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Halifax

Hot Shopping

TASTY TREATS
• Local maple syrup is an unbeatable tasty treat! Take a drive west of Halifax to Acadian Maple in Upper Tantallon to stock up on this sweet local flavour. 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. Plus: local craft beer from Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing. 

 

SHOWTIME!
Throughout the winter, the Halifax Exhibition Centre on Prospect Road hosts consumer shows offering unique shopping opportunities.

• Jan. 23–26: Whether you’re a veteran road warrior or just discovering the lifestyle, the Halifax RV Show & Sale has everything you need for life on the open road. Browse through the latest models and accessories galore. Photo: Erin and Nicholas Bardonnay

• Feb. 6–9:  For recreational boaters, the Halifax International Boat Show is the highlight of the season. From large pleasure craft to versatile little kayaks. 

 

WITH THIS RING…
The Brides 2020 expo on Jan. 19 at the Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street is mandatory for anyone with impending nuptials. Some 135 vendors and exhibitors run the gamut of all things wedding-related: jewelers, travel agents, DJs, caterers, dressmakers, photographers, videographers, financial planners, cosmeticians, planners, tailors, event hosts, and more. Photo: Alex MacAulay

 

ONE FOR THE ROAD
A stay in Nova Scotia isn’t complete without a feed of lobster. But Clearwater Seafood on the Bedford Highway or at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport also packs up fresh crustaceans for your trip home. Other fresh seafood selections include scallops, crab, shrimp, and clams.

 

FRESH LOOKS
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. 

 

CELTIC CONNECTION
Looking for your family tartan? Exploring Scottish or Irish heritage? Want a piece of Celtic-themed jewelry? Curious about the breezy comfort of a kilt? It’s time to visit Plaid Place in Barrington Place Shops. The selection also includes Buchan pottery (stoneware pottery made in Portobello, Scotland), hoodies, ties, socks, gifts, and jewelry. 

 

CLASSIC BEAUTY
Never out of fashion, pearls boast timeless elegance. At Pearl City in Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street, you’ll find all manner of pearl jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, and custom designs. Prices to suit most budgets. 

Hot Entertainment

3 FOR MUSIC LOVERS

• Jan. 17: Whether he’s with Blue Rodeo or flying on his own, Jim Cuddy is one Canada’s top singer/songwriters. See him and the eponymous Jim Cuddy Band at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

 

• Feb 12: Halifax native Jenn Grant always puts on an outstanding show for her hometown fans. Don’t miss this chance to see the critically acclaimed folk-pop singer/songwriter in her natural element.

 

• Feb. 21: For the last two decades, B.C.’s Theory of a Deadman has been one of Canada’s most popular rock acts. See them in the cozy confines of the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

 

NEW FOR SPORTS FANS
Feb. 21

The Halifax Thunderbirds continue their inaugural National Lacrosse League season. What it lacks in international attention lacrosse more than makes up for in action, marrying the skill and physicality of hockey with the blazing offence and wild tempo changes of basketball. Dating back to traditional Native athletics, it’s Canada’s other national sport. In their final home game of the month, the Thunderbirds host Toronto at Scotiabank Centre. Photo: Ryan McCullough / National Lacrosse League

 

JOINING FORCES
Continuing

At Halifax’s NSCAD University, the art of lithography isn’t just surviving, it’s thriving. In the exhibition Contemporary Editions at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street, NSCAD master printer Jill Graham partners with artists from across the country to showcase the medium. See eight new works that celebrate lithography’s traditions while pushing new boundaries. 

 

LET FREEDOM RING
Jan. 18

The Dream Continues is the Nova Scotia Mass Choir’s annual tribute to the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. This annual concert is a soul-stirring and inspiring celebration, showcasing the choir’s diverse talents and featuring guest performers aplenty. Photo: Adams Photography

 

FAIRYTALE WORLD
Feb. 16

The young talents from the School of Dance at the Maritime Conservatory of the Arts bring the classic Cinderella to life at Spatz Theatre on Trollope Street. See the ballet, set to Prokofiev’s classic score, at 1pm and 4pm.

 

Jan. 2
Halifax Hurricanes

The hometown pro basketball team is back in action at Scotiabank Centre, on Duke Street hosting Maritime rivals Moncton.

 

Jan. 16
Jim Gaffigan

Known for his wry observational comedy, often dwelling on topics like fatherhood, Gaffigan packs houses from coast to coast.

 

Jan. 21
Neptune Theatre

A regular on the Neptune stage, actor Heather McGuigan returns tonight, starring in The Last Five Years, which continues through Feb. 9.

 

Feb. 2
Symphony Nova Scotia

Baroque violinist extraordinaire Jeanne Lamon teams up with the Symphony again for A Baroque Grand Tour at St. Andrew’s church on Coburg Road.

 

Feb. 8
Cecilia Concerts

Plunge into the music of Sergei Prokofiev, Leoš Janáček, and Béla Bartók with pianist Hsin-I Huang and violinist Blake Pouliot.

 

Feb. 28
Letterkenny Live

Jared Keeso stars in the crass Canadian comedy Letterkenny, which has become an international hit. See him and his castmates in this sidesplitting live show. Photo: Tammy Fancy

Concierge Q&A

Trevor Proude is head concierge at The Hollis Halifax—A Doubletree Suites by Hilton. He is a musician and limousine chauffeur, and regional director for Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic.

What’s one event no visitor to Halifax should miss this winter?

On Jan. 18, the Nova Scotia Mass Choir presents The Dream Continues, its annual tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. This amazing and inspirational evening always wows audiences. Throughout February, the Savour Food & Wine Festival showcases the very best of Atlantic Canada’s food scene, with the Savour show spotlighting over 70 of Nova Scotia’s finest restaurants and food and beverage producers. Learn more in the cover story.

Where should a visitor go for a traditional Maritime pub experience?

Right in the centre of downtown Halifax is Durty Nelly’s on Argyle Street, a favourite with visitors and locals alike. Excellent pub food, great beer, and regular entertainment with well known local artists. Closer to the waterfront, the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse on Prince Street bills itself as the “Celtic Heart of the Maritimes,” with a full menu, daily specials, a great atmosphere and live entertainment.

Where can visitors find unique gifts for Valentine’s Day?

I recommend the Heart Box by Rousseau Chocolatier, a Valentine’s themed gift basket from Sweet Jane’s, a spa experience from Spirit Spa, jewelry from Fireworks Gallery or a special card from Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique.

What’s a good way for a family to spend a blustery winter day in Halifax?

Blustery or not, the skating Oval on the Halifax Common is fun for the whole family. The Oval is an outdoor skating rink equivalent in size to three NHL hockey rinks. Helmets and skates available (free with a government-issued photo ID).  

What does Nova Scotia have to offer skiing enthusiasts?

We may not be known for our giant mountains but we have two excellent locations for downhill skiing (and night skiing). Martock, in Windsor, offers skiing and snowboarding and Ski Wentworth in the Wentworth Valley is the largest alpine ski facility in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia also offers several excellent cross country ski trails: see crosscountryns.ca.

What’s the most common misconception visitors have about Halifax?

That we are just a fishing village! Yes, we do have amazing fishing villages like Peggy’s Cove nearby, and the most amazing seafood as a result. But we also have completely unique Neptune Theatre which showcases top-notch productions, Symphony Nova Scotia whose members wow us every time, a thriving food scene, an equally thriving craft-beer and cider scene, the best pubs in Canada, the most breathtaking beaches and trails, the very best musicians and entertainers, a growing art community, the highest tides in the world and the second deepest harbour in the world. We are very proud of our city and province—come back and see more!

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.

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.