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Nova Scotia

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 has been in the hotel industry for 15 years recently becoming regional director for Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic, which is a part of an international association of concierges. 

What’s one event no visitor to the Halifax area should miss this month?
Halifax is alive with music in July, beginning with the famous Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo until July 6. This year’s theme is “The Power of Peace.” The Tattoo truly has something for everyone; it is emotional, dramatic, and entertaining. Up next is the Halifax Jazz Festival, which opens on July 9 and takes over the waterfront and various venues around the city. See the cover story.

What’s your favourite patio on a sunny afternoon?
All Haligonians look forward to patio season and in Halifax and there are many to choose from. Amongst my favourites are The Stubborn Goat Beer Garden on the Halifax Waterfront with spectacular views of the harbour from the upper level, Mexicali Rosa’s on the rooftop overlooking Spring Garden Road, and a local seasonal favourite, Stillwell Beer Garden, also on Spring Garden.
 
Do you need a car to enjoy Halifax?
Like any city, Halifax is best explored on foot, especially if you only have a day or two. Within walking distance of the downtown area, visitors can easily access the waterfront, Halifax Citadel, and the Halifax Public Gardens. Halifax Transit ferry run regularly to Dartmouth, allowing spectacular views of both sides of the harbour. Explore the side streets and unique shops and businesses along with way, stopping at the many coffee shops and cafes in the downtown area. Or rent a bike from I Heart Bikes, grab a map, and make your way down to Point Pleasant Park, where you can explore woodland and seaside trails.

What tour do you recommend for visitors who want to discover an unexpected side of Nova Scotia?
Visitors to our province are often surprised to discover our thriving wine industry. Take a winery tour and savour and sip your way around the Annapolis Valley. You will be amazed at the quality of our local wines and the fabulous wineries, all within a short distance of each other.

Where can visitors discover unique local art?
Nova Scotia has so many talented artists and artisans. Discover a great selection of local art at Argyle Fine Art on Barrington Street. This little art gallery often showcases special exhibits that are fun or unusual as well as a nice selection of local, reasonably priced art. Another favourite, in The Hydrostone district, is 14 Bells Fine Art Gallery, a unique and cozy space.

What location do you recommend to visitors seeking a friendly neighbourhood pub?
Friendly and welcoming would describe one of Halifax’s favourite pubs: The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse on Prince Street. It’s in the heart of the downtown, just a block from the waterfront, and has free entertainment nightly.

Hot Dining

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

Ribfest Halifax

PERFECT TIMING
Visiting Halifax for Canada Day? You’re just in time for the final day (July 1) of Ribfest Halifax. Head to the Halifax waterfront on Lower Water Street for a feast of ribs (and lots of other barbecue dishes and sides) from local favourites like Boneheads BBQ and vendors from around North America. Live entertainment and free admission (pay per serving). The event is a fund raiser for the Rotary Club of Halifax.

Photo: Tammy Fancy

ON THE ROCKS
For five decades, The Sou’wester has been serving up local seafood and Maritime hospitality alongside the wild North Atlantic in Peggy’s Cove. Perched upon the rocks with a spectacular view of the ocean and the village’s iconic lighthouse, this is an ideal spot to try East Coast essentials like fish and chips, boiled lobster (fresh from the tank), and scratch-made gingerbread.

CATCH OF THE DAY
Just steps from the waterfront, Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar on Salter Street offers lightly cooked and raw fare, sustainably harvested and locally supplied. The culinary team treats the quality ingredients with artful care and respect; the raw menu feature scallops and an array of local oysters, plus crab, lobster, shrimp, and much more. Pair with a selection from the eclectic wine list, featuring local offerings and international imports.

MARITIME FEAST
The Shore Club Lobster Supper in Hubbards is an essential Nova Scotian experience. From Wednesday–Sunday, enjoy a huge feed of fresh Atlantic lobster in the relaxed and historic setting of the Shore Club, one of the province’s last old-fashioned dance halls. The menu also includes all-you-can-eat mussels, plus vegetarian, steak, chicken, and kids’ meals.

Highwayman Restaurant & Bar

BY THE BOOK
The Watch That Ends The Night pairs an ambitious name with an ambitious concept. The Dartmouth waterfront spot is a cocktail and wine bar with a kitchen headed by Mark Gray (Gold Medal Plates winner 2016) and 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.

Highwayman/Katie Tower

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

Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse/Visionfire/Bruce Murray

BARBECUE BOSSES
Halifax restaurateur Bill Pratt—the man behind local favourites Habanero’s and Cheese Curds—joins forces with Prince Edward Island’s Upstreet Brewing at Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse on Windmill Road in Dartmouth. The menu includes the brewery’s distinctive craft beer (made on site) and Southern barbecue staples aplenty: pulled pork, brisket, cheddar-and-beer sausage, and more.

Hot Shopping

FRESH-AIR FANATICS
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.

FRESH LOOKS
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.

TO THE LETTER
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. Also offers letterpress printing and custom design services of social stationery.

ALL THAT GLITTERS
Find unique jewelry and accessories from local, Canadian and Israeli artists at Bedazzled at Sunnyside Mall in Bedford. The talented team of designers includes Shy Giraffe, Myka, Anne-Marie Chagnon, Keith Jacks, Trudy Gallagher and Sandra Tremblay, and Lynda Constantine. Make a unique statement with an Anuschka hand-painted leather handbag from India.

CRYSTAL PALACE
The province’s only maker of fine, mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal, NovaScotian Crystal showcases Old World artistry. Visit the waterfront studio on George Street to see master craftsmen transform molten sand into fine crystal creations.

OLD WORLD ROOTS
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 vist Plaid Place in Barrington Place Shops . The selection also includes Buchan pottery (stoneware pottery made in Portobello, Scotland), hoodies, ties, socks, gifts, and jewelry.

 

LOCAL BOUNTY
Located in an innovative and architecturally acclaimed home on the waterfront, Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is Nova Scotia’s largest and oldest farmers’ market. Browse through a huge array of local produce, meat, cheese, crafts, baked goods, craft beer, wine, cider, and more.
Located on the Dartmouth waterfront where the Halifax Transit ferry docks, the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market is a weekend tradition for many families, with live music and a variety of vendors.

UNIQUE GIFTS
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.

 

Feel the Rhythm

Halifax Jazz Festival returns, showcasing local talents and international all-stars
By Trevor J. Adams

It’s impossible not to fall in love with this city during the Halifax Jazz Festival. From July 9–14, music is everywhere. Local talents riff with international stars in intimate club shows, free afternoon concerts have a relaxed community vibe, while hundreds jam the festival tent to groove their brains out at the nightly main-stage shows.

THE HEADLINERS
The Halifax Waterfront Main Stage is home to the festival box office, and the centre of the action. The free matinee shows are a great way to get a sense what JazzFest is about, but things really get hot in the evening. Things get started on July 9 with an exciting night of Toronto’s Shad (host of the Emmy-winning series Hip-Hop Evolution) opens the set. Up next is Common, the Chicagoan artist who has been shaping American hip hop since 1992.

Kathleen Edwards performs on July 10, and July 11 is another hot night, as Bahamas takes the stage. With gifted licks, cool melodies, and a chill vibe, this artist has garnered legions of fans including Taylor Swift, who featured his work on her curated Spotify playlist. Get to the tent early, find your spot, and settle in for an evening of musical artistry. The Barr Brothers open the show.

Festival favourites Asia & NuGruv return to take over the main stage on July 12. This eight-musician ensemble brings tons of enthusiasm and energy to the stage, for a night of can’t-stop-dancing funk. The band features an exceptional five-piece rhythm section, two incredible horn players, and a female vocalist who always delivers a “show-stopping” performance. They’ve won multiple awards, and are widely hailed as Atlantic Canada’s best dance-party band.

That same night, you’ll also see the legendary Sheila E., who has performed and recorded with Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, Patti LaBelle, and Stevie Nicks among others. Many fans know her best for the single “Girl Meets Boy,” in memory of Prince.

And on July 13, the main stage has something for the jazz purists, with Ms. Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton taking the stage. For years Fischer was a respected back-up vocalist (lending her talents to acts as diverse as Tina Turner and Nine Inch Nails). Now she holds the spotlight, teaming with her innovative band to show off her impeccable vocal chops, blending jazz, soul, gospel, folk, blues, and rock influences.

Capping the schedule on July 14 is a free celebration of the blues, headlined by April Wine front man Myles Goodwyn. Opening for him is a collaboration that includes local bluesman Garrett Mason, the low profile axe-wielder who industry insiders consider one of the best guitarists in the country. This will be an unforgettable night of improvisation and virtuosity.

AROUND THE CITY
And of course, the main stage is just a tantalizing hint of what’s on offer. You’ll find performances at stages around the city, including free matinees at the Waterfront stage, Hydrostone Park, and Dartmouth Park.

St. Paul’s Church hosts nightly ticketed shows, featuring talents like Elsie LeGrow, the Heather Bambrick Quintet, and iskwe¯. Groove into the night at The Seahorse Tavern on Gottingen Street, where shows start at 10:30 p.m., with a lineup that includes African guitarist extraordinaire Mdou Moctar and reggae legend Exco Levi (with the High Priest Band).

Festival or no, The Carleton on Argyle Street is a must-visit destination for music fans. It regularly hosts live acts in an acoustically-ideal space, curated by music lovers who understand what true fans want. During JazzFest, the highlight will be the Easley Quartet on July 11. This collection of Atlantic Canadian jazz royalty includes Tom Easley on bass, drummer Mark Adam, and guitarists Geordie Haley and Kevin Brunkhorst.

For ticket info and schedule and venue updates, surf to halifaxjazzfestival.ca.

Hot Entertainment

ROCK ON
July 12
English rockers Def Leppard burst onto the North American scene in the 1980s, providing the soundtrack for a generation with hits like “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Let’s Get Rocked.” See them at the Scotiabank Centre on University Avenue

EYE ON THE BALL
July 13
Already a local favourite in their inaugural season, the HFX Wanderers FC are back on their home pitch, hosting Calgary’s Cavalry FC in Canadian Premier League soccer action. See them at the Wanderers’ Grounds on South Park Street.

Photo: Terra Ciolfe

ALL TOGETHER
July 18–28
Halifax Pride Festival is Atlantic Canada’s largest pride festival. The inclusive community celebration includes an array of events: art exhibitions, a family picnic, movie screenings, concerts, parties, and Atlantic Canada’s largest Pride Parade on July 20.

5 FAMILY FAVOURITES
Continuing: Shakespeare by the Sea presents theatre alfresco in Point Pleasant Park throughout the summer. This month: The Wizard of Oz, Henry the Fifth, and Love’s Labour’s Lost.
July 1: Canada Day (page 51) celebrations include ceremonies at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 (page EC7) and Halifax Citadel (page EC3), a concert featuring A-Trak at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, and fireworks over the harbour.
July 11–14: Immerse in Halifax’s vibrant and tightknit Lebanese community. The Lebanese Festival (page 51) highlights: art exhibits, live music, dancing, games, and authentic cuisine.
July 15: At the Dragon Boat Festival on Lake Banook in Dartmouth, teams of paddlers compete to raise money for amateur sport. Find vendors and live entertainment shoreside.
July 31: Halifax Busker Festival is Canada’s oldest and largest street-performer event. Through Aug. 5, visit one of the five free waterfront stages to see acts like mime Jenny Jupiter, contortionist Alakazam, and Toronto Raptors’ drummers Rhythm Works.

Photo: Trevor J. Adams

ART BY THE SEA
July 3–15
Several communities in the Peggy’s Cove area host the Peggy’s Cove Area Festival of the Arts, a lively showcase of the region’s artistic talents. Events include Paint Peggy’s Cove (July 13–15), which sees dozens of artists descend on the village, mingling with locals and visitors as they create. There will also be studio tours (July 5–7), art sales, and live entertainment.

SUMMER SPECTACLE
Continuing through July 6
The world’s largest annual indoor show of its kind, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo features military and civilian acts from around the world. This year’s highlights include Australia’s Black Diamond Drilldance Team, German Air Force Band Erfurt, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Band, the United States Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team (above), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pipes and Drums.

July 5
Maritime Fiddle Festival
The festival starts with a concert of old-time music: The Sidewinder Band, Roger Lanteigne, Countryside Fiddlers, and Blain Henshaw.

July 7–11
Changing Tides:
Halifax Organ Festival Concerts and workshops celebrating pipe-organ traditions. Plus the premiere of a new work by Halifax composer Peter-Anthony Togni.

July 12
Fin Outdoor
The theme for this year’s free festival of film alfresco is “Summer Sing-Alongs.” Join the chorus at Halifax Public Gardens for Mamma Mia.

July 19–21
AfriFest
Live performances including drumming, jazz, hip hop, gospel, spoken-word, and more. Local blues-rocker Carson Downey tops the bill.

July 24
Neptune Theatre
Samantha Walkes stars as the eponymous heroine in Cinderella. The original musical comedy opens tonight and continues through Aug. 18.

July 27
David Feherty
A TV personality and former golfer, Feherty combines zany comedic sense and madcap storytelling. See him at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

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.