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Halifax

Hot Shopping

Shopping_Panache

SOMETHING FOR HOME

At Panache Luxury Linens on Isleville Street, cozy and luxurious linens are the house specialty. Designs showcase high-quality silk, Giza Egyptian cotton, linen and micro modal fabrics, woven by specialty mills in Germany and Italy. The selection also includes foaming bath, soaps, and other beauty products. 

Find inspiration for your home décor with a visit to Thornbloom on South Park Street. It offers an array of stylish essentials such as bedding, kitchenware, and furniture, plus accent pieces and pillows, frames, and candles. 

 

Shopping_MITM

LOCAL LOVE

At Made in the Maritimes Artisan Boutique in Sunnyside Mall and the Hydrostone on Young Street, you’ll find a selection of fine art and paintings by artists from around the Maritimes. Quirky cushions made of rich textiles feature nautical logos and regional sayings. A beauty section includes products made from natural ingredients. 

 

Shopping_Clearwater-Seafood

FOODIE FAVOURITES

• 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. 

• 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.

Shopping_Pier-21-Gift-Shop

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 offers local art and books, pewter gifts, and museum-branded swag aplenty. 

• Nearby at the Designer Craft Shop on Marginal Road, Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council members display their creations. Browse through artistic etchings, silk clothing, and handmade jewelry. An expert jury approves every item.

 

Shopping_MEC

FRESH-AIR FIENDS *Editor’s Pick*

If you’re an outdoor adventurer, Halifax is the perfect base of operations: just minutes from downtown you’ll find seaside trails, dense forest, and natural splendour. MEC on Granville street is the perfect place to gear up for your expedition. Backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, boots, cooking gear: find what you need for any expedition, from day hiking to backwoods camping.

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_Measha-Brueggergosman

THE RIGHT NOTES
September 14

The Cecilia Concert Series launches its 30th season at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts with Classica Vocem, showcasing the considerable talents of soprano Measha Brueggergosman. She’ll perform works by Claude Debussy, George Frideric Handel, and Johan Halvorsen.

 

Entertainment_Art-Gallery-of-Nova-Scotia

ART TRIO 

Continuing through the season, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street features Hiroshige: The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō. This unique exhibition spotlights woodcut prints by ukiyo master Utagawa Hiroshige depicting middle-class Japanese life in the early 1800s. 

Continuing through September 9, The Craig Gallery at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth—where the Halifax Transit ferries dock—hosts Reflexive, an exhibition of works by Sophie Paskins, Wayne Boucher, Donna Boyko, Sharon Irving-Kennedy, and Ted Lind.

On September 1, the Dalhousie Art Gallery starts the fall season with From the Vault: Ars Longa, featuring highlights from its 1,300-piece permanent collection. See it until October 2.

 

Entertainment_Neptune

THE BARD’S TALE
September 4 to October 7

Neptune Theatre’s new fall season begins this month with Shakespeare in Love: The Play. Allister MacDonald stars as the eponymous playwright, finding inspiration in the beautiful muse Viola, who is determined to appear in his next play. 

 

Entertainment_Steve-Earle-and-the-Dukes

MUSIC MIX

September 14: The acclaimed outlaw rocker Steve Earle, plus his band The Dukes, take over the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

September 21: Country legend Carroll Baker performs a mix of gospel standards and her greatest hits at the Dalhousie Arts Centre. 

 

Entertainment_Shauntay-Grant

THE GOOD WORD
September 15

The Word on the Street, a one-day celebration of the printed word, returns to the Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road. Check out readings, author Q&As, a sale of Atlantic Canadian books, and much more. This year’s lineup includes poet Brian Bartlett, environmental crusader Joan Baxter, photographer Len Wagg, and poet/children’s author Shauntay Grant.

 

Entertainment_Pan-American-Canoe-Sprint-Championships

GOING FOR GOLD *Editor’s Pick*
September 13 to 16

Some 250 paddlers from 20 countries compete in the Pan American Canoe Sprint Championships at Lake Banook in Dartmouth. The international competition features a mix of paddling’s top talents and rising stars.

 

Entertainment_Lilly-Hiatt Entertainment_Tommy-Emmanuel Entertainment_Ben-Caplan

SEPTEMBER:
1st: Halifax Urban Folk Festival
Lilly Hiatt joins a Songwriters’ Circle with Brad Roberts and Mick Davis, before Tim Baker + The Hfx All Stars take the stage at The Carleton. 

4th: Tommy Emmanuel
The Australian guitar legend returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre for another intimate show.

14th: Ben Caplan
The folk/roots musician always puts on a memorable show for his hometown fans. See him at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue. 

Entertainment_Sophie-Buddle Entertainment_Linda-Brooks Entertainment_David-Myles
Linda Brooks photo: Mark Maryanovich

14th, 15th: Last Laugh Comedy Club
Comic Sophie Buddle has moved across the country to take a writing gig with This Hour Has 22 Minutes—excellent news for stand-up fans. See her at the Atlantica Hotel on Robie Street.

23rd: Halifax Public Gardens Summer Concert Series
Join Linda Brooks at the bandstand in the heart of the gardens for the final free matinee concert of the season. 

28th, 29th: Symphony Nova Scotia
Singer/songwriter David Myles joins the symphony, putting a twist on his classic hits with new orchestral arrangements. 

Concierge Q & A

Concierge_Diane-Munroe

Diane Munroe has been in the hospitality industry for 20 years, starting out at the Keltic Lodge in guest services as a housekeeper. Diane is now an active member of Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic and resident-services manager at Bishop’s Landing in Halifax.

Q: What’s the best thing about September in the city?
A: The best thing about Halifax in September for me is enjoying the Halifax waterfront. The weather is amazing and after the busy summer it is nice to get out and experience all of our local shops and restaurants. From Casino Nova Scotia south to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 you’ll find the Historic Properties and many unique businesses. Here you can also hop on the Halifax Transit ferry for a quick sail across the harbour to explore compact and charming downtown Dartmouth.

Q: What’s a fun spot for a family dinner in the city?
A: The Bluenose II Restaurant is a great place for a family dinner. The downtown diner boasts a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and there is something for everyone on this menu: Greek specialties, fresh seafood, burgers, all-day breakfast, and a lot more. There’s a reason locals have loved this spot since it opened in 1964.

Q: Where can readers go to enjoy great live music?
A: The Lower Deck Pub—Beer Market is in the heart of the Historic Properties directly on the Halifax Waterfront and it’s a great place to take in some live Nova Scotian music. With big communal tables, a harbourside patio, boisterous and friendly atmosphere, and great local beers on tap, it offers the quintessential Maritime-pub experience. There’s live East Coast music nightly, plus weekend matinees. 

Q: What can sports fans do in Halifax this month?
A: If you brought along your golf clubs on this trip, head for the Ashburn Golf Club on Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax. Known as Old Ashburn (the club has a newer course outside the city), this historic course was crafted by acclaimed architect Stanley Thompson. A throwback to another era, it measures just 5,210 yards, which belies its difficulty. Compact greens and a naturally rolling landscape make this one a challenge even for long-time players.

Q: Where should readers go to find a unique piece of jewelry?
A: You will always find something unique at Frida Jewellery, located in Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street. Here you can get individually designed jewelry that is hand made using metals, gemstones and diamonds.

Hit the Road

Hit-the-Road_Planters-Ridge

There’s a lot to see and do in Halifax, but on a glorious summer day, it’s hard to beat the allure of a road trip. Whatever your taste, you’ll find an attractive destination near Halifax

By: Trevor J. Adams

SEASIDE RAMBLES

About a 45-minute drive west of Halifax on Route 333, you’ll come to the historic fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Ramble amongst the homes, fish sheds, and small local businesses, and you’ll see fishermen preparing for their next excursion on the wild North Atlantic, just as their ancestors have for generations. Perched on the rocks above the ocean is the village’s iconic lighthouse, one of the most-photographed sites in Nova Scotia. Here you’ll also find The Sou’wester, a friendly family restaurant that has been serving boiled lobster, seafood chowder, and fish and chips for five decades. (The home-style gingerbread is a local favourite).

Hit-the-Road_Peggy's-Cove
Photo: Tammy Fancy

Continue west on scenic Route 3 for about 130 kilometres, and you’ll make your way through the picturesque seaside villages of Chester and Mahone Bay. Your final destination on this itinerary is Lunenburg. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town is noted for its distinct historic architecture, and large assortment of world-class restaurants, galleries, and boutiques. It’s also the home port of the Bluenose II schooner, which graces the Canadian dime. While here, be sure to visit the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. Meet retired fishermen and learn about the East Coast’s fishing heritage from a plethora of exhibitions and artifacts.

 

Hit-the-Road_Clam-Harbour-Sandcastle-Competition
Photo: HRM

EASTERN ADVENTURES

Nova Scotia’s wild and rugged Eastern Shore is the perfect destination for hikers, kayakers, and beach lovers. About an hour’s drive east of the city on Highway 107, you’ll come to Clam Harbour Beach. This giant sandy beach is a local favourite, offering spectacular ocean vistas, good (albeit a bit chilly) swimming conditions, and balmy ocean breezes. On August 12, it hosts the Clam Harbour Sand Castle Competition.

Also in this area, you’ll find Memory Lane Heritage Village in nearby Lake Charles. This living-history village re-creates life in a 1940s-era rural Nova Scotian village, with several carefully restored buildings and expert guides and interpreters. It hosts special events throughout the summer, including the Atlantic Canada Harmonica Festival on August 11. And while you’re there, try a traditional meal in the cookhouse.

 

Hit-the-Road_Meander
Photo: Trevor J. Adams

EPICURIAN ESCAPADES

Heading northwest from Halifax on scenic Route 1 will lead you to the fecund Annapolis Valley. It’s known as “the breadbasket of Nova Scotia” and you’ll see why, with lush farms, orchards, and vineyards everywhere you look. En route, take a short detour into Ashdale and you’ll discover the charming little Meander River Farm craft brewery. It’s a great place to discover unique Nova Scotian beers and other farm products. (Phone ahead, hours vary).

Back on track to the Valley, you’ll next come to the Avondale Sky Winery & Restaurant in Windsor. Located in a restored church, this little gem of a spot offers a variety of wines, with tasty food pairings in the restaurant. Also in Windsor, you’ll discover the Schoolhouse Brewery, another small spot serving local (English-style) brews.

As you continue, keep an eye out for the many markets and produce stands (often a simple table at the end of a farm’s driveway) selling seasonal local produce. And history buffs will want to make a stop at Grand-Pré National Historic Site to learn about Nova Scotia’s early Acadian settlers.

The next major town you’ll come to is Wolfville. Just before you hit the downtown, you’ll come to Luckett Vineyards, one of the many wineries in this region. There’s a wine bar on site, and it hosts special events throughout the season. Also in Wolfville is Paddy’s Pub, a neighbourhood favourite brewpub serving house-made beers and hearty pub food.

There are many more wineries, breweries, and restaurants to explore in this region. If you decide to stay longer, drop by a visitor-info centre for a free guidebook.

 

Hot Dining

Dining_Battery-Park-Beer-Bar

PATIO PARTY

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.

 

Dining_Sugah
Photo: Tammy Fancy

CHILL OUT

When exploring city streets, beat the heat with a tasty 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.

 

Dining_Relish

BURGER BUDDIES

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.

 

Dining_Bicycle-Thief

SOME ENCHANTED EVENING *Editor’s Pick*

Old World style meets New World attitude at this relaxed-yet-stylish waterfront spot. The Bicycle Thief is the playground of acclaimed chef Maurizio Bertossi. The menu showcases his Northern Italian roots, offering traditional comfort food with a New World air and plenty of playful innovations. The satisfying and artful house-made pasta dishes are always a hit; the Linguine all’Aragosta features fresh Atlantic lobster, taken to new heights with a rich sauce and fresh pasta. Pair with a selection from the well-curated wine list, showcasing vintages from around the world, with a heavy Italian emphasis. Cap your meal with a decadent dessert. The menu is ever-evolving; at press time, highlights include lemon blueberry cake, ice-cream cake, crème brûlée, gelato sundaes, pecan pie, and lemon cheesecake.

 

Dining_Maxwell's-Plum
Photo: Tammy Fancy

LOCAL FAVOURITES

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 craft beers and brews 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.

 

Hot Shopping

Shopping_Olsen-Europe

FUN 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. 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.

 

Shopping_John-David-Shoes

STEP UP

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 Europe.

 

Shopping_North-Brewing-Co
Photo: Trevor J. Adams

FOR BEER LOVERS

Just steps from the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, the Garrison Beer Store on Terminal Road peddles beers from one of the province’s oldest crafter brewers. On tap, you’ll find seasonal creations and longstanding favourites like raspberry wheat, Irish red, and more.

Fans of Belgian-style brews will want to sample from North Brewing on Agricola Street. This tiny brewery produces Old World ales that are bursting with flavour, all with an earth-friendly commitment. You’ll find its brews, and many others, at stores like Bishop’s Cellar on Lower Water Street, West Side on Lacewood Drive, and Rockhead on North Street, plus beers from breweries around the province, and of international imports.

 

Shopping_Twiggz

KIDS WITH STYLE

Outfit the kids for the season and beyond with a trip to Urban Kids on Chain Lake Drive in Halifax or 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 trends in kids’ fashions. 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.

 

Shopping_Fireworks

ONE OF A KIND *Editor’s Pick*

At Fireworks Gallery on Barrington Street, goldsmiths create custom jewelry with a fusion of Old World techniques and 21st-century technology. Help create your own design in gold, silver, or platinum, and with precious gemstones. Repair and restoration services available.

 

Shopping_NovaScotian-Crystal

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.

 

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_Derek-Edwards

CITY CELEBRATION
August 3 to 6
The Halifax Natal Day Festival celebrates the city’s birthday with a variety of special events: parades, concerts, fireworks, road races, a talent showcase, and live comedy. Things kick off on August 3 with the 9th Annual Natal Day Comedy Night at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street, starring Just For Laughs veteran Derek Edwards.

 

Entertainment_Ciolfe-Public-Gardens-Bandstand
Photo: Terra Ciolfe

TUNE IN
Continuing
It’s hard to imagine a better way to while away a languid Sunday afternoon than the Halifax Public Gardens Summer Concert Series. Every Sunday from 2pm to 4pm, the bandstand at the heart of the Halifax Public Gardens on Spring Garden Road hosts matinee concerts showcasing local talents. Enjoy live music amidst the East Coast’s nest Victorian gardens.

 

Entertainment_Grafton-Street-Dinner-Theatre

SUMMER STAGES

• Continuing through the summer, a classic musical gets an East Coast twist, as Grafton Street Dinner Theatre presents The Sound A Music, B’ye. With lively music, warm comedy, and lots of audience interaction, the beloved story moves from Austria to the Maritimes, all paired with a three-course dinner.

• Returning on August 31, the Halifax Fringe Festival celebrates cutting-edge theatre with shows at venues around the city, featuring local, national, and international talents. It continues through September 10.

 

Entertainment_Sea-Dome

OCEAN EXPERIENCES
Continuing
The Sea Dome theatre near the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on the Halifax waterfront offers an immersive 360-degree film experience exploring our unique ocean connection. This summer’s shows include A Whale Story and Bluenose: The Legend Lives (exploring the history of the iconic schooner that graces the Canadian dime).

 

Entertainment_Art-Gallery-of-Nova-Scotia

MADE HERE
Continuing through September 18
The Nova Scotia Spotlight series at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street spotlights some of the provinces most influential artists. In August, the focus is on acclaimed textile artist Laurie Swim. With a career spanning five decades (and three top-selling books to her credit), Swim is hailed as one of Canada’s top textile artists.

 

Entertainment_Halifax-Busker

STREET FEATS *Editor’s Pick*
August 1 to 6
Canada’s oldest and largest event of its kind, Halifax Busker Festival showcases musicians, illusionists, acrobats, comedians, and all manner of street performers from around the world. This year’s roster includes Halifax strongman Mighty Mike, circus performer Hannah Cryle, fire artists Incendia Motus, and the ever-popular Silver Elvis. Five waterfront stages host free shows daily.

 

Entertainment_Scotia-Speedworld Entertainment_Beer-Fest Entertainment_Nancy-Wilson
Scotia Speedworld photo: Pat Healey; Halifax Seaport Beerfest photo: Steve Jess

AUGUST:
3rd: Scotia Speedworld
The motor-sports season continues with races in several divisions. Today’s races in support of the Canadian National Autism Foundation.

10th, 11th: Halifax Seaport Beerfest
Returning to the Cunard Centre on Marginal Road, this festival showcases craft beer, imported beer, and cider from across the continent, plus Irish and Icelandic brews.

15th: Nancy Wilson
The acclaimed Heart guitarist and multi-award-winning performer takes the stage at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue.

Entertainment_Thane-Dunn Entertainment_WWE-Live Entertainment_Brad-Roberts

16th: Casino Nova Scotia
Acclaimed Presley impersonator Thane Dunn takes over the Schooner Showroom for Elvis Rock and Country.

25th: WWE Live
Superstars of Smackdown Live comes to the Halifax Forum on Windsor street for an evening of high- octane pro wrestling.

31st: Halifax Urban Folk Festival
This small-stages festival kicks off tonight with an intimate performance by Crash Test Dummies frontman Brad Roberts at The Carleton on Argyle Street.

Concierge Q & A

Concierge_Penny-Cameron

Penny Cameron is the Regional Secretary for Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic Region and was the first female concierge in our region to receive the golden keys. After 30 years with The Prince George, she is now part of the concierge team at Parkland at the Gardens, a luxury retirement residence in Halifax.

Q: What’s your pick for Halifax’s can’t-miss August event?
A: In August, the waterfront is alive with action. From August 1 to 6, the Halifax Busker Festival offers 300 shows at various stages on the waterfront with performers from all over the world. If you are here during the first week in August, you’ll also catch the Halifax Natal Day Festival, celebrating the city’s birthday. There’s great beach weather in August too; check out the Clam Harbour Sandcastle Competition taking place on our Eastern Shore.

Q: What’s a great way for outdoor adventurers to spend the day in the Halifax area?
A: The Halifax Harbour is a stone’s throw from the downtown and a great way to see Halifax from the water is by sea kayak. Kayak Halifax—at Sands at Salter on the waterfront—offers two-hour and full-day tours with professional guides enabling you to explore the second largest natural harbour in the world. Or join Kattuk Expeditions in Fisherman’s Cove for the Sunset Kayak Tour to McNab’s Island.

Q: How can a family make a rainy day fun in Halifax?
A: I always recommend the Discovery Centre to families visiting Halifax, a unique experience offering four floors of interactive exhibits including an immersive dome theatre. It’s open from 10am to 5pm daily in a new beautiful facility on the waterfront.

Q: Where should diners go to experience unique Nova Scotian wines?
A: Visitors are often surprised to learn of Nova Scotia’s thriving wine industry and if you have time, a visit to the wineries in the Gaspereau Valley is well worth the trip. Tour companies such as Grape Escapes Wine Tours offer excellent day trips to the award-winning wineries. Many restaurants support local wineries and offer the best of Nova Scotia wines. Obladee Wine Bar has an extensive wine list along with small plates and charcuterie boards. They also offer private tastings for small groups. Make sure you try our Tidal Bay wines, unique to Nova Scotia and learn more about Nova Scotia wines at Bishop’s Cellar.

Q: Where can travellers find a unique memento of their visit?
A: Head to the Hydrostone Market on Young Street and take home a unique gift from Made in the Maritimes Artisan Boutique. Lady Luck Boutique nearby is also a great spot to purchase locally made jewellery and art. Downtown, Amos Pewter offers beautiful locally-made pewter crafts, frames, and gift ideas.

Jazz on a Summer’s Day

Jazz_Chaka-Kahn

International all-stars and local talents share the stage

By: Trevor J. Adams

 

The city is alive with music this month as the Halifax Jazz Festival returns from July 10 to 15. This annual festival is a hit with locals and visitors alike, offering a mix of free and ticketed shows—classic jazz, the blues, reggae, indie rock, and more. It’s little wonder this is Halifax’s most popular summer festival.

It’s a jam-packed schedule, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Here are our can’t-miss picks to ensure you experience the best JazzFest has to offer.

 

Jazz_Molly-Johnson
Molly Johnson

JULY 10

The action starts with a free evening concert (the only free evening concert at the waterfront main stage) featuring the Halifax All Star Jazz Revue and Molly Johnson. An award-winning vocalist, Johnson is one of Canada’s top jazz talents and best known to many as a CBC Radio host. In her latest album, Because of Billie, she celebrates the music and influence of Billie Holiday.

 

Jazz_The-War-on-Drugs
The War on Drugs

JULY 11

The waterfront stage hosts free performances every afternoon, while Alvvays and The War on Drugs take over in the evening for a concert of high-octane indie-rock. And if you’re a jazz purist, be sure to catch a show (or two, or three) at St. Matthew’s United Church on Barrington Street. Tonight, the acoustically perfect venue hosts jazz pianist extraordinaire Laila Biali.

 

Jazz_Chaka-Khan2
Chaka Khan

JULY 12

Chaka. Khan. Those two words should be all you need. But to amplify the point: the funk/R&B legend has won 10 Grammys and sold 70 million records over her illustrious career. VH1 ranked her 17th on its list of the “100 Greatest Women in Rock & Roll.” She’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. See this once-in-a-lifetime show at the main stage starting around 8pm.

 

Jazz_Dub-Kartel
Dub Kartel

JULY 13

Friday nights are for dancing. Halifax reggae ensemble Dub Kartel joins New Orleans brass ensemble The Soul Rebels for a lively evening performance on the waterfront. Staying up late? The Carleton hosts a series of shows that start at 11:15pm and continue into the wee hours. Tonight, hometown jazz hero Jeri Brown takes the stage.

 

Jazz_Kitty-and-the-Katz
Kitty and the Katz

JULY 14

Hydrostone Park on Young Street, in the heart of the stylish Hydrostone neighbourhood, hosts a free matinee concert, starting at 1pm with Kitty and the Katz. Downtown you’ll find more free shows in the evening, with local talents performing at Le Bistro by Liz, Baton Rouge, and Obladee wine bar.

 

Jazz_Daniel-Caesar
Daniel Caesar

JULY 15

A full slate of Sunday shows wraps up the festival, with Canadian R&B talents Daniel Caesar and Charlotte Day Wilson sharing the stage. Finally, take a stroll up the hill to the Seahorse Tavern on Gottingen Street for the festival’s oFFcial after party, starting at 10:30pm. There will be (even more) live music, and special guests aplenty.

 

THE PEOPLE BEHIND JAZZFEST

The Halifax Jazz Festival, formerly known as the Atlantic Jazz Festival, is the oldest jazz festival and largest summer festival in Atlantic Canada. Each year it attracts some 55,000 visitors, involves 450 volunteers, and employs over 350 local musicians. Throughout the year, organizers work to widen Halifax’s musical horizons, organizing a range of concerts and musical-education activities.

For a complete schedule and venue information, surf to halifaxjazzfestival.ca.

Hot Dining

Dining_Shore-Club
Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia

A SHORE THING

The Shore Club Lobster Supper in Hubbards is an essential Nova Scotian experience. 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.

 

Dining_Stubborn-Goat-Beer-Garden

CHEERS!

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

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, one of the downtown’s most popular gastropubs—tacos, nachos, fish and chips, burgers, salads, croquettes, and more.

 

Dining_Primal-Kitchen-Credit-Trevor-J.-Adams
Photo: Trevor J. Adams

INDULGE YOUR INSTINCTS

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.

 

Dining_Sushi-Nami
Photo: Trevor J. Adams

ASIAN APPETITE

With 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.

 

Dining_Vines-Pasta-Grill

PASTA PERFECTION

The Vines Pasta Grill on Panavista Drive in Dartmouth is a neighbourhood favourite. You’ll find all the Italian favourites you’d expect—seafood linguine, veal marsala, penne arrabiata, gnocchi, and pizza—plus a much-loved Sunday brunch buffet.

 

Dining_Sou'Wester
Photo: Tammy Fancy

ON THE ROCKS *Editor’s Pick*

For five decades, The Sou’wester has been serving up fresh seafood and Maritime hospitality alongside the wild North Atlantic in Peggy’s Cove. With a spectacular view of the ocean and the village’s iconic lighthouse, this is an ideal spot to try can’t-miss dishes like fish and chips, boiled lobster, and scratch-made gingerbread.

 

Dining_Cora

START STRONG

• 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, paired with heaping helpings 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. Try a traditional poppy seed, a sweet treat like banana chocolate, or a savoury selection with rosemary, sea salt, and olive oil.

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.

Hot Shopping

Shopping_Inkwell

UNIQUE 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 design services of social stationery available.

 

Shopping_Halifax-Seaport-Farmers-Market

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, 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 Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday morning and has become a North End neighbourhood favourite, showcasing products and vendors you won’t find elsewhere.

 

Shopping_NovaScotian-Crystal

CRYSTAL CREATIONS

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.

 

Shopping_Halifax-Folklore-Centre

MUSICAL ROOTS

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.

 

Shopping_Sweet-Jane's

HOW SWEET IT IS

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

 

Shopping_Levi's-@RILEYSMITHPHOTO
Photo: Riley Smith

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

• On Spring Garden Road, Shop Olsen Europe has fresh new looks and trends. Inspired by styles on runways and in the streets, this line is known for its quality and sophistication. Fabrics chosen to reflect a company commitment to sustainability.

• 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.

 

Shopping_Bishops-Landing

ON THE WATERFRONT *Editor’s Pick*

As you stroll the Halifax waterfront, stylish Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street is a must-visit shopping destination: find a tasty and unique gift for the folks back home at Rum Runnersdistinctive creations at Frida Custom Jewellery Design, finely crafted pearl works at Pearl City, a huge array of local wine and craft beer at Bishop’s Cellar, and more.

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_Cores-de-Bahia

LAST CALL
Continuing through July 2
It’s your last chance to see the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street. The world’s largest annual indoor show of its type features military and civilian performers from around the world. Highlights include Australia’s Scots College Pipe & Drums, Brazilian circus troupe Cores de Bahia, German Air Force Band Munster, the Jordanian Armed Forces Royal Guard Silent Drill Team, and the American 2d Marine Division Band.

 

Entertainment_Peggy's-Cove-Festival-of-the-Arts-Credit-Trevor-J.-Adams
Photo: Trevor J. Adams

ART EXPLORATIONS
July 4 to 16
Several coastal communities join together for the Peggy’s Cove Area Festival of the Arts, showcasing the region’s artistic talents. From July 14 to 16, you can meet and mingle with artists working around the village of Peggy’s Cove for the Paint Peggy’s Cove event. Throughout the festival, find art sales, studio tours, and live entertainment.

 

Entertainment_Maritime-Fiddle-Festival

STRING THEORY
July 6 to 9
The Maritime Fiddle Festival is the East Coast’s longest-running music festival, drawing loyal fans year after year. The celebration of old-time fiddling and traditional music includes master classes, dances, competitions, and concerts aplenty. The East Dartmouth Community Centre on Caledonia Road hosts.

 

Entertainment_Shakespeare-by-the-Sea

PLAY OUTSIDE *Editor’s Pick*
Continuing
Shakespeare by the Sea showcases the works of the Bard (plus other classics) in the seaside splendour of Point Pleasant Park at the tip of the South End. This month’s lineup includes Othello, Twelfth Night, and Alice in Wonderland. Performances Tuesday to Sunday at 7pm, with 1pm weekend matinees.

 

Entertainment_Bedford-Days

FAMILY FUN

Continuing through July 2: Bedford Days is a family favourite with live entertainment, fireworks, and more.

• July 5 to 8: The Lebanese Festival takes over the Olympic Community Centre on Hunter Street with art, music, games, and great food aplenty.

• July 7: The Dragon Boat Festival on Lake Banook in Dartmouth is an annual amateur-sport fundraiser, with colourful boats racing in good-natured competition.

• Continuing through July: FIN Outdoor hosts free film screenings in the Halifax Public Gardens. This year’s theme: “The Summer of Henson”—The Dark Crystal (July 6), The Muppets (July 13), and Labyrinth (July 20).

 

Entertainment_Pride-Parade
Photo: Terra Ciolfe

ALL TOGETHER NOW
July 19 to 29
Atlantic Canada’s largest annual Pride celebration returns. The Halifax Pride Festival includes all-welcome community celebrations throughout the month: art exhibitions, a family picnic, film screenings, concerts, and parties. The huge Pride Parade returns on July 21.

 

Entertainment_Canada-Day Entertainment_Sebastian-Bach Entertainment_Pete-Zedlacher

JULY:
1st: Canada Day
Halifax celebrates our national holiday with a community breakfast, parades, concerts, fireworks, citizenship ceremonies, and more.

4th: Casino Nova Scotia
Best known as the front man of the Canadian ‘80s metal stars Skid Row, Sebastian Bach continues his lively solo career. See him in the Schooner Showroom.

6th, 7th: Last Laugh Comedy Club
The pop-up comedy club returns to the Atlantica Hotel, as comic Pete Zedlacher headlines the show.

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17th to 19th: Neptune Theatre
The Argyle Street Kitchen Party is a rollicking immersion into East Coast story and song. For these shows, Mo Kenney shares the stage.

20th to 22nd: Africa Festival of Arts and Culture
Sharing and encouraging young artists, Afrifest celebrates African heritage with music, art, and dance.

28th, 29th: Atlantic Motorsport Park
A lively month of racing action wraps up with weekend competition at the Mill Village track.