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Halifax Transit

Concierge

Roger Poirier is a member of Les Clefs d’Or and has been the concierge at the Delta Beausejour by Marriott in Moncton, N.B., for over 25 years. He loves to travel and enjoys photography. He’s a frequent visitor to Halifax.

What’s one thing every visitor to Halifax should know?
At noontime every day, historical animators at Halifax Citadel National Historic Site fire a cannon at noon, which booms across the downtown. Dating back to the 1800s, the noon gun tradition continues every day except Christmas. Halifax Citadel is one of Canada’s most-visited National Historic Sites and if you’re not expecting the daily blast, it can be quite a surprise.

Where can visitors find the latest fall fashions?
Take a stroll on Spring Garden Road. There you can explore the over 200 retail shops and services. Samuel & Co. offers a wide variety of fashion choices, while Roots is a longstanding favourite across the country. Have a drink at Your Father’s Moustache pub. Here you can get a great local craft beer and still enjoy the rooftop patio. Finish the day at the Halifax Public Gardens. Just steps from Spring Garden Road, these are the finest original formal Victorian-style gardens in North America. And admission is free!

What spot do you recommend for a business lunch?
The Bicycle Thief, Bishop’s Landing, is on the waterfront and offers a North American menu with an Italian soul. It has a wonderful view of the harbour and a heated patio for cooler days. Order a few appetizers for lunch and share them. The locally harvested mussels are my favourite.

What itinerary do you suggest for visitors spending the day In downtown Dartmouth?
If you’re staying near the Halifax waterfront, take the Halifax Transit ferry to Alderney Landing. The crossing gives you a great view of the harbour, skyline, and bridges. You can explore the park and trail along the water, and then head to local favourite The Wooden Monkey for lunch. Local flavours are the specialty, with lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options. In this compact neighbourhood, you’ll find Quaker House and the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, plus lots of shops, two breweries, a cidery, and more.

What are your favourite day-trip destinations?
Lawrencetown Beach off Hwy. 207 on the Eastern Shore is a sand and cobble beach that is a prime destination for local and international surfers. Or take a drive down the South Shore to picturesque Chester and see the beautiful marina, homes, and gardens. Charming little Tanner Brewing is one of the smallest craft breweries in the country. Mahone Bay offers more picturesque views, including the iconic vista of the three churches by the water. Next on your route is Lunenburg, home of the Bluenose II schooner and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating back to 1753, this historic town is famous for its distinctive architecture.

HOT SHOPPING

CRYSTAL PALACE

The province’s only maker of fine, mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal, NovaScotian Crystal showcases Old World artistry. Visit the waterfront studio on George Street to see master craftsmen transform molten sand into fine crystal creations.

JEWELS OF THE SEA

Pearls are a classic and graceful look and Pearl City in Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street offers necklaces, bracelets, and more made of these lustrous gems. Choose from its varied collection or help design your own style. You can watch your pearl jewelry being hand-strung on-site by top craftsmen.

Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market

LOCAL HARVEST

  • Located in an innovative and architecturally acclaimed home on the waterfront, Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is Nova Scotia’s largest and oldest farmers’ market. Browse through a huge array of local produce, meat, cheese, crafts, baked goods, craft beer, wine, cider, and more.
  • Located on the Dartmouth waterfront where the Halifax Transit ferry docks, the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market is a weekend tradition for many families, with live music and a variety of vendors.
  • The city’s newest farmers’ market has quickly become a local favourite. The Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday morning at the Windsor Street institution, showcasing products and vendors you won’t find elsewhere.

TASTY TREATS

  • Spring is maple-syrup season! Take a drive west of Halifax to Acadian Maple in Upper Tantallon to stock up on this sweet treat. Pick up maple candies, sugars, or coffees. Gift baskets include various maple treats. Purists will find bottles of maple syrup that will get you through the season and beyond.
  • Local Source on Agricola Street brings the farm to urban shoppers. Pick from an abundance of fresh products, such as seasonal fruits and vegetables, cheese, meat, and seafood. The bakery offers goods made with fair-trade and locally-sourced ingredients baked on-site. An in-house dietitian is available for consultations and cooking classes.

Levi’s

SPRING INTO FASHION

  • At the Halifax Shopping Centre on Mumford Roads, Levi’s boasts a variety of brand-name denim fashions for men, women, and children.
  • On Spring Garden Road, Shop Olsen Europe has fresh new looks and trends. Inspired by styles on runways and in the streets, this line is known for its quality and sophistication. Fabrics chosen to reflect a company commitment to sustainability. Spring collections include New Romance, Sporty Sea, Gardenland, and Island Breeze.
  • In a Box on Dresden Row is a unique little department store specializing in edgy fashions for women. You’ll also find stylish accessories such as bracelets, scarves, and handbags.

HIGHLAND PROUD

Find your family tartan at Plaid Place in Barrington Place Shops and be fitted for a kilt, too. This is the place for everything Celtic. But there are more than kilts. Browse the selection of Buchan pottery (stoneware pottery made in Portobello, Scotland), hoodies, ties, socks,
gifts, and jewelry.

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.

May Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

BEST IN BEAN

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•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

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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

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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

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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.