The student population in this city is more than half the size of the entire population on the peninsula, making casual run-ins a way of life. So whether you're crushing on that cute boy in your Dinosaurs and Their World class or swooning over the server at a nearby cafe, the following hotspots will help provide the spark for fiery flirting.
Pizza Corner (Grafton and Blowers)
During the day, Pizza Corner serves as a main pedestrian thoroughfare for those heading downtown or up to Spring Garden. You can meet henna-painted and incense-scented folks at the nearby Black Market, heads perusing pipes at Mary Janes Smokeshop and skaters at Pro Girl and Pro Skateboards & Snowboards.
At night, the corner becomes a gong show. If you didn't find that special someone at the bar, odds are you can find them at one of the two pizza parlours or indulging at King of Donair. With plenty of seating and extra large slices, you can find time to catch up on things at Sicilian Pizza. If you're not into pizza or donairs you can always grab something equally delicious at European Food Shop (of course, they still have pizza, if Sicilian and KoD don't do it for you).
Students and coffee go together better than students and debt, so don't be surprised to find yourself waiting for a table to free up at your favourite cafe. While you wait you can make your rounds saying hi to familiar faces. You can find hipsters and hippies alike drinking mochas at Steve-O-Reno's. Bookish and honour roll students flock to the quiet and studious air of Trident Booksellers and Cafe. North end cats and NSCAD students are sure to be prowling around Alteregos. For those looking to relax with a pot of tea and some scrumptious snacks, crushes can be found curled up on one of the cushy chairs at Blowers Street Paper Chase. In fact, you can't go wrong strolling into any of the too-numerous-to-name cafes on the peninsula.
Halifax Farmers' Market
I defy you to go to the Saturday market and not run into at least a handful of people. I know one Halifamous local who goes twice---once to shop and once to mingle. The entire market is plum for meetings. But there is one particular epicentre for run-ins---the line-ups for the Creperie Mobile and Julien's. These line-ups are always long, and offer a break from the shark-like movements needed to navigate the rest of the market. But if you're more into sweets, the line-up at Mary's Bread Basket is also a popular spot to meet people and have some sweet cinnamon rolls.
For students with loans and studying to do, you wouldn't think the liquor store would be a popular spot. Nonetheless, sure as tequila shots are a bad idea, the liquor store is a great place to run into people. If you're unsure what to talk about you can ask what their plans are with that Colt 45, or, if they're more highbrow, which $10 wine they suggest. If you're looking to run into a particular someone though, location plays a big part in where you should buy your booze. The Clyde, Quinpool and Queen Street stores are a good bet to find SMU and Dal dorm residents. And though it might not be pretty, the Agricola Street location is perfect to find those looking to drink away the dampness of the long and wet Halifax winter.
When it's nicer out, the patios on Argyle are peppered with acquaintances that can turn a five-minute walk into 15. Likewise, if you're on the patio, keep a chair open for a passing friend. Cold or warm, you can always count on finding a familiar face tucked in a corner in the labyrinthine Economy Shoe Shop. The other bars on the street such as Bitter End (for martinis), The Argyle Bar & Grill (for beers and bros) and The Dome (for a crowd) are up to the discretion of the clientele you're seeking to meet.
Of course, while Halifax is great for running into an old friend, classmate or love interest, you're also just as likely to run into your nemesis, ex or frosh week one-night stand. There's no way to avoid these situations, so you might as well be prepared. Here's a little run-in etiquette to help you through.
Acknowledge their presence This isn't Toronto or Calgary, so people don't stare at the sidewalk when walking and you can't get lost in a crowd. They will see you.
Don't be afraid to smile It's a nice way to say, "I'm happy to see you," but also avoids those time-consuming conversation-starting greetings.
Don't be afraid to chat
If you do have a direct run-in, a simple what's going on is fine. They're probably going somewhere and don't want a long chat either.
Have an excuse ready in advance
The old standbys are "I'm running late" and/or you have to catch a bus/ferry. Haligonians are always running late. And now you can too by visiting these hotspots. I hope we can run into each other sometime.