Here’s where to say Cheers and get Sociable in Halifax:

Here’s where to say Cheers and get Sociable in Halifax:.

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Sunday in Paris

Sunday in Paris.

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A Feasting Week in Palm Springs, California

A Feasting Week in Palm Springs, California.

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A Rainy Travel Day to Lyon

A Rainy Travel Day to Lyon.

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Some Paris Shopping and Dining

Some Paris Shopping and Dining.

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In the City: Art Metropole 40th-Anniversary Party: 40 Years, 40 Yeahs!

The big circular white clock in the landmark Great Hall of  historic Union Station signalled it’s neon-coloured, white-hot arrivals and departures last Thursday evening  welcoming over 300 members of Toronto’s Arty crème de l’avant-garde to drink, schmooze and iPad-bid on some of the many pieces up for auction at the birthday celebration of Art Metropole, 40 Years, 40 Yeahs!  The 40th-anniversary party was a multifaceted, mixed-medium affair; a queery, beery (Kronenbourg 1664 sponsored) evening with a balloon-stuffed drag queen DJ pumping music from beneath that white-hot clock center piece and turning Union Station into a 21st-century Art House.  At least 25 artists had been enlisted to transform the historic early-20th-century hall into a technology-driven Art Auction and the Great Hall thumped and vibrated to the eclectic vibe.

Pre-party was an exclusive Show-and-Tell event, at which several friends of Art Metropole presented their favourite pieces, and personally described the emotions and meanings the piece of art represented for them.

Art Metropole is made up of 3 of the original members of General Idea, and continues many of the values of GI today. My foggy rememberance of 40 years ago was that General Idea was Art for the Masses, Art for All, Art Afforded by All. Now, 40 years later, Thursday evening celebrated AM’s founding as one of Canada’s pioneering not-for-profit artist-run centres, internationally renowned for its dedication and focus to the collecting, archiving, selling and lending of artist-initiated books, videos, audio recordings, postcards and T-shirts, catalogues, buttons, drawings and periodicals in pretty much any type of media and “especially those formats and practices predisposed to sharing and circulation”.

Art Metropole’s Director, Corrin Gerber has plans for the next 40 years as well and notes that “this anniversary is not only a look-back but a looking-forward”. Early 2015 will see installations centered on Union Station itself; then in June there will be the opening of a “mobile kiosk” in Union Station “for distributing artists’ works in multiple forms” as well as rotating installations on site in the Great Hall.

Heres to 40 more years and at least 40 more Yeahs!

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Here’s where to say Cheers and get Sociable in Halifax:

The micro brewing industry in Nova Scotia is huge and nowhere more evident than in Halifax. Garrison and  Propeller Breweries and the quintessential Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale (those who like it, like it a lot) are all popular and successful businesses that have a solid, local feel and if you simply  want to do a ‘sampling’ then The Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour certainly is worth the 16 bucks admission and a good place to start (if you can stomach the sickly sweet historic presentation that four young acting hopefuls put on five times a day). The tour is all of an hour and provides some historical context to one of the first certified brew masters in North America. If you can time it right, try to pound down at least 3 frothy pints of Pale, Red or Dark ale before the crusty bar wench cuts you off. At least that’s what we did!

Onto Garrison Brewing

After our Keith’s experience, we continue to ‘sample’ some of Halifax’s finest micro brewed beer just a stone’s throw from historic Pier 21Garrison Brewing‘s Dan Mackenzie with his easy going charm and infectious humour kept us well informed and topped up during our tasting. Locals in the Maritimes know The Growler: a re-usable bottle that holds a six-pack of beer! Bring it in for a refill of your choice of the ‘year rounds’  Nut Brown Ale, the Imperial Ale or the Tall Ship Amber for a great BBQ or house-warming gift. Why can’t we figure this out in Ontario? This was the best beer time we spent during our five days in Halifax: truly an indication of east coast hospitality. Thank you, Dan!

Some Irish-Themed Pub-Grub

The Old Triangle Irish Ale House is a must for food and music and is always packed. Tourists abound here with a great buzz in the place and plenty of local colour that keeps the room interesting. The Triangle offers great beer choices featuring local on tap from Propeller and Keith’s. They serve some great imports and seasonal offerings paired with continuous local, traditional live music and a wee hint of cover band spilling over. This is a must stop in Halifax, just to enjoy the ambiance, several pints of ale and people watching. Typical Pub Grub with such Irish-themed items as Mussels Molly Malone and Paddy Fernandez Nachos round out a wide selection of crowd-pleasing food to satisfy. Have the Curried Chips if you can, one of my work mates was raving about them. Service by the amiable and funny Cindy was outstanding.

 Deep Fried Salami at Maxwell’s Plumb

The Maxwell’s Plumb a block from Argyle Street’s trendy pubs and eateries offers 60 Beers listed on tap and always a loud and gregarious crowd. Great attentive service by the young ladies (at least the night we were there; generally reviews on-line are mixed) and the (infamous) deep fried salami (we ordered it a second time, although I was not so happy at 3 am) is a ‘local tradition’. Their beer selection pretty much covers everything from Quebec-based Blanche de Chambly to Murphy’s Irish Stout, several Belgium beers and tons of Maritime-based local breweries, with the 80 oz ‘Brewtender’ the way to go. If you are looking at a stop-over between more trendy places and can stand the fried food and stinky pub atmosphere, then you can’t really go to wrong with Maxwell’s Plumb.

Get all ‘Socialable’

The Lower Deck, overlooking Halifax’s waterfront can be a great choice pretty much any night of the week. This is party central so be prepared for long line ups and elbow-to-elbow revelers and particularly on the Sunday night we were there. ‘Sociable’ is what they say in Nova Scotia to mean ‘Cheers!’ or ‘Party!’ And the cheering, jam-packed crowd sure was social, egged on by the six piece house band playing everything from traditional island music, to Peter Frampton, to the Bee Gees. Their Beer Market and Tap Room at Privateers’ Warehouse cater to larger events and private functions so whether you are looking at your next corporate event or simply a rowdy and loud night cap to round out, as in our case, a full day of work and beer tasting, then make The Lower Deck your last stop in Halifax.

Quaff and ‘Social’ well my friends, any time in Halifax. Cheers!

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