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Museum of Natural History

Concierge Q & A

Concierge_Trevor-Proude

Trevor Proude is head concierge at The Hollis Halifax-A Doubletree Suites by Hilton. He is a musician, limousine chauffeur, and has been in the hotel industry for the past 15 years. Trevor has recently become the new regional director for Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic, part of an international association of concierges.

Q: What’s your pick for June’s can’t miss event for visitors?
A: My top pick for June would have to be the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo festival. It’s your chance to see pipers, drummers, dancers, acrobats, cyclists, singers, choirs, military bands and much, much more. It is a great Maritime tradition. Also, one may want to take in Halifax Ribfest happening around the same weekend on the waterfront. June 29 to July 2.

Q: What’s a great way for a family to spend a June day in the city?
A: I usually recommend the Discovery Centre on the waterfront. This would be a good way to start your day with the kids. It also offers free admission between 5pm and 8pm on Wednesday evenings. If you’re here on June 2 and 3, take advantage of Doors Open Halifax; 30+ venues whose doors normally are closed to the public will open. The kids may also want to see the Museum of Natural History and visit Gus, the 95-year-old tortoise. They can join in on his daily walk around 3:30pm every day.

Q: If you only had one day in the city, how would you spend it?
A: I would recommend starting your day at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on the south end of the boardwalk. It’s a great way to take in local vendors from around the province and a great place for a light breakfast. If it is a rainy day, one may like to take in the museums we have to offer such as the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street, which has fascinating exhibitions on the Titanic and Halifax Explosion. Be sure to make your way to Halifax Citadel for the noon gun and the changing of the guard. This National Historic Site has a lot to offer with military reenactors and the Army Museum, plus ghost tours for the kids. The Halifax Public Gardens and the architecturally distinct Halifax Central Library are also must-visits.

Q: Where can visitors find a unique souvenir to take home?
A: There are a few places in town one can find a nice souvenir. Murphy’s Company Store at the Cable Wharf on Lower Water Street has a lot to choose from, and you’ll always find something unique at NovaScotian Crystal at the foot of George Street on the waterfront. Another popular stop is Jennifer’s of Nova Scotia located in the heart of the downtown shopping district on Spring Garden Road.

Q: What’s the best thing about June in Halifax?
A: Visitor season is in full swing, and that means the opening of all of the historical tours and boat tours, including the bus tours to Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg plus many more. You have all of the vendors starting to open shop on the waterfront as well as all of the bars and restaurants starting to rebuild their popular patios. We locals call it patio season. Our entertainment district on Argyle Street hosts many of these. The city of Halifax has many secret gems that are just waiting to be discovered.

Spring Fling

March Break or any time—family fun abounds in Halifax

By: Trevor J. Adams

 

Entertainment_Halifax-Hurricanes

TAKE IT TO THE HOOP

It’s championship-basketball season in Halifax, as Scotiabank Centre hosts two major tournaments. From March 2 to 4, the AUS Basketball Championships sees Atlantic Canada’s top men’s and women’s university teams battle for the regional titles. The following weekend, the U Sports Men’s Basketball Final 8 comes to town, with top teams coast-to-coast competing for the national title.

 

Spring-Fling_Oval-Skating
Photo: HRM

GO PLAY OUTDOORS

Skating on the Oval on Halifax Common at the corner of North Park and Cogswell streets has become a rite of winter in Halifax—join the locals for a free whirl on the outdoor ice. No skates? No problem: free skate and helmet rentals are available on site with photo ID. See halifax.ca/SkateHRM/index.php for skate times.

 

Spring-Fling_AGNS 

ARTISTIC EXPRESSIONS

March Break is the perfect time to foster your budding artistes at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. Events include Family Sunday on March 11, March Break Art Classes on March 12, and Sketching in the Gallery on March 14 and 15—no experience necessary. And of course, you’ll also find the usual vast selection of touring and permanent exhibitions, including works by acclaimed folk artist Maud Lewis.

 

Spring-Fling_Discovery-Centre
Photo: Riley Smith

MORE TO DISCOVER

The Discovery Centre on Lower Water Street is the ideal spot to while away a blustery day. This huge, whimsical hands-on science centre is jam-packed with hands-on fun and interactive exhibits. Special programming for March includes the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) Olympics and the Digital Discovery Camp. Check thediscoverycentre.ca for details.

 

Spring-Fling_Nova-Scotia-Sports-Hall-of-Fame

SPORTS FANS

The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street is a riveting stop for sports fans of any age. Highlights include exclusive Sidney Crosby exhibits, Olympic artifacts, sports simulators, historic photos, and much more. Free admission.

 

Spring-Fling_MMA

NAUTICAL ADVENTURES

With exhibitions on the Titanic, Halifax Explosion, world wars, and piracy, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is a hit with history buffs of any age—the ideal place to explore Nova Scotia’s seafaring history. Special programming for March includes Ships and Shipping, a photo essay on the evolution of traffic in the port of Halifax over the last 50 years.

 

Spring-Fling_Museum-of-Natural-History

GOING NATURAL

The Museum of Natural History on Summer Street boasts an array of permanent exhibitions, including Science on a Sphere, to learn about weather, shipping routes, and ocean currents. It’s home to Gus the gopher tortoise, who has been delighting young patrons for more than 70 years. And continuing through April, it features Body Worlds RX. Created by anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens, the exhibit features real human bodies, preserved with Plastination, a complex technique that removes the fluids from the body and replaces them with plastics that harden. Specimens compare healthy bodies and organs and those stricken with disease. Unique and educational, but not for the faint of heart.

 

 

 

Concierge Q&A

Concierge_Ian-Cheverie

Ian Cheverie has been creating special experiences for guests for over six years at The Great George Hotel in Charlottetown, P.E.I. A new member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada, Ian enjoys exploring Halifax and Nova Scotia.

Q: What’s a great way for families to spend a blustery March day in the Halifax area?
A:
 The Discovery Centre is an interactive science museum and has something enjoyable for everyone in your family. At the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, you’ll learn many interesting stories, such as the close relationship between Halifax and the famous sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and stories of the Halifax Explosion, another fascinating subject for the history buffs out there! Finally, visit the Museum of Natural History and discover their many different galleries, plus the museum is home to numerous live specimens that make Nova Scotia their home, including Gus the tortoise, who is over 70 years old.

Q: What Halifax-area restaurant do you recommend for a casual family meal?
A: 
A fun family experience is to dine at the Bluenose II Restaurant on Hollis Street. In business since 1964, this diner is a local favourite, especially loved for its fresh seafood and all-day breakfast. Save some room for dessert and walk to the waterfront where you will discover the sweet shop, Sugah at Bishop’s Landing. With many unique confections and even ice creams, all handcrafted by using century-old techniques, the mix of classic old flavours with more modern and inventive combinations will leave you salivating for more.

Q: What’s your pick for this month’s can’t-miss entertainment event in the Halifax area?
A: 
I would not want to miss Bruce Guthro’s Songwriters’ Circle, happening at Casino Nova Scotia on March 29. This Cape Breton singer-songwriter has been entertaining audiences for over 20 years, and his stories and passion for East Coast life will leave you wanting to explore so much more.

Q: What are Halifax’s top offerings for art lovers this month?
A: An art lover cannot miss visiting the largest art museum in Nova Scotia, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. This gallery lives up to its mission of being a premier art institution in Canada, with over 17,000 works in their permanent collection, as well as many exhibits featuring Canadian and international works throughout the year. Taking place on March 18 is Artful Afternoon, an exhibition featuring a series of fabric collages created by participants of an art-appreciation program for those with dementia and their partner in care. This program offers a hands-on studio workshop and gallery tour. The collage session on exhibit was designed to create a tactile experience through which participants could explore personal memory and community.

Break free!

From open-air sports to hands-on art, there’s plenty to do this Spring Break in Halifax.

by Janice Hudson

Halifax Emera Oval

FRESH AIR FUN:
Dust off your skates and grab some friends for a free skate at the Emera Oval on the Halifax Common, at the corner of North Park and Cogswell streets. It’s the largest outdoor, artificially refrigerated ice surface east of Quebec City. There are free on-site skate rentals for adults and kids alike (with photo ID), and helmet rentals for children 12 and under. Young kids can snag a handy glider for stability on the ice. Strollers are also welcome. Check out halifax.ca/SkateHRM/index.php for skate times.

ICE ACTION:
There’s more sports action to enjoy at the Scotiabank Centre, including high-octane hockey with the Halifax Mooseheads, the city’s major-junior hockey team. Watch the team take on Charlottetown March 15, Cape Breton on March 17, and Saint John on March 18. For tickets, visit halifaxmooseheads.ca.

bball-womens

HOOP DREAMS:
The Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street is once again hosting the AUS Basketball Championships from March 3 to March 5. Atlantic Canada’s top university basketball teams battle for the men’s and women’s regional champions. This joint championship was extended another year thanks to the event’s success. The men’s champion will compete in the CIS Final 8 championship at Scotiabank Centre from March 9 to 12.

AGNS_Children_Art3

CREATIVE CORNER:
Drop into the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on the afternoons of March 15 and March 16 for Sketching in the Gallery. Facilitated by local artists, kids can create their own art using a range of supplied materials. No registration required. March 12 is Family Sunday at the gallery, with more artist led hands-on activities inspired by the gallery’s 3D artworks. Kids can work with clay and other materials to create faces and figures.

HISTORY COMES TO LIFE:
From March 11 to 19, The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic hosts Arctic Quest Adventures, inviting youngsters to explore this fascinating region. Sail the ship Baffin through the Northwest Passage in search of fun, art and games. Play traditional Inuit games, sketch the Northern skies, and try interactive stations to challenge your child’s creativity and survival skills. Surf to maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca for more information.

dragon

NOT JUST NATURAL WONDERS:
Dragons take centre stage this month at the Museum of Natural History. Here Be Dragons explores the myth, literature, culture, and folklore of these dynamic creatures. As always, check out the museum’s permanent exhibition, Science on a Sphere, to learn about weather, shipping routes, and ocean currents. Visit Gus the gopher tortoise, who has been delighting young patrons for more than 70 years.

Ultimate Halifax

History, entertainment, fun on the water and more—discover everything we love about Halifax

By Trevor J. Adams

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

At the tip of Halifax’s historic South End, Point Pleasant Park is a popular year-round destination with native Haligonians and visitors alike. The park’s coastal and woodland trails are a hit in any season, but Point Pleasant really comes to life in summer when it hosts theatre al fresco withbarrington-cemetary-web Shakespeare by the Sea throughout the summer.

History buffs will be pleased to find the Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site in the centre of the park. Back downtown on Barrington Street, the Old Burying Ground is a secluded historic cemetery and the burial site British Major General Robert Ross, who burned Washington, D.C. in the War of 1812.

Uptown on Spring Garden Road, the Halifax Public Gardens are one of the finest Victorian gardens in North America. In the summer, its bandstand hosts Sunday afternoon concerts. Across the harbour, the Dartmouth Common features lovely flower gardens and panoramic views of the Halifax skyline.

FAMILY FUN

Nautical adventures abound at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street. With lots of hands-on exhibits and a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere, it’s a great spot for kids to explore and learn about the Titanic, fearless explorers, swashbuckling pirates and the world wars. See shipbuilders at work and explore a scientific vessel moored dockside.

Just up the hill on Barrington Street, the Discovery Centre is a hands-on science centre where kids can explore trippy optical illusions, stand inside a giant bubble and even freeze a banana in liquid nitrogen.

The Museum of Natural History on Summer Street offers hours of entertainment for inquiring young minds. Explore Nova Scotia’s forest and ocean environments with interactive exhibits. Visit legendary Sable Island and experience Science on a Sphere. Live amphibians, reptiles, bees, a new Tide Tank and Gus, a 92-year-old tortoise.

BACK IN TIME

The Hydrostone. Photo: Lisa Enman

The Hydrostone. Photo: Lisa Enman

This province is the birthplace of hockey and boasts a long line of sports heroes—most recently, Sidney Crosby. Learn all about them in Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.

Looming over the downtown, the Halifax Citadel Canada’s most popular National Historic Site and home to the Army Museum. Visit at 12 pm to see historical animators fire the fort’s signature Noon Gun.

Perched on the side of Citadel Hill, you’ll spot Halifax’s iconic Old Town Clock on Sackville Street.

Shop and dine where privateers once stashed their plunder—the stone warehouses of the Historic Properties on the Halifax waterfront.

Devastated in the Halifax Explosion during the First World War, Young Street east of Robie is now a stylish neighbourhood called The Hydrostone noted for unique architecture, quaint shops and fine dining.

NEW & IMPROVED

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 reopens this month after extensive renovations. From 1928 to 1971, almost 1.5 million immigrants and military personnel passed through Pier 21. Today, the museum (Canada’s only national museum outside Ottawa) tells the story of Canadian immigration from first contact to present day.

SPIRITED ADVENTURES

With centuries of history, Halifax teems with mysteries, folklore and reputed hauntings. Explore the city’s darker side with the Halifax Ghost Walk. Meet the group at 8:30pm at the Old Town Clock on Citadel Hill (just up from Sackville Street). Narrators lead you through historic Halifax’s nooks and crannies, sharing tales of pirates, ghosts and murder most foul.

ROAMING AROUND

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Centrally located, Halifax is an ideal day-trip base. Take a 45-minute drive east, and you’ll find the Memory Lane Heritage Village, a living-history museum re-creating life in rural Nova Scotia as it was 70 years ago.

Take a 45-minute drive west, and you’ll find the historic fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Its iconic lighthouse, perched on the rocks just above the wild Atlantic waves, is Nova Scotia’s most photographed site.

ART IN ACTION

master_stemming_philip-web

At the foot of George Street on the Halifax waterfront, NovaScotian Crystal is one of the province’s most unique tourism attractions. In the workshop, you can watch craftsmen use Old World techniques to create functional art: mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal creations.

March madness

By Trevor J. Adams

Feathered_Trex-web

Dinosaurs Unearthed at the Museum of Natural History.

 

As school kids delight in spring break, Halifax offers lots of family friendly entertainment options throughout the month—science, art, championship sports and more.

AMATEUR ARTISTES
The province’s largest gallery, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street, marks March Break with day camps from March 16 to 20, allowing young aspirants to learn in the studio from established local artists. Advance registration is required; surf to www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca. And throughout the year, the gallery offers free admission on Thursday evenings, while Sunday is family day, with special exhibitions, in-studio activities and concerts.

GOING FOR GOLD

Niklas Edin leads Team Sweden at the World Men’s Curling Championship.

Niklas Edin leads Team Sweden at the World Men’s Curling Championship.

The CIS University Cup at Scotiabank Centre. Photo: Nick Pearce/AUS

The CIS University Cup at Scotiabank Centre. Photo: Nick Pearce/AUS

•A month of championship sports action begins with the Halifax Rainmen competing in the National Basketball League of Canada playoffs. This minor-pro development league features fast-paced, high-scoring action. Playoff schedules weren’t available at press time. Check TicketAtlantic.com for home-game times.
•Coming to Halifax for the first time, the CIS University Cup runs from March 12 to 15. The Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street hosts as Canada’s top men’s university hockey teams battle for the national title.
•Drawing loyal, raucous fans from around the globe, the World Men’s Curling Championship at Scotiabank Centre, is sure to be a lively affair. Top curlers, including many Olympic veterans, compete for the sport’s crown in internationally televised action from March 28 to April 5.

SHOWTIME
A trip to the movies is the ideal way to pass a blustery winter day. Cineplex Theatres has cinemas around the city. The mother ship is Scotiabank Theatre on Chain Lake Drive. It boasts daily matinees, an arcade and the city’s only Imax theatre. You’ll also find Hollywood hits and made-in-Canada fare in Lower Sackville, Dartmouth Crossing and downtown Halifax at Park Lane. Also in Halifax on Oxford street, you’ll find a single-screen Cineplex Theatre, the last of the city’s old-time movie houses, specializing in screenings you won’t see elsewhere.

SIMPLY SCIENCE
Hands-on science activities abound at the Discovery Centre on Barrington Street. Learning disguised as fun is the philosophy here, as kids play with interactive exhibits and take in live science shows and field trips. Check thediscoverycentre.ca for details on March break day camps and special events.

DAY AT THE MUSEUM
Just in time for March break, the Museum of Natural History hosts a new visiting exhibit. Continuing through the month, Dinosaurs Unearthed features dinosaur skeletons, animatronic dinosaurs, fossils and more. On the shores of Halifax Harbour on Lower Water Street, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is always a favourite. Learn about pirates, the world wars, the glory days of sail and much more. Surf to maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca for details on special events and March break programming.

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.