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Entries in Big Day Downtown (4)

Tuesday
Aug202013

My playful, authentic and dramatic day in downtown Halifax

It's the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas or back to school. It's Big Day Downtown time, that once-a-year opportunity when I'm invited to be part of a group of bloggers sponsored by the Downtown Halifax Business Commission to play, eat, drink and shop in downtown Halifax. I know, it's a tough job but someone's got to do it.

This year's spin involved choosing three cards from a large bowl, and seeking downtown adventures that matched the adjectives printed on the cards. I drew "authentic," "playful," and "dramatic." With those guidelines and my $150 prepaid Visa card in my wallet, I took to my city's downtown core on a beautiful late summer day.

I began at Serpentine Studios where I planned to take a hula-hoop class. Well that wasn't happening but co-owner Monique Ryan (pictured right) invited me to try Go-Go-Robics instead. Yes, aerobic Go-Go dancing, how playful is that?

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Monday
Oct222012

Big Day Downtown, Part 2 of 2

When we support our friends and neighbors who own local restaurants and businesses in Halifax we invest in the local economy and allow our city to have a thriving, vibrant boutique culture. This in mind, I was happy to do my part to support local in the second installment of my Big Day Downtown.

Caffé Ristretto

It's unwise to pursue any adventure unrefreshed, and Caffé Ristretto in Bishop's Landing was the perfect place to fuel up with a cuppa. The barista was friendly and patient with me while I deliberated: the maple latte, mulled apple or cranberry cider, and mint hot chocolate all appealed, but on a crisp October morning I decided to go for the pumpkin latte.

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Friday
Oct192012

Come play in my backyard

A friend said to me recently that it can be a challenge to enjoy your own backyard sometimes. So true! It's not often enough that I set aside time to enjoy Halifax's vibrant downtown. This week, I got to do so with help from another blogger, Amy Wheaton, with whom I was paired up by the Downtown Halifax Business Commission. The DHBC generously gave us each $100 to spend as we wished on a Big Day Downtown.

Choco Café

Amy is mom to adorable baby Eli (see pic below), and suggested we meet at Choco Café on Lower Water Street. I'd never been to this chocolate boutique and espresso bar, but with those two selling points, what was not to love? I ordered the Nutty Hot Chocolate, which was both snack and beverage. I chewed and drank my way through the hazelnut decadence while Eli munched on Cheerios (sorry Eli, I win). The jars of candied almonds and brightly wrapped gourmet chocolates on the shelves create a bright and cheerful atmosphere. I took a brownie to go that I am boldly declaring The City's Best Brownie.

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Friday
Sep022011

My big day downtown: try something new

I was recently one of a group of 30 bloggers challenged by the Downtown Halifax Business Commission to try something new downtown. They gave us each $100 to spend as we liked, we just had to document our experiences. I know, tough assignment, right? I intended to make my $100 s-t-r-e-t-c-h so planned a day that would incorporate free or low-cost fun with some activities I'd have to pay for. Here's what I came up with.

1. Biking the waterfront boardwalk. I support active transportation. It's good for the body and the environment. Biking downtown also meant I'd save bus fare or parking fees. But getting onto the Halifax peninsula was a traffic-merging, horn-honking death-defying act of insanity (bike lanes, please, Halifax Regional Municipality!). Once I arrived downtown, however, I loved my ride. From the casino you can take the boardwalk south all the way to the Halifax Seaport Market, though you must walk your bike over the short stretch of private property from Cow's Ice Cream past Salty's. It was about 10 a.m. and the waterfront was still waking. Crews were emerging from the holds of various tall ships, rubbing their eyes, coffee in hand, while merchants were opening their sandwich boards advertising fishing excursions, whale watching and plain old boat tours. On my left the ferry bobbed over to Dartmouth while on my right I gazed up at the mixture of Halifax's centuries-old buildings and modern office towers toward Citadel Hill.

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