citadel to the harbour was found in 1978 at the corner of Bedford Row and Prince Street.
All these discoveries had in common the person-sized height of the walkways, the incredible craftsmanship of their stone construction and the official denial of their use as tunnels.
Dr. Steve Davis is an archaeologist who has been working in Halifax for forty years and he is adamant that, “There has not been not a single purpose built excavated tunnel-like-thing for people to move secretly from one place to another.”
He says, “The things that people are calling tunnels are sewers.”
The main theory which has surfaced at different points throughout Halifax’s history to counter this sewer argument is that there was a messengers’ passageway built by the British forces when they were stationed at Citadel Hill.
Hinds was a proponent of the passageway theory. Having been in the alleged Citadel Tunnel, she found it hard to believe it could ever have carried sewage. In 1976, Hinds and her photographer, on assignment, found a broad, crypt-like structure when another tunnel was exposed by Nova Scotia Power crews digging a hole for a power pole, further suggesting a non-sewage role.
“The thing is,” she says, “If it was a sewer and it had been used a sewer for Citadel Hill military, there would have been something left to indicate it had been a sewer.” Which apparently, there wasn’t.

Barbara Hinds speaks to Veronica Simmonds about her theories on whether the tunnels were for sewage or soldiers.
To add to this evidence, Hinds received a letter shortly after the publication of her tunnel story from a woman named Elsie Cameron, claiming that her grandfather, John William Cameron, told her that he, a stonemason, had built the tunnel and had been sworn to secrecy about the work he did.
“To receive the letter about the secrecy with which it was built,” Hinds says, “and the extents that people went to in those days and the origin of the stone masonry, I don’t know that they would have gone to all that trouble to build a sewer in those days.”
I spoke with Carla Wheaton, a representative of Parks Canada—who are now the stewards of the Citadel site—and she described the tunnels as “mythical,” and declared there are no tunnels leading to the Citadel.
However, Hal Thompson is a product development officer at the Citadel with a special interest in the folkloric history of the place. He sees some holes in the official story.
“Elderly or older visitors over the years have told myself and others that when they were kids there was a tunnel they could go into in the Citadel that would take them right down to the waterfront.” He says. “The army’s official line was that it was a drain or a sewer, but some testing was done on the floor of the tunnel and there was never any sewage passing through it. Plus, there was no sewer up here—the latrines were emptied by hand.”
Thompson’s interest in the city’s tunnels doesn’t stop at the Citadel, though. In his research he’s come across mentions of a tunnel leading from the legislature to the Joseph Howe building (which the province officially denies), and he’s spent quite a bit of time thinking about the logistics underlying the rumoured tunnel to Georges Island.
"The tunnel to Georges Island is the big one," he says. “There’s no evidence, physical or otherwise. Which is funny, because the royal engineering yards (were) so close…building something across there doesn’t seem so wild, but it’s really deep, and its solid rock."
"Somebody else has suggested that they may have built a submarine suspended tunnel, which is really a giant pipe," says Thompson. "There were companies set up in the 19th century that said they would build these things, but I can’t find any evidence that anyone actually built them.”
Back in the belly of the Halifax Club, Skinner and I reach the end of the tunnel—at a mound of dirt. We’re standing in a small corridor. It’s silent, until we hear someone walk over our heads. The tunnel has lead us to a spot directly below the sidewalk in front of the club. And this is the basis for Skinner’s theory of this tunnel.
He’s learned from the Club’s minutes that the kitchen used to be in the basement of the building and he believes this tunnel acted as an entryway for servants to receive food deliveries.
This theory makes a lot of sense but as we head back to our hole in the floor I can’t help but wonder what’s beyond that mound of dirt.
photos by Aaron McKenzie-Fraser
I was also interviewed about my experience in the tunnels on CBC Mainstreet you can hear the podcast here under the name Inside Halifax’s Fabled Tunnel

For OpenFile and Halifax Magazine

Halifax’s Hidden Tunnels

There are tunnels in downtown Halifax.

Beneath the streets, houses and businesses we see everyday there are hidden passageways and unseen corridors. Though their existence is often denied they’re there. And on August 27, I went into one.

Ward Skinner is an ex-president of the Halifax Club, when he started the job he had heard all sorts of rumours about a secret tunnel in the basement. I met him in the Club’s cigar room.

“The rumours that went around were that it would be the tunnel to Georges island, or down to the harbour or perhaps to the Bank of Nova Scotia across the street into their vaults,” says Skinner. “Eventually, I got around to it and thought, OK, where is this tunnel?”

So he went down to the boiler room, pulled up some floor boards and there it was.

Skinner has come up with his own theory as to what the tunnel was used for but he invited me down to the depths to take a look for myself.

After shimmying into the hole in the floor and landing on a well-placed bucket, we crawled on our hands and knees over a mound of dirt until we were standing in a 200-year-old stone archway that went for nearly fifty feet of beautiful stone and cob-webbery.

In 1989, an archaeology conference on heritage preservation was held at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax. At that conference, there was a discussion held about the lack of public interest in the history that lies beneath our city. According to the Chronicle Herald at that time, a representative of real estate developers claimed that archaeological studies of their sites were too daunting and weren’t being requested by the public so they weren’t being done.

The existence of secret underground spaces like the one Skinner found, are a matter of public record and yet the denial of their existence and confusion about their purpose persists.

In October of 1973, Barbara Hinds was working as a reporter with the Chronicle Herald. During lunch one day, she got a call from a repair crew that was digging a hole on George Street, three blocks from the base of Citadel Hill. The road beneath them had caved in and they had found an underground tunnel.

Hinds went and checked it out with her photographer, Lee Wamboldt.

“It was wet and it was dark, but I think we took flashlights,” she tells me in her new home at The Berkeley, a retirement home in Halifax. “The arch was built obviously by talented masons. The tunnel was made of hand-hewn rock. Its’ direction was upwards toward Citadel Hill.”

This was not the first or last time that tunnels have been stumbled upon in Halifax’s downtown. In 1919, a city engineer named James Gowen discovered a tunnel at the top of George St. And after Hinds’ exploration, a conduit also leading from the Citadel to the harbour was found in 1978 at the corner of Bedford Row and Prince Street.

All these discoveries had in common the person-sized height of the walkways, the incredible craftsmanship of their stone construction and the official denial of their use as tunnels.

Dr. Steve Davis is an archaeologist who has been working in Halifax for forty years and he is adamant that, “There has not been not a single purpose built excavated tunnel-like-thing for people to move secretly from one place to another.”

He says, “The things that people are calling tunnels are sewers.”

The main theory which has surfaced at different points throughout Halifax’s history to counter this sewer argument is that there was a messengers’ passageway built by the British forces when they were stationed at Citadel Hill.

Hinds was a proponent of the passageway theory. Having been in the alleged Citadel Tunnel, she found it hard to believe it could ever have carried sewage. In 1976, Hinds and her photographer, on assignment, found a broad, crypt-like structure when another tunnel was exposed by Nova Scotia Power crews digging a hole for a power pole, further suggesting a non-sewage role.

“The thing is,” she says, “If it was a sewer and it had been used a sewer for Citadel Hill military, there would have been something left to indicate it had been a sewer.” Which apparently, there wasn’t.

Barbara Hinds speaks to Veronica Simmonds about her theories on whether the tunnels were for sewage or soldiers.

To add to this evidence, Hinds received a letter shortly after the publication of her tunnel story from a woman named Elsie Cameron, claiming that her grandfather, John William Cameron, told her that he, a stonemason, had built the tunnel and had been sworn to secrecy about the work he did.

“To receive the letter about the secrecy with which it was built,” Hinds says, “and the extents that people went to in those days and the origin of the stone masonry, I don’t know that they would have gone to all that trouble to build a sewer in those days.”

I spoke with Carla Wheaton, a representative of Parks Canada—who are now the stewards of the Citadel site—and she described the tunnels as “mythical,” and declared there are no tunnels leading to the Citadel.

However, Hal Thompson is a product development officer at the Citadel with a special interest in the folkloric history of the place. He sees some holes in the official story.

“Elderly or older visitors over the years have told myself and others that when they were kids there was a tunnel they could go into in the Citadel that would take them right down to the waterfront.” He says. “The army’s official line was that it was a drain or a sewer, but some testing was done on the floor of the tunnel and there was never any sewage passing through it. Plus, there was no sewer up here—the latrines were emptied by hand.”

Thompson’s interest in the city’s tunnels doesn’t stop at the Citadel, though. In his research he’s come across mentions of a tunnel leading from the legislature to the Joseph Howe building (which the province officially denies), and he’s spent quite a bit of time thinking about the logistics underlying the rumoured tunnel to Georges Island.

"The tunnel to Georges Island is the big one," he says. “There’s no evidence, physical or otherwise. Which is funny, because the royal engineering yards (were) so close…building something across there doesn’t seem so wild, but it’s really deep, and its solid rock."

"Somebody else has suggested that they may have built a submarine suspended tunnel, which is really a giant pipe," says Thompson. "There were companies set up in the 19th century that said they would build these things, but I can’t find any evidence that anyone actually built them.”

Back in the belly of the Halifax Club, Skinner and I reach the end of the tunnel—at a mound of dirt. We’re standing in a small corridor. It’s silent, until we hear someone walk over our heads. The tunnel has lead us to a spot directly below the sidewalk in front of the club. And this is the basis for Skinner’s theory of this tunnel.

He’s learned from the Club’s minutes that the kitchen used to be in the basement of the building and he believes this tunnel acted as an entryway for servants to receive food deliveries.

This theory makes a lot of sense but as we head back to our hole in the floor I can’t help but wonder what’s beyond that mound of dirt.

photos by Aaron McKenzie-Fraser

I was also interviewed about my experience in the tunnels on CBC Mainstreet you can hear the podcast here under the name Inside Halifax’s Fabled Tunnel

After watching the trailer for the film Midway I was horrified by the havoc plastic is wreaking in our oceans. So I tried going plastic-free for a week and I produced this piece for the Greenpeace podcast about my attempt:

After watching the trailer for the film Midway I was horrified by the havoc plastic is wreaking in our oceans. So I tried going plastic-free for a week and I produced this piece for the Greenpeace podcast about my attempt:

In the summer of 2013 I was happy to co-co-ordinate an inter-generartional radio project called Sound+Story.
Supported by The Centre for Art Tapes and the 4C’s Foundation. The Sound and Story project brought together radio producers, storytellers, documentarians and youth to find new ways of telling stories with sound. Over six weeks of workshops, we taught the basics of audio production, interviewing, and narrative storytelling.  Once we got the basics down, participants got a recorder, a partner in crime and all the support they needed to put together a five minute radio-ready story. Here’s a playlist of what came out: 

To learn more about he project you can check out our blog here.

In the summer of 2013 I was happy to co-co-ordinate an inter-generartional radio project called Sound+Story.

Supported by The Centre for Art Tapes and the 4C’s Foundation. The Sound and Story project brought together radio producers, storytellers, documentarians and youth to find new ways of telling stories with sound. Over six weeks of workshops, we taught the basics of audio production, interviewing, and narrative storytelling.  Once we got the basics down, participants got a recorder, a partner in crime and all the support they needed to put together a five minute radio-ready story. Here’s a playlist of what came out:

To learn more about he project you can check out our blog here.

I produced this podcast for Visual Arts News talking to the brilliant Annie MacMillan about her project Little Lakes. 
This summer as part of the Fieldwork residency project—a series of residencies in the HRM this summer for artists who “employ research methodologies and fieldwork practices generally associated with the natural and social sciences”—artist Annie Macmillan is seeking out every lake in the Halifax Regional Municipality with the name “Little Lake” and swimming its perimeter. Her plan is to turn those maps into drawings that tell the story of each swim. I talked with her about her underwater adventures, her artistic process and her exploration of “the edge”.

My dear friend Katie McKay took photos of one of Annie’s excursions, you can see them here.

I produced this podcast for Visual Arts News talking to the brilliant Annie MacMillan about her project Little Lakes. 

This summer as part of the Fieldwork residency project—a series of residencies in the HRM this summer for artists who “employ research methodologies and fieldwork practices generally associated with the natural and social sciences”—artist Annie Macmillan is seeking out every lake in the Halifax Regional Municipality with the name “Little Lake” and swimming its perimeter. Her plan is to turn those maps into drawings that tell the story of each swim. I talked with her about her underwater adventures, her artistic process and her exploration of “the edge”.

My dear friend Katie McKay took photos of one of Annie’s excursions, you can see them here.

This is a piece I produced for the Visual Arts News podcast.  I had the great pleasure of interviewing Halifax-based artist and curator Kate Walchuk in a dark closet at the Seeds Gallery. Unphased by the lack of light she said a lot of lovely things about memory, nostalgia and her show Good Shape.

photo by Katie McKay

This is a piece I produced for the Visual Arts News podcast.  I had the great pleasure of interviewing Halifax-based artist and curator Kate Walchuk in a dark closet at the Seeds Gallery. Unphased by the lack of light she said a lot of lovely things about memory, nostalgia and her show Good Shape.

photo by Katie McKay

This was my submission to the 2013 Third Coast Short Doc Challenge. The piece had to involve ‘appetite’, it had to be told in three courses, it had to be three minutes long and had to have a flavour in the title.  This is what I came up with -

This was my submission to the 2013 Third Coast Short Doc Challenge. The piece had to involve ‘appetite’, it had to be told in three courses, it had to be three minutes long and had to have a flavour in the title.  This is what I came up with -

I produced this piece for CBC’s Spark about the future of sound online. I had the pleasure of speaking to the illustrious Dr.Michael Bull (director of the European Sound Studies Association), Nic Boshart (manager of Digital Initiatives at the Walrus) and I mention the glories of the online-storytelling site Cowbird. Grab an earful:  

Photo by Andrew Norton

I produced this piece for CBC’s Spark about the future of sound online. I had the pleasure of speaking to the illustrious Dr.Michael Bull (director of the European Sound Studies Association), Nic Boshart (manager of Digital Initiatives at the Walrus) and I mention the glories of the online-storytelling site Cowbird. Grab an earful:  

Photo by Andrew Norton

This is a podcast I produced for Visual Arts News talking with artist Will Robinson about his Killam Library Artist Residency.  He took it upon himself to find a way to play this brutalist building like a record

This is a podcast I produced for Visual Arts News talking with artist Will Robinson about his Killam Library Artist Residency.  He took it upon himself to find a way to play this brutalist building like a record

This was an audio interview produced as an online exclusive for Visual Arts News 
Eleanor King is truly an interdisciplinary artist—her work spans from audio installations to drawings and, of course, to her fascination with sculptural stacking. Her artistic practice in its various forms addresses issues of excess, technological obsolescence and environmental degradation. On a snowy day in Halifax, I sat down with the Halifax-based artist to discuss her experience being shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, her recent exhibition, Stacks, at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (until January 27) and her oscillation between different media.
Featured music is by King’s band, Wet Denim. Photo by Doug Tewksbury

This was an audio interview produced as an online exclusive for Visual Arts News 

Eleanor King is truly an interdisciplinary artist—her work spans from audio installations to drawings and, of course, to her fascination with sculptural stacking. Her artistic practice in its various forms addresses issues of excess, technological obsolescence and environmental degradation. On a snowy day in Halifax, I sat down with the Halifax-based artist to discuss her experience being shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, her recent exhibition, Stacks, at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (until January 27) and her oscillation between different media.

Featured music is by King’s band, Wet Denim. Photo by Doug Tewksbury

This is a film that I wrote and directed with my friend and collaborator Andrew Bateman for the Berlin Film School.

For Visual Arts News
TUNING INTO SOUNDING SELVES
Escaping the hubbub of Dalhousie Graduation mayhem, I entered the Dalhousie Art Gallery and felt an eerie calm. There was a dark sparseness to the space: black walls, limited light and silence. Well not complete silence—after all I was there to listen to the Sounding Selvesexhibit. Curated by The National Gallery of Canada’s Heather Anderson, Sounding Selves is a compendium of sound experiences provided by five internationally acclaimed artists and housed in the discrete nooks of the gallery.
In curating a show of sounds, Anderson had the double task of curating silence as well. “I didn’t want to create spaces that were too isolated,” she tells me. “I also kind of like the way you hear murmurs of the other works, so they can have a conversation together in that way.” It’s true, once enveloped in the gallery’s barren fullness, I did start to hear the low rumbles of sounds in hidden spaces. The sense was that these sounds were alone together.
From Czech artist Jana Sterbak’s stuttering Declaration to Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay’s intermittent Return, each soundscape invites the listener to contemplate the influence of the sonic on our perception of and interactions with the world. Sterbak’s piece, as well as that of Berlin-based artist Anri Sala, does this by acknowledging the linguistic realities of sound. Sterbak depicts the individuality of the language act with her video of a man stuttering the International Declaration of Human Rights, contrasting his individual impediment with the universal language of law. With Lak Kat, Sala explores the use of linguistic repetition as a means for teaching not only language but the classifications associated with any given language. He illuminates the colour distinctions in Woolof, a language touched by French colonialism in Senegal, where most words for colours borrow from French, except for those referring to white and black.
Other works configure sound beyond its use in language. Ramsay questions the implication of the gendering of pitch. He cleverly contrasts the mythology of the chaotic female energy of the Sirens with the emergency siren call of 13-year-old boy. The result is a potent criticism of the socially constructed ideas of what sound means.
Antonia Hirsch recedes from the sonic in order to illuminate it. Her piece Tacet (Anthems of the Member Nations of the North American Free Trade Agreement: Canada, United States of America, Mexican United States) (2005) confronts us with our inner sounds. The video installation shows the three conductors of these anthems experiencing the music in their heads. They silently live out the full orchestral thrust of these national sounds.
I ended my stroll through Sounding Selves in the space inhabited by Jani Ruscica’sBatbox/Beatbox. Here two videos face each other on opposing walls. One video documents the inaudible sounds of bats, those nocturnal flyers who use echolocation to understand their environments. This concept is extended on the opposite wall, where a young spoken word artist in New York rhythmically enunciates how she hears her city. She breaks down how she echolocates herself. She understands herself through the sounds of her city. She sounds herself.
On the opening night of this exhibit, Halifax based sonic artist Lukas Pearse and musician Geordie Haley performed an inverted interpretation of a musical score inspired by the improvisation of beatboxers interpreting the sounds of greater horseshoe bats. The score sits silently on music stands outside of the Batbox/Beatbox space. Its presence perfectly encapsulates the feeling of this exhibit: sound, layered with interpretation, mediated by human translation and documentation, known in its silence.
Jana sterbak, Declaration, 1993. Photo©national Gallery of Canada

For Visual Arts News

TUNING INTO SOUNDING SELVES

Escaping the hubbub of Dalhousie Graduation mayhem, I entered the Dalhousie Art Gallery and felt an eerie calm. There was a dark sparseness to the space: black walls, limited light and silence. Well not complete silence—after all I was there to listen to the Sounding Selvesexhibit. Curated by The National Gallery of Canada’s Heather Anderson, Sounding Selves is a compendium of sound experiences provided by five internationally acclaimed artists and housed in the discrete nooks of the gallery.

In curating a show of sounds, Anderson had the double task of curating silence as well. “I didn’t want to create spaces that were too isolated,” she tells me. “I also kind of like the way you hear murmurs of the other works, so they can have a conversation together in that way.” It’s true, once enveloped in the gallery’s barren fullness, I did start to hear the low rumbles of sounds in hidden spaces. The sense was that these sounds were alone together.

From Czech artist Jana Sterbak’s stuttering Declaration to Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay’s intermittent Return, each soundscape invites the listener to contemplate the influence of the sonic on our perception of and interactions with the world. Sterbak’s piece, as well as that of Berlin-based artist Anri Sala, does this by acknowledging the linguistic realities of sound. Sterbak depicts the individuality of the language act with her video of a man stuttering the International Declaration of Human Rights, contrasting his individual impediment with the universal language of law. With Lak Kat, Sala explores the use of linguistic repetition as a means for teaching not only language but the classifications associated with any given language. He illuminates the colour distinctions in Woolof, a language touched by French colonialism in Senegal, where most words for colours borrow from French, except for those referring to white and black.

Other works configure sound beyond its use in language. Ramsay questions the implication of the gendering of pitch. He cleverly contrasts the mythology of the chaotic female energy of the Sirens with the emergency siren call of 13-year-old boy. The result is a potent criticism of the socially constructed ideas of what sound means.

Antonia Hirsch recedes from the sonic in order to illuminate it. Her piece Tacet (Anthems of the Member Nations of the North American Free Trade Agreement: Canada, United States of America, Mexican United States) (2005) confronts us with our inner sounds. The video installation shows the three conductors of these anthems experiencing the music in their heads. They silently live out the full orchestral thrust of these national sounds.

I ended my stroll through Sounding Selves in the space inhabited by Jani Ruscica’sBatbox/Beatbox. Here two videos face each other on opposing walls. One video documents the inaudible sounds of bats, those nocturnal flyers who use echolocation to understand their environments. This concept is extended on the opposite wall, where a young spoken word artist in New York rhythmically enunciates how she hears her city. She breaks down how she echolocates herself. She understands herself through the sounds of her city. She sounds herself.

On the opening night of this exhibit, Halifax based sonic artist Lukas Pearse and musician Geordie Haley performed an inverted interpretation of a musical score inspired by the improvisation of beatboxers interpreting the sounds of greater horseshoe bats. The score sits silently on music stands outside of the Batbox/Beatbox space. Its presence perfectly encapsulates the feeling of this exhibit: sound, layered with interpretation, mediated by human translation and documentation, known in its silence.

Jana sterbak, Declaration, 1993. Photo©national Gallery of Canada

I am an editor and contributor for the GoodQuestionPodcast, the show with one question and all kinds of answers.

I am an editor and contributor for the GoodQuestionPodcast, the show with one question and all kinds of answers.

This piece was produced for WCAI’s Creative Life series, as part of the Transom Story Workshop and is available  on the Public Radio Exchange.  It has also been featured as part of the Working Now project.

This piece was produced for WCAI’s Creative Life series, as part of the Transom Story Workshop and is available  on the Public Radio Exchange.  It has also been featured as part of the Working Now project.

These are sonic IDs.  Interstitial moments produced for WCAI to introduce listeners to their neighbours.

These are sonic IDs.  Interstitial moments produced for WCAI to introduce listeners to their neighbours.

This story was produced as part of the Transom Story Workshop and is available on the Public Radio Exchange
There is bacteria everywhere, it is almost impossible for something to not come in contact with bacteria. That’s a problem for pharmaceutical companies. Before drugs go to market they have to be free of any potentially harmful bacteria. How do they do that? Well, today, the pharmaceutical industry relies on a test using horseshoe crab blood. Yes. Crab blood. This is the story of how it all started.

This story was produced as part of the Transom Story Workshop and is available on the Public Radio Exchange

There is bacteria everywhere, it is almost impossible for something to not come in contact with bacteria. That’s a problem for pharmaceutical companies. Before drugs go to market they have to be free of any potentially harmful bacteria. How do they do that? Well, today, the pharmaceutical industry relies on a test using horseshoe crab blood. Yes. Crab blood. This is the story of how it all started.


For OpenFile and Halifax Magazine
Halifax’s Hidden Tunnels
There are tunnels in downtown Halifax.
Beneath the streets, houses and businesses we see everyday there are hidden passageways and unseen corridors. Though their existence is often denied they’re there. And on August 27, I went into one.
Ward Skinner is an ex-president of the Halifax Club, when he started the job he had heard all sorts of rumours about a secret tunnel in the basement. I met him in the Club’s cigar room.
“The rumours that went around were that it would be the tunnel to Georges island, or down to the harbour or perhaps to the Bank of Nova Scotia across the street into their vaults,” says Skinner. “Eventually, I got around to it and thought, OK, where is this tunnel?”
So he went down to the boiler room, pulled up some floor boards and there it was.
Skinner has come up with his own theory as to what the tunnel was used for but he invited me down to the depths to take a look for myself.
After shimmying into the hole in the floor and landing on a well-placed bucket, we crawled on our hands and knees over a mound of dirt until we were standing in a 200-year-old stone archway that went for nearly fifty feet of beautiful stone and cob-webbery.

In 1989, an archaeology conference on heritage preservation was held at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax. At that conference, there was a discussion held about the lack of public interest in the history that lies beneath our city. According to the Chronicle Herald at that time, a representative of real estate developers claimed that archaeological studies of their sites were too daunting and weren’t being requested by the public so they weren’t being done.
The existence of secret underground spaces like the one Skinner found, are a matter of public record and yet the denial of their existence and confusion about their purpose persists.
In October of 1973, Barbara Hinds was working as a reporter with the Chronicle Herald. During lunch one day, she got a call from a repair crew that was digging a hole on George Street, three blocks from the base of Citadel Hill. The road beneath them had caved in and they had found an underground tunnel.
Hinds went and checked it out with her photographer, Lee Wamboldt.
“It was wet and it was dark, but I think we took flashlights,” she tells me in her new home at The Berkeley, a retirement home in Halifax. “The arch was built obviously by talented masons. The tunnel was made of hand-hewn rock. Its’ direction was upwards toward Citadel Hill.”
This was not the first or last time that tunnels have been stumbled upon in Halifax’s downtown. In 1919, a city engineer named James Gowen discovered a tunnel at the top of George St. And after Hinds’ exploration, a conduit also leading from the Citadel to the harbour was found in 1978 at the corner of Bedford Row and Prince Street.
All these discoveries had in common the person-sized height of the walkways, the incredible craftsmanship of their stone construction and the official denial of their use as tunnels.
Dr. Steve Davis is an archaeologist who has been working in Halifax for forty years and he is adamant that, “There has not been not a single purpose built excavated tunnel-like-thing for people to move secretly from one place to another.”
He says, “The things that people are calling tunnels are sewers.”
The main theory which has surfaced at different points throughout Halifax’s history to counter this sewer argument is that there was a messengers’ passageway built by the British forces when they were stationed at Citadel Hill.
Hinds was a proponent of the passageway theory. Having been in the alleged Citadel Tunnel, she found it hard to believe it could ever have carried sewage. In 1976, Hinds and her photographer, on assignment, found a broad, crypt-like structure when another tunnel was exposed by Nova Scotia Power crews digging a hole for a power pole, further suggesting a non-sewage role.
“The thing is,” she says, “If it was a sewer and it had been used a sewer for Citadel Hill military, there would have been something left to indicate it had been a sewer.” Which apparently, there wasn’t.

Barbara Hinds speaks to Veronica Simmonds about her theories on whether the tunnels were for sewage or soldiers.
To add to this evidence, Hinds received a letter shortly after the publication of her tunnel story from a woman named Elsie Cameron, claiming that her grandfather, John William Cameron, told her that he, a stonemason, had built the tunnel and had been sworn to secrecy about the work he did.
“To receive the letter about the secrecy with which it was built,” Hinds says, “and the extents that people went to in those days and the origin of the stone masonry, I don’t know that they would have gone to all that trouble to build a sewer in those days.”
I spoke with Carla Wheaton, a representative of Parks Canada—who are now the stewards of the Citadel site—and she described the tunnels as “mythical,” and declared there are no tunnels leading to the Citadel.
However, Hal Thompson is a product development officer at the Citadel with a special interest in the folkloric history of the place. He sees some holes in the official story.
“Elderly or older visitors over the years have told myself and others that when they were kids there was a tunnel they could go into in the Citadel that would take them right down to the waterfront.” He says. “The army’s official line was that it was a drain or a sewer, but some testing was done on the floor of the tunnel and there was never any sewage passing through it. Plus, there was no sewer up here—the latrines were emptied by hand.”
Thompson’s interest in the city’s tunnels doesn’t stop at the Citadel, though. In his research he’s come across mentions of a tunnel leading from the legislature to the Joseph Howe building (which the province officially denies), and he’s spent quite a bit of time thinking about the logistics underlying the rumoured tunnel to Georges Island.
"The tunnel to Georges Island is the big one," he says. “There’s no evidence, physical or otherwise. Which is funny, because the royal engineering yards (were) so close…building something across there doesn’t seem so wild, but it’s really deep, and its solid rock."
"Somebody else has suggested that they may have built a submarine suspended tunnel, which is really a giant pipe," says Thompson. "There were companies set up in the 19th century that said they would build these things, but I can’t find any evidence that anyone actually built them.”
Back in the belly of the Halifax Club, Skinner and I reach the end of the tunnel—at a mound of dirt. We’re standing in a small corridor. It’s silent, until we hear someone walk over our heads. The tunnel has lead us to a spot directly below the sidewalk in front of the club. And this is the basis for Skinner’s theory of this tunnel.
He’s learned from the Club’s minutes that the kitchen used to be in the basement of the building and he believes this tunnel acted as an entryway for servants to receive food deliveries.
This theory makes a lot of sense but as we head back to our hole in the floor I can’t help but wonder what’s beyond that mound of dirt.
photos by Aaron McKenzie-Fraser
I was also interviewed about my experience in the tunnels on CBC Mainstreet you can hear the podcast here under the name Inside Halifax’s Fabled Tunnel

For OpenFile and Halifax Magazine

Halifax’s Hidden Tunnels

There are tunnels in downtown Halifax.

Beneath the streets, houses and businesses we see everyday there are hidden passageways and unseen corridors. Though their existence is often denied they’re there. And on August 27, I went into one.

Ward Skinner is an ex-president of the Halifax Club, when he started the job he had heard all sorts of rumours about a secret tunnel in the basement. I met him in the Club’s cigar room.

“The rumours that went around were that it would be the tunnel to Georges island, or down to the harbour or perhaps to the Bank of Nova Scotia across the street into their vaults,” says Skinner. “Eventually, I got around to it and thought, OK, where is this tunnel?”

So he went down to the boiler room, pulled up some floor boards and there it was.

Skinner has come up with his own theory as to what the tunnel was used for but he invited me down to the depths to take a look for myself.

After shimmying into the hole in the floor and landing on a well-placed bucket, we crawled on our hands and knees over a mound of dirt until we were standing in a 200-year-old stone archway that went for nearly fifty feet of beautiful stone and cob-webbery.

In 1989, an archaeology conference on heritage preservation was held at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax. At that conference, there was a discussion held about the lack of public interest in the history that lies beneath our city. According to the Chronicle Herald at that time, a representative of real estate developers claimed that archaeological studies of their sites were too daunting and weren’t being requested by the public so they weren’t being done.

The existence of secret underground spaces like the one Skinner found, are a matter of public record and yet the denial of their existence and confusion about their purpose persists.

In October of 1973, Barbara Hinds was working as a reporter with the Chronicle Herald. During lunch one day, she got a call from a repair crew that was digging a hole on George Street, three blocks from the base of Citadel Hill. The road beneath them had caved in and they had found an underground tunnel.

Hinds went and checked it out with her photographer, Lee Wamboldt.

“It was wet and it was dark, but I think we took flashlights,” she tells me in her new home at The Berkeley, a retirement home in Halifax. “The arch was built obviously by talented masons. The tunnel was made of hand-hewn rock. Its’ direction was upwards toward Citadel Hill.”

This was not the first or last time that tunnels have been stumbled upon in Halifax’s downtown. In 1919, a city engineer named James Gowen discovered a tunnel at the top of George St. And after Hinds’ exploration, a conduit also leading from the Citadel to the harbour was found in 1978 at the corner of Bedford Row and Prince Street.

All these discoveries had in common the person-sized height of the walkways, the incredible craftsmanship of their stone construction and the official denial of their use as tunnels.

Dr. Steve Davis is an archaeologist who has been working in Halifax for forty years and he is adamant that, “There has not been not a single purpose built excavated tunnel-like-thing for people to move secretly from one place to another.”

He says, “The things that people are calling tunnels are sewers.”

The main theory which has surfaced at different points throughout Halifax’s history to counter this sewer argument is that there was a messengers’ passageway built by the British forces when they were stationed at Citadel Hill.

Hinds was a proponent of the passageway theory. Having been in the alleged Citadel Tunnel, she found it hard to believe it could ever have carried sewage. In 1976, Hinds and her photographer, on assignment, found a broad, crypt-like structure when another tunnel was exposed by Nova Scotia Power crews digging a hole for a power pole, further suggesting a non-sewage role.

“The thing is,” she says, “If it was a sewer and it had been used a sewer for Citadel Hill military, there would have been something left to indicate it had been a sewer.” Which apparently, there wasn’t.

Barbara Hinds speaks to Veronica Simmonds about her theories on whether the tunnels were for sewage or soldiers.

To add to this evidence, Hinds received a letter shortly after the publication of her tunnel story from a woman named Elsie Cameron, claiming that her grandfather, John William Cameron, told her that he, a stonemason, had built the tunnel and had been sworn to secrecy about the work he did.

“To receive the letter about the secrecy with which it was built,” Hinds says, “and the extents that people went to in those days and the origin of the stone masonry, I don’t know that they would have gone to all that trouble to build a sewer in those days.”

I spoke with Carla Wheaton, a representative of Parks Canada—who are now the stewards of the Citadel site—and she described the tunnels as “mythical,” and declared there are no tunnels leading to the Citadel.

However, Hal Thompson is a product development officer at the Citadel with a special interest in the folkloric history of the place. He sees some holes in the official story.

“Elderly or older visitors over the years have told myself and others that when they were kids there was a tunnel they could go into in the Citadel that would take them right down to the waterfront.” He says. “The army’s official line was that it was a drain or a sewer, but some testing was done on the floor of the tunnel and there was never any sewage passing through it. Plus, there was no sewer up here—the latrines were emptied by hand.”

Thompson’s interest in the city’s tunnels doesn’t stop at the Citadel, though. In his research he’s come across mentions of a tunnel leading from the legislature to the Joseph Howe building (which the province officially denies), and he’s spent quite a bit of time thinking about the logistics underlying the rumoured tunnel to Georges Island.

"The tunnel to Georges Island is the big one," he says. “There’s no evidence, physical or otherwise. Which is funny, because the royal engineering yards (were) so close…building something across there doesn’t seem so wild, but it’s really deep, and its solid rock."

"Somebody else has suggested that they may have built a submarine suspended tunnel, which is really a giant pipe," says Thompson. "There were companies set up in the 19th century that said they would build these things, but I can’t find any evidence that anyone actually built them.”

Back in the belly of the Halifax Club, Skinner and I reach the end of the tunnel—at a mound of dirt. We’re standing in a small corridor. It’s silent, until we hear someone walk over our heads. The tunnel has lead us to a spot directly below the sidewalk in front of the club. And this is the basis for Skinner’s theory of this tunnel.

He’s learned from the Club’s minutes that the kitchen used to be in the basement of the building and he believes this tunnel acted as an entryway for servants to receive food deliveries.

This theory makes a lot of sense but as we head back to our hole in the floor I can’t help but wonder what’s beyond that mound of dirt.

photos by Aaron McKenzie-Fraser

I was also interviewed about my experience in the tunnels on CBC Mainstreet you can hear the podcast here under the name Inside Halifax’s Fabled Tunnel

About:

I am a talker. I spend my days talking with, and listening to, people. These conversations have ended up in print - places like Macleans, The Coast, and Spacing Magazine. I also produce my conversations as radio, and have done this for CBC, NPR and various podcasts.

Right now I'm coordinating a project called StackStories, recording the stories of Halifax's Spring Garden library. I am also a Media Arts Scholar at the Centre for Art Tapes. I edit and promote the books of Invisible Publishing. And in my spare time I host a show called Braidio on CKDU 88.1 where I braid hair live on air.

If you ever feel like talking, I'm all ears

e: veronica.simmonds@gmail.com
t: @VeeSimmonds


photo by Katie McKay