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Atlantic Canada

Hot Dining

_MG_4098PIZZA WITH PIZZAZZ

  • 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).

IMG_0980DINER DELIGHT

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.

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

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.

SHAKE IT UP

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.

HELLAS GOOD

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

RousseauCALLING ALL CHOCOHOLICS
• 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.

Tata copy3 FOR BEER LOVERS

  • 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.

ONE-OF-A-KIND

  • 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.

LobsterOCEAN BOUNTY

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.

Editor’s Pick: PRECIOUS METALS

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.

JoMersaTHE HEADLINERS
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.”

CLUBBIN’
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

IMG_60645 FOR SEAFOOD LOVERS
• 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.

TimberLET ME AXE YOU SOMETHING
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.

Coastal CafeTHE BRUNCH BUNCH
• 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

UnknownSTYLE WITH A CONSCIENCE
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.”

Dee DeesCOOL IT
• 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.

Hot Shopping

By Suzanne Rent

Bejeweled best

  • Fireworks Gallery on Barrington Street has been creating custom designed jewelry for 40 years. Their designers and goldsmiths blend Old World techniques with New World designs. Choose from designer jewelry, custom, or wedding and engagement styles. Fireworks is also a full-service jeweler, offering repair and restoration.
  • Bedazzled in Sunnyside Mall, Bedford, carries a range of jewelry and accessories to suit any taste. Find designs by artists from Nova Scotia, across Canada, and Israel. Artists include Toni XO, Michique, Christine Philippe, and Earth Goddess.

 

Catch of the day

A stay in Nova Scotia isn’t complete without a feed of lobster. But Clearwater Seafood on the Bedford Highway or at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport also packs up fresh crustaceans for your trip home. It’s not just lobster — pick from other fresh seafood such as scallops, crab, shrimp, and clams.

 

From the Highlands

Find your family tartan at Plaid Place in Barrington Place Shops and be fitted for a kilt, too. This is the place for everything Scottish. But there are more than kilts. Browse the selection of Buchan pottery (stoneware pottery made in Portobello, Scotland), hoodies, ties, socks, gifts, and jewelry.

 

Local treasures

  • 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 the Hydrostone Market, from which to choose the work of artisans from the Maritimes. Find gourmet edibles, stained glass, fibre and fabric art, cushions, candles, and fine art and paintings.

 

Finest fashions

  • Stock up on summer frocks after a visit to Sweet Pea Boutique on Queen Street. Only a small quantity of each style is in store so every client is uniquely outfitted. Choose from top brands and also local designs including Sweet Pea Collection by local designer Katrina Tuttle.
  • Locally owned and operated, Wildflower Clothing Inc. on Doyle Street brings international style to local shoppers. The bright and fresh boutique is packed with outwear, lingerie, tops, and bottoms for your summer wardrobe. Finish off your new look with some trendy accessories.
  • Located on Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth, Room 152 is stocked with new and pre-loved pieces. If you love labels at great prices, this is the place to go. Labels include Jimmy Choo, Helmut Lang, Fossil, Coach, Vivienne Westwood, Vera Wang, and plenty more.

 

Editors pick: Much more music

Any musician will love to shop at the Halifax Folklore Centre on Brunswick Street. Situated in a 135-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 help with your decisions.

Hot Dining

By Trevor J. Adams

DATE NIGHT

  • Intimate Lot Six (page 61) on Argyle Street is a must for serious cocktail aficionados. The bar recently unveilled a new cocktail menu featuring 16 creations. The selection includes As the Valley Blooms (cognac, sake, chamomile, orgeat, lemon, grapefruit, egg white, grapefruit bitters) and the Green Swizzle (gin, lime, cucumber, chartreuse, sage).
  • With its French-inspired seasonal menu, Agricola Street Brasserie (page 59) has helped turn the North End into Halifax’s hottest dining destination. Artfully prepared seasonal dishes, including fresh Atlantic seafood, pair with Nova Scotian wine and beer.

 

CHILL OUT

Beat the summer heat with a tasty treat. At Sugah (page 52), on the waterfront boardwalk in Bishop’s Landing, you’ll find all manner of confections, but the star of the show is the house-made hand-paddled ice cream, showcasing unique Nova Scotian ingredients.

 

LOCAL FAVOURITES

  • Athens Restaurant (page 62) on Quinpool Road offers the Greek mainstays you’d expect, but Haligonians love it for weekend brunch: omelettes, eggs Florentine, and a buffet chock full of breakfast favourites like sausage, baked beans, pancakes, perogies, pastries, and more.
  • Maxwell’s Plum (page 62) on Grafton Street boasts a huge array of craft beers and brews from around the globe, served alongside burgers, sandwiches, fish, and chips, and pub grub galore.
  • Scratch-made vegan cuisine make Wild Leek (page 63) a Windsor Street neighbourhood favourite. With an on-site bakery, tasty gourmet desserts are the house specialty.

 

ON THE GO

Quick, casual, healthy, and flavourful: Burrito Jax (page 62) on Barrington Street ticks all the boxes for an urban-exploration power lunch. Scratch-made burritos are the house specialty. Pulled pork and pepper steak will bring the big traditional flavours purists demand, or you can give it an East Coast twist with North Atlantic cod.

 

ASIAN ADVENTURE

  • In a historic building on the corner of Morris and Hollis streets, Talay Thai (page 63) serves up heaping portions of traditional dishes like creations 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 (page 62). Check it out on Dresden Row in the heart of the downtown or Lacewood Drive in Clayton Park.
  • Don’t let the strip-mall exterior or industrial-park cul-de-sac location fool you: Dhaba Casual Fine Dining & Express (page 61) on Oland Crescent serves some of the tastiest Indian food around. The volcanic chicken vindaloo isn’t for the fainthearted; the flavours are unforgettable.

 

Editor’s Choice: ABOVE IT ALL

Take a lofty perch above the bustle of Spring Garden Road to enjoy the rooftop patio at Your Father’s Moustache (page 63). This perennial summer favourite is the ideal place to laze away a sunny afternoon with a cold beverage, including four beers that downstairs neighbour Rockbottom Brewpub (page 56) crafts just for this bar. There are daily lunch specials but locals know to go for a signature sandwich (like the haddock bahn mi).  

Festival fever

Halifax’s summer festival season heats up with food, culture, film, music, and more

By Janice Hudson

 

With warm weather and sunny skies upon us, Halifax pulses with new energy. Festivals and special events are happening throughout June, making summer a great time to learn about the vibrant cultures and the dynamic people that make this city so exciting. Here are top picks of what to see, do, and discover in the city this month.

June 1 to 4 is the 11th-annual Cedar Festival (page 45), a fun-filled weekend of entertainment, mouth-watering Lebanese cuisine, dance lessons, live performances, cultural demonstrations, plus a cooking competition and fashion show. Hosted by Our Lady of Lebanon Church on Joseph Howe Drive, this free festival includes plenty of activities for little ones, too, including a bouncy castle, magic show, carnival games, and face painting.

Now in its fifth year, Doors Open Halifax (page 45) lets you explore some of the city’s prominent buildings and landmarks. On June 3 and 4, over 30 venues representing Halifax’s history, culture, and industry will participate in this free event. New this year, see inside Canada Border Security Agency’s Marine Centre of Expertise on Marginal Road. Meet the people who search marine vessels and cargo containers for weapons, drugs, and contraband. Or stop by the Hope Blooms greenhouse and gardens on Brunswick Street, and meet the youth entrepreneurs who grow herbs for the successful line of salad dressings.

A 45-minute drive east of Halifax on Highway 7, Memory Lane Heritage Village (page EC9) hosts the fourth-annual Eastern Shore Cold Waters Seafood Festival (page 45) on June 3 and 4. Sample some of the tastiest seafood in the region, with fresh clams, lobsters, mussels, and haddock prepared numerous ways, plus historic foods like smoked fish and Solomon Gundy. Kids will love the on-site demos and activities, including dory rides, buoy painting, net knitting, and lobster-trap building.

Continuing through June 11, the Scotia Festival of Music (page 46) celebrates chamber music with 50 events, including concerts, recitals, open rehearsals, and master classes. Halifax’s first family of classical music, the Djokic family take the stage on June 9. Parent musicians Philippe Djokic and Lynn Stodola perform with their talented children, violinist Marc Djokic and cellist Denise Djokic. For the closing gala on June 11, many top musicians will join forces, including pianist John Novacek, cellist Ani Aznavoorian, and violinists James Ehnes and Giora Schmidt.

Celebrating 31 years, Halifax Greek Fest returns to St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcells Cove Road from June 8 to 11. Enjoy live music, traditional dancing, art and cultural exhibitions, language workshops, religious artifacts, and tasty Greek cuisine. While noshing on souvlaki, watch dancers take the stage with their high-energy moves. Kids will love the Olympic area that includes face painting, an inflatable ride, cool treats, and balloons.

Now in its sixth year, the OutEast Queer Film Festival (page 45) celebrates queer independent cinema from local, national, and international filmmakers. Happening June 15 to 17, the festival showcases a range of films, including documentary, fiction, and animation, that will challenge, educate, and entertain audiences. Venues include Halifax Central Library, the Museum of Natural History, and Good Robot Brewing.

On June 29 to July 3, Bedford Days has lots of spirited family fun, including two fireworks shows, a dog show, face painting, train rides, bicycle stunts, ice cream, and much more. At the Convoy Quay, Theodore Too (the tugboat replica of Theodore Tugboat based on the popular kids’ TV series), is back for free deck tours during the Kids’ Extravaganza on Wednesday, June 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Taking place June 29 to July 6, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type. Known for its pomp, precision, and bag pipes, the event brings together military and civilian performers from around the world, including pipe and military bands, acrobats, trapeze artists, gymnasts, choirs, and more.

Ultimate Halifax Guide

Live theatre, exciting exhibitions, fun outdoor activities—discover this season’s top destinations to explore in Halifax

By Janice Hudson

NEW DISCOVERIES
For 32 years, the Discovery Centre has been giving kids and adults alike exciting, hands-on opportunities to learn about science, math, engineering, and technology. And now, it’s moved to a new 40,000-square-foot home on the Halifax waterfront. The new site has four themed galleries, an innovation lab, and Atlantic Canada’s only immersive dome theatre.

Discovery Centre. Photo: Mark Dilangelan.

Discovery Centre. Photo: Mark Dilangelan.

Not just a planetarium for exploring outer space, this theatre also lets visitors immerse themselves inside the human body or run like an animal through the jungle. The centre also hosts changing exhibits: The Science of Rock N’ Roll runs until May 14 and opening on May 29 is Tyrannosaurus: Meet the Family. On Wednesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., admission is free.

BUYER’S MARKET
Spring weekends in Halifax are the perfect time to discover Nova Scotia’s fresh produce, tasty baked goods, local artwork, and cool souvenirs. More than 250 vendors from across the province showcase their goods over two levels at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road.

A few minutes’ walk up Lower Water Street takes you to the Historic Farmers’ Market in the Alexander Keith’s Brewery building. Find vendors and live entertainment in the main courtyard or tucked away in the maze of wings and hallways in this historic facility. You’ll find it less crowded than the Seaport, but equally fun to explore.

Historic Farmers’ Market

Historic Farmers’ Market

Heading north on Windsor Street is the Halifax Forum, home to one of the city’s newest farmers’ markets. More than 50 vendors take over the facility’s bingo hall each Saturday morning for the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market. Find local farmers selling produce right off their trucks in the parking lot.

Across the harbour in Dartmouth, just steps from the Halifax Transit ferry terminal, you’ll find the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market. It has live entertainment on its main stage on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Outside, find flower and plant vendors aplenty during the spring months.

ALL THE CITY’S A STAGE
Eastern Front Theatre’s 2017 Stages Theatre Festival presents 15 shows and events from May 15 to 27. The schedule includes new plays, workshops, theatre for families, and world premieres held at venues across the city. The festival highlights work from Nova Scotia’s top professional theatre companies at different stages of development, from workshops and play readings to full productions. Highlights include The West Woods by Mulgrave Road Theatre on May 16 to 19, and Treegirl by Forerunner Theatre on May 19 to 21.

Stages Theatre Festival

Stages Theatre Festival

GARDEN PARTY
Spanning six hectares in the middle of the city, the Halifax Public Gardens is one of North America’s finest formal Victorian gardens, with dramatic flower displays, weeping and flowering trees, fountains, and foliage plants. This year, it’s celebrating its 150th anniversary with events and activities happening daily during the season. This month, watch for the Victorian Tea Party at the Lord Nelson Hotel on May 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. It’s an afternoon of English tea, with music by Symphony Nova Scotia and Hausmusik. On May 27, there’s a poetry reading in the gardens from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Each Sunday afternoon starting June 11, drop by the Victorian bandstand for free concerts featuring local musicians.

Halifax Public Gardens

Halifax Public Gardens

HISTORY BROUGHT TO LIFE
To celebrate Canada’s 150th year since confederation, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 presents Canada: Day 1, a travelling exhibition that showcases 150 years of immigrants’ “day one” experiences. View distinctive artworks and compelling objects, such as a Syrian welcome kit, a head-tax certificate, moving War Bride correspondence, and more.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

One of Canada’s most visited National Historic Sites, the Halifax Citadel was the fourth in a series of forts since 1749 to occupy the hill overlooking the harbour. Check out the Army Museum on-site for more military artefacts and history. In 2017, all National Historic Sites are offering free admission with a Parks Canada Discovery Pass, available online at pc.gc.ca.

CRAFTED FOR CANADA
Just in time for Canada 150, Novascotian Crystal has expanded its Canadian spirit line of handcrafted crystal, featuring a maple leaf design. It’s now available in whiskey tumblers, water glasses, brandy snifters, shot glasses, and more. Stop by the workshop at the foot of George Street on the Halifax waterfront and watch the craftspeople create these mouth-blown masterpieces using age-old techniques.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE
With warmer temperatures now the norm, there’s plenty of outdoor activities on offer across the city. On the tip of Halifax’s South End, Point Pleasant Park boasts 39 kilometres of roads and trails that wind through forest and past rocky hills, ravines, and military ruins, including the Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site. The park also hosts alfresco theatre group, Shakespeare by the Sea, during the summer.

Heading west past the Armdale Rotary on Purcell’s Cove Road is Sir Sanford Fleming Park. This 38-hectare space has walking trails through forest, saltwater marsh, and a large pond (Frog Pond). Climb up Dingle Memorial Tower, the 10-storey Italianate landmark built in the early 1900s. Kids will love the new playground on-site, Halifax’s first all-natural play space made of hand-carved tree trunks. They can climb up the mesh and log tower that mirrors Dingle Tower.

Across the harbour in Dartmouth, Shubie Park is a 16-hectare greenway bounded by Lake Charles to the north and Lake Micmac to the south. Trails meander from deep forest to sunny lakeside along the historic route of the Shubenacadie Canal, offering beautiful scenery and quiet areas to enjoy a picnic lunch.

Shubie Park

Shubie Park

DAY TRIPPING
No trip to Halifax is complete without visiting Peggy’s Cove, the fishing village just a 45-minute drive west from Halifax. Its iconic lighthouse is the most photographed site in Nova Scotia. Fifty minutes east of Halifax is Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte, a living history museum that recreates life in a 1940s Nova Scotian coastal village. Tour the 18 restored buildings and tuck into a lunch of baked beans and brown bread at the on-site cookhouse.

Memory Lane Heritage Village

Memory Lane Heritage Village

 

 

 

Hot Shopping: Spring into style

By Suzanne Rent

For a fresh, new look for the warmer months ahead, The Perfect Fit in Bedford has the latest looks at affordable prices. This consignment boutique is packed with designer styles for all tastes. Consign your current clothes, while looking for options to update your wardrobe. Complete your outfit with shoes, a handbag, and sunglasses.

Foreign Affair on Barrington Street has been a staple of the city’s style scene since 1973. Find the best luxury and contemporary designs here. This boutique carries top brands such as Marie Saint Pierre, Marc Cain, Tibi, Alexander Wang, and Helmut Lang. And on-site seamstresses can help tweak the garments for your wardrobe.

Foreign Affair

Foreign Affair

LOVE LOCAL
P’lovers on South Park Street is stocked with eco-friendly products for your home, wardrobe, and gifts. Find bath and beauty items made with all-natural ingredients. Decorate your home with non-toxic candles, frames, and mirrors made from recycled wood.

P'Lovers

P’Lovers

For a unique market experience, visit Local Source on Agricola Street. Here you’ll find in-season and fresh products, which are from vendors at local farmers’ markets or from small local farms. The bakery uses organic grains and cane sugars and local fruit and other ingredients

FOR THE KIDS
Halikids on South Park Street is a colourful boutique for kids offering high-end clothing, toys, and games just for children. The toys here are selected for their abilities to inspire creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking. Kids will love the fun, durable clothing styles, too. Help them choose from the bright décor items that will liven up their bedrooms.

Brain Candy Toys in Sunnyside Mall is locally owned, specializing in educational toys and learning resources. There are toys for children of all ages, ranging from bath toys for babies to intricate puzzles for tweens. The store has a section dedicated to Lego complete with new sets and a menagerie of Schleich animals.

Brain Candy Toys

Brain Candy Toys

BEST FOOT FORWARD
John David Shoes in Park Lane Mall has been specializing in women’s footwear for more than two decades. Each season sees the arrival of the latest styles. This season’s looks include Michael Kors plate thongs, mocs, mules, and slip-ons.

Park Lane Mall

Park Lane Mall

CENTRES OF SHOPPING
Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth has more than 120 stores and services, offering a variety of options for shoppers of all tastes and ages. Anchored by The Bay, this three-storey shopping mecca has high-end stores for women’s fashions, entertainment, electronics, as well as spas and salons. Stop for a break at the food court, which has a number of food outlets, including New York Fries and Thai Express.

Situated on Spring Garden Road, Halifax’s shopping district, Park Lane Mall offers a mix of shops for fashion, gifts, health and beauty, and home décor. Shops include Olsen Europe, The Source, Things Engraved, and The Body Shop. Pack up your purchases and head to the lower floor to Cineplex Cinemas for an afternoon matinee.

Hot Dining: Steak expectations

By Trevor J. Adams

STEAK EXPECTATIONS
Succulent steak and top-notch service are hallmarks of The Keg. Visit the popular chain in Halifax in the heart of the downtown on Market Street.

As the name suggests, Primal Kitchen on Brenton Street is a carnivore’s haven, boasting local meats smoked, cured, and butchered inhouse. The 35-ounce bone-in prime rib for two, paired with truffle fries, is a guaranteed date-night all-star.

The Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar gives the classic chop-house experience a 21st-century spin. You can’t go wrong with a classic New York striploin paired with a couple of big, juicy, fresh Atlantic scallops.

The Keg.

The Keg.

CASUAL FAVOURITES
A Southern-style smokehouse tucked away in a tiny Barrington Street location, Boneheads BBQ is beloved by locals. The menu includes all the slow-smoked mainstays you’d expect: ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and more. Indecisive? Try the mammoth (and ideal for sharing) Pit Boss Sampler and get a little bit of everything.

Boneheads BBQ

Boneheads BBQ

Just around the corner from the Atlantica Hotel on Quinpool Road, Relish Gourmet Burgers offers creative takes on the classic burger and fries. The house specialty is the Halifax Explosion: a flash-grilled pineapple ring dusted in habanero powder, plus pancetta bacon, curried onion frites, and aged cheddar.

A SHORE THING
The Shore Club Lobster Suppers in Hubbards are a must for Nova Scotian visitors. Enjoy a huge feed of fresh Atlantic lobster in the rollicking and informal setting of a community supper at one of the province’s last old-fashioned dance halls. The menu also includes all-you-can-eat mussels, with vegetarian, steak, chicken, and kids’ meals

FEELING CRAFTY?
Take a break from the bustle of Spring Garden Road in the subterranean refuge of the Rockbottom Brewpub. The menu offers all the pub grub you’d expect, but the house-made craft-beer is the real draw. Locals love the zesty IPA and rich oatmeal stout; keep an eye out for the brewer’s latest seasonal creations. But why play favourites? A sampler tray is a tasty way to experience all the newest brews.

Rockbottom Brewpub

Rockbottom Brewpub

HOW SWEET IT IS 
If you’re the sort of person who skips dinner to save room for dessert, proceed directly to The Middle Spoon on Barrington Street and at Sunnyside Mall. This stylish spot specializes in decadent desserts paired with creative cocktails. It’s the ideal place to while away an evening with friends.

Comic relief

The Halifax Comedy Fest returns, showcasing top comics from across Canada

By Janice Hudson

Now in its 22nd year, Halifax Comedy Fest brings some of the biggest names in comedy to the city. With 30 performers at several shows and venues across Halifax, this is the East Coast’s ultimate celebration of stand-up comedy.

This year, the event runs from April 26 to 29 with an all-star roster of emerging talents and established veterans, including Mark Critch, Jeremy Hotz, Eman El-Husseini, Steve Patterson, and Debra DiGiovanni.

Debra DiGiovanni

A festival fan favourite, DiGiovanni is returning to Halifax for the first time since 2013. The Gemini-award winning comic has done two Canadian stand-up specials for CTV/Comedy, as well as Live at Gotham on Comedy Central. She was also a finalist in NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Her first stand up show for Showtime, Single, Awkward Female, is now playing on Netflix.

Catch DiGiovanni at the Opening Gala on Wednesday, April 26 at Casino Nova Scotia, and the Gala of Laughs on April 28 in the Spatz Theatre at Citadel High School on Bell Road. The Gala of Laughs also showcases Jeremy Hotz, one of Canada’s most unique stand-up comics. His quirky observational comedy nets him new fans every time he takes the stage.

Jeremy Hotz

Jeremy Hotz

This Hour Has 22 Minutes comedian and festival veteran Mark Critch returns to host the Gala of Laughs and the Gala of Laughs Finale on April 29 held in the Spatz Theatre at Citadel High School on Bell Road.

Mark Critch

Mark Critch

Look for seasoned comic Ryan Belleville at the Gala of Laughs Finale and as host at the Opening Gala. A regular on the comedy festival circuit, Belleville is a familiar face on TV and film on both sides of the border, and currently lends his talents to the new CBC TV show Workin’ Moms.

Ryan Belleville

Ryan Belleville

Also returning to this year’s festival is Steve Patterson, host of CBC Radio’s The Debaters. Coming off his latest cross-Canada theatre show, This is Not Debatable, and his tour for The Book of Letters I Didn’t Know Where to Send, Patterson appears in the Gala of Laughs and hosts the All Star Show on April 27 at Casino Nova Scotia.

New this year at the festival is Laughs for Lungs, a comedy show and fundraiser on April 26 for the Lung Association of Nova Scotia. Open to fans age 19 and older, the event takes place at the Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club in Dartmouth. Ted Morris, Erica Sigurdson, and Mike Delamont will take the stage.

One of Canada’s most popular comics, Mike Delamont will also be hosting a double feature of afternoon shows on April 29 at the Lower Deck Pub in the Historic Properties.

Eman El-Husseini

Eman El-Husseini

A self-described “walking, breathing comedy special,” Montréal comedian Eman El-Husseini draws on her personal background and upbringing to get the laughs rolling. She takes the stage at the All Star Show on April 27 at Casino Nova Scotia and at the 3pm Pub Comedy show on April 29 at the Lower Deck Pub. She’ll also be performing at the free Laugh@Lunch show on April 28 at the Halifax Central Library. Joining her onstage there will be Charlie Demers and Sterling Scott.

Sterling Scott

Sterling Scott

This year’s festival also includes performances by Lachlan Patterson, John Wing, Carol Zoccoli, Chantel Marostica, Charles Haycock, Charlie Demers, Darryl Orr, Derek Seguin, D.J. Demers, Jay Malone, John Beuhler, Keith Pedro, K. Trevor Wilson, Kyle Brownrigg, Landry, Matt O’Brien, Matt Wright, Nigel Grinstead, J.R. DeGuzman, Charlie Demers, Sterling Scott, and Matt Falk. For schedules and ticket information, surf to halifaxcomedyfest.ca.