Free stuff. The Giving Tree closes up shop.

Emilie Bourque gives away all the local business news.

Thrifted out of thrift shops
So what’s happening to all the downtown thrift stores? The Giving Tree on Gower Street closed recently, putting its items out on the sidewalk, and the Salvation Army Thrift Store on Waldegrave Street will be closing as soon as the building it’s in is sold.

Michelle Wright, owner of The Giving Tree, says she closed because her lease was up and she wanted a new spot anyhow.

“The building was leaking like a sieve, and we froze all winter,” she says, “so we’re gonna open back up in September in a different location.”

She says the new location will still be downtown, and is hoping to open before school starts in the fall.
As for The Sally Ann Store, they are eventually going to be amalgamating with the location on Kenmount Road, which is being expanded into some kind of thrift superstore. According to a manager, the Salvation Army decided their money would be best spent not on upkeep of the old downtown building, but on expanding on one property instead. The changes will be happening sometime over the next six months.

Working for a living
If warmer weather has you feeling like it’s finally time to get reconnected with nature, there are a few ways you could go about it. One way is to head out the Salmonier Line and put yourself to work.

Tree of Life opened for its second year on May 16th. Meranda Squires and Ian Goudie are behind the project, and you might know them as the folks who run The Lotus Centre on Prescott Street.

Squires says anyone is welcome to join in on nature days for any amount of time, whether it’s for a day or a few months. Their focus is connecting people with nature and with each other, through contemplative work. No money is exchanged at Tree of Life, but the hours you spend working there are turned into credits which can be used towards any activity at The Lotus Centre.

Jobs could include carpentry, organic gardening, burning bush, pulling nails out of old wood, cooking, digging a stream, or anything that suits your ability and desire. “Ultimately, we’re hoping for it to turn into a community,” explains Squires, and long-term plans include the construction of up to ten huts on the land where people can live. One main project now is the ongoing construction of a building for kitchen, dining, and workshop space, and for some accommodation.

To learn more, visit

A garden of beers
Another way to celebrate the season is, of course, with patios and beer.Bars and restaurants have been opening their decks and patios all over the city, and Tangled Up in Blue will be joining their ranks this year.

Owner Mara Lang says they’re building a new bench outdoors and dressing the whole area up pretty with twinkling white lights. Since they opened last September, the weather hasn’t been ideal to serve outdoors, but they’ve been doing it here and there recently when any glimmer of sun comes out.
“It’s protected from the wind, and gets afternoon sun,” she says, “and on a sunny day, it’s much warmer in the courtyard than it is elsewhere downtown.”

She’s calling it the International Beer Garden, because of their new beer list which includes 36 imports from countries all over the world—the most, Lang claims, of any restaurant in the city.

Preserving the tradition
Another interesting sign of our changing city: some of you may have noticed a new strip club emerging in the old Picadilly Pub location at 83 Duckworth. Minor renovations are currently underway at The Crazy Horse, and when they open up sometime this month, their plan is to be open seven nights a week, including possibly some afternoons. They say two things they’ll have that other strip clubs don’t have: a pool table, and pub-style food.

Hearty meals
I didn’t mention this last time, but The Hungry Heart Café, located on the ground floor of Stella’s Circle at Rawlin’s Cross, is now open. They are serving lunch from 11:30 to 2pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Deborah Glassman of the Stella Burry Foundation says that it’s been busy since it opened last month, and it’s best to call up for a reservation because “it fills up pretty quick!”