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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bestill my Paper Hearts

Halifax Paper Hearts pops up for Valentine's at The Nook

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 2:16 PM


Stefanie MacDonald is all about romance. She’s the artist behind Halifax Paper Hearts greeting cards, a pusher of letter-writing and a believer in fairy tales. Well, some of them.

“There is something that doesn’t sit well with me about the way that fairy tales have always been told,” she says. “Boy meets girl, boy saves girl, they fall in love and they live happy ever after. But what about the little boys that fall in love with prince charming? What about the little girls that have a crush on a mermaid? What happens to them?”

It’s this sentiment that inspired her inclusive line of sentimental designs, which celebrate love and happily ever afters of all kinds. Just in time for Valentine’s Day and all your winter pen-palling, The Nook (2118 Gottingen Street) will host Halifax Paper Hearts’ Valentine’s Pop-Up Show, showcasing its prints for the entire month of February. The event launch takes place Tuesday, February 2 from 7:30-9pm.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Halifax street style: South Park Street

Scouring the streets for the city's most fashionable

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 2:44 PM

  • David Idemudia
  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

Name: David Idemudia
Age: 18
Occupation: First-year Dalhousie engineering student
Spotted: South Park Street
Wearing: Jacket from ASOS, beanie from H&M, Herschel backpack, pants from Bluenotes, boots from Aldo

What kinds of things do you consider when putting an outfit together in the morning?
I try to balance between wearing something comfortable, warm enough for the weather and style.

Where do you draw style inspiration from?
I would say I draw inspiration from my friends, and try to distinguish myself with the way I dress.

What’s your favourite piece of clothing or accessory in your closet?
I would say my favourite accessory is my anchor bracelet, and my favourite piece of clothing is my collarless short sleeve denim shirt.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Timber Lounge brings axe throwing to Agricola Street

It's going down

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 1:15 PM

Darren Hudson (left) with pro lumberjack athlete and Halifax firefighter Darren Casey in the Timber Lounge
  • Darren Hudson (left) with pro lumberjack athlete and Halifax firefighter Darren Casey in the Timber Lounge

Darren Hudson hit the bullseye when he was delivering some Christmas gifts to a friend on Agricola Street back in December. As he exchanged season's greetings, the Barrington-based lumberjack (for real, he's a log-rolling champ and the man behind The Wild Axe Lumberjack AXEperience) mentioned casually that he was looking for a commercial space in Halifax. He wanted to open an axe throwing facility (think Toronto's popular hangout, BATL), preferably in the north end. It'd be a nod to his woodsy heritage and a space for people to socially and safely wield very sharp tools.

"How about that one?" his friend said, pointing across the street to 2710 Agricola, the former Metro Care & Share location.

"It was a miracle—the beauty moment of the whole inception of this," says Hudson of the accidental discovery of what will be the home of his sharpest idea yet— the Timber Lounge— come this spring.

"We are big time into the axe throwing culture, it’s proven to be a hot commodity," he says. "Lumberjack sports have been around in Nova Scotia for over 100 years, but the axe throwing is the highlight."

Hudson's been travelling the world competing in lumberjack sports for the past 20 years and on top of running The Lumberjack AXEperience, he's behind both a colouring book and a clothing line inspired by lumberjack life. The Timber Lounge will be an extension of this passion, offering Haligonians both a space to take in lumberjack shows and competitions, but also to suit up in doeskin and throw down for themselves. Along with testing your precision (or rage-throwing, if that's more your style), you'll be able to have a drink, a snack and socialize with fellow lumberfolk.

"Axe throwing is great because it's for everybody," says Hudson. "Within just one evening someone can get exceptionally good at it. This year I've seen six people throw a bullseye on their first throw, it’s such a gratifying feeling."

The Timber Lounge aims to be open for bookings in early spring.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

The Darkside faces fine from the city

The north Dartmouth art space and cafe charged $47,000 for bylaw violation

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 4:25 PM

  • via Facebook

After over a year in business north Dartmouth’s The Darkside (196 Windmill Road)—an art space and cafe—is facing financial troubles that could force its closure. But isn’t because of lack of support from the neighbourhood. Owners Oliver Mahon and Megan Hirons Mahon have been fined nearly $47,000— $100 a day for every day its been open— for violating zoning bylaws, a charge they’ll argue in court tomorrow.

The Darkside took to Facebook last night to share its grievances with the public, but the problems with the city aren’t new.

Dear friends, neighbours and customers,We will be going to court this week, as the city is charging us with violating...

Posted by The Darkside on Sunday, January 24, 2016

Before opening the business in fall 2014, Mahon and Hirons Mahon applied for a permit to open a cafe-bakery but were denied because of the land-use bylaws. Instead, the pair ended up with a permit for an art store, which also allowed them to serve accessory food and drink. Since then The Darkside’s been showcasing and selling work by local artists, and serving coffee, baked goods and some hot food to its patrons. Hirons Mahon says that while it was emphasized that the food portion of the business had to be accessory, the division between art sales and food sales was never quantified.

“We were trying to work within the rules that were established,” says Hirons Mahon. “Within two weeks of us opening they were in inspecting us, counting people who bought art or bought coffee.” A notice to comply followed shortly after this inspection.

“The design submitted to us showed a small area in a corner of the gallery where coffee would be available for gallery patrons. However, what is actually being offered on site is a broader food and beverage service, including tables inside and outside of the establishment, clearly indicating a cafe/restaurant use,” says city spokesperson Tiffany Chase via email.

Hirons Mahon, who's been in the process of pursuing a development agreement with the city through her landlord and lawyer for three months, hopes to be able to "meet half-way" to make the business work within the zoning requirements. “The city is very difficult for small business to deal with," she says."This is a deliberately narrow interpretation of rules."

Applying to re-zone The Darkside's current space is still an option though— and its one that the city has suggested Mahon and Hirons Mahon explore.

"Because of the nature of the request, we anticipated we could process the zoning amendment quite quickly," says Chase. "The applicants appear unwilling to go this route to allow for the cafe, as a development agreement process has not been initiated."

Hirons Mahon says she's aware of this option, but maintains that The Darkside shouldn't have to re-zone in the first place. "We believe we're operating correctly."

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Yes, a "full size" IKEA is opening in Halifax in 2017

Swedish design embassy coming to Dartmouth Crossing

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 10:00 AM

The Halikea is a thing. IKEA is opening a Halifax store in Dartmouth Crossin
  • The Halikea is a thing. IKEA is opening a Halifax store in Dartmouth Crossin

Haligonians have been pining for the impossible furniture store's return since its Burnside outlet closed late last millennium. Today's announcement from IKEA Canada's president, Stefan Sjöstrand, earned media coverage as if it was the biblical Second Coming—which might happen before IKEA's new shop in Dartmouth Crossing is built.

The press release says the giant (328,000 square feet) store "will take roughly 14-16 months to build once ground is broken in summer 2016." And you know from bitter experience with Allen keys and non-lingual direction sheets that IKEA always underestimates how long stuff takes to put together. Of all the people excited about this, local divorce lawyers are probably at the top of the list.

The Dartmouth Crossing location of the big box heavy-hitter will be Canada’s most sustainable IKEA store, zeroing in on energy efficiency and waste management. It also will create hundreds of jobs—350 to start, closer to 500 by the time the store opens.

You can while away the time in your unfurnished house watching this IKEA Shining tribute ad.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

SHOP THIS: Lily Lake Knits

Bundle up with wooly goodness made in Halifax

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 12:58 PM

  • photo by Nicole Lapierre

Jenny Fennel’s mom taught her to knit long before Lily Lake Knits—her line of handmade cozy clothing named for a piece of heaven on Cape Breton Island—was a thing.

“I began knitting so much that I had mounds of blankets, hats and scarves piling up in my home and thought, why not open an Etsy Shop?” she says. “It’s been my greatest adventure.” Her pictured Nova Scotia Pure Sheep Wool Hat ($80) is just one of her designs—a hat tip to the classic Irish fisherman-style touques that comes in six natural colours—and is made from 100 percent local, un-dyed, chemical-free wool.

“When designing a pattern I try to create it in such a way that it has an olden day, classic feel, but still has a bit of a modern day touch,” says Fennel. “Pure wool is an amazing fibre. It is sustainable, static- and water-resistant and an incredible insulator. Wool can absorb up to 30 perfect of its weight in water before feeling damp or wet. Which is perfect for Canadian winters!”

Find Lily Lake Knit’s full collection on Etsy, or peep behind the scenes at @lilylakeknits.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Everyone's freaking out about the IKEA announcement

Could it be?

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 10:48 AM

Meet me at the pearly gates - ISTOCK
  • Meet me at the pearly gates

Is it our time to have slick Swedish furniture and accessories at our fingertips? Perhaps. After what seems like an eternity (or, since its Burnside location closed decades ago) of hoping, wishing and speculating, it looks like IKEA could finally be returning to town.

The president of IKEA Canada, Stefan Sjöstrand, will be in town this Friday, hanging out with your man Mike Savage and making some kind mysterious formal announcement to the media. (I got this.) The chain announced last November that it would be doubling its Canadian locations over the next 10 years. So there's that.

I'd say start warming up your assembly skills (and instructional-manual- reading-muscles), but more on Friday.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Four times the space for Bodega Boutique

Downtown Dartmouth's sweet boutique moves next month

Posted By on Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 2:41 PM

A sunny day at the soon-to-be former Bodega Boutique location
  • A sunny day at the soon-to-be former Bodega Boutique location

After two years in its cozy baby blue home at 20 Wentworth Street, downtown Dartmouth's clothing and accessories source, Bodega Boutique, is moving and shaking things up. Next month, the store will re-open at 104 Portland Street—next door to the new location of Halifax furniture store Kew, which opens at the end of the month. "It's about building the brand and making it stronger, and more in-tune with what's happening downtown," says the shop's owner Kate Hamilton. "The space we had was always going to be a launch pad. It’s helped us get through year two with no debt."

Bodega's next phase comes with four-times the floor space and dramatic 20-foot ceilings, meaning loads of room for new lines, home decor, art and a collaboration with Dartmouth Clothing Company. It will also feature the Elizabeth Brown Common Space, a work space available for rent to entrepreneurs, makers and artists. Hamilton is working with designer Jamie Clarke to work on the storefront, which she calls a "blank canvas", citing "a lot of gold foil, black and concrete and a lot a really, really interesting edges," as inspiration.

The current location of the boutique will close January 31, and until then the entire store is on for buy one, get one 50 percent off. Hamilton says she aims to have the new location open for the next Dartmouth Food Crawl on February 12.

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Trapped queen: a night at Captured Escape Rooms

Going behind lock and key to find out what the heck an escape room is.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 10:38 AM

The gluttony associated with the Holiday season is (sadly) behind us and we’ve been left scrambling for an activity to replace the mind-numbing mounds of food and booze we once indulged in. I suggest skipping the bar, rallying your buds and entering Captured Escape Rooms (1649 Barrington Street)—which opened back in December— for a new kind of race against time.

Though Captured has six different rooms to choose from, co-owner Kelsey Keddy suggests my friends and I choose Pirates’ Brig room as beginners. Keddy hands us flashlights and a walkie-talkie that we can use for two hints while in the room. She then reads us a spooky backstory relaying why we’ve been captured and leads us into the room handcuffed. The door locks, eerie music plays. With only 45 minutes on the clock, we’re quickly jolted with adrenaline. We hastily bustle around the dim room, moving the clutter and searching for keys to set ourselves free.

The room is packed with false bottoms, hidden corners and codes that may or may not contain the information or pieces you need to escape. Keddy had told us not to be afraid to literally tear the room apart. Since the space is small with clues aplenty, you have to multitask and communicate consistently with your group. Each key we find or puzzle we solve leads to another obstacle. Both the fun and the frustration lies in the seemingly never-ending riddles.

At 20 minutes in, my group has used up our hints. We shuffle around, unorganized, and as seconds melt away, Keddy slips in another hint. We come so very close to freedom, but the final riddle stumps us and we don’t escape. As disappointed (and embarrassed) as we are, Keddy assures us not many make it out. I suggest you endure the challenge.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bikram Yoga becomes 42° Fitness and Wellness

Hot stuff coming through

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 4:00 AM

42° Fitness and Wellness is heating up
  • 42° Fitness and Wellness is heating up

Bikram Yoga (1567 Grafton Street) is ringing in the new year with a new name, new additions and new focus. Building on the fitness foundation Bikram has been working on for the past four years, 42° Fitness and Wellness celebrates its rebirth starting next week.

“I think we were just ready to explore different types of fitness, still in line with what we do,” says owner Kristin Johnston of her business’ evolution. “We want to keep it really high-level, with really qualified teachers teaching high-level classes where people are seeing results.” You’ll still be able to take a Bikram class in the 42 degree heat—hence the clever new name—but now the studio will offer classes to complement that series, like yogilates, eccentrics apprentice and heated barre, which isn’t currently offered in Halifax. Johnston has also put a call-out to massage therapists, nutritionists and other professionals who might be interested in sharing the 42° studio space, adding their expertise to the mix and building a well-rounded wellness community. “We want to stick to that yoga because it’s the most effective, but this will allow you to work on different parts of the body,” she says. “These classes are good for toning.”

Starting Monday, January 11, all classes will be $5 for the week to give both Bikram regulars and curious first-time students a chance to check out the new 42° schedule.

“It’s taken me four years to do this, but now I’m just really excited for the opportunity to invite people in,” says Johnston. “It’s always scary to change things up but the reaction has been so amazing, and so supportive.”

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