The in­va­sion of the Is­lan­ders

P.E.I. busi­nesses dom­i­nate one sec­tion of the Hal­i­fax wa­ter­front

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY MITCH MAC­DON­ALD Mitch.mac­don­ald@the­­ /Mitch_PEI

A P.E.I. flag fly­ing in the wind would eas­ily be at home on the Hal­i­fax wa­ter­front these days.

Whether it’s a cool ice cream treat, a fresh lob­ster roll or warm baked donut, a group of three P.E.I. based take­out kiosks have be­come a dom­i­nant force in one sec­tion the bustling area, which is in the midst of a more than $200 mil­lion dol­lar re­vi­tal­iza­tion.

“It’s al­most like a lit­tle P.E.I. cor­ner right here,” said Dave’s Lob­ster owner, Dave Hyn­d­man, who opened a kiosk on the wa­ter­front three years ago.

Hyn­d­man’s kiosk also stands next to a brand new COWS ice­cream lo­ca­tion.

And on the other side of the COWS booth is also Hyn­d­man’s new­est ven­ture, Deep-Sea Donuts.

The booth’s con­cept is one Hyn­d­man picked up while trav­el­ling through the U.S. and is com­plete with a “donut ro­bot” con­veyer belt ma­chine with a view­ing win­dow that al­lows cus­tomers to see the donuts be­ing made.

With Hal­i­fax and Char­lot­te­town serv­ing as Hyn­d­man’s busiest lo­ca­tions, he knew the en­er­getic wa­ter­front would be an op­ti­mal place to test the new idea.

“Last year’s Canada Day was our busiest day (in Hal­i­fax),” said Hyn­d­man, who ac­knowl­edged the large tour ship crowds of­fered in the board­walk. “On a nice sunny day it’s just a sea of peo­ple go­ing up and down the board­walk. It’s re­ally some­thing.

“Hal­i­fax is a great op­por­tu­nity for a P.E.I. based busi­ness. It’s a big­ger mar­ket with more peo­ple, so if some­thing works (in P.E.I.) and is a good con­cept, I think it stands a good chance of succeeding there.”

It ap­pears that those crowds may only grow, with the wa­ter­front ex­pect­ing to host its busiest ever cruise ship sea­son in 2017.

Ac­cord­ing to the Port of Hal­i­fax, there will be an ap­prox­i­mate 274,000 cruise ship guests in the city this sea­son.

How­ever, even with the ben­e­fit of large crowds, Dave’s Lob­ster has man­aged to set it­self apart in an area with plenty of din­ing op­tions.

Co­ralee Niel­son, of East­ern Pas­sage, was just one new cus­tomer Hyn­d­man has earned this sum­mer.

She was pre­vi­ously un­aware of the com­pany be­fore try­ing their

lob­ster burger.

“I’m just a lover of lob­ster and I haven’t had one since prob­a­bly Christ­mas,” said Niel­son while or­der­ing.

The ver­dict?

“It’s so de­li­cious.”

The wa­ter­front is also a seem­ingly per­fect fit for the new COWS lo­ca­tion, which opened its first ice-cream par­lour in Hal­i­fax more than 15 years ago.

As Hal­i­fax mayor Mike Savage put it, the COWS brand has al­most be­come “an in­sti­tu­tion on our wa­ter­front.”

Jes­sica Mac­Don­ald, di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions, noted that the orig­i­nal Hal­i­fax lo­ca­tion has re­li­ably been one of the busiest in the sum­mer­time.

“The line­ups on a nice day are out the door and the re­tail sales we have over there is good, it’s def­i­nitely a huge spot for us,” she said. “And the lo­cals are very ac­cept­ing of us and ex­cited (about the new lo­ca­tion).”

Few brands have seemed to raise P.E.I.’s pro­file more than COWS, which has spread across Canada while still keep­ing its dis­tinct P.E.I. fla­vor.

“Even be­fore I’d ever been to P.E.I., I knew what COWS was be­cause all our friends were wear­ing the t-shirts in school,” said Ot­tawa res­i­dent David Bul­lock while try­ing out the new lo­ca­tion this sum­mer with Jamie Schroder.

While Hyn­d­man’s orig­i­nal busi­ness be­gan as a suc­cess in P.E.I. be­fore ex­pand­ing out­ward, he’s hop­ing to one day bring his new Deep-Sea Donuts ven­ture back to the Is­land.

“I had this idea and thought (Hal­i­fax) was the best place to test it, it has the most traf­fic,” said Hyn­d­man.

“And I know if it works here it will work if I find the right spot in Char­lot­te­town.”


Ot­tawa res­i­dents David Bul­lock, right, and Jamie Schroder en­joy a cone of ice cream from the new COWS kiosk while vis­it­ing Hal­i­fax this sum­mer. Bul­lock, who grew up in On­tario, was well aware of the pop­u­lar P.E.I. brand even be­fore he had ever vis­ited the east coast.


P.E.I. en­tre­pre­neur Dave Hyn­d­man stands out­side his new Deep-Sea Donuts ven­ture on the Hal­i­fax wa­ter­front. Hyn­d­man has also had his Dave’s Lob­ster kiosk on the Hal­i­fax wa­ter­front since 2015.

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