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Halifax

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.

Hot Dining

OCEAN-FRESH

  • Just steps from the waterfront, Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar on Salter Street offers lightly cooked and raw fare. The raw menu features scallops and an array of local oysters, plus crab, lobster, shrimp, and more.
  • In addition to one of the waterfront’s largest patios, Salty’s on the Waterfront in the Historic Properties  boasts an array of fresh local seafood. It’s an ideal place to get your mandatory Maritime feed of fish and chips.
  • The Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar raises the standard for local surf and turf. This stylish restaurant in the heart of the downtown features Atlantic Canadian beef and oysters, alongside an expertly curated wine list.

INTIMATE EVENINGS

  • Intimate Lot Six on Argyle Street is a must for serious cocktail aficionados. The bar offers a creative array of cocktails, including offerings like Quest of the Parsnip (tequila, lemon, parsnip, angostura bitters), Compelling Argument (Lot 40 whisky, Fernet Branca, vanilla, salted maple, absinthe, bitters), and Wise Men Say Nothing (bourbon, Ardbeg scotch, lemon, grapefruit, sage, egg white).
  • With its French-inspired seasonal menu, Agricola Street Brasserie 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.

Trevor J. Adams

SUSHI SENSATION
With three locations around the city, Sushi Nami Royale is your go-to spot for Japanese fine dining, offering traditional and fusion sushi, paired with creative cocktails. Find it downtown on Dresden Row, just steps from bustling Spring Garden Road.

Trevor J. Adams

CARNIVORE’S CHOICE
Picked as one of Where Canada’s Best New Restaurants in Canada (2015), Primal Kitchen on Brenton Street is a butchery-inspired gem. Sustainable local meats (smoked, cured, and butchered in-house) are the specialty, paired with a creative selection of local wine and beer.

Tourism Nova Scotia/Acorn Art

MARITIME FEAST
The Shore Club Lobster Supper in Hubbards is an essential Nova Scotian experience, reopening for the season on May 12. Enjoy a huge feed of fresh Atlantic lobster in the rollicking and informal setting of the Shore Club, 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. Open weekends.

BEER BREAK

  • Take a break from exploring Spring Garden Road in the subterranean refuge of the Rockbottom Brew pub, where you can enjoy house-made craft beer. Locals love the zesty IPA and malty Irish red. But why play favourites? Order a sampler tray to experience all the newest brews.
    The Stubborn Goat Beer Garden on the Halifax waterfront is the ideal place to while away a sunny afternoon watching the ships go by. Alongside a rotating selection of local craft beer, you’ll find tasty noshes from the operators of the Stubborn Goat gastropub: tacos, nachos, fish and chips, burgers, salads, and more.

BREAKFAST CLUB

  • Get your day off to a good start with a visit to one of the five Cora locations around Halifax. Specializing in breakfast, this popular Quebec chain offers hearty, creative breakfast, complemented with heaps of fresh fruit.
  • Bagel Montreal Style on Dartmouth’s Wyse Road offers exactly what the name says: traditional Montreal-style bagels in a variety of flavours, hand-rolled and baked in a wood-burning oven.
  • Opening at 7am, Annie’s Place Café on Queen Street is a Halifax favourite for hearty home-style breakfasts, with daily specials and baked goods aplenty.

SOMETHING UNEXPECTED
Enjoy a rustic evening in the heart of North End Halifax. 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. Safety first: staff are on-hand to train and supervise.

Hot Shopping

HANDMADE GIFTS
Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique & Letterpress Studio on Brunswick Street is one of the city’s most unique shops, boasting handmade limited-edition paper goods, tea towels, pottery, and jewelry by local and international artists. Letterpress printing and custom social-stationery designs.

Shopping_NovaScotian-Crystal

TOURISM NOVA SCOTIA

CLEAR AS CRYSTAL
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.

Olsen Europe

SPRING FASHIONS

  • 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, 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.
  • 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.

THE SOUND OF 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 offer expert advice.

JUNIOR STYLE

  • Outfit the kids for the season and beyond with a trip to Urban Kids at Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth. This store serves the market for kids from age four to the tween years, and keeps on top of the latest fashion trends. Get a complete wardrobe from tops and bottoms, to hoodies and accessories.
  • For kids’ shoes, boots, active wear and accessories, stop into Twiggz (also at Mic Mac Mall). Shop for durable and stylish footwear, rain gear, and more. Dance gear, including leotards, tights, and shoes, are always in stock.

CALLING 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.

BEST FOOT FORWARD
John David Shoes on Spring Garden Road boasts Atlantic Canada’s largest selection of women’s fashion footwear. The selection includes many exclusive brand names, such as France Mode fashion designer boots made in France.

Concierge Q&A

Diane Munroe is resident-services manager at Curve and Pavilion in Halifax and a cooperate affiliate of Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic Region. She’s served as a customer-service ambassador in three downtown Halifax luxury residential properties, building lasting relationships and creating memorable experiences. 

What’s one event visitors to the city shouldn’t miss in May? ​
Halifax is very excited to host the 101st edition of the Memorial Cup from May 16–26 at Scotiabank Centre. Visitors from all around will be heading into town to see the championship major-junior hockey action, featuring our hometown team the Halifax Mooseheads.

If visitors are exploring downtown Dartmouth, what should be on their itinerary? 
​Head over to the farmers’ market at Alderney Landing where the Halifax Transit ferries dock. This market is open on Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday, offering everything from baked goods to handmade jewelry and clothing. After the market you can head to 33 Alderney Dr. for a light delicious lunch at Coffee Matters. They have a menu that features traditional Newfoundland food like turkey and dressing and Nans Goulash.

Where should visitors go to discover local artistic talents? ​
Art Zone on Barrington Street in Halifax offers local artists an opportunity to showcase their work. It’s open Monday to Saturday from noon–8pm. This is a great place to stop and have a look at Nova Scotia’s raw talent.

What spot should live-music fans be sure to visit? ​
Live-music fans should head to The Celtic Corner across from Alderney Landing in Dartmouth. It’s open daily, with frequent live local Maritime music. You will get a true experience of what it’s like to be a Maritimer.

Where can fresh-air fanatics go for an enjoyable day? 
​Head over to Shubie Park in Dartmouth with the whole family. Stay a night or two on the camping grounds or take a nice walk along the beautiful dog-friendly tails. Soak up the fascinating history of the Shubenacadie Canal and recharge in the peaceful forest.

Hot Entertainment

Airi Yoshioka

IN PERFECT TUNE
May 26–June 9
For some four decades, the Scotia Festival of Music has brought some of the world’s top musical talents to Halifax for a two-week celebration of chamber music. This year features another all-star lineup, including erstwhile Symphony Nova Scotia conductor Bernhard Gueller, violinist Airi Yoshioka, pianist Simon Docking, and soprano Pascale Beaudin. Concerts at the Dalhousie Arts Centre and the Peggy Corkum Music Room.

CURTAIN CALL
Continuing through June 2
Tara Jackson stars as Celie in The Color Purple at Neptune Theatre, in the company’s most-talked-about production of the year. The Oprah Winfrey-produced Broadway run of this musical adaptation of the Alice Walker novel was a critical and popular hit.

HOCKEY NIGHT
May 16–26
The Canadian Hockey League’s Memorial Cup is one of hockey’s most venerable trophies. The Halifax Mooseheads host the champions of the Quebec, Ontario, and Western major-junior hockey leagues as they battle for the national title. Before becoming pros, stars like Carey Price, Sidney Crosby, and Connor McDavid earned their spurs in the CHL.

Philip Chiu

PERFECT COMBO
May 4
The Cecilia Concert Series presents an ideal pairing of music and food. Montreal’s Chef Sean Murray Smith prepares a seven-course dinner (matched with fine wines), accompanied by a live performance by musician-in-residence/pianist Philip Chiu and Toronto Symphony Orchestra concert master/violinist Jonathan Crow.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT
May 8–12
Canadians will recognize floorball as a grown-up version of the classic childhood game of floor hockey. The city hosts the sport’s top young competitors this month, as the Men’s U19 World Floorball Championship moves outside Europe for the first time. See the action at Dalplex in Halifax and the Sportsplex in Dartmouth.

ART EXPLORATION

  • Continuing at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street, The Shore, Wind and View in Gaff Point features paintings by Hangama Amiri about childhood memory, cross-cultural dialogue, and feminism.
  • Twenty-four local artists comprise the Art 1274 Hollis cooperative, featuring an ever-changing selection of new works in a variety of media. Welded, an exhibition of new metal works by Al Hattie, opens on May 2.
  • From May 2–26, the Craig Gallery at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth—where the Halifax Transit ferries dock—features Rag and Bone. Artist Genvieve Killin explores the passage of time with plaster-work abstractions of objects found in the wilderness.

DESTINATION CANADA

BACK IN TIME
Continuing
Visit Halifax of yesteryear with a tour of the Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery on Lower Water Street. Costumed interpreters share the story of the legendary brewmaster (and mayor of Halifax), the brewing process, and colonial Nova Scotia. Tours available Friday–Sunday; private bookings for larger groups.

May 2
Metric
The indie-rock/synthpop sensations return to Halifax, performing with July Talk at Scotiabank Centre on Argyle Street.

May 4–5
Symphony Nova Scotia
Mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy, the Nova Scotia Mass Choir, and several others join the symphony for a performance of Mozart’s majestic Great Mass in C Minor. The Dalhousie Arts Centre hosts.

May 5
John Cleese
The legendary actor and comedian brings his Why There Is No Hope tour to Scotiabank Centre.

May 12
Shawn Barker
A Tribute to Johnny Cash is an eerily spot-on tribute to the Man in Black. See Barker in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

May 25
Martin Sexton
This American singer-songwriter defies genre, with influences including blues, rock, jazz, gospel, soul, and country. He performs at The Carleton.

May 29
HFX Wanderers FC
Halifax’s new soccer team play their first home game against York9 FC in an intimate pop-up stadium just a block from bustling Spring Garden Road.

Hot Entertainment

Kaetlyn Osmond

ICE MOVES
April 26
Top figure-skating talents from across Canada strut their stuff at the popular Stars on Ice annual performance at Scotiabank Centre. The roster includes Olympians Elvis Stojko, Kaetlyn Osmond, Patrick Chan, Meagan Duhamel, and Eric Radford.

BIG BRASS ONES
April 26
The Hogtown Brass Quintet brings together musicians from diverse backgrounds: jazz to pop to classical. See the unique ensemble perform for the Dartmouth Community Concert Association at Woodlawn United Church.

Mary E. Black Gallery

ARTISTIC EXPRESSION
• Continuing through April, Art 1274 Hollis, a cooperative gallery in the heart of the downtown, features Park. The exhibition showcases new works by local talent Rhonda Barrett.
• Throughout the month, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street hosts The Shore, Wind and View in Gaff Point. Afghan-Canadian artist Hangama Amiri delves into childhood memory, cross-cultural dialogue, and feminism.
• Specializing in fine Nova Scotian crafts, this month the Mary E. Black Gallery on Marginal Road features an exhibition of jewelry by Rebecca Hannon.

GOING FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Continuing
It’s playoff season in Halifax, as the city’s two biggest sports teams compete for their respective league titles. The Halifax Mooseheads are chasing the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League crown as they prepare to host the country’s top teams for the Memorial Cup next month. Meanwhile minor-pro basketball’s Halifax Hurricanes battle for the National Basketball League of Canada championship. Schedules still in flux at press time; check with the Ticket Atlantic box office at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.

Michael Neugebauer

WALK WITH THE ANIMALS
April 9
With her landmark fieldwork, animal researcher and activist Jane Goodall forever changed the way we see our chimpanzee animal cousins. At Jane at 85: Reasons for Hope at the Dalhousie Arts Centre, she appears in person to talk about her work, the escalating threats to chimpanzees and their habitat, and how she’s able to stay hopeful about the future.

The Stampeders

MUSICAL MIX
April 8: Since the 1970s, The Stampeders have been Canadian rock mainstays. See the legends at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on Duke Street.
April 19: Few artists work harder than singer/guitarist Colin James, and the blues-rocker is on tour again, performing at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.
April 19: The cozy Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street goes a little bit country this month, as American singer-songwriter Kip Moore takes the stage.

April 6
Island Girls
Cape Breton music and comedy at the Dalhousie Arts Centre with Heather Rankin (above), Bette MacDonald, Lucy MacNeil, and Jenn Sheppard.


April 9
Neptune Theatre
The Color Purple, based on the Alice Walker novel, opens tonight. Tara Jackson stars as Celie. The production continues through June 2.


April 11
Uncle Kracker
The genre-straddling artist behind hit singles like “Drift Away” and “Follow Me” takes the stage at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.


April 16
Neko Case
Best known to Canadians as a member of cult favourites The New Pornographers, the indie-rock singer/songwriter makes a rare visit to the East Coast.


April 23
Gerry Dee
The stand-up comedian and star of the CBC series Mr. D returns to his hometown stage at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.


April 27–28
Symphony Nova Scotia
With Dvoák’s Eighth and Dinuk’s Farewell, the Symphony features a new work by longtime member Dinuk Wijeratne, who returns for a last hurrah after a recent move to Toronto.

Hot Shopping

Photo: Jeremy Tsang

STRIKING OIL
In the heart of the North End’s stylish Hydrostone neighbourhood, you’ll find Liquid Gold on Young Street. Specializing in high-quality extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world, this unique shop is a favourite with local foodies.

BY THE SEASIDE
As you stroll the Halifax waterfront, stylish Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street is a must-visit shopping stop: 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, and an array of local wine, spirits, cider, and beer at Bishop’s Cellar.

 

Anne Morrell Robinson Quilt studio and wall art

MADE LOCALLY
Returning to the Halifax Exhibition on Prospect Road from April 26–28, the Saltscapes East Coast Expo is the ideal place to find a unique locally-made gift for the folks back home. You’ll find dozens of vendors showcasing all manner of Atlantic food, drink, art, and other gift ideas.

ALL THAT GLITTERS
The goldsmiths and jewelers at Fireworks Gallery on Barrington Street create customized jewelry for any occasion. Choose a design with gold, platinum, diamonds, or gorgeous gemstones. The designers use Old World techniques such as hand engraving or filigree. Browse the collections of other artists, as well as antique pieces from estate collections. Travel emergency? Repairs performed on site.

FRESH-AIR ADVENTURES
Spring has sprung and it’s time to explore Nova Scotia’s sylvan splendour. 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. Backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, boots, cooking gear: find what you need for any expedition, from day hiking to backwoods camping.

CENTRES OF SHOPPING
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 include Olsen Europe, John David Shoes, Cineplex Theatres, and many others.

THE SWEET LIFE
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.

Concierge Q&A

Trevor MacRae is an executive host at Casino Nova Scotia. He graduated from Dalhousie University with bachelors of commerce and arts. He is a professional affiliate with Les Clefs d’Or Canada, giving him the opportunity to form relationships in Halifax’s hospitality industry.

What’s one thing no visitor to Halifax should miss this month?
The Halifax Comedy Fest is an amazing festival that brings in to the city so many great comedians from all across the country as well as internationally. It runs from April 24–28 and with so many venues hosting shows there are lots of opportunities to laugh! Many shows are recorded for broadcast later on CBC.

Where can visitors go to discover emerging local artists? 
Bearly’s House of Blues & Ribs on Barrington Street showcases some of the best local blues artists around. The music and vibe are phenomenal and for the rib lover in your group they serve half and full racks that will make your mouth water.

What spot do you recommend for a business visitor hosting a lunch meeting?
The Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar on Barrington Street is a perfect spot for a lunch meeting. Whether you are hosting one or 20, it can fit your needs. There are two private rooms that can host from 12–16 people and the second floor has plenty of space should you require some privacy for a one-on-one. The food is exceptional, specializing in beef with a menu that offers something for everyone.

What’s a good way to spend a blustery spring afternoon in Halifax?
The Discovery Centre on Lower Water Street is a great way to spend a day. It has numerous science-focused galleries and a feature exhibit which changes regularly. The Museum of Natural History on Summer Street is another terrific way to enjoy your day; you will see many artifacts of cultural significance to Nova Scotia. Make sure you visit Gus the Gopher Tortoise who has been with the Museum for more than 70 years.

What’s this month’s highlight for live-music fans?
Kip Moore, a rising star on the country scene, is a must see for any country fan. He is playing at the Nova Centre on Market Street on April 19.

 

Hot Dining

Caitrin Pilkington

PIZZA FEASTS

  • Morris East has expanded with new locations uptown on Quinpool Road and in Bedford West, but you’ll still find the mothership a block from the waterfront on Morris Street. Visit the intimate little dining room for delicious wood-fired pizzas showcasing fresh local ingredients.
  • Family-run Rinaldo’s on Windsor Street boasts all manner of Italian-American comfort food and the pizza hits the bullseye every time. We recommend the Pizza Samuele with pepperoni, roasted garlic, mozzarella, Grana Padano, and ricotta.
  • On the Halifax Waterfront in Bishop’s Landing, Ristorante a Mano is another pizza mecca. If you’re an old-purist, try the Margherita. This traditional Italian specialty looks deceptively simple with San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, and nothing else but tons of Old World flavour.

Tammy Fancy

LOCALS LOVE ‘EM

  • 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.
  • Maxwell’s Plum on Grafton Street boasts a huge array of beers from around the globe, served alongside burgers, sandwiches, fish and chips, and pub grub galore.
    Scratch-made vegan cuisine makes Wild Leek 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 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.

Bruce Murray/Visionfire

DINER STYLE
With a history dating back decades, The Armview Restaurant & Lounge has long been a beloved neighbourhood diner, that has now taken on a hip new appeal. But the tasty offerings and friendly service have never changed. Locals flock here for the weekend brunch, fresh Atlantic seafood, and gourmet burgers.

GOOD THINGS IN SMALL PACKAGES
Looking for a pleasant nook to while away an evening with friends? Intimate Little Oak on Lower Water Street is just steps away from the waterfront boardwalk. It boasts a small and dynamic menu showcasing global influences and seasonal ingredients, a huge (yet artfully chosen) wine list, and a selection of craft beer and ciders.

FROM THE OLD COUNTRY
For a classic pub experience, visit The Old Triangle Irish Ale House on Prince Street. This boisterous spot is a favourite with visitors and locals alike for its live Celtic music, and menu jam-packed with pub favourites like curry and chips, Irish stew, and pan-fried haddock. The bar boasts local and imported beers and ciders (with mandatory Irish offerings such as Guinness, Harp, and Kilkenny)
plus one of the finest selections of whiskies around.

COFFEE WITH A CONSCIENCE
Glitter Bean Café is a worker-owned queer-friendly (and welcoming to all) café, a block west of the Halifax Public Gardens on Spring Garden Road. Relaxed and funky, it offers organic fair-trade coffee, specialty drinks, baked goods, and snacks.

In Good Humour

The Halifax ComedyFest returns, showcasing top comics from coast to coast
By Trevor J. Adams

The Halifax ComedyFest is the 
East Coast’s biggest event of its sort, and 
this year’s edition is the biggest yet. Running from 
April 24–28, it features some 30 artists performing at venues around the city.

Casino Nova Scotia hosts LGBTQLMFAO on April 26 and the Last Laugh Comedy Club show on April 27, along with the return of the incredibly popular The Nasty Show 
on April 27.

The festival is also taking comedy out of the downtown with shows at Montes Showbar Grill in Waverly, Brewsters Pub in Bedford, and The Lower Deck Bar and Grill 
in Clayton Park.

This year’s lineup includes some of the hottest names in comedy today. Hal Sparks is a multi-talented actor, comedian, and musician and a political activist with his own weekly radio show. Starting his career as a member of the famed Second City troupe, he’s hosted Talk Soup on E, starred in Showtime’s hit series Queer as Folk, and has appeared in films such as Spiderman 2 and Dude, Where’s My Car. See him at the Thursday night All Star Show and Saturday night’s Gala of Laughs Finale.

Audiences first discovered Alonzo Bodden on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, as he won season three’s “Best of the Best.” His TV appearances include Fresh Off the Boat and Dr. Ken for ABC, and Californiacation for Showtime. Bodden has also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. See him at Wednesday’s Opening Gala, and Friday’s 
Gala of Laughs.

Fresh off his hit summer one-man show The Hate Tour, beloved Newfoundland comic Shaun Majumder is back in Halifax to share his sharp and incisive takes on society, politics, and life. See him at the Friday Gala of Laughs.

Hosted by Mark Critch, the lineup for the festival also includes: Debra DiGiovanni, Trent McClellan, Ryan Belleville, Tim Nutt, Leonard Chan, Michael Moses, Pete Johansson, Shelina Merani, Eman El-Husseini, Hoodo Hersi, Ted Morris, Andrew Barr, Sophie Buddle, Erica Sigurdson, Matt Falk, Mike Delamont, Angelo Tsarouchas, Drew Behm, Nick Martinello, Adam Delorey, Charles Haycock, Matt Wright, Mayce Galoni, Chanty Marostica, and Andrew Johnston.

HOT ENTERTAINMENT

SHOW TIME
A trio of popular consumer shows return to Halifax Exhibition Centre on Prospect Road.
• March 1–3: Discover the the latest technology, new rides, demos, and more at the Motorcyle and Powersport Show.
• March 8–10: The Atlantic Outdoor Sports & RV Show brings five shows together: camping, hunting/fishing, motorsports, travel, and family fun.
• March 29–31: Planning to build a new home? Renovate? Redecorate? You’ll find products, ideas, inspiration, and expert advice aplenty at the Spring Ideal Home Show.

THE NATURE OF THINGS
Continuing through April 14
With The Memorialist, D’Arcy Wilson offers a surreal look at the contradictions between how we concurrently exploit and try to preserve nature. Wilson works with photography, video, a diorama, a selection of museum and archival objects, and performances. See it at Dalhousie University Art Gallery on University Avenue.

WEST GOES EAST
March 26
Live Art Dance continues its mission of showcasing top contemporary dance from across the country, welcoming Ballet BC. The 16 dancers will perform works by Crystal Pite and Medhi Walerski, plus a new work by Emily Molnar.

ROCK ON
March 26
Head to Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street to revisit the glory days of ‘80s hair rock, as the Rock of Ages Tenth Anniversary Tour comes to town, featuring the music of Twisted Sister, Whitesnake, Poison, Styx, and many others.

THE SONGWRITERS’ CRAFT
March 15
Bruce Guthro’s Songwriters’ Circle returns to the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia. The eponymous local musician invites three friends to join him to jam and explore the songwriters’ craft.

MUSIC-LOVERS’ TRIFECTA
• March 9: The Dartmouth Community Concert Association hosts Sonic Escape—violinist Maria Millar and flutist Shawn Wyckoff—at Woodlawn United Church. The duo performs Four Seasons Rising, a composition that aims to inspire people to take earth-friendly actions.
• March 16–17: Baroque violinist extraordinaire Jeanne Lamon rejoins Symphony Nova Scotia at St. Matthew’s United Church
(page EC5) for works by Bach, Marcello, and Handel.
• March 30: The Cecilia Concert Series at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts features violinist Kerson Leong, performing Eugène Ysaÿe’s six solo sonatas.

 

PEOPLE & PLACES
Continuing through March 31
Focusing on Mi’kmaq and Beothuk visual culture, Jordan Bennett uses painting, sculpture, video, installation, and sound to explore themes of land, language, the act of visiting, and familial ties. See his exhibition Ketu’elmita’jik at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street.

MARCH

March 3
Thank You For Being A Friend
Billed as “the ultimate Golden Girls experience” this not-for-kids puppet show is a loving tribute to the popular sit-com characters, with lots of familiar jokes, quips, and stories.

March 8, 9
Ria Mae
After soaring from Halifax to the top of the Canadian music scene, Mae returns to the Marquee on Gottingen Street for a pair of hometown shows.

March 16
Jeremy Hotz,
The woeful and long-suffering comic (a veteran of the festival circuit) returns, sharing life’s latest indignities at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

March 17
Neptune Theatre
Tonight is your last chance to see the classic farce Noises Off, with a cast that includes rising-star Kirsten Howell.

March 18
Royal Wood
The Ontario pop singer/songwriter turns east, touring material from his new album Ever After the Farewell.

March 21, 24
Symphony Nova Scotia
An old friend returns, as long-time composer-in-residence Dinuk Wijeratne (right) shares his new work Clarinet Concerto, written for his friend (and clarinet master) Kinan Azmeh.

HOT SHOPPING

CRYSTAL PALACE

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.

JEWELS OF THE SEA

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 craftsmen.

Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market

LOCAL HARVEST

  • Located in an innovative and architecturally acclaimed 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 at the Windsor Street institution, showcasing products and vendors you won’t find elsewhere.

TASTY TREATS

  • 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 dietitian is available for consultations and cooking classes.

Levi’s

SPRING INTO FASHION

  • At the Halifax Shopping Centre on Mumford Roads, 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.

HIGHLAND PROUD

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