OPEN CITY DAY 1 RECAP

Well, today was quite a day in Halifax.  We asked businesses to put their best foot forward and they did.  But more importantly, we asked you to come out and explore our fine city and to try new things.  And that is where this story really gets fun.

This morning at the Seaport Market I was talking to Chris at Getaway Meat Mongers who told me he had spent all day Friday grinding fresh beef for the Brooklyn Warehouse’s Pop-Up, Chives Slider Station, Saege Bistro’s truffle burger and lamb for Stories Restaurant.  Over 500 pounds of fresh Nova Scotian beef and lamb – think about that for a minute.  Nothing was coming from a freezer, nothing was being shipped in from Kansas, just good old fashioned beef, grown in Nova Scotia for all of us to enjoy.  As I was visualizing just how much effort that took, the chefs were busy back in their restaurants preparing for the lunch rush.

And what a lunch rush it was – 1,000’s of you came out to explore, and to eat apparently.  Nearly every restaurant sold out in less than two hours – some much less.  Many of you probably left disappointed, wishing that there was more food, but for the lucky that were served, I hope you all had a tremendous experience.  Next time we’ll be much more prepared for you.

After my quick trip through the Market, I headed over to the Salter Block where NSCAD was having their Artist for a Day event marking their 125th Anniversary.  As many of you know, NSCAD is in a bit of flux right now – and “Nova Scotia needs NSCAD” signs were subtly placed around the event.  It wasn’t overt, and it wasn’t a protest in any way – today was a celebration of NSCAD’s 125 year history in Halifax and they made us all proud.  My six year old spent half an hour with the talented and patient Christopher Joyce who helped her make her own lino cut printing plate. Spencer made a ceramic bowl for Mother’s Day and I watched as a community came together.

From there I popped into one of my shops, Sugah! and checked on things.  The staff were a little bored, wondering if people were going to show up – I told them not to worry, I didn’t think they would be bored much longer.  Tonight, I’m pretty sure they don’t remember that earlier time today, because from 12:00 on they were slammed – non-stop.  I guess half price ice cream is a draw -thanks for your patience, hope you enjoyed it- bring Mom down tomorrow for Mother’s Day and we’ll do it all again.

A quick shot over to North & Agricola where the Brooklyn Warehouse Pop-Up, Ace Burger Joint at Gus’ Pub was in full swing – lined up around the corner.  I had to do some quality control on Chris’ beef (see earlier point) and had a fantastic experience.  I was there with my 7 year old, and couldn’t help but flash forward 20 years when I looked at the father and son team of Leo & George loving every minute of their smash success & wondering what Spencer is going to be when he grows up.

Then I popped up to Barrington St., the kids got to make buttons at Laing House and I talked to some of their staff – they were thrilled to be able to meet so many people in our community and some of their members were on hand as well.  Did a quick pop into Carbonstok where the talented Vish Purgass was doing his print making demonstration.  Every time I meet a unique artist like Vish, I’m amazed at the creativity we have in this fair city.

By now, any thoughts of eating more were in vain, Andrew at DaMaurizio sold out his gnocchi bolognese in under an hour, Craig Flinn at Chives was still reeling from the onslaught of customers he served and the lamb ragout was but a distant memory at Stories.  Not to worry, I had more exploring to do.

Headed up Spring Garden Rd, the kids & Trina kept going to the Public Gardens to do the Treasure Hunt and I popped in to check on Dennis & Monica at Fid.  Smiles on their faces, they too had sold out of their Banh Mi in record time, but true to form, Dennis wasn’t going to miss a chance to feed people great food and was whipping up D’s Pad Thai to all who knocked on the door.  Dennis gave me a sneak peak at the dozens of candid tattoo shots that he had taken all day – apparently people will show you a lot to save $1 off their food.

Popped in to see Ann & Liz at the new P’lovers location on South Park and despite 2 weeks of non-stop construction and getting their store ready for today’s grand opening they were still smiling and basking in the warm community spirit that Halifax showed them today.

Thank you to everyone that came out and made this such a tremendous success.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Mothers out there – we’ve got a few more events on for tomorrow, but please check the list to avoid disappointment.  Craig Flinn is madly prepping more burgers for Chives starting at noon – I’ve arranged for more staff at both Sugah locations for tomorrow and the kids are exhausted but a little enriched from everything they took in today.

So, today was a good day.  Thank you Halifax.

Gordon Stevens

 

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