After doing research for this article it became clear that the Halifax community is in very good hands. There are so many new initiatives being founded every year that exist solely for the purpose of bettering people's lives in a variety of creative ways. We wanted to recognize those who went the extra mile in 2016 to take on passion projects, often without pay, aimed at bringing Haligonians together for the common good.
These individuals, teams and organizations are among the many notable initiatives that function on a daily basis to make life in Halifax better for everyone.
The founder of clothing brand/social movement Stop the Violence Spread the Love had an amazing year, encouraging hundreds to take a stand against violence by marching through Halifax in April, and vocalizing the need for politicians to address crime during the recent election. Provo continues to use his clothing brand as a means of spreading important messages of peace throughout the community.
As Executive Director of Atlantic Fashion Week, Angela Campagnoni has spent the past decade working hard to create a platform for young, local designers to promote their work alongside established East Coast fashion professionals. This year marks the tenth annual Atlantic Fashion Week event, which Campagnoni turned into a spectacular six-week affair at Dartmouth Crossing, complete with pop-up shops on site that sold the incredible work of each creator showcased.
BeHuman Clothing Co.
This local Halifax clothing brand was founded recently on the principles of unity and humanity, and their debut collection features a wide range of t-shirts and hoodies bearing slogans to communicate this message. Much like Stop the Violence Spread the Love, by supporting BeHuman you’re not only contributing to a positive movement, but also spreading an inclusive message through the clothing on your back.
This popular Halifax band is currently in the middle of a Maritime Christmas tour, coming off of an amazing year that saw them release two super successful pop-electronic EP’s and win the 2016 JUNO Awards Masterclass competition. It’s safe to say these guys are creating some amazing work, you have to keep an eye on them in 2017!
Amina Abawajy is one super hardworking student. In addition to her work on the Dalhousie Student Union and with the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, Abawajy began a GoFundMe initiative in October called Not 15 Million, which aimed to raise funds for the growing food crisis in her parents’ native Ethiopia. The campaign received tons of local news coverage, starting an important conversation in Halifax regarding the food crisis, and successfully raised over $3000. After the success of her GoFundMe campaign, Abawajy continued to fundraise, hosting multiple bake sales, coffee ceremonies and dinner events to raise a grand total of $26,000, which will go towards food deliveries in Ethiopian communities.
The boys of Sickboy Podcast have continued to break down the stigma surrounding illness and disease all year long on their popular Monday night series. Through lighthearted conversations with their guests, hosts Brian Stever, Jeremie Saunders and Taylor MacGillivary use comedy as a means of overcoming the awkwardness that can sometimes be associated with discussing sickness.
After moving to Halifax in 2000, Rana Zaman noted the lack of diversity within her community, and made it her mission to organize events that would bring more of her Pakistani culture to the HRM. Last year Zaman founded the United For One Association, a group dedicated to helping refugees as they transition to life in Canada. As a result of her incredible work with United For One, Zaman took a place on the board of Immigrant/Migrant Women’s Association of Halifax, and this year also helped to create the Pakistani Canadian Association of Nova Scotia. Through her tireless philanthropic contributions to various communities throughout Halifax, Zaman has proved herself to be a reliable do-gooder and friendly neighbour within her community.
As the creator of popular Halifax Instagram account @HalifaxNoise, Kate Ross is the most reliable source for local events and promotions happening throughout the city. With over 38k followers, Ross posts multiple times per day, keeping fans up to speed on everything worth knowing in the HRM.
After the tragic death of basketball player Tyler Richards, a mural was created in Mulgrave Park to honor the young man’s memory. Inspired by the powerful piece of art, Jeremy Nichole organized an initiative called Paint Halifax, which brought artists together from all over the world to create beautiful murals throughout the housing development.
This year popular Halifax microbrewery Good Robot organized a weekly fundraising event called “Goodwill Bot,” which takes place every Monday night from 5pm – 8pm. By partnering with different nonprofit organizations throughout the community, Good Robot provided a space for fundraising, and pledge $1 from each pint sold on Monday nights to the cause from that week.
Matt McIntyre and Jeremy MacNeil
This Halifax duo brought the first Gridlock Festival to Citadel Hill this year, and it was a major hit! MacNeil and McIntyre worked tirelessly to make the three-day outdoor festival happen, and booked over twenty artists played to play a massive show.
Stefanie MacDonald and Allyson England
After successfully starting their own small business called Paper Hearts – a craft service that makes beautiful homemade cards – entrepreneurs Stefanie MacDonald and Allyson England decided to share what they had learned as small business owners with the Halifax community. The pair hosted their second micro-funding event this year, which saw 100 young businesspeople come together and pay $100 each to be a part of the Planting Seed$ initiative. Budding entrepreneurs then pitched awesome ideas to the group for a chance to earn a $10,000 investment in their business plan.
Mike Postma and Stephen Flynn
Business partners Mike Postma and Stephen Flynn met while working together at an advertising agency, and have since began their own initiative called Tap. Their business aims to cut down on plastic water bottle consumption by providing users with an app that tells them where the nearest source of free drinking water lies. Additionally, Tap also sells reusable glass bottles as an incentive to remain eco friendly.
The eco-friendly Found initiative was started this year by a team of environmentalist who aim to “reduce food waste by gathering and sharing forgotten fruits and vegetables in Halifax.” Found works alongside local farmers to collect foods that don’t meet market standards but are still edible, and redistributes those foods to local food banks, cafes, restaurants and shelters.
Emma Paulson and Kate Macdonald
The Magic Project was launched this year by creators Emma Paulson and Kate Macdonald, who aim to create a space online to “bring marginalized communities to the forefront of popular culture and discussions of social justice issues using photography and art.” The initiative is helmed by an artistic collective of bloggers who aim to host inclusive discussions and create work that is applicable to marginalized communities in the HRM.
The Cape Breton Tradesmen
Though they’re not from Halifax we thought this heroic hockey team deserved a special mention. By now almost everyone has heard the story of how this major midget hockey team helped a mother and her son after their car wound up in a ditch on the side of a highway near Antigonish. The Tradesmen helped Amanda Confiant and her son two-year-old son Kobi from the vehicle and offered them a lift to Sydney where they were heading for the holidays.