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HOW TO LIVE THE ORGANIC LIFE

Living organically is a lifestyle choice that is about positively impacting your environment. If you appreciate having a healthy body and a healthy planet, consider making a few choices that will benefit both.

The North End helps make organic living simple since it’s in close proximity to many amenities that make it easier to eat organically and limit your carbon footprint on our planet. Here are a few tips for making your daily life a little more organic.

Eat organic food

Food that’s grown without chemicals is good for your body and the planet. Not everyone has the space for their own garden, but everyone can grow their own kitchen herbs. Sourcing food locally reduces the impact of carbon fuels on the earth, so buying things made here makes a difference to the health of our whole planet.

Have you visited Local Source Market? Located on Agricola Street, they offer fresh produce in season from local organic and sustainable farms. They also offer free range, grass-fed and antibiotic-free meats, as well as cheeses, eggs, artisan breads, sustainable seafood, grains, honey and everything else you need to stock your pantry organically.

Use organic cleaning products

Most household cleaning products contain toxic chemicals. There are many natural and inexpensive products that clean well, and may already be in your cupboard. Make use of vinegar, which is great for removing smells, cleaning glass, and can be added to the rinse cycle to soften your clothes. Baking soda helps soften and scrub grease and grime off pans and bathtubs. It’s easy to find organic cleaning recipes online that will ensure your home is sparkling without the use of chemicals.

Switch to organic personal hygiene products

Many soaps and skin care products contain chemicals and additives that are absorbed directly into your skin. To avoid this, buy organic products made with essential oils and natural oils like jojoba, olive or coconut. They’re easily found in the health food section of your local grocer or, better yet, at Makenew on Agricola Street where owner Anna stocks Skin Solutions by local esthetician Teena Judson.

Limit your driving

Living in the North End provides the perfect opportunity to minimize your carbon footprint. With the convenience of walking or biking almost everywhere, and many major bus routes travelling through the neighbourhood, you can leave the car at home most days. Alternatively, get rid of it altogether and sign up for CarShare Halifax, a membership-based car rental service. They offer several cars parked at different lots all over the community.

Borrow a car one day a week and run all your errands at the same time. Think of all the money you’ll save on gas, servicing, and insurance with the convenience of still having a car when you need one.

OUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO IN THE NORTH END

Every day should start with a cup of delicious fair trade coffee or tea, whether you have time to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere or are grabbing one to go. The Nook is located next to Theatre Lofts at 2118 Gottingen Street. They have a tantalizing list of espresso concoctions as well as drip coffee, and a variety of teas including several “Feel-Better Potions,” aimed at everything from boosting your immunity to detoxing your insides. They offer a wide variety of breakfast choices, home made breads, vegetarian and vegan options.

Take in a morning yoga class at Ashtanga Yoga at Creative Crossing on the corner of Agricola and Charles Streets. They have an 8:30 a.m. class on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in the Mysore style of teaching, where your teacher modifies the yoga practice to suit your needs and challenges.

Share your good karma by dropping off some non-perishable food or gently-used furniture at the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank. It’s an independent food bank that began providing food to local, low-income families in 1983. One of the things we love about the North End is how much people care about each other!

There is no lack of good shopping in the North End either. You might find the perfect antique chest at Finer Things Antiques. If you’re in the market for some books, consider dropping in to see Morgan at Orphan Books on Agricola, or into Plan B, the co-op store for local merchants on Gottingen. Looking for the perfect party outfit? Find some new-to-you clothes at Makenew curated thrift shop on Agricola. There’s an abundance of locally owned businesses that populate this area, and we’re proud to support all of them.

For dinner, there’s nothing quite like heading to enVie for tasty vegan fare, followed up with Lion & Bright to grab one of their pastries for dessert. Conveniently, there’s a brand new NSLC right on Agricola if you fancy some wine, or pop over to North Brewing or Propeller Brewery for a locally made microbrew.

There’s nothing quite like the North End of Halifax. We encourage you to enjoy its unique nature and celebrate what its businesses and residents offer our beautiful city!

6 historical facts about the North End you probably don’t know.

North End View

View of North End from Citadel Hill, 1899
Image courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS.

London, Paris, Rome. When you think of these places, it does not take long to conjure up images of gothic cathedrals, knights on horseback, or gladiators in the Colosseum. Without a doubt, these places have long histories that eclipse any North American city, but did you know that the history of the North End spans 250 years – longer than most of North America’s largest cities?

While a lot has changed in the North End over its rich history, the neighbourhood has always been a vital part of Halifax. Today, the North End is one of the city’s liveliest neighbourhoods. New shops and restaurants open regularly in the North End, and unique characters constantly add to its personality.

Here are some important events that have helped shape the North End into one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods in Halifax.

1. There were once farms in the North End.

Like most of Nova Scotia, the North End was initially heavily forested. As the need for more peninsula development increased, forests were cleared to make room for estate houses for Halifax’s elite, and smaller homes for residents working in the dockyard. As European settlers arrived to help build Halifax and work at the dockyard, they cleared more land to develop small farms.

By the 1860’s, the vast majority of the estate homes were sold to make room for housing development, and various civic and military functions. At the same time, a manufacturing base was beginning to encompass large portions of the area, eating up the small farms created by European settlers. Today, the farms are long gone, but you can still find remnants of the German-speaking settlers who created them. In 1764, they successfully petitioned the Governor to change the area’s name from Germantown to Gottingen.

2. The first Citadel Hill Fortress was a small redoubt with a flagstaff and a guardhouse.

North End View

Block House, Fort Halifax, 1755.
Image courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS.

In 1749, as the Town of Halifax was established, the Citadel Hill Fortress was built. Created as a counterbalance to the French stronghold of Louisbourg, the first fort was a small redoubt with a flagstaff and a guardhouse. On September 11th, 1749, Edward Cornwallis wrote this to the British Board of Trade:

“The Square at the top of the Hill is finished. These squares are done with double picquets, each picquet ten foot long and six inches thick. They likewise clear a Space of 30 feet without the Line and throw up the Trees by way of Barricade. When this work is completed I shall think the Town as secure against Indians as if it was regularly fortify'd.”

Since its humble beginnings, four different defensive fortifications have been built on the summit of Citadel Hill. While it has never been attacked, the fortress played an important defensive role for the strategically important Halifax Harbour and its Royal Navy Dockyard. Today the fort is a National Historic Site and is operated by Parks Canada.

North End View

Cannon firing royal salute from Citadel Hill for King George VI, Halifax, NS.
Image courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS.

Just a short 10-minute walk from Harris East, when you visit Citadel Hill Fortress today, you will be greeted by re-enactors of the famed 78th Highlanders Regiment of Foot and the 78th Highlanders Pipe Band who were stationed at Halifax for three years during 1869-1871.

3. Parts of the original Naval Yard still exist.

North End View

H.M. Naval Yard, Halifax, circa 1870.
Image courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS.

In 1759, a permanent Naval Yard was established in the North End to replace temporary facilities and a careening beach on George’s Island. The Yard served as the main base for the British Royal Navy in North America during the Seven Years’ War, the American Revolution, the French Revolutionary Wars and the War of 1812. The station closed in 1905 and was sold to Canada in 1907 where it was renamed Her Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard – a function it still serves today as part of CFB Halifax.

You can still see parts of the original Naval Yard today. The original clock has been restored and now resides at the entrance of the Halifax Ferry Terminal, while the original bell is preserved at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in downtown Halifax. Both of these pieces of North End history are just a short walk from Harris East.

4. Horses and livestock once grazed on The Halifax Common

North End View

Military Review for the Coronation of King George V, Halifax Commons, 1911.
Image courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS.
In 1763, King George III granted The Halifax Common “to and for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Common forever.” It was created to provide pasturage for horses and livestock, to provide a large area for regiments to set up camp, and to create a clear area around the Halifax Citadel Fortress so that invading forces would have no cover during an assault.

North End View

Fountain on The Commons, Halifax.
Image courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS.

Since its creation The Halifax Common has shrunk considerably in size as the city has developed, but it still plays an important part in the lives of Halifax residents. Today it is a modern urban park with facilities including tennis courts, baseball diamonds, a speed skating oval, playgrounds, an outdoor swimming pool, public washrooms, a skate park, and fountains. Only two blocks from Harris East, Canada’s oldest urban park is still a great place where you can exercise, take your dog for a stroll, relax with a good book, or even catch a concert.

5. The Cornwallis Street Baptist Church was founded by the son of a slave.

North End View

City clergy: Reverend Richard Preston
Image courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS.

In 1832, the African Baptist Church was founded in the North End by the Reverend Richard Preston, the son of a slave who came to Nova Scotia from Virginia. In 1892, the church was incorporated as the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church, and in 1985 it was designated as a Municipal Heritage Property.

Throughout its history, the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church has embraced the North End spirit of giving back to the community. Its outreach began with the women of the church delivering food parcels to help families in need. That work expanded to a clothing depot and lunch program that ran for over 25 years, dubbing the church the “dinner church”. To this day, the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church holds community barbecues and winter coat drives, along with delivering food and gift baskets at Christmas. You can find more information on this North End landmark at www.cornwallisstreetbaptist.ca.

6. The North End experienced the largest man-made explosion before nuclear weapons.

North End View

St. Joseph’s Church, Russell Street, after Halifax Explosion, 1917.
Image courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS.

On the morning of December 6, 1917, the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship fully loaded with wartime explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows. 20 minutes later, a fire on board the SS Mont-Blanc ignited her cargo causing an explosion that devastated the North End. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires, and collapsed buildings, and it is estimated that nearly 9,000 others were injured. The blast was the largest man-made explosion in the world prior to the development of nuclear weapons.

North End View

Wrecked home in North End after Halifax Explosion.
Image courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS.

After the explosion, the Halifax Relief Commission approached reconstruction as an opportunity to improve and modernize the North End. City planners designed 324 large homes that each faced a tree-lined, paved boulevard, and specified that the new homes be built out of a brand new fireproof material called Hydro-stone. Once finished, the Hydrostone neighbourhood consisted of homes, businesses and parks, which helped create a new sense of community in the North End.

Today, the North End’s Hydrostone neighbourhood flourishes, with numerous shops and restaurants serving the growing local population. In 2011, the Canadian Institute of Planners chose the Hydrostone as one of the best neighbourhoods to live in Canada in their first annual Great Places in Canada program.

The rich and storied history of the North End reminds us that great things can be accomplished when people come together for their neighbourhood. Whether it is securing the safety of a brand new town, providing simple comforts to people in need, or rebuilding for a brighter future, the North End has always been home to tenacious and community-minded people.

We are proud to be a part of this vibrant place, and if you would like to make it your home, we would love to help you settle in. For more information on Harris East condos, visit us at www.harristeast.ca or drop into our Showroom at 2114 Gottingen Street, Halifax during launch weekend, May 3-4.

4 Uncommon Things to do at The Halifax Common

Baseball, tennis, skating, concerts – at one time or another, you have no doubt participated in one of these popular activities on The Halifax Common (or at least seen them taking place). But did you know that Canada’s oldest urban park – granted in 1763 by King George III “to and for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Common forever” – is also a great place to try something new?

Why not be adventurous and try these uncommon things to do at The Common?

1. Cricket

While Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, it is yet to take off in a big way here in Halifax. There is a passionate group of Haligonians who are trying to give it more prominence in our great city, and they are using The Common to showcase the 16th century sport.

The Nova Scotia Cricket Association is gearing up for their 2014 season, and there is still time to register. Pre-season practice sessions for the summer outdoor season are going on every Saturday from 1:15-4:15 PM at the Bloomfield Recreation Centre, 2786 Agricola St. To get in on the action, all you have to do is show up and let them know you want to join (registration fee applies).

If you would rather learn more about the sport before you try it, The Nova Scotia Cricket Association holds competitive games on The Common Saturday and Sunday afternoons from June until October. A representative from the league will be there on Saturdays from 3-4 PM to explain the rules and techniques.

2. Yoga

While yoga has become popular all throughout North America, in our city, it tends to take place indoors. This summer, why not take advantage of The Common’s wide-open spaces and lush green lawns to practice your downward dog outdoors? But before you do, here are some tips to help make it even more peaceful.

Pack sunscreen, bug spray, and water.

Even though The Common is only two blocks away from Harris East, you will not want to interrupt your session to run home for these outdoor yoga essentials.

Make the wind your friend.

Practicing yoga on The Common means embracing the weather. Instead of considering the wind as an enemy, embrace the extra challenge it poses. Think of it as additional resistance and balance training that will make you a better yogi.

Leave your mat at home.

One of the best things about doing yoga on The Common is feeling the grass and earth beneath your feet. As an added bonus, the soft ground allows you to dig in and get even deeper into your stretches.

3. Windskating

Love to skateboard or rollerblade but hate how the wind slows you down? Then you should try Windskating. Essentially windsurfing on land, Windskating is a brand new sport that uses the power of the wind to propel you forward. To participate, all you need is a skateboard or rollerblades and a small sail.

The Oval at The Common is a great place to try your hand at Windskating because of its smooth surface and large size. In fact, we have already seen a few trendsetters out there already this year. Finding a skateboard or rollerblades is easy, but getting your hands on an appropriate sail can be tricky. To help, we have found a couple resources for you. You can learn how to make your own sail here or purchase one here.

Even though The Common is just a short Windskate from Harris East, we recommend keeping your sail packed up until you have reached the Oval. In our city, you never know when big gust of wind will send you off course.

4. Relay For Life

While taking a stroll on The Common is not new, you have probably never done it quite like this. This year the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay For Life is taking place on the Oval at The Common on June 7 from 12:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Teams of 10-15 people will walk the Oval all night long to raise money for this incredible charity, ensuring that at least one team member is on the track at all times.

We think that having the Relay For Life on The Common makes a lot of sense, and ties in beautifully with the North End’s spirit of supporting one another. If you would like to participate in this year’s Relay For Life, you can join a team or start your own here.

With The Common only two blocks away, you are incredibly close to a wealth of outdoor activities when you make Harris East your home. Whether it is something more traditional like riding your bike (Harris East also has a large bicycle storage, wash and repair area), or trying something different like the above activities, we encourage you to get outside this summer and enjoy everything The Common has to offer.

If you would like more information on Harris East condos, visit us at www.harriseast.ca or drop into our Showroom located at 2114 Gottingen St – just a five-minute walk from The Common.