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public gardens

Ultimate City Guide: The Best Things to Do in Halifax

Things to Do in Halifax

Watching the Highlanders: one of the top things to do in Halifax (Photo: baekken)

MARITIME GOTHIC

With centuries of history, a city gets its fair share of mysteries and folklore. Explore the city’s more sinister side with the Halifax Ghost Walk. Meet the group at 8:30 p.m. 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 haunted houses.

WIDE OPEN SPACES

At the south end of the peninsula, Point Pleasant Park is a popular year-round destination. Ocean-side and woodland trails draw hikers, bikers and runners in any weather. The park also hosts productions of theatre al fresco with Shakespeare by the Sea throughout the summer. In the midst of the downtown on Barrington Street, the Old Burying Ground is a secluded historic cemetery. It’s also notable as the resting place of 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 is a green oasis with splendid views of the Halifax skyline.

CENTRE STAGE

The region’s largest professional theatre company, Neptune Theatre on Argyle Street, starts 2018 off with two productions: Jonas & Barry in the Home hits the mainstage starting January 16 with the studio series production of Salt-Water Moon premiering January 30.

LOCAL HARVEST

From Lonely Planet to the Montreal Gazette to The New York Times, Halifax draws constant praise as a premier culinary destination. In the Guide to Dining you’ll find listings for a tremendous variety of restaurants. And discover where Halifax’s talented chefs find their inspiration: the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road. Fresh-baked goods, savoury snacks, artisanal cheeses, award-winning Nova Scotian wine and produce aplenty—you’ll find plenty to entice.

TIME TRAVEL

Still the geographic (and emotional) heart of the downtown, the Halifax Citadel is Canada’s most popular National Historic Site.

In Halifax’s early days, citizens were notoriously unpunctual. The solution, courtesy of an early noble, was the Old Town Clock on Sackville Street.

You can shop and dine where privateers once stashed their booty in the Historic Properties.

Discover a long line of sports heroes—most recently, Sidney Crosby. Learn more: Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame on Duke Street.

Devastated in the Halifax Explosion almost a century ago, the area now called The Hydrostone has regrown as a stylish neighbourhood with unique architecture, quaint shops and world-class dining.

DAY TRIPPIN’

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 that re-creates life in rural Nova Scotia as it was 70 years ago. Or, 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.

 

Take 5

Wildlife photos at the Royal BC Museum

Head Indoors for these Winter Escapes.

Victoria is indeed a beautiful city no matter what the season, but during the winter, it’s inevitable we’ll have at least a few days that aren’t ideal for outdoor activities. Luckily there’s plenty of indoor options to both inspire and entertain! Here are five of our favourites…

1. Make it the museum. Victoria is blessed with several fine museums that make it easy to while away an hour, an afternoon or a day! Overlooking the harbour is the Royal BC Museum, with its natural history, First Nations and settlement displays. This winter, meet animals around the world with the visiting exhibit Wildlife Photographer of the Year, from London’s Natural History Museum. Around the harbour, the Maritime Museum of British Columbia explores all things nautical, from pirates to the BC Ferries and everything in between!

2. Take in a movie – IMAX style! Also at the Royal BC Museum is the six-storey tall screen of the IMAX Theatre, showing both the ever-popular IMAX films as well as Hollywood movies given a whole new look with the theatre’s state-of-the art technology.

3. Enjoy a little family fun. No matter what your age, who can resist an entertaining stroll through history and literature at Miniature World or the fascinating world of insects and arachnids presented at the Bug Zoo, both within a few minutes’ walk of the Inner Harbour.

4. Chill out at the rink. Victoria boasts two great choices for hockey, the WHL’s Victoria Royals and the BC Hockey League’s Victoria Grizzlies. The Royals heat up the ice at  downtown’s Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, while the Grizzlies entertain fans at the Bear Mountain Arena in Colwood.

5. Get inspired in the garden. The world famous Butchart Gardens is a joy any time of year. In addition to the outdoor gardens, the New Year also brings two indoor features, Spring Prelude and the annual historical exhibit. Take a tropical vacation without ever leaving Vancouver Island with a visit to the beautiful Victoria Butterfly Gardens, also on the Saanich Peninsula. With colourful birds, butterflies, fish and flowers, it’s impossible to visit and not be inspired.

Hot Shopping: Shop Talk: Garden Grow

Pineridge Hollow owner Jan Regehr likens her growing business to her burgeoning gardens.  What began in 1992 as a small shop selling hard-to-find collectibles on the property of her country home has grown organically to today’s picturesque shopping, dining, and event destination. The drive from Winnipeg is pretty, and just long enough to escape urban bustle. Six acres of winding garden paths and playhouses made from growing sunflowers reaffirm the rural ambience. Meanwhile, inside the carriage house store, indoor and outdoor furniture, home accessories and gifts tempt a variety of aesthetic tastes. In the kitchen, dishes start closer to home and Manitoba produce and products flavour each bite of the menu. Reflecting on her business acumen Regehr says, “I listen to what people are interested in. I have an ability to see opportunities; it took awhile for me to realize not everyone is like that.”  Off Hwy 59, east on Garven Rd , 204-777‑3882.

Spring into Spring!

Spring comes early in Victoria, bringing with it plenty of blossoms, blooms and other treats for the senses.

A blossoming city…
Arguably Victoria’s prettiest season, spring turns Victoria’s streets and boulevards into quite the blossoming affair, thanks to hundreds of spring-flowering trees.
Enjoy a stroll through the city’s historic streets, feed the ducks at Beacon Hill Park, or venture into the picturesque neighbouring communities of Fairfield and James Bay. Walkers from all over North America will enjoy the scenery April 15 to 17 when local Volkssport clubs host the Victoria Volkssport Phoenix Festival. (more…)