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Pier 21

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.

Ultimate Halifax

UltimateHalifax_Memory-Lane

Photo: Rochelle Owen

Family fun, outdoor adventures, live theatre, and more—our annual roundup of the things we love most about our city

By Trevor J. Adams
With reporting by Janice Hudson

 

TO MARKET

Halifax hosts several farmers’ markets, offering visitors great opportunities to discover fresh produce, craft beer and cider, local wine, fresh-baked goods, local art, and unique souvenirs. 

—Over 250 vendors from across the province showcase their goods over two levels at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road. You’ll find some vendors at the waterfront market throughout the week, with full markets on Saturday.  

—A short walk up Lower Water Street takes you to the Historic Farmers’ Market in the Alexander Keith’s Brewery building. Find vendors and live entertainment in the main courtyard or tucked away in the maze of wings and hallways in this historic facility.

—In the North End on Windsor Street is the Halifax Forum, home to the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. Find 50+ vendors, including local farmers selling produce right off their trucks
in the parking lot.

—Across the harbour in Dartmouth, just steps from the Halifax Transit ferry terminal, you’ll find the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market. It has live entertainment on its main stage on Saturday mornings. Outside, find flower and plant vendors aplenty during spring.

 

UltimateHalifax_Public-Gardens

Photo: Serena Graham-Dwyer

URBAN ESCAPE

Spanning six hectares in the middle of the city, the Halifax Public Gardens is one of North America’s finest formal Victorian gardens, with dramatic flower displays, weeping and flowering trees, fountains, and foliage plants. An oasis just steps from the bustle of Spring Garden Road, it’s an ideal spot to relax and recharge. On Sunday afternoons through the spring and summer, drop by the Victorian bandstand for free concerts featuring local musicians.

 

UltimateHalifax_Public-Gardens

Photo: Discover Halifax

HISTORIC HALIFAX

—Located on the site of “Canada’s Ellis Island” on the Halifax waterfront, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 explores how immigration built our country. From 1928 to 1971, some one million newcomers passed through Pier 21, as did some 500,000 military personnel during the Second World War. This is the East Coast’s only national museum. 

—One of Canada’s most visited National Historic Sites, the Halifax Citadel towers over downtown Halifax. These colonial-era fortifications were once key to protecting Britain’s North American territories. On site, you’ll also find the Army Museum, detailing Halifax’s extensive military history. 

UltimateHalifax_Dartmouth-Heritage-Museum

—A short walk from the Halifax Transit ferry terminal, you’ll find Dartmouth Heritage Museum in Evergreen House on Newcastle Street. Built in 1867, the historic building holds dozens of artifacts and displays reflecting life in the city’s early days. 

—Explore Nova Scotia’s seafaring history at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street. You’ll find exhibitions on the glory days of the age of sail, the Canadian navy in the world wars, the sinking of the Titanic, pirates and privateers, and more.

—Cole Harbour Heritage Farm is a rural oasis standing in stark contrast to the surrounding modern development. The 200-year-old farm features livestock, heritage buildings, gardens, walking paths, and more.

 

PLAY TIME

Eastern Front Theatre’s Stages Theatre Festival presents some 15 shows and events from May 21 to June 3. The schedule includes new plays, workshops, theatre for families, and world premieres held at venues across the city. The festival highlights work from Nova Scotia’s top professional theatre companies at different stages of development, from workshops and play-readings to full productions.

 

UltimateHalifax_Peggys-Cove

Photo: Discover Halifax

DAY TRIPPER

—No trip to Halifax is complete without visiting Peggy’s Cove. About a 45-minute drive west of Halifax, this tiny community is a visitor-favourite. Descendants of the original settlers still work the North Atlantic waters and towering above the bustle of the fishing village is the famous lighthouse—purported to be the most photographed site in Nova Scotia.

—Or strike off in the other direction and find Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte, a 50-minute drive east of the city. The living-history museum re-creates life in a 1940s Nova Scotian coastal village. Tour the 18 restored buildings and tuck into a lunch of baked beans and brown bread at the cookhouse.

 

UltimateHalifax_Point-Pleasant

GET SOME FRESH AIR

—Haligonians love Point Pleasant Park in any season, and it’s not hard to see why. Perched at the tip of the South End, it boasts 39 kilometres of trails winding through forest and past rocky hills, ravines, and military ruins, including the Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site.

—West past the Armdale Rotary on Purcell’s Cove Road, you’ll find Sir Sandford Fleming Park. This 38-hectare space has walking trails through forest, saltwater marsh, and a large pond. Locals know the park as the “Dingle,” in reference to Dingle Memorial Tower, a 10-storey Italianate landmark built in the early 1900s. Kids will love the new playground on-site, Halifax’s first all-natural play space made of hand-carved tree trunks. 

—Across the harbour in Dartmouth, Shubie Park is a 16-hectare greenway bounded by Charles Lake to the north and Lake Micmac to the south. Meander from deep forest to sunny lakeside along the historic route of the Shubenacadie Canal.

 

UltimateHalifax_Discovery-Centre

Photo: Riley Smith

JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

A family-favourite in any season the Discovery Centre gives kids and adults alike exciting, hands-on opportunities to learn about science, math, engineering, and technology. Find it in its new 40,000-square-foot home on the Halifax waterfront on Lower Water Street. It boasts four themed galleries, an innovation lab, and Atlantic Canada’s only immersive dome theatre. There is an ever-changing array of visiting exhibitions, plus many permanent displays. On Wednesday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m., admission is free. 

Hot Shopping

Shopping_Freak-Lunchbox

SWEET SENSATIONS

Freak Lunchbox on Barrington Street and in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford offers a whimsical (and tasty) shopping experience. The colourful store is chockablock with retro treats like Pez, Cracker Jacks, and Pop Shoppe soda, plus fun toys and gifts. 

—For gourmet treats or a basket of sweet goodies, stop into Sweet Jane’s on Queen Street. The staff here will put together arrangements for any tastes or celebrations. Amp up your date-night game with gourmet truffles.

 

UltimateHalifax_Dartmouth-Heritage-Museum

CENTRES OF SHOPPING

Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth boasts 120+ stores and services. Anchored by The Bay, this three-storey shopping destination features women’s fashions, entertainment, electronics, books, salons, and even a vinyl-record store. 

Halifax Shopping Centre on Mumford Road is one of the city’s busiest shopping destinations, boasting popular shops like Levi’s, Samuel & Co., and Charm Diamond Centre. The bright and airy—and recently renovated—food court offers an array of dining options: Lebanese, Italian, Thai, and more.

 

Shopping_Liquid-Gold

FOR THE FOODIES

In the heart of the North End’s stylish Hydrostone neighbourhood, you’ll find Liquid Gold on Young Street. Specializing in high-quality extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world, this unique shop is a favourite with local foodies. 

 

Shopping_Bishops-Landing

ON THE WATERFRONT

As you stroll the Halifax waterfront, stylish Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street is a must-visit shopping stop: find a tasty and unique gift for the folks back home at Rum Runners, distinctive creations at Frida Custom Jewellery Design, finely crafted pearl works at Pearl City, an array of local wine, spirits, cider, and beer at Bishop’s Cellar, and flavourful and refreshing juices at Haskapa. 

 

Shopping_Designer-Craft-Shop

ONE OF A KIND

—It’s hard to find a more distinctive memento of your visit than a locally-crafted work of art from the AGNS Gallery Shop at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. Check out unique and collectible pieces of sculpture, pottery, paintings, and more. Maud Lewis (the eponymous artist from the acclaimed movie Maudie) is among the many local talents whose work is on display. 

The Pier 21 Gift Shop at the Canadian Museum of Immigration, on Marginal Road offers local art and books, pewter gifts, and museum-branded swag aplenty. 

—Nearby at the Designer Craft Shop on Marginal Road, Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council members display their creations. Browse through artistic etchings, silk clothing, and handmade jewelry. An expert jury approves every item.

 

Shopping_MEC

INTO THE WILD *Editor’s Pick*

If you’re an outdoor adventurer, Halifax is the perfect base of operations: just minutes from downtown you’ll find seaside trails, dense forest, and natural splendour. MEC on Granville street is the perfect place to gear up for your expedition. Backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, boots, cooking gear, and much more—find what you need for any expedition, from day hiking to backwoods camping.

 

Shopping_Fireworks-Gallery

PRECIOUS METALS

The goldsmiths and jewellers at Fireworks Gallery on Barrington Street create customized jewelry for any occasion. Choose a design with gold, platinum, diamonds, or gorgeous gemstones. The designers use Old World techniques such as hand engraving or filigree. Browse the collections of other artists, as well as antique pieces from estate collections, too. Travel emergency? Repairs performed on site.

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.

Hot Shopping: 3 Timeless Souvenirs to Take Home

NovaScotian Crystal

Looking for a souvenir that you can treasure for years to come? These items at local Halifax shops are far from the typical tourist fare.

1. Make your photos stand out or pick a new print at Frame-It, on Spring Garden Road. Get a custom-designed frame or choose from more than a thousand styles to fit your home décor. Take a look through the catalogue collection of artwork, including Peggy’s Cove scenery and the Bluenose.

2. Looking for a special gift? Go local with creative sculptures, jewellery, ornaments and more at Amos Pewter, on Lower Water Street. This store is full of Nova Scotia handmade designs, including new collections and traditional pieces.

3. Impress your guests at the next dinner party and visit NovaScotian Crystal for formal glasses, dishes and other crystal creations. Canada’s only maker of mouth-blown, hand-cut fine crystal recently launched its Canadian Spirit line, available in the George Street showroom or at the Pier 21 Gift Shop on Marginal Road.