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Nova Scotia

East Coast Holidays

Live Music, Theatre, Parades, and More—Christmas Celebrations Abound in the Halifax Area

 

Grand Parade in Halifax (Photo Credit: Tammy Fancy)

FAMILY FIRST
The Holiday Parade of Lights on Nov. 17 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 Nov. 24, 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 Nov. 24 (and 25), 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 Dec. 1, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

 

The Celtic Tenors

SEASONAL SYMPHONY
Symphony Nova Scotia offers a full calendar of holiday concerts at the Dalhousie Arts Centre, starting Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 with A Celtic Tenors Christmas. Up next is perennial favourite The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) running from Dec. 7 to 9 and 13 to 16. As usual, things reach a crescendo on Dec. 21, 22, with Handel’s magnificent Messiah. This year presented in the historic “Dublin” arrangement, it features Mezzo-soprano Marion Newman, tenor Michael Colvin, and baritone Alexander Dobson.

 

The Ennis Sisters

MERRY MUSIC
Oh What A Night—The Christmas Show takes the stage at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on Nov. 18. The cast of the Oh What A Night tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons offer audience favourites from the original production, plus a musical tribute to “Mr. Christmas” Andy Williams. Prefer your holidays with an East Coast twist? On Nov. 30, The Ennis Sisters from Newfoundland combine original songs and holiday classics in a show that features stunning harmonies, recitations, lively step dancing, and playful humour. See them at St. Matthew’s United Church on Barrington Street. And on Dec. 6, Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street hosts Serena Ryder Christmas. The eponymous singer/songwriter offers a mix of new material, old hits, and holiday classics.

 

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

FESTIVE THEATRE
Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on Nov. 27 and continues through Jan. 5. Artistic director Jeremy Webb adapts Cinderella as a musical comedy for the stage, starring Samantha Walkes as the title hero. Concurrently, Neptune’s studio stage hosts another holiday mainstay: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a one-man show starring Rhys Bevan-John. The pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another annual family favourite. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, see Sleeping Beauty from Nov. 22 to Dec. 8.

 

Neon Dreams

AULD LANG SYNE
Join thousands of revellers at Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall for the East Coast’s largest New Year’s Eve party. The family-friendly celebration begins at 10:30 p.m., with headliners Neon Dreams and A Tribe Called Red offering live musical performances, followed by a giant fireworks show at midnight.

 

Hot Dining

Photo Credit: Emma Smith

LOCAL FAVOURITE
Go back in time at the True North Diner in Bedford Place mall. This 1950s-themed dinner dishes up burgers, fries, shakes, and more. The “Classic Diner” section of the menu highlights home-style fare such as meatloaf, liver and onions, chicken pot pie, fish cakes, and all-day breakfast.

 

BEER LOVERS’ TRIO
• At cozy RockBottom Brew Pub on Spring Garden Road, you’ll find six different beers brewed on site, plus a selection of other local beers, wines, and ciders. Pair with a tasty dish from the kitchen; highlights include pork-belly sandwich, lobster carbonara, pad thai, and more.
• Before the craft-beer scene exploded, there was The Maxwell’s Plum on Grafton Street. This friendly neighbourhood pub features a broad selection of local brews, plus highlights from around the world.
• Don’t let the strip-mall exterior fool you. Jamieson’s Irish-House & Grill on Cole Harbour Drive boasts 16 taps pouring local beers (and the Irish offerings you’d expect) paired with traditional Emerald Isle pub grub.

 

HEAD OF THE CLASS
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 last year, the Where Halifax team had an easy choice: Rinaldo’s on Windsor Street. This intimate, casual spot—run by two brothers—offers an array of 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.

 

DESSERT FIRST
If you’re the sort of person who skips dinner to save room for dessert, proceed directly to The Middle Spoon on Barrington Street and at Sunnyside Mall. This stylish spot specializes in decadent desserts paired with creative cocktails. It’s the ideal place to while away an evening with friends.

 

PIZZA PERFECTION
Intimate Morris East, just steps from the waterfront on Morris Street, pairs artfully crafted wood-fired gourmet pizza with creative cocktails and local beer and wine. Not venturing downtown? Visit the newer locations on Nine Mile Drive in Bedford West and on Vernon Street (just off Quinpool Road) in Central Halifax.

 

CASUAL FAVOURITES
• A Southern-style smokehouse tucked away in a tiny Barrington Street spot, Boneheads BBQ is beloved by locals. The menu includes all the slow-smoked mainstays you’d expect: ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and more. Indecisive? Try the mammoth (and ideal for sharing) Pit Boss Sampler and get a little bit of everything.
• 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.

 

EDITOR’S PICK: CLASSIC CUISINE
At Mappatura Bistro on Spring Garden Road, just steps from the Halifax Public Gardens, co-owners Simone Mombourquette and Chef Terry Vassallo combine their experience working in several world-class restaurants to offer a dynamic Italian menu, showcasing farm-fresh seasonal ingredients. Local favourites include calamari, home-style pasta with hearty ragù, and fresh seafood (delivered twice daily). The carefully chosen wine list embraces the Old World aperitivo tradition, pairing each course with the vintage that best complements it.

Hot Shopping

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 Nov. 2 to 4, 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 5 p.m.
• Visit the Christkindlmarket from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 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.
• From Nov. 16 to 18, Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council 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.
• 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 Nov. 23 to 25.
• From Nov. 9 to 11, 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 finding unique holiday gifts for everyone on your list.

 

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.

 

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 in September (sans pond) on Cabela Drive in Dartmouth. It’s an ideal spot to gear up for wilderness adventures in any season.

 

EFFORTLESS STYLE
Sweet Pea Boutique on Queen Street has stylish dresses for any occasion. Find a basic style for everyday wear, flirtier styles for weekends, or the perfect dress for a holiday celebration. Choose from accessories such as shoes, jewelry, and hair pieces to complete your look.

 

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.

 

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 beer, specializing in varieties and vintages you won’t find anywhere else in Nova Scotia.
• The North End’s Rockhead Wine & Beer 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.

 

EDITOR’S PICK: 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 and offers a line of luxury watches including Rolex, Tudor, TAG Heuer, and Frederique Constant.

 

Hot Entertainment

A MIGHTY WIND
Nov. 10
Starting with the philosophy that “music should be fun,” Fifth Wind unites Jack Chen (flute), Suzanne Lemieux (oboe), Eileen Walsh (clarinet), Ivor Rothwell (bassoon), and Mary Lee (horn). The Dartmouth Community Concert Association hosts the talented ensemble at Woodlawn United Church.

Ken Jeong

COMEDY NIGHT
Nov. 29
It’s a good night for comedy fans in Halifax, with two big stand-up shows to choose from.
• He was once a doctor but Ken Jeong found his true calling in comedy, showcasing an uninhibited and razor-sharp wit. He first appeared in hits like Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, and The Hangover, and recently created the ABC sit-com Dr. Ken. See him in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.
• A veteran of the famous Second City club and the influential Just For Laughs festival, Ron James has been a mainstay of the Canadian comedy scene for a generation. The native Nova Scotian brings his wry and acerbic stand-up style to the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

REMEMBERING OUR HISTORY
Dec. 6
Some 101 years ago, two ships (one laden with ammunition) collided in Halifax Harbour, sparking an explosion that devastated the city, levelled the North End, and killed some 2,000 people. The Halifax Explosion Memorial ceremony at Fort Needham Memorial Bell Tower marks the tragedy from 8:50 to 9:20 a.m.

TIME TRAVEL
Continuing
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street takes visitors back to a fast-fading era of Japanese history with Hiroshige: The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō. This unique exhibition showcases woodcut prints by ukiyo master Utagawa Hiroshige depicting middle-class Japanese life in the early 1800s.

DON’T FORGET ME
Nov. 27
Ever since they won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1986, powered by the breakout album The Thin Red Line, pop-rockers Glass Tiger have stood atop the Canadian music scene. They recently marked 31 years together with the aptly titled album 31. Expect a high-energy mix of classic hits and new material when they take over the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue.

Photo Credit: E.S. Cheah

EDITOR”S PICK: HOT HIP HOP
Dec. 7, 8
Two of the nation’s most exciting hip-hop companies collide, as Live Art Dance presents Halifax dance rebels The Woods unleashing the world premiere of ______Interrupted—paired with Klorofyl (billed as a “multi-sensorial roller-coaster”) by Toronto’s Gadfly, featuring original music by world-renowned violinist Dr. Draw.

NOVEMBER EVENTS

Nov. 4
CECILIA CONCERT SERIES
Mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah joins pianist Robert Kortgaard for a performance of Italian art songs, ballads, and musical-theatre curiosities.

Sterling Scott

Nov. 9
LAST LAUGH COMEDY CLUB
The pop-up comedy club returns to the Atlantica Hotel on Robie Street, hosting Mike Delamont, Sterling Scott, and Michelle Shaughnessy.

Photo Credit: David Leyes

Nov. 23, 24
SYMPHONY NOVA SCOTIA
Sarah Slean joins the Symphony, combining some of her biggest hits with new music by Christos Hatzis.

DECEMBER EVENTS

Dec. 1
HALIFAX HURRICANES
As the National Basketball League of Canada season continues, the hometown hoopsters take on Kitchener Waterloo at Scotiabank Centre.

Dec. 15
HALIFAX MOOSEHEADS
In their final home game before the Christmas break, Halifax’s major junior hockey heroes host Maritime rivals Charlottetown.

Dec. 31
BRETT KISSEL NEW YEAR’S EVE
The Canadian country star rings in the new year with two performances (7 p.m. and 11 p.m.) in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

Concierge Q & A

Roger Poirier has been in the service industry for 40 years. For more than half that time, he’s been with Delta Hotels by Marriott Beausejour in Moncton, New Brunswick. He’s a member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada (an international concierge organization dedicated to high-quality service) and regular visitor to Halifax, staying atop the latest developments and attractions.

For Remembrance Day, where can a visitor go to learn more about Nova Scotia’s military history?

My two favorite places for history in Halifax are the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Both have great exhibits on Nova Scotia’s military history. Although its closed for the season, the Army Museum opens on Nov. 11 from 10 a.m. to
2 p.m., giving visitors a chance to explore it’s many exhibits on Canada’s military experiences in war and peace.

What’s your favourite event to celebrate the Christmas holidays in the Halifax area?

The Holiday Parade of Lights on Nov. 17 marks the start of the Christmas season in Halifax. Full of joy and light, this parade begins on Barrington Street and winds through the downtown and up Spring Garden Road to Robie Street, featuring dozens of floats, entertainers, and of course Santa Claus. The next weekend, return downtown to Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall for the Christmas Tree Lighting—live music, fireworks, and another visit with Santa Claus.

What’s an ideal place to find a unique gift?

Plaid Place on Barrington Street boasts an assortment of gifts reflecting Nova Scotia’s Gaelic heritage. You can find all manner of tartan-themed apparel, traditional Highland clothes, jewelry, Buchan pottery, and much more.

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

The Discovery Centre is always a good place to visit regardless of the weather. This hands-on science centre offers hours of learning (for all ages) disguised as entertainment. This season’s highlights include the Towers of Tomorrow exhibition, showcasing the amazing things creators can do with Lego. You’ll see intricate depictions of the world’s iconic towers, with 200,000 loose pieces on hand for young creators to follow their own muse.

What’s one experience every visitor to Halifax should have in November/December?

Over the holidays, I always enjoy walking on Barrington Street to Spring Garden Road to shop, dine, go for coffee or a drink. There are dozens of unique little stops on the way—boutiques, cafés, restaurants, galleries, and more. There are lots of festive lights and holiday displays along the way; it puts you in the holiday spirit!

HAVING A BLAST: The Halifax Pop Explosion showcases indie music in a variety of genres

Port Cities plays the Halifax Pop Explosion.

By Trevor J. Adams

From October 17 to 20, Halifax is a haven for fans of edgy indie music, innovative talents who create works you’re not hearing on the radio or top-40 play lists. The Halifax Pop Explosion presents 150 musical acts, comedians, and speakers at venues around the city. After marking its 25th anniversary last year, HPX is bigger than ever, with organizers putting a bigger focus on reflecting a diverse array of cultural communities. Organizers were still finalizing the festival schedule at press time, but have given fans a tantalizing preview of the year’s artists.

As usual, one of the biggest highlights of the festival is sure to be the annual collaboration with Symphony Nova Scotia. This year, the all-star trio Port Cities (comprised of Carleton Stone, Dylan Guthro, and Breagh MacKinnon) join the orchestra to perform new orchestral arrangements of their works. Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducts at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on October 19 and 20.

Local talents also get their share of the limelight. Made-in-Halifax talents include DJ Uncle Fester, a 15-year veteran of the local hip-hop scene, and Juno-nominee Ghettosocks, described as a “true disciple of Golden Era rap music.”

Reuben and the Dark is one of the biggest acts on this year’s roster. The Calgary-based folk-rock group led by songwriter/vocalist Reuben Bullock, are best known for their acclaimed songs “Bow & Arrow” and “Heart in Two.” Their sound is contemplative, passionate, and expansive; expect a memorable show.

Headliner Zaki Ibrahim is a two-time Polaris Prize nominee (shortlisted in 2013 and longlisted in 2018) who has quickly emerged as one of Canada’s top hip-hop and soul talents. She released her much-anticipated second full-length album The Secret Lives of Planets earlier this year.

Gaelynn Lea is another artist generating tons of buzz. After two decades of hard work, she won NPR Music’s 2016 Tiny Desk Contest. Since then, she’s played over 250 shows in 42 states and seven countries. Critics hail her for her unique voice and violin virtuosity, exploring “the contrasting nature of existence: dark and light, birth and death, anger and forgiveness, sorrow and joy.”

Ontario’s Born Ruffians are sure to put on a rollicking show. Together since 2014, the group recently released their fifth studio album Uncle, Duke & The Chief. Continually reinventing their unique rock sound, they’ve drawn comparisons to the Strokes, the Pixies, and David Bowie.

Victoria, B.C. musician and vocalist AppleCat is sure to keep fans grooving into the wee smalls, with a uniquely poetic and graceful sound combining deep dubstep, fairytale bass, trap, world, and IDM influences. Fans may recall her as the subject of the recent documentary Amplify Her about women in the electronica scene.

THE DETAILS
This is just a small sample of what the Halifax Pop Explosion has to offer. For a complete lineup, plus schedule and ticket info, surf to halifaxpopexplosion.com.

 

HOT DINING

Bar Kismet is a new addition to the Halifax scene, but already becoming a favourite.

By Trevor J. Adams.

COCKTAIL HOUR
If you’re serious about your cocktails, you must visit stylish Bar Kismet on Agricola Street. The ever-changing menu features premium ingredients from around the world. At press time, the drink selection included Cinematographers Party (bonded bourbon whiskey, Italian Digestif, fresh yellow plum and lemon, honey, red wine float), 2 Of Americano’s Most Wanted (bottled carbonated cocktail: French and Italian aperitif, red vermouth, French aperitif wine), and Cartoon Graveyard (mezcal, arugula, pineau des charantes, bogarts bitters).

A RESTO WITH A STORY
The Watch That Ends The Night pairs an ambitious name with an ambitious concept. 2016 Gold Medal Plates winner Mark Gray helms the kitchen at the Dartmouth cocktail and wine bar. He focuses on “developing a new Canadian cuisine” through curing and fermenting local seasonal ingredients. It’s named for Hugh MacLennan’s eponymous 1958 novel, sharing an aesthetic with the same North American late-modern tastes.

ASIAN APPETITE
• In a historic building on the corner of Morris and Hollis streets, Talay Thai serves up heaping portions of traditional dishes like Gung Pad Pik Pow (basil prawn with chili paste), Pla Muek Tod Katem (garlic shrimp), and curries aplenty.
• Japanese fine dining, showcasing traditional and fusion dishes, is on offer at Sushi Nami Royale. Check it out at locations on Queen Street in the heart of the downtown, Lacewood Drive in Clayton Park, Hector Gate in Dartmouth Crossing, and the Bedford Highway.
• Don’t let the strip-mall exterior or industrial-park cul-de-sac location deter you: Dhaba Casual Fine Dining & Express on Oland Crescent serves some of the tastiest Indian food around. The volcanic chicken vindaloo is a Halifax favourite.

STEAK EXPECTIONS
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. By Robert Risley, the restaurateur behind popular Halifax spots like Bistro Le Coq, East of Grafton Tavern, and Waterfront Warehouse.

THE FINER THINGS
Tucked away in historic Brewery Market on Lower Water Street, da Maurizio Fine Dining is a perennial local favourite. The rustic cuisine of Northern Italy inspires Chef Andrew King, as he offers classics like veal scaloppine sautéed with fresh lobster, seared breast of Brome Lake duck, and spicecrusted rack of lamb. An expertly curated wine list and top-notch service complement the experience.

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 serves a menu of seafood, cured meats, cheeses, and more. Pair your meal with a selection from the carefully-curated wine list and save room for a decadent dessert.

EDITOR’S PICK: FLAVOUR FIESTA
Don’t let the humble exterior fool you: loyal foodies jam Mexico Lindo on Dutch Village Road every night. Fiery home-style Mexican cuisine is the house specialty. The menu includes explosively flavourful offerings like burritos, enchiladas, chimichangas, tacos, and more.

 

HOT SHOPPING

Pearl City is the destination in Halifax for all things pearl.

By Trevor J. Adams

JEWELS OF THE SEA
Pearls are a classic and graceful look and Pearl City in Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street offers necklaces, bracelets, and more made of these lustrous gems. Choose from its varied collection or help design your own style. You can watch your pearl jewelry being handstrung on-site by top craftsmen.

SPOOKY SWEETS
Located in the South End at the corner of Queen and Morris streets, Sweet Jane’s is the ideal place to find a unique Halloween treat or distinctive gift. This old-fashioned boutique boasts all manner of high-end confections, candies from around the world, whimsical toys, and more.

PITCH PERFECT
Any musician will love to shop at the Halifax Folklore Centre on Brunswick Street. Situated in a 136-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.

LOCAL TREASURES
• Kept Gifts and Housewares on King Street in Dartmouth is packed with handmade finds by artists from around the region and the world. The store carries a fun and fascinating selection of décor items, jewelry, accessories, paper goods, products for children, and candy. Staff carefully select each piece for its unique look and top quality.
• Made in the Maritimes Artisan Boutique has two locations: Sunnyside Mall and Hydrostone Market. You’ll find creations in a variety of media from East Coast artisans, plus gourmet edibles, stained glass, fibre and fabric art, cushions, candles, and fine art and paintings.
• 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.

GREEN DAYS
On October 17, recreational cannabis use becomes legal in Canada. In Nova Scotia, NSLC will be the official retailer. Find it at the NSLC stores on Clyde Street in Halifax and Portland Street in Dartmouth. Trained staff will be available to help you find the product that’s right for you.

CENTRES OF SHOPPING
• Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth boasts 120+ stores and services. This three-storey shopping destination features women’s fashions, entertainment, electronics, books, salons, and even a vinyl-record store.
• Situated on Spring Garden Road, at the centre of Halifax’s shopping district, Park Lane Mall offers a mix of shops for fashion, gifts, health and beauty, and home décor. Businesses on site include Mahone Bay Quality Footwear, Pseudio, Envy, John David Shoes, Cineplex Theatres, and many others.

EDITOR’S CHOICE: FASHION WITH A CONSCIENCE
Germany-based fashion brand Olsen Europe has expanded its production with new eco-friendly materials for fall and winter, including certified organic cotton and outerwear made from Repreve, a proprietary fibre made from recycled plastic, melted and spun into a soft durable fibre. Find the fall line at the Park Lane, Spring Garden Road shop.

 

HOT ENTERTAINMENT

Live Art Dance hosts Shay Kuebler Radical System Art. Photo credit: David Cooper

FUSION FORCE
October 5, 6
Vancouver’s Shay Kuebler Radical System Art offers a unique high-energy evening of dance that blends tap, swing, and contemporary styles. Live Art Dance hosts its Telemetry production at the Sir James Dunn Theatre in the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

FASHION STATEMENT
October 18 to 21
With fashion shows, parties, and special events aplenty, Atlantic Fashion Week is the East Coast’s hottest style celebration. This annual event celebrates the region’s design gurus, with lots of opportunities for up-and-comers to strut their stuff.

GET IN THE RING
October 13
Up-and-coming fighters from Canada and the U.S. go head-to-head with national pride on the line as Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street hosts an evening of team boxing action.

CLASSICAL CONNECTIONS
• October 13: The Dartmouth Community Concert Association’s autumn season begins at Woodlawn United Church with a baroque concert by Ensemble Les Songes, featuring soprano Samantha Louis-Jean, recorder player Vincent Lauzer, cellist Camille Paquette-Roy, and harpsichordist Mélisande McNabney.
• October 14: Violinist Jolente De Maeyer and pianist Nikolaas Kende visit the Cecilia Concert Series for European Afternoon, a matinee concert at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road. The lineup includes Beethoven’s Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 and Kreutzer and Schubert’s Sonata in A Major, D. 574, Grand Duo.

ART AFTER DARK
October 13
Discover unique art in a variety of media, with exhibitions and performances at venues around Halifax during Nocturne. Running from 6 p.m. to midnight, this one-night-only festival takes over galleries and public spaces where you wouldn’t normally expect to discover cutting-edge art. Free bike-valet and shuttle-bus service make it easy to get out and explore.

EDITOR’S PICK – OUT OF THIS WORLD
October 26 to 28
Hal-Con is the East Coast’s biggest sci-fi, gaming, and fantasy festival and it returns this month. Scheduled guests include Star Trek: The Next Generation’s LeVar Burton (“Geordi LaForge”) and John de Lancie (“Q”), plus comic artist Brenda Hickey, author Delilah S. Dawson, cosplay guru Cassie Seaboyer, and many more. This event usually sells out, so get your tickets early and catch all the action at the new Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street.

October 7
A CIVILIZED CONVERSATION WITH CHELSEA HANDLER
Handler joins Civilized publisher Derek Riedel for a townhall on politics, culture, and cannabis.

October 13
JILL BARBER
The jazz/folk-pop vocalist returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre with an intimate show for her hometown fans.

October 19, 20
SYMPHONY NOVA SCOTIA
Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducts as Port Cities joins the Symphony at the Dalhousie Arts Centre for a special Halifax Pop Explosion concert.

October 22
DEAN BRODY
The Canadian country powerhouse brings his Dirt Road Acoustic Tour to the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

October 26, 27
LAST LAUGH COMEDY CLUB
Angelo Tsarouchas joins Efthimios Nasiopoulos and Comus for It’s All Greek to Me at Atlantica Hotel Halifax.

October 27
HALIFAX MOOSEHEADS
After starting the season with a long road trip, the Mooseheads play their home-opener at Scotiabank Centre versus Cape Breton.

CONCIERGE Q & A

Angela O’Brien, senior executive host at Casino Nova Scotia.

By Trevor J. Adams

Angela O’Brien is the senior executive host at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street. She graduated from Saint Mary’s University and has a true love for Halifax. She is a professional affiliate with Les Clefs d’Or Canada, which has provided her great opportunities for creating partnerships within the hospitality community.

What’s an ideal destination in the Halifax area for a late-night snack?
Antojo Taco + Tequila on Argyle Street has expanded to a late night Munchies Nocturnos menu and serves tacos until 1:30 a.m. Thursday to Saturday. It’s a great addition to the late night food scene in downtown Halifax!

If you only had one day in Halifax this month, how would you spend it?
Have to start with a coffee at Coffee Matters in the Brewery Market on Lower Water Street, explore the Halifax Brewery Farmers Market and take a stroll down the Halifax waterfront. Stop by to see Julie for an afternoon tour of the Halifax Distillery, and learn how JD Shore rum is crafted. No tour is complete without a tasting! For dinner I would go to one of my all-time favorites, da Maurizio. Great Italian food and excellent service in a romantic setting. My favorite dish is the gnocchi; I highly recommend it!

Who’s your favourite newcomer to the city’s dining and nightlife scene?
Bar Kismet recently opened on Agricola Street and is absolutely charming. The casual quaint atmosphere is a great place to share small or large unique plates with a great selection of craft cocktails.

Where should visitors go to find a unique memento of their visit to Halifax?
Amos Pewter in the Historic Properties on the Halifax waterfront has quality hand-crafted Nova Scotia products. A great selection of jewelry, ornaments, and household items to start your Christmas list.

What’s the most common question visitors ask you about Nova Scotia?
What’s the must-see-and-do activity in Nova Scotia? My answer is always to hike the Skyline Trail along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. It’s an easy seven-kilometre hike with stunning views of the ocean and rolling green landscape. It’s a great place to watch the sun set and you may even see a moose up close and personal.

 

Film from the Edge

Film-from-the-Edge_The-Social-Shift-3The Social Shift

The FIN Festival puts the spotlight on east coast filmmaking talents

By: Trevor J. Adams

 

For cinephiles, September 13 to 20 is the best week of the year in Halifax. FIN Atlantic International Film Festival returns to the city with myriad screenings and special events. Billed as “an eight-day celebration of film, media, and music from around the world,” FIN makes Halifax a must-visit destination for industry insiders. 

As one of Canada’s Big Four film festivals, FIN screens many films that are likely to be darlings of the festival circuit, but the focus on East Coast talents and productions is what makes this event truly unique. Unless otherwise noted, gala screenings are at Cineplex Theatres at Park Lane on Spring Garden Road.

Film-from-the-Edge_Just-Be-Gemma
Just Be Gemma

GALA PRESENTATIONS

September 13
Opening Night Gala at the Dalhousie Arts Centre Splinters by Thom Fitzgerald (Nova Scotia). A winner of over two dozen international awards, Fitzgerald adapts the Lee-Anne Poole play Splinters.

September 14
An Audience of Chairs by Deanne Foley (Newfoundland). The story of a gifted woman struggling to cope with mental illness and reconnect with her estranged children. Adapted from the award-winning Joan Clark novel of the same name.

Film-from-the-Edge_Immaculate-Memories
Immaculate Memories

September 15
Hopeless Romantic by Deanne Foley, Megan Wennberg, Latonia Hartery, Stephanie Clattenburg, Martine Blue, Ruth Lawrence (Nova Scotia, Newfoundland). An ensemble of directors offer a wry and funny subversion of the predictable rom-com genre.

September 16
Reel East Coast Shorts Gala. Nine films representing all four Atlantic Provinces. 

Film-from-the-Edge_The-Girls-of-Meru
The Girls of Meru

September 16
G. Patrick Condon’s Incredible Violence by G. Patrick Condon (Newfoundland). “A hack filmmaker wastes the money lent to him by a mysterious organization, and so has to take matters into his own hands by locking a cast of actors in a house and becoming the villain in his own slasher movie.” —IMDB

September 17
Love, Scott by Laura Marie Wayne (Nova Scotia). The journey of a young gay musician who is attacked and left paralyzed from the waist down. Described as an “intimate and visually evocative window into the queer experience.”

Film-from-the-Edge_The-Capital-Project-3
The Capital Project

And this is just a small selection of what FIN has to offer. Other highlights include the special presentation Halloween Party by Nova Scotian Jay Dahl, the feature Pogey Beach by Jeremy Larter of Prince Edward Island, and the “Cinema 902” series, featuring Nova Scotian productions like Aliens with Knives (Struan Sutherland, Nicole Steeves), Creepy Crawling (Chelsea Comeau), and The Last Divide (DIllon Garland).

For even more on FIN and festival events, surf to finfestival.ca.

Hot Dining

Dining_Glitter-Bean-Café

ALL THAT GLITTERS

Glitter Bean is a new 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.

 

Dining_Fredie's-Fantastic-Fish-House
Photo: Trevor J. Adams

QUICK, CASUAL, TASTY

Fredie’s Fantastic Fish House on Oland Crescent in Bayers Lake is a local favourite for fish and chips. Light batter, fresh haddock, generous portions, friendly service, and relaxed diner atmosphere.

Bill Pratt—the restaurateur behind Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers + Poutinerie and Habaneros Modern Taco Bar—recently unveiled Fish + Chix on Windmill Road in Dartmouth. Specialties include fried haddock and chips, tacos, Thai chicken bites, and the Captain’s Seafood Platter (with haddock, scallops, clams, and shrimp). 

 

Dining_Middle-Spoon

SOMETHING SWEET

If you’re the sort of person who eats dessert first, go directly to The Middle Spoon on Barrington Street and at Sunnyside Mall in Bedford. Sweet offerings abound; experience the rich creamy goodness of the peanut-butter pie. PS: There’s also a fine selection of cocktails, wines, and Nova Scotian beers.

 

Dining_Old-Triangle

WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILIN’

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

 

Dining_Rinaldo's
Photo: Caitrin Pilkington

PIZZA PERFECTION

Morris East has expanded with new locations uptown on Quinpool Road and in Bedford West, but you’ll still find the mothership a block from the waterfront on Morris Street. Visit the intimate little dining room for delicious wood-fired pizzas showcasing fresh local ingredients.

Family-run Rinaldo’s on Windsor Street boasts all manner of Italian-American comfort food and the pizza hits the bullseye every time. We recommend the Pizza Samuele with pepperoni, roasted garlic, mozzarella, Grana Padano, and ricotta. 

On the Halifax Waterfront in Bishop’s Landing, Ristorante a Mano is another pizza mecca. If you’re an old-school purist, try the Margherita. This traditional Italian specialty looks deceptively simple with San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, and nothing else but tons of Old World flavour.

 

Dining_Festival-of-Wines
Photo: NS Tourism

WORLD OF WINE

Running from September 25 to 29, the Festival of Wines is de rigueur for lovers of the grape. Highlights including wine dinners at Chives Canadian Bistro and Cut Steakhouse, an exclusive tasting at Casino Nova Scotia, a gala with Symphony Nova Scotia, and Grand Tastings at the Cunard Centre, featuring some 350 wines from around the world. 

 

Dining_Little-Oak

GOOD THINGS IN SMALL PACKAGES *Editor’s Pick*

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