About OTC

Hey there! I'm Shaina Luck, a Halifax reporter. Outside the Circle is my volunteer project for my community. If you want to help contribute, please email me. If you would like to link to or otherwise use this information, go ahead. It would be nice if you mentioned you found it on OTC. You can view the rest of my work at www.shainaluck.com.

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Free voicemail service for people experiencing poverty
Written by Shaina Luck   
Thursday, 09 July 2015 11:32
I got a note last week about free voicemail from Carla Conrod, the executive director of a small group called the Red Bear Healing Home Society. Red Bear offers voicemail service for people who are homeless or in poverty, and who cannot afford a phone. Sometimes people need a phone to get messages from potential employers, landlords, doctors, etc.

Here's how it works: the person without a phone has to contact Carla, who will sign them up with a local Halifax number and an extension. Everyone has the same number, but there are more than 200 different extensions, a private extension for each person.So far, Red Bear has only been able to provide service in the local Halifax calling area as far as Timberlea and Enfield. Once the person is set up, they can give out the number and extension to anyone trying to contact them. The person will have to go to a phone to pick up their messages, but most people are able to get to a neighbour's phone, a friend's phone, a public library, a job search office, etc. There's an unlimited number of messages and an unlimited time that the messages stay on the service, so if the person can't get to a phone right away the message will still be there for later.

Right now the service is being funded by donations but the only person running it is Carla, who is a volunteer. The major expenses are the phone system itself, and there's a lot of work to do to sign people up. So the Red Bear board is hoping to raise $30-40 thousand which would pay for the phones and also a part time wage for the person who's doing the work.

If you would like to make a donation, contact Carla Conrod, the executive director. Contact info below. $250 would fund the service for one month.

Red Bear Healing Home Society
Cell: 902 448-4744
General Information: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Executive Director: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Web: www.redbearhealinghome.ca
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MyRedBear
Twitter: myredbear

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 12:05
What's on in Spryfield, July edition
Written by Shaina Luck   
Monday, 29 June 2015 00:47
Hi everyone - so we are officially in summertime at last. I hope you are enjoying it, because it never lasts long enough for me. Here are a few things going on in July (or late June).

On June 26 Halifax Atlantic MLA Brendan Maguire, accompanied by Health Minister Leo Glavine and city councillor Steve Adams, announced a $40,000 grant to the Long Lake Provincial Park Association. On his Facebook page, Brendan wrote: "This money will be used to create a family area off of Dentith Road where the old pumping station used to be." According to the Spryfield and District Business Commission, Polycorp, a development company which is building a large subdivision on Cowie Hill Road right across from Long Lake, has also committed more than $300,000 to making the park "more accessible and safer."
Soccer is hot right now! There's a new volunteer-run program offering co-ed youth soccer on the J.L. Ilsley high school field this summer. Halifax PLAYS is offering games for kids at a low cost - right now to be determined, but likely about $20-25 for 7 weeks. All skill levels and genders welcome. It's just about fun. Program will runJuly 16 to Aug 27 with children from ages 6 to 14.For more information or to register for the program, contact Richard Courchesne at 902-477-9804 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Speaking of things to do in the summer, this one is just for girls, put on by the YWCA at 358 Herring Cove Road. It's Called "PowerCamp" and the theme is empowerment. It runs July 6-10 & July 13-17, and is a day camp for young women to address issues important to them in a supportive environment. Activities could include painting, music, Zumba, dancing, hiking, etc. You need to register but there are no fees. CallDee Dooley at 902-423-6163 ext. 6257 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Nothing says summer like a strawberry social...Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 3pm at St. James United at3811 Old Sambro Road.For more information, please contact Tabatha Zinck at 902-868-2791.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 June 2015 01:36
Harrietsfield residents plan water march
Written by Shaina Luck   
Friday, 29 May 2015 12:57
Harrietsfield residents are planning a march Saturday to raise awareness against contaminated water in their community, which has been a problem in their community for years. Here are the details of the march, from resident Melissa King:

All Canadians NEED the Right to a Healthy Environment
Please Join Us in Our Fight for Clean Water
Safe drinking water is essential to all life, and if contaminated, all life will suffer.
This has happened in the Harrietsfield-Williamswood community.
* Several wells and lakes have been impacted with uranium and heavy metals for 34 years.
What: Peaceful Water March (1.5km walk)
When: Saturday, May 30 at 11am
Where: beginning and ending at the Harrietsfield-Williamswood Community Center - 1138 OldSambro Road, Harrietsfield

And here is an overview of the history of the problem, via the Halifax Media Co-op.
Last Updated on Friday, 29 May 2015 13:04
What's on in Spryfield, June edition
Written by Shaina Luck   
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 19:34
Hi folks, here are a few things going on in the next month in the Spryfield area. You can email events to me directly for re-posting. Use the link on the left hand sidebar.

----MAY 28----
The YWCA on Herring Cove Road will be holding its annual general meeting on May 28 at 7pm. There will be a presentation and guest speaker on the topic "Fostering Girls' Leadership for 140 years."

--------JUNE 2, 9, and 16----------

On Tuesdays in June (June 2, 9, and 16 from 10am to 12pm) you can learn to get the most from your food budget. Food shopping techniques as well as kitchen and meal planning techniques. The course description says it covers "low cost casseroles, soups, meatless meals, egg dishes, potatoes and many more." Call Call 902-487-0690 to register or register in person at the Wellness Centre, beside the Dollarama in the old South Centre Mall on Dentith Road.

---------JUNE 3---------
On June 3rd, the Halifax Food Policy Alliance will release of Halifax’s first ever food assessment report called "Food Counts." It's a report that examines how people in Halifax could all get enough healthy, sustainable food - and where we are failing to do this. It's not only about Spryfield, but some researchers in Spryfield did contribute to the report.

When: Wednesday, June 3, 2015 (light refreshments at 10:30 am, remarks at 11 am)
Where: Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, Main level (centre doors), 1209 Marginal Road
Val Blair, Co-author of the report (Public Health Services, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax and West Hants)
Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, Medical Officer of Health (Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax and West Hants)
Aimee Carson, Co-chair, Halifax Food Policy Alliance (Ecology Action Centre)

For more information:

---------JUNE 4---------------
From the Spryfield and District Business Commission: the annual AGM and business awards night will be on June 4 at 6pm at the Golden Age Social Centre at 212 Herring Cove Road.

E-mail or call Bruce Holland, Executive Director of SDBC at (902)452-7472 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to reserve tickets. Bruce says there are only a few left at this point:

"We have several local business owners who are going to be speaking this year about their experience of doing business from Spryfield, both locally and internationally. We will be filming this year’s event and other events throughout the year to create a promotional video of the Business District and surrounding communities."

----------JUNE 6---------------
The folks who brought you the Red Swing Project last year are at it again. They're conducting 100in1day on June 6, a day when dozens of free community events will be offered to all comers. Check the website for the full list, including: a craft party, interactive classes, children's soccer game, etc. Here are a few Spryfield events:

-2pm Yoga on the Ketch Harbour wharf
-9:30am Movement and Play at the "fire road" on Acres Road in Williamswood
-Outdoor community Zumba at Lynette Road, hosted by the Chebucto Family Centre
-10am walk along Macintosh Run. Meet at the Spryfield Lions Rink
-Clean up of Macintosh Park and Kidston Road at the Urban Farm on Rockingstone Road
-Everything you need to know about bicycling at the Captain William Spry library
-1pm Disco dancing demo in the parking lot of Ready to Rumba Dance studio

----------JUNE 15-----------
The United Way is funding an artist-in-residence program for Spryfield, to be coordinated by the ArtsExpress program that the wonderful Sabine Fels runs out of J.L. Ilsley high school. If you are interested in applying by the deadline of June 15, here's more about it, via Chebucto Connections:

"The program is coordinated by ArtsExpress in collaboration with the AGNS; NSCAD's extended studies, Dance Nova Scotia and Theatre Nova Scotia. Submit applications to ArtsExpress, J.L.Ilsley High School, 38 Sylvia Ave, Halifax, N.S. B3R 1J9 on or before Monday, June 15, 2015. 4pm. Late or incomplete proposals will not be considered. If you require more information, an application form or wish to speak to someone in person about this opportunity, please contact ArtsExpress Coordinator Sabine Fels at 479-4612 ext. 570-1008 in advance of the deadline."

---------JUNE 18-------------
The YWCA Women's health clinic continues with a nurse practitioner offering 45 minute appointments. Pap smears, breast examinations, and STI tests are all examples of procedures that can be done during the appointments. The appointments start at 9am on June 18. For appointments call Wanda at the YWCA at 902-404-9922 or call the IWK at 902-470-6755.

------JUNE 20---------
St. James United Church in Sambro is having a halibut supper on June 20. 4-6pm at 3811 Old Sambro Road. $15.00 for adults and $7 for children.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2015 19:38
What's on in Spryfield, May edition
Written by Shaina Luck   
Thursday, 30 April 2015 15:05
Chocolate Lake change room/washroom facilities to be open longer hours, starting May 1. Previously the change room and washroom building was closed at 5pm when life guard service ended. This year between May 1-October 31 the building will be open from 8a.m. to 8p.m.


The Cowie Hill Connector has been re-named Peter Saulnier Drive. Peter Saulnier died in Spryfield in 2008, age 61. He portrayed Santa in the annual Santa Claus Parade for many years and was an active volunteer for local causes.


The YWCA Spryfield Women’s Health Clinic continues this month on May 21. See a nurse practitioner for a 45 minute appointment where you can have assessments, ask questions, get services done such as pap smears, breast examinations, and family planning. To make an appointment, call Wanda at the YWCA at 902-404-9922.


The annual Spryfield book bonanza will be held May 2 at the Capt. William Spry library in the lobby. This is an event where anyone can come and take books for free - as many books as you want. All the books were donated and are in good condition. I’ve been in past years and you can pick up some good finds for zero dollars.


On May 7, the Chebucto Family Centre is holding a comedy night fundraiser. It’s called “Comedy for Community” and features two stand-up comedians: James Uloth and Steve Mazan. There will be wine and cheese and a silent auction. For more information on the night or to donate silent auction items, contact the centre at (902) 479-3031.


The annual Seedy Saturday plant sale will be held on Saturday May 9th, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Captain William Spry Community Centre. Here are the features:
Bedding plants, herbs, perennials at great prices
Seeds – heritage, organic seeds
Tools – sharpening, repair, donations accepted
Sign up for gardening at the Urban Farm


Central Spryfield Elementary School is holding a Family Fun Night fundraiser on May 28th. For more information, you can contact the school at 902-479-4286. The Fun Night will feature a canteen, cake walk, and games with prizes, among other activities. The school is also searching for donations to support the Fun Night, so if you have a good or service that could help, please give them a call.
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2015 15:10
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