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Loved ones want to put Pat Stay ‘on the map’ by naming a street after him

Click to play video: 'Renowned artists say Pat Stay’s death a loss to hip-hop community'
Renowned artists say Pat Stay’s death a loss to hip-hop community
Tributes are pouring in from around the world for a Nova Scotia rap battler who was killed over the weekend. Pat Stay died after being stabbed in downtown Halifax early Sunday. The 36-year-old was well known in the hip hop scene with many renowned artists – including Eminem -- recognizing the loss to the community. Alicia Draus reports – Sep 6, 2022

Malyssa Burns imagines what it might be like to walk down a street named after her late partner, Pat Stay.

Stay, a renowned battle rapper from Dartmouth, N.S., was killed in the early hours of Sept. 4 after a stabbing in downtown Halifax.

Since his death, tributes have poured in – both from across Nova Scotia and from the wider music community, with rappers Eminem and Drake among those offering their condolences.

The man accused in his death is expected to make his next court appearance Tuesday.

Read more: Tributes pour in for rapper Pat Stay, who was killed in a Halifax stabbing

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The last three months without Stay have been “terrible,” Burns said, but the support from the community has been overwhelming.

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“It’s kind of a beautiful thing,” she said. “I never felt so much love from this city.”

Pat Stay with his partner, Malyssa Burns. Stefanie Chapman/Stef Claire Photography

Some local tributes have popped up, including a colorful mural bearing Stay’s name in downtown Dartmouth, the community he loved and lived in.

But his loved ones want to see something more official and permanent, like a street named in his honour.

“I feel like the city’s still grieving. It’s not even just me still, I feel like it’s the city itself,” said Burns.

“If he did have a street named after him, I feel like it would just be another thing that kind of warms our hearts and makes us feel like he’s still with us.”

A mural in Pat Stay’s honour in downtown Dartmouth, where he used to live. Alex Cooke/Global News

Cody Good, a longtime friend of Stay who started a change.org petition to name a street in downtown Dartmouth after him, agreed.

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“I think that walking down a road named Pat Stay Street, or Pat Stay Way, or whatever it may end up being, I think it’s needed for us to help grieve,” he said.

Read more: Man facing first-degree murder charge in homicide of rapper Pat Stay

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Good said Stay had a “profound pride” in his community, so it’s fitting for a street to be named after him.

“He always spoke about Dartmouth and represented Dartmouth to the utmost, full respect,” he said.

“Put Pat on the map like Pat did for Dartmouth.”

Cody Good described Pat Stay (bottom left) as a ‘special guy.’. Submitted by Cody Good

Good submitted a commemorative naming application form last week and is waiting to hear back. The process can take some time, but he’s waiting patiently.

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While the petition – which now has more than 6,000 signatures – wasn’t required as part of the application, Good said it demonstrates public support for the idea.

Read more: Halifax man accused of killing rapper Pat Stay facing old murder charge again

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“They love the idea because of what Pat was to our community,” said Good.

“He was a special guy. He wasn’t into the gang life or anything negative. He was just such a good, honest, hardworking, devoted father, so it’s nice to see everybody recognize that.”

Good said while he was the one who made the petition and submitted the commemorative naming application, Stay’s family would be the ones making the decisions.

Malyssa Burns says Pat Stay loved the community of downtown Dartmouth, so it would be a good area to have a street named after him. Submitted by Malyssa Burns

Burns said she doesn’t have a particular street in mind, as long as it’s in downtown Dartmouth, where she and Stay lived with their family.

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“We both agreed that this is where we wanted to raise our children,” she said. “We may not have a backyard, but downtown Dartmouth was our backyard.”

Naming a new street

Sam Austin, the councillor for the downtown Dartmouth area, said the municipality has a well-established commemorative naming program and Stay would “appear to click all the boxes for that.”

“After his death, there was certainly a huge outpouring around downtown Dartmouth and beyond,” said Austin.

“He seems to have been an individual that made his mark in his profession in quite a significant way.”

He said now it’s a matter of waiting for the commemorative naming form to work its way through the system.

Downtown Dartmouth councillor Sam Austin says there are some new streets coming to the area in the next few years. Amber Fryday/Global News

Austin said when a form is submitted, it goes to a municipal committee that looks at commemorative names. The committee then gives a report to council once or twice a year, asking them to approve the commemorative name list.

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“It would be up to council to then add it or not to the list,” he said.

Austin noted that renaming an existing street is a “tall order,” so they would be looking at naming a new street once it’s built.

“Once a name goes on the list, then basically it’s as opportunities come up … when there’s new streets, new parks, new features,” he said.

He said there will be some opportunities coming up in downtown Dartmouth – including new streets coming to the Dartmouth Cove and King’s Wharf area, as well as a new bridge over the Shubenacadie Canal and some new parks.

“All of those places are literally a stone’s throw from where he lived,” said Austin.

‘He gets to see what kind of legend his dad was’

Meanwhile, Burns said she’s touched by all the support she’s received since Stay’s death, from both the street naming petition and a GoFundMe campaign for the family that has raised more than $260,000.

“You see the numbers and the support and how fast it happens, it just speaks volumes to what kind of person he is,” she said.

She described Stay as a loving, protective father to their children.

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Malyssa Burns said Pat Stay cared deeply for his family and was a loving, protective father. Submitted by Malyssa Burns

Burns said while reminders of Stay were painful at first, she would love to see a permanent commemoration for him in the place he loved most.

“At first, it was heart-wrenching … everything reminded me of him so much,” she said.

“As time passes and as our hearts heal a little bit, that devastated, awful feeling has been slowly turning into more of a warming feeling of love and community.”

She also said having a street named after Stay would mean a lot to their daughter and five-year-old son, Calvin, who is still learning about who his dad was.

“I can’t wait for Calvin to see this as he gets older,” she said. “As he grows, he gets to see what kind of legend his dad was. And what legend he’ll be.”

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