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Atlantic Canada

HAVING A BLAST: The Halifax Pop Explosion showcases indie music in a variety of genres

Port Cities plays the Halifax Pop Explosion.

By Trevor J. Adams

From October 17 to 20, Halifax is a haven for fans of edgy indie music, innovative talents who create works you’re not hearing on the radio or top-40 play lists. The Halifax Pop Explosion presents 150 musical acts, comedians, and speakers at venues around the city. After marking its 25th anniversary last year, HPX is bigger than ever, with organizers putting a bigger focus on reflecting a diverse array of cultural communities. Organizers were still finalizing the festival schedule at press time, but have given fans a tantalizing preview of the year’s artists.

As usual, one of the biggest highlights of the festival is sure to be the annual collaboration with Symphony Nova Scotia. This year, the all-star trio Port Cities (comprised of Carleton Stone, Dylan Guthro, and Breagh MacKinnon) join the orchestra to perform new orchestral arrangements of their works. Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducts at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on October 19 and 20.

Local talents also get their share of the limelight. Made-in-Halifax talents include DJ Uncle Fester, a 15-year veteran of the local hip-hop scene, and Juno-nominee Ghettosocks, described as a “true disciple of Golden Era rap music.”

Reuben and the Dark is one of the biggest acts on this year’s roster. The Calgary-based folk-rock group led by songwriter/vocalist Reuben Bullock, are best known for their acclaimed songs “Bow & Arrow” and “Heart in Two.” Their sound is contemplative, passionate, and expansive; expect a memorable show.

Headliner Zaki Ibrahim is a two-time Polaris Prize nominee (shortlisted in 2013 and longlisted in 2018) who has quickly emerged as one of Canada’s top hip-hop and soul talents. She released her much-anticipated second full-length album The Secret Lives of Planets earlier this year.

Gaelynn Lea is another artist generating tons of buzz. After two decades of hard work, she won NPR Music’s 2016 Tiny Desk Contest. Since then, she’s played over 250 shows in 42 states and seven countries. Critics hail her for her unique voice and violin virtuosity, exploring “the contrasting nature of existence: dark and light, birth and death, anger and forgiveness, sorrow and joy.”

Ontario’s Born Ruffians are sure to put on a rollicking show. Together since 2014, the group recently released their fifth studio album Uncle, Duke & The Chief. Continually reinventing their unique rock sound, they’ve drawn comparisons to the Strokes, the Pixies, and David Bowie.

Victoria, B.C. musician and vocalist AppleCat is sure to keep fans grooving into the wee smalls, with a uniquely poetic and graceful sound combining deep dubstep, fairytale bass, trap, world, and IDM influences. Fans may recall her as the subject of the recent documentary Amplify Her about women in the electronica scene.

This is just a small sample of what the Halifax Pop Explosion has to offer. For a complete lineup, plus schedule and ticket info, surf to halifaxpopexplosion.com.



Bar Kismet is a new addition to the Halifax scene, but already becoming a favourite.

By Trevor J. Adams.

If you’re serious about your cocktails, you must visit stylish Bar Kismet on Agricola Street. The ever-changing menu features premium ingredients from around the world. At press time, the drink selection included Cinematographers Party (bonded bourbon whiskey, Italian Digestif, fresh yellow plum and lemon, honey, red wine float), 2 Of Americano’s Most Wanted (bottled carbonated cocktail: French and Italian aperitif, red vermouth, French aperitif wine), and Cartoon Graveyard (mezcal, arugula, pineau des charantes, bogarts bitters).

The Watch That Ends The Night pairs an ambitious name with an ambitious concept. 2016 Gold Medal Plates winner Mark Gray helms the kitchen at the Dartmouth cocktail and wine bar. He focuses on “developing a new Canadian cuisine” through curing and fermenting local seasonal ingredients. It’s named for Hugh MacLennan’s eponymous 1958 novel, sharing an aesthetic with the same North American late-modern tastes.

• In a historic building on the corner of Morris and Hollis streets, Talay Thai serves up heaping portions of traditional dishes like Gung Pad Pik Pow (basil prawn with chili paste), Pla Muek Tod Katem (garlic shrimp), and curries aplenty.
• Japanese fine dining, showcasing traditional and fusion dishes, is on offer at Sushi Nami Royale. Check it out at locations on Queen Street in the heart of the downtown, Lacewood Drive in Clayton Park, Hector Gate in Dartmouth Crossing, and the Bedford Highway.
• Don’t let the strip-mall exterior or industrial-park cul-de-sac location deter you: Dhaba Casual Fine Dining & Express on Oland Crescent serves some of the tastiest Indian food around. The volcanic chicken vindaloo is a Halifax favourite.

For an opulent and unforgettable dining experience, Cut Steakhouse is the downtown’s go-to destination. Contemporary and classy, Cut emphasizes world-class service, with beef dry-aged on site. By Robert Risley, the restaurateur behind popular Halifax spots like Bistro Le Coq, East of Grafton Tavern, and Waterfront Warehouse.

Tucked away in historic Brewery Market on Lower Water Street, da Maurizio Fine Dining is a perennial local favourite. The rustic cuisine of Northern Italy inspires Chef Andrew King, as he offers classics like veal scaloppine sautéed with fresh lobster, seared breast of Brome Lake duck, and spicecrusted rack of lamb. An expertly curated wine list and top-notch service complement the experience.

Foodies flock to Highwayman Restaurant & Bar on Barrington Street for Spanish-inspired share plates and original cocktails. This cozy, up-market option serves a menu of seafood, cured meats, cheeses, and more. Pair your meal with a selection from the carefully-curated wine list and save room for a decadent dessert.

Don’t let the humble exterior fool you: loyal foodies jam Mexico Lindo on Dutch Village Road every night. Fiery home-style Mexican cuisine is the house specialty. The menu includes explosively flavourful offerings like burritos, enchiladas, chimichangas, tacos, and more.



Pearl City is the destination in Halifax for all things pearl.

By Trevor J. Adams

Pearls are a classic and graceful look and Pearl City in Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street offers necklaces, bracelets, and more made of these lustrous gems. Choose from its varied collection or help design your own style. You can watch your pearl jewelry being handstrung on-site by top craftsmen.

Located in the South End at the corner of Queen and Morris streets, Sweet Jane’s is the ideal place to find a unique Halloween treat or distinctive gift. This old-fashioned boutique boasts all manner of high-end confections, candies from around the world, whimsical toys, and more.

Any musician will love to shop at the Halifax Folklore Centre on Brunswick Street. Situated in a 136-year-old Victorian home, the shop is packed with stringed musical instruments, including banjoes, guitars, mandolins, and fiddles. There is also a selection of harmonicas, tin whistles, and Appalachian dulcimers. All the staff are musicians who can offer expert advice.

• Kept Gifts and Housewares on King Street in Dartmouth is packed with handmade finds by artists from around the region and the world. The store carries a fun and fascinating selection of décor items, jewelry, accessories, paper goods, products for children, and candy. Staff carefully select each piece for its unique look and top quality.
• Made in the Maritimes Artisan Boutique has two locations: Sunnyside Mall and Hydrostone Market. You’ll find creations in a variety of media from East Coast artisans, plus gourmet edibles, stained glass, fibre and fabric art, cushions, candles, and fine art and paintings.
• In a Box on Dresden Row is a unique little department store specializing in edgy fashions for women. You’ll also find stylish accessories such as bracelets, scarves, and handbags.

On October 17, recreational cannabis use becomes legal in Canada. In Nova Scotia, NSLC will be the official retailer. Find it at the NSLC stores on Clyde Street in Halifax and Portland Street in Dartmouth. Trained staff will be available to help you find the product that’s right for you.

• Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth boasts 120+ stores and services. This three-storey shopping destination features women’s fashions, entertainment, electronics, books, salons, and even a vinyl-record store.
• Situated on Spring Garden Road, at the centre of Halifax’s shopping district, Park Lane Mall offers a mix of shops for fashion, gifts, health and beauty, and home décor. Businesses on site include Mahone Bay Quality Footwear, Pseudio, Envy, John David Shoes, Cineplex Theatres, and many others.

Germany-based fashion brand Olsen Europe has expanded its production with new eco-friendly materials for fall and winter, including certified organic cotton and outerwear made from Repreve, a proprietary fibre made from recycled plastic, melted and spun into a soft durable fibre. Find the fall line at the Park Lane, Spring Garden Road shop.



Live Art Dance hosts Shay Kuebler Radical System Art. Photo credit: David Cooper

October 5, 6
Vancouver’s Shay Kuebler Radical System Art offers a unique high-energy evening of dance that blends tap, swing, and contemporary styles. Live Art Dance hosts its Telemetry production at the Sir James Dunn Theatre in the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

October 18 to 21
With fashion shows, parties, and special events aplenty, Atlantic Fashion Week is the East Coast’s hottest style celebration. This annual event celebrates the region’s design gurus, with lots of opportunities for up-and-comers to strut their stuff.

October 13
Up-and-coming fighters from Canada and the U.S. go head-to-head with national pride on the line as Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street hosts an evening of team boxing action.

• October 13: The Dartmouth Community Concert Association’s autumn season begins at Woodlawn United Church with a baroque concert by Ensemble Les Songes, featuring soprano Samantha Louis-Jean, recorder player Vincent Lauzer, cellist Camille Paquette-Roy, and harpsichordist Mélisande McNabney.
• October 14: Violinist Jolente De Maeyer and pianist Nikolaas Kende visit the Cecilia Concert Series for European Afternoon, a matinee concert at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road. The lineup includes Beethoven’s Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 and Kreutzer and Schubert’s Sonata in A Major, D. 574, Grand Duo.

October 13
Discover unique art in a variety of media, with exhibitions and performances at venues around Halifax during Nocturne. Running from 6 p.m. to midnight, this one-night-only festival takes over galleries and public spaces where you wouldn’t normally expect to discover cutting-edge art. Free bike-valet and shuttle-bus service make it easy to get out and explore.

October 26 to 28
Hal-Con is the East Coast’s biggest sci-fi, gaming, and fantasy festival and it returns this month. Scheduled guests include Star Trek: The Next Generation’s LeVar Burton (“Geordi LaForge”) and John de Lancie (“Q”), plus comic artist Brenda Hickey, author Delilah S. Dawson, cosplay guru Cassie Seaboyer, and many more. This event usually sells out, so get your tickets early and catch all the action at the new Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street.

October 7
Handler joins Civilized publisher Derek Riedel for a townhall on politics, culture, and cannabis.

October 13
The jazz/folk-pop vocalist returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre with an intimate show for her hometown fans.

October 19, 20
Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducts as Port Cities joins the Symphony at the Dalhousie Arts Centre for a special Halifax Pop Explosion concert.

October 22
The Canadian country powerhouse brings his Dirt Road Acoustic Tour to the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

October 26, 27
Angelo Tsarouchas joins Efthimios Nasiopoulos and Comus for It’s All Greek to Me at Atlantica Hotel Halifax.

October 27
After starting the season with a long road trip, the Mooseheads play their home-opener at Scotiabank Centre versus Cape Breton.


Angela O’Brien, senior executive host at Casino Nova Scotia.

By Trevor J. Adams

Angela O’Brien is the senior executive host at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street. She graduated from Saint Mary’s University and has a true love for Halifax. She is a professional affiliate with Les Clefs d’Or Canada, which has provided her great opportunities for creating partnerships within the hospitality community.

What’s an ideal destination in the Halifax area for a late-night snack?
Antojo Taco + Tequila on Argyle Street has expanded to a late night Munchies Nocturnos menu and serves tacos until 1:30 a.m. Thursday to Saturday. It’s a great addition to the late night food scene in downtown Halifax!

If you only had one day in Halifax this month, how would you spend it?
Have to start with a coffee at Coffee Matters in the Brewery Market on Lower Water Street, explore the Halifax Brewery Farmers Market and take a stroll down the Halifax waterfront. Stop by to see Julie for an afternoon tour of the Halifax Distillery, and learn how JD Shore rum is crafted. No tour is complete without a tasting! For dinner I would go to one of my all-time favorites, da Maurizio. Great Italian food and excellent service in a romantic setting. My favorite dish is the gnocchi; I highly recommend it!

Who’s your favourite newcomer to the city’s dining and nightlife scene?
Bar Kismet recently opened on Agricola Street and is absolutely charming. The casual quaint atmosphere is a great place to share small or large unique plates with a great selection of craft cocktails.

Where should visitors go to find a unique memento of their visit to Halifax?
Amos Pewter in the Historic Properties on the Halifax waterfront has quality hand-crafted Nova Scotia products. A great selection of jewelry, ornaments, and household items to start your Christmas list.

What’s the most common question visitors ask you about Nova Scotia?
What’s the must-see-and-do activity in Nova Scotia? My answer is always to hike the Skyline Trail along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. It’s an easy seven-kilometre hike with stunning views of the ocean and rolling green landscape. It’s a great place to watch the sun set and you may even see a moose up close and personal.


Concierge Q&A


Spencer LeBlanc is lead concierge at the Atlantica Hotel Halifax and a future member of Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic Canada. He has worked in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Poland before returning to his home province of Nova Scotia. He loves Halifax because its beauty and history are so accessible by foot or bicycle.

Q. What’s your pick for August’s can’t-miss event for visitors?
A. At the start of the month (August 2 to 7), the Halifax Busker Festival offer 300 shows over six days on the waterfront, with performers from all over the world. Later (August 20), a local highlight would be the Clam Harbour Sandcastle Contest. There is often more than 100 entries for the annual competition along this beautiful beach on the Eastern Shore.

Q. What’s your favourite Halifax patio for a relaxing drink with friends?
A. Agricola Street Brasserie has a great rooftop patio. The daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. offers up a great mix from local oysters to local craft beers. Agricola Street is known for its eclectic mix of antique shops and vibrant restaurants. Having a drink along this street will truly feel like you are living like a local.

Q. Where should nature lovers go to explore Nova Scotia’s natural beauty?
A. If you are leaving Halifax on a day trip I suggest going down the South Shore, past Lunenburg to the Ovens Natural Park. This site of the 1861 gold rush has a lot to offer. Take the cliff lined hour long walk exploring the sea caves along the way. Try your hand at gold panning on the beach or even stay the night in the rustic cottages. Close to the Ovens is an area called Blue Rocks, which offers some of the best kayaking in Nova Scotia.

Q. If you were picking out one gift for a loved one who hasn’t yet been to Halifax, what would you get?
A. I have a bit of a sweet tooth so my go to gift is always a cake from the Rum Runners shop in Bishops Landing. The Prohibition years had a big impact on Nova Scotia’s history so this gift is a great way to make that connection. It is a bit of Nova Scotia’s history you can taste!

Q. What’s the best place for a visitor to find made-in-Canada fashions and accessories?
A. Canook Trading is a new clothing store on Barrington Street that only carries Canadian-made and designed items. Another great spot is the Made in the Maritime Artisan Boutique store over in the Hydrostone Market on Young Street.


The Halifax Busker Festival spotlights local talents and street performers from around the globe

Death-defying feats, mind-boggling illusions, side-splitting comedy, and acrobatic grace—showcasing street performers from around the world, the Halifax Busker Festival is one of the city’s most beloved summer celebrations. From August 2 to 7, five Halifax waterfront stages, from the Historic Properties to Bishop’s Landing, host free shows daily.

Throw 2 Catch Jody LeBlancDrawing throngs of locals and visitors alike, these shows provide rollicking entertainment for the whole family. This year, the lineup includes American “acrobat stooges” Throw2Catch. Veterans of the acclaimed Montreal Circus Festival, they combine zany comedy with high-energy acrobatics. Expect “outstanding performances, ingenious conjuring tricks, extravagant dance steps, and memorable interventions with the public.”

Bendy_EmAlways a BuskerFest favourite, Australian contortionist Bendy Em returns to Halifax this month. Originally from the U.K., Emma Kerger is a former competitive gymnast and dancer, who contorts her body into “freakily mindboggling positions.” The highlight is when she squeezes herself into a tiny Perspex box, balanced atop a 2-metre rig. You have to see it to believe it.

Flame Oz 3 Band copyFlameOz is another muchloved Aussie export. The pyromaniacal troupe marries dance, juggling, acrobatics, hula hooping, and a whole lot of fire into a combustible high-energy show. They’re one of the festival’s most popular acts every summer.

SilverElvisRegular festival-goers also hold a special place in their hearts for Silver Elvis. The chromatic King brings Presley to life like no other impersonator. He dances for donations, he poses for selfies, he sings “Hound Dog.” It’s cheesy, nostalgic, and just plain fun.

4550307_origLiving statue Jenny Jupiter taps a similar vein of silliness. The interactive character artist combines mime and clowning to bring her retro-futurist (think Buck Rogers) character to life.

Sharon-MahoneySharon From Canada delights homegrown fans. The hilarious character clown and selfappointed ambassador for the Great White North skewers Canadian stereotypes, wooing audiences with patriotism, politeness, political correctness, and extreme passive aggression. Canadians will roar; international visitors will furrow their brows and say “I don’t get it.”

Diogo-Alvares-06-740x1110If you’re the sort of person who watches magic shows and says “They’re not tricks! They’re illusions…” make sure you see Diogo Alvares. The Brazilian “Master Manipulator” performs a silent show with a musical backdrop, performing illusions with cards, billiard balls, cigarettes, and other ungimmicked items. As the show builds, he offers audiences a spectacle of illusionism that you can usually only see in a theatre show.

Mighty-MikeFinally, don’t miss local star Mighty Mike. At age 14, he sat in the front row at BuskerFest and vowed to perform there some day. As he grew up, Haligonians could see him juggling oranges outside a local grocery store. From those beginnings, he built a classic vaudeville routine and set a Guinness World Record for juggling. Equally impressive are his feats of strength: see him juggle sledgehammers, drive nails with his bare hands, and more.

Hot Dining


  • Salvatore’s Pizzaiolo has been a fixture of the North End’s Hydrostone Market for more than 20 years. The pizza is classic and the sandwiches (especially the meatball hero) are mainstays of local best-sandwich lists and awards. The vibe is rustic Italian, while the bar serves locally-made craft beer and wine.
  • Tiny Morris East on Morris Steet is a must-visit for serious pizza fans. Pair a wood-fired signature pizza (like the Blue: tomato sauce, blue cheese, mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula) with a signature cocktail (like a Chipotle Caesar or Watermelon Sangria).
  • Steps from the waterfront boardwalk in Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street, Ristorante a Mano is a classic Italian trattoria. The Quattro Carni (salami, Italian sausage, pancetta, prosciutto) is de rigueur for carnivores, while the handmade pasta comes in varieties to tempt any taste buds. (We recommend the classic four-cheese gnocchi).


Fans of classic diners will love bright and colourful Robie Street Station, near the Halifax Common. Offerings include all-day breakfast and global comfort food (the hearty “Remedy” with pork belly bacon and a house-made biscuit will cure what ails you). The Robie Street Express is next door, offering freshly baked goods to go.


Cut Steakhouse on Lower Water Street has won the prestigious CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award annually since opening in 2008. Its menu features premium dry-aged beef that’s butchered on-site.


Hip folks who are serious about cocktails flock to Lot Six on Argyle Street. The bartenders have created an array of signature cocktails, many featuring house-made sodas and bitters. Pair with fresh local oysters and the globally inspired small-plates nibbles.


For 30+ years, locals have loved Athens Restaurant on Quinpool Road. This family restaurant boasts a menu of flavourful Greek specialties like lamb souvlaki, moussaka, spanakopita and calamari. It’s also a popular breakfast spot with a huge weekend brunch buffet, featuring Mediterannean specialties, perogies, beans, and traditional breakfast favourites.

coffee - libA JONES FOR JAVA

  • Perched atop the distinctive Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road, Pavia Espresso Bar & Café boasts sweeping vistas of downtown Halifax and the harbour beyond. Take your coffee outside on the terrace and explore the living roof. Modelled after a European espresso bar, the café features locally roasted coffee, Italian espresso, and gourmet paninis, plus fresh-baked treats.
  • Just steps from Dalhousie and the University of King’s College on Coburg Road, Coburg Coffee House is a local favourite. The menu includes light lunches, bagels, fair-trade coffee, and specialty drinks.
  • Trident Booksellers and Café on Hollis Street is a bibliophile’s dream. In addition to specialty coffees and teas, it’s chockablock with used books of all sorts, with a heavy emphasis on Canadian literature and local authors.

Editor’s Choice: TIME FOR THAI

Talay Thai occupies a historic building on the corner of Hollis and Morris streets in Halifax’s South End. Now wheelchair accessible, the refurbished space boasts the same flavourful cuisine that built the restaurant’s loyal following. The inexpensive lunch menu features many signature dishes, such as masaman curry and pad thai.

Hot Shopping

• Indulge your sweet tooth at Lindt & Sprungli on Lacewood Drive. Famous for its Lindor and Excellence brands, plus its signature Gold Bunny. The secret is decadent Swiss chocolate in milk, dark, and white flavours. Buy a handful of samples for snacking or a gift basket for your house-sitter.

• Rousseau Chocolatier on Hollis Street makes fresh and delicious chocolates with the highquality ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible. Try the handmade chocolates, gourmet brownies, French macarons, and artisan chocolate bars. There are flavours for everyone: coconut, lemon, maple cream, dark sea salt, orange, and basil and lime.


  • Just steps from the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, the Garrison Beer Store on Terminal Road peddles beers from one of the province’s oldest crafter brewers. On tap, you’ll find seasonal creations and longstanding favourites like raspberry wheat, Irish red, and more.
  • Fans of Belgian-style brews will want to head to North Brewing on Agricola Street. This tiny brewery produces Old World ales that are bursting with flavour, all with an earth-friendly commitment.
  • At stores like Bishop’s Cellar on Lower Water Street and Rockhead on North Street, you’ll find beers from breweries around the province, plus all manner of international imports.


  • It’s hard to find a more distinctive memento of your visit than a locally-crafted work of art from the AGNS Gallery Shop at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. Check out unique and collectible pieces of sculpture, pottery, paintings, and more. Maud Lewis (the eponymous artist from the acclaimed movie Maudie) is among the many local talents whose work is on display.
  • The Pier 21 Gift Shop at the Canadian Museum of Immigration, on Marginal Road is the place to go for gifts from the spot known as “Canada’s Ellis Island.” Find local art and books, pewter gifts, and museum-branded swag aplenty.
  • Nearby at the Designer Craft Shop on Marginal Road, Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council members display their creations. Browse through artistic etchings, silk clothing, and handmade jewelry. An expert jury approves every item that’s on sale.


Fresh Atlantic lobster is a treat year-round—did you know you can stop into Clearwater Seafood at the Halifax airport to get some packaged for travel? Or visit the Bedford Highway location to get fresh-boiled lobster, with all the fixings and accessories, for an unforgettable picnic.

Ikebana Shop - Blackburn 2016-2316ZEN AND THE ART OF SHOPPING

Ikebana on Quinpool Road creates attractive floral arrangements in traditional Japanese designs. Choose from an arrangement of fresh flowers or one with permanent botanicals of silk or dried blossoms. Take a lesson or join in on a demonstration or workshop. The retail shop offers flower containers, Japanese pottery, incense, tea, and clothing.

sweet pea_trends08SUMMER STYLE

Sweet Pea Boutique on Queen Street has stylish summer dresses for any occasion. Find a basic style for everyday wear, flirtier frocks for weekends, or a cocktail dress for a wedding or other summer celebration. Choose from accessories such as shoes, jewelry, and hair pieces to complete your look.


The team of goldsmiths at Fireworks Gallery on Barrington Street create customdesigned jewelry for anyone, for any occasion. Choose a design with gold, platinum, diamonds, or gorgeous gemstones. The designers use here Old World techniques such as hand engraving or filigree. Browse the collections of other artists, as well as antique pieces from estate collections, too. Travel emergency? Expert repairs performed on site.

Get your groove on

It’s impossible not to fall in love with this city during the Halifax Jazz Festival. From July 12 to 16, music fills the city. Local talents riff with international stars in intimate club shows, free afternoon concerts have a relaxed community vibe, while hundreds jam the festival tent to groove their brains out at the nightly main-stage shows.

The Halifax Waterfront Main Stage is home to the festival box office, and the centre of the action. The free matinee shows are a great way to get a sense what JazzFest is about, but things really get hot in the evening. Things start on July 12 with Jo Mersa Marley, grandson of reggae legend Bob Marley. He’s not getting by on DNA, though—performing since age 4, he fuses pop, hip-hop, and dancehall influences. Rising reggae talent Jesse Royal shares the bill.
Blue-Rodeo-Band-3-Dustin-RabinOne of this year’s biggest highlights is the return to Halifax of Canadian roots-rock legends Blue Rodeo on July 14. With a mellow mood and a huge catalogue of sing-along classics, these guys are legends of the summer festival circuit, and sure to keep people dancing until the wee smalls.

anderson-paak-the-free-nationals-20160517Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals follow them on July 15. Brandon Paak Anderson, better known by his stage name Anderson Paak, is an American singer-songwriter, rapper, producer and virtuoso drummer, best known for his work on Dr. Dre’s Grammy-nominated album Compton. His artsy musical range runs the gamut: R&B, ‘70s soul, hip-hop, funk, and rock. Curious about the future of hip-hop, and music in general? This is the show for you. Acclaimed local singer/songwriter Reeny Smith opens.

jbm8152highresTAKE ME TO CHURCH
The concerts at St. Matthew’s Church on Barrington Street are always JazzFest highlights for musical purists, and 2017 will be no different. Jane Bunnett & Maqueque start the series on July 12. A multiple Juno winner, Bunnett has turned her bands into showcases for Canadian, American, and Cuban talent. She’s a versatile flutist, saxophonist, and pianist who constantly explores Afro-Cuban melodies—little wonder she’s a darling of the Canadian jazz scene.

dr-lonnie-2The temperature keeps rising on July 13 when Dr. Lonnie Smith performs. The undisputed master of the Hammond B-3 organ has been performing for 50+ years, recording with the biggest names in jazz, blues, and R&B giants in the industry.

andy-shauf-6140On July 14, songwriter Andy Shauf brings his concept album The Party to the stage: a “tightly narrated 38 minutes, all set to ornate arrangements of fuzzed-out guitars, string sections, clarinets, and dreamy synths, all draped over delicate piano, acoustic guitars,
and rainy-day drums.”

If an intimate club show is more your speed, The Carleton on Argyle Street is your ideal base for the festival. This stylish, music-friendly bar hosts the late-night stage (11:15pm start time); the lineup includes Keith Hallett (July 12), Kirsten Olivia (July 13), Willem Paynter Hardbop Collective (July 14), and Roxy & the Underground Soul Sound (July 15). More of an early-to-bed type? Check out the Carleton’s Groove Stage featuring 8pm shows with The Brood (July 13), The Zim Gars (July 14), and Talea (July 15).

Hot Dining

• Just steps from the waterfront, Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar on Salter Street offers lightly cooked and raw fare. The raw menu feature scallops and an array of local oysters, plus sashimi and ceviche.
• In addition to one of the waterfront’s largest patios, Salty’s on the Waterfront in the Historic Properties boasts an array of fresh lobster, salmon, scallops, and shrimp.
• For eight decades, The Shore Club in Hubbards has been serving lobster suppers in a relaxed and friendly setting. A fresh Atlantic lobster stars in the meal, supported by potato salad, and unlimited local mussels.
• Perched over the harbour, Murphy’s The Cable Wharf has harbour views from almost every seat; an ideal spot to while away a sunny afternoon.
• With fine seafood and traditional Maritime fare aplenty, McKelvie’s on Lower Water Street has long been a downtown favourite. The Signature Fish Platter, featuring half a lobster and selection of market-fresh fish is a can’t-miss for visitors.

Need to blow off some steam? Agricola Street’s Timber Lounge is a lumberjack themed bar decked with raw wood and acres of plaid. The bar features local taps and bottled beers, but axe throwing is the main draw. Fear not: staff are on-hand to train and supervise.

The BarringtonSURF & TURF
The Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar raises the bar on local surf and turf. A recent addition to the food scene, this fashionable bi-level eatery features Atlantic Canadian beef and oysters sourced locally, alongside a well-curated wine list.

• Locals don’t mind lining up at Gottingen Street’s Edna on weekends because they’re served coffee on the sidewalk while waiting. This stylish space prepares globally inspired fare such as ricotta pancakes, salmon gravlax, and duck confit, and features a unique breakfast cocktails list.
• The Coastal Café on Robie Street dishes up an interesting brunch list featuring buttermilk waffle sandwiches, and eggs alongside buffalo chicken or lamb roghan josh. This casual eatery is compact and counter-serve, so get there before the morning rush.

StillwellEditor’s Choice: SUNNY DAYS
Stillwell on Barrington Street is a year-round mecca for craft-beer lovers, and the summertime Stillwell Beer Garden on Spring Garden Road has quickly achieved similar adoration. Find Canadian microbrews aplenty—often including Halifax’s own Garrison, plus Manual Food + Drink Co.’s pop-up dairy bar slinging soft serve and baked goods.

BoneheadsEditor’s Pick: SOUTHERN COMFORT
The Food Network recently included Boneheads BBQ Kicking Southern Smokehouse in its list of Canada’s 10 tastiest barbecue restaurants. This causal joint slow cooks ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and more over hardwood. Sides include classics like potato salad, coleslaw, tater tots, and baked beans.

Hot Shopping

Looking for clothing, accessories, and products that are stylish but ethically made and planet friendly? Check out Sattva on Agricola Street. The proprietors curate a unique collection that aims to make women “look and feel beautiful in all aspects of life.”

• On the north end of the waterfront boardwalk, in the Historic Properties, Cow’s Ice Cream is a perennial summer favourite. You’ll also find a selection of bovine-inspired clothing, giftware, and novelties.
• And at the south end of the boardwalk in Bishop’s Landing, you’ll find Sugah. This confectionary specializes in hand-paddled ice cream—rich and tasty, with unique flavour combinations.
• Located on Cornwallis Street in Halifax’s North End and at Peggy’s Cove, Dee Dee’s produces homemade, fresh ice cream showcasing local seasonal ingredients.

Women's Sea-Breeze CaprisFASHION FORWARD
Freshening up your look? Visit Colwell’s on Upper Water Street. There’s casual wear, jeans, pants, t-shirts, and knitwear for women, plus a variety of women’s styles (and a Michael Kors shop).

103_0379-1HOW SWEET IT IS
• Freak Lunchbox on Barrington Street and in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford offers a whimsical (and tasty) shopping experience. The colourful store is chockablock with retro candies like Pez, Cracker Jacks, and Pop Shoppe soda, plus fun toys and gifts.
• For gourmet treats or a basket of sweet goodies, stop into Sweet Jane’s on Queen Street. The staff here will put together arrangements for any tastes or celebrations. Amp up your date-night game with gourmet truffles.

MEC Outpost Duffle MaroonFortune RedINTO THE WILD
If you’re an outdoor adventurer, Halifax is the perfect base of operations: just minutes from downtown you’ll find seaside trails, dense forest, and natural splendour. MEC on Granville street is the perfect place to gear up for your expedition. You’ll find all manner of durable camping and hiking gear. And to mark Canada Day and the ongoing Canada 150 celebrations, many items have a uniquely patriotic flavour this year.

Editor’s Choice: ON THE WATERFRONT
As you stroll the Halifax waterfront, stylish Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street is a must-visit shopping destination: find a tasty and unique gift for the folks back home at Rum Runners, distinctive creations at Frida Custom Jewellery Design, finely crafted pearl works at Pearl City, a huge array of local wine and craft beer at Bishop’s Cellar, and flavourful and refreshing juices at Haskapa.