I was recently invited to take part in an event that has only been going on for a few years but recently has gained a lot in momentum. In fact, I had only heard about it from a fellow blogger last year (my cool author friend, Alison DeLory), so when when the opportunity to take part this year came up I jumped at the chance! The event is called “Big Day Downtown“ and is a really great way to involve local bloggers with Downtown Halifax and help get people interested in supporting the area.
Basically, the idea is that Downtown Halifax provides credit cards to local Halifax bloggers, who are then asked to spend their money in the downtown core and blog about it afterwards. It really is a great way to promote the downtown business district and I was absolutely honoured to take part this year.
This is me with my three “theme cards”.
There was an added twist thrown into the mix this year, too. This year’s Big Day Downtown theme was “Experience It All” and to make things unique, each blogger got together in a secret location to receive three experience cards…each containing a word that would be used as a “theme” when making downtown purchases.
Have you got all that? Good…because I picked out cards that said “Authentic“, “Happy“, and “Relaxing“.
The only real question for me was: Where would I go?
I decided that I wanted to go support a local business that I hadn’t visited before. In this case, I wanted to buy something that was authentically local and screamed out Halifax. Fortunately, I knew exactly where I wanted to go and what I wanted to get.
I made my way to the Lost Cod Clothing Company, which is a clothing and garment company that specializes in producing unique Nova Scotian based designs, celebrating old Nova Scotia industry as well as highlighting some of our current treasures. I asked my new friend, Ben, for a new #DangerWave t-shirt (it has been something that hasn’t only in the local news lately, but is fun and totally fits into my personality). Ben wasn’t only friendly and helpful, he was also pretty knowledgeable about the products and company background. He was happy to pose for a picture with me and my new t-shirt!
I ended up speaking with Gordon, the owner of Lost Cod, and I asked him why he came up with such a unique and fun idea for a business.
“Essentially we wanted to create a line that was authentic NS, to celebrate old industry, preserve history and perhaps shape our future. It’s amazing to see how many things we used to do/make that have fallen by the wayside. If we can spur conversation about that, then maybe we’ll inspire someone to think about doing it again.”
I can’t wait to talk more about the Lost Cod Clothing Company in a future blog post dedicated to them, but I had other local businesses that I wanted to go visit!
My stomach was grumbling so I, again, wanted to eat somewhere I had never gone before. I mean, a monkey’s gotta eat, amiright? I knew that I was going to need to keep my strength up for a day of roaming around and shopping downtown, so I decided to swing on up to The Economy Shoe Shop on Argyle Street. The restaurant got it’s name due to there being a real shoe store that operated on Barrington Street in the 1950s and 1960s. Once that store closed, the sign was saved and when owner Victor Syperek needed a name for his new restaurant, the Economy Shoe Shop was born!
I didn’t want to over-do things (I was already looking forward to having dessert), so I ordered a few different appetizers to try. I had a side Dragon’s Breath Caesar salad that featured That Dutchman’s Farm Dragon Breath blue cheese dressing. I had never had a Caesar salad quite so unique…and it was awesome that they featured a local farmer’s product in their food. I also had some Smoked Salmon Seafood Chowder and what was probably one of the best calamari dishes I have ever had. The interior of the restaurant was made to look like an exterior (which was quite unique) and I’m looking forward to writing more about it in a future post.
After lunch I decided to hit the waterfront, l which is one of my favourite places in the entire city (and yes, it’s considered to be part of the downtown core). After that delicious lunch I felt the need to satisfy my sweet tooth, and what better place to do that than Sugah?
As soon as I walk into Sugah!, I’m in my happy place. Where else in the world can you walk along the beautiful waterfront and walk into a candy & confectionery store that sells hand-paddled ice cream and Pac-Man ghost sours under the same roof? I’ve written about Sugah! before, but I love it so much that I can’t help but visit there time after time. This time I felt like not only getting some incredible ice cream, but also a couple of items that screamed out “Roman” to me: a bar that had buttercrunch (similar to Skor bits) in white chocolate and some banana mints (natch!!). I can’t recommend this awesome place enough!
As I continued along The Waterfront I happened upon a local “tourist-y” shop, The Nova Scotia Marine Heritage Store, where I was able to snag an item that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time: An authentic Nova Scotia Sou’Wester hat! This will definitely keep my fur dry when I’m out roaming around on those rainy Halifax days. There’s no way I’m going to let a little rain stop me!
I continued down along the waterfront, enjoying all of the sights and sounds that the areas has to offer. I wandered in and out of plenty of shops, enjoying the experience of being a tourist in my very own city, spending the better part of the afternoon doing just that.
My travels next took me to Historic Properties, where I ended up at Cool As a Moose. I immediately spied products from Acadian Maple Products, including one of my very favourite products of all time: Cinnamon-Infused Maple Syrup! Acadian Maple Syrup can be found in many places around the province, but Cool as a Moose is the only store that I’ve found this delicious concoction in Halifax. There’s nothing I love more than whipping up a batch of banana pancakes on a Sunday morning and serving it with some cinnamon maple syrup. I also decided to try some other Acadian Maple products that I’d never had before: Wild Blueberry Syrup and some Maple BBQ Sauce! I can hardly wait to try them out!
As the day began winding down I decided it was time to unwind and relax. It was late in the day and you know what that means? Margarita time! I headed over to Baton Rouge for a drink. I’d never been there before and really enjoyed the decor and the atmosphere. I had a quick peek at the menu and decided that some warm spinach and artichoke dip would be the perfect accompaniment to my tasty strawberry margarita (they didn’t carry banana daiquiris). The dip was warm, cheesy and tasty. I’m already looking forward to going back again another time.
It was quite the Big Day Downtown for me indeed! I’d like to really thank Downtown Halifax for inviting me on this amazing journey. It’s a great idea that they have come up with and I think it’s a great way to promote the downtown core, especially with all of the new buildings going up around the area. I’m looking forward to doing this again!
Have any ideas on where in the Halifax area I should show up next? Know of a great local business that you think should get some exposure? Are you a small business owner who would like to promote your product? I would LOVE to hear from you!
Just send me an email at RomanChimpsky@gmail.com and let me know!