Page 1

Social Profit Spotlight Features on Affirmative

Ventures, ISIS, and CEED's Second Chance Program.

Community Builders This issue, we feature:

Jules Chamberlain, Ditta Kasdan, and Andre Livingston.

Energy Features It's winter, so we'll

Plan B Co-op F i f t y - o n e i n d i v i d u a l No r t h E n d m e r h c a n t s u n i t e !

Winter 2013

look a little into energy use.

Contents Issue Number 4, Volume 1 - Winter Edition 2013

6 Local Discoveries

A quick snapshot of some cool stuff that's happening.

18 Ditta Kasdan

The Queen of Homemade ice cream, and owner of Dee Dee's.

24 Plan B Merchant Co-op


51 individual North End merchants unite.

34 Local Valentine's

Check out our showcase of local gift ideas for February and beyond.






A look into the Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services of Nova Scotia.

46 Paul Chenard

How to retire right. Just have big dreams and follow them!

L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3



hand-crafted, every bite.

Specialty Store


private dinnerS

try our PÂtÉS, rILLEttES, CoNFIt, CurED MEAtS, SAuSAGE, MEALS to Go & IMPortED CHEESE. 902 446-8222 2082 Gottingen St. Halifax NS B3K 3B3 hours TueSday To FRIday 10 am - 7 pm & SaTuRday To SuNday 9 am - 6 pm

A Way Forward. Editor-in-Chief

Alexander Henden

Contributing Editor

Brenden Sommerhalder

Contributing Writers

Michelle Brunet, Simon Thibault, Jacob Boon, Brenden Sommerhalder, RenĂŠe Hartleib, Lindsay Best, Frances Leary, Emily Forrest, Phil Otto, Jeff Barrett, Anisa Awad

Chief Photographer Riley Smith


Ryan Gillis, Alexander Henden, Laurel Bray, Scott Kirkpatrick, Kumi Henden


Scott MacDonald

Design & Layout

Popcorn Creative

For All Enquiries, Including Story Ideas, Suggestions, and Advertising

Follow Us on Twitter

Back in the Summer of 2010, I, along with my family, followed through on a decision to leave cash-rich Alberta and go against the steady stream of people leaving Atlantic Canada for 'greener pastures'. A lot of my Atlantic Canadian friends in Alberta thought I was crazy, but I knew that they were also envious because I was 'going home'. Upon arrival in Halifax, I found myself still very much in tourist mode, but as time passed I found myself becoming more of a local. The consumer experiences I was having weren't changing much, but the context around those experiences was changing. Although I was experiencing some of the obstacles my Atlantic Canadian friends out West had brought up, I was beginning to see them as opportunities. Two years later, I feel like I've gone through a personal transformation of sorts, and that this process is still taking place. I find myself reconnecting with the reasons that led me to come to Atlantic Canada in the first place, and I'm finding this reflection to be the most helpful tool in finding my way forward. The local movement, as you may already know, is something that is very important to me, and there are some hard and practical realities about supporting local that make perfect sense. Although it is true that by shifting our habits to support local we can impact our economy and the environment in a very positive way, it is my feeling is that the practical and unglamourous end of this 'shift' is too often in the foreground. For 2013, I propose a 'shift' in our approach and our rationale for supporting local. We should still talk about the economy and the environment, but let's instead focus more on celebrating what our talented locals are actually doing as a means of promotion and encouragement.


Alexander Henden Editor-in-Chief

There's so many neat things happening in Nova Scotia right now. So let's take a moment and check some of them out!

Boneheads in Fairview East Coast Organic Milk

Back in November, the East Coast Organic Milk Cooperative launched its new line of locally produced and processed organic milk. Of course, being certified organic, it does cost a little more, but really, it's an entirely different product. The Organic Milk can be found in 2L cartons in 1%, 2%, and whole, and is available pretty much all over town.

In early January, Fairview got what every meat-loving community wants: a BBQ spot! Located right on Dutch Village Road, Boneheads BBQ opened the doors to its second location, serving up delicious ribs, pulled pork, brisket, mac 'n' cheese, bbq beans, sweet potatoe chips, and so much more!

Recipes and Stories from East Coast Musicians Recently released is this beautiful new 162-page book, featuring recipes and stories from 46 local musicians and industry folk. It's a neat twist on the cookbook, and the book itself is a beauty to behold. Copies of the book can be picked up at Argyle Fine Art, Comfort & Joy, as well as other locations listed on the website.

Belgian Beer on Agricola Vegan Done Right In January of this year, Bridge Brewing opened its doors to Agricola Street, serving Halifax with two varieties of Belgianstyle beer, with a third style on its way. We can vouch for the beer being fantastic, as we were fortunate enough to be one of the first to try it at our 12 Beers of Christmas event. 6

L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3

Most of us at the magazine are meat eaters, but we recently discovered that vegan food can be spectacular as well. Located upstairs at the Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market, Fruition serves all kinds of delicious food for vegans and non-vegans alike.

Deliciously Sustainable Nova Scotian Shrimp

Most of the shrimp we eat is farmed or arrives in frozen blocks from other parts of the world, but not Chedabucto Bay trap-caught shrimp. These cold water beauties are fresh, sustainable, delicious, and local, and can be found in places like Pete's Frootique, Chives, Fid Resto, the Wooden Monkey, and the Armview.


January 24


Windsor Express


January 27


Summerside Storm


January 31


Moncton Miracles


February 17


Saint John Mill Rats


February 23


Kebs de Laval


March 9


Oshawa Power


March 12


London Lightning

The KitchenTable

Starting January of this year, Ratinaud French Cuisine has begun hosting in-house dinner events twice per month at their Gottingen Street location. Currently, guests have two choices: Classic French Rustic or Nouvelle Cuisine. Some of these events are co-hosted by Avondale Sky Winery, adding another dimension to what is already an amazing dining experience.

l halifaxrainmen f HalifaxRainmen

There's so many neat things happening in Nova Scotia right now. So let's take a moment and check some of them out!

Home Brew-Off 2013 Jane's on Gottingen Community Carrot Wins!

On Thursday, January 29, the Community Carrot Co-op officially announced that it won full funding in the Aviva Community Fund Competition. Now there's the business of finding a location, setting up shop, and making healthy, affordable food available in the North End. An exciting time!

Just last month, Jane Wright proudly opened her new jane's next door location on 2053 Gottingen Street, offering patrons a wide range of ready made sandwiches, baked goods, and a delicious assortment of take-home dinners.

Pete's at Dalhousie

Farmworks Investment We recently discovered a local investment co-op designed to help grow and support our local food industry. It's a great initiative, and with food security concerns growing around the world, the timing for this could not be better.

As per winter tradition, Garrison Brewing is hosting their annual Brew-Off. It's a chance for the local home brew crowd to strut their stuff, and with a little luck, maybe have their beer bottled and sold to the public. Submission deadline is February 25, and the Awards Gala will take place on March 21. Last year's winning entry will become available at Garrison this March.

New Tees for Ace

Some hot new tees just hit the streets courtesy of Dartmouth Clothing Company. #GetSome

Pete’s ToGoGo is now open in the Dalhousie University Student Union Building, offering fresh and healthy options for students, faculty and staff. A selection of gourmet salads and sandwiches, fresh smoothies, gluten-free options, delicious baked goods, and locally roasted organic fair trade coffee, and more are available daily. 8

L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3

Wooden Monkey

Back in December, Dartmouth was treated to yet another new business opening, and this time it was the Wooden Monkey. Taking over the MacAskill's spot in Alderney Landing, Haligonians are now blessed with two locations to choose from. This one has the best view though. If you've never been to the Wooden Monkey, think fresh, local, and organic.

Number 20 Retired

Back on December 7, 2012 the Halifax Rainmen retired its first jersey, number 20, honouring a player who has been the face of the franchise since its arrival in 2007: Eric Crookshank. At 33, Crookshank will move onto other things, including a new book he authored called "It's Not Just a Game," which can be purchased from Nimbus Publishing.

Article: Alexander Henden

It's hard to imagine, but just over one year ago, Halifax didn't have a single gourmet burger joint. Fast forward to today, we now have four (Ace, Relish, Flip, and Cheese Curds), and there's at least another three on the way. That's a lot of burger action. And for burger lovers like me, it's cause for celebration! It's a sort of burger renaissance that's going on right now, and the love is strong. Probably the best part of this 'burger invasion' is the selection of burgers that are now available to the consumer. There are over 40 choices between the four burger spots., with everything from your classic burger, to jerk chicken, to crazy burgers with names like "Apocolypse Now". When it comes to patties, there's beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, mushroom, haddock, clam, veggie ... you name it. As for toppings, well, there's really not enough space on this page for that, but there's a lot of stuff you would have never imagined yourself. Pair your burger with beautiful poutines, homemade onion rings, milkshakes, and more! The burger gods are definitely favouring us right now. Happily for us, each burger joint is located in a different neighbourhood in Halifax. You have Ace Burger in the North End on Agricola, Relish over on Quinpool, Flip Burger in Clayton Park, and Cheese Curds in Dartmouth. If you are keen to try them all (and trust me, you should), you'll have to do a little tour of Halifax, which of course is something we're happy to encourage. So, with all of these great choices, where does one start? Well, that's up to you! Flip a coin, go to the one that's closest to you, or maybe the one that's furthest from you. Either way, do yourself a favour and be sure to try them all.

CHEESE CURDS GOURMET BURGER 380 Pleasant Street, Dartmouth

The darling of Dartmouth, Cheese Curds boasts a chefinspired menu courtesy of chef Bill Pratt (Michael Smith's sous-chef on Iron Chef America). Cheese Curds offers a good range of burgers to satisfy all tastes, along with some crazy poutines. The line-ups are more manageable these days, but it's still very much a burger hot spot.

ACE BURGER COMPANY 2605 Agricola Street, Halifax

Affordable gourmet in the truest sense, the baby brother of Brooklyn Warehouse delivers every time. Each locally sourced ingredient is highlighted and celebrated in each and every burger. Ace offers fewer sandwiches to choose from, but this is far from a strike against Ace. Everything is on the menu for a reason. Try them and you will understand. #GetSome

RELISH GOURMET BURGERS 6024 Quinpool Road, Halifax

An Atlantic Canadian success story, Relish Gourmet Burgers satifies those garnering even the most serious of burger-lusts. The burgers are wildly innovative and delicious, and there's no getting bored because there's a new feature burger every week! Add in the fact that there's local beer on tap, and now you have absolutley no excuse.


277 Lacewood Drive, Halifax A treasure in Clayton Park, Flip Burger balances quality, selection, and price point exceedingly well. Beautiful burgers, deliciously fresh-cut fries, and milkshakes like you wouldn't believe. L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3


Be Powerful. Be a superhero for the environment!

Championing green energy has never been easier or more affordable! Choose green power for your home or business today and help advance green energy in Canada—visit us at or call 902.462.8130

Bullfrog Power loves that the following local businesses are supporting green energy and helping to create a cleaner, healthier world:

the trail shop



The Local Movement Emily Forrest


’m madly in love with this city. I grew up in small town New Brunswick – not that I’m fostering a Maritime rivalry here – but when I got to Halifax I thought, “Ok. This is where I want to be.” It wasn’t just the view from the ferry, or the novelty of city life for a country girl, (I had tried Toronto and left very quickly, biting my nails) it was every little thing that gives Halifax its remarkable personality. Music! I remember that feeling of astonishment when I realized what was at my fingertips: free concerts at DAL, the Jazz Fest, Symphony Nova Scotia rehearsals, concerts on the Hill, innovative new bands playing Ska, Flamenco, Celtic, and Folk at the coolest little pubs every night of the week. I could tell how people around here felt about music when the guitars came out at every party. Then I began to explore the arts scene and I realized that it was going to be impossible to catch all the films, theatre festivals, art openings, lectures, and book signings I wanted to see each month. I’m a big walker, and that’s another reason why Halifax is the ideal match for me– it’s what I call the perfectly ‘walkable’ city. I’ve never owned a car here and it’s never been a problem.

I discovered early on that you can get from one end of the peninsula to the other in less than an hour on foot, which is pretty incredible when you think about it. There is so much to take in when you walk Halifax– gorgeous old houses, new shops, friendly folks. Besides, if I ever need a car for anything, Halifax has CarShare. And of course it was in this city that I became a foodie. My intro was working with Jim, the chef/ owner of tiny Epicurious Morsels in the Hydrostone, who smoked his own salmon, made a deliriously silky hollandaise from scratch with local eggs, and decorated his plates with fresh herbs and flowers from Four Seasons Farm. I became intrigued by the local food movement which seemed to be growing at breakneck speed, and it led me to investigate food trends in other cities before starting up Local Tasting Tours in downtown Halifax. I have so much fun exploring small, home grown eateries with locals and visitors as we go from place to place on foot, sampling the best of local food. My favourite part is learning about the chefs and the owners, how they get inspired by what’s grown and made right here, to come up with innovative new plates. I never get tired of checking out

l @LocalTasteTrs

what’s new in this city, and I never get tired of revisiting what’s been here all along, asking myself: ‘If my best friend was visiting right now, what would I want to show her first?” My goal is to explore all the amazing aspects of this beautiful city whenever I can, and to share them with you. After all, this is exactly where I want to be █

L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3


In Our World, Authenticity is Big. I T ’ S O F F I C I A L ! P I AT TO H A L I FA X I S NOW APPROVED + VPN-CERTIFIED!

! u o y k than A big thank you to everybody who’s been a supporter of us or a supplier—this would not have happened without you!

Named “Best Pizza” in Halifax The Chronicle Herald Named One of the Top 20 New Restaurants in Canada The Huffington Post First VPN-Certified Pizzeria in Halifax & the Maritimes

Authentic Wood-Fired Pizza

Enjoy a true Neapolitan experience with fine foods and casual dining—all in an inviting atmosphere and at reasonable prices. We love sharing stories about our pizza and hearing about your Italian experience. We hope you come in soon with family and friends to enjoy an authentic pie, good wines, great coffee and fabulous desserts (and maybe a few stories).

Minus the Airfare to Italy

Piatto is the first pizzeria in Halifax to go back more than 200 years to serve a “true” wood-fired pizza from Naples. Both Piatto locations are among the first 10 Canadian pizzerias to receive VPN certification by the Italian governing body, Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN).

Corner of Hollis + Morris T +1 902 406 0909


MISSION Statement Phil Otto


fter a few decades of mass consumerism, where everybody wants bigger, faster, cheaper, we’re finally seeing a slight societal shift back to basics. But what exactly is ‘back to basics’? For me, it isn’t a wholesale shift in lifestyle or underestimating the impact of today’s financial environment, or pretending we’re not living in the digital age. For me, back to basics is an appreciation for simple and practical. It is an effort to buy some of our groceries from local sources and buy organic when practical. It is about buying food and products with less packaging. It is encouraging my kids to eat fresh food, instead of preservative filled meals and snacks. It is not a stake in the ground that I’m going to start taking the bus everyday, because that’s not practical for me. But it is a

l @brandguy

commitment to be more efficient in my driving habits and cut five trips downtown to three. As a marketer, I understand how to persuade consumers to try new products. But this isn’t about trying new products – it is about encouraging a fundamental cultural shift in the way people shop, buy and consume. If you’re reading this magazine, you already believe in back to basics and you understand the importance of supporting local shops, restaurants and services to keep money circulating in our local economy. You understand the importance of ensuring Nova Scotia’s farming, fishing and manufacturing sectors don’t further erode. You understand that if we don’t buy local, we’ll be saying ‘bye local’. The challenge for those of us who believe in supporting our local economy is to socialize the benefits

with others without preaching, which means using your social channels to promote the local entrepreneurs you believe in. And social channels aren’t limited to Facebook and Twitter. Over the holidays my wife and I hosted our annual lobster boil for neighbours and friends, and everything that could be sourced local was. The lobster came from my fisher friend Hally in Sambro, we served fresh ShanDaph oysters (which are absolutely incredible by the way) and meat from Oultons for the non-lobster lover. As many ingredients as possible for salads and side dishes came from the farmers’ market that morning. It wasn’t a meal - it was a wonderful, cultural and culinary experience. Because our efforts to source local was simply a theme and not grandstanding or advertising or an effort at martyrizing, our friends and neighbours wanted to know Hally’s story, about Philip at ShanDaph, about Oulton’s Farm in Windsor and my journey on that cold Saturday morning to find fresh horseradish. I know for sure of new faces that will now be regulars at both the market and at Oulton’s Farm. Back to basics isn’t for every meal or shopping adventure. But it certainly adds flavor and texture to life’s moments when we do choose it. █

L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3


Are you an entrepreneur looking to start, purchase, or grow a business?

If so, the Nova Scotia Small Business Loan Guarantee Program can help. Credit Union Atlantic offers this program which can provide up to $500,000 in financing in the form of term loans, working capital and lines of credit. Your needs are unique, and we can tailor a financial package that fits you and your business.

6080 Young St, Suite 100, Halifax 902-492-6500 •


ON Business Lindsay Best

l @lindsaybestbiz


appy New Year! I like saying it, but honestly, New Year’s has never been my favourite holiday. Sure, I enjoy a celebration as much as the next person, but I’ve never understood the hype and anticipation for a calendar flip. A new year doesn’t really mean a fresh start, but at the very least, January prompts a shift in attitudes among business people. Some take this time to reflect on the past year and ask themselves: What worked? What didn't work? What were the big successes? What proved to be most challenging? And most importantly, how can I do better this year? It’s time to dust off the business plan. Many businesses have a business plan, but odds are it is out of date and hasn’t seen much attention since it was created. Would you make important decisions based on past information? No. So why would you keep a business plan that is based only on what you used to know? Your business is maturing, and so too should your outlook on the future; it’s important to capture this change in perspective. A business plan is not a snapshot of your business. It is a working document and its components should be analyzed, revised and measured annually. The real value of your business plan is in your capacity to use the information

to measure your successes and shortfalls. Spend time resetting your short-term goals based on your actual performance, compared to the original plan, and accounting for any other factors that impacted your business. One trick that works for many is to condense the business plan to 2-3 pages of core information pulled from the larger plan: a mini-plan. The mini- plan should include point-form components such as your mission, short and longterm goals, value proposition, business model, products/services, competition, and marketing plan. The business owner(s) should be the one(s) to complete this task and the mini- plan should spend the year on the office wall. Look at your mini-plan frequently and mark it up as your business evolves.

Once per year, spend time working ON your business as opposed to IN it. Pull the mini-plan off the wall and take inventory of the changes you have made. Use this information to update your business plan and to develop a new mini-plan for the year ahead. Change in your business is inevitable and can be beneficial to the growth of your organization. Anyone can have a document called a business plan, but successful business owners recognize when change occurs and know to adjust accordingly. It’s important not to be intimated by the daunting task of business planning. Instead, embrace change and use the New Year as an opportunity to reflect on your business and your vibrant plans for the future. █

L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3



L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | A u t u m n 2 0 1 2

Article: Simon Thibault Photo: Riley Smith


When Ditta Kasdan moved to Halifax from California in 1972, one of the first things she noticed was the lack of ice cream parlours. “The only ice cream available was Dairy Queen. That was hugely disappointing.” Fast-forward to forty years later, and Kasdan has her own ice cream parlour: Dee Dee’s at Cornwallis and Bauer Streets. “I have always been a big fan of ice cream, but also kind of a fussy ice cream eater,” says Kasdan. “Even as a kid, I only liked homemade ice creams.” We, the ice cream loving public, are ever grateful that she was so fussy. Ditta–the eponymous Dee Dee from which her ice cream gets its name–worked as a teacher for almost twenty years. Although the job was fulfilling, it was also stressful. She looked for other career options, and decided to work with what she knew: ice cream. “I would make ice cream on the weekends while I was teaching,” she recalls. “One batch a week. I made some really terrible ice creams, texturally speaking. The first pistachio I ever made was terrible.” Undeterred, Ditta started selling her ice cream in Peggy’s Cove in 2004. “I was really fortunate because at that time my partner was related to a family that had a business at Peggy’s Cove. They had just created a commercial kitchen and so I started selling ice cream there.” Five years later, Dee Dee’s was chosen to sell their wares at the Halifax Jazz Fest. Kasdan was then presented with a challenge: come up with a savoury dish to serve alongside. That’s when burritos came into the picture. “At the time you could not get a burrito in Halifax,” says Kasdan. “And we always made them in our house, so I thought, ‘Why not?’” The burritos were a hit. By the time 2010 rolled around, Kasdan was actively looking for a permanent base of operations for her ice cream business, but nothing was right for her. That’s when she heard that a neighbourhood convenience store in Halifax’s north end was closing. She came down the next day to check out the space and discovered that she knew the owner of the building, Hal Forbes. “Hal tries to be sensitive to the neighbourhood, and he wanted something that the neighbourhood would appreciate. So he jumped on the idea of an ice cream parlour.” By the time Dee Dee’s was ready to open, it was October. The summer – prime ice cream season – was over and done with. But again, Ditta wasn’t deterred. “I've had a lot of good fortune in my life,” she says. “After we opened, the skating oval happened and we didn't know that would be something that was going to take place. But with the skating oval, we became known for gourmet hot chocolate.” Dee Dee’s soon became more than just an ice cream parlour. The eatery offers coffee, baked goods, and those ever-popular burritos. People in the neighbourhood became regulars. And that’s what Kasdan wanted to see happen. “I love neighbourhoods that are real in the sense that you have a huge diversity of people,” she says. “This is what I love about the neighbourhood.” In creating an ice cream parlour she could call her own, Kasdan has perhaps finally satiated that unhappy little girl who moved to Halifax in 1972. But that’s not the best part. For her, it’s the connection to community that such a place elicits. “Relationships and community are more important in the end than making money,” she says. “In terms of personal sense of fulfilment and meaning, being a part of a community and forming relationships are the things that sustain a person.” █

Hot looks for cold weather

We offer a wide range of unique eyewear and quality sunglasses.

453-6100. New Patients Welcome. Complete eye exams in a comfortable setting. Appointments Monday to Saturday.

5550 KAYE STREET (across from Hydrostone Mkt.)

DOWNTOWN DARTMOUTH explore dartmouth online at and follow us on twitter @dt_dartmouth

All together


you CaN have luNCh

today! 6088 Quinpool Road 425-6806


Jules Chamberlain Article: Simon Thibault Photo: Riley Smith


“I’m Jules,” says Jules Chamberlain. “I’m not X, Y, or Z.” Chamberlain isn’t being coy in his statement. In fact, he’s offering a clue to how he views the work he does. “Doing real estate is one of the things I do,” he emphasizes. “Because human beings have a tendency to box things, if they see me as a realtor, they box me into it. But I'm not just that. I don't want my being X, Y, Z to limit me. There is more to me than that.” When asked, Chamberlain goes on to list some of the “other things” he does, such as organize events for Inter-Q, a Halifax-based business association for the LGBTQ community. He then lists some activities that has worked on in the past, such as architectural and design work in his previous home base in the Ottawa Valley. Chamberlain was born in Bathurst, New Brunswick, but “life took me elsewhere,” he says. He spent much of his time in Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley, where he did everything from living off the grid in a log cabin to organising and operating a community-based natural food store. “The store was not a co-op, but it operated as a group, and a community effort,” he recalls. “The staff worked with me, rather than for me. Those years of being involved with the store exposed me to alternative ways of thinking.” Jules moved to Halifax about three years ago. He always knew he would one day live here. “I feel like Halifax is linked to my destiny,” says Chamberlain. “I always wanted to return to the ocean. When I say ‘I love Halifax,’ it's not a tagline for me. It's felt. I want to promote us here and elsewhere. I've lived in bigger cities. Most of them don't have a big a heartbeat as this one. I believe in this city. We are what we make it.” Chamberlain says is working to make Halifax a place that not only he believes in, but that others do as well. That’s where Inter-Q comes into Chamberlain’s picture. What started as a breakfast club about a year ago has developed into a full business association. “There are tons of LGBT people here. A lot of businesses and professionals. We’re working on creating a network or directory of members. We also want to have workshops and lunch-and-learns, to offer support and educational spaces. We want this to happen to help one another. For me it's mostly to develop community.” Following that logic, Inter-Q is not your typical business association. “A lot of our meetings are social gatherings,” says Chamberlain. “The first meeting was followed by a social.” Chamberlain believes that celebration is how communities thrive. “I don't know what it is in my fabric, but I’ve always sought community,” he says. “Where I found it, I helped foster and if I didn't find it, I helped to create it.” For Chamberlain, his actions and decisions are not motivated strictly from a business perspective, but a personal one as well.“I'm not political but I'm politicized,” he says. “So I am not as likely to grab a placard and go outside and march, but I am an everyday quiet radical, and have been ever since I can remember,” reveals Chamberlain. “Every day I try and better myself and make changes in my life that will have repercussions. That's true grassroots.”█

L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3



L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | A u t u m n 2 0 1 2

Andre Livingston

For about what you’d pay for two family movie nights…*

When Andre Levingston talks about basketball, two things happen. First, he gets nostalgic, talking about what it was like growing up and playing hoops in Detroit. Second, he talks about everything that revolved around the game. “It kept me disciplined, outside of my parents,” he says. “I had a lot of respect for the game. It kept me on the straight and narrow.” You soon start to see that for Levingston, basketball is not just about making plays and scoring points. Although he is the proprietor and manager of the Halifax Rainmen, basketball isn’t simply a business model. For him, it’s a way of reaching out and giving back. Levingston’s path to Halifax started with a missed opportunity to start a team in Ontario. Undeterred, he was told about Halifax, and decided to come check it out. “People here were laidback,” he recalls. “I was shocked at how nice people were, and how willing they were to help. I met with the mayor and business folk, and then I made a decision that I would bring the team in Halifax.” Six years later, the Rainmen’s impact has transcended the court, and has become part of the fabric of the city. One of Levingston’s main sticking points with the Rainmen is that they should be more than a basketball team. He wants them to be role models for kids in the community. So Levingston makes sure that the players on the team reach out to various community and charitable organisations, donating their time and energy to helping and mentoring others. “We want to inspire one another,” he says. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, you can rise. We look to inspire groups of kids, because there are so many things to day that we didn’t have to deal with when we were younger. Kids don’t always know the damage they can do to another. It’s about the value of education and respect for others.” But it’s not only the kids who benefit from these interactions. Levingston believes that reaching out to others is a mirror act, one that affects everyone involved. “At lot of these players come from impoverished communities,” he points out. “They’re used to being defensive all the time, and then they come here and sleep with their doors open. I wasn’t used to it. You see someone coming on the street, you cross it or be on defence. None of those things exist here. They are welcomed with open arms.” He points out that doing work like this is infectious for his team players. “They love doing it, they want to do more. ‘Can we do things on our own,’ they ask me.” It’s not only the kids who are affected by the Rainmen’s participation in reaching out, but their families as well. “We get parents email us, and talk how their kids hated their school, and the Rainmen came and talked about the importance of education,” he says. “We get so many emails, and parents who thank us for what we did, and ‘It made a difference in my child’s life’, and it is one of those things where it means a lot to get an email from a parent that you changed my child’s life. Don’t think you’re not making an impact in your life.” Although the Rainmen are a sports team, and in the end, it is a business, for Levingston, it’s more of a means to an end than a profit margin. “Yes, we want to start the first professional league in Canada, but it’s never been about starting business,” he says. “It’s never been my objective. I didn’t come here to make money, I came to make a difference. Not only with kids on the team, but the community here to make opportunities. It’s about helping people dream. It means so many things. It’s hope.” █

entertain the family for the whole month!

Article: Simon Thibault Photo: Riley Smith


* Prices are based on adult annual memberships— approximately $50/month.

It happens here… for less than you think. 490 2291 | |

Butchery, Local Produce and Catering

Article: Jacob Boon Photos: Riley Smith

Fresh flavours from the heart 5544 Kaye Street (in the Hydrostone)

Open Tuesday- Sunday 902 454 0094



L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3

Photographed: Bob Chaissson, Co-owner of Plan B


ften donning curious outfits from days that time forgot, the first word that comes to mind when you first meet Bob Chiasson might not be “entrepreneur”. But you’d be wrong. A twenty-year veteran of set decoration for the local film industry and a self-described “late stage hoarder,” Chiasson, co-founder of Plan B on Gottingen Street, has been one of the creative minds working over the last year to build an innovative business model: a local merchants’ cooperative. Entering its second year of business. Plan B Merchants Co-op is a collaboration between small business owners that is proving to be more than the sum of its parts. Having already been selling his unusual wares (including vintage toys, antiques and taxidermy) at the Harbourview Market in Dartmouth, it didn’t take long for Chiasson to notice that several of the vendors around him were facing a similar financial position to the one that he was facing—none of them could afford their own store, or the time commitment to operate it. So they got creative.

L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3


COVER FEATURE “We thought if we pooled our resources we could open up our own storefront and sell seven days a week,”recalls Chiasson. “When we did the math, it turned out that for me to be open on Gottingen is actually cheaper than me being at the market every weekend. It was a no brainer.” Soon enough, Chiasson and six other inaugural coop members were filling out forms and coordinating the logistics for a business idea that turned out to be unique in the province. “When we went to file the papers with the cooperative board, the fellow that was dealing with us said in twenty years he's been there he's never used that particular form before,” remembers Chaisson. “In Nova Scotia there are lots of agricultural, housing, and artist cooperatives. But purely as a mercantile cooperative, that was sort of a new one.” “We were always wondering if there was a reason no one had done this before,” recalls Plan B co-founder and merchant Stacy Lepage. “Like, was there a catch?” If there is a catch, so far they haven’t encountered it. From seven original members, Plan B has exploded into a 51-vendor, collective with exciting, one-ofa-kind offerings on display in its 3,000 square foot space. Aside from Chiasson's collectibles, customers can find Japanese-inspired Harajuku fashions from


Lepage's Toxic Blossom, video games from Third Eye Blind, Morrigan LeFay's Mystical Gifts' gothic showpieces, elusive records from In Vinyl We Trust, and trail-blazing local artwork in the Parenthesize Fine Art Gallery. Shop gazers can even take a rest and enjoy some delectable vittles from the 99ONE cafe. This diverse collection of offerings represents great value and intrigue for customers, and a learning and growing experience for the small business owners. “I get to meet all these cool people – all the business owners in here that I wouldn't have met before, and hold events and do things that just wouldn't have been possible without this space,” explains Lepage. “It's really allowed us to be a lot more creative with what we do.” Plan B’s cooperative model also means that no merchant has to make the time commitment of looking after a retail operation full time. Plan B's coop board members each volunteer to operate the store, usually not more than one day per week. And with merchant spaces that start as low as $30 a month, “no one's going to go to bed at night thinking if they have a bad month they're going to lose their house,”says Chiasson. The success of Plan B is part of a larger feeling of momentum in the ever-growing commercial sector

L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | A Wui n t ut e mrn 2 20 01 13 2


of north end Halifax. Along with Plan B and the numerous galleries, cafes and bars already located on Gottingen, the new year will see the arrival of Global Television's new headquarters, a new offering from Jane's on the Commons, and the return of the legendary music venue The Marquee to the area. “Why we really chose Gottingen is that it seemed the perfect spot to open a store like ours,” says Chiasson. “A funky, cool shop that would sit right here on Gottingen; the entry point to the whole north end.” This trend for the north end is one that residents, consumers, and retailers all welcome. "I don't know if ten years ago we would have survived," says Chiasson. "But this city really seems ready for us, and we're ready for it.” █

You can visit Plan B at 2180 Gottingen Street, or connect with them on their Facebook page:

Are you 18-39 and ready to start your own business? CYBF can help! Up to $45,000 financing Business mentoring Pre-launch coaching Business resources

CYBFAtlantic @CYBFAtlantic



L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3

For more information on zero energy building design, visit

Article: Brenden Sommerhalder . Photo: Riley Smith . Photographed: Miro Krawczynski and John Crace


t can be difficult to see it in this way, but your body isn’t just a single entity. It’s a team of entities— cells—that all have their own specific little jobs. Common among all of them is one fundamental specialty: they’re extremely efficient energy users, taking energy from the outside world (food) and turning it into energy they can use (calories) with exceptionally little waste. And that’s not just good for the cells. It’s an essential skill they need to have in order to maintain the complicated ecosystem that they comprise: you. If you ask John Crace, principal and director of sustainability at WHW Architects in Halifax, in the same way that we can think of our body as a complex system made up of small energy-consuming entities, so too can we think of cities. “Cities are made up of a bunch of fixed stuff and a bunch of moving stuff,” explains Crace. “The moving stuff includes things like cars, trucks, buses, bikes, and people. The fixed stuff is all of the infrastructure. But it’s all an entity, and energy flows into and out of it and is used by various parts of the city-organism with varying degrees of efficiency.” Crace has been an active participant in the local and global energy efficiency conversation, designing and advocating for “net zero energy” building designs –

buildings that contribute at least as much energy as they consume. This is achieved by keeping energy consumption low through efficient design and by producing energy through, for example, heat recapture and solar, both to use and to contribute to the community’s power grid if more energy is produced than is used. According to Crace, if consumers consider lifecycle benefits of efficient design, zero energy buildings are an obvious goal, and one that is not out of reach. “A lot of the mechanical components in buildings could be replaced by smarter material and design choices,” explains Crace. “For example, most homes don't need furnaces if they’re designed properly.” A member of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce energy advisory group and the Green Power Labs board of directors, Crace has a keen understanding of how energy efficiency affects cities. “Still thinking of the city as an organism, all of the energy transactions that occur in it have a large bearing on the health of the organism,” he explains. “So if the energy is not efficiently used, then the organism suffers. Or if there's not enough energy the organism suffers. Or if it's dirty energy the organism suffers.” If leadership in energy efficiency was meant to come from our elected leaders, that would be far from obvious, at least in Halifax. “It’s a bit unusual,” says Crace. “A lot of municipalities embrace energy as a very key part of their mandate and a very key part of their economic development strategy. That's just not the case in Halifax.” Crace says that there has been some early promise with Halifax’s newly elected mayor and council, such as the progress with the Solar City initiative, but that it remains critical that leadership in energy sustainability continue to come from the grassroots, as well. “If there's an awareness of how energy is used and how precious it is for every given use, whether it's in terms of what a building consumes or where it is located, how we treat the natural energy inflow that we get from the sun as well as manufactured electricity, that makes a big difference in the how healthy and wealthy that whole organism can be,” says Crace. “In this case it's a city. We have to push ourselves to better understand the ecology of the city as an organism and appreciate that we control its metabolism, and its metabolism directly affects our world and every corner of our lives.” █

Article: Alexander Henden


hen a provincial government decides to spend large sums of money, it is a safe bet that the decision will be scrutinized by those who are paying the bill – the citizens. Such is certainly the case regarding the Nova Scotia government’s proposal to spend over $1.5 billion dollars on the Muskrat Falls project, which is a joint initiative between the Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Canadian governments, and Emera, which owns Nova Scotia Power. The proposed project includes a hydroelectric dam and generating station on the Churchill River near Goose Bay, which will also pump energy to Nova Scotia through undersea cables. Supporters of the project maintain that the Muskrat Falls project would be the cheapest way Nova Scotia could obtain long-term energy that meets the province’s green energy goals. Others criticize the project for its expense and what they consider to be an inadequate evaluation and public consultation process, while others yet (including the Sierra Club of Canada and the Ecology Action Centre) question how environmentally friendly the energy would actually be. Support for the Muskrat Falls project has been wellorganized, as this support has come from government and from Emera, which stands to profit if the project goes ahead and faces stiff penalties to the federal government if it fails to. Opposition has been less organized, but efforts have begun. Started by a group of people familiar with the energy industry in Nova Scotia, including Energy Atlantica president Todd McDonald, the Lower Power Rates Alliance is adding a voice to the conversation and calling for more robust research into the project. Since its conception, the Lower Power Rates Alliance has been joined by more and more concerned citizens. The story of Muskrat Falls evolves almost daily, but one thing is sure in this issue as it is in all: the more information available, the better. █

To find out more about the Lower Power Rates Alliance and to hear their side of the argument, visit


Looking to save energy and money? Efficiency Nova Scotia can help with energy solutions and rebates for your home or business. Contact us to start saving today. | 1-877-999-6035



L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3

For more details on how Efficiency Nova Scotia can help you or your business become more energy efficient, vist:

Article: Alexander Henden . Photo: Riley Smith . Photographed: Ron Marks


ver the last hundred years or so, we have become utterly dependent on high volumes of energy. It has become so much a part of our lives that we often take it for granted. Energy powers our homes, our cars, and the economy, which sustains everything we’ve come to value and rely on. In Nova Scotia, we are also faced with the fact that we are not a major energy producer, so it’s fair to suggest that using energy efficiently is not only a good idea, but a necessity. Back in 2011, the Nova Scotia government launched Efficiency Nova Scotia (ENS), a new independent corporation “responsible for helping Nova Scotians reduce their energy consumption and improve their energy efficiency at home and at work.” Funded at

a small cost per person by the energy user (us), ENS takes a multi-pronged approach, offering people and businesses free information and resources relating to efficient energy use. At the core of ENS's offering is their very attractive rebate program. On the small business end, this program includes comprehensive on-site consultation and support, plus some significant rebates on equipment and lighting replacement. For Ron Marks, owner of the Italian Market on Young Street, this seemed like an opportunity too good to pass up on. So he made a call to ENS, and shortly after an assessment was done, an energy savings plan was in motion. First on the menu was a replacement of the existing lighting, which included replacement of some ballasts as well. Most of the old lights were 100 watt fixtures, and these were replaced with a mix of 7 and 30 watt fixtures. Prior to replacement, the lighting portion of the annual energy bill was calculated at $2,200. With the new fixtures, Marks' business stands to save $1,200 annually. The total cost for the project was $3,500, but after the very generous Efficiency Nova Scotia rebate, the project ended up resulting in a mere $780 cost to the Italian Market. It will pay for itself in less than a year. Next was the replacement of seven stand-alone fridges and a freezer, all of which were about 20 years old, and not so efficient. The total cost of this step was $45,000, which was offset by a rebate of $12,226. The energy savings from the new fridges and freezer are estimated at $7,900 annually. This upgrade will pay for itself in four years, and in the meantime, the Italian Market gets to show off its brand new energy efficieny equipment. Factoring in savings from potential maintenance costs of the older equipment (and considering that the monies for the upgrade came interest-free from Nova Scotia Power with loan payments added to the monthly bill over a two-year period), it was an easy decision for Marks. Overall, Efficiency Nova Scotia is a great initiative that plays a significant role in helping us become more efficient users of energy—and in many cases, ENS's rebate program can save you money, help you to upgrade your old equipment, and make you feel better about the part you're doing to preserve our future. █

Article: Brenden Sommerhalder


n Nova Scotia, more than 70 percent of our electricity comes from coal, oil, and gas. These methods of electricity generation produce greenhouse gases that are strongly linked to climate change, as well as other emissions that contribute to poorer air quality. As energy consumption continues to rise and concerns over climate change continue to grow, we must ask ourselves: Can we do better? Luckily, we can. One readily-available option is Bullfrog Power, which is a green energy provider that services provinces across Canada, including Nova Scotia. Homes, apartments, and businesses that use Bullfrog’s 100% green energy leave a reduced emissions footprint, which helps combat climate change. Bullfrog's green electricity comes entirely from EcoLogo-certified  wind and  low-impact  hydro facilities, instead of from polluting sources like coal, oil, and natural gas. The organization also provides a green natural gas option, which is produced by capturing and cleaning the gas produced through the decay of organic matter in our everyday waste stream. This process provides a clean and renewable alternative to fossil fuel-based natural gas. Unlike conventional natural gas, green natural gas does not increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and therefore helps prevent climate change. Bullfrog Power currently services customers in Nova Scotia and across the east coast, including Maritime singer-songwriters Dave Carroll and Dave Gunning, who are enthusiastic promoters of Bullfrog’s green energy. By using services like Bullfrog Power and making smarter energy choices, we can invest in a healthier world for future generations. █

If you are interested in signing up your home, be sure to use the special promo code “LOCAL” to receive your first month of bullfrogpower free, up to a $25 value! To sign up or learn more, visit Bullfrog Power at, or call 902-462-8130.

6024 Quinpool Road, Halifax 474- 4152 · @RelishHRM


4 seasons, 4 directions, 4 elements, 4 corners... 4 is an elemental balance.

Jost 4 sKins

AVAILABLE At sELEct NsLc & BoutIquE wINE storEs.

st_4Skins_LocalConnctions_01_13.indd 1

13-01-15 3:20 PM

Join us as we celebrate International Women’s Day with a very special luncheon event March 5th, 2013 | 11:30pm – 1:30pm World Trade and Convention Centre Tickets: 457-6449

Save the date and stay tuned for an exciting announcement about our keynote speaker. Start. Grow. Connect.

CWB: Atlantic Canada’s leading resource for women entrepreneurs since 1992.


he new year is here, and Haligonians everywhere started January with a bang and have been running ever since. Running from meeting to meeting, running to catch deadlines, running to networking events...and doing everything they can to keep their business endeavors running successfully in the process. While most people are warming up to the idea that Social Media can be a huge benefit to business, the truth is that it often seems incredibly overwhelming. So, in an effort to help local businesspeople take a bite out of the social media apple, let’s consider a few “small” Twitter practices that can have a big impact on business. And not always in a good way. Consider the practice of return-following users on Twitter (“follow back”). While some adhere to an unspoken etiquette that most users will follow those who follow them, it is important to consider that the users you follow are a reflection of you. It is also crucial to note that there are many users that follow anyone and everyone in order to “spam” their promotion of one kind or another, including very bold members of the pornography industry. Following someone back makes sense when you are truly interested in who they are and what they offer you and your audience. Following everyone back, while it may save time, could actually compromise the message you want to convey to your audience. Another practice is that of purchasing followers. While this has the ability to increase your numbers significantly, it is important to consider whether the followers you are buying are actually of benefit to you. Are they your audience? Will they engage with you? Perhaps the most important question to ask is this: is it the numbers that matter to you or the quality of your contacts? Often follower lists that are built over

Article: Frances Leary of Wired Flare

Full-bodied and with a hint of impulsiveness, award-winning 4 sKINs combines a carefully selected blend of four grapes fermented on their skins to create a one-of-a-kind wine. castel, Lucie Kuhlmann, MarechalFoch and Millot are blended to a rich, ruby hue. this is a deeply satisfying wine with a long and pleasurable finish.

Winter menu now in season. time and based on strong, relationship-building communications are more loyal and have a much larger ROI than large numbers of purchased followers. A third standard practice to consider is using an auto-reply to communicate with all your new followers. This tool sends your new followers a direct message to their Twitter inbox. While on one hand this seems like a great way to recognize and welcome new followers, consider that it may also be very impersonal. As more people get wise to the auto-reply, it may even seem self-serving and more like spam than a true welcome message. There may be other, more personalized alternatives. While automated Twitter practices can save time, it is important for business people to consider how their audience views those practices and how it impacts the relationships they are using Twitter to build. The best rule to follow is that if you see it as effective and beneficial when others do it to you and if it feels right to you, then do it. If it doesn’t, then don’t. Consider creating your own set of Twitter “standard practices” that become standard because they work for you. █

An FYI to all local businesses. Twitter has recently updated its trademark, and now has a new content display policy:

Always fresh, always local.

Variety of gluten-free options. Lunch, dinner & weekend brunch. 5883 Spring Garden Road • you deserve to eat well.

Have your cake, & eat it too! PRINTING | MAIL SERVICES | BUSINESS FORMS

26 Crane Lake Drive, Halifax . (902) 442-5031 .

Valentine's Day may only come once a year, but the truth is you can celebrate your "Local Love" everyday!

Cute Little Critters ▶ When warm and fuzzy is the way to go, local crafter, Blythe Church has you covered with her line-up of amazing adorable stuffed creatures.

◀ Fresh Cut Tulips A Valentine classic. It's hard to go wrong with flowers, so why not get a bunch of PEI grown tulips from Pete's Frootique.

▲ Sparkling Wine Sometimes love deserves a big celebration, so why not crack open a bottle of sparkling wine from a local vineyard? Like this lovely bottle of Crémant for example.

Handcrafted Liquers ▶ Another thoughtful option would be to get a bottle or two of fruit liquers from Lunenburg microdistiller, Ironworks. Everything is made in small batches, and each bottle is a beauty to behold.


L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3

▲ Gift Cards, etc There's nothing wrong with playing the safe card, so long as your hand is strong. Choose something good, and make sure it's local, and then when the time is right, you will be having that romantic dinner you were hoping for. or

◀ Locally Made Jewelry So long as you know her size and taste, buying jewelry is not only a safe bet, it's a winner! And as is the case with a lot of local jewelry, the price points are quite favourable, leaving enough for some of the other items on these pages.

◀ Thunder Jacket Seen here in Fuschia Pink, this fleece jacket from our locally owned North Face store is not only a loving gift, but a practical one as well.

Handmade Ice Cream ▶ For the sweet-toothed lover, it has to be a tub of handmade ice cream! With over 20 flavours to choose from, there's one for every taste.

Lovers 'Za ▶ For lover's with 'simpler tastes', you can always order a heartshaped pizza from Freeman's Little New York. Great for Valentine's Day, but these can be had 365 days a year. Now that's a lot of love!

◀ Beer Caramels Hand Made Chocolates ▲ It's hard to go wrong with chocolate, but if your love is true, may we suggest you skip the easy pickup at the drugstore on the way home, and get that special someone the real deal.

Probably the best caramels we've ever had, it's kind of hard to go wrong with a bag of Sticklers. They're made using Garrison beer and the price point is in line with even the smallest Valentine's budget.

L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3




L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3

Article: Brenden Sommerhalder . Photo: Laurel Bray . Photographed: Fred Connors and Crazytown


f you ask Fred Connors, he'll tell you that mayor of Halifax sounds like one of the worst jobs in the world. And that’s exactly why he decided to run for the job. Connors says that his standard response to people in the community who suggested to him that he should run for mayor was that he “would never run for mayor.” Then, he says, “I thought, but you know what, it shouldn't be the worst job. Being the mayor of a city you love should be the best job in the world.” For Connors, if he got the job, he was going to change the job. “I felt that I was running an intervention [for City Hall] more than I was running a campaign,” reflects Connors. So, in January, 2012, in front of a crowd gathered to congratulate him as he accepted the Family SOS Ambassador Award, Connors, a local entrepreneur and community builder, announced that he would be running for mayor in the upcoming election. He did not win the city’s top job, which makes him a former candidate—but it does not make him a failed candidate. “I didn't care how it went,” says Connors. “I knew I would benefit from the experience. I thought I could probably get enough people to vote for me so that I could have a respectable showing. I felt that [being mayor] is the ultimate way to be a part of the conversation, and that the conversation needed to change. Leading and providing ambassadorship for the city you love and believe in should be nothing but amazing. So I thought, all right, I'm going to run for mayor.” But don’t mistake Connors’ preparedness for any election day outcome as a lack of confidence. “I definitely thought I could win,” says Connors. “I didn’t know whether I would win, but I didn’t think for a second that I couldn’t win.”

Connors has always approached community engagement with the philosophy that to connect with the community, it is essential to talk about issues that matter to peoples' lives. “I wanted to change the discussion away from complicated political issues to the stuff that people in communities actually care about,” he says. “I felt that I am smart enough, outgoing enough and brave enough to be an agent for change.” Connors knew that if he were to be elected mayor, he would be up against a number of challenges. “I knew I would be part of a system that didn’t believe anything was possible, that wasn’t interested in taking risks. I knew that I would be fighting a system every step of the way to shift the focus from what we can’t do to what we can do. But I felt that we needed someone to think way outside the box and set the expectations very high, because then even if we could bring people half way, that would be a huge shift.” Although he says he won’t be running for mayor in the next election, Connors has no regrets about his decision to run in the last election and how he conducted his campaign. “I loved the whole process,” he says. “I don’t think I’ve ever been as engaged in anything as I was in that campaign. I loved the research, learning everything I could, really meeting the different communities across HRM and the diversity of issues that are important to them.” “I didn’t lose anything,” he asserts. “I only gained.” █

Article: Alexander Henden


ast winter, local restauranteurs George and Leo Christakos were looking to renovate their neighbourhood restaurant, Brooklyn Warehouse. They had some help coming from their landlord, but still needed another $30,000 for their end of the bargain. In the restaurant business, money doesn't grow on trees, especially in the dead of winter. So where would the money come from? The answer: crowdfunding. At the time the tactic raised a lot of eyebrows, as most Atlantic Canadians had never heard of the concept. But here was George and Leo, two local entrepreneurs, making a solid go of it. Looking back, the camaign was a clear success. Not only were the duo's financial objectives met, but something else happened, too. Last winter, the two Christakos' showed us how to engage people by including them in the process and making them part of something special. The Christakos designed a Crowdfunders Menu, with some truly unique offerings, like "Dinner for Two, twice a year for life," and more simple offerings like the "Lunch for Two and some Brooklyn Warehouse T-shirts". In the end, 100 people participated, 80 of which were from the same postal code as the restaurant. The community came together. Fast forward to 2013, and George and Leo are at it again, this time because they are doing a major kitchen renovation. As expected, there are some unique packages being offered, but this year there's even more for us. With the kitchen being shut down for a few weeks for renovations, Brooklyn Warehouse will be taking over the Nomad Gourmet food truck and treating Halifax to a unique 'street food' menu. It's something George Christakos has always wanted to do. We think it will be a fun few weeks for restaurant goers, and it's most certainly an innovative way of problem solving. â–ˆ

To get on board with the Brooklyn Warehouse crowfunding campaign, visit their website at:

1551 South Park Street, Halifax . 492-0530 .


Second Chance Program

Article: Michelle Brunet Photos: Ryan Gillis



hen Christopher Gallant entered the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education & Development (CEED)’s Second Chance program, he had an excuse for everything. “I can’t do this” or “I’m not smart” would often be heard coming from his mouth. Just like Erin Dorrington, who was determined not to succeed when she first began the program, until she realized that this wasn’t her second chance—it was her last chance. Fast forward ten months to December 7, 2012, graduation day for eight individuals who successfully completed the Second Chance program, geared towards youth between the ages of 15 and 30 who have had previous conflict with the law. Tears of joy welled in the eyes of Second Chance program manager, Sabrina Poirier and program facilitator Missy Searl. Family and friends heartily cheered as their loved ones accepted diplomas, as well as individual awards of excellence for skills such as leadership, entrepreneurship, and teamwork. Among those accepting diplomas were Gallant and Dorrington. As valedictorian, Gallant dedicated his accomplishments in the program—a desire to learn new things, lifelong friendships, realizing his amazing math


L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3

skills, among others—to his girlfriend and four children. Dorrington also spoke, sharing that the Second Chance program allowed her to “be at peace,” and to embrace her inner creativity. She closed the graduation ceremony with a gorgeous vocal performance of “I Believe I Can Fly.” “The premise of Second Chance is teaching young people the business of life,” says Poirier. “Life skills, employability skills, and entrepreneurial skills—those are the three main skill sets we work on. The participants come to us with many skills already in these areas, but they don’t always recognize this. The program helps them realize their strengths.” Second Chance’s curriculum involves experiences inside and outside the classroom, from developing business plans and computer skills to community service projects. “One of the reasons that young people come to the Second Chance program is to turn their lives around,” said Alison O'Handley, CEED’s Strategic Initiatives Lead. “A great way for them to do this is volunteering in the community.” Examples of community projects Second Chance youth have implemented include running basketball camps for

elementary schools, volunteering at the Common Roots Urban Farm, and creating a video to encourage kids to avoid a life of crime. Second Chance also enables participants to come together to share their personal stories to understand the root causes associated with their past troubles with the law. “When they start a program, there are walls up,” explains Poirier. “To knock those walls down is vital to being successful in the program and to move on in life. When they start out, they’re just 12 people in a room. When they graduate, they’re a family.” The program allows participants to get the specific help they need, from housing support to physical or mental healthcare. “A lot of them really need to connect to other resources in the community and that’s where I think we do some of our best work,” says Poirier. Each Second Chance grad has their own personal story of triumph. “Success looks different for each participant,” explains O'Handley. “Through the program, one participant might establish more structured housing, whereas another may start a career or go onto university or college.” Championed across the country (the program has won numerous awards, including the 2012 National Youth Employment Innovation Grand Prize in 2012), Second Chance serves as a successful model for helping troubled youth in HRM turn their lives around in a profound way. CEED has also helped implement programs in New Glasgow and Sydney. Halifax’s 14th Second Chance program began in January, and Poirier continues to be moved by the youth she facilitates. “The trauma and challenges that some of them have been through and the work they’ve done to overcome their circumstances—they are some of the most hard-working, dynamic, versatile people I’ve ever met in my life,” expresses Poirier express. “There is no other group of individuals more resilient in Halifax than those sitting in the Second Chance classroom.” █

For more information about this program, contact Sabrina Poirier at CEED:, or visit their website at

Fine furniture maker and antique furniture restorer with over 3 decades of woodworking experience. ph: (902) 431-0629 cel: (902) 473-9967





SIS (Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services) is an organization with a huge volunteer base and the most diverse staff group in HRM. Between their 400 volunteers and 120 employees, there are approximately 40 different languages spoken! Created by the merger of Halifax Immigrant Learning Centre (HILC) and Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association (MISA) in 2009, ISIS is celebrating an important anniversary in 2015: 35 years of providing services to immigrants that allow them to participate fully in Canadian life. Over those years, many different groups of people around the world have received support— Vietnamese refugees in the 1980s, former Yugoslavian professionals and Kosovars in the 1990s, and Afghan refugees in the last decade. Operating out of offices in the West End Mall of Halifax,


L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3

Article: Renée Hartleib Photos: Riley Smith upwards of 3,500 people per year are served by ISIS. There are programs for refugees when they first arrive that include airport pick up, help finding short and long term accommodation, and support to register children in school. There are also overall settlement services that include translation services, employment preparation, health support, and linking immigrants to the community. And of course, there are a whole host of language programs. Some people arrive without any ability to speak, write, or read English, while others have already taken ESL courses in their home countries. ISIS programs run the gamut of language training, even including hiring instructors to go into workplaces and provide on-site language support. Gerry Mills worked with HILC for 21 years and when the agencies merged, became Director of Operations with ISIS. “Next to language, the most important task for

immigrants is finding work,” she says. “To that end, we have a number of programs that help immigrants become independent and effective in their job search.” This includes employment counselling, pre-employment workshops, work placements, mentors, and even wage subsidies. Sometimes individuals are simply looking for their first entry-level job in Canada, but others are already physicians, engineers, or pharmacists, and need help navigating the passageways to licensure in Canada. “There’s also another whole sector who want to open their own business here and we help them do that,” says Mills. “In fact, last year, 40 new businesses opened.” ISIS keeps track of how immigrant-owned businesses are doing, and have only positive news to report. “We have excellent stats that prove that businesses created by immigrants are succeeding, and indeed, thriving in Nova Scotia.” Another aspect of ISIS's services that Mills is particularly proud of is the fact that as a result of the merger, the organization can now offer services beyond the boundaries of HRM. “We provide services to 80 different communities across Nova Scotia," she explains. More and more of ISIS's services are being accessed via the internet for those who haven’t yet arrived in Canada. One of the organization's most recent successes involved a client emigrating from Russia who was interviewed for work while still living there. ISIS staff helped set up the Skype and phone interviews with three prospective employers, and by the time the client arrived in Halifax, he had landed the job of his dreams. “All of our research tells us that the better prepared someone is before they arrive, the quicker they will integrate," says Mills. In fact, current statistics show that 100% of immigrants who are helped pre-arrival are working in their field within six months. It’s these kind of stories and statistics that make working with Canada’s newest citizens and families so rewarding. “Every day we make a positive difference in people’s lives," beams Mills. "Every day people walk out of our offices knowing something new or being able to do something that they weren’t able to before. It’s powerful work.” █

Finding the right environment is key.

For more information about the Immigrant Settlement & Integration Services, vist their website at or call (902) 423-3607

Recruitment and placement services


Affirmative Ventures

Article: Renée Hartleib Photos: Riley Smith



magine how nice it would be to pick up the phone on a bad day at work and talk to someone who’s looking out for you; someone who’s got your back and can give you some good advice. That’s just one of the many wonderful things that Affirmative Ventures does for their clients. This organization, formerly known as Affirmative Industries, is an innovative non-profit that combines business operation and human services. The organization owns and operates three HRM-based businesses that employ and train individuals, aged 19-60, living with disabilities. Participants, called “employees-in-training,” learn important on-the-job skills, all with the end goal of graduating to employment in the community and eventual economic independence. Up to 88 people per year participate in Affirmitive Ventures' 12-week program that includes a combination of workshops and work experience. Upon successful completion of the program, a job developer and a job


L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3

coach work with each participant to help them secure employment in the community. Once a job is landed, the new employee and their employer are both supported, for as long as necessary. Affirmative Ventures is co-lead by Lori Edgar, Director of Operations, and Mike Little, Director of Planning and Development. Twenty years ago, Lori was the first Job Coach the organization ever hired. Now there are eight full-time employees, all who routinely work more than a forty-hour week. Not because they have to, but because they want to. “We hire people who want to make a difference in their community. This work is so much more than just a job,” says Edgar. “Coming to work every day is a pleasure because what we’re doing is so positive. We’ve cultivated a culture of the hand-up, not the hand-out.” Edgar and Little both worked with psychologist Dr. Norman Greenberg, who birthed the idea for Affirmative Ventures. His work with mental health patients at the Nova

Scotia Hospital during the 1980’s sparked an idea and a drive to help patients develop the personal and professional skills they needed to successfully live outside the hospital. Based on the philosophy that everyone can contribute if provided the right opportunity and supports, Dr. Greenberg began to think about ways to blend business with patient recovery, helping them to achieve greater independence. He launched the first of several employment training businesses in 1988, a craft-oriented social enterprise producing clay heritage model houses. In 1992, The Affirmative Industry Association of Nova Scotia was incorporated, and since then more businesses have opened. Their current businesses include Pet Stuff on the Go in Dartmouth (a local not-for-profit pet retail store, plus home delivery and grooming); Mort’s Convenience, also in Dartmouth; and Common Values on the corner of Cunard and Agricola Street in Halifax. The organization has also developed affordable housing for mental health consumers. Affirmative House opened in September 2007, and is home to ten tenants recovering from mental illness. Each tenant signs a five-year lease and contributes to a savings plan, partly funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services, which nets them a tidy sum when they move on. Affirmative Ventures is backed by an extremely dedicated and visionary Board of Directors, which includes Dr. Greenberg. Their track record is one of absolute success, with 87% of clients who receive job coaching remaining successfully employed in the workforce. “Helping people work makes such a difference in the lives of individuals and communities,” says Edgar. “Our goal is to expand into other areas of Nova Scotia and eventually to other provinces as well. We’re always looking to the future and ways we can broaden the help we provide.” █

For more information about this program, visit their website at

nice moves

Jeff H Barrett

B.A. CIM @nextgeninvestor

The “Winter of Our Discontent?”



So, what should we talk about this time? What analogies can I conjure? Immediately what comes to mind is some comparison of the New Year to the barren emptiness of the winter. If you will allow me to visualize, I will elaborate by exploring thoughts of resurrection; the crackling over the past harvest by sterility and barrenness; angled and sharp forms covering the landscape; a wintered ‘dust bowl;’ perhaps the kinetic wiping away of past energies. No wonder we love New Year’s Resolutions. Personally, I don’t buy into the idea. I do, however, feel an unmistakable ‘fresh start’ every January. Why is this? I think it is in our nature to live (at least in Canada) in a cycle of growth, harvest, and rebirth; following an example set by nature. Admittedly, nothingness is as appealing as everything sometimes; this leads to necessary self-thought. There is something beneficial about taking stock (forgive the pun) of past and future. We want to wrestle a bigger and better something for the upcoming growth stage; and we want it to break through the ice with a greater reaching determination than the previous year. As you look out at the snow, it throws a cover over last year’s efforts: A white, visually-clean, blank slate that spurs you into ‘creation.’ You think: ‘What will I do in 2013?’ ‘How can I do better than 2012?’ ‘I wonder if the Mayan apocalypse stopped me from caring about the future.’ You laugh to yourself and remember that the Mayans never saw a winter so they didn’t know to start over in 2013. You acknowledge another digression, as do I. My point here is to remind you to embrace the opportunities of a barren and empty New Year and to acknowledge its connection to our own nature’s unstable efforts at rebirth. I can see you again getting off topic, saying to yourself: ‘Do you think the Australians understand New Year’s resolutions the same way I do? Would I have the same visceral reaction to renewal if it were midsummer? Hmm...I wonder.’ What this illustrates is that we have learned to live in cycles of variation: ups and downs, starts and stops, and births and deaths of success. Like winter then, the New Year renews again our attempt to cling in vain to the ‘ups,’ ‘starts,’ and ‘births’ that are not perpetually and constantly manageable. We should, however, never relent in our attempt. Otherwise a vibrant spring will never appear. █

Anisa Awad

B.A. COMM @Anisa_A_

Wine | Spirits | Beer

Time to Pause and Reflect “You are pretty normal considering where you came from,” he asserted. Baffled and taken back, I wasn’t sure how to respond to such blatant judgment. Searching through my memory as I write this, I can’t seem to remember what I said back to him. But, I do recall that his comment made me question many aspects of life that I took for granted. “What’s ‘normal’?” “Where ‘I’ came from?” “Is this an insult or a compliment?” These were just some of the questions that swamped my mind as I attempted to decode his message. Until this day, I am not aware of the intention behind that rather simplistic and ignorant comment. My intention though is not to immortalize that one comment, but rather to showcase it as an example of the many stories and happenings that I lived since moving to the East Coast in 2010. Relocating to the unfamiliar and abandoning the familiar was a brave decision that many don’t embark on. Reflecting back on my 21-year-old self, I really didn’t know much about here and didn’t have any expectations. One thing I knew, from my textbooks and numerous family and friends’ accounts, is that Canada was the prime example of multiculturalism and social integration. It was branded as such, a country’s identity that stuck with me since I was a little girl learning about the world. As my first year passed and my social circle began to expand, the curious questions began to flow. I embraced it to the fullest. “Ask me anything,” I cheerfully told my Canadian friends. My enthusiasm was driven by my belief that it is always better to ask and get answers from the very sources of your doubts and curiosity than to keep hush and avoid possible learning opportunities. The curious questions came in all different ranges of subjects. Some asked about my scarf, some about my upbringing in the United Arab Emirates, some about being a Palestinian, some about my fluent English and others about my music and film collection. Occasionally, I would encounter those who can’t seem to wrap their head around the idea of me as an individual, a 20-something Arab Muslim woman who defies the western media’s conventional portrayal of my demographic group. The reality though is that we live in a world where we are still defined by race, ethnicity, religion and so on. Yet I am who I am, the child of the many cultures and influences that molded to shape me every step of the way. Mark Twain’s wisdom is timeless, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” █ 5668 Cornwallis St, Halifax


Just Follow Your Dreams


or some people, retirement marks the end of a journey. For others, like automobilia artist Paul Chenard, it's simply the beginning of a new and exciting one. A fixture at the Seaport Market since early last year, Paul has been building up to this moment for some time. What started out as a passionate hobby has slowly evolved into a new career, with his work now being recognized globally. A lot of his work has been featured in top automotive magazines, and people from all over the world are buying it from him. He is one of the best at what he does, and yes, he's from Halifax! If you've ever had the opportunity to meet Paul, you'll realize just how serious he is about his craft. He loves cars! He loves them as art forms, as engineering wonders, and he is consumed by the historical and cultural aspects that surround them. But it goes even further than that. Through his unwavering commitment, he has found himself part of the story as well, a story which, in many ways, is just at the beginning.


L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | W i n t e r 2 0 1 3

Article & Photo: Alexander Henden

In our recent visit to Paul's new Halifax residence, we realized how far his automobile obsession really goes. His bookshelves are stocked full of hundreds of automotive books and magazines, and a miniature car collection that is nothing short of staggering. The walls of his new pad are lined with a variety of historical automotive posters from all over the world, and as you see in the picture below, he has even taken it upon himself to paint the very walls of the place in which he resides. Paul is on a terrific journey, and it's one that is encouraging for those of us who will eventually move into retirement. There's light at the end of the tunnel. You simply need a dream, and the drive it takes to pursue it. â–ˆ

You can visit Paul on Saturdays at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market or follow his adventure online through his website:

Local Connections Halifax - Winter 2013  
Local Connections Halifax - Winter 2013  

A FREE magazine showcasing the BEST Nova Scotia has to offer.