In 2007, the Coast columnist Lezlie Lowe went out of her way to avoid buying anything new for herself and her family. At the holidays, that effort proved to be a huge pain in the butt. There was only so much crafting and goat-giving she could do.
No one said trying to be ecologically sustainable was going to be easy. We've been conditioned to measure our success by our collections of material things, our bright, shiny objects and fresh, new things. But the spirit of Lezlie Lowe's effort was very sound. It's a choice, to buy new or to buy used, and we can all consider what is available in second hand and vintage stores before we scour the brand new retail outlets.
Consider clothes. There's Frenchy's (2713 Robie, 444-3434), The Salvation Army (5280 Green, 425-7684, 3667 Strawberry Hill, 477-4359) or Value Village (209 Chain Lake, 450-5134). Used clothes and fashion gems get a second life draped across your shoulders, saved from the landfill. For the shopping section of this guide we chose to focus on the local, independent store offering local designers, but you might find some local product in other pre-loved retailers that offer clothes on consignment, such as 7th Avenue Boutique (1819 Granville, 422-8827), Encore Enterprises (1528 Queen, 429-8788), Formerly Yours Boutique (1629 Cunard, 492-3523) or Second Hand Rose (1272 Hollis, 423-0617).
There's also furniture. You'll find listings for where to find local furniture designers elsewhere in this guide, but you needn't go far to find pre-owned or antique furniture in this town. How about a stroll up Agricola to check out antiques row for the finely appointed goods at Finer Things (2797 Agricola, 456-1412), McLellan Antiques & Restoration (2738 Agricola, 455-4545) and Parade Antiques (2454 Agricola, 405-3399). Or head out to Wyse Road to see the collection of used pieces at the rhymingly, punningly excellent Wyse Buys Trading Inc. (195 Wyse Road, 464-0010).
And, of course, books. Halifax has one of the largest collections of independent bookstores in Canada, and many of them hold that dog-earred paperback that may have been read three times by three different readers, but will still ignite your imagination. Try John W. Doull Bookseller (1684 Barrington, 429-1652), The Last Word (2160 Windsor, 423-2932), Schooner Books (5378 Inglis, 423-8419) or Strange Adventures Comic Bookshop (5256 Sackville, 425-2140) for its back issue section holding the cream of previously adored comic collections offered at a discount to the discerning collector.
And for those who want to want to fill pages as well as read them, Halifax and the surrounding area is the home of a number of local publishers. Take Gaspereau Press, in Kentville, where they print and bind their own books in-house (47 Church Avenue Kentville, NS, 877-230-8232), Fernwood Publishing, which specializes in political and academic titles (32 Oceanvista Lane, Black Point, NS, 857-1388), Nimbus Publishing, the largest book publisher east of Montreal (3731 Mackintosh St, 454-7404), or a new guy on the block, Invisible Publishing (invisiblepublishing.com).