My Big Day Downtown – A Halifamous Tour

Have I ever told you where I live? It’s a small city called Halifax, which is on the East coast of Canada. I love it here – it’s gorgeous, the people are nice, we have a cool arts scene and I love living in the heart of the city.

I’m thrilled to have been asked to participate in the Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s ‘Big Day Downtown’ campaign for a third year. They pick thirty bloggers, get us all together for a party, and then throw some $100 gift cards at us and tell us to have at downtown Halifax. It’s awesome.

The first year, I tried to experience Halifax as I thought my favorite TV characters would. Last year, I went for a fancy dinner at The Wooden Monkey, a great local restaurant I’d never tried. This year, they randomly paired us up with other bloggers and had us experience downtown together.

I kind of hit the blogger jackpot, being paired with Chris Campbell of He teaches filmmaking at one of the local colleges here in town. I, obviously, am all about TV (I do like books and movies too, though, guys!) so it was easy to sit around and chat pop culture with him. Since we both love pop culture so much, Chris and I decided to hit up a few of the places that celebrities go when they’re in Halifax.

That’s right, y’all. Celebrities and Halifax in the same sentence. Movies actually get made here pretty frequently, so many Haligonians (that’s what we’re called…I know…) have celebrity sighting stories.

Freak Lunchbox

I didn’t get the tentacles, I think they’d make blogging a little too difficult.

We started off by meeting after work at Freak Lunchbox, a super-cool candy store across the street from my office. The celebrity once spotted here? Rob Lowe! I’m pretty sure he lit-erally loved it. I picked up some candy for my upcoming Halloween party.     @freaklunchbox

The Bicycle Thief

From there we strolled down to The Bicycle Thief, a hip restaurant on the Halifax waterfront that serves up “North American food with Italian soul”. Real Italian soul, too, since the owner is Italian himself. He owns a few restaurants in the city and they’re all my favorites.

I started off by ordering a rosemary fizz cocktail, which was just divine. The bartender at The Bicycle Thief recently cleaned up at a local cocktail competition, so I’m pretty sure that means the restaurant officially has the best drinks in the city. It was sweet and tart at the same time, and perfectly fizzy. My favorite kind of cocktail. Chris got an old fashioned – make sure you check out his blog to read about his Big Day Downtown experience!

Then I had a small order of gnocchi, which just melted in my mouth. So yummy. I wrapped up with a peanut butter gelato hot fudge sundae. Peanut butter gelato hot fudge sundae. Those words deserved to be typed twice. It was decadent and delicious, and made me very thankful that I’d gotten a small dinner.

Oh, and which celebrity was spotted at The Bicycle Thief when he was in Halifax last summer? Pierce Brosnan. And he had delightful things to say about us when he appeared on Live With Regis and Kelly.     @OurBicycleThief

The Drawing Room

That was enough for Chris and I for one night, but I still had money burning a hole in my pocket. So I followed it up on the weekend by stopping by The Drawing Room with my fiancé. The Drawing Room is a very fancy cocktail bar that opens on weekends above my favorite English-style pub, Henry House. It has high-end, old-fashioned drinks and the coolest, antique, intimate vibe.

People say it’s haunted, but I don’t believe in ghosts. So I just think it looks like a rich person’s library.

I ordered a French 75, which is made with gin, champagne, and lemon juice. (Can you tell that I like fizzy drinks?) Rob got a Stonewall, which is was one of the special autumn-themed drinks made with spiced rum and apple cider. Halifax is gorgeous in the fall.

The Drawing Room does this crazy cool thing where you can order an aromatherapy mist paired to your drink, so we got one matched to the Stonewall. It smelled like cinnamon, clove and leather-bound books. OK, maybe not the books. But the vibe in the bar makes me think of old books. We shared the warm gingerbread with caramel sauce dessert, which reminds me of Christmas and is one of my favorite treats.


And in case you were wondering, the celebrity who enjoyed the Drawing Room was Jason Priestly, of 90210 fame. He shoots an HBO Canada series called Call Me Fitz around here. See? He got the aromatherapy mist, too.


Rob Lowe, Pierce Brosnan and Jason Priestly aren’t the only celebrities to have hung around Halifax. Cory Monteith (Glee) was here recently – he tweeted about really liking the surfing scene. Tom Selleck shoots all his Jesse Stone TV movies in Halifax, and he’s a big fan of The Press Gang, a swank, intimate oyster bar. (Last winter, I had one of the best meals of my life there. So he has good taste.)

Neve Campbell was spotted at The Paragon Theatre checking out our local music scene, and Alicia Silverstone visited jane’s on the common. When the Rolling Stones played a concert here, they dined and drank at a hip martini bar called Onyx. John Corbett and Bo Derek stopped into Ireland32, a coffeeshop on Quinpool Road – not downtown, but an up-and-coming part of town if you ask me. And when The White Stripes found themselves in Halifax, they played a surprise show at my favorite place to play pool, Locas. So when you come to Halifax, you just never know who you might see.

And then, of course, there’s Halifax’s famous bloggers. Don’t worry, I’m happy to sign autographs. I’m super approachable.

About Jill

Pop culture junkie. Food lover. Feminist. Content marketer. I'm here to win and I'm also here to make friends.
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9 Responses to My Big Day Downtown – A Halifamous Tour

  1. Great idea for your BDDT! I have a bit of a crush on Kevin Spacey and I remember when I was in high school he came here to shoot The Shipping News (along with Cate Blanchette and Judi Dench) and the paper said he went to the Press Gang and the Paperchase *swoon* My bf and I also saw Tom Selleck outside the Wooden Monkey filming last time he was here…it was pretty cool. He will always be Richard from Friends to me.

    • Jill says:

      Thanks! The Wooden Monkey and Press Gang definitely are popular spots for celebs when they’re in town. Too bad I can’t afford to hang out there on a regular basis, or maybe I’d actually spot someone!

  2. kristaspurr says:

    I always forget about the Drawing Room and I love that place. Sounds like you had a great Big Day Downtown! (Which I keep writing as “Downton,” which would also be fun)

    • Jill says:

      Oh man. Next year I should totally do “My Big Day Downton”. I could wear a fancy dress, buy a hat, and go for tea. Or probably back to the Drawing Room, since their cocktails are inspired by that era.

  3. Vanessa says:

    When I was at The Bicycle Thief a few weeks ago, I had THAT EXACT MEAL. We’re obviously food twins. I was going to comment that the gnocchi blew my mind, but then I realized that I’d have to say that about the dessert and bevie too, and that would weaken the strength of the mind-blowing for each individual meal aspect. I might have put a little too much thought into it. Regardless, I concur, it was delicious.

    • Jill says:

      Seriously? That’s hilarious! SO GOOD. I was worried getting just the gnocchi might not be enough, because it was so delicious and I wanted three times as much, but by the time I’d eaten that amazing dessert I had to take off my belt.

  4. Vanessa says:

    Love this post! A huge word on the PB gelato sundae from the Bicycle Thief, it’s one of my favorite desserts in the city. I also completely forgot about The Drawing Room, but I love it there, exactly my style (when I have the money of course).

    I spotted Pierce Brosnan and Melissa George having a dinner with some other people from their TV movie at Fid one night. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves. I heard Piece also made a few appearances at The Old Triangle pub. When picking up my dad at the airport last month, in a sudden downpour I ran past the ultimate Canadian fashion personality Jeanne Beker (she seemed really nice, she was apologizing to the person waiting with her about having to get her in the rain) and I know she visited Biscuit General Store during her trip.

  5. At Cabin Coffee, they have a little display of random photos on their counter and I’m certain that one of them is of Scott Speedman visiting.

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