A choir of barking dogs caught the attention of drivers along Quinpool Road as a parade created to drum up business on the street walked, trotted and ran the two-kilometre route.
Siobhan Poole participated in her first pet parade with Kirby, her four-year-old chihuahua, Saturday. Poole attended the parade as a way to help Kirby interact with other dogs.
As Poole and 39 others marched along Quinpool Road, many participants were unaware of the parade’s intent on bringing attention to homegrown businesses located along the route.
“I didn’t know about that but it’s a good way to bring people together and give local businesses some experience,” said Poole.
Peter and Kathy Vautour see the marketing effort as a positive way to keep local business on people’s minds.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Peter. “Any local business advertising is excellent.”
For Kathy, it’s about keeping their dogs active. “I like that Quinpool’s dog friendly because I’d much rather bring her than leave her at home to get in trouble,” she said.
Quinpool is a notably dog-friendly area. The Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association has an initiative called Paws Here on Quinpool, to support the road’s dozens of dog-friendly businesses.
While many dog owners participated in their first pet parade on Saturday, this wasn’t the first walk around the block for Karla Nicholson, general manager of the association.
Quinpool’s pet parade started in 2011. Nicholson said it began when members of the association experimented with affordable ideas aimed at bringing the community together.
This year’s event cost under $1,000, which covered the costs of three mascots, liability insurance and social media promotion.
Events like the pet parade help the community remember that local businesses in their neighbourhood are thinking of them, says Nicholson.
A part of the community
At the top of Quinpool, Laura Draegar operates Dilly Dally Café. Draegar says they are lucky to have a steady number of customers throughout the year, yet they still experience a decline when the temperature drops.
During the winter, she says the Dilly Dally Café relies on a loyal community of customers made up of students and dog owners, making their visits a part of their daily routine.
“I think that the people who live in and around Quinpool Road choose to be in a neighbourhood where they can walk out their door and get a coffee. The pet parade kind of reaches back to the community that supports us,” said Draegar.
Nicholson says the pet parade isn’t the biggest or boldest Christmas event in Halifax, but it is inclusive.
“A little boy said it best last year, he said to his mom, ‘I like this parade the best because I’m in it,’” said Nicholson.
About the author
Travis is a freelance journalist and event photographer based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia.