ShopTalk visits the Hydrostone

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood

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If you judge this book by its cover, the Hydrostone Market is a page- turner. Steeped in history and soaked in style it looks good, yes—so good that when Mother’s Pizza went up, it used the original row of shops for design inspiration—but this wee shopping district feels good, too. The tight-knit strip of boutiques, restaurants and services could easily be a European cobblestone street where coffee breaks are long, baguettes are fresh and everybody knows your name. Whether it’s live music in its little park, a community tree lighting or the camaraderie between its local indie businesses, this shining star in Halifax’s north end has character that runs way deeper than the concrete bricks that built it.

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Julien’s Patisserie Bakery and Cafe
In their search for a new project, a business to run together, Mike and Lana Ansari didn’t have to look too far. The pair—a retired banker and former accountant—took over Julien’s, the little cafe with a big heart, a big following and tasty baked goods, in April. “It’s a stone’s throw from our condo,” says Mike. “This is our community and it’s a lovely place,” echoes Lana. “And we just love it.” Though they’ll be chipping away at some renos and equipment replacements, Lana says its important to keep the same ambience that made them, and many others, regular customers.
5517 Young Street, 455-9717

Just an example of Andy Wolf's magic
  • Just an example of Andy Wolf's magic

The fashionable and practical Lang Optometry team fell in love with Andy Wolf Eyewear on a recent trip to the Big Apple. Dr. Gaétan Lang calls the Austrian collection of frames and sunglasses “classy-but-edgy.” We call it eye candy.
5550 Kaye Street, 453-6100

Stay cool
  • Stay cool

5 Hydrostone Flavours

Jessi Gillis the tastemaker and chef behind popular stop Highland Drive Storehouse Butchery and Local Produce (5544 Kaye Street) dishes on her favourite flavours in the neighbourhood. Take note, her eats are damn delectable, too.

1. Salvatore’s Roasted Portobello Melt, I could easily eat this every day. 5541 Young Street

2. Bretons from Juliens Patisserie—jam-filled cookies, DEEEElicious.

3. Humani-T Cafe’s shortbread cookies and gelato—plus, if you sit on the top floor and take a break you can look out at the whole Hydrostone. 5755 Young Street

4. Hamachi Kita’s Chef’s Spicy Tuna Roll. 5543 Young Street

5. Brunch at Epicurious Morsels—it’s great and often when I work Saturdays I wish to be sitting there eating poached eggs. 5529 Young Street

Alliance Française
Your French skills—or lack thereof— shouldn’t be an excuse to not scope out what the Alliance Francaise has to offer. Kind of like your favourite neighbour, the one who invites you over for tea and means it, you’re very welcome here. With courses and events for people of all ages, and language abilities, AF is all about helping Halifax learn. At the end of the month (Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24) check out its Mini Immersion, which offers workshops of different themes (from news to cinema, art to cooking) for different abilities. “It’s a chance to meet the instructors, be with a group of people speaking French and learn about all things Francophone,” says AF’s Sophie Pilipczuk. It’s $15 per workshop, or you can stick around for the whole weekend. Check out afhalifax.ca for more courses and camps.
5509 Young Street, 455-4411

To: Mom, Love, Props
  • To: Mom, Love, Props
Props Floral Design
Mom’s the word that should be on your lips this weekend (and every weekend, that woman birthed you!). Whether you’re the prized child who never forgets Mother’s Day, or the brat who usually calls grovelling the day after, Props has dedicated a chunk of its store to mamas. When Sunday comes around don’t say we didn’t remind you.
5533 Young Street, 429-1935

216 million bottles of beer on the wall
The Oland Brewery (3055 Agricola Street) makes the equivalent of 18 million dozen beer (that’s Oland Export, Keith’s, Budweiser, Bud Light and Labatt Blue) a year.

SeaGrass Earrings from TORI.XO
  • SeaGrass Earrings from TORI.XO

Australian-born, Halifax-based, nature-loving artist Tori Poynton of TORI.XO is holding a Mother’s Day Trunk Show at Lady Luck Boutique (5519 Young Street, 444-3050) from 10am-5pm, showcasing her spring and summer collection of handmade beauties inspired by the deep, blue sea—including these SeaGrass earrings.

Amazing Space's sweet view
  • Amazing Space's sweet view

Home Team
If your homestead needs some loving, this ’hood is kind of like a live dream board. Within a hop, skip and hot coffee of each other are some of the city’s best places for home and garden goodies. Rusty Hinges (5513 Young Street, 406-1056) has recently seen some renos, it stocks all things rustic looking—from handmade ceramics to frames aplenty, furniture made from salvaged material and now, chalk paint. Across the street you’ll find both Your Kitchen by Lynn (5528 Kaye Street, 880-8078), home of interior decortator and kitchen designer Lynn Macaulay and Amazing Space Interiors (5546 Kaye Street, 407-7211), where you’ll find furniture, lighting, wallpaper and accessories as well as mother-daughter design team Carla MacLellan and Lynzie Smith. But maybe it’s your yard that’s looking tired, not your living room. The institution that is Halifax Seed (5860 Kane Street, 454-7456) has everything and anything you’d need for your garden—they have been in the biz for nearly 150 years. Veggies, flowers, fruits, bulbs, herbs, grass and serious expert advice live here.

Eyecandy's handy work
  • Eyecandy's handy work

The Halifamous, former Hydrostone resident Eyecandy Signs (2705 Agricola Street) is responsible for seven of the Hydrostone’s sweet-looking signs—including this award-winning one for Bogside Gallery—but Allison Moz says “being part of the community isn’t just selling to the community”, they also happily donate banners and signage for Hydrostone Business Association events.

#OPENCITY
  • #OPENCITY

Open City, Open Hydrostone
This Saturday is the third annual Open City, where shops and restos offer deals and deliciousness that’ll encourage the masses to get off their butts and explore this fair town. Here are some highlights that’ll help you immerse yourself (and perhaps over-indulge) in this ’hood. Grab a brioche at Alliance Française before checking out Bogside Gallery’s (5527 Young Street) sidewalk pottery making from 10am-4pm. Phone a friend for two-for-one $4 gelato at Humani-T Cafe, bring a travel mug for free coffee at Je T’aime Eco Artistic Family Space and Cafe (3081 Gottingen Street) and treat yourself to olive oil tastings and froyo at Liquid Gold (5525 Young Street). Send your DIY side to the trunk show at LK Yarns (5545 Young Street) or perhaps pot a pansy at Halifax Seed, but above all you need to be in the front of the pack to get back-door takeout. Find it at Hamachi Kita (maki and pad Thai), Highland Drive Storehouse (burgers and sausages), Salvatore’s Pizziola Trattoria (breakfast calzones and Coney Island heroes) and Mother’s Pizza (5710 Young Street), where it’s $1 soft serve.

Find more at ilovelocalhfx.ca.

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