Open City 2014 | I Love Local HFX

My two favorite days of the year in Halifax: Open City and City Harvest hosted by I Love Local HFX. These events encourage Haligonians to experience a selection of what Halifax has to offer all in one day, so that they become better ambassadors for Halifax and to get more out of life in the city. This is year three and I see more and more people participating each year. Shops, restaurants, cultural organizations, attractions, charities and government all participated in over 100 locations! The energy is always happy and enthusiastic... our sluggish spring weather didn't even slow the crowds down!

What I love about Open City and City Harvest is that each and every local supporter has their own unique experience. I see small groups of friends making their way around the city to visit each location on their own time, stopping for chats with other friends along the way and sharing their experience via social media. I tend to follow the food – many of us do! – stopping at shops along the way to say hello to the business owners I've come to know as I take photographs each year.

Dartmouth was a new and welcome addition for 2014 so I made sure to visit a few locations there, and then I focused on shops and restaurants I haven't featured in my earlier blog posts. You can imagine, with over 100 locations, it's impossible to visit everyone on the list! This year, I'm including some experiences from other people who were out enjoying the day on a different path than my own!

I hope everyone had a taste of something new from the back door takeouts, purchased something locally made from a locally owned shop and got a much needed energy boost after a long winter to get out there and enjoy this vibrant and exciting city! Keep it going all year long!

I started my day at my favorite coffee shop! Smiling Goat is now in Bishop's Landing, I'm a happy girl :)


Next stop was Yoga 108 at The Brewery Market. This is where I regularly stretch away the aches and pains of being a photographer carrying too much heavy gear. Always warm and welcoming, it's one of my favorite places to be.


After coffee and yoga, it's straight to the wine tasting at Bishop's cellar!


A little shopping at Unicorn Clothing.


Food trucks Tin Pan Alley and Halifax Press were parked in Bishop's Landing serving large crowds most of the day. The trick is to get there before they sell out!


I always pop by I Heart Bikes to say hello to my friend Sarah. Joining her for Open City was artist Emma Fitzgerald with custom designed t-shirts and mugs.


Taking advantage of I Heart Bike's stylish wheels were ambassadors for NSCAD's Artist for a Day event also happening May 10.


I never seem to time it quite right (too early, too late) but fresh oysters on the waterfront from The Shack sounds like a great idea! I poked my head into Lost Cod Clothing as well, busy printing locally inspired t-shirts for customers.


I was really excited that Dartmouth was participating this year! My first stop was The Canteen who was already sold out of their Open City feature. The "Dartmouth Hangover" looked just as yummy!


This was my first visit to Kept on Portland Street and I wanted to buy just about everything in the shop... lots of quirky gifts and beautiful local artwork. Kids were enjoying making their own Mother's Day cards and the bouquets from Chelsea Lee Flowers Pop-Up Shop were gorgeous.


By 2pm I was ready for a drink! North Brewing Company on Agricola was busy filling growlers at $2 off and the Food Wolf truck outside had a hungry lineup going strong.


Agricola St. Brasserie had the BBQ fired up for their back door takeout Grilled Fish Tacos.


Something fun along the way on Gottigen Street :)


Scotia Pharmacy had an in-store photobooth and live performance by DJ James Reid.


Ratinaud French Cuisine was as busy as last year and had sold out by the time I got there! Luckily, the folks at Ratinaud and local foodie Lia Rinaldo (Managing Director of Devour! The Food Film Fest) had a few shots I can share. I was sad to miss out on this Pâté Campagne Sandwich with country pâté, in-house pickles, micro greens and dijon mustard. Photos: @LiaRinaldo and @RatinaudHFX


One of my favorite stops was Field Guide because this Donair Steam Bun and Spring Soda was fantastic! I would have happily ordered two more servings if I wasn't saving room for all the other food to come. I love this spot for drinks and dinner before seeing a play at The Bus Stop Theater.


Edna is a regular for me because I'm addicted to their Southside drink and their salads and risottos. Edna's Open City feature was General Tso Grilled Octopus, w/ pineapple, peanuts, scallions, tempura & sticky rice. We managed to snap up the last one (this would become a theme of the day!)


I always pop by The Foggy Goggle for a Propeller pint and some comfort food along the way... it's a nice break to sit down for a bit and refresh. It was just warm enough for the patio and we shared a Giant Foggy Spud stuffed with bacon, corn, red onion & cheese. Also on the patio, other Open City supporters with an I Love Local HFX t-shirt and a sunflower from the market!


I'll admit, it was a bit chilly to be outside all day walking around... a great place to warm up was World House Tea where Phil always has great suggestions for different tastes and you could also have your tarot cards read!


I do have a favorite of the day for food... Bistro le Coq's Duck Confit Sandwich on Brioche with Truffle Aoli was so delicious, and dangerous... good thing I got the last one or I may have been there eating way too much for the rest of the afternoon. This is also one of my favorite spots for brunch!


Just as it started raining we found a warm place to hide for a bit at Onyx on Argyle. Their back door takeout feature was the Sour Dough Grilled Cheese with Fontina, Prosciutto & Shallot Marmalade. Yum! Big hit with our group and the drinks were fantastic as well. Lot's of interesting cocktails to chose and a beautiful space to chill out and relax for a bit.


Here are some shots from other Open City folk who saw some things I missed!

Obladee was the perfect spot for wine, a few more snacks and live Jazz! Photos: @larakillian

Stubborn Goat GastroPub had live music and BBQ on Grafton Street! Back door takeout was an Oulton's burger with Ran-Cher acres goat paneer, Sriracha slaw & bacon fat mayo. Photo: @TheStubbornGoat

Ocean Optometry on Blowers Street featured Paul Robinson in a Pop-Up Art Exhibition. Photos: Ocean Optometry @OceanOptometry


My friend @EricaJoanP was out bright and early at The Halifax Seaport Farmer' Market for a Nomad Belgian Waffle Breakfast Sandwich and later enjoyed an Ace Burger at Gus' Pub and Grill.

Other breakfast favorites were the breakfast calzones at Salvatores Pizza and coffee at Alteregos Cafe. Photos: @HalifaxRenee and @alteregoscafe


Biscuit General Store always get shoppers involved on social media with fun sales for Open City. Photos: @BiscuitGeneral

Indochine served up Bubble Tea Smoothies amd Mini Banh Mi at their location on South Park. Photos: @IndochineHfx and @larakillian


Plovers had a Pop Up Honey Bee Eco Bridal Boutique. The vintage rentals you see on the table are from @coasteventshfx Photos: @Honeybeebridal


Garrison is always a great place to pop by and try something new! They were serving Brass Monkeys and my friend Todd snapped this photo of Obey This Brew. Photos: @ToddtheBeerDude and @GarrisonBrewing


Argyle Fine Art: Nancy Rose and her SQUIRRELS, the opening of BLOOM: New works by Twila Robar DeCoste & NSCAD ceramic Student Works, and live Arrangements by The Ikebana Shop. Photos: @ArgyleFineArt


The back door takeout at Chives (Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuit Pulled Pork w Chorizo Bourbon BBQ Sauce and Coleslaw) and 2 Doors Down (Italian Meatball Hero Sandwich) always goes fast! Photos: @ToddtheBeerDude and @LiaRinaldo


And I never need an excuse for sweet treats to finish it all off. Photos: Stories Restaurant by @ajtarlton, DeeDees by @Lisa_Buchanan and Sugah by @claire_leger

Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences and photos for my blog post :) See you at City Harvest in the fall!