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Halifax

Show Time

SHOW TIME

Atlantic Canada’s largest film festival returns, showcasing local talents and international stars

By Trevor J. Adams

 

If you’re a cinephile, congratulate yourself: you picked the best month to visit Halifax. Returning from Sept. 12–19, the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival boasts a diverse roster of cutting-edge cinema, including screenings of features, shorts, and documentaries, plus lots of parties and industry events.

Things get under way on Sept. 12 with the Opening Night Celebration at the Waegwoltic Club and the Opening Night Gala featuring Murmur. Nova Scotian filmmaker Heather Young tells the poignant story of a woman whose alcoholism cuts her off from her family. When ordered to perform community service at an animal shelter, she finds a new path. See it at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue.

Cineplex Theatres at Park Lane hosts the other gala screenings, which include Assholes: A Theory by John Walker on Sept. 13 and Conviction by Nance Ackerman, Ariella Pahlke, and Teresa MacInnes, on Sept. 16.

The Reel East Coast Shorts Gala on Sept. 18 offers a great opportunity to immerse yourself in East Coast filmmaking talent and discover the newest up-and-coming creators. This screening includes some nine short films, coming from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I., and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Capping the Gala series is the Closing Night Gala on Sept 19, featuring The Lighthouse. Shot in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, the moody black-and-white horror film stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as lighthouse keepers on a remote (and decidedly unusual) New England island.

This year’s feature selection was still being finalized at press time. Currently on the roster are Entropic by R.W. Gray and Shadow in the Mirror by Ron Foley Macdonald.

The festival’s selection of documentaries is always noteworthy. Megan Wennberg’s critically acclaimed Drag Kids profiles a group of children meeting each other as they perform in drag together at Montreal Pride. It’s a warm story about community and family support.

Also on the documentary lineup (among many others): Ghost Artist by Stephen Palmer, It Was All So Wonderful: The Everyday Magic of Mary Pratt by Kenneth J. Harvey, Her Last Project by Rosvita Dransfeld, L’nuk 101: Finding Common Ground and Atautsikut/Leaving None Behind by John Houston, Radical Age by Jackie Torrens, and What Happened to Holly Bartlett? by Sonya Jampolsky.

The latter film has already inspired a great deal of discussion. It looks at how the 31-year-old student died, challenging the police narrative that the woman (who had been blind since age 13) fell accidentally from the MacKay Bridge—a story that’s never rang true for her friends and family. A podcast hosted by investigative journalist Maggie Rahr shares the documentary’s name and delves even deeper into the story, generating a great deal of social-media buzz.

 

 

Concierge

Roger Poirier is a member of Les Clefs d’Or and has been the concierge at the Delta Beausejour by Marriott in Moncton, N.B., for over 25 years. He loves to travel and enjoys photography. He’s a frequent visitor to Halifax.

What’s one thing every visitor to Halifax should know?
At noontime every day, historical animators at Halifax Citadel National Historic Site fire a cannon at noon, which booms across the downtown. Dating back to the 1800s, the noon gun tradition continues every day except Christmas. Halifax Citadel is one of Canada’s most-visited National Historic Sites and if you’re not expecting the daily blast, it can be quite a surprise.

Where can visitors find the latest fall fashions?
Take a stroll on Spring Garden Road. There you can explore the over 200 retail shops and services. Samuel & Co. offers a wide variety of fashion choices, while Roots is a longstanding favourite across the country. Have a drink at Your Father’s Moustache pub. Here you can get a great local craft beer and still enjoy the rooftop patio. Finish the day at the Halifax Public Gardens. Just steps from Spring Garden Road, these are the finest original formal Victorian-style gardens in North America. And admission is free!

What spot do you recommend for a business lunch?
The Bicycle Thief, Bishop’s Landing, is on the waterfront and offers a North American menu with an Italian soul. It has a wonderful view of the harbour and a heated patio for cooler days. Order a few appetizers for lunch and share them. The locally harvested mussels are my favourite.

What itinerary do you suggest for visitors spending the day In downtown Dartmouth?
If you’re staying near the Halifax waterfront, take the Halifax Transit ferry to Alderney Landing. The crossing gives you a great view of the harbour, skyline, and bridges. You can explore the park and trail along the water, and then head to local favourite The Wooden Monkey for lunch. Local flavours are the specialty, with lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options. In this compact neighbourhood, you’ll find Quaker House and the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, plus lots of shops, two breweries, a cidery, and more.

What are your favourite day-trip destinations?
Lawrencetown Beach off Hwy. 207 on the Eastern Shore is a sand and cobble beach that is a prime destination for local and international surfers. Or take a drive down the South Shore to picturesque Chester and see the beautiful marina, homes, and gardens. Charming little Tanner Brewing is one of the smallest craft breweries in the country. Mahone Bay offers more picturesque views, including the iconic vista of the three churches by the water. Next on your route is Lunenburg, home of the Bluenose II schooner and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating back to 1753, this historic town is famous for its distinctive architecture.

Hot Dining

GRAPE THINGS AHEAD
Running from Sept. 25-28, the Festival of Wines is a popular annual celebration of wines of the world. This year, the focus is on South American vintages. Events include a Winemaker’s Dinner at the Stubborn Goat on Sept. 25 with Argentine vintner German Buk, an exploration of the wines of Chile at Antojo Taco + Tequila on Sept. 26, and a Grand Tasting on Sept. 27 and 28 at the Cunard Centre on the Halifax waterfront.

STEAK A CLAIM
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 restaurateur behind popular Halifax spots like Bistro Le Coq, East of Grafton Tavern, and Waterfront Warehouse.

HAPPY HOUR
If you’re serious about your cocktails, you must visit stylish Bar Kismet on Agricola Street. The ever-changing drink menu features premium ingredients from around the world. At press time, the selection included The Space Cowboy (aquavit, coconut, Peruvian pisco, dry white vermouth, Italian amaro, Buddha’s Hand) and Return Of Su-Mac (mezcal, fig, sherry, sumac, quinaquina aperitif, rhubarb root amaro, orange, and Boker’s Bitters). You’ll also find craft beer and fine ales aplenty, paired with an artful and ever-changing little tasting menu.

SOUTH OF THE BORDER
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.

SMALL PLATES, BIG TASTES
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.

THE FINER THINGS
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 scaloppini sautéed with fresh lobster, seared breast of Brome Lake duck, and spice-crusted rack of lamb. An expertly curated wine list and top-notch service complement the experience.

FLAVOURS OF ASIA

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Located just steps from the waterfront boardwalk on Bedford Row: the Great Wall has long been a local favourite for Chinese cuisine. Cantonese and Szechuan specialties abound, plus Sunday Dim Sum.

Hot Shopping

FUNCTIONAL ART
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. Its collection includes a new stemmed tulip beer glass, plus vases, candle holders, and all manner of giftware.

INTO THE WILD
Bass Pro Shops is known for its huge stores, taxidermy displays, Outdoor Skills Workshops, and vast array of hunting, camping, fishing, and recreation gear. Nova Scotia’s first Bass Pro opened in September on Cabela Drive in Dartmouth. It’s an ideal spot to gear up for wilderness adventures in any season.

FALL FASHION
Freshen your look for autumn with a visit to Shop Olsen Europe on Spring Garden Road. This European chain boasts fresh new looks and trends inspired by styles on runways and in the streets. Known for its quality and sophistication. Fabrics are chosen to reflect a company commitment to sustainability.

Garrison beer store

BEER ME
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.

ARTISANS IN ACTION
Since 1977, the goldsmiths at FireWorks Gallery on Barrington Street have been creating customized jewelry in their Victorian-style shop, using Old World techniques like hand engraving and filigree, complemented with the latest design technology of the 21st century. Also offers repair and restoration services, plus a collection of estate pieces.

In a Box

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 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.

MicMac Mall

ALL IN ONE PLACE

  • Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth boasts 120+ stores and services. Anchored by The Bay, 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 including Mahone Bay Quality Footwear, Pseudio, Envy, John David Shoes, Cineplex Theatres, and many others.

Hot Entertainment

WORLD PREMIERE
Sept. 28–29
Local dance talent Hannah Mae Cruddas returns home to perform the title role in the debut of Anne of Green Gables—The Ballet. Symphony Nova Scotia and Ballet Jörgen team up for this adaption of the classic L.M. Montgomery novel, which has spawned several sequels, movies, plays, and TV shows.

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE
• Sept. 1–4, 5–8, 13–16: This is the final month of the season for racing action at Atlantic Motorsport Park, a 2.5-kilometre circuit in nearby Mill Village.
• Sept. 6, 13, 14: Another season is also winding down at Scotia Speedworld in Enfield, a local favourite for its fast, wide D-shaped track.

MUSIC LEGEND
Sept. 15
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Lucinda Williams has influenced a generation of country/blues/folk artists and was one of VH1’s “100 Greatest Women in Rock & Roll.” And this month, she makes a rare visit to Halifax. See her with her band Buick 6 at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

Jinjoo Cho/photo by Kyu-Tae Shim

VIVE LA FRANCE
Sept. 14
Cecilia Concerts kicks off another season at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road. Violinist Jinjoo Cho and pianist Hyun Soo Kim join forces for a program of French compositions that includes works by Eugène-Auguste Ysaÿe, Francis Poulenc, Gabriel Fauré, and Edith Piaf.

Moments in Time

ART TRIO
•Throughout September, Art 1274 Hollis—an artist-run cooperative in the heart of the downtown—showcases Moments in Time, mixed-media works by Barbara Carter.
• Until Sept 8, The Craig Gallery on Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth, pairs paintings by Jim Parsons with T.S. Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
• Continuing through the month at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street, Salvador Dali, A Suite of Prints includes all 11 engravings from the legend’s Our Historical Heritage Suite (1975).

Damhnait Doyle

Sept. 1
Halifax Urban Folk Festival
See Newfoundland singer/songwriter Damhnait Doyle in a Song Circle at the Carleton, followed by Matthew Sweet + The HFX All-stars.

Becky Lynch

Sept. 7
WWE Live
The Halifax Forum hosts an evening of pro-wrestling action, including WWE Women’s Champion Becky Lynch versus Lacey Evans.

Sept. 14
The Word on the Street
Halifax Central Library hosts readings and signings by dozens of authors, including Mayann Francis (above), Harry Bruce, Amy Spurway, Alan Syliboy and Janet Barkhouse.

Sept. 20
Matt Andersen & The Mellotones
Andersen (above) is one of the hottest blues guitarists around and The Mellotones are Halifax’ favourite dance band. See them at the Shore Club in Hubbards.

Sept. 21
Casino Nova Scotia
Hypnotist Jason Cyrus wows fans with his interactive mentalist showat Casino Nova Scotia.

Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin

Sept. 28
HFX Wanderers FC
The quest for the championship continues, as the Wanderers host Edmonton in Canadian Premier League action.

 

 

 

Concierge Q & A

Angela O’Brien is senior executive host at Casino Nova Scotia. She graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Commerce and has a true love for Halifax. She is a Professional Affiliate with Les Clefs d’Or Canada, which provides opportunities for creating partnerships within the hospitality community. 

What are three events that no visitor to Halifax should miss this month?
Cinderella at Neptune Theatre running until Aug. 18, Neptune’s Argyle Street Kitchen Party features Heather Rankin from Aug. 13–18, and there is HFX Wanderers FC Canadian Premier League soccer on Aug. 10 and 21. There is an amazing lineup of events in Halifax this August!

What are your favourite local beaches and swimming spots?
Conrad’s Beach, 35 minutes from downtown Halifax, is perfect for swimming, walking your dog, and relaxing to the sound of the waves. If you are looking for a place to surf (or a surf lesson), then Lawrencetown Beach is the one for you.

What’s a good way to spend a rainy summer day in Halifax?
The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is always a good way to start the day. Close by is the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, a National Historic Site on the Halifax Waterfront where you can immerse yourself in the past and experience what it was like to immigrate to Canada.

What’s your favourite spot for a creative cocktail with friends?
Sea Smoke Restaurant on the boardwalk at Bishops Landing has great cocktails with a view of the harbour. My current favorite cocktail is the Nova Bliss featuring Nova Scotia’s Nova 7 sparkling wine and house-made lavender syrup.

What’s your favourite local hole-in-the-wall dining spot?
Darrell’s Restaurant on Fenwick Street in the South End has been one of my go-to restaurants in Halifax for years. The Pita Club is my favorite but if you are in the mood for a burger then the Peanut Butter Burger is a quirky but surprisingly tasty bite.

What’s one thing that every visitor to Halifax should keep in mind?
Don’t be startled by the boom of the Noon Gun, a local tradition for over 200 years. Every day (except Christmas), gunners at Halifax Citadel National Historic Site fire a cannon at noon. This is a tribute to Halifax’s history as a major British colonial military stronghold.

Hot shopping

BEER LOVERS’ TRIO
Just steps from the cruise-ship terminal, Garrison on Terminal Road peddles beers from one of the province’s oldest craft brewers. On tap, you’ll find seasonal creations and longstanding favourites like raspberry wheat, Irish red, and more.

Propeller Brewing on Gottingen Street is one of the granddaddies of the Nova Scotian craft-beer scenes, offering bottles, can, and growler fills. The tasty and crisp California-common style lager is a summer favourite.

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.

NOTHING GLITTERS LIKE GOLD
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 a lines of luxury watches including Rolex, Tudor, TAG Heuer, and Frederique Constant.

ESCAPE TO JAPAN
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.

LOCAL HARVEST
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, beer, wine, cider, and more.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Bass Pro Shops is known for its huge stores. with indoor ponds featuring local fish, taxidermy displays, Outdoor Skills Workshops, and vast array of hunting, camping, fishing, and recreation gear. Nova Scotia’s first Bass Pro opened last September on Cabela Drive in Dartmouth. It’s an ideal spot to gear up for wilderness adventures in any season.

HOW SWEET IT IS
Inspired by the distinctive culture of Canada’s easternmost province, Newfoundland Chocolate Company mixes its sweet treats with whimsy and fun. The packaging features Newfoundland sayings such as “oh me nerves” and the colourful jellybean homes of St. John’s. Inside the chocolate are Newfoundland flavours like partridgeberries or bakeapple. The gelato and truffles are made at the Sunnyside Mall location. Also located at Mic Mac Mall and Halifax Shopping Centre.

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.

Hot Dining

FINER THINGS
The Bicycle Thief is the playground of acclaimed chef Maurizio Bertossi. The waterfront patio is plenty appealling, but the real draw is the menu, showcasing Bertossi’s Northern Italian roots: Old World comfort food with a New World flair. Highlights include Risotto ai Carciofi (with charred Italian artichokes, procuitto, and Grana Padano), Fettunccine all’Aragosta (with fresh Nova Scotian lobster), and more. Pair with a selection from the well curated wine list, showcasing vintages from around the world, with a heavy Italian emphasis.

LOCALS LOVE THEM

  • Athens Restaurant 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.
  • When locals shop in Bayer’s Lake or catch a movie at Cineplex, Dhaba Casual Fine Dining & Express on Oland Crescent is a favourite stop for an Indian nosh. Try spicy and flavourful vegetable korma, butter chicken, or tandoori seafood shorba.

HAMBURGER HEAVEN
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.

HOW SWEET IT IS
If your instinct is to skip straight to dessert, check out The Middle Spoon downtown on Barrington Street or in Bedford at Sunnyside Mall. This stylish little spot offers all manner of decadent desserts and cocktails (plus appetizers and light lunches). Essentials include cardamom carrot cake, peanut-butter pie, and sticky toffee pudding.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

  • Take a lofty perch above the bustle of Spring Garden Road to enjoy the rooftop patio at Your Father’s Moustache. This perennial summer favourite is the ideal place to laze away a sunny afternoon with a cold beverage, including four house-brewed beers. There are daily lunch specials and a popular weekend brunch menu (with offerings like skillets, french toast, and pancakes).
  • Right on the waterfront boardwalk in the Historic Properties, Salty’s Restaurant boasts a harbourside patio with tables just steps from the ocean. As the name suggests, you’ll find all manner of seafood, including fresh Atlantic lobster.
  • Friendly and casual, with an ever-evolving selection of local and imported craft beers, the Stillwell Beer Garden on Spring Garden Road is a summertime classic. The ideal spot to recharge after a day exploring the busy shopping district.
  • A short walk from the Halifax Transit ferry terminal in Dartmouth, Battery Park is another must-visit for beer aficionados. Enjoy a tasty local pint on the cool shady patio.

CHILL OUT
When exploring city streets, beat the heat with a sweet treat. At Sugah 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.

Hot Entertainment

TOP GEAR
June 1, 8, 9, 13–16, 22, 23, 28–30
Atlantic Motorsport Park in Mill Village features regional motorcycle and auto-racing events plus national competitions on a 2.5-kilometre, 11-turn road circuit.
June 1, 7, 17, 21, 22, 28
A 30-minute drive north of the city in Enfield, Scotia Speedworld boasts a fast, wide D-shaped track, making it one of Atlantic Canada’s top auto-racing venues.

HELLO, DALI!
Continuing
New at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street, Salvador Dali, A Suite of Prints. includes all 11 engravings from Our Historical Heritage Suite (1975). This landmark exhibition uncovers a link between Dali’s best known symbolic surrealist work and the exploration on religious themes that recurred throughout his career.

DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS
June 17
American country legends Lonestar, still going strong after 25 years atop the music charts, make a rare visit to Halifax. See them at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue as they perform a selection of greatest hits and new material.

HAVING A BALL
June 1, 19, 26
HFX Wanderers FC are Halifax’s new pro-soccer team, competing in the Canadian Premier League. See them in action at their pop-up stadium at the Wanderers Grounds on Sackville Street, as they take on Pacific FC (June 1), Cavalry FC (June 19), and Valour FC (June 26).

DAD’S DAY
June 16 (rain date June 23)
The annual Antique Car Show is a Father’s Day tradition at Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte. The living-history museum, which re-creates life in a 1940s-era Nova Scotian village, hosts dozens of restored antique vehicles, live entertainment, and Kub Kar races for the kids.

BEER + GREAT MUSIC
June 15
Nova Scotia craft-beer granddaddy Garrison marks its birthday with a rollicking party. The lineup for Garrison’s Backlot Bash ncludes performances by Broken Social Scene, Dave Sampson, and Natalie Lynn. Enjoy beer from Garrison plus special releases, seasonal brews, and ciders. Food from the Gecko Bus, Cheese Curds, and Asado.

HITTING THE STREETS
June 6–9
Some 13,000 people will take part in a weekend of Blue Nose Marathon events, including a youth run, 5K, 10K, half marathon, team relay, and more. The full marathon on June 9 is a Boston Marathon qualifier. The full route is a double loop through peninsular Halifax, beginning at the Old Town Clock and heading around Halifax Common, winding through the North End and down Barrington Street to Point Pleasant Park, and then back to Sackville Street to repeat the circuit.

Image courtesy of PBR Canada (CNW Group/PBR Canada)

June 1
Professional Bull Riders Canada
The PBR Monster Energy Tour at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street showcases Canada’s top cowboys and some of the circuit’s leading international competitors.

June 2
Neptune Theatre
Tonight is your last chance to see Neptune’s critically acclaimed production of The Color Purple, starring Tara Jackson as Celie.

June 4
Corey Hart
The legendary Canadian rocker never surrendered. See him perform his trademark hits (and a wealth of other material) at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.

June 9
Scotia Festival of Music
The chamber-music festival wraps up its 40th season with a gala performance at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue, featuring conductor Bernhard Gueller.

June 22–23
Matt Andersen
Return to the Dalhousie Arts Centre to see one of the East Coast’s hottest blues talents: Andersen is a blazingly good guitarist who never disappoints.

June 28
Casino Nova Scotia
At Bruce Guthro’s Songwriters’ Circle in the Schooner Showroom, the eponymous artist joins special guests to explore their craft.

Heating Up

Cedar Festival

It’s festival season in Halifax—out our favourite local seasonal celebrations

By Trevor J. Adams

Celebrating the city’s music, varied cultural communities, military heritage, and rich architecture, Halifax’s festival calendar offers something for every taste this month. No matter when you’re visiting, in fair weather or foul, you’ll find an exciting event.

Family Favourites
For many local schoolkids, Bedford Days is the unofficial kickoff to summer. The schedule includes lots for all ages: fireworks, rides, live entertainment, games and competitions, and a beer garden for the grown folks. DeWolf Park, just off the Bedford Highway, hosts from June 27–July 1.

Much Music
Continuing through June 9, the Scotia Festival of Music celebrates chamber music with 50+ events, including concerts, recitals, open rehearsals, and master classes. The festival attracts top talents from around the world: this year’s headliners include oboeist Suzanne Lemieux, violinist Scott St. John, pianist John Novacek, violinist Airi Yoshioka, conductor Bernhard Gueller, and many more. The concluding gala, this year on June 9, at the Dalhousie Arts Centre is always a highlight. This year erstwhile Symphony Nova Scotia maestro Bernhard Gueller conducts works by Schubert and Mahler.

Cultural Connections
Or start the month with the annual Cedar Festival, continuing through June 2. Fun for the whole family, this Lebanese festival offers live music and dancing, mouth-watering Middle Eastern cuisine, cultural demonstrations, plus a cooking competition and fashion show. And just for the kids, there’s a bouncy castle, magic show, carnival games, and face painting. Find the event at 111 Clayton Park Dr.

Hellas Good
Halifax Greek Fest, running this year from June 6–9, is one of the city’s most beloved festivals. Thousands flock to St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcell’s Cove Road for live music, traditional dancing, art and cultural exhibitions, language workshops, religious artifacts, tasty Greek cuisine, and vendors aplenty. 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.

Something for Everyone
Taking place June 29–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 music, the event brings together military and civilian performers from around the world, including pipe and military bands, acrobats, trapeze artists, gymnasts, choirs, drill teams, comedians, and more. See it at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.

Summer Feast
Running from June 28–July 1, Halifax Ribfest showcases ribs (and lots of other BBQ dishes and sides) from local favourites like Boneheads BBQ and vendors from around North America. Live entertainment and free admission (pay per serving). The annual festival is a fund raiser for the Rotary Club of Halifax. Find it on the Halifax waterfront off Lower Water Street.

Catch of the Day
Memory Lane Heritage Village hosts the annual Eastern Shore Cold Waters Seafood Festival on June 1–2. Sample tasty Atlantic Canadian seafood: fresh clams, lobsters, mussels, and haddock prepared numerous ways, plus traditional dishes 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.

Concierge Q&A

Born and raised in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Ian lives to create memorable experiences for guests of The Great George, Charlottetown’s only Luxury Historic Boutique Hotel.  A proud member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada and recent winner of Tourism HR Canada’s Tourism Employee of the Year, Ian is overjoyed to be building relationships and gaining knowledge of Halifax and all that Nova Scotia has to offer. 

What’s one event no visitor to the Halifax area should miss this month?
A powerhouse performer with a giant soul-filled voice and commanding stage presence, Matt Andersen has built a formidable following the old-fashioned way: touring worldwide and letting his stunned audiences and new devotees spread the good word of his righteous tunes all over. Don’t miss this award-winning Canadian soul-bluesman performing at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on June 22–23 at 8pm.

Excluding your property, what spot do you recommend for a weekend brunch with friends?
Bistro le Coq pairs classic French comfort food with a large selection of fine wines in an atmosphere that can’t help but charm. Classic hors d’oeuvres from escargot to Ocean Wise-certified moules et frites are perfect for sharing, and the mains offer even more French flair. In the sunny dining room, Le Salon, the weekend brunch will put bacon and eggs to shame. You really haven’t lived until you’ve tried eggs benedict on a duck-fat rösti!

Where can visitors find a unique Nova Scotian gift?
Historic Properties is a balance between historic and contemporary. The spirit of Halifax is present within the site and modern restaurants, boutiques, and services offer unique local goods that can’t be found elsewhere in the city. With its charming historic buildings, the properties are a Provincial Heritage Site housed with hundreds of years of Halifax history. At Historic Properties you will find unique shops, dining, and true East Coast entertainment!

What’s a great way to spend a rainy day downtown?
Immerse yourselves in arts and science at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Discovery Centre . The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has over 17,000 works in its permanent collection, plus many exhibits featuring Canadian and international works throughout the year. At the Discovery Centre, “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) comes to life through fun, interactive learning experiences. The Discovery Centre includes exhibits, galleries, innovation labs and the Dome Theatre, where you can marvel at the wonders of the world and beyond.

What’s an off-the-beaten-path day-trip destination visitors should explore?
Arguably, there is no site more iconic in Nova Scotia than Peggy’s Cove, the small fishing village an hour west of Halifax. The lighthouse perched on top of the rocks, overlooking the rolling waves, is one of the most photographed and visited sites in the country. It’s charm not only comes from the rustic and mostly undeveloped appearance, but the local fisherman and shopkeepers who are more than happy to share their stories with you and make your trip to Nova Scotia all the more memorable.

Ultimate Halifax

Destination Canada

Family fun, outdoor adventures, living history, and so much more—our annual look at what we love most about the city

By Trevor J. Adams

URBAN OASIS
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. An oasis just steps from the bustle of Spring Garden Road, it’s an ideal spot to relax and recharge. On Sunday afternoons through the spring and summer, drop by the Victorian bandstand for free concerts featuring local musicians.

MADE LOCALLY
Halifax offers visitors great opportunities to discover fresh produce, craft beer and cider, local wine, fresh-baked goods, local art, and unique souvenirs. Over 250 vendors from across the province showcase their goods over two levels at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road. You’ll find some vendors at the waterfront market throughout the week, with full markets on Saturday.

TIME TRAVEL
Located on the site of “Canada’s Ellis Island” on the Halifax waterfront, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 explores how immigration built our country. From 1928 to 1971, some one million newcomers passed through Pier 21, as did some 500,000 military personnel during the Second World War. This is the East Coast’s only national museum.

One of Canada’s most visited National Historic Sites, the Halifax Citadel towers over downtown Halifax. These colonial-era fortifications were once key to protecting Britain’s North American territories. On site, you’ll also find the Army Museum, detailing Halifax’s extensive military history.

Explore Nova Scotia’s seafaring history at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street. You’ll find exhibitions on the glory days of the age of sail, the Canadian navy in the world wars, the sinking of the Titanic, pirates and privateers, and more.

Cole Harbour Heritage Farm is a rural oasis standing in stark contrast to the surrounding modern development. The 200-year-old farm features livestock, heritage buildings, gardens, walking paths, and more.

THE SCIENCE OF FUN
A family-favourite in any season the Discovery Centre gives kids and adults alike exciting, hands-on opportunities to learn about science, math, engineering, and technology. Find it in its recently-built 40,000-square-foot home on the Halifax waterfront on Lower Water Street. It boasts four themed galleries, an innovation lab, and Atlantic Canada’s only immersive dome theatre. There is an ever-changing array of visiting exhibitions, plus many permanent displays. On Wednesday evenings from 5–8pm, admission is free.

GREEN SPACES
West past the Armdale roundabout on Purcell’s Cove Road you’ll find Sir Sandford Fleming Park. This 38-hectare space has walking trails through forest and saltwater marsh, plus a large pond. Locals know the park as the “Dingle,” in reference to Dingle Memorial Tower, a 10-storey Italianate landmark built in the early 1900s.

Haligonians love Point Pleasant Park in any season, and it’s obvious why. Perched at the tip of the South End, it boasts 39 kilometres of trails winding through forest and past rocky hills, ravines, and military ruins, including the Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site (page EC4).

Across the harbour in Dartmouth, Shubie Park is a 16-hectare greenway bounded by Charles Lake to the north and Lake Micmac to the south. Meander from deep forest to sunny lakeside along the historic route of the Shubenacadie Canal.

ACROSS THE WATER
On the other side of the harbour in Dartmouth, just steps from the Halifax Transit ferry terminal, you’ll discover the Alderney Gate Farmers’ Market. It has live entertainment on its main stage on Saturday mornings. Outside, find flower and plant vendors aplenty during spring. Just a couple blocks away, is Dartmouth Heritage Museum in Evergreen House on Newcastle Street. Built in 1867, the historic building holds dozens of artifacts and displays reflecting life in the city’s early days. In the surrounding compact neighbourhood, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and shops, breweries, a cidery, and more.

HIT THE ROAD
No trip to Halifax is complete without visiting Peggy’s Cove . About a 45-minute drive west of Halifax, this tiny community is a visitor-favourite. Descendants of the original settlers still work the North Atlantic waters and towering above the bustle of the fishing village is the famous lighthouse—purported to be the most photographed site in Nova Scotia.

Or strike off to the east and find Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte, a 50-minute drive east of the city. The living-history museum re-creates 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 cookhouse.