The Old Apothecary Bakery & Cafe
Laura MacLeod, owner of The Old Apothecary, is the creative force behind the colourful bakery and cafe located on Barrington Street in downtown Halifax. TOA is filled with delicious croissants, pastries and breads made from scratch on-site, with mostly locally-sourced ingredients. The historic building was once a pharmacy in the early 1900’s inspiring the unique name of this local business.
I first visited The Old Apothecary back in the spring of 2015 during I Love Local HFX’s Open City event. It was their first day in business. The bakery was packed with customers in search of coffee and pastries to fuel their adventure through the city visiting local businesses. I’ll admit, I totally played the “official photographer” card to snap up the very last chocolate eclair that came out of the kitchen. This cream filled, chocolate coated pastry was the highlight of my day and I instantly became one of TOA’s biggest fans.
Laura MacLeod has created something really special with her family-run business. Her daughter Katie manages the front-of-house and her son Donald bakes all the breads. Donald’s partner Emily makes the croissants and danishes while Laura and Laura H create all the lovely pastries found in the display case. The TOA team also includes baristas Megan, Maddison and Micheal. Of course, we can’t leave out Caramel the boxer, who I’m always excited to see. I think a team that works so well together, and shares lots of laughter, make the atmosphere of the bakery friendly and relaxed. It’s a place where customers stay to enjoy their coffee and treats in the art-filled, colourful, two-story cafe.
Sitting down for a coffee and a chat with Laura, I was curious to know how The Old Apothecary came to be. After seventeen years in the interior design business, Laura was ready for a new creative career. She had always shared a love of food and cooking with her son Donald, who at that time, was studying at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in Vancouver. Laura enrolled in the one year program where she studied culinary, baking and pastry arts. She really enjoyed the artistic side of creating pastries. When she was ready to start her own business, Laura decided Halifax would be the place to establish her new career seeing a need for a great bakery downtown.
The next time you are downtown, stop by The Old Apothecary to try something sweet. My personal favourites are the chocolate eclairs and the key lime squares. There is always something new in the case each time I visit. Enjoy!