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Eastern Shore Cold Waters Seafood Festival

Heating Up

Cedar Festival

It’s festival season in Halifax—out our favourite local seasonal celebrations

By Trevor J. Adams

Celebrating the city’s music, varied cultural communities, military heritage, and rich architecture, Halifax’s festival calendar offers something for every taste this month. No matter when you’re visiting, in fair weather or foul, you’ll find an exciting event.

Family Favourites
For many local schoolkids, Bedford Days is the unofficial kickoff to summer. The schedule includes lots for all ages: fireworks, rides, live entertainment, games and competitions, and a beer garden for the grown folks. DeWolf Park, just off the Bedford Highway, hosts from June 27–July 1.

Much Music
Continuing through June 9, the Scotia Festival of Music celebrates chamber music with 50+ events, including concerts, recitals, open rehearsals, and master classes. The festival attracts top talents from around the world: this year’s headliners include oboeist Suzanne Lemieux, violinist Scott St. John, pianist John Novacek, violinist Airi Yoshioka, conductor Bernhard Gueller, and many more. The concluding gala, this year on June 9, at the Dalhousie Arts Centre is always a highlight. This year erstwhile Symphony Nova Scotia maestro Bernhard Gueller conducts works by Schubert and Mahler.

Cultural Connections
Or start the month with the annual Cedar Festival, continuing through June 2. Fun for the whole family, this Lebanese festival offers live music and dancing, mouth-watering Middle Eastern cuisine, cultural demonstrations, plus a cooking competition and fashion show. And just for the kids, there’s a bouncy castle, magic show, carnival games, and face painting. Find the event at 111 Clayton Park Dr.

Hellas Good
Halifax Greek Fest, running this year from June 6–9, is one of the city’s most beloved festivals. Thousands flock to St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcell’s Cove Road for live music, traditional dancing, art and cultural exhibitions, language workshops, religious artifacts, tasty Greek cuisine, and vendors aplenty. While noshing on souvlaki, watch dancers take the stage with their high-energy moves. Kids will love the Olympic area that includes face painting, an inflatable ride, cool treats, and balloons.

Something for Everyone
Taking place June 29–July 6, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type. Known for its pomp, precision, and music, the event brings together military and civilian performers from around the world, including pipe and military bands, acrobats, trapeze artists, gymnasts, choirs, drill teams, comedians, and more. See it at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.

Summer Feast
Running from June 28–July 1, Halifax Ribfest showcases ribs (and lots of other BBQ dishes and sides) from local favourites like Boneheads BBQ and vendors from around North America. Live entertainment and free admission (pay per serving). The annual festival is a fund raiser for the Rotary Club of Halifax. Find it on the Halifax waterfront off Lower Water Street.

Catch of the Day
Memory Lane Heritage Village hosts the annual Eastern Shore Cold Waters Seafood Festival on June 1–2. Sample tasty Atlantic Canadian seafood: fresh clams, lobsters, mussels, and haddock prepared numerous ways, plus traditional dishes like smoked fish and Solomon Gundy. Kids will love the on-site demos and activities, including dory rides, buoy painting, net knitting, and lobster-trap building.

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.