Archive for the 'City' Category

Comic store establishes new Frontier

Patrick McMerty                                    (Contributed)

Patrick McMerty (Contributed)

HALIFAX — Patrick McMerty’s words reveal a man devoted to his work. The comic store owner’s conversation cackles with nods to sci-fi and superheros.

Scoffing at the North End’s tough reputation, for example, McMerty tells how safe he felt recently walking in the neighbourhood.

“No villain jumped out and tried to eat my soul. I’ve got a better chance of losing my soul in the mall,” he says.

Clearly, this man reads comics.

McMerty’s store, Quantum Frontier, is the latest comic and games store to pick the peninsula as a home.

Quantum Frontier is on one of Halifax's busiest corners.

Quantum Frontier is on one of Halifax's busiest corners.

He is happy with his Robie Street location. McMerty says he considered Dartmouth and Bedford, but lucked out by finding a property at the corner of Young Street being managed by an old friend. The intersection is near two schools and plenty of university students, the kind of people who would be his customers. Three buses stop outside and he’s directly opposite the “biggest, busiest” Tim Hortons in Atlantic Canada, he says.

McMerty, 37, was in the Navy for two decades before launching his business in November. He’s wanted to run a comic store since he was 16, but stints on the HMCS Toronto, HMCS Glace Bay and HMCS Halifax intervened.

“My creativity and my desire to read comic books faded into the very intense world of the military. It’s deploy, deploy, deploy,” he says.

“You are always training, you are always doing something. I’d sort of lost track of the creativity part of my life. But since I’ve been out [of the military] it’s been slowly coming back.”

Now he’s surrounded by Magic cards, Dark Night comics and Zombies. He’s regaining his thirst for the impractical. Judging by the steady stream of browsers who dropped in on a recent weekday morning, he’s tapped into other people’s thirst too.

McMerty is not surprised. He says comics, and playing board and role-playing games with people face-to-face, will always be popular.

“How much time do we all spend in front of a screen? Too much time. Right? So, you get that feeling of being in the world itself,” said McMerty. “You get four to six people sitting around, having a few drinks, eating a pizza, goofing around. Really, I can’t see what’s better than that. You have to be creative, that stimulates the imagination.”

Directions: Quantum Frontier Games and Comics, 3087 Robie Street, 446-8233

© Copyright 2008-2009 North and Agricola

Sarah Street block party

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Sarah Street residents took to the barricades on Saturday afternoon. Cars were kept out, but hundreds of neighbours dropped by the lane to find out who was performing the live music. Coloured chalk, hulu hoops, rickshaw rides, dancing and a strange game that was part-polo and part-Tour de France kept people happy.

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La Villa opening shows off studios, cafe

Central American food lovers mill outside Cafe Aroma Latino on Tuesday.

Central American food lovers mill outside Cafe Aroma Latino on Tuesday.

A spillover crowd chatted and ate tamales at a party for the new “La Villa on Agricola” development on North and Agricola streets on Tuesday. The grand opening marks another leap forward for the intersection.
Kids played tag among the guests who flowed out on the sidewalk in front of the building. La Villa contains art studios, a restaurant and apartments. It even has a meeting room with all sorts of AV gizmos that can be booked by non-tenants.
Hard to pigeonhole this event. It was partly an art show as painters, photographers and other artists showed off their ground floor studios.
It was also a restaurant opening and food store launch. Claudia Pinto, owner of the brightly coloured Cafe Aroma Latino, kept a tasty buffet of Guatemalan and Mexican food topped up and steaming.
Finally, it was an open house. A volunteer gave visitors a tour of the upstairs. The guide showed off views from what will be a rooftop terrace. Also featured was the last of 24 units in the complex which remains to be rented, a surprisingly quiet apartment looking down North Street toward the bridge.

Guests mingle among the art studios and galleries.

Guests mingle among the art studios and galleries.

St. John’s gets serious about design

Windsor Street could get a very different look at this corner. (Photo illustration created from three images)

Windsor Street could get a very different look at this corner. (Photo illustration created from three images)

St. John’s United Church is hunting for an architect to help with the redevelopment of its building at the corner of Willow and Windsor streets. The congregation wants proposals to provide “design services” for the building of a smaller church facility and senior housing complex.
The new complex will replace the existing church.
The public call for tenders is just the latest step in the project. “There’s nothing new or startling” about the tender, said Brian Jay, leader of the team charged with implementing the redevelopment.
Jay said designs produced could ultimately be part of a development application to Halifax regional council.
Architecture firms have until noon, July 10, to deliver their proposals.
Jay said a newsletter providing updates on the project has already been delivered to about 200 neighbouring homes. Another newsletter may be produced in the fall.
Meanwhile, the church’s website has some information on the project. The Coast ran a detailed story in November about some of the problems facing the current church building.

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