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Spring Fling

March Break or any time—family fun abounds in Halifax

By: Trevor J. Adams




It’s championship-basketball season in Halifax, as Scotiabank Centre hosts two major tournaments. From March 2 to 4, the AUS Basketball Championships sees Atlantic Canada’s top men’s and women’s university teams battle for the regional titles. The following weekend, the U Sports Men’s Basketball Final 8 comes to town, with top teams coast-to-coast competing for the national title.


Photo: HRM


Skating on the Oval on Halifax Common at the corner of North Park and Cogswell streets has become a rite of winter in Halifax—join the locals for a free whirl on the outdoor ice. No skates? No problem: free skate and helmet rentals are available on site with photo ID. See halifax.ca/SkateHRM/index.php for skate times.




March Break is the perfect time to foster your budding artistes at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. Events include Family Sunday on March 11, March Break Art Classes on March 12, and Sketching in the Gallery on March 14 and 15—no experience necessary. And of course, you’ll also find the usual vast selection of touring and permanent exhibitions, including works by acclaimed folk artist Maud Lewis.


Photo: Riley Smith


The Discovery Centre on Lower Water Street is the ideal spot to while away a blustery day. This huge, whimsical hands-on science centre is jam-packed with hands-on fun and interactive exhibits. Special programming for March includes the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) Olympics and the Digital Discovery Camp. Check thediscoverycentre.ca for details.




The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street is a riveting stop for sports fans of any age. Highlights include exclusive Sidney Crosby exhibits, Olympic artifacts, sports simulators, historic photos, and much more. Free admission.




With exhibitions on the Titanic, Halifax Explosion, world wars, and piracy, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is a hit with history buffs of any age—the ideal place to explore Nova Scotia’s seafaring history. Special programming for March includes Ships and Shipping, a photo essay on the evolution of traffic in the port of Halifax over the last 50 years.




The Museum of Natural History on Summer Street boasts an array of permanent exhibitions, including Science on a Sphere, to learn about weather, shipping routes, and ocean currents. It’s home to Gus the gopher tortoise, who has been delighting young patrons for more than 70 years. And continuing through April, it features Body Worlds RX. Created by anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens, the exhibit features real human bodies, preserved with Plastination, a complex technique that removes the fluids from the body and replaces them with plastics that harden. Specimens compare healthy bodies and organs and those stricken with disease. Unique and educational, but not for the faint of heart.




Hot Dining



If you’re a whisky aficionado, March 1 to 3 is the time to be in Halifax, as the city hosts the NSLC Festival of WhiskyAttendees will experience some of the world’s finest whiskies at the Grand Tasting, featuring some 170 selections. Highlights also include the Single Malt Whisky Dinner at Chives Canadian Bistro, while Casino Nova Scotia hosts an exploration of Scottish distilleries and a Single Malt Scotch Master Class.




Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Halifax? Locals love these spots for jolly all-day celebrations.

—On March 17, the line will start forming at sun-up outside The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse on Prince Street. Enjoy traditional music throughout the day, a pint of ale from the old sod, and Irish cuisine like lamb stew.

—A local favourite for a tipple with friends, Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub on Argyle Street boasts an array of popular pub grub, including Emerald Isle favourites like bangers and mash, fish and chips, and chicken curry. Wash it down with a local ale, or an imported Irish brew.

—Across the harbour in Dartmouth, Jamieson’s Irish Pub on Cumberland Drive is a must for local-beer explorers, with 16 taps showcasing Nova Scotia’s best. The bar boasts a broad selection of premium whisky and rum.




Continuing through March 15, the Savour Food & Wine Festival features a series of special events celebrating the province’s culinary offerings. Highlights include Dine Around (special prix fixe menus at participating restaurants, showcasing local flavours) and the Craft Beer Cottage Party on March 3—a beer festival showcasing dozens of local brewers.




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 fresh pasta, Atlantic lobster, duck, lamb, and more. An expertly curated wine list and top-notch service complement the experience.




—Intimate Morris East, just steps from the waterfront on Morris Street, pairs wood-fired gourmet pizza with local beer and wine. Not venturing downtown? Visit the newer location on Nine Mile Drive in Bedford West.

—New York-Italian cuisine rules at Salvatore’s Pizzaiolo Trattoria on Young Street in the historic Hydrostone Market. If you’re not in the mood for the signature pie, the hearty meatball hero is one of Halifax’s most popular sandwiches.

—Just steps from the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road, Tomavinos boasts an assortment of popular Italian pizza and pasta creations.

—If you love pizza, you won’t want to miss Ristorante a Mano on Lower Water Street. The Pancetta, Poplpette e Funghi (crispy pancetta, house-made meatballs, wild mushrooms, fresh mozzarella) is a local favourite.

—Recently selected by the editors as one of Where Canada’s 10 Best New Restaurants, Rinaldo’s on Windsor Street has quickly become a neighbourhood favourite, with creative pizzas, mighty sandwiches, and weekend brunch.



FIERY FLAVOURS *Editor’s Pick*

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


Hot Shopping



Located in the South End at the corner of Queen and Morris streets, Sweet Jane’s is the ideal place to indulge a sweet tooth or pick out a distinctive gift. Find candy of all sorts, high-end confections, whimsical toys, and more.


Photo: Riley Smith


—Located in a stylish (and environmentally friendly) new home on the waterfront, Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is Nova Scotia’s largest and oldest farmers’ market. Browse through a huge array of local produce, meat, cheese, crafts, baked goods, craft beer, wine, cider, and more.

—Located on the Dartmouth waterfront where the Halifax Transit ferry docks, the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market is a weekend tradition for many families, with live music and a variety of vendors.

—The city’s newest farmers’ market has quickly become a local favourite. The Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday morning, showcasing products and vendors you won’t find elsewhere.



CRYSTAL PALACE *Editor’s Pick*

The province’s only maker of fine, mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal, NovaScotian Crystal showcases Old World artistry. Visit the waterfront studio on George Street to see master craftsmen transform molten sand into fine crystal creations.




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 hand-strung on-site by top craftsman.




—Spring is maple-syrup season! Take a drive west of Halifax to Acadian Maple in Upper Tantallon to stock up on this sweet treat. Pick up maple candies, sugars, or coffees. Gift baskets include various maple treats. Purists will find bottles of maple syrup that will get you through the season and beyond.

Local Source on Agricola Street brings the farm to urban shoppers. Pick from an abundance of fresh products, such as seasonal fruits and vegetables, cheese, meat, and seafood. The bakery offers goods made with fair-trade and locally sourced ingredients baked on-site. An in-house dietician is available for consultations and cooking classes.




—New at the Halifax Shopping Centre on Mumford Road, Levi’s boasts a variety of brand-name denim fashions for men, women, and children.

—On Spring Garden Road, Shop Olsen Europe has fresh new looks and trends. Inspired by styles on runways and in the streets, this line is known for its quality and sophistication. Fabrics chosen to reflect a company commitment to sustainability. Spring collections include New Romance, Sporty Sea, Gardenland, and Island Breeze.

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.

Hot Entertainment


March 3, 4: 
St. Andrew’s United Church on Robie Street hosts Symphony Nova Scotia, as violinist and leader David Greenberg joins them for Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

March 7: St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Argyle Street hosts the Kirk MacDonald & Harold Mabern Duo for an evening of jazz standards and original works.

March 10: The Cecilia Concert Series hosts the Ladom Ensemble: a young and passionate group of musicians from across Canada. See them at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road. 

March 16, 17: The Sheepdogs put on a lively old-school guitar-rock concert every time they visit Halifax. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs open the show.

March 23: The Brogue Saxophone Quartet goes well beyond what you’d expect from a traditional saxophone ensemble, constantly adding to their repertoire. The Dartmouth Community Concert Association features them at Woodlawn United Church.



Continuing through May 6

Newfoundland environmental artist and poet Marlene Creates has fought tirelessly to share the East Coast’s natural beauty and help preserve it. Places, Paths, and Pauses at Dalhousie Art Gallery offers a retrospective on her career.



Continuing through March 18

Ahdri Zhina Mandiela directs as Neptune Theatre and the Black Theatre Workshop team up for The Mountaintop. Playwright Katori Hall reimagines Martin Luther King Jr.’s final hours as he confronts his destiny and legacy. Tristan D. Lalla plays the civil-rights leader.




Grafton Street Dinner Theatre pairs lively music and witty comedy with a three-course dinner and lots of audience participation. The current production, The Show Must Go On, is a murder mystery featuring pop hits from the 1960s to today.




This month is your last chance to see Prime Suspects at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. Award-winning cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon depicts Canada’s prime ministers in caricature with his trademark wit and incisive satire.


Chris Hadfield Photo: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

1st: Chris Hadfield
The first Canadian commander of the International Space Station shares an evening of stories, images, and songs at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

5th: Our Lady Peace & Matthew Good
Matthew Good and Our Lady Peace share the stage at Scotiabank Centre for an evening of high-octane rock.

14th: Halifax Mooseheads
The hometown major-junior hockey team hosts New Brunswick rivals Saint John in regular-season play at Scotiabank Centre.


16th, 17th: Symphony Nova Scotia
Heather Rankin joins the orchestra for an evening of Irish and East Coast folk favourites.

22nd: Halifax Hurricanes
The Hurricanes host Moncton in minor-pro basketball action at Scotiabank Centre.

29th: Casino Nova Scotia
Bruce Guthro’s Songwriters’ Circle returns to the Schooner Showroom, exploring the art of song writing.

Concierge Q&A


Ian Cheverie has been creating special experiences for guests for over six years at The Great George Hotel in Charlottetown, P.E.I. A new member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada, Ian enjoys exploring Halifax and Nova Scotia.

Q: What’s a great way for families to spend a blustery March day in the Halifax area?
 The Discovery Centre is an interactive science museum and has something enjoyable for everyone in your family. At the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, you’ll learn many interesting stories, such as the close relationship between Halifax and the famous sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and stories of the Halifax Explosion, another fascinating subject for the history buffs out there! Finally, visit the Museum of Natural History and discover their many different galleries, plus the museum is home to numerous live specimens that make Nova Scotia their home, including Gus the tortoise, who is over 70 years old.

Q: What Halifax-area restaurant do you recommend for a casual family meal?
A fun family experience is to dine at the Bluenose II Restaurant on Hollis Street. In business since 1964, this diner is a local favourite, especially loved for its fresh seafood and all-day breakfast. Save some room for dessert and walk to the waterfront where you will discover the sweet shop, Sugah at Bishop’s Landing. With many unique confections and even ice creams, all handcrafted by using century-old techniques, the mix of classic old flavours with more modern and inventive combinations will leave you salivating for more.

Q: What’s your pick for this month’s can’t-miss entertainment event in the Halifax area?
I would not want to miss Bruce Guthro’s Songwriters’ Circle, happening at Casino Nova Scotia on March 29. This Cape Breton singer-songwriter has been entertaining audiences for over 20 years, and his stories and passion for East Coast life will leave you wanting to explore so much more.

Q: What are Halifax’s top offerings for art lovers this month?
A: An art lover cannot miss visiting the largest art museum in Nova Scotia, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. This gallery lives up to its mission of being a premier art institution in Canada, with over 17,000 works in their permanent collection, as well as many exhibits featuring Canadian and international works throughout the year. Taking place on March 18 is Artful Afternoon, an exhibition featuring a series of fabric collages created by participants of an art-appreciation program for those with dementia and their partner in care. This program offers a hands-on studio workshop and gallery tour. The collage session on exhibit was designed to create a tactile experience through which participants could explore personal memory and community.

The Winter Feast


Photo: Kelly Neil

The annual Savour celebration of Nova Scotian cuisine is a favourite with visitors and locals alike

By: Trevor J. Adams


Back for it’s 15th year, the Savour Food & Wine Festival is the year’s biggest celebration of Nova Scotia’s culinary scene. The festival brings together talented mixologists, innovative brewers, award-winning winemakers, and chefs aplenty, sharing their creations at several events.

“The Savour Food & Wine Festival has grown from a small show to a series of exciting events that captures the essence of the food and beverage culture in Nova Scotia,” says Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, which organizes the event.

The festival starts with Dine Around (January 15 to March 15), a unique program that invites restaurants around Nova Scotia to showcase local products, with offerings ranging in price from $25 to $45. Dishes will be a mix of three course prix-fixe menus, plus small plates. At press time, participating Halifax restaurants include Gio, Durty Nelly’s, and The Stubborn Goat.


On February 1, the Lord Nelson Hotel on South Park Street hosts the city’s definitive event for cocktail lovers: Imbibe. Nova Scotia’s top mixologists come together for one night to create 30+ sample-size cocktails, many showcasing local spirits and ingredients. Some 25 restaurants and bars are slated to take part.

Up next on February 8 at the Prince George Hotel on Market Street is Decadence, a unique tasting event pairing wines with delectable savoury dishes and luscious desserts. Discover how wine pairings enhance both the sweet and savoury creations crafted by Nova Scotian Community College (NSCC) Culinary Arts students. All dishes are designed and prepared by students of the Pastry Arts and Culinary Arts programs, under the direction of their chef-instructors.

The Rare & Fine Wine show at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street on February 16 is a must for serious wine aficionados. Sample top-scoring wines from Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Napa Valley, Piedmonte, Veneto, and Tuscany, amongst others. Relax to live jazz as you sample from our selection of 40+ wines, rated 90+ points by major wine publications—all available in Nova Scotia for the first time. Throughout the night, Bishop’s Cellar staff will be on hand to sell any wines you want to take home.


Be among the first to visit the new Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street as it hosts the eponymous Savour Food & Wine Show on February 22. It showcases 100+ Nova Scotian restaurants and wine and beverage producers. Take in the evening and let your taste buds run wild as you explore samples of delectable foods, cocktails, and wine presented by Nova Scotia’s finest.

Capping the festival is the Craft Beer Cottage party on March 3 at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road. Sample beers from local and nearby craft breweries while you play summer games like washer toss, or chill in an Adirondack chair and enjoy the live music. There will be picnic tables and delicious beer-friendly food available for purchase. Ticket price includes unlimited beer samples.

Hot Dining



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




Recently, Bar Kismet mixologist Will Irvine won the regional finals of the North American Bacardi Legacy cocktail competition, and will go on to represent the city at the Global Finals in Mexico City. Visit the friendly Agricola Street bar (which also serves an excellent array of local seafood) to sample his latest creations.




The Watch That Ends The Night pairs an ambitious name with an ambitious concept. The new Dartmouth waterfront spot is a cocktail and wine bar with a kitchen headed by Mark Gray (Gold Medal Plates winner 2016) that is focused on developing a new Canadian cuisine through curing and fermenting local seasonal ingredients. It’s named for Hugh MacLennan’s 1958 novel, sharing an aesthetic with the same North American late-modern tastes.



Photo: Emma Smith


Come hungry to Darrell’s Restaurant on Fenwick Street. This joint is known for sizeable, gourmet burgers. A local favourite is the Hawaiian Burger featuring Angus Beef topped with teriyaki-marinated pineapple, mozzarella cheese, BBQ sauce, and an onion ring lei.

Go back in time at the True North Diner in Bedford Place mall. This 1950s-themed diner dishes up burgers, fries, shakes, and more. The classic dinner section of the menu highlights home-style fare such as meatloaf, fish cakes, and all-day breakfast.



HEAD OF THE CLASS *Editor’s Pick*

Every year, Where magazines across Canada present a series of awards feting Canada’s Best New Restaurants. When it came to picking this city’s representative, the Where Halifax team had an easy choice: Rinaldo’s on Windsor Street. This intimate, casual spot—run by two brothers—offers Italian-American favourites. Old family recipes are the key; they’re the sons of the couple that founded Halifax pizza mainstay Salvatore’s in the historic Hydrostone neighbourhood.




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. From the restaurant behind popular Halifax spots like Bistro Le Coq, East of Grafton Tavern, and Waterfront Warehouse.




Located on historic Granville Mall in downtown Halifax, Sawadee Tea House serves some 150 types of loose-leaf teas from around the world, with formulae to help you reenergize, rejuvenate, and recharge.

Hot Shopping



 —Just steps from the waterfront on Lower Water Street, Bishop’s Cellar is a must-visit boutique for aficionados of fine wine, spirits, and craft beers specializing in varieties and vintages that you won’t find anywhere else in Nova Scotia.

 —The North End’s Rockhead Wine & Bar Market on Windsor Street boasts a selection of beverages from around the world, alongside local creations.

   —West Side Beer Wine Spirits on Lacewood Drive is the city’s newest private liquor store, with a heavy emphasis on local craft beers.


Choco-Cafe Gourmandises


 —Rousseau Chocolatier on Hollis Street makes its chocolates in small batches with fine chocolate and local ingredients. The display case in the shop has truffles and chocolates that look like pieces of art. Sample other treats such as French macarons and chocolate-covered meringues. Gift boxes and heart-shaped boxes filled with sweet treats available, too.

 —At Rawthentic Chocolate, owner Chandra Lockhart makes her raw chocolate from Peruvian fair-trade chocolate. Her truffles are flavoured with lavender, cayenne, or rose. Cooked on a low temperature to preserve the raw label, these treats are gluten and dairy free. Available at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market.

   —Also, in the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, Gourmandises Avenue Chocolaterie is owned by a Parisian-trained chocolatier, so the chocolates are made with French traditional, but combine local flavours and designs. Chocolates are made with wines from Nova Scotia wineries or designed in fun fish shapes. The shop also sells delicate and delicious French pastries and macarons.

   —Located on Lower Water Street, Choco Cafe Chocolate Boutique and Espresso Bar, is a haven for chocolate lovers to relax. Buy a rich hot cocoa that includes a shot of flavours like marshmallow or hazelnut. Browse the boutique for gifts of chocolate. Chocolate favours available for weddings, baby showers, or corporate events. The chocolate is Belgian and mixed with various flavours.

 —Cocoa and Honey makes everything from artisan bars and truffles to candied nuts and desert sauces. Its chocolates are created with organic and fair-trade products and no preservatives or artificial flavours. Local ingredients include cranberries from Lunenburg and plums from area farmers’ markets. Sold at Ratinaud on Gottingen Street.




Visit Touch of Gold on Spring Garden Road for the finest engagement and wedding rings. The experienced and knowledgeable staff will help you find the best fit and designs. Offers an array of luxury watches including Rolex, Tudor, TAG Heuer, and Frederique Constant.




Visit the NovaScotian Crystal workshop on the Halifax waterfront year-round to see Canada’s only crafters of mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal. In the adjoining boutique, you’ll find all manner of unique and functional works of art—exquisite wine glasses, opulent candle-holders, intricate art, and much more.

Hot Entertainment


Photo: Tammy Fancy

January 20

A favourite on the Halifax music scene since his days as an open-mic mainstay, rocker Matt Mays—best known for hits like “Cocaine Cowgirl” and “Take It on Faith”—returns with July Talk to perform at the Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street. The Beaches open the show.



January 11 to 13, February 14

Live Art Dance Productions brings two unique contemporary-dance performances to the Dalhousie Arts Centre this winter. From January 11 to 13, Toronto Dance Theatre marks its 50th season with a showcase of Christopher House’s work, while on February 14 Compagnie Marie Chouinard offers Preludes by Chopin and Le Cri du Monde.




Until January 14, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street hosts Kepe’kek from the Narrows of the Great Harbour. The photo exhibition explores an early Mi’kmaq settlement destroyed in the Halifax Explosion. And continuing through the winter, the gallery features Prime Suspects (Canada’s Prime Ministers in caricature by Bruce MacKinnon) and Folk/Funk (a whimsical look at the use of clay art to make social and political statements).



HOW ARE YOU NOW? *Editor’s Pick*
February 27 & 28

Absurd, crass, and hilarious, the Crave TV show Letterkenny has become a Canadian cult comedy hit. Letterkenny Live brings the show to the Dalhousie Arts Centre stage for an evening of sketches and stand-up comedy. Starring K. Trevor Wilson (Dan), Jared Keeso (Wayne), Nathan Dales (Daryl), and Mark Forward (Coach).



January 13, 14:
 The Vesuvius Ensemble joins Symphony Nova Scotia for a celebration of Southern Italian baroque.

February 9: In between Blue Rodeo tours, a Canadian folk-rock legend tours his solo project—The Jim Cuddy Band visits the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

February 10: The Dartmouth Community Concert Association hosts cello duo VC², spotlighting the works of Beethoven.

February 10: Country favourite Gord Bamford takes the stage in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

February 23: Pop-rockers Hedley return to Scotiabank Centre, performing work from their new album Cageless.



January 21

A one-stop-shop for the soon to be married, Brides 2018 at Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street features some 135 wedding-related exhibitors: florists, photographers, jewelers, bridal fashions, wedding planners, wedding decorators, tuxedos, catering services, wedding cakes, travel planners, financial services, and more.


Bahamas 15442159_10157911358245188_471421218338694718_n Jennifer-King

12th: Bahamas
The acclaimed Toronto folk artist and guitarist performs material from his new album Earthtones at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

17th: Halifax Mooseheads
The hometown major-junior hockey heroes take on Maritime rivals Moncton at the Scotiabank Centre.

21st: Cecilia Concert Series
Pianist Jennifer King performs music inspired by the night in a matinee show at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.


Halifax-Hurricanes Daniel-Bartholomew-Poyser Martin-Luther-King-Jr.

1st: Halifax Hurricanes

The city’s minor-pro basketball team hosts Saint John at the Scotiabank Centre.

10th, 11th: Symphony Nova Scotia
With Black is Beautiful, conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser showcases black composers and performers.

27th: Neptune Theatre
Opening tonight and continuing through March 18, The Mountaintop reimagines Martin Luther King Jr.’s last hours.


Concierge Q&A


An outgoing person with a theatre background, Todd Young has been concierge for Southwest Properties at Bishop’s Landing since 2011 and a corporate affiliate member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada. He enjoys his role at a property with many permanent residents, where he’s in a unique position to be part of their daily lives and discover more about the city.

Q: What’s the best way to spend a blustery winter day in Halifax?
Building a snowman on the Halifax Common or skating at the Oval followed by hot chocolate and a delicious treat at The Old Apothecary Bakery & Cafe on Barrington Street. You can’t get much blusterier than downtown in the winter and the European-style hot chocolate helps a lot! The baked goods are incredible and the breads are divine.

Q: What’s your favourite winter day trip from Halifax?
A: Taking a sleigh ride at Hatfield Farm in Hammonds Plains or a trip to Sugar Moon Farm: a maple-syrup farm and restaurant in Earltown, a 90-minute drive north of Halifax in Central Nova Scotia. It’s nice to get out of the city in any season and enjoy the great beauty that Nova Scotia offers.

Q: What’s your favourite place to enjoy a hearty bowl of seafood chowder?
A: The Esquire Restaurant, an old-fashion diner on the Bedford Highway, hands down. One of my favourite wintertime meals! Friendly staff, great food. It’s like being hugged by Nova Scotia.

Q: What’s one must-visit Halifax destination for craft-beer aficionados?
A: Nine Locks Brewing Company on Waverly Road in Dartmouth. Its Scottish Ale and Vanilla Porter are amazing and the brewer is always working on something new. If you’re a chocolate fan, their Chocolate Stout is a must-try.

Q: What does Halifax have on offer for sports fans this winter?
A: Catching a Halifax Mooseheads or university hockey game is one of the best winter activities in the city. After, grab a wonderful dinner at a downtown restaurant like Ristorante a Mano or Little Oak.

Christmas by the Sea


With the decades-old traditions and exciting new events, Halifax gets in the holiday spirit

Whether you’re making family memories or enjoying a romantic evening out, Halifax abounds with Christmas celebrations throughout November and December. Read on for our favourites.



Photo: Will Roberts


The Holiday Parade of Lights on November 18 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as thousands of spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts (and, of course, Santa Claus). Back downtown on November 25, Grand Parade Square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. Also on November 25 (and 26), Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing holiday traditions dating back to colonial days.

The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on December 2, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.




Symphony Nova Scotia offers holiday concerts galore. Singer/songwriter Ben Caplan gets things started on December 1 and 2, joining the orchestra for Ben Caplan’s Holiday Classics. They’ll perform old favourites in the tradition of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole and clever new arrangements. Up next is perennial favourite The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) running from December 8 to 10 and 14 to 17. As usual, the Symphony’s holiday calendar concludes with Handel’s classic oratorio, but this year with a twist: Mozart’s Messiah, a 1789 arrangement of the masterpiece.




And there’s lots more music: A King’s Christmas is back on December 17. A guest narrator joins the King’s College Chapel Choir at All Saint’s Cathedral on Martello Street for seasonal songs and stories. Paul Halley directs. The holidays get a Celtic twist on December 18, as the Barra MacNeils bring their annual Christmas tour to the Dalhousie Arts Centre in Halifax.



December sees the return of a popular holiday-themed comedy show. On December 9, the World Trade & Convention Centre on Argyle Street hosts Ha Ha Halidays. The gala evening includes stand-up comedy with Trent McLelland and Jay Malone, buffet dinner, and live music and dancing with The Hopping Penguins.




Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on November 21 and continues until December 31. Artistic director George Pothitos adapts the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life for the stage. Concurrently, Neptune’s studio stage hosts another holiday mainstay: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted and directed by Jeremy Webb. The pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is an annual family favourite. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, see Alice In Wonderland from November 23 to December 9.



Hot Dining



Stylish but unfussy, Elements at the Westin Nova Scotian hotel showcases local small-business suppliers. The award-winning, multinational culinary team apply worldly knowledge of flavour combinations to the ingredients harvested from the farms and oceans around Nova Scotia, all paired with local wines, spirits, and beer.




For a truly distinctive dining experience, check out The Kitchen Table on Gottingen Street. This intimate spot offers an eight-course tasting menu using local and foraged ingredients. Reservations strongly recommended.




In the heart of downtown Halifax on Argyle Street, East of Grafton Tavern is an easygoing restaurant catering to business and leisure travellers alike, while maintaining a chill neighbourhood vibe. Locals love it for the ever-changing menu of seasonal cocktails featuring house-made bitters, and friendly service. East of Grafton fills a specific niche, but in a way that’s broadly appealing.




Spend the last few hours of 2017 at Grafton Street Dinner Theatre. The evening features a four-course meal during a performance of Viva Las Vegas. After the show, stick around for live music and dancing, midnight champagne, party favours, and hors d’oeuvres.

—Lion and Bright on Agricola Street will host its annual NYE get-together. Choose from the early or late seating, and enjoy a five-course tasting menu (with optional vegetarian picks) and a glass of champagne to ring in the New Year.




You don’t have to wait until spring to enjoy those food-truck flavours again. Truck-side in Dartmouth is Canada’s first “indoor food-truck food court.” Several different kitchens serve up food-truck style eats: Chinese, seafood, BBQ, burgers, Tex-Mex, and more.




Tucked into the petite Halliburton hotel on Morris Street, you’ll find Stories Restaurant, a fine-dining establishment known for attention to detail. Enjoy regional haute cuisine, a carefully curated wine list, and artful desserts. Reserve a spot in the cozy library to dine by firelight.



Photo of Abdul Kadar Sadieh by Bruce Murray


Abdul Kadar Sadieh wasn’t planning to immigrate when he suggested that his brother apply for a job in Halifax in 2003. Seven years and two kitchen jobs later, he runs Chef Abod Cafe on Kempt Road, offering hearty Middle Eastern cuisine.