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Nova Scotia

Concierge Q & A

Concierge_Stephen-Morris

Starting his journey as a bellman in Lake Louise, Alberta, Stephen Morris has worked in the hospitality industry for the last 24 years and been a concierge for the last decade. He’s an active member of Les Clef ’s d’Or, Atlantic Region, seeing himself as an ambassador for the Prince George Hotel and the city of Halifax.

Q: What are July’s can’t-miss events for visitors?
A: July offers many things in Halifax but the one event you cannot miss is the Halifax Jazz Festival from July 10 to 15. Many venues, many artists, and a slice of coolness to go with the hot summer nights.

Q: What patios do you suggest for afternoon drinks with friends?
A: The best way to beat the heat is on the Gahan House patio located directly on the Halifax waterfront in the Historic Properties. An excellent assortment of Maritime-brewed beers and an amazing menu makes the Gahan House a can’t-miss.

Q: Where can visitors find a unique memento of their visit to Nova Scotia?
A: Take a stroll to the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road. Local artists and vendors provide you with memories of Nova Scotia and Halifax that can fit into any suitcase.

Q: What tour experience should visitors be sure not to miss?
A: Everyone visiting Halifax must try the Harbour Hopper by Ambassatours Gray Line. Informative and fun, this amphibious tour gives you a unique perspective on the city from land and sea.

Q: If you only had one day in Halifax, how would you spend it?
A: My day would be spent grabbing a coffee from Steve-o-Reno’s Cappuccino on Brunswick Street, taking a stroll on the Halifax waterfront boardwalk, lunch at the Gahan House, an afternoon cruise of the harbour on the Tall Ship Silva operated by Murphy’s The Cable Wharf and then finishing off with a memorable meal and nightcap at the Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar.

Joyful June

JoyfulJune_Tattoo

It’s festival season in Halifax—here are our favourite summer 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.

 

JoyfulJune_Cedar-Festival
Photo: MIT Photography 

FAMILY FUN

The annual Cedar Festival continues through June 3. 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. Our Lady of Lebanon Church on Joseph Howe Drive hosts.

 

JoyfulJune_Scotia-Festival-of-Music
Photo: Tony Hauser

MASTERS OF MUSIC

Continuing through June 10, 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 headliner is acclaimed composer and pianist Philip Glass. He performs concerts on June 3 and 5, and takes centre stage for an intimate chat about his craft on June 4 and 6. The concluding gala, this year on June 10, at the Dalhousie Arts Centre is always a highlight. This year Johannes Debus conducts works by Glass, Bach, and Bartok.

 

STEP INSIDE

On June 2 and 3, Doors Open Halifax lets you explore some of the city’s unique architecture. Visitors can explore buildings that are normally closed to the public, and behind-the-scenes spaces in local landmarks. Organizers were still finalizing the venue list at press time. Highlights include Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery, Government House, Halifax City Hall, Cathedral Church of All Saintsand the Old Burying Ground.

 

JoyfulJune_Greek-Fest

OPA!

Halifax Greek Fest, running this year from June 7 to 10, is one of the city’s most beloved festivals of the season. 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.

 

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

Running from June 14 to 16, the OutEast Queer Film Festival celebrates queer independent cinema from local, national, and international filmmakers. It showcases a range of films, including documentary, fiction, and animation, that will challenge, educate, and entertain audiences.

 

JoyfulJune_Bedford-Days

SUMMER TRADITION

For many local families, 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 28 to July 2.

 

JoyfulJune_Tattoo2

POMP AND PAGEANTRY

Taking place June 26 to July 2, 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.

 

Hot Dining

Dining_Lot-Six

JUST THE TWO OF US

Intimate Lot Six on Argyle Street is a must for serious cocktail aficionados. The bar offers a creative array of cocktails, including offerings like Good Cheer (rye whisky, mulled wine, lemon, gingerbread), True at First Light (white rum, curacao, campari, lime, grapefruit, cinnamon), and Shadows at Dusk (white port, cold-brew coffee, tonic).

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.

 

Dining_Burrito-Jax

ON THE MOVE

Quick, casual, healthy, and flavourful: Burrito Jax on Barrington Street ticks all the boxes for an urban-exploration power lunch. Scratch-made burritos are the house specialty. Pulled pork and pepper steak will bring the big traditional flavours purists demand, or you can give it an East Coast twist with fish.

 

Dining_Seafood-Fest
Photo: Dick de Gier

FISHING FOR FLAVOURS

A 45-minute drive east of Halifax on Highway 7, Memory Lane Heritage Village hosts the annual Eastern Shore Cold Waters Seafood Festival on June 2 and 3. 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.

 

Dining_Shuck-Seafood

SO MUCH TO SEA

Just steps from the waterfront, Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar on Salter Street offers lightly cooked and raw fare. The raw menu feature scallops and an array of local oysters, plus crab, lobster, shrimp, and much 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 bar on 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.

Perched over the harbour, Murphy’s The Cable Wharf has harbour views from almost every seat; an ideal spot to while away a sunny afternoon.

With fine seafood and traditional Maritime fare aplenty, McKelvie’s on Lower Water Street has long been a downtown favourite. The Signature Fish Platter, featuring half a lobster and selection of market-fresh fish is a can’t-miss for visitors.

 

Dining_Timber-Lounge

I’M A LUMBERJACK AND I’M OK

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. Fear not: staff are always nearby to train and supervise.

 

Dining_Halifax-Ribfest

A BONE TO PICK *Editor’s Pick*

Running from June 29 to July 2, 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.

Hot Shopping

Shopping_AGNS-Gallery-Shop

UNIQUE FINDS

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 jewelry, 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.

 

Shopping_Ikebana

ZEN AND THE ART OF SHOPPING

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.

 

Shopping_Plaid-Place

CELTIC PRIDE *Editor’s Pick*

Want to sport that distinctive Nova Scotian tartan? Head to Plaid Place on Barrington Street. You’ll find sweaters, hats, ties, skirts, kilts, and accessories—all reflecting Nova Scotia’s strong Scottish roots. Special event? Highland attire available for sale and rental.

 

Shopping_Sweet-Pea-Boutique

SUMMER STYLE

Sweet Pea Boutique on Queen Street has stylish summer dresses for any occasion. Find a basic style for everyday wear, flirtier frocks for weekends, or a cocktail dress for a wedding or other summer celebration. Choose from accessories such as shoes, jewelry, and hair pieces to complete your look.

 

Shopping_Propeller-Brewing
Photo: Trevor J. Adams

BEER LOVERS’ TRIO

Just steps from the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, the Garrison Beer Store 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.

With stores on Gottingen Street and Windmill Road, Propeller Brewing is at the forefront of the local-beer scene. Thee new Propeller Common is a perfect summer beer: flavourful but easy-drinkin’.

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.

 

Dining_Clearwater

FRESH FROM THE SEA

Fresh Atlantic lobster is a treat year-round; did you know you can stop into Clearwater Seafood at the Halifax airport on your way home to get some packaged for travel? Or visit the Bedford Highway location to get fresh-boiled lobster (with all the fixings), for an unforgettable picnic.

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_Antique-Car-Show

ROAD TRIP
June 17 (rain date June 24)

The annual Antique Car Show makes Memory Lane Heritage Village a popular Father’s Day destination. A 45-minute drive east of the city in Lake Charlotte, you’ll find dozens of restored antique vehicles, live entertainment, and Kub Kar races for the kids.

 

Entertainment_Scotia-Festival-of-Music

THE BIG CRESCENDO
June 10

The Scotia Festival of Music, a two-week celebration of chamber music featuring talents from around the world, wraps up today with a matinee gala at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue. Johannes Debus conducts by Bach’s Concerto in D Minor, Bartok’s Divertimento for Strings, and Violin Concerto No. 2 by Philip Glass, the latter featuring a performance by violin virtuoso Tim Fain.

 

Shopping_Scotia-Speedworld
Photo: Pat Healy

HIT THE GAS

June 1, 9, 10, 14 to 18, 23, 24, 28, 29: 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, 8, 15, 22, 23, 29: 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.

 

Entertainment_14-Bells-Gallery

ARTISTIC EXPRESSION

 Opening June 2, 14 Bells Gallery in the Hydrostone Market features an exhibition of new paintings by Nova Scotia artist Peter John Reid.

 Pieces of Sable Island opens on June 15 at Argyle Fine Art in the Historic Properties. Briana Corr-Scott shares art she created after a recent visit to the wild and romantic North Atlantic island.

 On June 25, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street opens the new exhibition Nova Scotia Spotlight: Laurie Swim. One of Canada’s most acclaimed textile artists, Swim creates intricate quilt works inspired by life on the East Coast.

 

Entertainment_The-Glorious-Sons

COLD BEER, COOL TUNES
June 17

Nova Scotia craft-beer granddaddy Garrison marks its birthday with Garrison’s Backlot Bash at the Cunard Centre on Marginal Road. Entertainment includes The Glorious Sons, The Motorleague, and Hello Delaware. Enjoy beer from Garrison plus special releases, seasonal brews, and ciders.

 

Entertainment_Dolly-Parton

WHAT A WAY TO MAKE A LIVING
June 7 to 23

9 to 5 (co-written by Dolly Parton, who also starred in the 1980 film) takes over the stage at Dartmouth Players Theatre on Crichton Avenue. The musical comedy tells the story of three women out to get even with their sexist, lying, bigoted boss, and end up taking over the company.

 

Entertainment_Vision-Air-Services
Photo: Tim L’Esperance

ABOVE IT ALL *Editor’s Pick*

See the iconic Peggy’s Cove lighthouse from a new perspective, explore uninhabited coastal islands, soar above historic Halifax Citadel and the downtown, see the lush farms and vineyards of the Annapolis Valley: Vision Air Services offers unique helicopter tours throughout the region, with custom itineraries and golf excursions available.

 

Entertainment_Tim-NuttEntertainment_Reeny-SmithEntertainment_Dylan-Moran

JUNE:
1st, 2nd: Last Laugh Comedy Club
A new pop-up comedy club opens at the Atlantica Hotel Halifax on Robie Street, with performances from Tim Nutt, Matt Falk, and Drew Behm.

2nd: East Coast Music Showcase
Several local talents take the stage for a community-radio fund raiser, including Makayla Lynn, John Gracie, Hal Bruce, Reeny Smith, and J.J. Roots.

5th: Dylan Moran
The Irish comic brings his Grumbling Mustard tour to the Dalhousie Arts Centre for an evening of wry observational comedy.

Entertainment_John-Denver-ExperienceEntertainment_Neptune-TheatreEntertainment_Matt-Minglewood

7th: The John Denver Experience
Chris Collins & Boulder Canyon perform the singer/songwriter’s greatest hits like “Rocky Mountain High” and “Take Me Home Country Roads.”

17th: Neptune Theatre
Mamma Mia! continues through the month at Neptune Theatre. The smash-hit features the music of ABBA and stars Jahlen Barnes, Danielle Benton, and Karen Burthwright.

22nd, 23rd: Casino Nova Scotia
Locally loved blues-rocker Matt Minglewood and his band take the stage for an intimate show in the Schooner Showroom at the Upper Water Street casino.

 

Concierge Q & A

Concierge_Trevor-Proude

Trevor Proude is head concierge at The Hollis Halifax-A Doubletree Suites by Hilton. He is a musician, limousine chauffeur, and has been in the hotel industry for the past 15 years. Trevor has recently become the new regional director for Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic, part of an international association of concierges.

Q: What’s your pick for June’s can’t miss event for visitors?
A: My top pick for June would have to be the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo festival. It’s your chance to see pipers, drummers, dancers, acrobats, cyclists, singers, choirs, military bands and much, much more. It is a great Maritime tradition. Also, one may want to take in Halifax Ribfest happening around the same weekend on the waterfront. June 29 to July 2.

Q: What’s a great way for a family to spend a June day in the city?
A: I usually recommend the Discovery Centre on the waterfront. This would be a good way to start your day with the kids. It also offers free admission between 5pm and 8pm on Wednesday evenings. If you’re here on June 2 and 3, take advantage of Doors Open Halifax; 30+ venues whose doors normally are closed to the public will open. The kids may also want to see the Museum of Natural History and visit Gus, the 95-year-old tortoise. They can join in on his daily walk around 3:30pm every day.

Q: If you only had one day in the city, how would you spend it?
A: I would recommend starting your day at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on the south end of the boardwalk. It’s a great way to take in local vendors from around the province and a great place for a light breakfast. If it is a rainy day, one may like to take in the museums we have to offer such as the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street, which has fascinating exhibitions on the Titanic and Halifax Explosion. Be sure to make your way to Halifax Citadel for the noon gun and the changing of the guard. This National Historic Site has a lot to offer with military reenactors and the Army Museum, plus ghost tours for the kids. The Halifax Public Gardens and the architecturally distinct Halifax Central Library are also must-visits.

Q: Where can visitors find a unique souvenir to take home?
A: There are a few places in town one can find a nice souvenir. Murphy’s Company Store at the Cable Wharf on Lower Water Street has a lot to choose from, and you’ll always find something unique at NovaScotian Crystal at the foot of George Street on the waterfront. Another popular stop is Jennifer’s of Nova Scotia located in the heart of the downtown shopping district on Spring Garden Road.

Q: What’s the best thing about June in Halifax?
A: Visitor season is in full swing, and that means the opening of all of the historical tours and boat tours, including the bus tours to Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg plus many more. You have all of the vendors starting to open shop on the waterfront as well as all of the bars and restaurants starting to rebuild their popular patios. We locals call it patio season. Our entertainment district on Argyle Street hosts many of these. The city of Halifax has many secret gems that are just waiting to be discovered.

Ultimate Halifax

UltimateHalifax_Memory-Lane

Photo: Rochelle Owen

Family fun, outdoor adventures, live theatre, and more—our annual roundup of the things we love most about our city

By Trevor J. Adams
With reporting by Janice Hudson

 

TO MARKET

Halifax hosts several farmers’ markets, offering 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.  

—A short walk up Lower Water Street takes you to the Historic Farmers’ Market in the Alexander Keith’s Brewery building. Find vendors and live entertainment in the main courtyard or tucked away in the maze of wings and hallways in this historic facility.

—In the North End on Windsor Street is the Halifax Forum, home to the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. Find 50+ vendors, including local farmers selling produce right off their trucks
in the parking lot.

—Across the harbour in Dartmouth, just steps from the Halifax Transit ferry terminal, you’ll find the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market. It has live entertainment on its main stage on Saturday mornings. Outside, find flower and plant vendors aplenty during spring.

 

UltimateHalifax_Public-Gardens

Photo: Serena Graham-Dwyer

URBAN ESCAPE

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.

 

UltimateHalifax_Public-Gardens

Photo: Discover Halifax

HISTORIC HALIFAX

—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. 

UltimateHalifax_Dartmouth-Heritage-Museum

—A short walk from the Halifax Transit ferry terminal, you’ll find 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. 

—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.

 

PLAY TIME

Eastern Front Theatre’s Stages Theatre Festival presents some 15 shows and events from May 21 to June 3. The schedule includes new plays, workshops, theatre for families, and world premieres held at venues across the city. The festival highlights work from Nova Scotia’s top professional theatre companies at different stages of development, from workshops and play-readings to full productions.

 

UltimateHalifax_Peggys-Cove

Photo: Discover Halifax

DAY TRIPPER

—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 in the other direction 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.

 

UltimateHalifax_Point-Pleasant

GET SOME FRESH AIR

—Haligonians love Point Pleasant Park in any season, and it’s not hard to see 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.

—West past the Armdale Rotary on Purcell’s Cove Road, you’ll find Sir Sandford Fleming Park. This 38-hectare space has walking trails through forest, saltwater marsh, and 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. Kids will love the new playground on-site, Halifax’s first all-natural play space made of hand-carved tree trunks. 

—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.

 

UltimateHalifax_Discovery-Centre

Photo: Riley Smith

JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

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 new 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 to 8 p.m., admission is free. 

Hot Dining

Dining_Your-Fathers-Moustache

ABOVE IT ALL

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 the weekend brunch menu (with offerings like skillets, french toast, pancakes, and more) is always popular.

 

Dining_Athens-Restaurant

LOCALS LOVE IT

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. Get there early to beat the crowds.

 

Dining_Shore-Club-Lobster-Suppers

Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia

A SHORE THING

The Shore Club Lobster Suppers in Hubbards are a must for Nova Scotian visitors. Enjoy a huge feed of fresh Atlantic lobster in the rollicking and informal setting of a community supper at one of the province’s last old-fashioned dance halls (live music on Saturday nights in season). The menu includes all-you-can-eat mussels, and vegetarian, steak, chicken, and kids’ meals. 

 

Dining_Cut-Steakhouse

DIAMOND DELIGHTS

Two Halifax restaurants recently claimed the coveted AAA/CAA Four Diamond Award. For the tenth straight year, Cut Steakhouse on Salter Street was feted. “It is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and meticulous attention to detail over the past decade by our entire team,” says general manager and sommelier Melissa Carey in a press release. The other Halifax award went to Gio on Market Street. This stylish spot is noted for a globally-influenced menu, creative cocktails, and exquisite service.

 

Dining_Primal-Kitchen

Photo: Trevor J. Adams

STEAK OUT

As the name suggests, Primal Kitchen on Brenton Street is a carnivore’s haven, boasting local meats smoked, cured, and butchered in-house. Guaranteed date-night all-star: the 35-ounce bone-in prime rib for two paired with truffle fries.

 

Dining_Dhaba

ASIAN APPETITE

In a historic building on the corner of Morris and Hollis streets, Talay Thai serves up heaping portions of traditional dishes like creations 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 butter chicken is a reliable choice.

 

Dining_Sugah

Photo: Tammy Fancy

CHILL OUT

When exploring city streets, beat the heat with a tasty treat. At Sugah on the waterfront boardwalk in Bishop’s Landing, you’ll find all manner of confections, but the star of the show is the house-made hand-paddled ice cream, showcasing unique Nova Scotian ingredients.

 

Dining_Primal-Kitchen

Photo: Bruce Murray/VisionFire Studios

POUR A PINT *Editor’s Pick*

Continuing through May 6, Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week offers a great chance to discover the best of the province’s fast-growing brewing scene. This month’s highlights include a nano-brewery tap takeover at Good Robot Brewing on May 3, as the popular urban tasting room pours creations from Nova Scotia’s smallest breweries alongside its own creations. Visiting later in the month? Local brews abound at spots like Battery Park beer bar and Jamieson’s Irish-House & Grill in Dartmouth, stylish Stillwell on Barrington Street, and long-time local favourite The Maxwell’s Plum on Grafton Street.

Hot Shopping

Shopping_Freak-Lunchbox

SWEET SENSATIONS

Freak Lunchbox on Barrington Street and in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford offers a whimsical (and tasty) shopping experience. The colourful store is chockablock with retro treats like Pez, Cracker Jacks, and Pop Shoppe soda, plus fun toys and gifts. 

—For gourmet treats or a basket of sweet goodies, stop into Sweet Jane’s on Queen Street. The staff here will put together arrangements for any tastes or celebrations. Amp up your date-night game with gourmet truffles.

 

UltimateHalifax_Dartmouth-Heritage-Museum

CENTRES OF SHOPPING

Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth boasts 120+ stores and services. Anchored by The Bay, this three-storey shopping destination features women’s fashions, entertainment, electronics, books, salons, and even a vinyl-record store. 

Halifax Shopping Centre on Mumford Road is one of the city’s busiest shopping destinations, boasting popular shops like Levi’s, Samuel & Co., and Charm Diamond Centre. The bright and airy—and recently renovated—food court offers an array of dining options: Lebanese, Italian, Thai, and more.

 

Shopping_Liquid-Gold

FOR THE FOODIES

In the heart of the North End’s stylish Hydrostone neighbourhood, you’ll find Liquid Gold on Young Street. Specializing in high-quality extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world, this unique shop is a favourite with local foodies. 

 

Shopping_Bishops-Landing

ON THE WATERFRONT

As you stroll the Halifax waterfront, stylish Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street is a must-visit shopping stop: find a tasty and unique gift for the folks back home at Rum Runners, distinctive creations at Frida Custom Jewellery Design, finely crafted pearl works at Pearl City, an array of local wine, spirits, cider, and beer at Bishop’s Cellar, and flavourful and refreshing juices at Haskapa. 

 

Shopping_Designer-Craft-Shop

ONE OF A KIND

—It’s hard to find a more distinctive memento of your visit than a locally-crafted work of art from the AGNS Gallery Shop at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. Check out unique and collectible pieces of sculpture, pottery, paintings, and more. Maud Lewis (the eponymous artist from the acclaimed movie Maudie) is among the many local talents whose work is on display. 

The Pier 21 Gift Shop at the Canadian Museum of Immigration, on Marginal Road offers local art and books, pewter gifts, and museum-branded swag aplenty. 

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

 

Shopping_MEC

INTO THE WILD *Editor’s Pick*

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

 

Shopping_Fireworks-Gallery

PRECIOUS METALS

The goldsmiths and jewellers at Fireworks Gallery on Barrington Street create customized jewelry for any occasion. Choose a design with gold, platinum, diamonds, or gorgeous gemstones. The designers use Old World techniques such as hand engraving or filigree. Browse the collections of other artists, as well as antique pieces from estate collections, too. Travel emergency? Repairs performed on site.

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_Cadence

IN PERFECT HARMONY
May 4

Combining raw talent, hard work, and infectious charm, the cappella quartet Cadence is one of Canada’s top vocal ensembles, performing a lively mix of bebop classics, jazz standards, and contemporary favourites. The Dartmouth Community Concert Association hosts them at Woodlawn United Church.

 

Entertainment_Dirty-Dancing

CENTRE STAGE

Continuing at Neptune TheatreMamma Mia! is Halifax’s most-talked-about theatrical production of the season, featuring lively choreography and the music of ABBA.

Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage comes to Scotiabank Centre on May 22, bringing the beloved 1980s story (with the musical hits you’d expect) to life on the big stage.

 

Entertainment_Blue-Nose-Marathon

BORN TO RUN
May 18 to 20

The Blue Nose Marathon is a Boston qualifier, following a 42-kilometre route beginning at Citadel Hill and winding through the South End, Point Pleasant Park, downtown, across the Macdonald Bridge to Dartmouth, and back to the Citadel. Events include a 5K and youth run on May 19, followed by the full marathon, half marathon, and 10K race on May 20. 

 

Entertainment_Atlantic-Motorsport-Park

TOP GEAR

May 11 to 13, 16, 18 to 21, 26, 27, 30: Atlantic Motorsport Park hosts regional motorcycle and auto-racing events plus national competitions on a 2.5-kilometre, 11-turn road circuit.

May 12, 20, 25, 26: Scotia Speedworld reopens for the season, hosting auto-racing events in several classes.

 

Entertainment_Philip-Glass

MUSIC MASTERS *Editor’s Pick*
May 27 to June 10

The Scotia Festival of Music is a must for classical purists, showcasing chamber-music artists from around the world with 50 events, including concerts, recitals, open rehearsals, master classes, and more. Guests include Philip Glass (composer), Elissa Li (violin), and Sharon Wei (viola).

 

Entertainment_Touch-a-Truck

FAMILY FUN
May 12

Touch-a-Truck is intended for all ages, but machine-loving kids will especially enjoy it. Halifax Exhibition Centre on Prospect Road hosts several fire engines, cars, bikes, diggers, boats, and more, all in one space; hop up to driver’s seat for a photo. There are sessions for people with sensitivities to loud noise from 11:30am to 12:30pm and 2:30 to 3:30pm. 

 

Entertainment_Bull-Riding

RIDE ‘EM
May 26

While bull riding is huge in Western Canada, it’s a rarely-seen sport on the East Coast. This month, the Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy Tour comes to the city, bringing top competitors from across the country and around the world to Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.

 

Entertainment_Kevin-Hart Entertainment_Bernhard-Gueller Entertainment_Mary-E-Black-Gallery

MAY:
4th: Kevin Hart
Hart’s Irresponsible Tour just keeps growing, with dozens of new dates added recently, including an unexpected stop at Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre.

8th to 12th: Symphony Nova Scotia
The season concludes at the Dalhousie Arts Centre with “Gueller’s Grand Finale,” two concerts honouring outgoing Maestro Bernhard Gueller.

13th: Mary E. Black Gallery
Continuing until today, the exhibition Wreaking Havoc features works by textile artist Jane Whitten. See it at the Marginal Road gallery.

Entertainment_Cheng2-Duo Entertainment_Jason-Cyrus Entertainment_William-Roache

13th: Cecilia Concert Series
The season concludes with a concert by the Cheng² Duo, a sibling team featuring pianist Silvie Cheng and cellist Bryan Cheng.

18th: Jason Cyrus
The renowned hypnotist performs an intimate show, with lots of audience participation, in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

28th: The Ken Barlow Effect
William Roache has played Ken Barlow on Coronation Street since the show’s inception 57 years ago. He shares behind-the-scenes secrets at this Spatz Theatre Q&A session. 

Concierge Q & A

Concierge_Phil-Osborne

A member of Les Clefs d’Or, Phil Osborne holds a diploma in hospitality management from the Irish Tourism Board and is the current delegate-experience team supervisor at the Halifax Convention Centre. Originally from Manchester, U.K., Phil lived in Ireland, New York, and Vancouver before settling in Halifax.

Q: What’s your pick for May’s top events for visitors?
A:
 On May 2, the Halifax waterfront (at 1549 Lower Water Street) hosts the all-ages outdoor East Coast Music Awards Kick-Off Concert. This free show features some of Atlantic Canada’s top musical talents.

Q: What Halifax-area spot do you recommend for a relaxed weekend brunch?
A: 
My favourite go-to spot for brunch is usually Robie Street Station. Since 2014 it’s been serving a great all-day breakfast and brunch. My favourite dish is the Remedy: two eggs with potatoes and a biscuit, plus your choice of pork belly, bacon, pulled pork, or fruit. It’s a great start to your day!

Q: What’s your pick for a lively night on the town with friends?
A: 
Well that would be Durty Nelly’s, especially when there’s live music. In the heart of the downtown (and just steps from the Nova Centre and Scotiabank Centre), this Irish pub is a great spot to have a few drinks, have a laugh, and meet some new friends. The menu features burgers, wings, nachos, and Irish-pub favourites like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, and curry.

Q: Where do you suggest for a romantic dinner for two?
A: 
For a romantic dinner, I would always recommend Gio at the Prince George Hotel on Market Street. Don’t think of it as a hotel restaurant; it’s a restaurant with its own identity, a great globally-inspired menu, creative cocktails, comfortable private seating, and top-notch service.

Q: What’s the best thing about May in Halifax?
A: 
The changing weather and then the patios beginning to appear around the downtown core. When the patios and beer gardens open you know summer is just around the corner and the vibe in the city changes, becoming even more upbeat and welcoming.

Q: What’s a great day-trip destination for visitors to Halifax this month?
A: McNabs Island 
is an overlooked gem of a tourist spot for a day trip. Take the Harbour Taxi (harbourtaxi.ca) out to the Island and spend the day on the trails. Kattuk Expeditions (kattukexpeditions.com) offers a popular McNab’s Island Sunset Kayak Tour: you can kayak to the island and then sit, relax, and watch the sunset over chocolate fondue with fresh fruit.

Comedy from the Coast

ComedyFest_Martha-Chaves

The Halifax ComedyFest showcases top comics from across the country and around the world

By Trevor J. Adams

 

With live shows at stages around the city, featuring some 31 different acts, the Halifax ComedyFest is always a spring highlight in Halifax. Back for its 23rd year, the 2018 edition runs from April 25 until April 28.

The festival begins with the Opening Gala at Casino Nova Scotia on April 25. Greg Proops headlines. He’s one of North America’s most prolific comedians with an award-winning live podcast (The Smartest Man in the World), but he’s best known for his appearance on the TV improv show Whose Line is it Anyway? Proops also performed as a voice actor in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and The Nightmare Before Christmas. You can also see Proops at the April 27 Gala Finale at the Spatz Theatre and hosting his live podcast on April 26 at The Carleton bar and grill.

ComedyFest_Greg-ProopsComedyFest_Nikki-Payne

The Opening Gala lineup also includes Ottawa native Jenn Labelle, Jean Paul from Trinidad (via Brooklyn and Toronto), and Nathan MacIntosh, who debuted on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and is now a regular on the comedy-fest circuit.

Festival favourite Jeremy Hotz returns to Halifax for the Gala of Laughs on Friday, April 27 at the Spatz Theatre on Trollope Street. One of the most unique stand-up comics working today, Jeremy’s known for his quirky, confused, and perpetually-miserable observational comedy. Other highlights from the show include Nova Scotian and local favourite Nikki Payne and Rob Pue, a regular on MTV’s Punk’d. Mark Critch, of This Hour Has 22 Minutes fame, hosts.

ComedyFest_Kabir-SinghComedyFest_Jenn-LabelleComedyFest_Jean-PaulComedyFest_Tom-Papa

Critch returns on April 28 to host the Gala of Laughs Finale at Spatz Theatre. The all-star show features the festival’s biggest names, including comedic all-star Tom Papa. With more than 20 years in stand-up, Papa is one of the top comedic voices in North America and a regular in film, TV, radio, podcasts, and on the live stage.

Papa is a regular on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Conan. He hosts the hit podcast and SiriusXM show Come to Papa, a weekly hour-long show exploring the funny side of life with guests like Mel Brooks, Ray Romano, Carl Reiner, and Jerry Seinfeld. Tom appears at the Gala of Laughs Finale on Saturday, April 28 at Spatz Theatre.

And this year, the festival spreads beyond the downtown core, with new shows in Dartmouth, Bedford, and Clayton Park. On April 27, find the Montes Comedy Power Hour at Montes Showbar Grill on Waverly Road in Dartmouth. The same night, Brewster’s Bar & Grill in Bedford hosts the Comedy Brew Ha Ha. On April 28 see feature LMAO at the Lower Deck Bar & Grill in Clayton Park.