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Halifax

Film from the Edge

Film-from-the-Edge_The-Social-Shift-3The Social Shift

The FIN Festival puts the spotlight on east coast filmmaking talents

By: Trevor J. Adams

 

For cinephiles, September 13 to 20 is the best week of the year in Halifax. FIN Atlantic International Film Festival returns to the city with myriad screenings and special events. Billed as “an eight-day celebration of film, media, and music from around the world,” FIN makes Halifax a must-visit destination for industry insiders. 

As one of Canada’s Big Four film festivals, FIN screens many films that are likely to be darlings of the festival circuit, but the focus on East Coast talents and productions is what makes this event truly unique. Unless otherwise noted, gala screenings are at Cineplex Theatres at Park Lane on Spring Garden Road.

Film-from-the-Edge_Just-Be-Gemma
Just Be Gemma

GALA PRESENTATIONS

September 13
Opening Night Gala at the Dalhousie Arts Centre Splinters by Thom Fitzgerald (Nova Scotia). A winner of over two dozen international awards, Fitzgerald adapts the Lee-Anne Poole play Splinters.

September 14
An Audience of Chairs by Deanne Foley (Newfoundland). The story of a gifted woman struggling to cope with mental illness and reconnect with her estranged children. Adapted from the award-winning Joan Clark novel of the same name.

Film-from-the-Edge_Immaculate-Memories
Immaculate Memories

September 15
Hopeless Romantic by Deanne Foley, Megan Wennberg, Latonia Hartery, Stephanie Clattenburg, Martine Blue, Ruth Lawrence (Nova Scotia, Newfoundland). An ensemble of directors offer a wry and funny subversion of the predictable rom-com genre.

September 16
Reel East Coast Shorts Gala. Nine films representing all four Atlantic Provinces. 

Film-from-the-Edge_The-Girls-of-Meru
The Girls of Meru

September 16
G. Patrick Condon’s Incredible Violence by G. Patrick Condon (Newfoundland). “A hack filmmaker wastes the money lent to him by a mysterious organization, and so has to take matters into his own hands by locking a cast of actors in a house and becoming the villain in his own slasher movie.” —IMDB

September 17
Love, Scott by Laura Marie Wayne (Nova Scotia). The journey of a young gay musician who is attacked and left paralyzed from the waist down. Described as an “intimate and visually evocative window into the queer experience.”

Film-from-the-Edge_The-Capital-Project-3
The Capital Project

And this is just a small selection of what FIN has to offer. Other highlights include the special presentation Halloween Party by Nova Scotian Jay Dahl, the feature Pogey Beach by Jeremy Larter of Prince Edward Island, and the “Cinema 902” series, featuring Nova Scotian productions like Aliens with Knives (Struan Sutherland, Nicole Steeves), Creepy Crawling (Chelsea Comeau), and The Last Divide (DIllon Garland).

For even more on FIN and festival events, surf to finfestival.ca.

Concierge Q & A

Concierge_Phil-Osborne

A member of Les Clefs d’Or, Phil Osborne holds a diploma in hospitality management from the Irish Tourism Board and is the current delegate-experience team supervisor at the Halifax Convention Centre. Originally from Manchester, U.K., Phil lived in Ireland, New York, and Vancouver before settling in Halifax.

Q: What’s your pick for May’s top events for visitors?
A:
 On May 2, the Halifax waterfront (at 1549 Lower Water Street) hosts the all-ages outdoor East Coast Music Awards Kick-Off Concert. This free show features some of Atlantic Canada’s top musical talents.

Q: What Halifax-area spot do you recommend for a relaxed weekend brunch?
A: 
My favourite go-to spot for brunch is usually Robie Street Station. Since 2014 it’s been serving a great all-day breakfast and brunch. My favourite dish is the Remedy: two eggs with potatoes and a biscuit, plus your choice of pork belly, bacon, pulled pork, or fruit. It’s a great start to your day!

Q: What’s your pick for a lively night on the town with friends?
A: 
Well that would be Durty Nelly’s, especially when there’s live music. In the heart of the downtown (and just steps from the Nova Centre and Scotiabank Centre), this Irish pub is a great spot to have a few drinks, have a laugh, and meet some new friends. The menu features burgers, wings, nachos, and Irish-pub favourites like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, and curry.

Q: Where do you suggest for a romantic dinner for two?
A: 
For a romantic dinner, I would always recommend Gio at the Prince George Hotel on Market Street. Don’t think of it as a hotel restaurant; it’s a restaurant with its own identity, a great globally-inspired menu, creative cocktails, comfortable private seating, and top-notch service.

Q: What’s the best thing about May in Halifax?
A: 
The changing weather and then the patios beginning to appear around the downtown core. When the patios and beer gardens open you know summer is just around the corner and the vibe in the city changes, becoming even more upbeat and welcoming.

Q: What’s a great day-trip destination for visitors to Halifax this month?
A: McNabs Island 
is an overlooked gem of a tourist spot for a day trip. Take the Harbour Taxi (harbourtaxi.ca) out to the Island and spend the day on the trails. Kattuk Expeditions (kattukexpeditions.com) offers a popular McNab’s Island Sunset Kayak Tour: you can kayak to the island and then sit, relax, and watch the sunset over chocolate fondue with fresh fruit.

Concierge Q&A

Concierge_Trevor-MacRae

Trevor MacRae is an executive host at the recently renovated Casino Nova Scotia. He graduated from Dalhousie University and is a professional affiliate with Les Clefs d’Or Canada.

Q: Excluding your property, what’s a great place to see live music in Halifax this month?
A: 
The Marquee Ballroom located at 2037 Gottingen Street in Halifax’s North End is an exceptional venue for live music. The vibe and the sound make it one of the best venues in the city, bringing in musical acts from all genres. This month there are some terrific bands gracing the stage, including Protest the Hero.

Q: If you only had one day in Halifax this month, how would you spend it?
A:
 I would begin by going to the Coastal Cafe for breakfast, located at 2731 Robie Street. It is by far one of the best spots for breakfast in the city. I would then continue on to the Halifax Central Library located at 5440 Spring Garden Road. A beautiful new building that offers something for everyone from a rooftop patio offering stunning views of the harbour, a 300-seat theatre, two cafes, gaming stations, two music studios and much more. Moving on from the Central Library, I would take a tour of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic located at 1675 Lower Water Street. This is Canada’s oldest and largest maritime museum, housing many relics of Canada’s naval past. There are displays about Second World War convoys, the Battle of the Atlantic, and the Halifax Explosion. A day would not be complete without taking a tour of the Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery, located at 1496 Lower Water Street. It is one of the oldest working breweries in North America.

Q: Where should sports fans go to watch the NHL playoffs?
A: HFX Sports Bar & Grill 
located at 1721 Brunswick Street is by far the best place to watch sports in the city. With over 90 TVs, there is plenty of opportunity to watch your favourite NHL team plus they have one TV that is an enormous 235 inches. Along with being able to watch multiple NHL games at one time they have a free app that taps into any TV on site so you can listen to your preferred game.

Q: Where should visitors go to indulge a sweet tooth?
A: 
If you have a sweet tooth then The Old Apothecary Bakery and Cafe at 1549 Barrington Street is the place for you. Everything is made from scratch and locally sourced where possible with delicious selections that include breads, pastries, and cakes.

Q: What should visitors be sure to see and do when visiting Dartmouth?
A: 
If you are planning on visiting Dartmouth I would suggest taking a walk through Shubie Park located at 54 Locks Road. The heavily forested park has many picturesque walking trails from easy to moderate in difficulty. Bordering on Lake Micmac, a portion of the abandoned Shubenacadie Canal passes through the park, from which the park takes its name. I would also recommend visiting the Shearwater Aviation Museum located at 34 Bonaventure Street. The museum acquires artifacts and documents which exemplify the history of Canadian maritime military aviation. One of my favourite exhibits is on HMCS Bonaventure which was Canada’s last aircraft carrier (decommissioned in 1970).

The Winter Feast

DECADENCE-FEB-9_-2017-142-dimmed

Photo: Kelly Neil

The annual Savour celebration of Nova Scotian cuisine is a favourite with visitors and locals alike

By: Trevor J. Adams

 

Back for it’s 15th year, the Savour Food & Wine Festival is the year’s biggest celebration of Nova Scotia’s culinary scene. The festival brings together talented mixologists, innovative brewers, award-winning winemakers, and chefs aplenty, sharing their creations at several events.

“The Savour Food & Wine Festival has grown from a small show to a series of exciting events that captures the essence of the food and beverage culture in Nova Scotia,” says Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, which organizes the event.

The festival starts with Dine Around (January 15 to March 15), a unique program that invites restaurants around Nova Scotia to showcase local products, with offerings ranging in price from $25 to $45. Dishes will be a mix of three course prix-fixe menus, plus small plates. At press time, participating Halifax restaurants include Gio, Durty Nelly’s, and The Stubborn Goat.

RARE-AND-FINE-FEB-24,-2017-10 SAVOUR-MAR-9-19

On February 1, the Lord Nelson Hotel on South Park Street hosts the city’s definitive event for cocktail lovers: Imbibe. Nova Scotia’s top mixologists come together for one night to create 30+ sample-size cocktails, many showcasing local spirits and ingredients. Some 25 restaurants and bars are slated to take part.

Up next on February 8 at the Prince George Hotel on Market Street is Decadence, a unique tasting event pairing wines with delectable savoury dishes and luscious desserts. Discover how wine pairings enhance both the sweet and savoury creations crafted by Nova Scotian Community College (NSCC) Culinary Arts students. All dishes are designed and prepared by students of the Pastry Arts and Culinary Arts programs, under the direction of their chef-instructors.

The Rare & Fine Wine show at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street on February 16 is a must for serious wine aficionados. Sample top-scoring wines from Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Napa Valley, Piedmonte, Veneto, and Tuscany, amongst others. Relax to live jazz as you sample from our selection of 40+ wines, rated 90+ points by major wine publications—all available in Nova Scotia for the first time. Throughout the night, Bishop’s Cellar staff will be on hand to sell any wines you want to take home.

Craft-Beer-Cottage-Party-109IMBIBE-JAN-26_-2017-23

Be among the first to visit the new Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street as it hosts the eponymous Savour Food & Wine Show on February 22. It showcases 100+ Nova Scotian restaurants and wine and beverage producers. Take in the evening and let your taste buds run wild as you explore samples of delectable foods, cocktails, and wine presented by Nova Scotia’s finest.

Capping the festival is the Craft Beer Cottage party on March 3 at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road. Sample beers from local and nearby craft breweries while you play summer games like washer toss, or chill in an Adirondack chair and enjoy the live music. There will be picnic tables and delicious beer-friendly food available for purchase. Ticket price includes unlimited beer samples.

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.

Hot Entertainment

FIBA-World-Cup-Qualifier

HOOP DREAMS
November 24

Team Canada takes on the Bahamas in international men’s basketball action, as Scotiabank Centre hosts a FIBA World Cup Qualifier. The teams battle for slots in the 2019 World Cup in Beijing. Canada is ranked 24th in the world; the Bahamas is 82nd.

 

@rileysmithphoto-0081

Photo: Riley Smith

MAD SCIENCE
Continuing

Recently re-opened in its new home on the Halifax waterfront, the Discovery Centre is a hands-on science centre offering a huge array of education-made-fun experiences: the perfect escape on a foul-weather day. Kids can explore science, technology, engineering, arts, and math through changing exhibits, themed galleries, an innovation lab, and the East Coast’s only immersive dome theatre.

 

TheStrumbellas

AULD LANG SYNE
December 31

Ring in 2018 with Atlantic Canada’s biggest New Year’s Eve party. The action begins at 10:30pm in Grand Parade Square in front of Halifax City Hall. Highlights include a performance by indie rockers The Strumbellas and local singer/songwriter Ria Mae.

 

DavidMyles-cropped

3 FOR MUSIC LOVERS
November 17:
 David Myles is folksy and warm, writes good music, has a charming stage presence, and jams with hip-hop stars like Classified—there are a lot of reasons why he’s one of the East Coast’s most-beloved singer/songwriters. See him in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.

November 24: Virtuoso pianist Wayne Weng has drawn acclaim worldwide—this is a rare chance to see him locally, hosted by the Dartmouth Community Concert Association.

November 25: A West End sell-out now on international tour, The Simon & Garfunkel Story pays homage to the legendary duo with a full live band and state-of-the-art video projection.

 

Prime-Suspsects

ARTISTIC EXPLORATIONS
Continuing: 
Prime Suspects at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street features caricatures of Canadian prime ministers by local artist Bruce MacKinnon.

Continuing through November: Wood, Wind and Water at Art 1274 Hollis showcases works by painter Marilyn Lohnes and wood-turner Ted Monk.

November 2 to 26: Located where the Halifax Transit ferries dock at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, the Craig Gallery hosts Portraits, a collection of new paintings by George Smith.

 

Cyndi-Cane

LET’S GET IT ON *Editor’s Pick*
November 17, 18

Vocalists Cyndi Cain, Owen Lee, and Dutch Robinson join Symphony Nova Scotia at the Dalhousie Arts Centre for Symphonic Soul: The Music of Motown. The lineup includes funky favourites from Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and The Supremes; expect hit songs like “Get Ready,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and “Dancing in the Street.”

 

Frank-Mills JaneCoop Jesse-Cook

NOVEMBER
1st: Frank Mills
It’s an intimate evening of soothing instrumental favourites with the perpetually popular pianist at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

12th: Cecilia Concert Series
Jane Coop performs masterpieces by Beethoven and Rachmaninoff.

24th: Jesse Cook
This renowned nuevo flamenco guitarist is always a local favourite. See him at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

 

Coleman-Lemieux-&-Compagnie Halifax-Mooseheads TomCochrane

DECEMBER
7th to 9th: Live Art Dance Productions
With this Mixed Program of James Kudelka Dances performance, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie explore one of Canada’s top choreographers.

16th: Halifax Mooseheads
In their final home game before the Christmas break, the Herd hosts Nova Scotian rivals Cape Breton at the Scotiabank Centre.

31st: Casino Nova Scotia
Life is a highway and you’re going to ride it all night long, as Tom Cochrane welcomes the new year with two shows.

Concierge Q&A

TrevorProude

Trevor Proude is head concierge at the newly renovated The Hollis: A DoubleTree Suites by Hilton. He’s a member of Les Clefs d’Or and the new director of the Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic region. The organization promotes guest-service expertise worldwide.

Q: What’s the best way to get into the holiday spirit in Halifax?
A: Neptune Theatre is performing It’s a Wonderful Life throughout the holiday season. It’s a great start to get the family in the mood for the holidays.

Q: What’s a great place to find a unique gift in Halifax?
A: Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique and letterpress studio on Brunswick Street carries specialty printed paper products and handmade gifts. There is also Argyle Fine Art on Barrington Street; it’s one of the city’s most progressive contemporary galleries, showcasing emerging artists.

Q: What’s your favourite spot to enjoy a Nova Scotian craft beer?
A: The craft brewing scene in Halifax is exploding. I would suggest trying 2 Crows Brewing on Brunswick Street, Good Robot Brewing on Robie Street, and also The Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar. They specialize in brews made in Prince Edward Island not to mention great food and friendly atmosphere.

Q: What do you recommend for a family whiling away a blustery day in Halifax?
A: Try the Seven Bays Bouldering cafe and rock climbing centre on Gottingen Street in the North End. It’s a fun place for the family for breakfast combined with a little extra adventure.

Q: What do you recommend for visitors who want to experience a unique attraction, restaurant, or shop that they won’t find in the guide books?
A: A couple suggestions come from my fellow Les Clefs d’Or concierges in Halifax. First we have The Kitchen Table on Gottingen Street: a unique dining experience offering an eight-course tasting menu using local and foraged ingredients. Great reviews from our hotel guests. Another best-kept secret is the Bar Kismet on Gottingen Street, a small 30-seat restaurant known for hand-crafted cocktails and seafood appetizers.

Hot Dining

By Trevor J. Adams

DATE NIGHT

  • Intimate Lot Six (page 61) on Argyle Street is a must for serious cocktail aficionados. The bar recently unveilled a new cocktail menu featuring 16 creations. The selection includes As the Valley Blooms (cognac, sake, chamomile, orgeat, lemon, grapefruit, egg white, grapefruit bitters) and the Green Swizzle (gin, lime, cucumber, chartreuse, sage).
  • With its French-inspired seasonal menu, Agricola Street Brasserie (page 59) 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.

 

CHILL OUT

Beat the summer heat with a tasty treat. At Sugah (page 52), on the waterfront boardwalk in Bishop’s Landing, you’ll find all manner of confections, but the star of the show is the house-made hand-paddled ice cream, showcasing unique Nova Scotian ingredients.

 

LOCAL FAVOURITES

  • Athens Restaurant (page 62) on Quinpool Road offers the Greek mainstays you’d expect, but Haligonians love it for weekend brunch: omelettes, eggs Florentine, and a buffet chock full of breakfast favourites like sausage, baked beans, pancakes, perogies, pastries, and more.
  • Maxwell’s Plum (page 62) on Grafton Street boasts a huge array of craft beers and brews from around the globe, served alongside burgers, sandwiches, fish, and chips, and pub grub galore.
  • Scratch-made vegan cuisine make Wild Leek (page 63) a Windsor Street neighbourhood favourite. With an on-site bakery, tasty gourmet desserts are the house specialty.

 

ON THE GO

Quick, casual, healthy, and flavourful: Burrito Jax (page 62) 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 North Atlantic cod.

 

ASIAN ADVENTURE

  • In a historic building on the corner of Morris and Hollis streets, Talay Thai (page 63) serves up heaping portions of traditional dishes like creations like Gung Pad Pik Pow (basil prawn with chili paste), Pla Muek Tod Katem (garlic shrimp), and curries aplenty.
  • Japanese fine dining, showcasing traditional and fusion dishes, is on offer at Sushi Nami Royale (page 62). Check it out on Dresden Row in the heart of the downtown or Lacewood Drive in Clayton Park.
  • Don’t let the strip-mall exterior or industrial-park cul-de-sac location fool you: Dhaba Casual Fine Dining & Express (page 61) on Oland Crescent serves some of the tastiest Indian food around. The volcanic chicken vindaloo isn’t for the fainthearted; the flavours are unforgettable.

 

Editor’s Choice: ABOVE IT ALL

Take a lofty perch above the bustle of Spring Garden Road to enjoy the rooftop patio at Your Father’s Moustache (page 63). This perennial summer favourite is the ideal place to laze away a sunny afternoon with a cold beverage, including four beers that downstairs neighbour Rockbottom Brewpub (page 56) crafts just for this bar. There are daily lunch specials but locals know to go for a signature sandwich (like the haddock bahn mi).  

Festival fever

Halifax’s summer festival season heats up with food, culture, film, music, and more

By Janice Hudson

 

With warm weather and sunny skies upon us, Halifax pulses with new energy. Festivals and special events are happening throughout June, making summer a great time to learn about the vibrant cultures and the dynamic people that make this city so exciting. Here are top picks of what to see, do, and discover in the city this month.

June 1 to 4 is the 11th-annual Cedar Festival (page 45), a fun-filled weekend of entertainment, mouth-watering Lebanese cuisine, dance lessons, live performances, cultural demonstrations, plus a cooking competition and fashion show. Hosted by Our Lady of Lebanon Church on Joseph Howe Drive, this free festival includes plenty of activities for little ones, too, including a bouncy castle, magic show, carnival games, and face painting.

Now in its fifth year, Doors Open Halifax (page 45) lets you explore some of the city’s prominent buildings and landmarks. On June 3 and 4, over 30 venues representing Halifax’s history, culture, and industry will participate in this free event. New this year, see inside Canada Border Security Agency’s Marine Centre of Expertise on Marginal Road. Meet the people who search marine vessels and cargo containers for weapons, drugs, and contraband. Or stop by the Hope Blooms greenhouse and gardens on Brunswick Street, and meet the youth entrepreneurs who grow herbs for the successful line of salad dressings.

A 45-minute drive east of Halifax on Highway 7, Memory Lane Heritage Village (page EC9) hosts the fourth-annual Eastern Shore Cold Waters Seafood Festival (page 45) on June 3 and 4. Sample some of the tastiest seafood in the region, with fresh clams, lobsters, mussels, and haddock prepared numerous ways, plus historic foods 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.

Continuing through June 11, the Scotia Festival of Music (page 46) celebrates chamber music with 50 events, including concerts, recitals, open rehearsals, and master classes. Halifax’s first family of classical music, the Djokic family take the stage on June 9. Parent musicians Philippe Djokic and Lynn Stodola perform with their talented children, violinist Marc Djokic and cellist Denise Djokic. For the closing gala on June 11, many top musicians will join forces, including pianist John Novacek, cellist Ani Aznavoorian, and violinists James Ehnes and Giora Schmidt.

Celebrating 31 years, Halifax Greek Fest returns to St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcells Cove Road from June 8 to 11. Enjoy live music, traditional dancing, art and cultural exhibitions, language workshops, religious artifacts, and tasty Greek cuisine. 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.

Now in its sixth year, the OutEast Queer Film Festival (page 45) celebrates queer independent cinema from local, national, and international filmmakers. Happening June 15 to 17, the festival showcases a range of films, including documentary, fiction, and animation, that will challenge, educate, and entertain audiences. Venues include Halifax Central Library, the Museum of Natural History, and Good Robot Brewing.

On June 29 to July 3, Bedford Days has lots of spirited family fun, including two fireworks shows, a dog show, face painting, train rides, bicycle stunts, ice cream, and much more. At the Convoy Quay, Theodore Too (the tugboat replica of Theodore Tugboat based on the popular kids’ TV series), is back for free deck tours during the Kids’ Extravaganza on Wednesday, June 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Taking place June 29 to 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 bag pipes, the event brings together military and civilian performers from around the world, including pipe and military bands, acrobats, trapeze artists, gymnasts, choirs, and more.

Stand-up city

web Bob Marleyweb JulieKimweb Dave HemstadThe Halifax Comedy Fest returns this month for its 21st year, showcasing top international comics alongside East Coast up-and-comers. From April 27 to 30, some 30 comedians will perform 14 shows at venues around the city.

Returning for his third appearance at the festival is Bob Marley. With a wry take on daily life, Marley is always a fan favourite. He hosts the All Star Show on April 28 at Casino Nova Scotia and performs at the Gala of Laughs on April 29 at the Spatz Theatre.

This year sees the return of another long-time favourite, as Rich Hall comes back to Halifax’s stages for the first time since 2007.

Rich Hall, along with his trademark sour expression and cantankerous gravelly voice, appears at the All Star Show on April 28 at Casino Nova Scotia and the Gala of Laughs Finale on April 30 at the Spatz Theatre.

Also on the calendar is two-time Canadian Comedy Award nominee Julie Kim. She’s a mainstay of the country’s stand-up circuit, appearing on national TV and radio, and plays shows from coast to coast. She performs at the Opening Gala, Laugh@Lunch, and Gala of Laughs.

Local fans are also excited to see emerging star Aisha Alfa at this year’s festival. Born in Nigeria and raised in Canada, she won Winnipeg’s Funniest Person with a Day Job, was a finalist for NBC’s Stand Up for Diversity, was one of the first Toronto Bob Curry Fellowship recipients from Second City, and was regional finalist for SiriusXM’s Canada’s Next Top Comic. Her TV appearances include The Second City Project, Superchanel’s Too Much Information, MTV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation, and the Emmy Award winning Odd Squad on PBS. She also co-hosted on Much Music’s Video on Trial.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes veterans Mark Critch and Cathy Jones—local favourites—along with Elvira Kurt, Tim Steeves, Trent McClellan, Chuck Byrn, John Sheehan, Erin Foley, Caitlin Langelier, Marito Lopez, Adrian Cronk, Chris James, John Cullen, Mayce Galoni, Graham Kay, Ivan Decker, Rob Bebenek, Jean Paul, Michelle Shaughnessy, and Nathan Macintosh.

Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street hosts the Opening Gala on April 27 and All Star Show on April 28, while the Spatz Theatre at Citadel High School on Bell Road is home to the Gala of Laughs on Friday, April 29 and Gala of Laughs Finale on April 30. The Lower Deck Pub in the Historic Properties hosts a double feature of matinee shows on April 30.

The festival also includes two nightly Not Made for TV shows at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel on Hollis Street from April 28 to 30. You can also sample the comedy with a free Laugh@Lunch show at the Halifax Central Libraryon April 29.

 

For tickets and schedule information, surf to halifaxcomedyfest.ca.

Musical collaborations

By Trevor J. Adams

Rising stars and beloved veterans join forces for a fiery month of music in Halifax.

This month Symphony Nova Scotia’s new season is going full swing, seeing some remarkable collaborations between local stars and touring talents. The excitement begins on October 2 and 3, as hip-hop artist Buck 65 (AKA CBC Radio host Rich Terfry) returns home to Nova Scotia. The Symphony promises fans “a mind-blowing mash-up of symphonic electronic hip-hop.” The Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue hosts the show.

Buck 65

Buck 65

Up next, the Symphony welcomes back Giora Schmidt. This concert is a must for classical purists. The violin virtuoso has wowed audiences on previous visits with his classical mastery. This time, he turns his considerable talents to Sibelius, marking the 150th anniversary of the conductor’s birth with an in-depth exploration of his music. See him on October 15 at the Dalhousie Arts Centre and on October 18 at Alderney Landing—where the Halifax Transit ferries dock—in Dartmouth.

On October 23 and 24, the Symphony returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre for one of its most popular concerts of the year: the Halifax Pop Explosion collaboration. This year, it shares the stage with indie rocker and Halifax native Rich Aucoin. A critically acclaimed master of indie rock, indie pop, and experimental music, Aucoin is sure to take audiences on an unforgettable trip.

Giora Schmidt

Giora Schmidt

And that concert is just a taste of what the Halifax Pop Explosion offers. Running from October 20 to 24, the festival celebrates the best in alt and indie music, with accomplished veterans sharing stages with rising stars.

Rich Aucoin. Photo: Vanessa Heins

Rich Aucoin. Photo: Vanessa Heins

Venues include public spaces like Government House and Saint Matthew’s United Church, plus traditional nightspots The Carleton, The Marquee Ballroom on Gottingen Street, the Seahorse Tavern on Gottingen Street, Gus’ Pub on North Street, the Company House on Gottingen Street, Olympic Community Centre on Hunter Street, and Reflections Cabaret on Sackville Street.

With 150 performers at 15 different venues around the city, this is the East Coast’s biggest celebration of alternative music. This year’s lineup includes Travi$ Scott, Purity Ring, Stars, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Black Tiger Sex Machine, and many others.

Leonie Rettig

Leonie Rettig

And on October 29, the Symphony wraps up its busy month with another gem for true classical aficionados. Hailed by Symphony Nova Scotia’s Maestro Bernhard Gueller as “an extremely talented, wonderful player,” German virtuoso pianist Leonie Rettig makes her Canadian debut with Ravel’s breathtaking Piano Concerto in G, a fantastically colourful work famed for its brilliant melodies and heartbreaking slow movement. Then, the orchestra performs Beethoven’s Second Symphony, brimming with energy and temperament. See her at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

September Hot Shopping

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By Suzanne Rent

Outdoors is in

Hit the great outdoors this fall in style with attire from Patagonia on Lower Water Street. Besides jackets, shoes, and shirts and pants for men and women, there is also gear for fly-fishing, diving, and camping. Get the kids suited up in their own right-sized gear, too.

TEA FOR TWO

  • Tea drinkers will love the assortment of loose tea at World Tea House at its two locations, on Argyle Street and in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford. All of its teas are fair trade, organic, and sold in biodegradable and recyclable materials. In stock are fresh teas such as black, green, herbals, white oolong, and rooibos. Teaware such as tea makers, tea presses, and tea infusers will help complete your collection.
  • Sawadee Tea House on Granville Street carries more than 375 premium teas from around the world. Owner Mie Mie Sein uses her vast knowledge of tea to create special blends for clients looking for tea for medicinal purposes. Sawadee’s loose teas are of high quality and fair trade. Many of the teas here come from Mie Mie’s own farm in the Annapolis Valley.

 

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If you love the mystical side of life, visit Into the Mystic on Cole Harbour Road in Dartmouth. Shop for gemstones, jewellery, herbal teas, pendulums, and tarot cards. If you can’t find what you want in store, the staff will help you order it in. After you shop, stay for a cup of tea and psychic reading, infrared treatment, aura scan, astrology, or numerology report.

 

Shop ’til you drop

Located in the heart of Bedford, Bedford Place Mall on the Bedford Highway is a community centre with more than 60 shops and services. A mix of anchor stores includes fashion retailers such as Suzy Shier and Tan Jay. Newly renovated with a fresh look and spacious food court area.

Just off the major highways connecting Dartmouth and Burnside, Dartmouth Crossing is an accessible one-stop-shopping destination for everyone in the family. In the centre are the Village Shops, a unique mix of boutiques, restaurants, and complete with a playground and amphitheatre, this space has a main street feel with plenty of parking.

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FALL INTO FASHION

A mainstay of designer fashion in Halifax, Foreign Affair on Barrington Street and Spring Garden Road, has the hottest fall fashions for women. Find all the latest brands, including Paige Denim, Mackage, Rebecca Taylor, and Vince.

Samuel & Co. in Park Lane, Halifax Shopping Centre, and Mic Mac Mall, has the best in casual, career, weekend, and evening styles for women. Brands include Silver Jeans, Mexx, Tribal, Frank Lyman, The North Face, and Helly Hansen.Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.09.28 PM