Then and Now Post 1. Buildings and Memories

Seem like every time I start a new post it begins with “It has been such a long time since my last post and I am overdue”. Well this blog post begins in a similar fashion. The last week has been a bit of a whirlwind of life events, but last night began with a much needed break with some really good friends. Some pints at the good ol’ Celtic Corner in Dartmouth.

Celtic Corner, Good Friends, Dartmouth
My good friend Ryan and I at the Celtic

I have been taking a series of pictures of places that were in Halifax, my original goal had been a then and now series of pictures. But sadly I haven’t been able to find the then shots, so I have decided to show the now and describe the then. There are a number of them so I believe the post will turn into two or three posts over the next few weeks.

As I have been thinking about the nostalgia of remembering places that were, the emotions attached to the places of our history is much like the nostalgia of people we miss. So with that in mind I will begin the post with two songs by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros that give me that nostalgic feeling.

Pino’s Restaurant

This used to be a restaurant that I went to in my early 20’s, a great little Italian spots where the owner was the waiter and his partner cooked the food. I loved this place, and felt very much at home whenever I went there. The owner would always come up and talk and say good things about me to my dates. I posted this on twitter a few months ago and was very sad to hear that the owner had passed away a few years ago and it has been empty since. It is rather eerie when you look in the window and notice the tables are still setup like they were 15 years ago.

Restaurant, Halifax, Closed, Abandoned Building

Dairy Queen Spring Garden Road

Up until a few years ago this building was the home of Dairy Queen in Downtown Dartmouth. I remember being in my teens and coming here for a treat, usually a Blizzard. It was run down and nothing fancy but always full of excited teenagers and families enjoying a nice cold ice cream on a hot Summer day. Now it is the Corporate Showcase Eastlink retail location. Another store on Spring Garden Road, a quite miss the old gathering place for not-so-fancy ice cream in the centre of the city.

Dairy Queen, Spring Garden Road Halifax,
Dairy Queen Spring Garden Road

Dio Mio Gelato International Cafe

This first post seems to have a theme. Closed restaurants from the early 2000’s in Halifax. Well this definitely reinforces this theme. This was a great place to go for delicious gelato in Downtown Halifax. It closed a few years ago and is now a used clothing store. I remember visiting this place often when I was in University on a hot Summer evening to grab a refreshing gelato. There are ice cream shops in the city but nothing quite like this place.

Gelato, Closed Store, Downtown Halifax
Dio Mio Gelato International Cafe

Merrill’s Cafe and Lounge

Merrill’s always had a special place in my memories. Mainly because my good friends Father used to own the bar and my early 20’s were always spent not waiting in line, drinking free drinks and storing my coat in the managers office which was in the original bank safe. I used to always look up at the ceiling and admire the old details from when it was a bank, there was a beauty in the transformation from a bank to a lounge. It was a typical lounge in Halifax, when smoke filled the rooms, the VLT’s were manned all night and the music was loud as people danced on the speakers. While I moved away to Ontario it closed and by the time I moved back it had been transformed to Elephant & Castle, a chain from Ontario that I used to visit at the Rideau Centre in Ottawa. That didn’t last very long and it is now abandoned and set to be restored as part of 22nd Commerce Square, click here to view the proposed development. 

Closed Bar, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Downtown
Merrill’s Cafe and Lounge

So I end the first post of this series with a bit of reflection. The memories we have will always be there to look back upon and smile at the moments. Time changes people, places and things but it is important to look back and cherish the memories and celebrate the future. Next week I will explore a few more closed bars and local buildings that bring back memories. When I was in University I spent many hours in cafes across the city, that might be the theme of post number two. I will end the post with a song that I believe the video is beautiful and makes me look back and cherish the memories of life.


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