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.
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.
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.
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.
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.