All I can say right now is 'WOW'! Wow because it was the most beautiful fall day today, Wow because we had an amazing day, Wow because of what happened in downtown Halifax today. Just WOW! I'm at a loss for words right now actually.
Today (well, this whole weekend) is City Harvest in Halifax. City Harvest was born from Open City that happened in the Spring. Open City was created as a way to encourage folks to visit the downtown and learn about local businesses and restaurants. It was so successful that not only did they decide it would be a yearly event, but they did it again just a few months later in October. Again, it was a huge success.
The deal is that businesses participate by offering deals or discounts to shoppers who visit their stores. This weekend, the ever-growing list of businesses involved grew to 95 and it spanned the entire downtown from North to South and from the Waterfront to Quinpool Rd. Here is what our day was like in downtown Halifax today, or rather what we were able to fit into today.
Our first stop was to the Halifax Seaport Market. That was an obvious choice since it was Saturday and that's where I go every Saturday morning. There were a few vendors who were participating so we made sure to stop by. First was to Made With Local. They are on the list of regulars that I see each time I visit the market. They create bars made with as many local ingredients as possible, like oats from Speerville Oats, molasses from Crosby's Molasses, cranberries from Terra Beata cranberries, Nutsmith Peanut Butter, etc.. Today, they debuted their new bar - the Totally Autumn Bar with Pumpkin from Noggins Farm, roasted pecans, and white chocolate. Yum!!
Here's a link to the Made With Local website to learn more (www.madewithlocal.ca).
Our next stop within the market was to Crowbar Real Foods for a taste of their Harvest Moonfire Pear Muffins. Absolutely delicious!
Crowbar is a great company because they try to fill each 'treat' with as much healthy-goodness as possible. Here's what I found about them on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/crowbarrealfoods#!/crowbarrealfoods)
We're committed to offering you the most friggin' delicious, nutritious, and satiating energy bar you'll ever eat, as well as other delicious snacks made with as many locally-sourced and organic ingredients as possible.
In short, we want to fill you up with goodness!
In short, we want to fill you up with goodness!
Company OverviewCrowbar Real Foods is a small Halifax-based business supported by friends. We love each other, real food, the amazing world, and rock n’ roll, and are excited to share the fruits of our labour with you. All products are formulated by our in-house nutritional strategist, an experienced holistic experienced nutritional consultant. We try to pack as much awesome goodness into each product as possible.
While we were at the market we stumbled up a giant pumpkin, 890lbs of pumpkin, actually. Sheesh!
Once we left the market we walked down the Waterfront and stopped in at Sugah! Halifax for FREE ice cream. Yes! FREE ice cream!! And it was any size, any toppings you wanted.
The hubby and the kid got some ice cream. Ice cream at 10:30 in the morning? Yes, why not? None for me though...avoiding the dairy since I did the detox last month.
While they ate their ice creams we browsed the Historic Farmers Market in the Alexander Keiths building. This is where the main farmers market used to be before they built the Seaport Market. There are still quite a few vendors located here and I try to visit both when I can (they're just down the street from each other).
Once we made it to Barrington St. we had to visit Uncommon Grounds for $1 coffees. They were offering $1 coffees (any size) and $2 eggnog latte's too. The hubby got a coffee and I got myself a decaf to sip on.
Next door, we stopped in to Carbonstock to browse their really cool stuff. It's one of those places you go to when you've got a gift to buy and want to get something different. This is a good place to start. It got me thinking about Christmas gifts I'll be picking up later.
Further down Barrington we visited Attica Furnishings. I had heard a lot about them since I follow them on Twitter but had never been into the store to see what it was like. Well, there's lots in there that I like. Like this beautiful kitchen table. It wouldn't match the kitchen that I have right now but I can dream about it. Beautiful furniture in this place (and made in Canada).
From that point we went to Argyle St. and checked out Biscuit. Biscuit started in 1996 selling clothing on Spring Garden Rd. and eventually expanded to selling gifts in 2000 and moved to their current Argyle St. location. (check out www.biscuitgeneralstore.com for more info about the store).
They have some really cool stuff in there! What was their deal for the day? Well, people needed to post a photo of an item on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, and get 25% off that item. What a great way to promote their business and get people interested in their clothing and gifts! Did I buy anything? Yes, I did. I got a solar-powered charger for my iPhone. Here's a copy of my tweet that got me 25% off!
Our next stop was to the Foggy Goggle (also on Argyle St) for a slice of Sweet Potato Pie and a pint of Propeller Pumpkin Ale. The Foggy Goggle is a popular pub in the city - they have a menu with made-from-scatch meals and you know what? They don't have a deep-fryer. I think that's awesome! (www.thefoggygoggle.ca)
It was perfect patio weather today so we took advantage and sat outside. The kid had a slice for herself, the hubby had the beer (I hate beer) and we shared the other slice of pie. He had the bottom portion with the whipped maple cream (again, no dairy for me).
After having dessert, we thought we'd head up to Pete's Frootique on Dresden Row and have some lunch. Their deal of the day was a bowl of West African Peanut Soup for $2. The soup was damn good!! I would love to have the recipe for this one! Although we did go for the soup we browsed the store too. I love Pete's way too much and could have spent the whole day there buying all kinds of groceries. (www.petesfrootique.com)
After our delicious lunch we went to Jennifer's of Nova Scotia on Spring Garden Rd. Jennifer's sells many locally produced items like pottery, jewelry, pewter, glass, jams, candy and more (www.jennifers.ns.ca).
Their special was pretty interesting - for each purchase over $10 customers could bob for an apple and win a prize. My daughter really wanted to bob for an apple so we let her participate. The table was too high for her though so she simply pointed to the apple she wanted. We won a bag of salt-water taffy and maple candy. An extra bonus is the apple we received to snack on too!
Since we were already in the area we thought we'd take a break and walk around the Public Gardens.
The weather was just amazing and taking a walk through the park seemed like the best way to enjoy it. In no time at all I'm sure we'll be missing this weather and our sunny days outside. There's nothing like living life to the fullest I say!
Making our way back toward the waterfront we walked down Grafton St. and came upon The Black Market. This shop wasn't on the list of participating businesses for City Harvest but they were also busy as a result of it. There were lots of people shopping.
If you're looking for cool jewelry this is a good place to go. They had TONS of stuff - rings, bangles, key chains, earrings, etc..
Before we ended the day I wanted to make sure we stopped at the World Tea House for some tea.
These guys were offering $1 teas (pumpkin pie tea or hot sweet cinnamon tea) and $5 tea leaf readings. I didn't get the reading done but did try the pumpkin tea. The tea was a nice relaxing way to end our busy afternoon. We took our cups of tea down to the waterfront and while our daughter played at the park we sat on a bench and relaxed a bit.
So that's what our day was like today at City Harvest. We didn't get a chance to visit all 95 businesses (obviously) but it was still a very full day. I would have liked to visit Fid Resto for back door takeout of Pad Thai, or Bikram Yoga for a free yoga class, or Fred on Agricola St. for apple cider, or the Fish Shop for fish tacos, or...god, there are too many that I wanted to see and didn't have a chance to. For a full list of participating locations and their deals for the day (weekend) check out the I Love Local Halifax website - http://www.ilovelocalhfx.ca/v1/
I Love Local Halifax is "a group of Community minded independent businesses that are committed to supporting and strengthening our Community and to making Halifax an exciting and vibrant place to shop, eat and live."
I think they achieved their goal today. The vibe downtown was awesome. Everyone was smiling and there was so much excitement in the air. On Twitter #CityHarvest trended in Canada like crazy. I think they found the trick to revitalizing a downtown - use Twitter!! All day (who am I kidding,..the last few weeks), everyone has been talking about the event and it has promoted the businesses involved and gotten people excited about their city and what there is to offer here. I've never seen anything like it in any of the other cities that I've lived in (and I've lived in a few). Every city has the same problem - nobody spending any time or money in the downtown core. Halifax is different though. There is a very different feel in the downtown here.
I think events like these really help. It encourages people to go downtown and as a side benefit because they are walking around they see other businesses or shops that interest them. It's a learning experience for everyone. With so many restaurants participating too there's no way anybody could visit them all in one day. As a result, people go back at a later time. No matter what it increases traffic. And again, Twitter promotes everything to anybody that didn't make it to the event and gets them interested too. It's a win-win situation for everyone.
I can't wait to see what they'll have going on next year!