• eat
  • shop
  • see
  • go
  • stay
  • daytrip
  • map
  • calendar
  • transport
  • weather
  • currency
  • tofrom

Halifax Common

Spring Fling

March Break or any time—family fun abounds in Halifax

By: Trevor J. Adams

 

Entertainment_Halifax-Hurricanes

TAKE IT TO THE HOOP

It’s championship-basketball season in Halifax, as Scotiabank Centre hosts two major tournaments. From March 2 to 4, the AUS Basketball Championships sees Atlantic Canada’s top men’s and women’s university teams battle for the regional titles. The following weekend, the U Sports Men’s Basketball Final 8 comes to town, with top teams coast-to-coast competing for the national title.

 

Spring-Fling_Oval-Skating
Photo: HRM

GO PLAY OUTDOORS

Skating on the Oval on Halifax Common at the corner of North Park and Cogswell streets has become a rite of winter in Halifax—join the locals for a free whirl on the outdoor ice. No skates? No problem: free skate and helmet rentals are available on site with photo ID. See halifax.ca/SkateHRM/index.php for skate times.

 

Spring-Fling_AGNS 

ARTISTIC EXPRESSIONS

March Break is the perfect time to foster your budding artistes at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. Events include Family Sunday on March 11, March Break Art Classes on March 12, and Sketching in the Gallery on March 14 and 15—no experience necessary. And of course, you’ll also find the usual vast selection of touring and permanent exhibitions, including works by acclaimed folk artist Maud Lewis.

 

Spring-Fling_Discovery-Centre
Photo: Riley Smith

MORE TO DISCOVER

The Discovery Centre on Lower Water Street is the ideal spot to while away a blustery day. This huge, whimsical hands-on science centre is jam-packed with hands-on fun and interactive exhibits. Special programming for March includes the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) Olympics and the Digital Discovery Camp. Check thediscoverycentre.ca for details.

 

Spring-Fling_Nova-Scotia-Sports-Hall-of-Fame

SPORTS FANS

The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street is a riveting stop for sports fans of any age. Highlights include exclusive Sidney Crosby exhibits, Olympic artifacts, sports simulators, historic photos, and much more. Free admission.

 

Spring-Fling_MMA

NAUTICAL ADVENTURES

With exhibitions on the Titanic, Halifax Explosion, world wars, and piracy, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is a hit with history buffs of any age—the ideal place to explore Nova Scotia’s seafaring history. Special programming for March includes Ships and Shipping, a photo essay on the evolution of traffic in the port of Halifax over the last 50 years.

 

Spring-Fling_Museum-of-Natural-History

GOING NATURAL

The Museum of Natural History on Summer Street boasts an array of permanent exhibitions, including Science on a Sphere, to learn about weather, shipping routes, and ocean currents. It’s home to Gus the gopher tortoise, who has been delighting young patrons for more than 70 years. And continuing through April, it features Body Worlds RX. Created by anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens, the exhibit features real human bodies, preserved with Plastination, a complex technique that removes the fluids from the body and replaces them with plastics that harden. Specimens compare healthy bodies and organs and those stricken with disease. Unique and educational, but not for the faint of heart.

 

 

 

Concierge Q&A

Todd-Young

An outgoing person with a theatre background, Todd Young has been concierge for Southwest Properties at Bishop’s Landing since 2011 and a corporate affiliate member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada. He enjoys his role at a property with many permanent residents, where he’s in a unique position to be part of their daily lives and discover more about the city.

Q: What’s the best way to spend a blustery winter day in Halifax?
A: 
Building a snowman on the Halifax Common or skating at the Oval followed by hot chocolate and a delicious treat at The Old Apothecary Bakery & Cafe on Barrington Street. You can’t get much blusterier than downtown in the winter and the European-style hot chocolate helps a lot! The baked goods are incredible and the breads are divine.

Q: What’s your favourite winter day trip from Halifax?
A: Taking a sleigh ride at Hatfield Farm in Hammonds Plains or a trip to Sugar Moon Farm: a maple-syrup farm and restaurant in Earltown, a 90-minute drive north of Halifax in Central Nova Scotia. It’s nice to get out of the city in any season and enjoy the great beauty that Nova Scotia offers.

Q: What’s your favourite place to enjoy a hearty bowl of seafood chowder?
A: The Esquire Restaurant, an old-fashion diner on the Bedford Highway, hands down. One of my favourite wintertime meals! Friendly staff, great food. It’s like being hugged by Nova Scotia.

Q: What’s one must-visit Halifax destination for craft-beer aficionados?
A: Nine Locks Brewing Company on Waverly Road in Dartmouth. Its Scottish Ale and Vanilla Porter are amazing and the brewer is always working on something new. If you’re a chocolate fan, their Chocolate Stout is a must-try.

Q: What does Halifax have on offer for sports fans this winter?
A: Catching a Halifax Mooseheads or university hockey game is one of the best winter activities in the city. After, grab a wonderful dinner at a downtown restaurant like Ristorante a Mano or Little Oak.

May Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

BEST IN BEAN

trident-storefront-sourced-from-FB-web

•A favourite place for downtown coffee aficionados, The Trident on Hollis Street roasts its beans on-site, offering an array of hot drinks, loose tea and pastries. After you recharge, browse the eclectic mix of used books.

•Veteran coffeehouse Java Blend on North Street has been in the bean business since 1938 and roasts all of its coffee on-site. Unique coffee memorabilia and an old (but still working) coffee roaster add to the cozy, laid-back feel of the café.

•In Dartmouth, Two if by Sea Café is the go-to spot for coffee fiends, offering not just fabulous coffee but also indulgent fresh-baked croissants that can stand in for a meal. The café has a second location on the Halifax side in the Historic Properties near the Halifax Transit ferry terminal.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Bistro-le-Coq-web

Offering French-inspired cuisine, Bistro le Coq on Argyle Street has the atmosphere of a Parisian bistro, with an ornate tin ceiling, elegant artwork and plush booths. Service en français is always available. Choose from tasty French classics like steak frites and glazed duck. There’s an extensive list of wines, with many served by the glass (including champagne). For dessert, try the layered Nutella crêpe cake.

SAVOUR SPRING

The-Canteen-tasting--11-web

The brainchild of award-winning Chef Renée Lavallée, The Canteen on Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth serves up flavourful sandwiches, salads and take-out dinners. Lavallée changes the menu daily to highlight fresh local ingredients. Breadmaster Jessica Best bakes all the bread on-site, including tasty gluten-free options.

SPLASH OF LIFE

Photo: Janice Hudson

Photo: Janice Hudson

A newcomer on Halifax’s vibrant diner scene, Robie Street Station has become the it-spot in Central Halifax for all-day breakfast and comfort food with a global twist. Colourful murals and local artwork decorate the charming eatery, located near the Halifax Common on Robie Street. Hit up Robie Street Express next door for a coffee and fresh baked-goods to go.

IN VINO VERITAS

IMG_9201-web

A stylish yet intimate space, Obladee on Barrington Street offers a range of stellar, hand-chosen wines, including special local vintages. Try the monthly cellar wine special: staff uncork top red and white vintages for customers to enjoy by the glass. Pair your choice with charcuterie from the local artisanal producers.

March Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

Cheese Curds

Cheese Curds

BURGER CELEBRATION

Over 60 restaurants and burger joints across Halifax mark Burger Week from March 19 to 25, with many places offering $5 burgers. Here are some of the highlights.

•With two locations in Halifax (at Gus’ Pub on Agricola Street in the North End and Bearly’s on Barrington Street in the South End), Ace Burger Co. specializes in gourmet burgers and po’boy sandwiches with all the fixings and hand-cut fries.
•Downtown on Argyle Street, Flipburger has over 10 signature burgers plus house-made sauces and fresh-cut fries. Its Blue Cheese and Bacon burger boasts fresh blue cheese, sautéed mushrooms and local double-smoked bacon.
•In Dartmouth, head over to Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers and Poutinerie on Pleasant Street where Chef Bill Pratt serves up a bevy of burger options, including pork, salmon, lamb, vegetarian and beef dressed any way you like.

Photo: Tammy Fancy

Photo: Tammy Fancy

NEW DIGS

One of Halifax’s busiest Thai restaurants, Talay Thai has a new home on the corner of Hollis and Morris streets in Halifax’s South End. Now fully wheelchair accessible, the new restaurant boasts the same Thai cuisine as ever (try the spicy Pat Chaa Beef to warm up a cold day). Check out the inexpensive lunch menu, featuring many signature dishes.

Photo: Trevor J. Adams

Photo: Trevor J. Adams

EDITOR’S CHOICE

With a creative menu, sweeping views of Halifax Common and free underground parking, Seasons by Atlantica is one of Halifax’s best-kept lunch secrets. Dishes like crispy-fried haddock and curried-chicken flatbread are just the thing to power you through an afternoon of adventures.

Clam-Pie2-web

BIGGER PIECE OF THE PIE

Specializing in thin crust, New York Italian-style pizza for over 20 years, Salvatore’s Pizzaiolo has doubled its seating capacity (and expanded its kitchen space) thanks to a recent renovation. The landmark pizzeria in the Hydrostone Market of Halifax’s North End now seats 35 people, retaining its signature Italian-style stucco walls and décor but with a chic new bar area. The restaurant has also expanded its drinks menu, offering more wine options as well as local brews on tap, including beers by Big Spruce and Boxing Rock.

Old Triangle

Old Triangle

TOAST THE GOOD TIMES

Your Father’s Moustache on Spring Garden Road has an extensive menu with tasty items like ribs, club sandwiches and nachos, plus three signature beers created by RockBottom brew master Greg Nash.
•Downtown on Prince Street, the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse is a large, three-room pub with live entertainment nightly and no cover charge. A great spot for meeting friends, the Old Triangle has a classic pub menu and serves weekend brunch.
•Get a taste of Irish comfort at Durty Nelly’s on the corner of Argyle and Sackville streets. Hear a local band and enjoy a pint of your favourite brew while digging into traditional Irish dishes like corned beef and cabbage.

Concierge Q&A

Ron Ring began his career in the hotel business a decade ago, working as a concierge at The Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites for the last eight years. He’s an Unknown-webactive member of Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic Region and loves showing people the best that Halifax has to offer. When he’s not working, you can often seem him cruising in his antique 1964 Chev Bel Air.

What’s the best way to spend a blustery winter day in Halifax?

Exploring our great museums—especially the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, featuring Titanic and Halifax Explosion exhibits and the Museum of Natural History, which has a terrific new exhibit on Sable Island.

What’s your favourite spot for a relaxing weekend brunch?

Saege Bistro has just the right atmosphere for a winter weekend brunch. There’s a diverse menu with something for everyone, including several variations on eggs benny and the best crab cakes.

What’s the city’s best undiscovered attraction?

It’s well known by locals but many visitors don’t know about the skating Oval on the Halifax Common, which, of course, is only open for ice skating in the winter. It’s a very entertaining way to spend the day in the fresh air. There are free skate and helmet rentals on site.

What’s the best spot for a visitor to enjoy live music while in Halifax?

I always send visitors to the Lower Deck in Historic Properties for excellent live music every day of the week. You can rely on great music, great beer and great food at the Lower Deck and a real flavour of the Maritimes.

What’s the best place to find a unique Halifax souvenir?

Jennifer’s of Nova Scotia on Spring Garden Road continues to offer the best selection of crafts by local artisans including folk art, pewter and pottery.