History and Vision for the old Horton High School grounds

There are rare moments where your life flashes before you… not your past, but your future life.  The simple clarity of pure potential was very memorable the first time I arrived at the old Horton band room and bus garage, which now houses our business and our home.  It was November 6th, 2013, and I had arrived after motorcycling across the North American continent in just 5 days.  I was immigrating from Hawaii  to Nova Scotia to start our family and our business at this uniquely historic and community oriented property.  The wonderment has only been solidified over the years, as the scope of potential, creativity, and impact, seem to be expanding without limit.  There will be much to share in this “big picture” realm, which is where my mind and my passions reside.  For now, I’ll share the history of the property… along with an outline of our vision and strategies for empowering others to help us steer it all in wonderful new directions.

The Horton District High School was opened in 1959, and closed in 1998.  Rather than trying to piece together the history, I will share this incredibly detailed 87 page file, compiled by the former English department head, David E. Sheppard:   HDHSHISTORY

The events after the school closing, were as follows:

-1999 Apollo Venture Capital acquired the lands

-2000 Apollo applies for zoning change and development agreement

-2001 Zoning/development approved

-2005 Apollo sells to MIR 1 Development

-2006 MIR 1 Development applies for new development agreement

Details on this period as well as the current development agreement can be viewed in in this 92 page municipal document:  February 27 07 PART B -Background and Development Agreement

2007 Demolished

The school was demolished by MIR 1 Development in 2007, leaving only the band room / bus garage seen in the background.

2008-2012

It is unclear at what point the band room/bus garage was renovated, but is was split 50/50 front to back for commercial/residential use, and was completed by 2012.  The 6000 sq/ft mixed use building was split into three units.  The back half (Unit 1) houses the triple bus garage and apartment, while the front half houses 2 commercial spaces… an office space (Unit 2) featuring a 4th single garage bay, and the cafe space (Unit 3).

Before and After / from the 2007 school demolition, to the current home of the Edible Art Cafe

MIR 1 Development’s first tenant in the building was a coffee shop called “Paper Pleasures”.  While I was still in Hawaii, Ariell had some early collaborations with the owner in Spring 2013, offering our first Edible Art lunches outside the frozen meals and baked goods sold at the Wolfville Farmers Market.  By the Fall, we were ready to take over, with plans to launch the Edible Art Cafe on Nov 18th.  Shortly after our opening on November 18th, 2013, MIR 1 broke ground on a 40 unit “seniors living” apartment building, which would end up as their first foreclosure in January of 2016.

The beginnings of the 40 unit neighboring building

For highlights on our grand opening and first three years in business, which also included two baby boys, check out this video:

Having built a successful business, and seeing our landlord’s downward spiral, we kicked things into even higher gear in anticipation of the second foreclosure on the former band room/bus garage.  Despite moving into the apartment in the back of the building on October 1st, 2016, the second foreclosure still moved forward in August of 2017.  Details on our transition and crowdfunding, can be found here.  To sum it up, we nearly lost our home and business over 10 months of uncertainty, eventually forcing a bank owned sale on June 1st, 2018, after raising over $80k with incredible support from the community.  The details of what transpired are nothing short of astounding, and will most certainly be the topic of another blog post at some point, so keep your eye on the “History & Vision” section of this site for this and other cool stuff.