Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Coast's Best of Halifax 2017

We make no bones about it, we love being part of the community of Halifax and, in particular, in playing our role as a downtown business.  We also love being in Nova Scotia, our connection with the sea is a strong one!

Practicing optometry in Nova Scotia means that we have to comply with the Standards of Practice for Optometry set by the Nova Scotia College of Optometrists (NSCO).  As such, we have just received a news bulletin from the College which makes it very clear that we cannot participate in any "Best of" award run by media or organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce.

We have only been open for four years and in that short time we have been fortunate to have been nominated for a Chamber of Commerce Best New Business award and several of The Coast's "Best of Halifax" award.  Once again we have been nominated for The Coast's "Best of" awards (although as we placed Gold last year, we were also automatically included).

Having received the above recent communication for the NSCO, we immediately contacted The Coast to ensure that we are withdrawn from their awards.

We are very grateful for everyone who has thought us worthy of their vote and their support since we opened just a few years ago and it is with much regret that we have to withdraw from the contest. 

We never opened Ocean Optometry to win awards though, we opened with the desire to bring the world's finest eyewear made by independent companies to Halifax and to provide excellent optometric care for our patients.  We have done this without relying on promotions, discounts or specials; believing that people appreciate fair and reasonable pricing without gizmos and giveaways.

We wish everyone participating The Coast's Best of Halifax 2017 awards well, we would encourage you to vote for your favourite businesses, venues, places and fine folks. More importantly, we'd encourage you to support the many great local independent business that Halifax has with your custom!

The Coast's Best of Halifax 2017

Best of luck, everyone, and thank you for your ongoing support.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Life lessons from a NYC Cabbie!

Happy Cabbie NYC!

Every year we travel to some pretty amazing destinations to find the world's leading eyewear of distinction to bring back to Halifax.  In April we headed to New York to see what we could find.  With all our appointments taken care of, evening events attended, art appreciated and tunes grooved to, we finally had some personal time.

We headed out with some personal goals to tick off, and swiftly after enjoying some fine New York Pizza (Alicia) and beautifully designed Japanese merchandise (Euan) we started to explore the best that Manhattan had to offer ... and we kind of got tied up in traffic!

A few hours later we had explored, travelled and enjoyed, all meaning that were now a bit further away from where we'd hoped to be with a deadline to get back to the exhibition centre, collect our luggage and catch a bus to the airport.

Nothing for it, let's hail a cab and get us back to base ASAP.

A few minutes of searching and strategic positioning amongst the streetscape resulted in a yellow car pulling over, Mike had his hand raised, he was the winner, he'd hailed the cab.  Our motley crew - Mike & Alicia (opticians to the generally fabulous), Euan & John (optometrists par excellence) piled in.  Mike was in the front, and the three remainers were in the back.

Perhaps we should have suspected something when our cabbie exclaimed, before we piled in, "I AM SO HAPPY THAT YOU ARE GOING TO BE MY RIDE!".


Directions given, "Javits Center", we sat back and thought, well this is going to take as long as it's going to take.  We all sat quietly downhearted at the thought of a trek to the airport taking somewhat longer than necessary.  Little did we know that this was going to be no ordinary cab ride!

A couple of streets past, we were starting to make good time, I sat back a little.  The window was wound down, fresh air was flowing.  The driver had quite the thumping soundtrack going and was making swift progress down Murray Street.  We made to cut across West Broadway, but several lanes of stationery traffic blocked our progress.  This was nothing more than a challenge to our cabbie, who started to wave his hands as though trying to part the Red Sea.  As soon as the slightest inch was given, he moved in to the space.  None of this was done in an aggressive or forceful manner, but with a humble, pleading gestures and a smiling expression on his face.

The expression on Mike's face was quite the picture as well.  Riding shotgun, Mike was getting the full experience of the cab ride, only to be heightened when our driver turned to Mike, while the car was straddling several lanes of traffic, and started to advise, "My friend, in life, you need to focus on the rose."

"Focus on the ROAD" was Mike's prompt reply, "No, no," our driver reassured, "not the road, but the rose." all the time with his hand cupped in the air like a stem flower, slowly opening in the sun.

"You see everything in nature, everything natural, is beautiful".

Was that the Avenues of the Americas we'd just torn down? Pausing at lights beside a Maserati dealership, maybe there was beauty all around.  The whole car rocking back in forth in time to the beat, as our happy cabby pumped the brakes and flashed the internal light on and off.  Disco cab!

Bedford Street!

What were we doing on Bedford Street?  In the back we felt like we needed to suck in breath to try to help the cab squeeze past the parked cars lining both sides of the narrow.  It felt like we were driving through a movie set, with brownstone buildings and zig-zag fire escapes all around us.

"You have a gap, just like Madonna" the driver said, staring in to the rear view mirror.  Fine time to be noticing small gaps!  "It's very lucky, my daughter has the same!".  Never mind the gap between Alicia's teeth, let's make sure the cab can go through that gap ahead!!

We burst out from traffic on to West Street, the sun sparkling on the Hudson as people were on bikes, roller blades and long boards enjoying the afternoon sun on the Greenway.

"You must look after your queen".  Now this was a confusing instruction, lots of ambiguity, but after more suggestions we worked out that the advice was to take good care of your loved one, your significant other (we think).  

A few more twists and turns, ducking under the Highline a couple of  times and all of a sudden we emerge with five minutes to spare at the Javits Center.  As we are paying, our cabbie advises, "Search YouTube - Happy Cabby NYC - that's me!"  Four of us in the cab and not one of us had thought to grab our cellphones.

We all left the cab with big grins on our face, it had been a wild ride with life lessons along the way.  As we stepped away, someone in the crowd coming towards us yelled, "Hold that cab" ... with pleasure - enjoy the ride!

If you're in New York and you're lucky enough, we too hope that you get to have a ride with Happy Cabbie NYC!

Here's some videos from people who didn't forget they had cameras in their phones!

Peace & Love!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Wine and Glasses - a unique wine pairing event

To celebrate our third birthday we decided to throw a unique party, where we explored wines paired to our glasses collections.  Sommelier Shelley Joyce did a great selecting different wines to compliment the different collections that we have at Ocean, here's the journey we went on.

To start the evening, the first wine was from local vineyard Petite Riviere (http://www.petiterivierevineyards.ca/).  BonBon is a sparkling fruit wine with NY Muscat blended with apple and cranberry wine.  This is a fun, light, bubbly wine and paired perfectly with Kirk & Kirk's Kaleidoscope collection.


For our second wine, we headed over to Europe and enjoyed a German Riesling, paired with ic! berlin.  Moselland Ars Vitis has a crisp, clean taste, precise in its structure with almost mineral or industrial flavour notes to it.  What a great match for the stainless sheet metal that is ic! berlin.


Heading slightly further south, we next enjoyed our first red of the evening and the first offering from France - Montmija Le Bistro Rouge.  This blend of Merlot, Carignan and Syrah parallels beautifully with TD Tom Davies.  With TD Tom Davies we can blend different colours and shapes together to make unique made to measure eyewear.

We continued to travel south through Europe on our winery tour, this time heading to Spain.  This was actually going to be our last wine of the evening, and was our second red.  Shelley had wanted to choose something particular to pair well with the natural material eyewear that Rolf Spectacles creates, so she choose a biodynamic wine from Priorat, Maquinon.  Garnacha grapes create a beautiful wine which is aged in oak barrels and has a distinctive intense cherry colour, almost violet in fact.  Considering the time, dedication and precision that goes in to every pair of Rolf Spectacles, this wine is a wonderful pairing.


The evening was well rounded off with a beautiful vintage Cognac Ch√Ęteau de Montifaud VSOP.  This fruity cognac which is naturally coloured through aging alone, comes from the Petite Champagne growing region.  Luxurious, fashionable, classical, glamorous, cognac pairs beautifully with Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses.  Just like the cognac, Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses are iconic with a heritage which is second to none, worn by celebrities from the 60's onward OG is the stylish choice of the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Princess Grace de Monaco, Michael Caine, Peter Sellers to name but a few.

What a great fun evening and a fabulous way to celebrate this milestone in Ocean's journey.  We are very grateful to Shelley for taking us on this journey and for picking a wonderful collection of wines to enjoy alongside our unique eyewear collections.  If you'd like to get in touch with Shelley she can be reached on Twitter @wileywordsmyth.

Some more pictures from the evening:

Shelley Joyce - our fabulous Sommelier 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What a year, 2015! (Part 2)

2015 was a year filled with just so much awesomeness that we had to split the review in to two parts, madness I hear you cry, but that's just how it is!


So for some if you've read the first part of the review (and it would be rude to get to this stage and to
not have done so!), you're probably thinking, "Wait a minute, they've missed out something kind of important ... Alicia!".  You're right, Licensed Optician Alicia Austin joined the merry crew of Ocean Optometry in May.

Alicia came to us with years of experience as an optician, however, the range of unique, handmade products that we have was new to her.  Really loving the challenge, Alicia has been very quick to learn the intricacies of all of the ranges and the special details which make them unique.  It seemed like no time at all, for example, before Alicia was creating tailor made eyewear with the TD Tom Davies range.  It's an incredible experience to receive a pair of glasses which have been made to measure specifically to fit you, crafted with the unique colour palette that you desire; as an eyegeek, there is nothing quite like helping someone through that process and seeing the end creation of all your work being worn by someone!

Come in, say Hi! to Alicia, check out her level of eye-geekiness and see if she can stand up to the challenge!  At the same time she can't help sort out some fabulous eywear for you.


This was an incredible month for us, which really set Ocean Optometry apart on the world stage.  We knew that Kirk & Kirk were launching a new collection in the Fall of 2015 and these launches coincide with the eyewear exhibitions at Paris, Vegas or Hong Kong (Spring is Milan or New York).  Just how excited were we, then, to have Jason & Karen Kirk with us as the first optical business in the world to see and show the collection!  Very!

Kaleidoscope is a unique collection of handmade frames, colourful and like they have the appearance of almost being made of glass.  These frames are made from a unique Italian acrylic which makes them lightweight and comfortable to wear.

Jason & Karen Kirk - Designers / Owners of Kirk & Kirk
To be the first location to show off these beautiful creations three weeks before the industry first got to view them was an incredible honour.  Jason & Karen were here to answer questions and chat with people about their amazing eyewear, including the Vivarium and Solarium collections and the new Kaleidoscope range.  They were definitely a hit with Halifax as we had orders for new frames even before the were being hand made in France!

Come and check out the collection for yourself.


Just when you think things are going to be plain sailing, another idea pops up and you're off on adventure again!  After all of the excitement of having Kirk & Kirk with us, we'd enjoyed being part of the City Harvest and Nocturne events again and our thoughts were turning to the coming Winter and Festive Season.  

One thing that we always enjoy throughout the year is the space that our window provides for some fun displays, don't forget to check them out if you're walking along Blowers Street!  Here's our pretty winter scene to finish off the year!

Many thanks to everyone who made 2015 such a fabulous year!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

What a year, 2015! (Part 1)

It's that time of year when you reflect somewhat and look forward even more, this is exactly what I did when I realised that it'd been a few months since our last blog!  Oops - there's a New Year's Resolution right there!  Must do better!

2015 ... WOW!

What a great year!  As a young business we are always looking for the next milestone, perhaps even the next reassurance that we are on the right path.  You could say it's a little needy, but you pour your hopes and dreams in to the business you create and so it helps to seek reassurance that they're not just going to crash and burn.


The year started off in a great way, continuing to create fabulous eyewear for folks to wear.  When
 Bethan with her bespoke frames, before and after.
we say create, we really do mean that we can individually make one-off custom frames exactly to the desires of the wearer.

A great example of this is shown with local designer Bethan.  We had a definite look in mind, and starting with a slightly cats- eye  shaped frame, we weaved some wonderful design magic using the TD Tom Davies Supertool CAD system.  The end result - nailing exactly the look we were going for.

One of the great things about working with TD Tom Davies is that not only do you get to have fun with the creativity of designing the frame, you also end up with a beautifully fitting pair of glasses.  Like a made-to-measure tailored suit, the glasses just feel wonderful to wear.  This really set the tone for the rest of the year.

Then do you remember what happened next?  How can you forget!  Snow!  Snow, snow, snow, snow and snow.  With a side of ice.

 Snow  Snow

The first few months were brutal and there's no getting away from it, there were some hard old days in those first few months for Downtown Halifax.  Sadly some of our friends on the downtown business scene were not able to make it through.

Getting out in these days and exploring the downtown is an incredible support for all of the many wonderful local small and independent businesses that make up the vibrant scene in Halifax.  If the weather happens again in 2016, you know what you've got to do.


On the night that the worst snow storm rolled in to Nova Scotia, our two docs (and owners) Dr. John Wilson and Dr. Euan McGinty headed off in to the wilderness.

Well, not quite, but they started an epic road trip to head to New York.  Driving cautiously in a blizzard all the way through New Brunswick, then travelling further on driving right through the night to get to New York, was definitely a moment which cemented the friendship of the creators of Ocean!

Why were they doing it?  Did they really stop to have a snooze at LL Bean?  Did they learn their lesson that when meeting border guards you are not the one allowed to crack the first joke?  In a snow storm?  At midnight?
The simple reason - to bring the finest independent eyewear from throughout the world back to Halifax.It was time to venture to the Big Apple again, on one of our buying trips looking for incredible eyewear to have exclusively at Ocean.  We seek out independent manufacturers who can produce eyewear which meets our exacting standards.  What are they?  They must be high quality, superbly designed, well made and have that 'X' factor - that they excite us.The trip to New York is a real highlight in our calendar and there is so much that we could share with you about it, here's just a few pictures:


Finally the weather started to warm up and, as you know, the sun is always shining on Blowers Street!

As the weather started to play nice, the city started to wake up out of hibernation and one of our favourite events came around - Open City.

This year we were joined by Humble Pies from Dartmouth who came across with a warmer and their most delicious pies.

If your in Dartmouth and looking for some fine food, then definitely check them out - http://humblepiekitchen.ca/
It was a lovely day and we met lots of new people who we kind of new through the Twitterverse, as well as spending a fun day with the Humble Pie folks.  Humble Pie is a lovely new business creating the most delicious New Zealand style pies, if you haven't experienced them already they now have a permanent home over on King Street in Dartmouth, they also have a regular Friday pop-up in Fred, Halifax.It really wasn't long before we were starting to enjoy some beautiful evenings as well, as well as working hard, at Ocean, we like to enjoy life and relax as well.

Spending time with the people you love doing the things you love is incredibly important, don't forget to do it.  We love Nova Scotia and the fact that in the winter you can be skating on the lakes, but when summer rolls around you'll be swimming in them. 
The first six months of the year aren't over and already so much has happened, but to top it all, in May we were also honoured to meet Mayor Mike Savage.  First Dr. Euan and Dr. John were privileged to go to his office and then Mayor Savage came to Ocean to find out all what we were about.I'm not sure he quite got what he was meant to be doing during the eye examination, but it really was a wonderful experience meeting him and we are humbled by the time that he shared with us.

Through out all this busyness we did also manage to help some fabulous folks into some fine, fine eyewear!  We love regularly featuring them as our "Catch of the Day" through our social media feeds, so make sure you give us a follow on FaceBook, Twitter and  Instagram.

Stay tuned, we're only half way through 2015 ... more to come!