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.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Reality Check: The Business of Virtual Reality

Launching two 360-video start-ups at once—Nearby Planet VR and QuirkVR—was a scary idea, but all-around support from CUA made it easier.

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2D films have the ability to let us “check out” for an hour or two. We can travel back in time, to far-off cities, and connect with characters. But what if, while you were in that world, you could occupy that space? 360-degree video lets you do just that. When you put on your headset, you become fully immersed in another world, and Nearby Planet VR can take you there.

Nearby Planet’s founders Edward Mowbray and Thor Henrikson create virtual tours with 360-video, and work hard every day to offer something to their market. The two wanted to educate people on what exactly 360-degree video was, to help immerse them in it, and to create that “a-ha!” moment for their clients. But just as this series' previous stories from other small business owners went, it was difficult to start up on their own. Thor and Edward add the word “frightening” in as well—especially because they were starting not one business, but two.

With CUA, Nearby Planet VR’s Thor Henrikson and Edward Mowbray have a backer as visionary as they are.
  • With CUA, Nearby Planet VR’s Thor Henrikson and Edward Mowbray have a backer as visionary as they are.

Edward Mowbray first started looking at 360-degree videos in July of 2016, and soon enough, Thor Henrikson wanted in as well. It took six weeks for the two to get the business plan together before they asked for the loan, and CUA (Credit Union Atlantic) had the exact insight and vision to see that what Thor and Edward were offering to the Atlantic Canada region was of value.

“I had a company prior to this, and I couldn’t even get a $2,000 line of credit to pay people from the production company. We went to CUA, and they gave us everything we needed. When you’re working with local people who understand the community and the needs of the small business owner, they respond,” says Edward.

By mid-December, they were pitching to Bryan Richard, Commercial Account Officer at CUA. Bryan was enthusiastic about this unique, ahead-of-the-curve idea, and had a good sense of what could be done with the business. Even though this was a start-up in a new tech sector, Bryan was intrigued.

“It was shockingly simple,” says Edward. Once the two submitted, they phoned after New Years to check in and all Bryan said was, “Oh, you’ve got the loan.” Edward says the two “shook their heads.” Neither of them had ever asked for a business loan of this magnitude. “Don’t you have any questions?” they responded to Bryan. CUA didn’t need anything else. Nearby Planet VR and sister company QuirkVR’s business plan made sense, and CUA knew the founders had a strong idea with the business.

Edward and Thor signed some papers, found their Gottingen Street location, sought the best legal counsel, best accounting firm, and even had some investors in line. CUA saw that Thor and Edward were putting sweat equity and their own finances into it—all of this confirmed with CUA that these guys were worth going out on a limb for.

Both businesses did well in the start, but lately Nearby Planet VR has been going “gangbusters” say Edward and Thor. Nearby Planet now hosts team-building events, adult celebrations, birthdays for kids and has built up a regular clientele. Nearby Planet is most proud of their summer camp for kids who come from backgrounds with not a lot of money involved. The kids can go there to get a break, somewhere where they can feel safe.

QuirkVR, the other side of the company, was successful due to smart business decisions made by Thor and Edward. Instead of buying expensive equipment, the two leased it. CUA noticed that the two had multiple revenue streams: consulting, rental of equipment and full-blown 360 VR video production.

“Bryan is a young guy, and he fought for us. He goes to battle for us, and CUA always listens. They always take into account all the criteria for us to continue to grow in our business,” says Edward.

Their latest production, a dramatic retelling of the legend of The Bluenose, can be seen on the waterfront at the Seadome. Here, we have an 80-seat 360-degree dome theatre with footage shot on the Bluenose from Lunenburg to Boston, archival footage, plus CGI work from Silverback Games

Thor and Edward find their place within the Halifax community by offering services beyond traditional 2D video. With their multiple resources, they work together. The two enjoy projects that come together to do just that: They don’t compete, they complement.

This content has been developed and paid for by CUA, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Victoria Brumwell's got your back

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 6:14 AM


Victoria Brumwell
thinks like an artist. The painter comes from a fine art background—which helps—but what really shows her creative depth is the way she sees possibility in everyday objects. Her eponymous, up-cycled line sees her transforming thrifted jackets (and more recently, bags and boots) into wearable art in the most literal sense: Bestowed with one-of-a-kind, hand-painted designs like abstract florals and tattoo-style snakes.

“To me, they’re like found canvases,” Brumwell says via phone.
It all started roughly over a year ago, when Brumwell spotted a jacket on social media with a painted back panel. “‘I could do that,’ I thought, so I experimented on this acid-wash vest, posted it online and people started asking for commissions,” she explains.
Steam gathered from there, with Brumwell building a collection of coats and vests—mostly slouchy, ’80s denim pieces—and eventually snagging a spot in Atlantic Fashion Week’s The Medium is the Message showcase earlier this month.

“I’m an avid thrifter. I’m always wearing at least two thrifted things at any one time,” Brumwell adds, explaining how she is able to score her found canvases—like a leather trench evoking ’90s Versace in screaming scarlet. That trench became her favourite piece to date, the back panel painted with a Doberman mid-howl.
Brumwell estimates each jacket takes 12 hours to complete. While she advises against machine washing or wearing in heavy rain, the pieces are built to last—and luckily for the wearer, if the paint chips it just adds to the aesthetic.

While commissioned back panels (often negotiated via Instagram) make up the bulk of her business, Brumwell’s AFW collection featured painted pants and denim dresses—hinting at her dreams of branching into design, which she confesses on the phone. For now, though, fans hungry for more of her Memphis-design-aesthetic can curb cravings with items like squiggle-covered wallets, chain-print bags, or maybe that Doberman trench.

“The value in what I do is making something one of a kind,” Brumwell says. “They’re like a tattoo you can take off.”
Find her work at Lost & Found (2383 Agricola Street) or here.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Guided Tour north end

Visiting the north end is linking up with friends, and being a part of the cultural conversations in a space that is inviting and diverse. Don’t miss out on what’s happening in the most happening part of town.


I scream, you scream

It may be getting crisp and cool out, but that doesn't stop us from screaming for ice cream. It's apple season, pumpkin season and, well, just about everything good season, and Dee Dee's Ice Cream has our favourite fall tastes ready!

Dee Dee's is doing autumn right by serving up a pumpkin spice flavour that will make our basic hearts happy, and is even experimenting with a new flavour using local sweet potatoes and roasted marshmallows. They are our go-to north end neighbourhood ice cream joint, and just about everybody else's. Go in to stay cool, or when it's that kind of day you can warm up with a burrito, or a nice steamy bowl of chili.

The line-up is always worth it, and the staff is speedy, friendly and happy. (How could you not be happy when you're working with this creamy goodness all day long?) Don't be scared to indulge even when the weather is straight-up frosty—just put your scarf on and grab a cone at Dee Dee's. Their flavours will give you shivers.
Dee Dee's Ice Cream, 5668 Cornwallis Street


Clothes captioning

Need custom printing for your business, band or festival? Or maybe that embarrassing picture of your friend should really be immortalized for posterity. Does this sound like something you need? Problem solved! Fresh Prints Custom Screen Printing & Apparel is dedicated to helping locals recreate memories, celebrate and make any outrageous idea come to life.

Just think one up, and send it off. There's no design that's too far out. Fresh Prints has custom silkscreen printing, professional graphic design and supply only the highest quality merch for their friends in the HRM. Their t-shirt machine won't stop churning until you're walking around town smiling, and showing off your unique style.

Located in the north end for nearly a decade now, Fresh Prints has been serving clients all around the Maritimes, and beyond. The creative culture and dynamic lifestyles around Halifax keep them committed to do their best—they're always stoked to hear what's next.
Fresh Prints Custom Screen Printing & Apparel, 2411 Agricola Street

Natural balance

It can be easy to forget sometimes in the city, but humans are completely part of nature. As beings, all of us experience the world the same way through our senses, and we are reflective of the natural order of things. Just like our natural world is made up of the elements—fire, earth, metal, water and wood—so are we. Just as Mother Nature can get out of balance, our human elements can also get out of sync. And when that happens, we feel it!

Elizabeth Heffelfinger has been practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine and Classical Element Acupuncture since 1998. She is the past-president of the Nova Scotia Association of Acupuncturists. Elizabeth's focus is working with individuals in a holistic manner, correcting imbalances of the elements and body, mind, spirit.

Walking into her Cornwallis Street office is walking into a warm, friendly environment where you'll feel uplifted, and inspired. Elizabeth works with her clients personally, with one-on-one sessions, where she takes a hands-on approach to healthcare to help keep you in balance.
Elizabeth Heffelfinger, Registered Acupuncturist, 5663 Cornwallis Street, Suite 305

Celebrate with Makenew

Makenew Curated Thrift | Unique Essentials is celebrating seven years of business!  It all started with a curated vintage collection for an online pop-up shot in Anna Gilkerson’s backyard. Now her shop sells more than 30 Canadian brands including AKG—Makenew’s in-house line of basics, jewellery, accessories, skincare, homeware and art—edited alongside multiple pairs of high-rise ’90s jeans, hand-knitted fisherman’s sweaters, soft jersey tees and cashmere turtlenecks.

For her Halifax-made line AKG each season, Anna introduces fresh silhouettes while also bringing back customer favourites she may tweak from season to season. AKG Fall 2017 includes heavy knit jumpers, raglan mock neck dresses, soft intimates and cozy gender fluid pieces perfect for Maritime mornings. 

To celebrate seven years of Makenew, “We want to thank all of our customers, neighbours and friends,” Anna says, “and give everyone 10 percent off for one entire year and a chance to win a $250 holiday gift basket!” Present the ad in the October 12 issue when making a purchase, get 10 percent off at Makenew for the entire year, then you will be entered to win a holiday gift basket.
Makenew Curated Thrift | Unique Essentials, 2698 Agricola Street

Where there's smokehouse

This old-fashioned deli is a Nova Scotia legend. You know them for their pepperoni, their pride and their family tradition. Brothers Meats and Delicatessen has our mouths watering at the mention of their smoked meats, so you won't want to miss their world-famous smokehouse treats, fresh out of the smokehouse each afternoon.

Brothers Meats is a family-run business that has been in the heart of the north end of Halifax for over 60 years. Their preserved-meat tradition was brought to Halifax from Poland, and the city was instantly hooked. Thankfully, the original family has stayed with the company, so the products are as delicious as ever.

Brothers Meats specializes in the art of smoking, and have six wood-fired smokehouses that serve up house-made deli meats, meatloaves, bacon and pork chops. At Brothers Meats, you can grab a slice of smoky, scrumptious history.
Brothers Meats and Delicatessen, 2665 Agricola Street

Thirst level: quenched

Let's start with what has always been true: You can always count on Propeller Brewing to be open, even when the other guys aren't. Unless it's Christmas morning, there is no way they're letting you go thirsty. That's one of the reasons they've been our go-to "OG" beer store for 20 years, and now, they've just one-upped themselves.

After that long day at work, you can come into Propeller and they'll pour you a nice, tall pint—which is a lot more refreshment than the typical four-ounce sample! You can order a beer, grab some food from anyone along Gottingen, plop down, and enjoy that same dog-friendly, people-friendly, safe space right in your favourite diverse neighbourhood.

Start here to kick off your night before heading to The Local for some pizza, or let Propeller be your nightcap at the end of it all. Accept the invite, and head on in—this is a north end dream come true.
Propeller Brewing Company, 2015 Gottingen Street


Pieces of history

Photos taken by W.R. MacAskill, born 1887, are a part of Nova Scotia's history. These beautiful photographs use light and reflection to highlight key moments and local scenery, and although they haven't been available on the market for a while, that's changed thanks to Studio 14 Gifts & Gallery. In scenes of Citadel Hill, the Northwest Arm and the original Bluenose, Studio 14 now lets you take home your favourite slice of the province.

Originally MacAskill's images were printed in black and white, using glass negatives, then hand-tinted with oil colour inks or sepia tones. Now, Studio 14 owner Jennifer Jacobson will be taking on the task, and teaching herself to hand-tint.

These are must-own pieces—even Andy Warhol couldn't resist getting a copy of "Grey Dawn," and neither should you.

And if you're looking for something else to brighten up your home, Studio 14 has an eclectic mix of artwork from Alex Colville, First Nations and Inuit artists, along with framing options to perfectly match your personality. You won't be able to leave with just one piece.
Studio 14 Gifts & Gallery, 2393 Agricola Street

Your daily Deli

They're not pretentious and they may not be the prettiest, but they have great taste and great value. Hali Deli has been open five years, and they just can't keep us away.

We're drawn to the smell of sweet caramelized onions that hits us the second we walk in, and we demand their house-made hollandaise sauce on the regular. Everything on the Hali Deli menu is made from scratch, and we're not sure what makes our mouths water more: the soups, the desserts or just the thought of their special Deli Benny. Throw some smoked turkey, smoked meat or smoked salmon on crisp potato latkes and consider us more than satisfied.

Hali Deli welcomes everyone to enjoy brunch, lunch or breakfast. They've been featured on the Food Network and You Gotta Eat Here!, and as much as we'd like to keep Hali Deli our best-kept secret, it's time to share it with the world.
Hali Deli Old World Delicatessen, 2389 Agricola Street


HRM in the NYC

Your hair should only be handled by the best. Which is good news for Halifax, because we've officially got access to the best. Since award-winning FRED. expanded to open a location in New York's Lower East Side, it has been repeatedly named by Time Out New York for being in the Top 20 salons in a city of 10 million people. Fred Connors' local team has benefited from this expansion, as his travel between the two locations has brought top-notch advanced hair painting techniques and contemporary, edgy haircuts back to the HRM.

The professionals at FRED. are longtime north end pioneers, and in their latest boutique on Agricola Street, they offer a full range of salon and makeup services to help you feel elegant and effortless. This collaborative team has evolved into a family, and customers will instantly feel the love as they walk through the door. They problem-solve together, and co-consult to the point where the client feels like they're being cared for by the entire FRED. family, instead of just an individual. 
FRED., 2606 Agricola Street

Local knowledge

Sip on a pint and listen to some tunes in this non-judgmental, relaxed and perfect-for-anyone environment. This place isn't just for the "cool kids"—The Local aims to serve as the neighbourhood's local gathering spot.

The Local surprised us as it shows off the broad HRM musical community. You can pop in for Wednesday Jazz Night, or their Sunday Night Blues and Family Dinner, and catch some wholesome fun for all where the parents can waltz, and kids are free to dance too!

When it's time for a night out, you can keep it casual and stay at The Local, or all you party animals can head downstairs to The Seahorse. Just don't forget to put your best costume on, because they've got lots of theme nights happening.

 The Seahorse will have us rockin' to a special Alice Cooper Tribute concert the Friday of Halloween weekend (or catch some spooky fun with S.O.S. upstairs in The Marquee that Saturday). The Local isn't just a special group's place, it's everybody's vibe. 
The Local, The Seahorse Tavern and The Marquee Ballroom, 2037 Gottingen Street


Style is forever

Sattva is a Sanskrit word describing a state of mind of feeling light, clear, connected and content. In other words, exactly how you'll feel when you walk into this beautiful boutique on Agricola Street.

The collection at Sattva Boutique is curated through four principles: ethically made, eco conscious, locally sourced, socially aware. The products give back to the community, without sacrificing on being modern and fashionable.

Inspired by the saying "less is more," Sattva offers you a new way to refresh your wardrobe. The beautiful selection of "modern classics" is full of essential pieces that are timeless, comfortable and high-quality. The kind of pieces you will reach for again and again, wearing them for years to come.

These Canadian-made designs are carefully chosen for the modern, sophisticated woman by a kind and passionate team of women who love bringing people together through fashion. Sattva helps you to feel connected to your clothing and promotes a joyful relationship between you and your wardrobe. A must visit if you haven't been!
Sattva Boutique, 2453 Agricola Street

Tony's, Tony's, Tony's

After a night on the town or a long day, there's a hunger in your belly that nothing else can satisfy. You'll walk aimlessly, until finally it clicks. That's when you can practically taste the sweet sauce even before it reaches your tongue. Nothing says Halifax like a midnight donair from Tony's Donair & Pizza.

Tony's has been welcoming Haligonains for 40 years to his same Robie-at-Cunard location in the north end. And even if you don't live close by, you'll find yourself making the trek for this local goodness. Tony's is one of Halifax's original pizza and donair shops, and they've never let us down.

"Tony's Corner" is a phrase known to all, and shared with only the most special of tourists. So here's your key to the real Hali experience: the neighbourhood place to get an original and famous donair.
Tony's Donair & Pizza, 2390 Robie Street

Work hard, play hard

When Local Source market first opened at the corner of Agricola and Charles Streets, its goal was to give people the opportunity to eat local food, and take part in in the local living economy. Growing to start the attached Lion & Bright Cafe Wine Bar is an evolution of that food philosophy. Lion & Bright is a space for people to gather, participate and connect.

The Bright bar is the early morning cafe that starts our day. It's where bright ideas are conjured up, and bright minds come together in a creative community to have conversations in a cohesive environment. Once we can get things done, the space transforms into a celebration of the art of the hustle.

The Lion bar comes to life in the night. Our lion heart and sense of pride emerge through drinks in this sanctuary where we can talk about workdays, and our hopes for the future. The lion lets us connect on a social and human level over food and drinks. There are two sides of this creative coin: working hard, and then playing even harder.
Lion & Bright Cafe Wine Bar, 2534 Agricola Street

What dreams are made of

We all love to feel our best, so don't we deserve to look like our best, authentic selves? For everyone who answers "yes" to that question, Boutique Zekara is a dream come true. With their constant search for new brands, there's always a unique treasure to be found at Zekara.

Zekara offers fun, fashion-forward lifestyle pieces, footwear and accessories to add to your wardrobe, completely geared to enhance your individual personality. Founder Donna Williamson uses her innovative vision and creativity to find brands like In Wear, Repeat, Spanner, Joseph Ribkoff, Sandwich and more. Coming into Zekara is an unforgettable experience where you'll build a relationship with Donna and her team, and receive the best possible products and services. After launching Zekara in Rothesay, NB, Donna chose Agricola Street as her next adventure.

As if having a trend-setting boutique wasn't enough to send us to Zekara, nestled inside is a Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio. Merle Norman is a brand of makeup and skincare that's been loved and trusted since 1920, proving to be a product that excels in price and performance. Stop by and put some on before you make a purchase. Donna believes in the "Try before you buy" philosophy. If you're not happy, she'll make sure you get something that you love and that will work for you. She's here to serve you, Halifax.
Boutique Zekara, 2698 Agricola Street

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Home, Salty Home—There’s No Place Like New Scotland

Starting with an idea hatched around a pool table, brothers Kevin and Scott Saccary created the New Scotland Clothing Company to share their pride. 

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Tall ships, strolls down the harbour and having the friendliest neighbourhood Maritimers around makes it hard to consider any other place “paradise.” As Scott Saccary backpacked around the world, it dawned on him how proud he was to be a Nova Scotian. The rest is the making of a business.

The Saccary Brothers, Kevin and Scott, wanted to share their homeland love with everyone around them, because they knew no matter where they went, their hearts would always be home. The New Scotland Clothing Company is a way to give everyone a chance to bring a slice of home everywhere they go. Whether you’re teaching in Thailand, backpacking through Europe or taking a beach vacation to Cuba, one of the New Scotland tees is a perfect thing to show off during your travels. It’s a way to keep your old traditions alive as you create new ones.

New Scotland Clothing Company's Scott and Kevin Saccary: brothers, curlers, entrepreneurs, CUA members.
  • New Scotland Clothing Company's Scott and Kevin Saccary: brothers, curlers, entrepreneurs, CUA members.

“Scott and I came up with the idea at the pool table in my basement,” says Kevin Saccary. “Since it was an idea, and we didn’t have a lot of proven sales, we had a few but not a lot, it was hard to get a loan even for a smaller amount for inventory.” The brothers needed to get the cash flow started, and CUA (Credit Union Atlantic) took the risk.

“The Nova Scotia Small Business Loan Guarantee Program made possible a line of credit of $15,000 to work with. It helped us pay for inventory, marketing and the wages we needed to pay,” says Kevin. It was easy to work with CUA. Their company account manager, Bryan Richard, got back to them right away and he saw what the small company needed. It was comforting to work with someone local who understood the process, and who was constantly there for them.

The brothers started selling their logo at Alderney Market, and people were instantly drawn to the idea of representing their home province. Even tourists were attracted to showing off their Maritime love, and were willing to take this love back to their home. There’s no ideal buyer–everyone can be a New Scotland patriot.

Soon, they “went from a Rubbermaid container down at the market to three shops,” says Scott Saccary. New Scotland Clothing Company grew with the help of CUA and their operations loan. The brothers have been back to see CUA three times in the last two years. They’re constantly getting new business ideas, and wanting to expand. With CUA, it’s easy to dream big.

The brothers aren’t afraid to give you the good stuff. CUA gave them the chance to change over most of their line from imported clothing to “made in Nova Scotia” by partnering with Stanfield’s in Truro within the first four months of business. Their customers get the quality of the materials and receive top-notch clothing while proudly supporting their local economy when they wear New Scotland clothing.

Scott and Kevin show their passion for their people through their specially-made tees for a cause that hits home: The MS Society. “I have MS myself and I wanted to give back to that charity and bring awareness,” says Kevin. “I want to show how it affects different people, and how the symptoms are very different.” New Scotland Clothing Company donates $20 from each shirt that they sell. They’ve already sold this promotion out once and are nearing another product sell-out.

They owe a lot of their success to the support they’ve received from the curling community. Kevin and Scott are both competitive curlers, and the New Scotland Clothing Company originally started as an idea to make curling apparel to represent Nova Scotia’s curling team. For the first three years that was their plan, but their friends had bigger plans for them.

“Curling is a big part of us. I’m on the board of directors for the Dartmouth Curling Club, and we’ve been in the community for 25 years—since we were eight and 10,” says Kevin. “They were the ones who were supporting us before the public knew who we were, and supporting the brand. We got out there because of them.” Kevin and Scott still continue to work with and sponsor junior kids teams in Nova Scotia, and have even sponsored the Scottish Olympic team in the past.

“When I first saw someone wearing our logo, it was such a surreal moment. We’ve grown so much, and now we ship all over the world right here from Dartmouth. It’s getting out there,” says Kevin. With all of the word of mouth, and huge amount of support, they’ve gone back to CUA in the last four months to open a new location on the waterfront. The brothers needed some capital to buy their shipping container storefront, and CUA helped them with that.

The ideas are never-ending for these business owners, and so are the opportunities. Scott and Kevin are currently talking to CUA about another business venture in creating the New Scotland Brewing Company, and it’s getting more serious now. The brewery has been in the works for two years, with a registered business name and all. Soon, you’ll be able celebrate New Scotland the right way: with some Nova Scotia swag and a cool local brew.

This content has been developed and paid for by CUA, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Halifax street style: Cambridge Street

Scouring the streets for the city's most fashionable

Posted By on Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 3:40 PM


 Josefa (left) and Paulette (right) Cameron
Age: 25 and 28
Spotted: Cambridge Street
Wearing: Josefa: blouse, Value Village; jeans, American Apparel; shoes, Value Village. Paulette: trench, Burberry; jeans, Value Village; boots and purse, Zara; turtleneck, American Apparel

How would you describe your style?
J: “It is mutable. It depends on the weather, what my plans are for the day, and what mood I am in.”

P: "I say my style is quite fluid. It ebbs and flows according to what I am feeling, what closet items I have available, and what the weather conditions are. Right now, I have been veering towards simple black turtlenecks belted with a good pair of jeans. I have a few reiterations of that."

Where do you derive inspiration from when putting together an outfit?
J: “Mid to late ’80s Jennifer Connelly, ’60s and ’70s Michelle Phillips and my mother. She is nifty at combining a ’60s darling, ’70s cool, ’80s empowerment and ’90s class – that only someone who lived through these decades could.”

P: “I follow a few Scandinavian Instagram accounts, and I always enjoy Celine’s collection as well as Mansur Gavriel's. But I think overall, I like to envision an older lady in her Sunday best, and replicate that. I imagine one lady in a cream cashmere sweater saying over her shoulder to her friend, 'Oh, don’t you look smart!' I try to recreate what that might be. I alternate between that and the casual, maybe Chantal Goya in Masculin Féminin, Jane Birkin—but everyone says that—and lately a '70s Lauren Hutton.”

How does living in Halifax affect your fashion choices?
J: “I have definitely started wearing more practical, outdoorsy outfits on the chance that my day might bring me on a hike, a long walk at Point Pleasant Park, or a bike trip.
 Halifax has a way of drawing me to nature at least once a day."

P: “The weather has probably impacted it the most. Lots of wool. More scarves, more layers, also waterproofing my life.”

Local shopping hotspot?
J: “Since moving here, I basically have only shopped at Value Village and Frenchy’s for clothing, they are meccas for unparalleled gems.”

P: “I am constantly seeking the perfect vintage high-waisted jeans, and have a small collection going, so I peruse places like Sally Ann’s and Value Village often. Also Lost and Found is great and features some great local designers.”

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Lion & Bright asks customers to close laptops in the evenings

“It’s not the place of sanctuary and leisure that we really want it to be.”

Posted By on Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 1:05 PM

  • via Facebook

Social media is buzzing since Lion & Bright Cafe Wine Bar announced its policy to be screen-free every evening. Signs on the cafe tables read: “Close your screens, meet your neighbours! Lion & Bright is now screen free after 5pm daily.”

Owner Sean Gallagher says the concept isn’t new—Lion & Bright has always aimed to shift from a workspace to a “social hub” in the evening—but in the past it hasn’t been clear or consistently enforced.

“If there’s somebody, say, walking by in the evening, they look in and they see a bunch of people working on their laptops, it conjures up this notion of stress in people’s lives,” says Gallagher. “It’s not the place of sanctuary and leisure that we really want it to be.”

Then there’s the issue of people “camping out” at tables with their laptops for an extended period of time, which also affects business.

Gallagher emphasizes evening bar-goers can still use their smartphones or come in by themselves to read a book. Working on your laptop is what’s (literally) off the table. He also points out that 7:30am until 5pm is “a decent stretch of time where we are generous with souped-up WiFi and cable service” for customers.

“We can see that we have a problem with campers, so we need to basically put our foot down and say, ‘Listen, this is our space. You wouldn’t do this in a regular restaurant.’ We’re a restaurant,” explains Gallagher. “So it’s just hard for people, I think, to understand that there’s a switch that happens.”

Although there’s been negative feedback, Gallagher says there’s been support as well—particularly from other local business owners. For now, the business is sticking with the policy.

“We’re listening, but we’re just kind of letting it ride out. We want to see what else comes out of it.”

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Lola & Odin's Aussie vibes

Posted By on Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 6:23 PM

  • via @lolaodint

When Savannah Shippien graduated high school, she wasn’t quite ready to dive into more studies. An adventurer at heart, she hit the road instead, and wound up spending two years living in Australia working as a nanny and later, managing a clothing boutique. After returning to Halifax, studying neuroscience and starting a family, she thought med school was in the cards. “But the deeper I got into school the harder it was to see my kids,” says Shippien, whose husband works in Alberta.

With her blissful days down under in the back of her mind, she decided to open Lola & Odin, a women’s clothing store that allowed her to pursue her passion for fashion, and spend time with her kiddies (you guessed it, Lola and Odin). Open since August at 5881 Almon Street (the former home of Abode), the shop stocks all of Shippien’s favourite Australian (and vegan) designs, bringing a “laid back, bohemian vibe” to the racks. “I didn’t want to leave Australia, a part of my heart will always be there. It was such an experience that changed me, I grew up a lot from it. And my style evolved from that after living there,” she says of Lola & Odin’s inspiration. “Opening a boutique didn’t seem like a thing people did—it seemed like a dream job.” In celebration of launching her website this Friday, Shippien will be offering shoppers 20 percent off.

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SHOP THIS: Two Rude Co.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 7:36 AM

Get the Frig shirt ($20) at tworude.com
  • Get the Frig shirt ($20) at tworude.com
“We’re not really that rude at all,” says Millie Jacobs, laughing. She and her partner Linn Freyer are the makers behind Two Rude Co., a little business that basically had no choice but to exist. Equipped with some screen printing gear and an affinity for the most polite swear of all time, Jacobs (who also dabbles in leather goods) and Freyer made a saucy shirt that sealed their fate.

“I really wanted to do this Frig t-shirt because I thought it would be really funny. I didn’t really think much of it because mostly I just love doing crafts,” says Jacobs, “and then they sold like crazy so we had to keep printing.” Now, Two Rude’s grown to include a handful of shirt and hat designs—mostly based off doodles and tattoos the pair have—and sell them at Lost & Found (2383 Agricola Street) and from their online shop.

“We just like to be provocative,” says Jacobs. “We like to keep it a little subtle, kind of telling people to frig off without being too rude about it. You know, keeping it pretty Maritime.”

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Elevate Your Quality of Life and Go Float Yourself

How Lindsay MacPhee went from working 9-to-5 to starting her own business.

click image cuvlogo.png

Lindsay MacPhee enters the dark, sensory deprivation tank to get cozy with her intuition. She experiences discomfort, sits with her thoughts, and starts to make sense of what she’s feeling and why. Floating is a way to enhance her meditation practice, to be able to feel her body, get a sense for her physical awareness and listen. 

You would think that it would be easy to make time for floating when it’s your job, but Lindsay is only human. As the owner and founder of The Floatation Centre, she finds herself getting stressed out with the business and lives with the constant to-do list running through her head — as a typical entrepreneur does. But since May, Lindsay has made it a personal goal and priority to float at least once a week.

CUA member Lindsay MacPhee, owner of The Floatation Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • CUA member Lindsay MacPhee, owner of The Floatation Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia

“I’m actually showing up, even if I don’t want to be there, because floating isn’t a task. You don’t have to do it, you want to do it to be your best self,” says Lindsay. This is Lindsay’s goal and the centre’s purpose: “To provide a springboard for happiness and elevated levels of consciousness.” Lindsay aims for everyone around her to feel calm, loved, and to enter her judgement-free centre with ease.

But The Floatation Centre wasn’t her original “plan,” nor did Lindsay come from a business background. It was going to take work.

“When I wanted to open the business, the ‘big bank’ wouldn’t even look at me. I had too many student loans for the amount that I needed to startup to be available to me.” Lindsay says that from there it was an easy decision. “I remembered having such good memories of Credit Union Atlantic. When I was a kid I had one of those booklets from their children's banking program that you got stamped each time you put money into your savings account” CUA is a member-owned business that is committed to helping local entrepreneurs in strengthening their financial health and keeping the power in the people.

CUA believed in Lindsay, and understood that she found happiness in helping her local community just as they do. With their help, Lindsay left her nine-to-five environmental engineer job to elevate her own quality of life, and enable those around her to do the same.

Lindsay’s first CUA accounts manager was with her every step of the way, and made the whole transition and process seem effortless. “He had experience with the C.E.E.D (Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development) program and did all of the paperwork for me,” she says. Now, almost three years later, her current accounts manager frequently checks in with her, and continues to nominate The Floatation Centre for local awards.   

“He and his wife even came into float before their wedding just to relax and unwind, and they are still active floaters. It feels like I’m working with friends and less like a transaction,” Lindsay says about her ongoing relationship with CUA.

With their help, Lindsay was able to expand just after her first year of business, and continues to expand with her recent addition to the company with her “Compassion Float Program.” This program pays it forward, and provides the chance to nominate someone for a month of free floats, and for them to continue to receive 50% off for the rest of their lives. Lindsay understands that so many people could benefit from the floatation tanks but may be financially limited. This is the kind of freedom that Lindsay maintains with her business: in being able to run it in her own way, and by following her own roadmap.

“I’m so proud of the kinds of people that we’ve attracted, and we have 19 people currently working directly with us. I really want to celebrate that connection.” Lindsay’s heart-led mission stretches out to her team, who she’s able to empower and celebrate. Lindsay says it feels good to be able to do this kind of work with people that she trusts, where she’s finally able to take some time for herself, breathe, and maybe even float.

This content has been developed and paid for by CUA, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.

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Gandhi Indian Designer Clothing makes a statement

Jass Singh wants his clothing line to make a difference.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 1:30 AM


If you are looking for a handmade dress with bright embroidered patterns weaved into the softest of silk, Gandhi Indian Designer Clothing should be on the top of your shopping list. From heavy wedding lehengas (a long skirt worn by women in South Asia) to trendy daily wear, Gandhi provides its customers with the most authentic Indian clothes straight from New Delhi, the very heart of the country’s clothing market.

Owner Jass Singh is a recent graduate from Dalhousie University. And Gandhi is not the only business he owns.

Three years ago, Singh landed in Halifax in a cold winter night from India. Stuck in the snowstorm at the airport, he had no one to turn to. One year later—knowing first-hand the hardship to start a life in a foreign country—started a non-for-profit organization designated to help international students to find accommodations prior to their arrival. Now, Univfax has helped over a thousand students settle down in Halifax.

After graduating from Dalhousie University in 2016 with a master’s degree in engineering, Singh got a job as a quality analyst in central Halifax. His dad told him that now that he had a job, it was time to settle down.

“What do you want?” his father asked. “I want to see Indian clothing stores take off in downtown Toronto in five years,” he replied.
With that ambition in mind, Singh started Gandhi Indian Designer Clothing, an online Indian clothing store selling clothing not only to Indian people but to people from all over the world. The clothes are made by workers from different parts of India and shipped straight from the capital, New Delhi.

But Singh didn’t start the store just for the money. He chose to start a clothing store hoping that it could help shatter the stereotype of race and clothing.

“If I just wanted to start a business—I could’ve just sold socks,” he says. “Some people asked me whether I sold Canadian clothes too or what the business was about. I told them Indian clothes are not just for Indian people—they’re for Canadians, they’re for Chinese, they’re for everyone.”

Gandhi Indian Designer Clothing has appeared in several recent festivals in Halifax. Find the online store here.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Guided Tour Quinpool Road

Today’s Quinpool has changed from travel artery to thriving high street of the west end. Drop by the QuinFest celebration on Saturday to share the vibe of a neighbourhood on the rise.

Quinpool rewards visitors with great restaurants, interesting shops and hidden gems like Oddfellows Barbershop. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Quinpool rewards visitors with great restaurants, interesting shops and hidden gems like Oddfellows Barbershop.
  • submitted photo

QuinFun at the QuinFest

You can start your day off with a creamy latte, check those groceries off your to-do list, do your banking, then still have time to treat yourself to lunch. Quinpool Road has it all ready for you, and you don't have to go far—it's a straight shot! Don't forget, many businesses are pet friendly, so your four-legged friends can enjoy Quinpool too!

The business community is ever-growing, with our favourite staples expanding, plus new businesses introducing themselves to the neighbourhood. Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association ensures that each new addition always receives a warm welcome into the Quinpool Road family.

QRMDA is celebrating their members with the 10th annual QuinFest: Family Fun Day on Saturday, September 23 from 11am to 3pm. Enjoy free food samples from some restaurants, a bouncy castle and carnival games for all of you kids at heart, and stay for the live entertainment. Whatever fun you like, Quinpool Road has got you covered!
Check out the full QuinFest events lineup at quinfest.com

Little heaven on Organic Earth

Organic Earth Market is your place for fresh, in-season fruits and veggies, where the aisles are filled with healthy snacks that you can't resist, and you're guaranteed to find an open kombucha bottle in your cart by the end of your shopping trip. Organic Earth is your local grocery alternative, and it won't break the budget.

Organic Earth satisfies your pre-shopping hunger with their open smoothie bar, has your vitamins available before flu-season hits and has ready-made food for you to take home when you're in a hurry. You've asked, and this one-stop shop has listened—it's increased its hours to 8am-9pm Mon-Sat, and 10am-6pm on Sundays.

The conveniences are endless, especially with the brand-new local businesses and products added to the mix, so now you'll practically never have to leave. When Organic Earth isn't providing you with an organic alternative, they're updating their outdoor signage. Stay turned for what puns and rhymes they'll come up with next!
Organic Earth Market, 6485 Quinpool Road

Handcrafted just for you

A sparkling trio at Trinity Jewellers. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • A sparkling trio at Trinity Jewellers.
  • Submitted photo

Bring in your inherited jewellery and let them craft a custom ring that you'll be able to cherish forever. Trinity Jewellers is here to re-purpose your family heirloom, and make sure that you never lose a piece of history. Trinity knows that classic jewellery never needs to go out of style.

Trinity Jewellers supports and carries Canadian-made and designed jewellery brands like BIKO, Sara Kelly, Plum & Posey, AM Chagnon, JewelleryByDuc and Foxy Original. Or stay hip with the trend, and pick up another Alex & Ani charm for your collection.

Trinity keeps busy during wedding and engagement season, but this local business will make sure that your ring is one-of-a-kind, just like you, and you'll always feel like a priority when you walk through their doors. This is why they are still the top place to go for any jewellery repair in the HRM.
Trinity Jewellers, 6226 Quinpool Road

I heart Heartwood

The smell of freshly cooked vegetables fills the air the moment you walk in, and you know that you're in for a treat. Heartwood restaurant appeals to the super-green active vegetarian, the cheese lovers and all the way to you meatless-Monday folk. You'll wonder how health could taste this good?

Close your eyes and check out the chef's surprise when you pick the "wild card pizza." This dish is perfect for all of you brave foodies who are willing to try anything. You may end up with a bean burger, tofu, spinach and artichoke mix on top of the kamut crust and homemade caesar dressing. Is your mouth watering yet?

Heartwood is the perfect spot to sit with a smoothie by the window, or to pair your first date with a bottle of local wine. Their combination of fun-loving staff and cozy lighting makes for the perfect ambiance, no matter the occasion.
Heartwood, 6250 Quinpool Road

Permanent impress

Are you itching to get a new tattoo? Have you had one on your mind and just haven't found the right artist for you? Adept Tattoos & Body Piercing Studio has a wide variety of resident tattoo artists who are happy to brainstorm one-on-one with you to suit the style that you're looking for. Or if you're feeling brave, you can go on and try one of their featured guest artists from out of town.

Adept's artists specialize in custom artwork, and know how important it is to get the perfect design ready to permanently ink. If tattoos aren't your thing, pop in for a piercing. The Quinpool location welcomes walk-ins everyday so you can afford to be spontaneous. The studio has been open since 2006 and continues to provide the HRM with state of the art equipment and ink, and large selection of jewellery.
Adept Tattoos & Body Piercing Studio, 6265 Quinpool Road

Social dining in the Six

They are new to the Quinpool area but this neighbourhood restaurant fits right in. Six303 Eatery's ambiance is chic and urban, and if you peek over to the green wall, you may notice some familiar Halifax street names to make you feel connected to your city, and with them.

Six303 is your new brunch spot, or your chance to test your painting skills on PaintNite Tuesdays. This eatery pulls out all the stops to make sure they're sending you home with your belly full of some of the city's best calamari, or their signature Six303 burger, and you can go ahead and book your reservation online. You'll never want to cook for yourself again.

Join them for Wine Tasting Wednesdays and live music with Jon Cyr on Thursdays, and football fans better keep an eye out for their Patriots-themed menu. So what are you waiting for? Six303 is waiting to get social with you.
Six303 Eatery, 6303 Quinpool Road

Top class in glasses

Tired of seeing double? Imagine walking out your door with a unique style that's all your own. That's what you'll get with Gaudet Optical. Gaudet attracts the curious with their distinguished eyewear, and Gaudet's unique clients wear their glasses with confidence. Swap out those gold earrings—glasses are the new statement accessory.

They have a wide selection from over a thousand frames in store, and no frame is the same, because everyone at Gaudet Optical feels that each frame is made for one face. Be curious and try on a pair that you wouldn't normally; the staff is experienced, friendly and they're all rocking many of their own styles of frames and are eager to help you find yours.

Glasses make a person stand out, and are a representation of who that person is. Are you soft...bold...colourful? However you need to express yourself, Gaudet has a frame.
Gaudet Optical, 6465 Quinpool Road

A slice of The Big Apple

We call them "Little New York" because it's the restaurant that never sleeps. Walk by at 1pm or 4am and you'll see the lights on, the hard-working staff making customers laugh, the smell of sweet cheesy goodness in the air. Freeman's Little New York has been satisfying our midnight cravings since 1956, and boy do they have us hooked.

At Freeman's you can pick it all, and at any hour. With them being open 24 hours, you can meet your friends at this popular community breakfast spot, or grab lunch on the go. Just can't get through the week without your dose of Freeman's signature nachos and pizza? Don't worry; they'll still be there. Can't go to them? Well, it's a good thing Freeman's delivers until 5am so that you never have to go without. The Freeman's vibe will transport you right into the heart of New York, and have you eating like a New Yorker too.
Freeman's Little New York, 6092 Quinpool Road

Total passion for local culture

"Flowers For Maud" at Secord Gallery. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • "Flowers For Maud" at Secord Gallery.
  • Submitted photo

Secord Gallery is one of the longest-established galleries and independent custom framing shops in the region. Part of the Quinpool family since 1979, the gallery is a source for both contemporary fine art and expert custom framing. 

Secord is passionate about the importance of art and the contemporary Nova Scotian artists who create it. The gallery represents both well-known and emerging artists, including realist painters Alan Bateman, Paul Hannon and Steven Rhude, and ceramic artists like Alexandra McCurdy and Sally Ravindra. Secord also features sculptors, landscape and figure painters, printmakers, and interpretive and abstract painters who are showcased in Secord's series of exhibitions every year. 

Secord wants to celebrate the remarkable talent found in Nova Scotia with you, and is always eager to discuss the artists, and to assist in your art purchases, including alternative payment methods such as leasing to buy. The gallery also provides experienced and creative framing consultation, an amazing selection of mouldings and careful, expert workmanship.
Secord Gallery, 6301 Quinpool Road

Welcome home to the Athens

Ever wish you were born into a Greek family, if only just for the food? Congratulations, we've found your perfect home! When you come through the doors at Athens Restaurant, the Panopalis family will adopt you for a meal or two. (Don't worry, they won't tell your "real" family.)

Athens is meant for the whole gang. They have something for the vegetarian in your family, or even a separate kid's menu for your picky eater. It's so easy to find something for everyone, and did we mention that everything is made from scratch? Their ingredients are locally sourced when possible, but can we really blame them for using authentic Greek spices?

Their menu has some overwhelmingly delicious options, but it's easy to pick when Athens offers sampler plates, serves breakfast daily and has endless options stretching beyond Greek food. Come hungry, and get your fix right on Quinpool Road.
Athens Restaurant, 6273 Quinpool Road

Find your swole mate

Everything should feel right, from the cushion to the handlebars, to the feeling that you get when you first see it. Take your time, look around and test-ride every bike in the shop if you'd like. Building a bike and finding its perfect match is what Long Alley Bicycles specializes in.

Even if you're in a committed relationship, you can bring your old flame in and the guys at Long Alley will have it looking brand new. They are passionate about what they do, and if they can salvage any part, they will.

Long Alley takes away the stress of bike maintenance, and their services menu makes you feel like you're visiting a restaurant. You can grab a "tall cold pint" with them—a flat tire fix. Or get a "side of poutine"—a drivetrain scrub. What more could you ask for when taking care of the love of your life?

Don't miss their end of season clear-out sale: Thirty percent off bikes and 50 percent savings on select helmets.
Long Alley Bicycles, 6164 Quinpool Road, Unit A

Order up!

Whether you're a Halifax local, or you've visited a time or two, you can't say you know the city until you've had a classic Ardmore Tea Room experience. Ardmore is where you go when you want an authentic diner atmosphere that takes you back into the '50s, right down to the portion sizes.

Ardmore invites you into its booths to indulge in that classic Canadian breakfast that your stomach has been aching for, and you can have it anytime with their all-day breakfast option. (Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?)

Top your visit off with some blueberry pancakes or out-of-this-world milkshake, and if you feel like you're stumbling out, you did Ardmore right.

Ardmore is simple because it can be, and you'll be thinking about your breakfast here all the way home. Ardmore is the Halifax experience. You'll be sad to leave, but Ardmore will always be waiting for you when you return.
Ardmore Tea Room, 6499 Quinpool Road

An oasis of Oddfellows

Just finding Oddfellows is part of the fun. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Just finding Oddfellows is part of the fun.
  • Submitted photo

You wouldn't know it to see it. First you've got to make your way through the board boutique that is Pro Skates, then hop through some obstacles and voila! Once you find Oddfellows Barbershop, you'll be glad you went hunting.

This quirky living room-style barbershop likes the idea of being tucked away; it's part of their charm. When you happen upon them it's like a fun game, and if you make it through, you're in the club for life. Oddfellows intrigues you with its super-secret location, and totally delivers with that extra care to make sure your trim is just right.

This relaxing environment also offers you the full therapeutic shaving experience, with straight razor shaves, beard trims and men's grooming products. You'll walk in as a stranger, but leave feeling like a friend.
Oddfellows Barbershop, 6451 Quinpool Road

Hole wheat

You'll hear Gerry singing an ode to his unforgettable bagels, and as you start getting closer, you'll spot his spinning sign and infamous bagel song and dance. Once you've made it this far, there's no way you haven't smelled the intoxicating rising sourdough. If you are still resisting going inside East Coast Bakery on Quinpool Road, you've been eating the wrong bagels, friend.

This bakery has created a special hybrid bagel for all us east coasters by breeding local wild yeast with a flour-and-water mix, and thus their sourdough was born!

The bagels are baked in store every day, and to make your dozen you can mix and match between the onion-all-in, sesame, pretzel and more. You can also dress your bagel up by grabbing a bagel-wich at any of the 11 local restaurants that serve East Coast Bagels. Carb lovers have a special thing coming for them.
East Coast Bakery, 6257 Quinpool Road

A magic patty ride

Put your phone away, close your eyes and let your senses awaken to the ultimate burger experience. Relish Gourmet Burgers uses traditional French culinary techniques, all while using locally conscious ingredients, to bring you the best gourmet burger in town. Your taste buds will be thanking you.

From vegan to beef options, Relish likes to spice up the patty so that you'll never get bored. You won't be able to keep up with their ongoing burger specials like the famous Donair sliders, Chips n Dip burger, or the Big Wack. These guys are Burger Week champions for a reason.

Everything at Relish is made right there; try the kale Caesar salad's house made dressing with veggies from Common Roots Urban Farm just across the road. This way, you can finish your burger, and then walk over and see where the kale was grown! Just bite the burger already, and get ready to say hello to your new favourite burger joint.
Relish Gourmet Burgers, 6024 Quinpool Road

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RIO's going Rogue

A sister studio concept, and more more more classes

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 2:50 PM


“I’ve just been using the words more, more, more a lot,” says Connie McInnes, owner north end Halifax fitness studio RIO
(5781 Charles Street). Today, she announced big growth for the two-and-a-half year old business: In early October it’ll be opening a sister location, Rogue (6331 Lady Hammond Road), meaning the space for its diverse list of class offerings is doubling.

“When I first opened it was my big dream...I wanted to open the first pilates, yoga, multi-dimensional studio in Halifax. The more variety we started to offer, the more variety people wanted to indulge in,” she says. “We wanted to offer every component of a fitness regime under one roof—now our roof is just too small.”

The opening of Rogue doesn’t just mean a bigger roof, it makes room for a re-imagining of RIO, too. Rogue will become the industrial-vibe home of what McInnes calls RIO’s harder side—the strength, circuit training and warrior classes, plus new stuff like kickboxing and some open gym time—while the Charles Street studio will zero in on the softer stuff like yoga, barre and pilates.

“We’re making some major changes to our current space—aesthetically, the lay out of studio, energy and atmosphere—making it a bit more of a feminine space,” says McInnes. “We’re becoming a chill out zone and yoga studio and promoting our yoga classes as mini one-hour retreats.”

While both studios will offer very different classes to cater to the entire spectrum of fitness needs, a membership will get you access to both locations and fitness experiences. RIO roll its new schedule this week and Rogue is set to open after Thanksgiving.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Q&A with Fog Off Clothing's Tim Hennebury

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 11:28 AM


Tim Hennebury
launched his Fog Off Clothing Co. brand three years ago with the aim of getting people talking about mental health, but he’s had a banner summer. Now, he’s embracing the advocate role, travelling around with his t-shirts, sweaters and hats, selling at events and in Pseudio stores across the Atlantic Provinces and donating 10 percent of sales to the Canadian Mental Health Association and local initiatives.

Why did you think it was important to take the brand on the road?
I think in general it creates an environment for people to talk freely about their mental health. I’m just getting home from the Wharf Rat Rally. We had so many people coming to the mobile store to talk about mental health.

What’s the story behind the name?
I grew up with fishermen, and you can be out hauling your traps or hauling your nets or your gear and you look up and you’re in a bank of fog and your compass and radar are out of whack. Then you have to pick up the phone and you call your fishing buddies to get you out of the fog. That’s where I came up with Fog Off, that whole concept of being out there in your boat. We all deal with some kind of mental health issue—whether it’s your brother, your sister, yourself, your work, a boss, we can all end up in that kind of fog.

What led you to share this message via clothing?
I thought it was great vessel to spread the message and let people know you’re not alone, you’re normal. Whether you’re in a fog or not—you’re human and we all deal with this shit, on an every day level.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Third Earth Collectibles geeks out

Posted By on Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 5:33 PM

  • via Facebook

Dave Mullins
wasn’t about to let the film tax credit take him away from Halifax. After a decade of working as an editor, he—like many others—had to rethink his path after a layoff, and it turned out geek gear was the answer.

“I’ve had colleagues move away to Toronto and Alberta, and we thought about it,” he says. “We wanted to stay in Nova Scotia, we didn’t like the idea of leaving, it’s our home. We thought, ‘what can we do as a family that combined our expertise and passion?’ We are collectors, we have a knowledge of these things, it’s a culture we love.”

That’s when Mullins and his wife Glenna teamed up to bring Third Earth Collectibles to the north end, 5576 Cornwallis to be exact (it shares a space with Octopi Computers). “We wanted to be a little more niche, so we didn’t want to go too far down the comic road, we wanted to cater to the same demographic, but include not just geek comic culture, but pop culture too,” says Mullins. Currently the shop is stocking things like action figures, buy-and-sell toys, accessories and apparel that aren’t just all about your regular superheroes, but your favourite TV shows and movies, too, taking inspiration from American chain, ThinkGeek.

“It’s a business, but it’s also fun. We’re passionate about it, we care deeply about it,” says Mullins. “Eight-hundred pieces showed up at the store and I said to my wife, it feels like Christmas day. I get to open up all these boxes and look at the toys, I just don’t get to keep them.”
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Thursday, September 7, 2017

The end of The Oxford

After 80 years at the movies, we say goodbye to a piece of Halifax history.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 8:43 AM


It’s about the building, but it isn’t.

For some, going to the movies is just going to the movies. Those people are fine driving out to Bayers Lake or Dartmouth Crossing and stepping into a photocopied multiplex—if you entered a Cineplex-branded building in Edmonton or Barrie, you’d know exactly what to do—and enduring the flashing lights of the arcade, the lobby you could drive a tank through with no damage, the wide array of hot snacks served by frazzled teens. These same people think arena shows are the best way to see a band. It’s not an experience, it’s just a thing to do.

For others, to go to the movies is to engage with art. It’s an event. It can be the cultural highlight of a year.

For 80 years, that is what The Oxford gave to Halifax. As a building, bricks and mortar, it’s lacking in that way repertory cinemas have always been lacking: There’s the tiny lobby and the inefficient, downright befuddling bathrooms—in the women’s there is a full-on powder room next to three stalls circling a single tiny sink (why would the toilet be raised, anyway?). A few years ago, cosmetic renovations resulted in an uglier sign, less character and neither—never, as it turned out—air conditioning nor self-serve ticketing. Before the theatre went digital, the projector was so dirty that every movie looked like it was from the 70s, covered in bits of dust and detritus.

None of that mattered, because you loved it anyway. A movie house born in 1937 versus one printed out from a template in 2017—these two places don’t feel like they’re even on the same earth. The Oxford has high ceilings, wide aisles, ample space between rows, deep seats arranged in gently curving rows to provide good sightlines. Its biggest old-world flair is the balcony, high up and far back, with a narrow staircase. There’s still a moment where the curtains pull fully back.

In retrospect, we should’ve seen this coming. The Atlantic International Film Festival, in a year full of confusing moves, announced this summer that it would be taking place solely in Park Lane, eight screens handily located in the downtown core. (Since we’re here—our fingers have long been crossed for Park Lane.) But the Oxford premieres were the best part of the festival. No local filmmaker will ever again get to stand on a red carpet outside a single-screen movie house, with a line stretching down Oxford Street, in tandem with the trees, comprised of hundreds of people excited to see their art. No filmgoer will ever again get to witness something like Michael Moore introducing Bowling for
, a documentary that would go on to win an Academy Award for its Halifax-based producers.

Of course, film exhibition is not about art, it’s about business. Empire made half-hearted attempts to run the Oxford as a rep, but it’s too big, over 300 seats. (That’s why the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel could—needed to?—have an 11-week run.) Cineplex, since its acquisition of all Empire Theatres in 2013, has neither known nor cared what to do with it (although it kept running monthly classics until opening a dedicated Event screen in Park Lane two years back).
That The Oxford has fallen to development is what hurts the most. Stores and restaurants close all the time, sometimes because of condos and sometimes because of failure and it’s awful but that’s life. For a corporation to just sell off a piece of Halifax history, one that means so much to so many, that offers daily experiential art to citizens who will cheerfully, actively work for it—for a corporation to do something so fucking corporate—is not surprising. But that doesn’t make it any less devastating.

So it’s about the building, for a few. For the rest of us, it isn’t. It never was.

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Vol 25, No 21
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