As It Happens

Halifax thrift shop filled with photos of 'local hero' chief medical officer

Visitors to the shop will have a hard time getting away from chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang, who is popping up in frames, on coasters — and even overlooking the shoes.

At least 50 photos of Nova Scotia’s Dr. Robert Strang are being displayed

Michelle Porter and her many, many portraits of Dr. Robert Strang. (Submitted by Michelle Porter)

Read Strang Transcript

Visitors to the Souls Harbour Rescue Mission thrift store in Halifax will have a hard time getting away from Dr. Robert Strang.

Photos of the Nova Scotia chief medical officer of health are now peering out of frames, stuck to coasters and the cover of a journal, and even presiding over the shop's display of sandals. 

"It's just a tribute," said Michelle Porter, CEO of Souls Harbour, in an interview with As It Happens host Carol Off. 

"Instead of a wall of fame... it's a wall of frames." 

Porter guesses that at least 50 images of Strang now populate her store. 

"He's really become a local hero here," she said. "Everyone knows him and loves him, and they do what he says." 

Nova Scotia enters second phase of opening

That love is only growing as the province opens up more and more. 

Nova Scotia recently entered its second phase of reopening, allowing larger social gatherings and businesses like indoor dining and fitness centres to open at reduced capacity. 

"I feel really good about summer coming and phase two starting," said Porter. 

Strang on the job. The doctor endeared himself to Nova Scotians over the course of a long year-and-a-half of briefings. (Communications Nova Scotia)

The wall of Strangs is not the first time a Canadian has felt moved to pay tribute to their local chief medical officer. 

Rocketed to stardom thanks to regular COVID-19 briefings, people have shown their gratitude to the newly-famous top doctors by making cookies showing their faces, naming guide dogs after them, and creating Twitter accounts documenting their scarf choices

It's not even the first Strang tribute, whose name was given to a thoroughbred horse earlier this year. 

Doctor 'not quite sure' what to make of tribute

So how does the doctor feel about taking over the frames at Souls Harbour?

Porter has, in fact, heard from Strang, who sent her a message saying that the photos are "certainly getting a lot of attention" along with some smiling emojis.

A sunny Dr. Strang in a sunflower frame - Porter's favourite of her collection. (Submitted by Michelle Porter)

Later he added that he was "not quite sure what to make of this," added Porter. 

"I was like, you know what, just celebrate Dr. Strang week. It's OK." 

She's now considering the idea of sending him a picture of himself in a cheery yellow sunflower frame — her favourite of the many Strangs on offer. 

Written by Kate McGillivray. Interview produced by Chris Harbord. 


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