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Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market

Ultimate Halifax Guide

Live theatre, exciting exhibitions, fun outdoor activities—discover this season’s top destinations to explore in Halifax

By Janice Hudson

NEW DISCOVERIES
For 32 years, the Discovery Centre has been giving kids and adults alike exciting, hands-on opportunities to learn about science, math, engineering, and technology. And now, it’s moved to a new 40,000-square-foot home on the Halifax waterfront. The new site has four themed galleries, an innovation lab, and Atlantic Canada’s only immersive dome theatre.

Discovery Centre. Photo: Mark Dilangelan.

Discovery Centre. Photo: Mark Dilangelan.

Not just a planetarium for exploring outer space, this theatre also lets visitors immerse themselves inside the human body or run like an animal through the jungle. The centre also hosts changing exhibits: The Science of Rock N’ Roll runs until May 14 and opening on May 29 is Tyrannosaurus: Meet the Family. On Wednesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., admission is free.

BUYER’S MARKET
Spring weekends in Halifax are the perfect time to discover Nova Scotia’s fresh produce, tasty baked goods, local artwork, and cool souvenirs. More than 250 vendors from across the province showcase their goods over two levels at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road.

A few minutes’ walk up Lower Water Street takes you to the Historic Farmers’ Market in the Alexander Keith’s Brewery building. Find vendors and live entertainment in the main courtyard or tucked away in the maze of wings and hallways in this historic facility. You’ll find it less crowded than the Seaport, but equally fun to explore.

Historic Farmers’ Market

Historic Farmers’ Market

Heading north on Windsor Street is the Halifax Forum, home to one of the city’s newest farmers’ markets. More than 50 vendors take over the facility’s bingo hall each Saturday morning for the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market. Find local farmers selling produce right off their trucks in the parking lot.

Across the harbour in Dartmouth, just steps from the Halifax Transit ferry terminal, you’ll find the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market. It has live entertainment on its main stage on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Outside, find flower and plant vendors aplenty during the spring months.

ALL THE CITY’S A STAGE
Eastern Front Theatre’s 2017 Stages Theatre Festival presents 15 shows and events from May 15 to 27. The schedule includes new plays, workshops, theatre for families, and world premieres held at venues across the city. The festival highlights work from Nova Scotia’s top professional theatre companies at different stages of development, from workshops and play readings to full productions. Highlights include The West Woods by Mulgrave Road Theatre on May 16 to 19, and Treegirl by Forerunner Theatre on May 19 to 21.

Stages Theatre Festival

Stages Theatre Festival

GARDEN PARTY
Spanning six hectares in the middle of the city, the Halifax Public Gardens is one of North America’s finest formal Victorian gardens, with dramatic flower displays, weeping and flowering trees, fountains, and foliage plants. This year, it’s celebrating its 150th anniversary with events and activities happening daily during the season. This month, watch for the Victorian Tea Party at the Lord Nelson Hotel on May 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. It’s an afternoon of English tea, with music by Symphony Nova Scotia and Hausmusik. On May 27, there’s a poetry reading in the gardens from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Each Sunday afternoon starting June 11, drop by the Victorian bandstand for free concerts featuring local musicians.

Halifax Public Gardens

Halifax Public Gardens

HISTORY BROUGHT TO LIFE
To celebrate Canada’s 150th year since confederation, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 presents Canada: Day 1, a travelling exhibition that showcases 150 years of immigrants’ “day one” experiences. View distinctive artworks and compelling objects, such as a Syrian welcome kit, a head-tax certificate, moving War Bride correspondence, and more.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

One of Canada’s most visited National Historic Sites, the Halifax Citadel was the fourth in a series of forts since 1749 to occupy the hill overlooking the harbour. Check out the Army Museum on-site for more military artefacts and history. In 2017, all National Historic Sites are offering free admission with a Parks Canada Discovery Pass, available online at pc.gc.ca.

CRAFTED FOR CANADA
Just in time for Canada 150, Novascotian Crystal has expanded its Canadian spirit line of handcrafted crystal, featuring a maple leaf design. It’s now available in whiskey tumblers, water glasses, brandy snifters, shot glasses, and more. Stop by the workshop at the foot of George Street on the Halifax waterfront and watch the craftspeople create these mouth-blown masterpieces using age-old techniques.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE
With warmer temperatures now the norm, there’s plenty of outdoor activities on offer across the city. On the tip of Halifax’s South End, Point Pleasant Park boasts 39 kilometres of roads and trails that wind through forest and past rocky hills, ravines, and military ruins, including the Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site. The park also hosts alfresco theatre group, Shakespeare by the Sea, during the summer.

Heading west past the Armdale Rotary on Purcell’s Cove Road is Sir Sanford Fleming Park. This 38-hectare space has walking trails through forest, saltwater marsh, and a large pond (Frog Pond). Climb up Dingle Memorial Tower, the 10-storey Italianate landmark built in the early 1900s. Kids will love the new playground on-site, Halifax’s first all-natural play space made of hand-carved tree trunks. They can climb up the mesh and log tower that mirrors Dingle Tower.

Across the harbour in Dartmouth, Shubie Park is a 16-hectare greenway bounded by Lake Charles to the north and Lake Micmac to the south. Trails meander from deep forest to sunny lakeside along the historic route of the Shubenacadie Canal, offering beautiful scenery and quiet areas to enjoy a picnic lunch.

Shubie Park

Shubie Park

DAY TRIPPING
No trip to Halifax is complete without visiting Peggy’s Cove, the fishing village just a 45-minute drive west from Halifax. Its iconic lighthouse is the most photographed site in Nova Scotia. Fifty minutes east of Halifax is Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte, a living history museum that recreates life in a 1940s Nova Scotian coastal village. Tour the 18 restored buildings and tuck into a lunch of baked beans and brown bread at the on-site cookhouse.

Memory Lane Heritage Village

Memory Lane Heritage Village

 

 

 

August Concierge Q&A

Stephen Morris has worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, starting out in Lake Louise, Alberta as a bellman. In the past nine years, he’s returned to the role of concierge and has been an active member of Les Clefs d’Or, Atlantic Region. He sees himself as “an ambassador” for the Prince George Hotel and the city of Halifax.

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What’s your favourite way to spend a summer afternoon in Halifax?

My idea of a great summer afternoon in Halifax is head to the waterfront and the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market. Grab a wrap to go at Wrap So D and head out to one of the many sit-down spots and enjoy the sun. Then I would move on down the boardwalk and enjoy a sweet waffle cone from Sugah. Your stroll along the waterfront will burn off all those tasty calories, unless you head back for a second scoop.

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

My go-to place for my guests is Amos Pewter in the Historic Properties on Lower Water Street. So many handcrafted gifts and souvenirs that truly embody Nova Scotia. You are sure to find something to take home with you.

What’s your pick for this month’s can’t-miss events?

If you like live music and outdoor fun you won’t want to miss the Dutch Mason Blues Festival happening in Alderney Landing in Dartmouth from August 7 to 9. Located right on the waterfront, it’s a short ride from downtown on the Halifax Transit ferry.

If you had one day in Halifax, how would you spend it?

I would wake up and head over to Steve-O-Reno’s on Brunswick Street and grab a coffee and a bite then head up towards the Halifax Public Gardens and enjoy a nice stroll, a breath of fresh air and take in the beautiful scenery. I would then head over to the Halifax Citadel and watch the firing of the Noon Gun… As I make my way to the waterfront I would grab a bite to eat at Durty Nelly’s on Argyle Street and enjoy a cold beer on the patio. After that I would head to Murphy’s The Cable Wharf where I would get on the Harbour Hopper and enjoy a fun, fact-filled tour of the city and harbour. To top the day off I would relax with a glass of wine and some excellent food at The Bicycle Thief, located in Bishop’s Landing on the waterfront.

What’s your favourite spot for a romantic dinner for two in Halifax?

My recommendation would be The Press Gang on Prince Street. It offers an excellent menu and the lighting is dimmed for a truly romantic ambience. If you are dining on a Friday or Saturday, you will be treated to the jazzy Mike Cowie Trio as you enjoy your meal.

October Concierge Q&A

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Stephen Morris began his 20-year career in Lake Louise, Alberta as a bellman, moving on to a variety of roles before finding his calling as a concierge. He’s an active member of Les Clefs d’Or, Atlantic Region and considers himself an ambassador for the Prince George Hotel and the city of Halifax.

What’s the best thing about autumn in Halifax?
Aside from having our Halifax Mooseheads back on the ice and in full swing at the Scotiabank Centre, it would be the changing of the seasons. Students are back in university, giving the city a vibrant energy. Cool nights are perfect for a romantic walk along the waterfront.

What’s your favourite downtown brunch spot?
One of my favourite spots is Ryan Duffy’s on Bedford Row—a nice relaxing atmosphere with a great brunch menu and available on the weekend from 7am till 4pm, so you can get your fix all day long. If you are looking for something more casual, step back in time and visit a ‘50s style café, the Ardmore Tearoom on Quinpool Road. With a menu loaded with your favourite brunch items and comfort foods, the Ardmore is a hidden gem.

What’s your pick for one can’t-miss event in Halifax in October?
I would have to say the Halifax Pop Explosion. From October 21 to 25, Halifax comes alive with music of all sorts: folk, hip-hop, indie, punk and everything in between.

What’s the best place to pick up a unique Halifax souvenir?
The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market has lots of vendors from all over the Maritimes. You are sure to pick up something genuine to Halifax and Nova Scotia. Amos Pewter on Lower Water Street is another great place to find that unique to Nova Scotia keepsake. If it’s something fun for the whole family you are looking for, try Cool as a Moose in the Historic Properties, your inner child will thank you.