Local business and consumer news. Openings, closings, deals, sales, what to buy and where to buy it, we round it all up and give you an insider's shopper's special on small business in Halifax. Contact shoptalk@thecoast.ca to send a tip.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Make it happen at the Etsy Made In Canada market

10 local makers to check out this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 3:26 PM

Ment Jewellery - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Ment Jewellery
  • via Facebook

If you’re addicted to cruising Etsy, checking out cute, creative one-of-a-kind creations made by hand—you’re going to want to step away from your computer this weekend. You can do this.

After drawing nearly 15,000 shoppers last year, the Halifax edition of the Etsy Made In Canada market is back, this time taking over the Halifax Forum’s (2901 Windsor Street) Maritime Hall with over 100 Maritime Makers and their beautiful things. Each day (Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25) will offer access to a different crew of crafters—a diverse lineup of folks like selling paper craft, fashion, jewellery, decor and beauty products—from 10am to 6pm, no clicking or scrolling required. And entry to the event is a cold, hard toonie.

Here are 10 local talents to look out for at the event:

Foxhound Collection - VIA ETSY
  • Foxhound Collection
  • via Etsy

1. Foxhound Collection
Small-batch, soy wax candles that burn for 40 hours and come in scents like wild honey and rose, grapefruit and fig, earl grey and brown sugar. You might feel like you want to eat them, but please burn them instead.

2. Lily Lake Knits
Jenny Fennell's handmade, 100 percent wool stuff to keep you cozy when this everlasting summer stops lasting.

3rd Story Workshop - VIA ETSY
  • 3rd Story Workshop
  • via Etsy

3. 3rd Story Workshop
Andrea Tsang Jackson's wall-hangings and pillows are total gems. The colourful, geometric, modern quilted creations come in a bunch of birthstone designs and are also available for custom order.

4. Mule Mother Books
Handbound journals and daytimers of all sizes, fabrics and colours made by Ellen Murphy. Inspiration to start writing that memoir!

5. Equilibria Naturals
Organic, wild-crafted skin care and remedies, including facial masks, body butters and a variety of serums.

6. Ment Jewellery
Subtle but stunning, Ment makes a statement with its strong angles, clean lines and adorable adornments.

Daval Beauty's big, bright Tommy Guns - VIA ETSY
  • Daval Beauty's big, bright Tommy Guns
  • via Etsy

7. Daval Beauty
Pay local lip service via handmade, hydramatte lipsticks in a lineup of bold colours.

8. Field Day Paper
Send cute and thoughtful mail thanks to Joanna Close's illustrated stationery—flowers, foods and tasty recipes decorate her note cards.

9. Briana Corr Scott
Corr Scott's illustrated paper doll kits don't just come in adorable girl/mermaid/fairy form, there are narwals, sperm whales and stylish kitties in the mix, too.

Mo Handahu models a piece The Tutu Experience - VIA ETSY
  • Mo Handahu models a piece The Tutu Experience
  • via Etsy

10. The Tutu Experience
Halifax fashion master Mo Handahu's line of custom skirts and tutus is body positive, fashionable and freakin' fun.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sidestory encourages honest, meaningful storytelling

Local app alert.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 10:47 AM

Sidestory's founders, from left, Brian Jeffcock, Ben Decoste and Gavin Uhma. - JEFF ANDERSEN
  • Sidestory's founders, from left, Brian Jeffcock, Ben Decoste and Gavin Uhma.
  • Jeff Andersen

Gavin Uhma is a bit of a legend in the local tech community. He’s the Halifax-via-Cape Breton guy who invented GoInstant, “co-browsing” software so good that it was bought in 2012 by the giant Salesforce.com, for a reported $70 million. After a stint with Salesforce that ended last October, his new business Sidestory just launched its namesake app in the iPhone App Store last week.

Sidestory is one of the start-ups with space at the Volta Labs hub in the Maritime Centre. Its sixth-floor office is simple and clean, dominated by a block of desks. Sitting at a corner beside the window, chief technology officer Ben Decoste is behind a giant monitor working on the app’s Android version. Beside him is designer Brian Jeffcock, responsible for Sidestory’s remarkably simple, clean interface. Opposite Jeffcock is Uhma, giving a visitor tips on the app’s features. This is the entire Sidestory team, on a mission to change the way the world uses their phones. No big deal.

Sidestory has a unique approach to sharing that exists at the intersection of two of the most popular types of apps, social media and messaging. Social media like Facebook and Instagram may be great at letting you share your life, but its goal of sharing with absolutely everyone leads to more curated, less honest posts. And while messaging is good for direct connections, its focus is on the short and pithy—Snapchat being a leading proponent in thinking of your life as disposable content.

“We don’t want that future,” says Uhma. With Sidestory, you can “create meaningful content, content worth keeping, but be selective about who is goes to.”

If you’ve got Sidestory, you can compose a “story”—adding photos, text or video is all pretty intuitive—and email or text it to anyone, even if they don’t have the app: The system will send a link for viewing your story online. And in a considerate bit of design, if that person does later get Sidestory, that story will appear in their archive for posterity. From the original group of 16 test users, Sidestory’s growth has been organic, word-of-mouth. not driven by marketing campaigns. “People are using the app because they like it,” Uhma says. “That’s super, super-validating for us.”

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Guided Tour - Quinpool

As both a central route for travelling the peninsula and the commercial hub of a thriving neighbourhood, Quinpool is Halifax’s Main Street. Drop by the Quinfest celebration Saturday to be charmed all over again.

Posted on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 7:01 PM


Everyone—and we mean everyone—has experienced Quinpool Road.

You're heading to the Armdale Rotary? The Emera Oval? Downtown Halifax? You're likely going through Quinpool. You're a Dal/King's student and you need, well, anything... you're going to Quinpool Road.

Quinpool Road is a unique area, as it's entirely focused off one large, arterial road. Housing an eclectic group of businesses, Quinpool features historically-entrenched restaurants, shops with specialized products, the common amenities, as well as newcomers to the scene, including Dilly Dally Coffee Cafe and Riot Snack Bar.

One theme that is constant among every locale on Quinpool Road is community. Everyone works together and everyone works to make the area an overall better place.

This includes the Paws Here on Quinpool campaign, which allows patrons to bring their dog into participating shops, as well as the upcoming Quinfest (this Saturday, September 17), which will feature games, food samplings, sidewalk sales and a doggy carnival.

A true pioneer of the food industry, King of Donair has been a staple of the Quinpool Road food scene since 1973.

Still sporting the same look, feel and delicious food as they did when they opened, KOD provides an old-school flavour combined with twists on the classic donair.

While their namesake donair is the main attraction, KOD has many other mouth-watering menu items to suit your preferences, including garlic fingers and pizza.

While it long has carried the stigma of a late-night meal, the donair is actually wonderful anytime, and the staff at KOD truly love seeing people—whether university frosh or retired seniors—coming in and experiencing their first donair...any time of the day. King of Donair, 6420 Quinpool Road

For Athens Restaurant, everything is based around family. Family owned and operated since 1982—nearly 35 years—Athens is run by Vange Panopalis (whose parents opened the restaurant and still help out), working hard to provide a low-key, enjoyable atmosphere for neighbourhood families to enjoy a delicious meal.

Athens helped spark the popularity of Greek cuisine within Halifax, powered by their famous souvlaki dishes (they have four or five different styles) and their perfection of succulent lamb dishes.

Athens also is open at 8am for breakfast, allowing customers to enjoy true Greek hospitality, regardless of what meal you're having. Athens Restaurant, 6273 Quinpool Road

When you're looking for a one-stop shop for holistic care and health-conscious products, look no further than Organic Earth Market. The largest health food store in Atlantic Canada, Organic Earth has spent more than 20 years offering typical groceries, organic supplements, bulk grains and fruit, locally sourced products, plus a number of weekly workshops and demonstrations.

Also offering a full juice bar and a coffee shop, Organic Earth has everything needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Nothing is more popular than their cosmic cookies, which are vegan and loaded with nutrients... they sell nearly 300 per week!

During the upcoming Quinfest (Saturday, September 17), Organic Earth with be providing samples of their vast product offerings. Organic Earth Market, 6487 Quinpool Road

Regardless of age, we all still have a creative itch that occasionally needs to be scratched. Thankfully, Clay Cafe is there to help us expand on that creative spark. A "Paint-Your-Own Pottery Studio," you can paint anything from figurines to plates, bowls and mugs (with more than 300 shapes to choose from). Paint your masterpiece in one sitting or spread it out over multiple visits, and then have owner Martin Ross and his staff glaze and fire your piece in one of their kilns.

All items at Clay Cafe are dishwasher- and microwave-safe, and they are open late so you can visit whenever is convenient for you... because let's be honest—where else can you relax, hang out with friends and have a coffee while creating your own personalized coffee mug? Clay Cafe, 6413 Quinpool Road

When Mike Munro and Maxine Jeffrey launched Therapeutic Approach, they strived to create an approach to health that is sustainable throughout their customer's lives. Munro, a physiotherapist and certified yoga teacher, and Jeffrey, a certified yoga teacher, occupational therapist, kinesiologist and currently studying osteopath, have a depth of knowledge, but they continually work to learn the most up-to-date techniques and wellness methods to provide the best care possible.

Closing in on two decades on Quinpool Road, Therapeutic Approach offers a yoga therapy program like no other. With Munro and Jeffrey able to be both health professionals and certified yoga teachers, they are able to provide proper diagnosis and easily address health concerns—leading towards their main goal of helping people be on the road to better health, all with a positive approach that is perfectly suited for each individual. Therapeutic Approach Health Centre, 6156 Quinpool Road

Oxford Learning offers a unique, innovative and educational service that goes beyond tutoring; the goal is to actively change people's lives with individualized education.

Oxford believes all children are capable of learning, regardless of any challenges they may face. The individualized nature of Oxford's programming has created years of success in helping students, even those facing the greatest learning struggles, overcome great obstacles and make serious academic gains.

Oxford's instructional model—known as interactive coaching—doesn't so much instruct a child as it does empower them to teach him or herself. Based on the science of cognitive development, this is a scientific approach to learning. At the time of inception, and even still today, this is a revolutionary approach to teaching and learning, and it had made a huge difference to struggling students for almost 30 years. Oxford Learning, 6270 Quinpool Road

Not to be confused with a yoga studio, Bhavana Yoga Boutique is best considered a "yoga emporium." Created to support all styles of yoga, Krista Watters' boutique has everything needed to support yoga practitioners–on and off the mat.

Offering bolsters, blocks, meditation supplies and books, Bhavana has whatever you need to extract the most out of your yoga experiences. Bhavana also offers Canadian-made clothing, Mala Collective devotional jewellery, plus workshops on Ayurvedic medicine - the sister science of yoga. Stop in to learn from Bhavana's on-site Ayurvedic practitioner and sign up for Ayurvedic workshops and talks on Aromatherapy as well as information on yoga classes offered in the community. Bhavana Yoga Boutique, 6252 Quinpool Rd

A truly iconic part of Quinpool Road, the Ardmore Tea Room traces its roots all the way back to 1958. An old-school style diner, the Ardmore offers classic breakfasts...starting at 5 a.m. every day. The staff at the Ardmore Tea Room believes in having a place that is absent of pretension; what you see is what you get, and the Ardmore is welcomes everyone to come in and feel comfortable enjoying their meal.

Closing in on 60 years of business, the Ardmore is one of the few places that can claim they've seen three generations of families grow up enjoying the Ardmore...especially their famous milkshakes. Ardmore Tea Room, 6499 Quinpool Rd

Motivated by a desire to provide delicious meals made from fresh, healthy and pure ingredients, Heartwood Restaurant embodies what a health food restaurant is meant to be. Open seven days a week, Heartwood owner Carrie Surette takes pride in having a vegetarian restaurant that combines a diverse, assorted menu with a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Quinpool Road boasts many locally-run businesses that offer some variety beyond the ordinary to Halifax, and Heartwood is no different. For more than 20 years, Heartwood has offered a welcoming environment to enjoy their vegan and vegetarian meals, including their Heartwood bowls: a satisfying combination of local organic greens, roasted veggies, seeds and a choice of sauce on a brown rice base. Heartwood Restaurant, 6250 Quinpool Rd

What happens when you combine locally-sourced ingredients, creative pizza combinations, gluten and vegan-friendly options plus a passion for all things pizza? You get Bramoso Pizza.

Closing in on a decade on Quinpool Road, Bramoso has a health-conscious and responsible-sourcing philosophy. Owner Dan Ryan believes that everyone deserves to eat wholesome food, delivered through truly inspired pizza creations.

Bramoso offers local wines and craft beer, as well as a genuine, yet open-minded approach to service, food and redefining what it means to enjoy a slice of pizza.

Bramoso is now expanding how to create an amazing guest experience, as they have completed the first stage of their craft beer bar. Check it out for exciting local draught, new menu items and old favourites. Bramoso Pizza, 6169 Quinpool Rd

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Attica moves to Robie Street

The longtime Barrington resident bids farewell to its four storeys this fall

Posted By on Mon, Sep 12, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Bye-bye Barrington
  • Bye-bye Barrington

After 10 years on Barrington Street, Attica Furnishings (1566 Barrington Street) is headed north. The 21-year-old contemporary furniture store—which actually got its start in the north end, on Gottingen Street—announced that as of late October it’ll move into the brand new, 8,000 square foot, ground floor space in the mixed-use Point North building at 3065 Robie Street. (For reference, that's next to the Lion’s Head Tavern).

“There are a number of factors,” says Attica’s co-founder Suzanne Saul of the move. “We’ve been in the this location for 10 years, eight of those years we had four floors. Before all the construction started it was fine, but in recent years it was a challenge getting people upstairs. I think with less traffic we noticed it more.”

The new location will allow Attica to operate on one floor—with 14-foot ceilings and what Saul calls a more “warehousey” feel—meaning a more efficient space for the shop’s ever-expanding design services and workshops, parking and prime visibility to the busy strip. Saul says it was important for Attica to stay on the peninsula, and being part of the growing north end retail scene is a bonus.

“Even though downtown has its challenges, there are great things about it too. And a lot of great people down here,” she says. “I’ll miss our neighbours. I’ve been coming downtown for 20 years!”

Attica hopes to lighten the load before the big move and will run a sale leading up to its departure from Barrington Street, watch for more on that here.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

PHASE fashion show takes centre stage

Selasie Tagboto and her daVinci College classmates hit the runway this Friday

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 6:06 PM

  • Joy Tagboto

This Friday night at 7:30pm, the PHASE fashion show turns Halifax Central Library’s Paul O’Regan Hall into a runway, with models strutting the latest creations by three soon-to-be design grads from daVinci College. The students’ collections feature everything from understated, blue-and-black plus-size separates to lacy, Coachella-ready dresses inspired by Frank Ocean songs. One of the students designing for the show is Selasie Tagboto, whose childhood in Ghana partially inspired her minimalist-shaped, vividly-printed pieces. “My tagline is ‘to be as bold as you like,’ so I have pieces which are more complicated and pieces that are more simple,” she says.

  • Joy Tagboto

1. "I always liked clothes and I liked fashion. I didn’t really know how to do design per se until I came to this school, but I would always get my mom to make things for me and go ‘Mom, can you make this for me but make it this way? I like this element and this element,’” says Tagboto. “So I like that I came here and now I can actually make what I see.”

2. Tagboto wanted the prints she used to be as authentic as possible, so she searched the internet for specific patterns and sent screen shots to family still living in Ghana. Her aunt picked up fabrics matching these examples from local markets. “I liked that when I saw the prints I was like ‘Oh, this will be perfect for this outfit and this will be perfect for this outfit,’ so it was the prints that inspired me to make these garments,” she says.

3. “I really like attention to details, so I looked at things like handbags and hats and thought ‘Oh this would be cool, what if I tried putting this on an outfit, how would that look?’” Tagboto says, highlighting this vest’s collar and pockets as examples.

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Maggie Jayne's rainbow connection

Maggie MacCormick's autumn collection debuts this weekend

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Chillest crops ever. - VICTORIA KRISTOFIC
  • Chillest crops ever.
  • Victoria Kristofic

Maggie MacCormick and Victoria Kristofic met in a NSCAD class, but you can blame their collaboration on the rainbow.

“Victoria had these great rainbow embroidery designs and she suggested to add them to a dress I had,” says MacCormick. “I sort of had this rainbow theme going with my work too. We share an aesthetic sensibility—she’s a little more refined than me in a way, she takes a cute design but takes it into this mature, muted place.”

MacCormick ended up bringing Kristofic’s hand-sewn design with her to India (where she spent four weeks this spring, working on her line Maggie Jayne) and had it machine-embroidered onto some of the pieces that make up her autumn collection. The entire 11-piece line-up—which includes Desert Pool, the collaboration with Kristofic— launches this weekend at The Chameleon (1587 Barrington Street) and MacCormick says its all about the uniform.

“It started with a schoolgirl thing, like Madeline. This winter I wanted to interpret the uniform in as many ways as I could.” The collection of basic, functional, utilitarian-inspired pieces includes sweaters, turtlenecks, crops and a badass flight suit. MacCormick says, for her, it feels like a stylish suit of armour. “I think about that every day—feeling like you’re putting something on that’s going to make you feel comfortable in the world.”

Maggie Jayne Autumn Collection Launch
The Chameleon, 1587 Barrington Street
Friday, September 9, 7-9pm
Saturday, September 10, 10am-7pm

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Game on for a second Board Room cafe

Halifax's board game cafe opens a Bedford location later this fall

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 6:34 PM

Board Room rolls the dice on a second location - LENNY MULLINS
  • Board Room rolls the dice on a second location
  • Lenny Mullins

The Board Room Game Cafe (1256 Barrington Street) wants to invite more players to the table. After three years of bringing fun and games—like hundreds of games—to downtown, the city’s first board game cafe/bar has announced it’ll open a second location later this fall, giving Haligonians another place to exercise their brains.

“We wanted to be accessible to a different part of the city,” says owner Kris Moulton of the upcoming expansion. “A lot of people don’t like driving downtown and parking can be a challenge. We hear a lot of people say they’ve heard of us but have never been.”

He hopes that’ll change in late fall, when the Board Room will welcome board-gamers from beyond the peninsula to its new spot at 932 Bedford Highway (the former Aplaydia Indoor Playground). Moulton says regulars can expect the same experience they’re used to on Barrington Street—good, clean, friendly competition.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Video Difference is closing

After 34 years in business, the iconic video store bows out on August 15

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 10:30 AM

The lights go out at Video Difference on August 15 - SAM KEAN
  • The lights go out at Video Difference on August 15
  • Sam Kean

“Well, all good things must come to an end,” Tom Michael, founder of iconic and enduring small business, Video Difference, says over the phone.

He announced today that after 34 years of helping to keep Halifax entertained and educated, August 15 will mark the end of the line for both the Quinpool Road and Bedford Highway locations of the video rental veteran.

Michael says he and and his staff—some of whom he’s been working alongside for upwards of 20 years—have been meeting regularly over the last year or so to discuss the fate of the stores in a changing consumer climate. “We said, as long as we can pay the rent and not lose money we’ll continue on. And the day it looks like we can’t we’ll make a decision,” he says, adding that Video Difference owns both of its buildings. “That day has come.”

A source for more than just mainstream blockbusters, Video Difference made a name for itself over the last three decades for being truly different. Its massive selection of foreign films, old classics, indie flicks, Canadian content, documentaries and TV box sets (the original binge-watch) are just as fun to browse through as they are to watch. Not quite the Netflix experience, to say the least. "It's like if you’re a reader, trying to find a book online isn’t the same as going to bookstore," says Michael.

But while internet did affect business, he says it didn’t make the difference.

“Really the consumer has changed as well, they don’t consume feature length motion pictures like they used to, they’ve moved to TV series and streaming does that very well,” adding that the past four or five years have seen the biggest change, with not just streaming but the upswing in cable subscription. “And I think the lack of competition. No one stimulating the market— we’re kind of an island on our own.”

“It was a perfect storm in all directions,” says Michael. "But having said that, financially we’re still strong. We’re not going out of business, we’re closing.”

In closing, Video Difference will be selling off everything it’s got. Starting August 20—and running through the seven weeks that follow—all inventory will be liquidated. Michael encourages cinephiles after a good deal to bring in non-perishable food items for the Parker Street Food Bank, eight will get you $5 off your purchase.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Portland Street gets Lady Luck

The Hydrostone boutique opens a second location this fall

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 1:04 PM


After 12 years of bringing Halifax handmade and vintage jewellery, art, clothing and whole lot of hats, Lady Luck Boutique (5519 Young Street) is opening a second location. Jennifer Huntley (who co-owns the shop with her sister Melanie) says they’re aiming to open at 118 Portland Street (between Sugar Shok and Dartmouth Yarns) in early September, and “It’s going to be grandiose.”

That’s thanks to a total gut-job, high ceilings, silkscreened floors from artist Mike Lewis and the carefully curated collection of beautiful things you'll find inside. It's a slightly smaller space than the Hydrostone location, which will mean a more streamlined selection, but the Huntleys are excited to bring the same vibes, and Canadian artisans, to the other side of the bridge.

"For the last two years we’ve been scoping out the area, waiting for the right space,“ says Huntley, adding that she and her sister both live in the downtown Dartmouth area. "There’s a movement happening in Dartmouth. And we just want to help that movement along.”

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Guided Tour - Downtown Halifax

The heart of the city is bursting with unique shops and services that bring the local spirit to life.

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 3:54 PM



Adventurous diners take note: Argyle Street has a new hotspot for you to discover. East of Grafton Tavern combines local craft beer, innovative cocktails and a food menu that is daringly unique—all encased within a casual, wondrous environment. Chef Luis Clavel has created a menu that features food you may remember Grandma making...but with a world traveller-inspired twist. Try the Newfie-style cod, Welsh rarebit or the Grafton burger: Four four-ounce cast-iron blackened patties with a bacon peppered bun...and served with an iron dagger! Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, East of Grafton is funky, fun and mysterious—with a subtle hint of familiarity. Experience it for yourself, but be ready to expect the unexpected. East of Grafton Tavern, 1580 Argyle Street

A staple of downtown Halifax for more than 30 years, the Historic Farmers’ Market continues to shine, providing Halifax with the best Nova Scotia has to offer from farmers, artisan crafters, bakers, meat producers and more. A truly unique farmers’ market, it is the only market in the area that is cooperatively owned and managed. It has roughly 35 year-round members, and with seasonal members can result in about 45 to 60 vendors per week for guests to choose from. Boasting a variety of well-established, small-scale farms and producers, the Historic Market can supply everything from apple cider vinegar, speciality cheeses, meats and fermented foods, to a wide range of ethnic and exotic vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, along with all the seasonal favourites too. Historic Farmers’ Market, 1496 Lower Water Street, Alexander Keith’s Brewery

Located on Barrington Street, Elle’s Bistro provides original dishes and a relaxed atmosphere in a family-diner setting. A small space where everything is prepared fresh and in small batches with a local focus, it truly is family and wallet friendly! Mary Elle Planetta’s store, which opened in 2014, saw an opportunity and jumped on it, quickly becoming popular with items such as her blueberry- or strawberry rhubarb-stuffed French toast, an ever-expanding eggs Benedict menu (currently more than 10 styles), jalapeño breakfast sandwich on homemade latkes and her local beef burgers. Elle’s Bistro is also licensed, and offers great Caesars and has a good selection of local craft beer. Elle’s Bistro, 1678 Barrington Street

When you’re looking Middle Eastern and Canadian cuisine in a friendly, casual and low-stress atmosphere, Baba Ghanouj Cafe can suit all one’s needs. Owned by Roy Khoury, who has been a presence in the Halifax Middle Eastern food scene since 1992, Baba Ghanouj (open since 2014) has a menu that includes all-day breakfast, certified Halal meals, and vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options. Enjoy a delicious, authentic meal that is both health conscious, cost-conscious and is delivered with friendly customer service. Come in and try the grilled lamb pita, chicken shawarma or the big-guy 3x3 breakfast. Baba Ghanouj Cafe, 1701 Barrington Street


Studio 21 has been showcasing high-end contemporary art to the downtown Halifax area for more than three decades. With approximately 50 artists showcased—roughly half of them local—Studio 21 has a rotating group of artists on display, as well as being one of two galleries in Atlantic Canada that exhibits regularly across North America—expanding beyond their own gallery space. As of June, Studio 21 has also offered to enhance any artworks purchased even further, by offering a custom framing service that makes your newest acquisition even more of a personalized memento. Drop by Tuesday through Saturday for a consultation, or to see the latest works on display. Studio 21, 1273 Hollis Street

When Amanda Hennigar founded her own wellness center, she envisioned a customized level of care and attention to detail that resulted in unrivalled customer care. Bespoke Clinic is the result: A wellness business center which offers services from naturopathic medicine, counselling and occupational therapy, to hypnotherapy, private yoga instruction and reiki. Bespoke also has a business incubator space, which associate practitioners can rent at an extremely affordable rate, to offer their services and grow their businesses faster. Most people are quite busy in the run of a day, and Bespoke is proud to offer treatment for a wide range of conditions. Treatment plans are highly customized to the patient to give the best chance of healing success, while the clinic is also looking to add social workers, massage therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, nutritionists and life coaches to their roster. Bespoke Clinic, 1809 Barrington Street, Suite B100

One of Halifax’s favourite destinations for contemplative lifestyle supplies, Drala offers unique, affordable gifts in an apparent oasis of calm, uplifted energy—in the heart of a bustling city. Rand Gaynor continually provides customers with a unique shopping experience. So many customers over the years have said “I love this store” that “You’ll love this store!” was adopted as its slogan. Since 1996, Drala’s loyal clientele, of both locals and visitors, come to find interesting products that are difficult to find elsewhere. Buckwheat Hull Pillows, which are made in Nova Scotia, and handmade Turkish stained-glass lamps, are two such products— both are only available in Halifax at Drala. Drala, 1567 Grafton Street

What do you get when you combine years of friendship with a combined 60 years of experience in the optometric and optical world? Ocean Optometry, an independent office that offers eye exams, fine eyewear and contact lenses. Led by Dr. Euan McGinty, Dr. David John Wilson and opticians Michael Bonang and Alicia Austin, Ocean Optometry takes the premise of friendship and applies it to their customer service, with personalized service in a relaxed environment being a point of emphasis. Ocean Optometry possesses a unique collection of independently-manufactured eyewear. They also focus on having products made from natural materials, making them environmentally friendly, and offer bespoke frames by TD Tom Davies—similar to a custom-made suit— to provide the best possible fit for their customers. Ocean Optometry, 5240 Blowers Street

It began with artisans making pewter designs in 1974 in a vacant boat building shop (circa 1880) in Mahone Bay. Since then, Amos Pewter has opened locations in Peggys Cove, Charlottetown and the historic Halifax waterfront. Amos Pewter designs and hand-crafts pewter jewelry, home decor, tableware and ornaments, which are inspired by nature and our coastal surroundings - offering a connection of the area to customers. Customers can chat with the artisans and watch them carefully ladle hot, free-flowing molten pewter from the melting pot and capture it in a spinning mould. They also offer a hands-on experience where visitors can finish and personalize their own pewter sand dollar, an experience which is uniquely Amos. Each year Amos designs an annual collector ornament, which has become a traditional collectors’ piece for many customers. Each ornament comes with a story and is packaged in a gift envelope...the 2016 ornament is the Cardinal. Amos Pewter, 1751 Lower Water Street


Celebrating more than 10 years on Barrington Street, The Loop is not just a store—it’s become a landmark. Offering a modern, airy, open and well-lit space, The Loop looks more like a gallery or an art studio than a retail shop. Mimi Fautley’s store offers natural fibre yarn, and other supplies, for knitting, crocheting, felting and spinning. Crafters of all levels are welcome, with support, advice and workshops available to help every project, no matter the size. The product selection is diverse, with a number of local and artisanal products, including the Cascade 220 Superwash: a high-quality, soft, machine-washable 100 percent wool. Come in and discover it—or any of the other exciting products—that you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. The Loop, 1547 Barrington Street

When NSCAD University moved to its Granville Street location, there had to be a store for where the art was made—in 1998 the NSCAD Art Supply Store moved with the school. A location rooted in the history of the downtown commercial core, it’s not just a place to purchase art supplies, but also where students—and artists from various parts of the province and beyond—can meet and chat informally. Often people drop in just to say hello, have a laugh, get a hug and chat. If you’re looking for a specific product and the store has it, they’ll sell it to you. If not, they’ll get it for you. And If they can’t get it, or if it doesn’t exist, they’ll suggest solutions that might work for the customer. NSCAD Art Supply Store, 1871 Granville Street

A modern handmade boutique and letterpress studio located in downtown Halifax, Inkwell offers an abundant selection of specialty printed paper products and handmade delights. Everything you can find in the store has been personally worked on by the artist—both local and international—giving it that added feel of care and attention. Owner Andrea Rahal has thrived over the last five years, largely in part to the uniqueness of the products: Inkwell has two antique letterpresses on site, which are used to make its in-house line (Inkwell Originals) and custom client work. A 600-year-old printing process, the cast-iron presses are hand powered and paper is fed by hand. Requiring time and a high degree of skill, the type and image are pressed into the paper through the pressure of the press, resulting in a charming and timeless tactile impression in the paper. Inkwell, 1658 Market Street

Biscuit General Store, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, continues to provide downtown Halifax with fun, interesting and high-quality clothing and accessories that are sure to please. Wendy Friedman hand-selects every item that’s found inside her “boutique department store,” drawing upon the feedback that she hears from customers every day. Biscuit carries the philosophy of embracing everyone, and making them feel welcome. This community approach is reflected in their efforts to support Canadian brands, but they also stock the latest fashions from Scandinavia, London and more. If there’s a style Friedman can’t find? She’ll have it made in LA for her in-house brand Bonanza by Biscuit. Biscuit General Store, 1661 Argyle Street

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Massage and yoga meet at Pramana

Gottingen street, zen is coming your way.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 1:29 PM

Pramana's Alica Wright and Lara Frankcom - SUBMITTED
  • Pramana's Alica Wright and Lara Frankcom
  • submitted

Massage therapist Alicia Wright and yoga instructor Lara Frankcom will combine forces at Pramana—a new business coming to Gottingen street in August.

Wright describes Pramana as a space to learn about your body. A client’s needs can dictate the service they receive. For example, if someone is trying to correct an injury, Wright and Frankcom would work together to assess and treat the client, and also provide them with a set of exercises to take home. The services will be offered separately as well. Yoga at Pramana will be focused on small classes sizes and body alignment work. Wright will offer deep massage therapy, with roots in tissue work and physical rehabilitation.

“We didn’t want to look like a yoga studio, and we didn’t want to look a wellness centre,” says Wright. “Our vision of health and wellness and the way we approach the body is similar—but it’s hard to get that across.” In order to try and communicate their vision, the business partners decided on the name Pramana, which refers to the philosophy of attaining “true and accurate knowledge.”

“We want to bring community together—to be a non-pretentious, accessible and open place,” says Wright. “Once you learn about your physical body, you can go deeper into connecting with yourself.”

Pramana is set to open at 2207 Gottingen Street—Megan Leslie’s former office— in early August. See its website for price listings.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Halifax street style: Quinpool Road

Scouring the streets for the city's most fashionable

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2016 at 5:34 PM

  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

Name(s): Mimi Audellynn (and Kiedis)
Spotted: Quinpool Road
Wearing: shoes, Jeffrey Campbell for Handmade Havana; overalls, bodysuit, sheer top, hat and jewellery, thrifted; opalite choker, Eleventh House (Toronto); Kiedis' harness, Buddy Belt

How would you describe your style?
Well, today for example I would say I'm a little bit country, I'm a little bit IDGAF. So yeah, I'm all about contrast, colour and confidence. 

Do you interpret your current locale into your style choice?
One hundred percent. I’ve lived in the great north and the deep south. You need to be a chameleon when you're on the move. 

Who/where do you derive inspiration from when putting together an outfit?
I get it from my mama. Also, The Golden Girls and Rihanna. 

Name a current trend that you just can't get on board with?
Hoverboards. Because, why though?

Local hotspot for gems?
Makenew and Big Pony. I love those ladies so hard.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Hands-On Halifax is building on a dream

Halifax's community woodworking workshop makes room for hobbyist carpenters of all kinds

Posted By on Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 12:36 PM

  • iStock

Halifax’s first community woodworking workshop has found itself a home. Hands-On Halifax, a proposed place for at-home carpenters of all levels to work on their craft, will be moving into 6070 Almon Street (across from the behemoth Rona) in mid-July, doing some work, and opening to the public and its members a few weeks later.

Hands-On is the brainchild of Russell Zwicker, a newbie carpenter who after searching for classes and courses to help improve upon his own skills, decided to build exactly what he was looking for.

“I bought an old house a few years ago and really wanted to learn how to fix it myself. For the last four-ish years was looking for a way to get into that as a hobbyist and there just wasn’t anything available. There were no options for a drop-in or short class,” says Zwicker. “In the fall I ended up going to NSCC for their carpentry program, and I really enjoyed it, and wanted there to be a space that did something similar but was a lot less commitment.”

He reached out to the Halifax Makerspace, Halifax Tool Library and Bike Again, community workshops with similar goals, to talk about why such a place didn’t exist, or whether he just hadn’t found it. And everyone seemed to echo his sentiment—Halifax would be all the better for having a welcoming, accessible place to build. The soon-to-be Hands-On will offer its members a workshop space for people who don’t have the room at home to hammer away, tools you may not have access too (or have room to own (like saws, sanders, power tools and more basic hand tools), and will also offer classes of all kinds. And its in a spot ripe for collaboration— both the Tool Library and Bike Again have spaces in the Almon Street location, as well.

“It can just be a fun amusement for yourself. I have lots of friends that take like a pottery class, for six weeks or whatever, it can be the same sort of thing for woodworking,” says Zwicker. “My hope is to keep it very accessible for newbies. I know what I would have wanted years ago when i had no skills, and i know what i want now with some basic skills but a lot to learn.

If you're interested in teaching a workshop, or want more information on what’s to come, check out handsonhalifax.com.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

SHOP THIS: Hand Drawn Halifax Colouring Book

Paint the town whatever colour you want with Emma FitzGerald’s new colouring book.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 3:23 PM

  • photo by Meghan Collins

Emma FitzGerald was midway through her now-popular book Hand Drawn Halifax when she had the idea to make a colouring book version, inviting readers and creative types the opportunity to put their own stamp on her line drawings.

“Three years ago in Toronto, I bought a Van Gogh colouring book,” says FitzGerald. “As a kid I used to copy Van Gogh, I think it’s how I learned to draw in the way I do because there’s so much movement. I think that was in the back of my head.” After spending the winter “un-colouring” her drawings, her Hand Drawn Halifax, The Colouring Book has landed. “They aren’t bubbly and clean like a lot of colouring books are,” she says of her city street sketches. “There aren’t all closed lines and shapes like a typical colouring book, it could make for a more expressive colouring experience.”

You can pick up a copy nearly everywhere local books are sold—including but not limited to Bookmark, Atlantic News, Kept and Inkwell Handmade Boutique—or meet FitzGerald yourself this Friday at the Seaport Farmers’ Market (1209 Marginal Road) from 9:30am to 3:30pm, where she’ll be selling copies of her books, cards and prints.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

11 Street Boutique opens this weekend

The Hydrostone gets a women's and men's clothing store

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 12:11 PM

  • via @11streetboutique

Erica Cormier is inspired. The north end resident and entrepreneur is opening her first venture into small business—11 Street Boutique (5649 Hennessy Street, on the corner of Isleville)—this weekend in the Hydrostone, and she says she couldn’t have done it without her local retail muses.

“I’m really into shopping local, and boutique shopping, and I saw a lot of younger women opening stores,” she says. “I started feeling like, I can do this because I’m seeing other women like me do it. Seeing Sweet Pea come so far in the last few years was definitely inspiring.”

Her boutique—named for the 10 historic streets of the Hydrostone neighbourhood, from Sebastian to Young, the 11th being Kaye—will sell women’s and men’s clothing and accessories from brands like Beck and Boosh, Cake for Breakfast, MACCS and Muttonhead Apparel, carrying limited numbers of each piece, and replenishing regularly, to ensure to give shoppers that few-of-a-kind experience. Located in the ground floor of a brand new building, Cormier hopes that 11 Street will bring something different to the already popular shopping strip. The shop will officially opens this Saturday, July 2, from 10am to 5pm.

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Recent Comments

  • Re: Guided Tour - Quinpool

    • Kind of a garbage street though, especially in the summer. Can't imagine how women deal…

    • on September 16, 2016
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    • Terrible write-up. It's all about the places to eat that's it. You suck - get…

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    • A rather selective guided tour then, eh? What of Unity Tattoo? You loved Andy years…

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    • Way to go Selasie! Look forward to seeing all your beautiful designs on the market.

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Vol 24, No 17
September 22, 2016

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