Go Local: Quinpool

Quinpool Road is a street at the crossroads.

One of the city’s main links between downtown and the suburbs, complete with gas stations and a McD’s drive-thru, it’s very commuter. But it’s a whole lot of community, too, serving as the west end’s Main Street. You can find all kinds of local restaurants—anchored by mainstays Athens and Freeman’s Little New York—and happening boutiques beside the banks and food chains. There are enough interesting made-in-Halifax businesses in the area to fill several Go Local visits, so this time out I paid special attention to renovations among other news. I was also struck by how this traffic artery has become the city’s self-propelled transit destination. On the bike front, earlier this year Cyclesmith completed a major expansion and the Halifax Cycle Gallery opened. The Trail Shop sells canoes and kayaks; Aerobics First outfits runners and snowboarders; and Pro Skateboards are, ummm, the skateboard pros. Of course, you’ve still got those cars to deal with. But treat every crossing—especially at Monastery Lane—like a real-life game of Frogger, and you’ll always be going for the win.

6386 Quinpool, 444-3914
The popular upscale Middle Eastern eatery has a Dinner and a Movie deal going on to please both the film fan and the gourmand. Choose from a set menu and get a ticket to any Empire Theatres show for $25 per person. Make it a date by going to the Oxford Theatre just across the street, but be aware this special isn’t applicable to Atlantic Film Fest flicks.

Zephyr Rug and Home
6232 Quinpool, 446-4622
The renovations now going on above Zephyr will soon mean big changes to the home furnishings, rugs and accessory store. When they’re complete---“probably in the new year,” says Matina AuCoin, who co-owns the business with Labi Kousoulis---Zephyr will double its showroom space into the second floor. “We try to sell product [limiting] its carbon footprint,” says AuCoin of the business’s green conscience. “Our upholstered goods are made in Canada as much as possible.” Zephyr also displays and sells work from local artists on the store walls.

The Trail Shop
6210 Quinpool, 423-8736

Aerobics First
6166 Quinpool, 423-1479

Nautilus Aquatics and Hobbies
6164 Quinpool, 454-4296
Though the building housing the hobby and water sports shop is undergoing a few renovations---there’s a new door, solar water heating and other changes---your shopping experience won’t be inhibited at all. Nautilus still carries a great collection of model kits as well as everything the scuba diver, snorkelling enthusiast or swimmer might need, from fins to suits to goggles. Owner Mike Chambers says he’s been especially busy with the summer’s warm weather and that the ocean water “is still fairly warm” for those who want to extend the beach season.

Freeman’s Little New York
6092 Quinpool, 455-7000

Ardmore Tea Room
6499 Quinpool, 423-7523
For decades this cozy diner has been the destination for those looking for a great breakfast meal and a little Vitamin G, and by that we don’t mean riboflavin. New on the menu is a special flavour-of-the-week milkshake. It’s blueberry cheesecake right now---drop in before supplies run out.

Pro Skateboards
6070 Quinpool - Soon at 6451 Quinpool, 406-4006
Judging by the building encased in plywood, the move of the Pro empire---two downtown shops plus the one at 6070 Quinpool---into the new location is still a few weeks away. “We’re hoping to get open for October 1, but we have a LOT to do,” reports co-owner Jon Swinamer. “The reno to the front of the building went a little slower than anticipated. Yeah, I know, a renovation going longer than expected, duh.”

House of Dogs
6448 Quinpool, 492-3647 The pet supply store and groomer now grooms cats. Yes, that’s right, cats. “We ask the owners to stay with the cats,” says shop owner Susan Richard, who books appointments for cat grooming on Wednesdays and dogs on other days. “We don’t usually bathe them,” she adds, but will do nail clippings along with any kind of groom you’d like, all for $40.

Halifax Cycle Gallery
6299 Quinpool, 407-4222
The newest bike shop on Quinpool boasts gorgeous European two-wheeled works of art. But the selection of accessories can go to your head, too, particularly the various models of helmets that help you obey Halifax’s helmet law with style.

Athens Restaurant
6273 Quinpool, 422-1595

6112 Quinpool, 425-1756

Video Difference
6086 Quinpool, 425-3029
With Blockbuster considering bankruptcy protection, and Rogers, Jumbo and Ambassador video outlets all long gone from the street, how does this independent DVD rental emporium thrive? “I guess we’re just better retailers,” says Video Difference owner Tom Michael, who realizes since his basic product isn’t different from those other places, “we have to pull out every trick in the book.” That means things like changing up the 50,000-title selection, stocking more edible treats and adding Blu-Ray titles. Plus, at the end of September, Video Difference will be offering a CD collection of songs by Halifax musicians.

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