By Andrew Macdonald
When I need to hail a Halifax cabbie, I call Gerry Horner, who often is perched at Guido Kerpel’s hotel, the Nova Scotian Westin on Hollis Street. In my view, Gerry is Halifax’s Best Cabbie.
Gerry has carted me around town since 2011, often charging me only a flat rate of $5, no matter the cost of the given trip. Gerry is also the preferred cabbie for my band of tight buddies.
Gerry drives for Halifax’s number one cab company, Casino, operated by Brian Herman’s family firm. Casino dominates the Halifax taxi scene with 400 cars.
Gerry also has a limo which he deploys when he drives passengers to Halifax Stanfield Airport.
Now in his early 60s, Gerry grew up in Halifax and has a rich heritage. He is related to famed Cape Breton fiddle player Little Jack MacDonald, who later made a life in the Boston States where many Nova Scotians once moved — even up until the 1960s. My mother once lived in Boston.
Gerry is literally a walking miracle. Several years ago he survived surgery for a brain aneurysm.
I get a lot of news from Gerry, so this week I was intrigued when he informed me that the Tim Hortons outlet on Barrington Street near Atlantic Superstore has been sold.
Like most things Gerry tells me, it is correct — there is a new owner of the Timmy’s.
Gus Ghosn, a Lebanese property developer, plunked down a cool $5 million to buy the south end Halifax property.
Top broker Tom Gerard of KW Williams’ commercial brokerage unit, had the prime property listing.
The Macdonald Notebook spoke to Gerard this week about that listing and we talked about the future of the Brent Stratton-owned Tim Hortons outlet, which is a renting tenant.
The property was sold by a numbered company that has two partners, Glen Clarke and Lori Baker.
“Tim Hortons has a lease and there are renewal options in the lease clause,” Gerard tells The Macdonald Notebook.
“They are not going to develop that property any time soon,” adds Gerard, who says Tim Hortons most likely will continue to operate at that location for the next 10 years.
Ghosn has land-banked the property, adjacent the successful Killam Apartment REIT, built Southport apartment and condo complex.
In the last decade, Tony Maskine also built an apartment building on the former site of the Lighthouse Tavern, which was in the 1970s Halifax’s leading country bar before it became a strip bar.
As for Casino cabbie Gerry Horner, given my positive experiences in his cab since I first met him in 2011, I am rolling out the rarely used Macdonald Notebook Seal of Approval for him.
He is the father of two adults, including a son who is an officer with the Royal Canadian Navy, prompting Gerry to offer a military rate, in addition to his discount airport rate.
If you want to hail Gerry, give him a call on his direct phone number, (902) 209-2557. He’s a great conversationalist and has a down-home folksy persona.