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A King’s Christmas

Christmas by the Sea

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

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

 

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Photo: Will Roberts

FAMILY FIRST

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

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

 

Ben-Caplan

SEASONAL SYMPHONY

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

 

Barra-Macneils

MORE MERRY MUSIC

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

 

CHRISTMAS COMEDY

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

 

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FESTIVE THEATRE

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

 

 

‘Tis the season

By Trevor J. Adams

Parades, live theatre, concerts galore and more—Halifax is abuzz with Christmas magic.

November and December are lively months in Halifax, with dozens of special events to celebrate the holiday season. Read on for our favourites. With an exciting mix of traditional classics and new events, there’s plenty here for the whole family.

YULE PARTIES

Holiday Parade of Lights. Photo: Will Roberts

Holiday Parade of Lights. Photo: Will Roberts

The Holiday Parade of Lights on November 21 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as some 100,000 spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts. Also on November 21,

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing Christmas traditions dating back to colonial days. The event continues on November 22.

Victorian Christmas at Halifax Citadel. Photo: Parks Canada

Victorian Christmas at Halifax Citadel. Photo: Parks Canada

Back downtown on November 28, 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. The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on December 5, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

CRAFTY CHRISTMAS

Back for its 38th year, Christmas at the Forum is one of Canada’s largest annual indoor markets of its type, with some 450 vendors offering art, gifts, antiques, and food. The Halifax Forum on Windsor Street hosts on November 6 to 8.

THERE’S A SONG IN THE AIR

Alexander Weimann

Alexander Weimann joins Symphony Nova Scotia for Handel’s Messiah

Symphony Nova Scotia offers holiday concerts galore, with Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on November 28 and 29, The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) on December 4 to 13, and Handel’s Messiah on December 18 and 19.

A King’s Christmas is back on December 13. A special guest narrator joins the King’s College Chapel Choir at All Saint’s Cathedral on Martello Street for seasonal songs and stories. Paul Halley directs.

The holidays get a Celtic twist on December 20, as the Barra MacNeils perform A Cape Breton Christmas at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

Barra MacNeils

Barra MacNeils

MAKING MERRY

Beloved humourist and storyteller Stuart McLean brings his Vinyl Café Christmas Show to the Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street on November 20. December sees the return of a popular holiday-themed comedy event on December 11 and 12. The annual Ha Ha Halidays event comes to the World Trade and Convention Centre on December 11 and 12, with a lineup that includes Australian funny guy Jim Dailakis and Newfoundlander John Sheehan.

PLAY ON

Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on November 28. A Year With Frog and Toad brings Arnold Lobel’s character to the stage in a Tony-nominated musical. The holiday pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another seasonal mainstay. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, The Emperor’s New Clothes runs from November 26 to December 12.