Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Saltscapes Expo

If you never go to another expo, tradeshow or fair again, you must go to the Saltscapes East Coast Expo. This expo encompasses all the rest and IMHO, does it best. 2013 marks the 9th for this exposition of everything east coast. I discovered the expo a few years ago after I moved to NS and started subscribing to the Saltscapes magazine.

As you walk through Exhibition Park you will discover the five different categories; Savour the Flavour, Unique Retail, Home, Cottage & Garden, Culture, Music & Travel and finally Living Healthy in Atlantic Canada.

Savour the Flavour

This might just be my favourite part of the expo. Here you will find producers and purveyors of Altlantic Canadian food, wine, beer, spirits and other beverages. You can sample your way through tasty seafood tidbits, locally raised meat, or chef inspired morsels from many Nova Scotia restaurants. A must stop for us is the Tangled Garden booth to sample and buy some of their herb infused liqueur and jelly. There's a reason why they were featured in Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Many of our favourite Nova Scotia wines are represented and a bottle or two of L'Acadie Blanc or Baco Noir always seem to make it into my shopping bag. Be sure to take in the culinary seminars, competitions and demonstrations featuring Atlantic Canadian Chefs.

Unique Retail

Want to get a little head start on your Christmas shopping? This is your spot. Everything from fine art to door mats, hand crafted jewelry to soap, something to spice up your dinner or your wardrobe, ironwork sculptures and garden furniture, it’s all here. Stop by Paul Hannon’s booth and check out his colourful art. I have a print of one of his works hanging in my kitchen, love his use of primary colours and local scenic vistas.

Home, Cottage & Garden

Are you thinking of renovating your kitchen or bathroom? Want to find the best plants for your landscaping project? Thinking a hot tub is the perfect addition to your cottage? Or maybe you’re looking to build or buy. This section of the expo has you covered. At past expos there have been gardening seminars at which I’ve picked up some good ideas. Also found an ideal deck design for my wish list.

Culture, Music & Travel

This is where the expo really shines. Representatives from every possible east coast destination are here to showcase the best we have to offer. Tourism groups, accommodation proprietors, tour operators and entertainment venues give you just a taste of what awaits you in their part of the world. All four Atlantic provinces are well represented. But wait, there's more, you can also find out more about the Gaspe, Iles de la Madeleine, Maine and even Iceland, exotic locations only a short trip from home.
Music and dance from the various regions can be heard and seen on the main entertainment stage or in the various destination locations. I usually run into a familiar face or two from home (PEI) and catch up on news. I've found lots of staycation ideas and more than once found myself saying "I didn't know we had that here in the Maritimes". Every year I take one of the Icelandair brochures and one day I might just make the trip.

Living Healthy

Just when you think you've see it all and your feet are getting a little tired, you stumble across the Healthy Living venue. Here you can find lots of businesses and organizations to help you keep fit, deal with health issues or advise how to avoid them. Sign up for the Bluenose Marathon or learn about sleep disorders. Healthy eating is important and here you might just meet a local farmer who is happy to discuss the fresh, healthy food being produced locally. You might want to make a stop at the Island Abbey Foods Science booth, their Honibe dried honey products made it to the Dragon's Den and their throat lozenges have got me through more than a few colds.

Make a Day Of It

Or a weekend. It takes us about three hours just to meander through the whole expo. One could easily spend the whole day taking in the various seminars and demonstrations, never mind enjoying the entertainment and striking up conversations with the many exhibitors. There are lots of samples to taste and numerous draws to be entered besides the main door prize draws. I would suggest doing up labels with your name and phone number to enter all the draws or you may find yourself getting writer's cramp after the first hour.

Another suggestion, buy your tickets in advance online, there can be quite a long lineup develop at certain times of the day. Purchase tickets online here. You can save $1.50 on a single day admission of $13.50.  

Want to keep up on the latest news, visit the Saltscapes Facebook page here and the Saltscapes website here.

Follow on twitter @saltscapes and #saltexpo.

Live in the Toronto area? Next year you can enjoy the Saltscapes Toronto Expo travelling show, this is a pared down version of the east coast show and a bi-annual event. Check the website often to find out the 2014 date.

So put on your comfy walking shoes, wear your buffet pants, grab a couple cloth shopping bags (you'll come home with a ton of brochures if not any goodies) and come on out to Exhibition Park April 26, 27 & 28, 2013.  I'll guarantee you're bound to learn something new about the east coast and leave with a head full of ideas to keep you going til next year's expo.


  1. that sounds neat.....and I LOVE your pic above of you and Brian

    1. Thanks Cheryl, that was taken at Lawrencetown Beach a few days after our wedding. Hope you have a great holiday this weekend!