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Arts & Culture March 25, 2019

The Story Behind the ‘Drunken Lampposts’ on the Halifax Waterfront

While the list of places to love in Halifax is certainly long, the waterfront will always be close to the top. During the summer months, the Halifax waterfront is bustling with visitors and locals, and you can’t help but get caught up in the excitement and energy. It’s a great place to catch a cool breeze on a hammock, grab a snack or drink from one of the many vendors, and explore everything there is to see and do along one of the world’s longest continuous waterfront boardwalks.

The best part of the Halifax waterfront is how much there is to see. Sailboats, ferries, cargo ships and naval vessels are a regular sight, as are both Georges and McNabs islands out in the harbour. Donna Hiebert’s famous sculpture, The Wave sits proudly at Sackville Landing, and toward the southern end of the boardwalk, The Emigrant celebrates the arrival of new Canadians from around the world.

That includes the ‘drunken lampposts’.

If you haven’t seen the series of bendy lamppost sculptures yourself, check them out on social media! The pieces, entitled Fountain and Get Drunk, Fall Down, are constantly popping up on social media.

But what is the story behind Halifax’s drunken lampposts?

Designed by NSCAD alums Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg, Fountain shoots a stream of water into the harbour, as though relieving itself after a long night out. Not far away, Get Drunk, Fall Down features another lamppost slumped across the pier, while its concerned friend looks on.

The two displays are described as “nakedly honest portraits of unseemly behaviours that are often playing out on our own streets after dark.” Installed as a temporary display in 2013 after it appeared at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, the displays made a big impression on the city, and have since become a permanent fixture on the Halifax waterfront.

For a city known for its lively nightlife, it seems fitting that the citizens and visitors of Halifax have identified so strongly with the debauchery depicted by these cheeky waterfront sculptures!


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