Our drivers make our world go 'round
“I came to Nova Scotia from Ghana in 1985 with my two nine-month-old sons.
At first, I worked in the room of a ship, but hated how much time I spent away from my family.
So, I made the decision to venture into self employment and start driving a cab and haven’t looked back since. It’s been a great way to get to know my city and put food on the table.
In my spare time I love to play table tennis and take in some soccer. I love to travel - “travel” should have been my middle name. I’ve been to many places around the world but Nova Scotia’s South Shore is still among the most lovely. This is home.”
“When I first arrived in Halifax I worked for a time in group homes and nursing homes, but it was hard on my health.
I thought - if so many men can drive a taxi then why can’t a woman? I told myself, ‘I’m going to do it’ and I did. When I began, my son was was worried for me. He’s also a taxi driver. I soon learned I could handle anything and quite enjoy my job.
When I began, I was driving an accessible cab, for those who need help the most. Unfortunately when that vehicle failed, I had to buy a new car, so now, I drive a regular cab.
Outside of driving taxi, I love to help people in any way that I can. I came here as a refugee, and it was so hard on me. I have been fortunate to know so many kind people who’ve helped me along the way.
I feel now that it is my responsibility to help others, as they helped me when I first arrived here. I love Halifax, it is my home now.”
“I’ve lived here my whole life. I began driving a cab 36 years ago, right out of high school. I’m actually a third generation cab driver.
I was only 18 when I started driving a cab. It all began when my father told me that I had to get a job. At the time, I had a scruffy beard and drove a Firebird. Well, that didn't last long. I ended up having to sell my beloved muscle car for a K car - quite the difference. People always said, if you’re going to be driving a cab as your life’s work, go to Casino.
In September, I’ll have been with Casino Taxi for 28 years. It’s pretty hard to fool me when it comes to directions. I’ve got to know my way around the city pretty well. It’s been an awesome experience.”
“I came to Canada from Ethiopia with my wife in 1994. Since then, we’ve made a life here, raising our two sons and this year we are celebrating 27 years of marriage.
I’ve been driving for Casino Taxi for 17 years and it’s been a great experience. I have so many stories and have met so many kind people. I’ve worked many jobs in my life but none that have let me get to know my city and its people so well.”
“I came to Canada from Ethiopia in 1986, and after four years, my wife came over with our six kids. We now have nine wonderful children. When I came here, I studied English as a second language and studied the Halifax streets so I could get my taxi licence. I’ve been driving taxi now for 18 years.
I am very happy with my life, I feel successful and healthy. Outside of work I like to exercise - running, swimming and lifting weights. I'm always on the road, so I don’t have as much time as I’d like for that but I try to make time where I can.
When I pick up people who are new to Halifax, I explain to them that I know the city and its history very well. I show them all the things that they are interested in. I enjoy taking them on tours around the city and directing them to what they want to see while they’re here.”
"I came to Canada from Ethiopia with three children and my wife in 2003.
My favourite thing about driving in Halifax is the people. You meet everyone from the rich to the poor, and they are all so supportive and kind. Ever since I landed here, the people have supported me as I learned the Halifax streets.
In my spare time, I love to listen to music and play soccer, and sometimes I get to have lunch with the other Ethiopian drivers. We try to get back in touch with our home country and it’s a really nice community we’ve formed.
The best cab company is Casino Taxi. They are so well educated and modern The staff and drivers receive great attention and support from the company."
“I’m originally from Iran and I’ve lived in Halifax for seven years with my wife, we are very happy here. Back in Iran, I was a mechanical engineer, but I’ve been driving a taxi for five years.
The best part about working in my job is the people you meet, they are all full of such great ideas and passions. I feel that we are all the same on the inside, we have so much to learn from one another and I love working a job where I come face-to-face with people from all walks of life every day. It’s energizing.”
“I moved to Canada from Switzerland as a child. We lived in Montreal for a number of years before making the move to Halifax. I married my wife 39 years ago, we have two sons and are now grandparents. We built our lives here and it’s my true home.
When I’m not working, crossfit and home improvement keep me busy. When I am working, I drive an accessible cab. Through my work I’ve gotten to know the wheelchair and PWD community very well and it means a lot to me that they receive the same friendly and capable service as everyone else.
I’ve lived a blessed life and I am just so grateful.”
“I was born and raised here in Halifax, and I’ve been with Casino for over 26 years. I’m married with three children, four grandchildren and I’ll be a great granddad in September.
I used to love spending time fresh water fishing, now I like spending my time watching movies and relaxing with my family. I just enjoy living life in general.
I actually just had heart surgery this past year, but I’m back to work and feeling great.
I've got to admit, Casino Taxi management are great people to work with, they’ve always treated me with nothing but the best. They are great! I enjoy what I do and look forward to getting up every morning to start the day.”
"I like to stay active. I play soccer twice a week with friends and have played my whole life.
I brought soccer with me when I came here - best game in the world if you ask me.
I chat about it with my passengers young and old all the time. It’s a sport that brings people from all walks of life together and I think that’s so important."
"I was born in Trinidad and moved to Canada over forty years ago. I’ve been married to my wife for 43 years and together we have two beautiful daughters and a 2 ½ year old grandson.
I’ve been driving a cab for 36 years, and I’ve learned a lot about people in that time. You never know who’s getting in the car or what’s going on in their life at that moment.
Sometimes they’re leaving the hospital sad and quiet with a lot on their mind, other times they’re headed to a party, happy and excited. You need to know when to talk and when to be quiet and leave them be.
I always say - taxi drivers see people at their best and at their worst and we have a great opportunity, and obligation, to help. It’s been very eye opening."
"I escaped Vietnam and came to Nova Scotia on a boat 40 years ago. I’ve been driving a cab for 35 years and in that time I’ve learned to truly love this city. I’ve worked hard in my life and I know many people with similar stories. Immigration and the kindness of Canadians are what makes this country so awesome.
I drive nighttime cab, a job many would consider very dangerous for a woman but I’m never afraid. I feel good knowing I’m getting so many young people home safely.
I have two successful and kind children - a son and a daughter - and they make me so proud. Our children are this country’s future and I try to encourage my own kids and the many young people I pick up to work hard now and reap the benefits later. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that hard work will carry a person a long way."
"I’ve been driving for 34 years. I love the indepence of driving a Taxi for a living.
One evening I was driving, and I got a call from the airport to retrieve a goat from a Westjet Cargo plane. It was heading to Newfoundland but the weather wasn’t cooperating and the goat needed medical treatment. So I drove out there, picked up the goat, put it in the back of my cab, and drove it to the 24hr veterinary hospital. Poor thing had to spend the night there, but we eventually got it back to the airport the next day and off to Newfoundland. That’s a funny story I like to tell.
As I say, never a dull moment in this city. I love the summer here, but I try to enjoy all the seasons. With all the cruise ships that come into Halifax, Taxi drivers become an ambassador to the city. It’s our duty to give them the best experience possible."
"My family and I came to Canada in 2006 from Syria. I began driving a cab about eight years ago, and drive all night, almost every day of the week.
In my free time I love to read while having my coffee, and I’m always keeping up on what is going on in the world. Sometimes my passengers enjoy discussing politics and current events with me, it makes my day.
My favourite part about living in Halifax is being near the ocean. I’ve always loved to go swimming. At times, as long as three hours, but the ocean water is still too cold for me, compared to back home. It’s a whole new world, but I love it."
"My name is Gamal. I came from Yemen to Halifax almost 15 years ago and I am a very happy person. I’ve been driving for Casino Taxi for the past nine years. My job allows me to spend time with the friendly, kind people of this city. I like sharing jokes and telling stories, I’ve made lots of friends that way.
I have two sons, both in university. One at SMU and one at Mount Saint Vincent University. They are both successful and they make me so proud.
When I’m not working, I love to read. I devour news and current events, short stories and science news. I like to learn. I’m just a very happy person. Life is good."
"They’re hoping to get 50 years out of me. I’ve been here for 43 so I’ve got another 7. This is my Casino Taxi family, they’re great people. You can talk to them about any problem whether it’s work related or personal, they’re all the best. I get all emotional thinking about it. I have so many memories.
My cat that I have, she was left in one of our taxis eight years ago. It was in the middle of winter. I came to work one morning and the night dispatcher told me to come see something. I went into the office and a little black furry thing ran in front of me. One of our van drivers picked up a fare that night and his passenger said, “Do you own a cat? There’s one asleep back here”. Someone had left her there rather than dumping her in the cold. I said “I’ll be back in 15 minutes”. I picked her up, I took her home and I’ve had her ever since. Her name is Ruby, she’s a little diva."
“I started as a Dispatcher with Casino Taxi in 1981. In my personal life, I hated talking on the phone - I’d do anything to get off of it - and here I was, working on the phone in the Dispatch center. Then we went from voice to computer. I was ready to leave when the computers came; now I could never go back. I could never leave anyway - I’ve had 39 years here, and if you ask the management team, they’ll tell you I’m not allowed to retire! Haha! They feel like family here.
I’ve gotten to know many of the regular customers so much in my time here they feel like friends too. We joke and carry on. There’s one lady who sends us treats almost every month and another lady that called so often she became a regular part of our day. I’ve taken the time to meet some of the regulars and take them to lunch or have tea. I’m always up for making new friends - I love being around people and on the go, whether it’s shopping, or eating out, or heading to a neighbour’s for Sunday morning coffee. Friendships are so important.”
"I’m from Afghanistan. I’ve been here for about five years, working with Casino Taxi for about three years. I was back in my country in the army for about four years and then was a manager in the central passport office. I’m a computer engineer. I graduated in 2016 in Afghanistan. Now I have to build my life here.
I have a best friend named Condon. He’s 70 years old. When I came here one of the translation people said he has a free room where I could stay. He’s the first person I met here and he has helped me like a father. We hang out together a lot; we’re like a family now. We share meals together, he taught me how to save money, how to build a life. A lot of my experience, I got from him."
"I left Halifax in 1966 and lived in New York City for a year. I was making $55 a week in Halifax, and in my first week working in New York, I made $250. It was exciting and fun but stressful. There was a lot of racism, and people would get shot around you, so I came back to Halifax and went to work with the fire department. I was a firefighter for 30 years. We worked in 24-hour shifts, one day on and three days off. I’ve never been a person who can just sit around. There were about 35 firefighters who also got their own roof lights and drove with Casino Taxi. One kept telling me I should do it but I kept saying no. He said to me one day, “You know Jack, for a guy who’s supposed to be pretty smart, you’re not too smart.” And here I am. I have been driving with Casino Taxi for 31 years."
"I got around a lot when I was younger and now I have the house, the white picket fence, and I’ve been married to Diane for 50 years. I have two successful kids and four grandchildren. I have a great family... I have a good life."
"I was a banker for seven years in Uganda, but when I came to Canada, I would have had to upgrade to be a banker here. I didn’t have time to go back to school because I had a lot of responsibility and I had to try to settle myself. I’m trying to work hard. I have three boys, 10, 7, and 5. I came to Halifax when my middle child was nine months. When I think of my kids’ lives, I’ll sacrifice myself to do my best to be a good citizen for them so in the future they’ll have a good life, better than mine, at school and in their private life. Driving gives me time to spend with them. Boys need time. I take my kids to gymnastics and swimming. My first son, he’s following me. I love to see him playing with his brothers, trying to take care of them.
I sponsored my friend Obsa to come to Halifax, and another friend too. We all used to live together in Uganda, and now we’re all driving for Casino Taxi. Outside of COVID restrictions we would meet with our families every Sunday, we go to the same church, and we also have coffee together. I was happy to sponsor them. I’m always happy to help people."
“I love meeting people every day, especially older people. I love to talk with them and always take experiences from them. My favourite client is around 95 years old and lives in Halifax. I drove her many times and I always talk with her; she is very comfortable with me. I think people like to drive with me. I always keep my taxi clean and tidy. I’m very honest, straightforward and I help people. I always try to give good customer service. I don’t get complaints in the office.
The Casino Taxi office feels like home to me. They’re always friendly and nice here. Last year they called me to ask if I would do the two millionth drive of the year. I was at home making tea when I got the call. My mother and my wife were both crying with joy.”
"I’m originally from Ethiopia but have lived in Kenya and Uganda. I came here on December 7, 2017 with the help of my friend Leta who drives for Casino Taxi as well. He’s very kind, he sponsored me. Now I’m planning to go to college; I have applied to take social services. By nature I just like helping people. It’s a passion. I’ve been through a lot and I find that there’s a lot of ups and downs, but when anything happens to me I always look up!
When I help people I just help from my heart, not expecting something back from them. I have brothers back home and one lost his sight by accident. I am helping them now, sending them money. I’m the one providing for them and if I couldn’t help they may starve or may not have a place to live. The last time I saw them was 2016.”
"We came to Halifax in October 2006. I came from Iran and my mother tongue is Turkish. We have two children, one daughter and one son. My daughter took engineering at Dalhousie. My son went to Saint Mary’s to take business. In 2009, I unfortunately lost my son to a car accident. It happened before he graduated. Now my daughter is married and I have a son-in-law and we had a grandson born in 2019 who we see almost every day. His middle name is my son’s name.
I like driving a taxi because it’s flexible. I have a lot more time. I choose to work two five hour shifts with a nice break in the middle of the day. In the summer I play tennis almost every day and still play once a week in the winter. I also love to fish! I have a fishing partner who lives in Truro. We fish for striped bass in the Shubenacadie River. It’s very relaxing being in nature. I barbecue or read a book while the fish come in."
"I moved to Canada in 1974 with my wife and two daughters. They were one and three at the time. And then there were two additions, another daughter and a son. And now I have three grandchildren. My kids are very special, I’m really proud of them. Two are in BC and two are in Ontario. They all have great jobs and work very hard and they are very socially conscious.
For my wife and I, it’s going to be our 50th wedding anniversary this May. Two years ago I had an emergency triple bypass surgery. We didn’t have time to think about it and my wife informed my kids, and three of them were there in the hospital with me the next morning; one from BC and two from Ontario. They arranged time so they could be with me for the next two or three months. My family is always there for me."
“We came here from Moscow four years ago. This province invited my husband to work. He is an IT engineer. I was a stay-at-home mom when we came but I’m not good at staying at home. I started driving with Casino Taxi because I just love to drive. In Moscow driving was harder because traffic is like Toronto. I would spend two or three hours to get to my home from work. I think it’s easy to drive here; I can drive for hours and hours. I am very responsible and punctual. If people ask me to get them from one place to another, I do it.
When we first moved here, I was not happy - I was very afraid for my kids because it was very stressful for my oldest daughter who was seven when we came. She cried a lot every evening because she didn’t know English. I felt guilty. But now she speaks excellent English. Now she doesn’t want to move anywhere else.”
"I’m from Ethiopia. I decided to stay here after I went to St. FX so I applied for immigration. I wanted to educate my son and daughter here. When I left they were 10 and three. At first, when I came to Canada I tried to live in Toronto. It’s a big city and I liked it, but it was not for my kids. When I came to Halifax, the people were more friendly, they talked to my son and daughter. I’ve had good friends since I came here, they were very grateful to meet my kids.
I’ve worked with Casino close to 20 years. Driving a taxi was an easy choice, a way to support my kids and myself. My son is now a captain in the military in Ottawa. He has two kids and we are very fortunate we can Skype. My daughter is in Toronto, she graduated from Dalhousie’s Chemical Engineering. They are good kids. I tell them perfection is not possible, but try to be your best and be friendly to people."
“I have a hobby, it was my first hobby - ham radio communication. My call sign is VE1ILC. Do you know what that means? It means “I love Canada”. When Swiss Air 111 crashed off Peggy’s Cove in 1998, I wanted to be a volunteer member for radio communication, but at that time I didn’t have any Canadian license, just a Korean license. So I couldn’t communicate but I volunteered for transportation. It was a hard time, the chaos. But I wanted to help.
When I retire, I will move to an urban area and build my own tower so there will be no interference. I will have my own equipment, and if there’s a power shut down or weather emergency, I will be able to volunteer to communicate with other people for help. It's a hobby for me that can help people.”