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Historic Properties

CONCIERGE Q & A

Angela O’Brien, senior executive host at Casino Nova Scotia.

By Trevor J. Adams

Angela O’Brien is the senior executive host at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street. She graduated from Saint Mary’s University and has a true love for Halifax. She is a professional affiliate with Les Clefs d’Or Canada, which has provided her great opportunities for creating partnerships within the hospitality community.

What’s an ideal destination in the Halifax area for a late-night snack?
Antojo Taco + Tequila on Argyle Street has expanded to a late night Munchies Nocturnos menu and serves tacos until 1:30 a.m. Thursday to Saturday. It’s a great addition to the late night food scene in downtown Halifax!

If you only had one day in Halifax this month, how would you spend it?
Have to start with a coffee at Coffee Matters in the Brewery Market on Lower Water Street, explore the Halifax Brewery Farmers Market and take a stroll down the Halifax waterfront. Stop by to see Julie for an afternoon tour of the Halifax Distillery, and learn how JD Shore rum is crafted. No tour is complete without a tasting! For dinner I would go to one of my all-time favorites, da Maurizio. Great Italian food and excellent service in a romantic setting. My favorite dish is the gnocchi; I highly recommend it!

Who’s your favourite newcomer to the city’s dining and nightlife scene?
Bar Kismet recently opened on Agricola Street and is absolutely charming. The casual quaint atmosphere is a great place to share small or large unique plates with a great selection of craft cocktails.

Where should visitors go to find a unique memento of their visit to Halifax?
Amos Pewter in the Historic Properties on the Halifax waterfront has quality hand-crafted Nova Scotia products. A great selection of jewelry, ornaments, and household items to start your Christmas list.

What’s the most common question visitors ask you about Nova Scotia?
What’s the must-see-and-do activity in Nova Scotia? My answer is always to hike the Skyline Trail along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. It’s an easy seven-kilometre hike with stunning views of the ocean and rolling green landscape. It’s a great place to watch the sun set and you may even see a moose up close and personal.

 

Concierge Q & A

Concierge_Diane-Munroe

Diane Munroe has been in the hospitality industry for 20 years, starting out at the Keltic Lodge in guest services as a housekeeper. Diane is now an active member of Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic and resident-services manager at Bishop’s Landing in Halifax.

Q: What’s the best thing about September in the city?
A: The best thing about Halifax in September for me is enjoying the Halifax waterfront. The weather is amazing and after the busy summer it is nice to get out and experience all of our local shops and restaurants. From Casino Nova Scotia south to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 you’ll find the Historic Properties and many unique businesses. Here you can also hop on the Halifax Transit ferry for a quick sail across the harbour to explore compact and charming downtown Dartmouth.

Q: What’s a fun spot for a family dinner in the city?
A: The Bluenose II Restaurant is a great place for a family dinner. The downtown diner boasts a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and there is something for everyone on this menu: Greek specialties, fresh seafood, burgers, all-day breakfast, and a lot more. There’s a reason locals have loved this spot since it opened in 1964.

Q: Where can readers go to enjoy great live music?
A: The Lower Deck Pub—Beer Market is in the heart of the Historic Properties directly on the Halifax Waterfront and it’s a great place to take in some live Nova Scotian music. With big communal tables, a harbourside patio, boisterous and friendly atmosphere, and great local beers on tap, it offers the quintessential Maritime-pub experience. There’s live East Coast music nightly, plus weekend matinees. 

Q: What can sports fans do in Halifax this month?
A: If you brought along your golf clubs on this trip, head for the Ashburn Golf Club on Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax. Known as Old Ashburn (the club has a newer course outside the city), this historic course was crafted by acclaimed architect Stanley Thompson. A throwback to another era, it measures just 5,210 yards, which belies its difficulty. Compact greens and a naturally rolling landscape make this one a challenge even for long-time players.

Q: Where should readers go to find a unique piece of jewelry?
A: You will always find something unique at Frida Jewellery, located in Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street. Here you can get individually designed jewelry that is hand made using metals, gemstones and diamonds.

Hot Dining

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PATIO PARTY

Take a lofty perch above the bustle of Spring Garden Road to enjoy the rooftop patio at Your Father’s Moustache. This perennial summer favourite is the ideal place to laze away a sunny afternoon with a cold beverage, including four house-brewed beers. There are daily lunch specials and a popular weekend brunch menu (with offerings like skillets, french toast, and pancakes).

Right on the waterfront boardwalk in the Historic Properties, Salty’s Restaurant boasts a harbourside patio with tables just steps from the ocean. As the name suggests, you’ll find all manner of seafood, including fresh Atlantic lobster.

Friendly and casual, with an ever-evolving selection of local and imported craft beers, the Stillwell Beer Garden on Spring Garden Road is a summertime classic. The ideal spot to recharge after a day exploring the busy shopping district.

A short walk from the Halifax Transit ferry terminal in Dartmouth, Battery Park is another must-visit for beer aficionados. Enjoy a tasty local pint on the cool shady patio.

 

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Photo: Tammy Fancy

CHILL OUT

When exploring city streets, beat the heat with a tasty treat. At Sugah 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.

 

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BURGER BUDDIES

Just around the corner from the Atlantica Hotel on Quinpool Road, Relish Gourmet Burgers offers creative takes on the classic burger and fries. The house specialty is the Halifax Explosion: a flash-grilled pineapple ring dusted in habanero powder, plus pancetta bacon, curried onion frites, and aged cheddar.

 

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SOME ENCHANTED EVENING *Editor’s Pick*

Old World style meets New World attitude at this relaxed-yet-stylish waterfront spot. The Bicycle Thief is the playground of acclaimed chef Maurizio Bertossi. The menu showcases his Northern Italian roots, offering traditional comfort food with a New World air and plenty of playful innovations. The satisfying and artful house-made pasta dishes are always a hit; the Linguine all’Aragosta features fresh Atlantic lobster, taken to new heights with a rich sauce and fresh pasta. Pair with a selection from the well-curated wine list, showcasing vintages from around the world, with a heavy Italian emphasis. Cap your meal with a decadent dessert. The menu is ever-evolving; at press time, highlights include lemon blueberry cake, ice-cream cake, crème brûlée, gelato sundaes, pecan pie, and lemon cheesecake.

 

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Photo: Tammy Fancy

LOCAL FAVOURITES

Athens Restaurant 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 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 makes Wild Leek a Windsor Street neighbourhood favourite. With an on-site bakery, tasty gourmet desserts are the house specialty.

 

Concierge Q & A

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Starting his journey as a bellman in Lake Louise, Alberta, Stephen Morris has worked in the hospitality industry for the last 24 years and been a concierge for the last decade. He’s an active member of Les Clef ’s d’Or, Atlantic Region, seeing himself as an ambassador for the Prince George Hotel and the city of Halifax.

Q: What are July’s can’t-miss events for visitors?
A: July offers many things in Halifax but the one event you cannot miss is the Halifax Jazz Festival from July 10 to 15. Many venues, many artists, and a slice of coolness to go with the hot summer nights.

Q: What patios do you suggest for afternoon drinks with friends?
A: The best way to beat the heat is on the Gahan House patio located directly on the Halifax waterfront in the Historic Properties. An excellent assortment of Maritime-brewed beers and an amazing menu makes the Gahan House a can’t-miss.

Q: Where can visitors find a unique memento of their visit to Nova Scotia?
A: Take a stroll to the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road. Local artists and vendors provide you with memories of Nova Scotia and Halifax that can fit into any suitcase.

Q: What tour experience should visitors be sure not to miss?
A: Everyone visiting Halifax must try the Harbour Hopper by Ambassatours Gray Line. Informative and fun, this amphibious tour gives you a unique perspective on the city from land and sea.

Q: If you only had one day in Halifax, how would you spend it?
A: My day would be spent grabbing a coffee from Steve-o-Reno’s Cappuccino on Brunswick Street, taking a stroll on the Halifax waterfront boardwalk, lunch at the Gahan House, an afternoon cruise of the harbour on the Tall Ship Silva operated by Murphy’s The Cable Wharf and then finishing off with a memorable meal and nightcap at the Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar.

October Hot Shopping

By Suzanne Rent

GIFTS GALOREDrala-resized
• Drala on Grafton Street is a favourite spot for those looking for gifts and items reflecting the contemplative lifestyle. Choose from meditation cushions and incense, Japanese teas, and beeswax candles to bring a peaceful energy to your space.
• Located in the recently renovated Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the Pier 21 Gift Shop boasts unique gifts from around the world, Inuit carvings, traveller accessories, and much more.

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Specializing in head-to-toe service, The Unicorn in Bishop’s Landing caters to the best in women’s style. Locally owned and operated, shop for top brands such as Eliza Caveletti, Laurel, Peruzzi, Riani, and others. Browse the selection of fall and winter styles in handbags, jewelry, and clothing.

EDITOR’S CHOICEfolklore-centre-resized
Musicians and music lovers will enjoy a stop into the Halifax Folklore Centre on Brunswick Street. Stringed instruments are available for sale or on consignment. Bring your instrument in for appraisal or repair. The staff are all musicians and knowledgeable about music and the products they sell.

INSPIRING ARTWORKPuffin_IMG_3651-e1401472401757-resized
Carrefour Atlantic and The Puffin Gallery on Upper Water Street offer one-of-a-kind gifts for discerning shoppers looking for something special. Featuring quality gifts such as literature, visual arts, and handicrafts produced in Atlantic Canada, Canada’s North and by First Nations communities.
• The artisans at Amos Pewter in the Historic Properties use traditional practices to handcraft molten pewter into designs that reflect the region’s beauty. Choose from modern and eclectic designs in collectibles, jewelry, home décor, and more.

BY A THREADLoop-resized
• Knitters will love the selection at LK Yarns in The Hydrostone in Halifax’s North End. This shop carries a large selection of yarns, as well as everything else you need for your knitting projects, such as patterns, needles, books, buttons, and baskets.
• Regardless of your skill level, The Loop on Barrington Street welcomes everyone to stop in to browse its selection of items for any project. Find natural yarns, fibres, and tools for crochet and felting projects. Sign up for a workshop to expand on your skill set.
• At Dartmouth Yarns on Portland Street, the motto is “it’s always sweater weather in Nova Scotia.” It has all the supplies you need to get started on your fall and winter sweaters and more. A class on knit therapy or crochet therapy is a great way to spend a blustery fall afternoon.

LOVING LOCALSupportLocal_KellyGreen_BC01-resized
Proud to be local, Dartmouth Clothing Co. has a selection of fun and comfortable t-shirts, baseball hats, tank tops, and posters, all featuring locally inspired logos and designs. Its products are available at Fresh Goods Sneakers and Apparel, Sugar Shok Candy Boutique, Biscuit General Store, Strange Adventures, and The Dart Gallery.

 

October Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

CULINARY KINGSIMG_9887-resized
Held in cities across Canada, the Gold Medal Plates competition showcases top chefs, battling to crown gold, silver and bronze culinary teams. On October 29, eight Nova Scotian chefs will compete in Halifax, including Chef Terry Vassallo of Café Chianti, Chef Bee Choo Char of Gio, and Chef Mark Gray of The Brooklyn Warehouse. Visit www.goldmedalplates.com for tickets.

A TALE TO REMEMBERHall_Sept050017-resized
At Stories, the intimate restaurant located at The Halliburton hotel on Morris Street, Chef Scott Vail’s inspired menu changes with the seasons. His mainstays include local game, lamb, seafood, and housemade charcuterie.

GREEK RENAISSANCEIMG_0865-resized
A staple of Halifax’s West End dining scene for more than 30 years, Athens Restaurant on Quinpool Road boasts a menu of flavourful classic Greek dishes, including lamb souvlaki, moussaka and calamari. The space seats about 150 people and is a popular breakfast spot on the weekends.

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Baan Thai on Blowers Street has a fresh menu and colourful furnishings from Bangkok. Choose from any number of curries, Pad Thai or a special all-you-can-eat lunch buffet on Fridays. The delicious menu offers spicy noodles, cashew chicken, shrimp cakes and spring rolls, plus much more.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Photo: Kelly Neil

Photo: Kelly Neil

Chef Andrew Farrell of 2 Doors Down is making his mark on Nova Scotia’s dining scene, creating soulful recipes like deep-fried mac and cheese, and traditional potpie using fresh local ingredients. Find the restaurant in the heart of the downtown on Barrington Street.

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• 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 place to relax with friends, the Old Triangle has a classic pub menu and serves weekend brunch.
• Celebrating one year on Halifax’s brewpub scene, Gahan House is a popular destination in the picturesque Historic Properties. Choose from a range of Gahan’s own handcrafted beers on tap, including blueberry ale and Sir John A honey wheat ale.

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.

May Hot Shopping

By Suzanne Rent

LOCALLY MADE

Made in the Maritimes

Made in the Maritimes

•For an eclectic mix of local, Canadian and international jewellery and accessories, visit Bedazzled in its new location in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford. Find unique and exquisite designers by artisans such as Earth Goddess, Arcane Angel, Myka and Tori XO.

Bedazzled

Bedazzled

Made in the Maritimes Artisan Boutique brings to its new location in Sunnyside Mall contemporary, high-quality products for its clientele. All of the products, which include woodwork, jewellery, glass art, toys and more, are made in the region.

 

SPRING SHOPPING

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Find the latest in spring styles at Halifax Shopping Centre, the largest shopping complex in Halifax. Retailers include Coach, Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret, Sephora and Roots. Anchored by Sears, and the annex across the street is home to Winners and Wal-Mart.

FINE DESIGN

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•Art lovers will appreciate Art Zone Fine Arts Gallery on Barrington Street, which showcases some of the best of local talent by providing them a space to display their work. The gallery also hosts monthly shows, workshops and artist talks and more.

•For hand-crafted local treasures, visit The Bogside Gallery in the Hydrostone Market on Young Street. The elegant and whimsical art, made by artisans from Nova Scotia and around Atlantic Canada, make for great gifts or décor for your own home.

BEST OF THE EAST

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Drala on Grafton Street is the city’s home to supplies for a contemplative lifestyle. Find Asian-inspired décor items and gifts, as well as meditation cushions and supplies, beeswax candles, Japanese teas and buckwheat hull pillows.

MEMENTO

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•For fun and casual custom clothing, visit Cool as a Moose in the Historic Properties on Upper Water Street. Outfit the whole family with hoodies, sweats, pajamas and t-shirts, all of which are emblazoned with the store’s logo.

•Located on the rocks of Peggy’s Cove next to Nova Scotia’s most famous lighthouse, the Sou’wester carries a large mix of souvenirs for anyone visiting the province. Finds include kilts, postcards, sweatshirts, and giftware made my local artisans. You can also find books that explore local history and folklore. Visit the restaurant for a treat like lobster or gingerbread.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

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For one-of-a-kind shopping, visit The Piazza at Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street. Find a dinner wine at Bishop’s Cellar and dessert at Sugah or Rum Runners Rum Cake Factory. Pick up a new outfit at Unicorn and accessories at Frida Custom Jewellery Design or Pearl City.

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.

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.