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Neptune Theatre

East Coast Holidays

Live Music, Theatre, Parades, and More—Christmas Celebrations Abound in the Halifax Area

 

Grand Parade in Halifax (Photo Credit: Tammy Fancy)

FAMILY FIRST
The Holiday Parade of Lights on Nov. 17 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as thousands of spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts (and, of course, Santa Claus). Back downtown on Nov. 24, Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. Also on Nov. 24 (and 25), Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing holiday traditions dating back to colonial days. The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 1, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

 

The Celtic Tenors

SEASONAL SYMPHONY
Symphony Nova Scotia offers a full calendar of holiday concerts at the Dalhousie Arts Centre, starting Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 with A Celtic Tenors Christmas. Up next is perennial favourite The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) running from Dec. 7 to 9 and 13 to 16. As usual, things reach a crescendo on Dec. 21, 22, with Handel’s magnificent Messiah. This year presented in the historic “Dublin” arrangement, it features Mezzo-soprano Marion Newman, tenor Michael Colvin, and baritone Alexander Dobson.

 

The Ennis Sisters

MERRY MUSIC
Oh What A Night—The Christmas Show takes the stage at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on Nov. 18. The cast of the Oh What A Night tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons offer audience favourites from the original production, plus a musical tribute to “Mr. Christmas” Andy Williams. Prefer your holidays with an East Coast twist? On Nov. 30, The Ennis Sisters from Newfoundland combine original songs and holiday classics in a show that features stunning harmonies, recitations, lively step dancing, and playful humour. See them at St. Matthew’s United Church on Barrington Street. And on Dec. 6, Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street hosts Serena Ryder Christmas. The eponymous singer/songwriter offers a mix of new material, old hits, and holiday classics.

 

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

FESTIVE THEATRE
Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on Nov. 27 and continues through Jan. 5. Artistic director Jeremy Webb adapts Cinderella as a musical comedy for the stage, starring Samantha Walkes as the title hero. Concurrently, Neptune’s studio stage hosts another holiday mainstay: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a one-man show starring Rhys Bevan-John. The pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another annual family favourite. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, see Sleeping Beauty from Nov. 22 to Dec. 8.

 

Neon Dreams

AULD LANG SYNE
Join thousands of revellers at Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall for the East Coast’s largest New Year’s Eve party. The family-friendly celebration begins at 10:30 p.m., with headliners Neon Dreams and A Tribe Called Red offering live musical performances, followed by a giant fireworks show at midnight.

 

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_Measha-Brueggergosman

THE RIGHT NOTES
September 14

The Cecilia Concert Series launches its 30th season at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts with Classica Vocem, showcasing the considerable talents of soprano Measha Brueggergosman. She’ll perform works by Claude Debussy, George Frideric Handel, and Johan Halvorsen.

 

Entertainment_Art-Gallery-of-Nova-Scotia

ART TRIO 

Continuing through the season, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street features Hiroshige: The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō. This unique exhibition spotlights woodcut prints by ukiyo master Utagawa Hiroshige depicting middle-class Japanese life in the early 1800s. 

Continuing through September 9, The Craig Gallery at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth—where the Halifax Transit ferries dock—hosts Reflexive, an exhibition of works by Sophie Paskins, Wayne Boucher, Donna Boyko, Sharon Irving-Kennedy, and Ted Lind.

On September 1, the Dalhousie Art Gallery starts the fall season with From the Vault: Ars Longa, featuring highlights from its 1,300-piece permanent collection. See it until October 2.

 

Entertainment_Neptune

THE BARD’S TALE
September 4 to October 7

Neptune Theatre’s new fall season begins this month with Shakespeare in Love: The Play. Allister MacDonald stars as the eponymous playwright, finding inspiration in the beautiful muse Viola, who is determined to appear in his next play. 

 

Entertainment_Steve-Earle-and-the-Dukes

MUSIC MIX

September 14: The acclaimed outlaw rocker Steve Earle, plus his band The Dukes, take over the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

September 21: Country legend Carroll Baker performs a mix of gospel standards and her greatest hits at the Dalhousie Arts Centre. 

 

Entertainment_Shauntay-Grant

THE GOOD WORD
September 15

The Word on the Street, a one-day celebration of the printed word, returns to the Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road. Check out readings, author Q&As, a sale of Atlantic Canadian books, and much more. This year’s lineup includes poet Brian Bartlett, environmental crusader Joan Baxter, photographer Len Wagg, and poet/children’s author Shauntay Grant.

 

Entertainment_Pan-American-Canoe-Sprint-Championships

GOING FOR GOLD *Editor’s Pick*
September 13 to 16

Some 250 paddlers from 20 countries compete in the Pan American Canoe Sprint Championships at Lake Banook in Dartmouth. The international competition features a mix of paddling’s top talents and rising stars.

 

Entertainment_Lilly-Hiatt Entertainment_Tommy-Emmanuel Entertainment_Ben-Caplan

SEPTEMBER:
1st: Halifax Urban Folk Festival
Lilly Hiatt joins a Songwriters’ Circle with Brad Roberts and Mick Davis, before Tim Baker + The Hfx All Stars take the stage at The Carleton. 

4th: Tommy Emmanuel
The Australian guitar legend returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre for another intimate show.

14th: Ben Caplan
The folk/roots musician always puts on a memorable show for his hometown fans. See him at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue. 

Entertainment_Sophie-Buddle Entertainment_Linda-Brooks Entertainment_David-Myles
Linda Brooks photo: Mark Maryanovich

14th, 15th: Last Laugh Comedy Club
Comic Sophie Buddle has moved across the country to take a writing gig with This Hour Has 22 Minutes—excellent news for stand-up fans. See her at the Atlantica Hotel on Robie Street.

23rd: Halifax Public Gardens Summer Concert Series
Join Linda Brooks at the bandstand in the heart of the gardens for the final free matinee concert of the season. 

28th, 29th: Symphony Nova Scotia
Singer/songwriter David Myles joins the symphony, putting a twist on his classic hits with new orchestral arrangements. 

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_Cadence

IN PERFECT HARMONY
May 4

Combining raw talent, hard work, and infectious charm, the cappella quartet Cadence is one of Canada’s top vocal ensembles, performing a lively mix of bebop classics, jazz standards, and contemporary favourites. The Dartmouth Community Concert Association hosts them at Woodlawn United Church.

 

Entertainment_Dirty-Dancing

CENTRE STAGE

Continuing at Neptune TheatreMamma Mia! is Halifax’s most-talked-about theatrical production of the season, featuring lively choreography and the music of ABBA.

Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage comes to Scotiabank Centre on May 22, bringing the beloved 1980s story (with the musical hits you’d expect) to life on the big stage.

 

Entertainment_Blue-Nose-Marathon

BORN TO RUN
May 18 to 20

The Blue Nose Marathon is a Boston qualifier, following a 42-kilometre route beginning at Citadel Hill and winding through the South End, Point Pleasant Park, downtown, across the Macdonald Bridge to Dartmouth, and back to the Citadel. Events include a 5K and youth run on May 19, followed by the full marathon, half marathon, and 10K race on May 20. 

 

Entertainment_Atlantic-Motorsport-Park

TOP GEAR

May 11 to 13, 16, 18 to 21, 26, 27, 30: Atlantic Motorsport Park hosts regional motorcycle and auto-racing events plus national competitions on a 2.5-kilometre, 11-turn road circuit.

May 12, 20, 25, 26: Scotia Speedworld reopens for the season, hosting auto-racing events in several classes.

 

Entertainment_Philip-Glass

MUSIC MASTERS *Editor’s Pick*
May 27 to June 10

The Scotia Festival of Music is a must for classical purists, showcasing chamber-music artists from around the world with 50 events, including concerts, recitals, open rehearsals, master classes, and more. Guests include Philip Glass (composer), Elissa Li (violin), and Sharon Wei (viola).

 

Entertainment_Touch-a-Truck

FAMILY FUN
May 12

Touch-a-Truck is intended for all ages, but machine-loving kids will especially enjoy it. Halifax Exhibition Centre on Prospect Road hosts several fire engines, cars, bikes, diggers, boats, and more, all in one space; hop up to driver’s seat for a photo. There are sessions for people with sensitivities to loud noise from 11:30am to 12:30pm and 2:30 to 3:30pm. 

 

Entertainment_Bull-Riding

RIDE ‘EM
May 26

While bull riding is huge in Western Canada, it’s a rarely-seen sport on the East Coast. This month, the Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy Tour comes to the city, bringing top competitors from across the country and around the world to Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.

 

Entertainment_Kevin-Hart Entertainment_Bernhard-Gueller Entertainment_Mary-E-Black-Gallery

MAY:
4th: Kevin Hart
Hart’s Irresponsible Tour just keeps growing, with dozens of new dates added recently, including an unexpected stop at Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre.

8th to 12th: Symphony Nova Scotia
The season concludes at the Dalhousie Arts Centre with “Gueller’s Grand Finale,” two concerts honouring outgoing Maestro Bernhard Gueller.

13th: Mary E. Black Gallery
Continuing until today, the exhibition Wreaking Havoc features works by textile artist Jane Whitten. See it at the Marginal Road gallery.

Entertainment_Cheng2-Duo Entertainment_Jason-Cyrus Entertainment_William-Roache

13th: Cecilia Concert Series
The season concludes with a concert by the Cheng² Duo, a sibling team featuring pianist Silvie Cheng and cellist Bryan Cheng.

18th: Jason Cyrus
The renowned hypnotist performs an intimate show, with lots of audience participation, in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

28th: The Ken Barlow Effect
William Roache has played Ken Barlow on Coronation Street since the show’s inception 57 years ago. He shares behind-the-scenes secrets at this Spatz Theatre Q&A session. 

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_Live-Art-Dance

BODIES IN MOCEAN
April 26 to 28

Live Art Dance wraps up its 35th season with a world premiere of new work from award-winning choreographer Heidi Strauss (one of Toronto’s most prolific and successful creators), performed by Mocean Dance. The Dalhousie Arts Centre on University avenue hosts.

 

Entertainment_Stars-on-Ice

OLYMPIC HEROES
April 27

This year’s Stars on Ice figure-skating showcase is a who’s-who of Canadian Olympic medallists, including Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Patrick Chan, Eric Radford and Megan Duhamel, and Katelyn Osmond. See them at Scotiabank Centre.

 

Enertainment_Home-Show

TIME TO REFRESH
April 6 to 8

Thinking of sprucing up your space? Thinking of building, redecorating, or renovating your home? Find ideas and inspiration from dozens of vendors at the Spring Ideal Home Show at Halifax Exhibition Centre on Prospect Road.

 

Entertainment_Ballet-Jorgen

5 FOR MUSIC LOVERS
April 8:
 The Cecilia Concert Series presents Jeanne Amièle and Simon Larivière at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road. The pianists explore the music of Czarist Russia: Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and more.

April 13: Indie-pop sensations Stars take the stage at the Marquee Ballroom on Gottingen Street.

April 13: Join The Stanfields for a night of rollicking rock with a Celtic tinge at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.

April 14, 15: Ballet Jörgen joins Symphony Nova Scotia to perform Anastasia at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

April 24: Long a mainstay of the Canadian prog-metal scene, Protest the Hero are sure to blow the roof off the Marquee Ballroom.

 

Entertainment_Mamma-Mia

DANCING QUEENS
April 10 to June 3

Opening this month, Mamma Mia! is Neptune Theatre’s most hotly-anticipated show of the season. The music of ABBA weaves through this story of a young woman searching for her father on the eve of her wedding.

 

Entertainment_Mary-E-Black-Gallery

MADE LOCALLY
Continuing

The Mary E. Black Gallery on Marginal Road specializes in fine craft from around Atlantic Canada. This month, the gallery spotlights textile artist Jane Whitten with the exhibition Wreaking Havoc.

 

Entertainment_Theatre-Arts-Guild

TIMELESS CLASSIC *Editor’s Pick*
April 5 to 21

Theatre Arts Guild performs a new adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank. Bill vanGorder directs the poignant story of a Jewish family’s struggle to survive in Nazi-occupied Europe.

 

Entertainment_Clay-WalkerEntertainment_Tommy-TallaricoEntertainment_Johnny-Reid

APRIL:
4th: Clay Walker
From deep in the heart of Texas to the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia, Clay Walker is an enduring country favourite.

6th to 8th: Symphony Nova Scotia
Tommy Tallarico and the Soundtrax choir join the Symphony for Video Games Live at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

16th: Johnny Reid
The Canadian country star brings his Revival Live Tour to the Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.

Entertainment_Jimmy-Carr Entertainment_Harlem-GlobetrottersEntertainment_Jane-Archibald

27th: Jimmy Carr
Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival presents the acclaimed British comic at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

28th: Harlem Globetrotters
The “clown princes of basketball” return to Scotiabank Centre for a display of hoops wizardry.

29th: Cecilia Concert Series
A favourite with opera fans around the world, soprano Jane Archibald joins pianist Liz Upchurch at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.

 

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_The-Sheepdogs

5 FOR MUSIC LOVERS
March 3, 4: 
St. Andrew’s United Church on Robie Street hosts Symphony Nova Scotia, as violinist and leader David Greenberg joins them for Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

March 7: St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Argyle Street hosts the Kirk MacDonald & Harold Mabern Duo for an evening of jazz standards and original works.

March 10: The Cecilia Concert Series hosts the Ladom Ensemble: a young and passionate group of musicians from across Canada. See them at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road. 

March 16, 17: The Sheepdogs put on a lively old-school guitar-rock concert every time they visit Halifax. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs open the show.

March 23: The Brogue Saxophone Quartet goes well beyond what you’d expect from a traditional saxophone ensemble, constantly adding to their repertoire. The Dartmouth Community Concert Association features them at Woodlawn United Church.

 

Entertianment_Marlene-Creates

THE BEAUTY OF NATURE
Continuing through May 6

Newfoundland environmental artist and poet Marlene Creates has fought tirelessly to share the East Coast’s natural beauty and help preserve it. Places, Paths, and Pauses at Dalhousie Art Gallery offers a retrospective on her career.

 

Entertainment_Ahdri-Zhina-Mandiela

EXPLORING A DREAM *Editor’s Pick*
Continuing through March 18

Ahdri Zhina Mandiela directs as Neptune Theatre and the Black Theatre Workshop team up for The Mountaintop. Playwright Katori Hall reimagines Martin Luther King Jr.’s final hours as he confronts his destiny and legacy. Tristan D. Lalla plays the civil-rights leader.

 

Entertainment_Grafton-Street-Dinner-Theatre

DINNER & A SHOW
Continuing

Grafton Street Dinner Theatre pairs lively music and witty comedy with a three-course dinner and lots of audience participation. The current production, The Show Must Go On, is a murder mystery featuring pop hits from the 1960s to today.

 

Entertainment_Prime-Suspsects

THE USUAL SUSPECTS
Continuing

This month is your last chance to see Prime Suspects at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. Award-winning cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon depicts Canada’s prime ministers in caricature with his trademark wit and incisive satire.

 

Entertainment_Chris-HadfieldEntertainment_Matthew-GoodEntertainment_Halifax-Mooseheads
Chris Hadfield Photo: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

MARCH
1st: Chris Hadfield
The first Canadian commander of the International Space Station shares an evening of stories, images, and songs at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

5th: Our Lady Peace & Matthew Good
Matthew Good and Our Lady Peace share the stage at Scotiabank Centre for an evening of high-octane rock.

14th: Halifax Mooseheads
The hometown major-junior hockey team hosts New Brunswick rivals Saint John in regular-season play at Scotiabank Centre.

Entertainment_Heather-RankinEntertainment_Halifax-HurricanesEntertainment_Bruce-Guthro

16th, 17th: Symphony Nova Scotia
Heather Rankin joins the orchestra for an evening of Irish and East Coast folk favourites.

22nd: Halifax Hurricanes
The Hurricanes host Moncton in minor-pro basketball action at Scotiabank Centre.

29th: Casino Nova Scotia
Bruce Guthro’s Songwriters’ Circle returns to the Schooner Showroom, exploring the art of song writing.

Hot Entertainment

Matt-Mays-Credit-Tammy-Fancy

Photo: Tammy Fancy

ROCK OUT
January 20

A favourite on the Halifax music scene since his days as an open-mic mainstay, rocker Matt Mays—best known for hits like “Cocaine Cowgirl” and “Take It on Faith”—returns with July Talk to perform at the Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street. The Beaches open the show.

 

Compagnie-Marie-Chouinard

STEP UP
January 11 to 13, February 14

Live Art Dance Productions brings two unique contemporary-dance performances to the Dalhousie Arts Centre this winter. From January 11 to 13, Toronto Dance Theatre marks its 50th season with a showcase of Christopher House’s work, while on February 14 Compagnie Marie Chouinard offers Preludes by Chopin and Le Cri du Monde.

 

Folk_Funk-clipped

ARTISTIC EXPLORATIONS
Continuing

Until January 14, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street hosts Kepe’kek from the Narrows of the Great Harbour. The photo exhibition explores an early Mi’kmaq settlement destroyed in the Halifax Explosion. And continuing through the winter, the gallery features Prime Suspects (Canada’s Prime Ministers in caricature by Bruce MacKinnon) and Folk/Funk (a whimsical look at the use of clay art to make social and political statements).

 

Letterkenny-Live

HOW ARE YOU NOW? *Editor’s Pick*
February 27 & 28

Absurd, crass, and hilarious, the Crave TV show Letterkenny has become a Canadian cult comedy hit. Letterkenny Live brings the show to the Dalhousie Arts Centre stage for an evening of sketches and stand-up comedy. Starring K. Trevor Wilson (Dan), Jared Keeso (Wayne), Nathan Dales (Daryl), and Mark Forward (Coach).

 

Vesuvius-Ensemble

5 FOR MUSIC LOVERS
January 13, 14:
 The Vesuvius Ensemble joins Symphony Nova Scotia for a celebration of Southern Italian baroque.

February 9: In between Blue Rodeo tours, a Canadian folk-rock legend tours his solo project—The Jim Cuddy Band visits the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

February 10: The Dartmouth Community Concert Association hosts cello duo VC², spotlighting the works of Beethoven.

February 10: Country favourite Gord Bamford takes the stage in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

February 23: Pop-rockers Hedley return to Scotiabank Centre, performing work from their new album Cageless.

 

Brides-2018-Credit-Alex-MacAulay

WITH THIS RING…
January 21

A one-stop-shop for the soon to be married, Brides 2018 at Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street features some 135 wedding-related exhibitors: florists, photographers, jewelers, bridal fashions, wedding planners, wedding decorators, tuxedos, catering services, wedding cakes, travel planners, financial services, and more.

 

Bahamas 15442159_10157911358245188_471421218338694718_n Jennifer-King

JANUARY
12th: Bahamas
The acclaimed Toronto folk artist and guitarist performs material from his new album Earthtones at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

17th: Halifax Mooseheads
The hometown major-junior hockey heroes take on Maritime rivals Moncton at the Scotiabank Centre.

21st: Cecilia Concert Series
Pianist Jennifer King performs music inspired by the night in a matinee show at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.

 

Halifax-Hurricanes Daniel-Bartholomew-Poyser Martin-Luther-King-Jr.

FEBRUARY
1st: Halifax Hurricanes

The city’s minor-pro basketball team hosts Saint John at the Scotiabank Centre.

10th, 11th: Symphony Nova Scotia
With Black is Beautiful, conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser showcases black composers and performers.

27th: Neptune Theatre
Opening tonight and continuing through March 18, The Mountaintop reimagines Martin Luther King Jr.’s last hours.

 

Christmas by the Sea

_DSC2807-resize

With the decades-old traditions and exciting new events, Halifax gets in the holiday spirit

Whether you’re making family memories or enjoying a romantic evening out, Halifax abounds with Christmas celebrations throughout November and December. Read on for our favourites.

 

parade_3286_firefighters

Photo: Will Roberts

FAMILY FIRST

The Holiday Parade of Lights on November 18 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as thousands of spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts (and, of course, Santa Claus). Back downtown on November 25, Grand Parade Square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. Also on November 25 (and 26), Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing holiday traditions dating back to colonial days.

The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on December 2, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

 

Ben-Caplan

SEASONAL SYMPHONY

Symphony Nova Scotia offers holiday concerts galore. Singer/songwriter Ben Caplan gets things started on December 1 and 2, joining the orchestra for Ben Caplan’s Holiday Classics. They’ll perform old favourites in the tradition of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole and clever new arrangements. Up next is perennial favourite The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) running from December 8 to 10 and 14 to 17. As usual, the Symphony’s holiday calendar concludes with Handel’s classic oratorio, but this year with a twist: Mozart’s Messiah, a 1789 arrangement of the masterpiece.

 

Barra-Macneils

MORE MERRY MUSIC

And there’s lots more music: A King’s Christmas is back on December 17. A guest narrator joins the King’s College Chapel Choir at All Saint’s Cathedral on Martello Street for seasonal songs and stories. Paul Halley directs. The holidays get a Celtic twist on December 18, as the Barra MacNeils bring their annual Christmas tour to the Dalhousie Arts Centre in Halifax.

 

CHRISTMAS COMEDY

December sees the return of a popular holiday-themed comedy show. On December 9, the World Trade & Convention Centre on Argyle Street hosts Ha Ha Halidays. The gala evening includes stand-up comedy with Trent McLelland and Jay Malone, buffet dinner, and live music and dancing with The Hopping Penguins.

 

HFX-MAG-PHOTO4

FESTIVE THEATRE

Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on November 21 and continues until December 31. Artistic director George Pothitos adapts the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life for the stage. Concurrently, Neptune’s studio stage hosts another holiday mainstay: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted and directed by Jeremy Webb. The pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is an annual family favourite. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, see Alice In Wonderland from November 23 to December 9.

 

 

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.

September Concierge Q&A

Angela-OBrien-byAMacPhotography-webAngela O’Brien is an executive host at Casino Nova Scotia. She graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Commerce and has a true love for the city of Halifax. She says that being part of Les Clefs d’Or as a professional affiliate has been a great complement to her position.

What’s your favourite spot in Halifax for a romantic dinner for two?

I would have to choose The Prince George Hotel. Their restaurant Gio is an amazing culinary experience and the patio
area at The Level Bar is a great place to relax with a drink after dinner. This patio is a hidden gem in the middle of downtown Halifax. Make sure you order the “Tuk Tuk,” created by their
talented mixologist.

What’s the best place to find a unique Halifax souvenir?

The Uncommon Group have a few locations onthe Halifax Waterfront that have unique Nova Scotia products. Choose from a selection of vintage-logo tees from Lost Cod Clothing to the whiskey glazed Glen Breton Rum Cake at Rum Runners.

What’s the best way to spend a rainy day in Halifax?

I suggest a tour of the newly renovated exhibition at Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21 on the Halifax waterfront. Immerse yourself in the past and experience what it was like to immigrate through Pier 21. Next stop would be the Halifax Central Library with its 180-degree view of downtown. Its unique design and environmentally sustainable five-storey building have been shortlisted for World Building of the Year 2015.

What’s a great spot to experience live entertainment in Halifax?

Neptune Theatre, located downtown Halifax, is the largest professional theatre company in Atlantic Canada. I look
forward to seeing the upcoming performances, especially Great Expectations, when the season opens on September 15.

What’s your favourite spot for a weekend brunch in Halifax?

Edna Restaurant on Gottingen Street knows how to do brunch! They showcase a delicious menu with an emphasis on local ingredients. The space has a cozy, urban feel and the service is friendly and attentive. Very popular and well worth the wait.

Making merry

By Trevor J. Adams

Victorian Christmas. Photo: Parks Canada

Victorian Christmas. Photo: Parks Canada

November and December are lively months in Halifax, with dozens of special events marking the holiday season. Read on for our favourites—with an exciting mix traditional classics and new events, there’s plenty here for the whole family.

PARTY PEOPLE
The Holiday Parade of Lights on November 15 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as some 100,000 spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts. Back downtown on November 22, Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. Also on November 22, Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing Christmas traditions dating back to colonial days. The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on November 29, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

CRAFTY CHRISTMAS
Back for its 37th year, Christmas at the Forum is one of Canada’s largest annual indoor markets of its type, with some 450 vendors offering art, gifts, antiques and food. The Halifax Forum on Windsor Street hosts on November 7 and 8. Another beloved market, the Dalplex Christmas Craft Market returns on November 28 to 30, as Dalplex on South Street showcases dozens of Atlantic Canadian vendors.

JOYFUL MUSIC

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

Symphony Nova Scotia offers holiday concerts galore, with A Merry Cable Christmas (featuring contemporary holiday classics) on November 27 and 28, The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) on December 5 to 14, and Handel’s Messiah on December 19 and 20. A King’s Christmas is back on December 14. Canadian actress and author Shelley Thompson joins the King’s College Chapel Choir at All Saint’s Cathedral on Martello Street for seasonal songs and stories. The holidays get a Celtic twist on December 21, as the Barra MacNeils perform an East Coast Christmas at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

HILARIOUS HOLIDAYS
December sees the return of a pair of popular holiday-themed comedy events. On December 8 and 9, Cape Breton comic Bette MacDonald returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre with her annual Tis the Season show. The annual Ha Ha Halidays event comes to the World Trade and Convention Centre on December 12 and 13, with Derek Edwards hosting an evening of stand-up comedy.

PLAY ON

Halifax Christmas Tree. Photo: Tammy Fancy

Halifax Christmas Tree. Photo: Tammy Fancy

Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on November 25. A Christmas Story, based on the much loved-tale of young Ralphie’s efforts to secure a BB gun, continues through January 4. The holiday pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another seasonal mainstay. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, it runs from November 27 to December 13. And it just wouldn’t be Christmas without Scrooge. Jeremy Webb brings his remarkable one-man performance of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to Neptune Theatre on Argyle Street on December 23, 24 and 26.

AULD LANG SYNE
Finally, head to Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall on December 31 to say farewell to 2014 and welcome 2015. The New Year’s Eve celebration kicks off at 10:30pm, featuring live entertainment and Atlantic Canada’s largest fireworks celebration at midnight.

October Hot Dates

By Trevor J. Adams

Bodies in motion

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October 3 to 5: The new Live Art Dance Productions season continues with Phin at the Dalhousie Arts Centre. Lisa Phinney Langley interprets Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death.

October 18: Ballet in the Studio by Ballet Jörgen Canada features works by Bengt Jörgen, Malgorzata Nowacka, and Robert Desrosiers, plus excerpts from The Nutcracker.

October 28 to 31: With dance and musical performances at venues around the city, the Fall For Flamenco celebrates Spain’s fiery sounds.

 

Living legends

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani

October 5: Two big music names come to Halifax. Instrumental-rock guitar legend Joe Satriani struts his stuff at the Dalhousie Arts Centre. Meanwhile, 1980s R&B/pop star Billy Ocean performs in the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.

On stage
Photo: Emily Jeuer

Photo: Emily Jeuer

Continuing through October 5: It’s your last chance to see the Theatre Arts Guild season-opener Steel Magnolias at the Pond Playhouse on Parkhill Road in Jollimore.

October 15 to 22: The Studio Stage at Neptune Theatre on Argyle Street hosts the Canadian comedy classic Hockey Mom/Hockey Dad by Nova Scotian playwright Mike Melski.

 

Editor’s choice

Photo: Michelle Doucette

Photo: Michelle Doucette

October 19: An annual festival of art after dark, Nocturne brings exhibitions, performances and special projects to galleries and public spaces around the city, from 6 p.m. until midnight.

 

Toronto Raptors

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October 5: Rudy Gay and his teammates prepare for the NBA season with an intra-squad exhibition game at the Halifax Metro Centre.

 

St. Cecilia concert series

Stéphane Tétreault

October 12: Twenty-year-old cello sensation Stéphane Tétreault performs at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road.

 

Matthew Good

Matthew Good Concert

October 18: The Canadian rocker returns to Halifax, performing at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

 

Reba McEntire

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October 19: With 64 top-10 hits, McEntire is one of country’s biggest names. See her at the Halifax Metro Centre. 

Stuart McLean

Photo: Alana Elliot

Photo: Alana Elliot

October 20: The storyteller of CBC Radio fame brings The Vinyl Café tour to the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

 

Red Green

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October 29: Canada’s favourite handyman stars in the How to do Everything Well tour at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

Grape expectations 
Photo: WANS

Photo: WANS

Continuing through October: The Nova Scotia Fall Wine Festival celebrates the province’s fast-growing wine scene, with winemakers’ dinners, grape stomps, education seminars, tours and special events at wineries and other venues around the province.

September Hot Dates

Shakespeare by the Sea

Photo: Ryan Whalen

Photo: Ryan Whalen

September 1—Another season of theatre al fresco wraps up, with two performances of Snow White at Point Pleasant Park.

Daniel O’Donnell

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September 6—The Irish crooner always packs ‘em in when he visits Halifax. See him at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue.

Good causes

Shaun Majumder

Shaun Majumder

September 7—It’s an evening of great music for a good cause, as the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue hosts the Surf Sing Change concert in support of the OCD Collective and Autism Nova Scotia. Comedian Shaun Majumder emcees; Sam Roberts, Matt Mays and Brian Byrne perform.

John Cleese

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September 12—The Monty Python alum drops into the Dalhousie Arts Centre on his Last Time To See Me Before I Die tour.

A matter of taste

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A culinary walking tour with Local Tasting Tours is a unique way to discover Halifax like a local, exploring cuisine, culture and people. Tours, offered daily, include generous tastings of delectable Nova Scotian fare from homegrown shops and eateries in the historic downtown. Join entertaining guides on daytime and evening rambles.

Game on

Photo: QMJHL

Photo: QMJHL

September 12—Last season, the Halifax Mooseheads won hockey’s toughest prize, winning the national major-junior hockey championship, the Memorial Cup. Now, they embark on a new season, looking to defend their title. This month, they meet one of their biggest rivals, the Moncton Wildcats, at the Halifax Metro Centre on Duke Street on September 12.

Scotia Speedworld

Legend 2

September 14—It’s the final auto race of the year: the Pro Stock Tour Season Finale.

Neptune Theatre

George Pothitos Picture

September 17—Artistic Director George Pothitos leads the company through another season of live theatre, beginning with a contemporary take on The Comedy of Errors.

Hypnotist Cyrus

Cyrus

September 21—It’s mind over matter, as the master hypnotist brings his stage show to the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia.

Editor’s Choice

JIAN-GHOMESHI

September 22—The Word on the Street celebrates the printed word, with readings, book signings, vendors, kids’ events and more. This year, author and media personality Jian Ghomeshi headlines, reading from his debut novel, 1982. Look for the festival tents on the Halifax Waterfront, adjacent to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street.

Cue the music

Maestro Bernhard Gueller
Maestro Bernhard Gueller
September 26 to 29—Symphony Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada’s only full-time professional orchestra, starts its new season celebrating Symphony Week and Culture Days, with free performances around the city. Venues include Halifax City Hall on September 27, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on September 28 and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on September 29.