Arts & Culture City

Emma Fitzgerald's favourite city spots

An illustration from Emma Fitzgerald's book, "Hand Drawn Halifax."
An illustration from Emma Fitzgerald’s book, “Hand Drawn Halifax.”

Getting to know your city is a bit of an art – one that can make you feel more like you belong while also stoking your wanderlust. It helps you feel independent yet more connected.
How well do you know Halifax? If you live on campus, are new to town, or spend most of your waking hours in the Wardy, chances are you answered ‘not very well,’ right? Today that changes, with help from longtime Halgonian Emma FitzGerald, the author/illustrator of the new book Hand Drawn Halifax. She documented and sketched most of the HRM in her latest work, and below offers us some of her favourite places and what makes our beloved Halifax so unique.

On describing Halifax to newcomers:

“It’s a combination of old but also [a] very youthful, energetic atmosphere where people are being very entrepreneurial and being quite authentic to themselves, whether it’s a business or an art project… It’s very livable, we have a downtown that’s quite walkable.”
When writing her book, she says she often came by people who were “making the city their own and making use of space,” lending to the creative air that fuels our area.

On the importance of students getting to know their city:

“I would recommend not being nervous to take a bus. It can help you take a bigger context of the city beyond just downtown.”
And when it comes to escaping readings for awhile, FitzGerald also recommends some nearby green spaces: “You don’t need to go down the South Shore- you can even go to Duncan’s cove and Herring’s cove, which you can even take a bus to.”

On her favourite haunts:

“I really enjoy the Trident bookstore… The combination of books and coffee shop, and they have really great tea..It’s just been taken over by a friend of mine, too. The idea that it’s an old place but with the new energy of someone young taking on a business.” The mix of youthful energy with a historic location [there are photos dating the space to at least the 1940s] reflects FitzGerald’s vision of Halifax.
There are also benefits to taking different neighbourhoods by foot. FitzGerald often walks around the North End of town. “I never get bored and always find new things [there],” she explains, saying it’s one of her favourite areas in HRM.
And, when it’s time to pick up some new clothes, FitzGerald is all about Vintage Row,an area on Queen street just off Spring Garden Road. the colourful houses-turned-boutiques are perfect for treasure hunting, she explains, and she “loves that I can go downtown and find quality international clothes.”
“I’ve lived here 11 years and there’s still lots for me to explore”, FitzGerald says, summing up her ongoing adventures in Halifax.
Why not grab your bus pass and follow suit? You might just find a local haunt to call your own.

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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