Open City

We have many wonderful festivals in town but a favourite of mine is Open City on Saturday, May 9.  It is a day offering experiences and shopping and food but most of all it reminds us to enjoy our downtowns anytime throughout the year.   Here is the list of over 150 offerings;  start taking notes and strategizing .

The uniform for the day should be a “Halifax likes company”  tee shirt from Lost Cod.  Only $10.00 during Open City! Pick a colour that hides food stains.

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There is lots of variety in the Open City events to choose from: I may not be Instagramming my purchase at Sweet Pea for a 25% discount (sounds like a great deal), but an ice cream at the Public Gardens is a definite thing.  Or the art show by staff at Steve-o-Reno’s (I knew those guys had another life).

Up on Gottingen Street, where there is a great sense of community,  at least eight food places are offering a North End Sampler.  Sounds like it’s geared to get you rambling.  Be sure to check out the sign that I just noticed, thanks to a post by Katie Tower.  A wonderful Deco style, painted shop sign has been exposed, north of Cornwallis St. I don’t know when The Vogue was in vogue. You can see traces of an earlier sign too.



This week was my first opportunity to spend time with the Barrington Street Benches opposite the Grand Parade. A great place to rest before your next adventure.  This project went through a long  consultation and planning process and much of the funding came from Waye Mason’s discretionary budget that the community votes on.  What an improvement. The galvanized metal cladding feels stylish and appropriate (I’m a big fan of zinc). And the interactive ceramic grid is clever.


Since you are right there, take a look at my new favourite, vintage terrazzo in the entrance to the building north of  Freak Lunchbox. Then try the $5 Smokey Bacon Macaroni & Cheese at Chives or have a glass of wine at Obladee and listen to jazz.

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The markets and the Waterfront and NSCAD have a wealth to offer for Open City.  Last Sunday  I was down there for a  Jane’s Walk led by Andy Fillmore, of Waterfront Development, talking about what is planned in the future along the harbour’s edge.  It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and the boardwalks were thronged with people, not there for any event, just enjoying the setting.  Made me remember that it was only in the 1980s that the first elements of the new waterfront were built and that we have generally forgotten how derelict the area had become.

Here is a photo of Andy finishing his walk in front of the headquarters of Nova Scotia Power and then an image I took of the power-station c1980. Hard to believe that plant got controverted into the sleek glass box.  To take the 1980 photo mosaic I scaled a huge mound of dirt that was stockpiled, I guess to claim some of the harbour edge.



Or you could just stay over in Dartmouth – it’s Open too.

Post Script

  • On Sunday, blogger colleague Ben Wedge tweeted that I was “the hardest working man in ephemera.”  Whatever you say, Ben.  But the image on the Lost Cod tee shirt is a piece of ephemera I saved from the 1980s.  You’re welcome.
  • And remember, Halifax:   You have everything you need to feel good about yourself.

About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.