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Halifax City Hall

Hot Entertainment

BEER HEAVEN
Aug. 9–10
Returning for its 13th year, the Halifax Seaport Cider & Beerfest is Atlantic Canada’s largest craft-beer celebration. Taste 300+ beers, ciders, and meads from around the world. New this year is the Maine Beer Box, a 40-foot container shipped directly from Maine, featuring 78 taps pouring a broad array of the state’s acclaimed local brews. Plus: live music and food vendors.

Mark Forward

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US
Aug. 2-5
The city celebrates its founding on Halifax Natal Day weekend, with a variety of special events. Highlights include family activities, live concerts, road races, a talent showcase, one of the oldest parades in Atlantic Canada, and fireworks. On Aug. 2, Mark Forward from Crave’s cult hit Letterkenny headlines the Natal Day Comedy Gala at Casino Nova Scotia.

MILITARY HERITAGE
Aug. 23
The Freedom of the City is a historical privilege cities grant to military units with strong local ties, allowing them to march through the city with “drums beating, colours flying, and bayonets fixed.” In Halifax, that honour falls to the 78th Highlanders. On Aug. 23, they’ll have a special inspection at Halifax Citadel, before marching to Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall and on to Government House.

Rhythm Works

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Continuing through Aug. 5
With 300 free shows on five waterfront stages over six days, Halifax Busker Festival is the largest annual event of its type. See local talents and street performers from around the world. This year’s lineup includes mime Jenny Jupiter, contortionist Alakazam, Rhythm Works (the Toronto Raptors’ official drummers), and many more.

Anastasia Pogorelova

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
Continuing through Aug. 11
At the Halifax Summer Opera Festival, local talents and visiting stars share the stage for a showcase of opera from baroque to steampunk. One of the most anticipated performances of the festival is The Magic Flute (Aug. 2, 3, 8, 10), starring Russian soprano Anastasia Pogorelova as the Queen of the Night.

ART EXPERIENCE
Continuing
At the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street, eight contemporary artists team up to challenge preconceived notions of Blackness in Canada. Developed at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Here We Are features works by Sandra Brewster, Chantal Gibson, Sylvia D. Hamilton, Bushra Junaid, Charmaine Lurch, Esmaa Mohamoud, Michèle Pearson Clarke, and Gordon Shadrach.

Photo: Ben-Lariviere

Aug. 2
Symphony Nova Scotia
Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducts The Last Night of the Proms, featuring British staples and a rousing, sing-along of “Jerusalem.”

Aug. 6
An Evening with David Sedaris
See the best-selling humourist and This American Life contributor in person at the Dalhousie Arts Centre. Plus: Q&A and book signing.

Photo: Trevor MacMillan/CPL

Aug. 10
HFX Wanderers FC
Halifax’s Canadian Premier League soccer team is back in action at the Wanderers’ Grounds, hosting Cavalry FC.

Aug. 14
Nikki Payne
A two-time Canadian Comedy Award winner for Best Female Standup, Payne puts on a raucous show. See her at The Carleton.

Aug. 18
Neptune Theatre
Today is your last chance to see Cinderella, an original musical comedy starring Samantha Walkes.

Photo: Melanie Swerdan

Aug. 22–24
Matt Mays
The local rocker’s high-octane shows at the Shore Club in Hubbards pack in visitors and locals alike. Dustin Bentall opens.

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.

 

‘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.