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Doors Open Halifax

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.

 

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.