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Halifax

Hot Dining

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SMALL PLATES, BIG TASTES

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

 

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COCKTAIL HOUR

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

 

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A RESTO WITH A STORY

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

 

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Photo: Emma Smith

LUNCH BUNCH

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

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

 

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HEAD OF THE CLASS *Editor’s Pick*

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

 

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STEAK EXPECTATIONS

For an opulent and unforgettable dining experience, Cut Steakhouse is the downtown’s go-to destination. Contemporary and classy, Cut emphasizes world-class service, with beef dry-aged on site. From the restaurant behind popular Halifax spots like Bistro Le Coq, East of Grafton Tavern, and Waterfront Warehouse.

 

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TEA TIME

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

Hot Shopping

BishopsCellar

LIBATION LOVERS

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

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

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

 

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SWEETS FOR YOUR SWEET

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

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

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

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

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

 

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GOLDFINGER

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

 

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UNIQUE CREATIONS *Editor’s Pick*

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

Hot Entertainment

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Photo: Tammy Fancy

ROCK OUT
January 20

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

 

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STEP UP
January 11 to 13, February 14

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

 

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ARTISTIC EXPLORATIONS
Continuing

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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WITH THIS RING…
January 21

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

 

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

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

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

 

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FEBRUARY
1st: Halifax Hurricanes

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

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

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

 

Concierge Q&A

Todd-Young

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas by the Sea

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

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

 

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Photo: Will Roberts

FAMILY FIRST

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

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

 

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SEASONAL SYMPHONY

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

 

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MORE MERRY MUSIC

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

 

CHRISTMAS COMEDY

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

 

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FESTIVE THEATRE

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

 

 

Hot Dining

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THE SIMPLE THINGS

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

 

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KITCHEN PARTY

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

 

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GO EAST

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

 

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IN WITH THE NEW

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

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

 

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YEAR-ROUND FOOD TRUCKS

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

 

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GATHER BY THE FIRE

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

 

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Photo of Abdul Kadar Sadieh by Bruce Murray

WELCOME HOME

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

Hot Shopping

Newfoundland-Chocolate

GIVE ME SOME SUGAR

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.

 

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UNIQUE CHRISTMAS GIFTS

     —Christmas at the Forum at the Halifax Forum on Windsor Street has been a holiday tradition in the city for four decades. Running from November 3 to 5, this annual festival hosts dozens of vendors, offering gifts, decorations, food, antiques, and more. Discover quality arts and crafts from around the region. On Saturday, admission is two-for-one after 5pm.

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     —Visit the Christkindlmarket from December 1 to 3 at Alderney Market on downtown Dartmouth’s waterfront, where the Halifax Transit ferries dock. This traditional German-style market features crafts, toys, and other arts and crafts, plus lots of holiday entertainment—marionettes, carousel, and musical acts.

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     —From November 17 to 19, Craft Nova Scotia hosts its annual Christmas Show at the Cunard Centre on Halifax’s waterfront. The juried selection includes top-quality textiles, jewelry, and crafts in a variety of media.

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Photo: Christine Darrah

     —The Dalplex Christmas Craft Market is another perennial favourite. Dating back 30 years, it features vendors from across Atlantic Canada selling wares such as pottery, toys, food, and woodwork. Visit Dalplex on South Street from November 24 to 26.

 

     —From November 10 to 12, take a drive to the Halifax Exhibition Centre on Prospect Road for the Christmas Craft Village. It’s another ideal spot to support local artisans while funding unique holiday gifts for everyone on your list.

 

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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.

 

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LOCAL HARVEST

Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Lower Water Street is North America’s oldest farmers’ market, but located on one of the downtown’s most innovative buildings. This modern earth-friendly space delivers unique local products aplenty year-round. Find the best in local wines, craft beer, art, clothing, jewelry, and culinary delights. The Saturday-morning market, with live music and every vendor spot abuzz, is a weekend rite for many families.

 

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KNIT WITS

     —The Loop on Barrington Street is a haven for knitters, supplying a huge variety of yarn. Find patterns to help make accessories for your own wardrobe or to give as gifts. Workshops for knitters of every level.

     —LK Yarns in the Hydrostone Market on Young Street carries a large stock of yarns in textures and colours aplenty.

Hot Entertainment

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HOOP DREAMS
November 24

Team Canada takes on the Bahamas in international men’s basketball action, as Scotiabank Centre hosts a FIBA World Cup Qualifier. The teams battle for slots in the 2019 World Cup in Beijing. Canada is ranked 24th in the world; the Bahamas is 82nd.

 

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Photo: Riley Smith

MAD SCIENCE
Continuing

Recently re-opened in its new home on the Halifax waterfront, the Discovery Centre is a hands-on science centre offering a huge array of education-made-fun experiences: the perfect escape on a foul-weather day. Kids can explore science, technology, engineering, arts, and math through changing exhibits, themed galleries, an innovation lab, and the East Coast’s only immersive dome theatre.

 

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AULD LANG SYNE
December 31

Ring in 2018 with Atlantic Canada’s biggest New Year’s Eve party. The action begins at 10:30pm in Grand Parade Square in front of Halifax City Hall. Highlights include a performance by indie rockers The Strumbellas and local singer/songwriter Ria Mae.

 

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3 FOR MUSIC LOVERS
November 17:
 David Myles is folksy and warm, writes good music, has a charming stage presence, and jams with hip-hop stars like Classified—there are a lot of reasons why he’s one of the East Coast’s most-beloved singer/songwriters. See him in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.

November 24: Virtuoso pianist Wayne Weng has drawn acclaim worldwide—this is a rare chance to see him locally, hosted by the Dartmouth Community Concert Association.

November 25: A West End sell-out now on international tour, The Simon & Garfunkel Story pays homage to the legendary duo with a full live band and state-of-the-art video projection.

 

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ARTISTIC EXPLORATIONS
Continuing: 
Prime Suspects at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street features caricatures of Canadian prime ministers by local artist Bruce MacKinnon.

Continuing through November: Wood, Wind and Water at Art 1274 Hollis showcases works by painter Marilyn Lohnes and wood-turner Ted Monk.

November 2 to 26: Located where the Halifax Transit ferries dock at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, the Craig Gallery hosts Portraits, a collection of new paintings by George Smith.

 

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LET’S GET IT ON *Editor’s Pick*
November 17, 18

Vocalists Cyndi Cain, Owen Lee, and Dutch Robinson join Symphony Nova Scotia at the Dalhousie Arts Centre for Symphonic Soul: The Music of Motown. The lineup includes funky favourites from Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and The Supremes; expect hit songs like “Get Ready,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and “Dancing in the Street.”

 

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NOVEMBER
1st: Frank Mills
It’s an intimate evening of soothing instrumental favourites with the perpetually popular pianist at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

12th: Cecilia Concert Series
Jane Coop performs masterpieces by Beethoven and Rachmaninoff.

24th: Jesse Cook
This renowned nuevo flamenco guitarist is always a local favourite. See him at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

 

Coleman-Lemieux-&-Compagnie Halifax-Mooseheads TomCochrane

DECEMBER
7th to 9th: Live Art Dance Productions
With this Mixed Program of James Kudelka Dances performance, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie explore one of Canada’s top choreographers.

16th: Halifax Mooseheads
In their final home game before the Christmas break, the Herd hosts Nova Scotian rivals Cape Breton at the Scotiabank Centre.

31st: Casino Nova Scotia
Life is a highway and you’re going to ride it all night long, as Tom Cochrane welcomes the new year with two shows.

Concierge Q&A

TrevorProude

Trevor Proude is head concierge at the newly renovated The Hollis: A DoubleTree Suites by Hilton. He’s a member of Les Clefs d’Or and the new director of the Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic region. The organization promotes guest-service expertise worldwide.

Q: What’s the best way to get into the holiday spirit in Halifax?
A: Neptune Theatre is performing It’s a Wonderful Life throughout the holiday season. It’s a great start to get the family in the mood for the holidays.

Q: What’s a great place to find a unique gift in Halifax?
A: Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique and letterpress studio on Brunswick Street carries specialty printed paper products and handmade gifts. There is also Argyle Fine Art on Barrington Street; it’s one of the city’s most progressive contemporary galleries, showcasing emerging artists.

Q: What’s your favourite spot to enjoy a Nova Scotian craft beer?
A: The craft brewing scene in Halifax is exploding. I would suggest trying 2 Crows Brewing on Brunswick Street, Good Robot Brewing on Robie Street, and also The Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar. They specialize in brews made in Prince Edward Island not to mention great food and friendly atmosphere.

Q: What do you recommend for a family whiling away a blustery day in Halifax?
A: Try the Seven Bays Bouldering cafe and rock climbing centre on Gottingen Street in the North End. It’s a fun place for the family for breakfast combined with a little extra adventure.

Q: What do you recommend for visitors who want to experience a unique attraction, restaurant, or shop that they won’t find in the guide books?
A: A couple suggestions come from my fellow Les Clefs d’Or concierges in Halifax. First we have The Kitchen Table on Gottingen Street: a unique dining experience offering an eight-course tasting menu using local and foraged ingredients. Great reviews from our hotel guests. Another best-kept secret is the Bar Kismet on Gottingen Street, a small 30-seat restaurant known for hand-crafted cocktails and seafood appetizers.

Concierge Q&A

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Spencer LeBlanc is lead concierge at the Atlantica Hotel Halifax and a future member of Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic Canada. He has worked in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Poland before returning to his home province of Nova Scotia. He loves Halifax because its beauty and history are so accessible by foot or bicycle.

Q. What’s your pick for August’s can’t-miss event for visitors?
A. At the start of the month (August 2 to 7), the Halifax Busker Festival offer 300 shows over six days on the waterfront, with performers from all over the world. Later (August 20), a local highlight would be the Clam Harbour Sandcastle Contest. There is often more than 100 entries for the annual competition along this beautiful beach on the Eastern Shore.

Q. What’s your favourite Halifax patio for a relaxing drink with friends?
A. Agricola Street Brasserie has a great rooftop patio. The daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. offers up a great mix from local oysters to local craft beers. Agricola Street is known for its eclectic mix of antique shops and vibrant restaurants. Having a drink along this street will truly feel like you are living like a local.

Q. Where should nature lovers go to explore Nova Scotia’s natural beauty?
A. If you are leaving Halifax on a day trip I suggest going down the South Shore, past Lunenburg to the Ovens Natural Park. This site of the 1861 gold rush has a lot to offer. Take the cliff lined hour long walk exploring the sea caves along the way. Try your hand at gold panning on the beach or even stay the night in the rustic cottages. Close to the Ovens is an area called Blue Rocks, which offers some of the best kayaking in Nova Scotia.

Q. If you were picking out one gift for a loved one who hasn’t yet been to Halifax, what would you get?
A. I have a bit of a sweet tooth so my go to gift is always a cake from the Rum Runners shop in Bishops Landing. The Prohibition years had a big impact on Nova Scotia’s history so this gift is a great way to make that connection. It is a bit of Nova Scotia’s history you can taste!

Q. What’s the best place for a visitor to find made-in-Canada fashions and accessories?
A. Canook Trading is a new clothing store on Barrington Street that only carries Canadian-made and designed items. Another great spot is the Made in the Maritime Artisan Boutique store over in the Hydrostone Market on Young Street.

Showstoppers

The Halifax Busker Festival spotlights local talents and street performers from around the globe

Death-defying feats, mind-boggling illusions, side-splitting comedy, and acrobatic grace—showcasing street performers from around the world, the Halifax Busker Festival is one of the city’s most beloved summer celebrations. From August 2 to 7, five Halifax waterfront stages, from the Historic Properties to Bishop’s Landing, host free shows daily.

Throw 2 Catch Jody LeBlancDrawing throngs of locals and visitors alike, these shows provide rollicking entertainment for the whole family. This year, the lineup includes American “acrobat stooges” Throw2Catch. Veterans of the acclaimed Montreal Circus Festival, they combine zany comedy with high-energy acrobatics. Expect “outstanding performances, ingenious conjuring tricks, extravagant dance steps, and memorable interventions with the public.”

Bendy_EmAlways a BuskerFest favourite, Australian contortionist Bendy Em returns to Halifax this month. Originally from the U.K., Emma Kerger is a former competitive gymnast and dancer, who contorts her body into “freakily mindboggling positions.” The highlight is when she squeezes herself into a tiny Perspex box, balanced atop a 2-metre rig. You have to see it to believe it.

Flame Oz 3 Band copyFlameOz is another muchloved Aussie export. The pyromaniacal troupe marries dance, juggling, acrobatics, hula hooping, and a whole lot of fire into a combustible high-energy show. They’re one of the festival’s most popular acts every summer.

SilverElvisRegular festival-goers also hold a special place in their hearts for Silver Elvis. The chromatic King brings Presley to life like no other impersonator. He dances for donations, he poses for selfies, he sings “Hound Dog.” It’s cheesy, nostalgic, and just plain fun.

4550307_origLiving statue Jenny Jupiter taps a similar vein of silliness. The interactive character artist combines mime and clowning to bring her retro-futurist (think Buck Rogers) character to life.

Sharon-MahoneySharon From Canada delights homegrown fans. The hilarious character clown and selfappointed ambassador for the Great White North skewers Canadian stereotypes, wooing audiences with patriotism, politeness, political correctness, and extreme passive aggression. Canadians will roar; international visitors will furrow their brows and say “I don’t get it.”

Diogo-Alvares-06-740x1110If you’re the sort of person who watches magic shows and says “They’re not tricks! They’re illusions…” make sure you see Diogo Alvares. The Brazilian “Master Manipulator” performs a silent show with a musical backdrop, performing illusions with cards, billiard balls, cigarettes, and other ungimmicked items. As the show builds, he offers audiences a spectacle of illusionism that you can usually only see in a theatre show.

Mighty-MikeFinally, don’t miss local star Mighty Mike. At age 14, he sat in the front row at BuskerFest and vowed to perform there some day. As he grew up, Haligonians could see him juggling oranges outside a local grocery store. From those beginnings, he built a classic vaudeville routine and set a Guinness World Record for juggling. Equally impressive are his feats of strength: see him juggle sledgehammers, drive nails with his bare hands, and more.

Hot Dining

_MG_4098PIZZA WITH PIZZAZZ

  • Salvatore’s Pizzaiolo has been a fixture of the North End’s Hydrostone Market for more than 20 years. The pizza is classic and the sandwiches (especially the meatball hero) are mainstays of local best-sandwich lists and awards. The vibe is rustic Italian, while the bar serves locally-made craft beer and wine.
  • Tiny Morris East on Morris Steet is a must-visit for serious pizza fans. Pair a wood-fired signature pizza (like the Blue: tomato sauce, blue cheese, mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula) with a signature cocktail (like a Chipotle Caesar or Watermelon Sangria).
  • Steps from the waterfront boardwalk in Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street, Ristorante a Mano is a classic Italian trattoria. The Quattro Carni (salami, Italian sausage, pancetta, prosciutto) is de rigueur for carnivores, while the handmade pasta comes in varieties to tempt any taste buds. (We recommend the classic four-cheese gnocchi).

IMG_0980DINER DELIGHT

Fans of classic diners will love bright and colourful Robie Street Station, near the Halifax Common. Offerings include all-day breakfast and global comfort food (the hearty “Remedy” with pork belly bacon and a house-made biscuit will cure what ails you). The Robie Street Express is next door, offering freshly baked goods to go.

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

Cut Steakhouse on Lower Water Street has won the prestigious CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award annually since opening in 2008. Its menu features premium dry-aged beef that’s butchered on-site.

SHAKE IT UP

Hip folks who are serious about cocktails flock to Lot Six on Argyle Street. The bartenders have created an array of signature cocktails, many featuring house-made sodas and bitters. Pair with fresh local oysters and the globally inspired small-plates nibbles.

HELLAS GOOD

For 30+ years, locals have loved Athens Restaurant on Quinpool Road. This family restaurant boasts a menu of flavourful Greek specialties like lamb souvlaki, moussaka, spanakopita and calamari. It’s also a popular breakfast spot with a huge weekend brunch buffet, featuring Mediterannean specialties, perogies, beans, and traditional breakfast favourites.

coffee - libA JONES FOR JAVA

  • Perched atop the distinctive Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road, Pavia Espresso Bar & Café boasts sweeping vistas of downtown Halifax and the harbour beyond. Take your coffee outside on the terrace and explore the living roof. Modelled after a European espresso bar, the café features locally roasted coffee, Italian espresso, and gourmet paninis, plus fresh-baked treats.
  • Just steps from Dalhousie and the University of King’s College on Coburg Road, Coburg Coffee House is a local favourite. The menu includes light lunches, bagels, fair-trade coffee, and specialty drinks.
  • Trident Booksellers and Café on Hollis Street is a bibliophile’s dream. In addition to specialty coffees and teas, it’s chockablock with used books of all sorts, with a heavy emphasis on Canadian literature and local authors.

Editor’s Choice: TIME FOR THAI

Talay Thai occupies a historic building on the corner of Hollis and Morris streets in Halifax’s South End. Now wheelchair accessible, the refurbished space boasts the same flavourful cuisine that built the restaurant’s loyal following. The inexpensive lunch menu features many signature dishes, such as masaman curry and pad thai.