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Halifax

Road warriors

By Trevor J. Adams

IN THE CLOUDS

Photos: NS Tourism Agency

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Explore Nova Scotia as few do with a helicopter tour from Vision Air Services. Narrated tours will zoom you to the Bay of Fundy, Peggy’s Cove or the Eastern Shore. Custom itineraries available. Or you can waft along at a slower pace with East Coast Balloon Adventures, departing from the heart of the Annapolis Valley (usually near New Minas, a 75-minute drive northwest of Halifax on Highway 101). Flying daily (when conditions permit) at dawn and dusk, the hot-air balloon soars as high as 610 metres above the ground, usually travelling three to 20 kilometres, depending on winds. The ride costs $250 per passenger, with the balloon carrying four passengers plus the pilot. www.eastcoastballoonadventures.com

SEASIDE SIGHTS

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Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Drive about 45 minutes west of Halifax on Route 333, and you’ll find one of Nova Scotia’s most-photographed sites: the iconic lighthouse, perched on the rocks above the Atlantic in the fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. In fair or foul weather, this is a must-see destination. There’s lots of space to clamber around the shore and take in the ocean’s beauty, but stay well clear of waves and slippery rocks. After you putter around the working fishing village, visiting shops and galleries, enjoy a slice of the signature gingerbread at the Sou’wester restaurant.

GO WEST

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Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Continuing west, the Lighthouse Route wends its way to the picturesque village of Lunenburg, an hour’s drive on Highway 103. This historic community with its lovingly maintained architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Great dining abounds, including the Old Fish Factory Restaurant, Magnolia’s Grill and the Knot Pub. See Nova Scotia’s world-class sailing ambassador, the Bluenose II, being rebuilt in her homeport. On the waterfront, the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic tells how life on the sea shaped generations of Maritimers. museum.gov.ns.ca/fma

SMOKIN’ SUMMER SOUNDS

James Cotton

James Cotton

From August 8 to 10, music fans will be taking an hour’s drive north to the Truro Raceway and Exhibition Grounds in Bible Hill, home of the Dutch Mason Blues Festival. The festival is named for deceased Halifax blues legend Dutch Mason, the man B.B. King called “the Prime Minister of the Blues.” This year’s roster includes James Cotton, Royal Southern Brotherhood, David Wilcox, Wild T and the Spirit, and many more. Saturday’s late-night blues jam with Garrett Mason (Dutch’s über-talented son) will be worth the trip alone. In addition to the hot music, the festival features a barbecue competition, a custom motorcycle show, vendors galore and more. www.dutchmason.com

BACK IN TIME

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A 50-minute drive east of Halifax on Highway 7, the Memory Lane Heritage Village brings Nova Scotia’s past to life, re-creating a typical 1940s Nova Scotian fishing village. The 17 restored buildings include a mill, barn, mine, general store, church and homestead. History buffs will love the Archives Research Centre (but book an appointment in advance). The village hosts special events throughout the year; take in the sounds of the Atlantic Canada Harmonica Festival on August 23. www.heritagevillage.ca

A RISING TIDE

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

With each cycle of the tides, the mighty waters of the Bay of Fundy surge back into the Shubenacadie River, offering a unique opportunity to go tidal-bore rafting. Few areas in the world are blessed with the high tides necessary to offer this unique adventure. Numerous companies take daily tours from the Shubenacadie and Maitland areas (a 45- to 60-minute drive north of Halifax). On high-powered Zodiac boats, you’ll race out to meet the rushing waves and crest over them, splash around and experience the power of nature firsthand. Pro tip: Plan your visit around the full moon for the highest tides and wildest ride. www.novascotia.com

August Concierge Q&A

Photo: Timothy Richard

Photo: Timothy Richard

Angela O’Brien started her career at Casino Nova Scotia in the table games department, going on to work for Caesar on the luxury liner Crystal Symphony. She soon returned to Casino Nova Scotia, serving in various roles before becoming executive host. Her passions are travel and basketball, which she recently combined with a trip to Texas to watch her beloved San Antonio Spurs win the 2014 NBA Championship.

What is your favourite place to relax on a hot summer afternoon in Halifax?

The Halifax Public Gardens, located in the heart of the city, is a great place to wander and take in the beautiful scenery.

 

What is one can’t-miss event that you’d recommend for a visitor this month?

The Outdoor Film Experience on the waterfront is the place to be! The Atlantic Film Festival produces the series; this year’s theme is Summer of Sandra, featuring movies starring Sandra Bullock.

 

If you only had one day in Halifax, how would you spend it?

I am loving what is going on in the North End right now! I would start my day with a coffee at Lion & Bright, followed by lunch at the Agricola Street Brasserie, and being the sports fan that I am, I would finish the day off with a night out at HFX Sports to catch a game over drinks with friends.

 

What’s your favourite day trip from Halifax?

I love exploring the restaurants, coffee shops and specialty stores in charming Mahone Bay. It’s a true Nova Scotia gem. I always make sure to stop at Maya’s Favorite Fish & Chips in Tantallon along the way—the best fish and chips!

August Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

Photo: Kelly Neil
Photo: Kelly Neil

Stuck on a good thing

The Stubborn Goat Gastropub on Grafton Street boasts a selection of comfort-food classics like meatloaf, mac and cheese, hand-cut fries with truffle salt, woodstone-oven baked pizza and oven-roasted whole fish and chips. The weekend brunch menu boasts an inventive list of options (try the eggs benedict with avocado and chilies for a spicy kick). For an accompanying beverage, choose from local and international craft beers. Drop in for Cask Friday and try out a new local brew.

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Chill out

Dee Dee’s Ice Cream on Cornwallis Street in the North End has an old-fashioned ice cream parlour charm. Each pint of gourmet ice cream is churned by hand, creating flavours from fresh local fruit and berries, including rhubarb, blueberries, Haskap berries and even locally grown Arctic kiwis. Mexican chocolate (dark European cocoa with hits of cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne pepper) and banana cardamom are hot sellers—and delicious together. The café also serves a selection of delicious burritos.

Photo: Paula Bugden

Photo: Paula Bugden

Editor’s Choice

For 25 years now, Bearly’s House of Blues on Barrington Street has hosted great live blues and jazz. (On Sunday nights, join savvy local music lovers for Bearly’s Blues Jam). With Ace Burger running the kitchen, gourmet burgers and hand-cut fries are the house specialty. Try the Big Bad Wolf burger, featuring crispy pork belly from Oulton’s Farm in Windsor, N.S., back bacon from Brothers Meats in the North End, bacon jam, smoked gouda and a fried egg.

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The secret garden

You wouldn’t know it walking by, but stylish Stories at The Halliburton hotel on Morris Street boasts a magical outdoor dining experience. Teeming with flowers and ornamental trees in every shape and colour, it’s a haven in the middle of one of Halifax’s oldest city blocks. Tall elm trees provide shade and there’s even a bubbling fountain at the garden’s heart. The courtyard is open Tuesday through Saturday 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., closed on Sundays and Mondays. Whether you’re dining inside or out, Chef Scott Vail’s menu changes with the seasons, featuring flavourful local ingredients and fresh East Coast game and seafood.

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Salty’s. Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Waterfront magic

•For a spectacular waterfront view and seafood galore, Salty’s on the Waterfront on Upper Water Street is hard to beat. The array of seafood dishes includes crab cakes, steaming hot mussels in the shell, fresh lobster and Maritime seafood chowder.

•Perched on the end of Cable Wharf, Murphy’s Restaurant is another must-visit for seafood lovers. The big patio, with ocean on three sides, is an ideal spot to while away a sunny afternoon.

Photo: Andrew Chow

Photo: Andrew Chow

Slice of life

Using only fresh seasonal ingredients and a wood-fired oven, Morris East on Morris Street (with a second location in Bedford on Larry Uteck Boulevard) creates gourmet artisanal pizzas. Restaurateur Jennie Dobbs offers creative lunch and dinner menus featuring wood-fired sandwiches, organic salads, inventive appetizers and decadent desserts. (Try the fire-roasted s’more, featuring a housemade marshmallow toasted with chocolate ganache and graham cracker). Dobbs and her team also craft many cocktail cordials on-site, with ­­­fresh-pressed fruit and berries.

July Concierge Q&A

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A native Haligonian, Andy McIntosh has worked at the Prince George Hotel for 25 years, becoming head concierge 12 years ago. He’s been a member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada, an association of professional concierges, for seven years, and served as Atlantic Director for four years.

What’s July’s can’t-miss event for visitors to Halifax?

The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, July 1 to 8, starts the month off with a bang. July also has a strong finish on the 30th with the start of the Halifax International Busker Festival, ending August 4. Both events are family friendly and budget friendly.

 

What’s your favourite spot for a cool drink on a summer afternoon?

Murphy’s on the Water has a great wharf-side section, window panels that can slide open on a hot day, the only thing closer to being on the water is a boat ride.

If you only had one day in Halifax, how would you spend it?

I would start off taking a traditional city tour with Ambassatours or the Harbour Hopper to get the lay of the land. Following that I would head out to explore a bit on my own, hitting some highlight spots: Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, a nice walk on the waterfront boardwalk through Historic Properties and maybe a ferry ride to Dartmouth on the Metro Transit commuter ferry. Halifax Public Gardens, dinner and drinks on Argyle Street and live music at the Seahorse Tavern are also on the list.

 

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

Rum Runners Cake Factory and NovaScotian Crystal, both on the Halifax waterfront, feature unique products produced right here in Halifax.

July Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

SWEET STASH

Photo: Tammy Fancy/Fancy Free Foto.com

Photo: Tammy Fancy/Fancy Free Foto.com

Visit Sugah at Bishop’s Landing on Halifax’s waterfront or in the Halifax Public Gardens for handmade ice cream, chocolate and candy, plus scrumptious ice cream treats. Choose a base ice cream flavour and then add in some “mixins” (brown sugar fudge, chocolate-chip cookie dough and so many other choices), and then watch staff paddle it all together on a frozen marble slab.

CURRYING FLAVOUR

Chef Sam Jaggi

Chef Sam Jaggi

•Get your fix of flavourful Indian food at the Grand Taj Restaurant in the South End. Chef Sam Jaggi cooks up a range of colourful Tandoori dishes—try the butter chicken with fresh Naan bread baked on-site in charcoal-fired clay ovens.
•Turn up the heat at Curry Village uptown on Dresden Row. Whether you like spicy, mild or vegetarian options, the restaurant’s extensive menu has something for every palate, including traditional favourites like chicken tikka masala, lamb bhuna and vegetable biryani.

SOUL FOOD

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Soak in the rays on the expansive patio as you enjoy the fabulous-people watching on Halifax’s waterfront at Stayner’s Wharf Pub and Grill. The menu offers steak and chicken dishes, plus local fare like pan-fried haddock and curry-crusted salmon. Grab a booth and linger over drinks for a performance. There’s Jazz at Stayner’s every Thursday, and it’s a busy venue during the Halifax Jazz Festival.

POUR A COLD ONE

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•Chill out with a cold beer at Rogue’s Roost, a second-level brewpub tucked away uptown on Spring Garden Road. Brewmaster Lorenzo Romano creates a variety of ales, including the popular Russian imperial stout. Nosh on classic pub fare like nachos, sandwiches and seafood chowder.
•Downtown, head to The Maxwell’s Plum on Grafton Street for the city’s largest selection of draft beer. The 60 beers on tap include Atlantic Canada’s top beers like Moncton’s Pump House Brewery and Cape Breton’s Big Spruce Brewing.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

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Located above the popular Two If By Sea café in downtown Dartmouth, The Canteen is Chef Renée Lavallée latest culinary venture. Her passion for local produce shines through the creative menu of sandwiches, soups and salads. Try the “Eggie-Veggie,” featuring local asparagus, boiled egg, caper aioli, chèvre and pickled red onion. Or go for the “Lamb Gyro: made with local Wood ‘n Hart lamb, plus cucumber slaw, tahini vinaigrette and feta cheese. Baker Jessica Best makes all the breads by hand on-site, including gluten-free options. There are also daily take-out suppers—like flank-steak tacos with handmade tortillas and radish relish.

July Hot Shopping

By Suzanne Rent

SUMMER STYLES

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•Lisa Drader-Murphy brought her design business to the East Coast in the late 1990s where she shares her styles at Turbine on Lower Water Street in Bishop’s Landing, and in her boutique in the Historic Properties. Her modern, urban collection for women includes styles like the “upside-down dress,” accessories such as purses, handbags, belts and shawls, and limited-edition styles. Turbine also carries a line of beauty products.
•Men can find their summer style at Duggers/D2 on Spring Garden Road. Here, there are the best urban looks for young men, with the hottest items in denim, casual, outwear and footwear. Labels in store include Hugo Boss, Varvatos, Diesel and G-Star.

ONE-STOP SHOPPING

Photo: Gwen North

Photo: Gwen North

Dartmouth Crossing just outside of Burnside offers a unique shopping experience to customers. It features a mix of  big-box retailers like Roots,  Pier 1 Imports and Toys “R” Us, plus a village area with smaller boutique stores. There are walking trails, a Cineplex theatre, a playground, restaurants aplenty and an amphitheatre that hosts concerts during the summer months.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

For sweet summer treats, visit Freak Lunchbox on Barrington Street in Halifax or Sunnyside Mall in Bedford. Kids at heart will feel nostalgic while wandering this colourful candy shop with its retro treats, including Pez, sour candies, pink candy popcorn and a fridge full of Pop Shoppe sodas.

HOT SUMMER READS

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•Hit the beach or a patio with a book from Bookmark on Spring Garden Road. This independent bookstore carries the top sellers in fiction, non-fiction and regional titles. The store also hosts author readings, book launches and more. Situated near the Halifax Public Gardens, the perfect place for summer reading.
•Keep the kids reading with a visit to Canada’s oldest children’s bookstore, Woozles on Birmingham Street. There are classics and new titles for babies to teens. The store shelves are filled with picture books, those titles recommended by young readers, and those chosen for the summer reading list.

DESIGN & DÉCOR

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•Thinking about home? Visit the new location of Statement in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford. Modern, functional furniture all made with the best craftsmanship. Collections include those by Italdivani, BDI, Calligaris, Verbois, and Nuevo. Gorgeous and top-of-the-line lighting and décor will tie your home’s look together.
Finer Things Antiques & Curios on Agricola Street boasts quality antiques spanning various periods of design, including 18th-century Georgian to 20th-century modern. Furniture, wall and floor décor, lighting, folk art, pottery and more are on site. Appraisal and selling services available.

SUMMER BLOSSOMS

Photo: Randal Tomada

Photo: Randal Tomada

For gorgeous and fresh summer floral arrangements, stop by My Mother’s Bloomers on Spring Garden Road. The flower inventory offers calla lilies, orchids, daisies and hydrangea, and other seasonal selections.

June Hot Shopping

By Suzanne Rent

HOME SWEET HOME DÉCOR

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Named after one of the cultural centres of Greece during the Early Iron Age, Attica on Barrington Street is an innovative shop that offers great design and décor from local and international artists. There is everything you need to make your home beautiful, including lighting, furniture (indoor and out), rugs, dishware and more.

DAY AT THE SPA

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•Embrace sandal season with a pedicure at Interlude Spa on Upper Water Street in Halifax or Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth. Other services include facials, hand treatments and spa packages.
•Book an appointment at the salon at Spirit Spa on Salter Street for a new summer hairstyle. While you’re there, book a massage or body scrub or wrap, too.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

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Olivier Soapery in the Historic Properties carries all the soap and beauty products made from natural products at its soapery in Ste-Anne-de-Kent in New Brunswick. Choose from the line of soaps, milk baths, therapeutic oils and creams, all made with natural beeswax, cocoa butter and olive oil.

CARVED FROM WOOD

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Woodworker and owner Jana Bookholt at Swaine Street Woodworking in the West End crafts unique and durable cutting boards, butcher blocks and serving boards that will last a lifetime for the cooks in your kitchen. Each product is made of maple, birch or walnut, and cutting boards are naturally anti-bacterial. A line of care products, such as polish and oil, are available as well.

FASHION ON THE RUN

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All the active wear you need for a summer outside in nature is at Patagonia Halifax on Lower Water Street. Many of the clothes, including jackets, pants, shorts and yoga gear, are made from recycled polyester or organic cotton. One per cent of the sales are donated to local environmental causes.

STYLE SPREE

Sunnyside Mall. Photo: Adams Photography

Sunnyside Mall. Photo: Adams Photography

Sunnyside Mall sits in the heart of Bedford on the Bedford Highway. Anchored by Pete’s Frootique and Marks’ Work Wearhouse, this mall offers stores with women’s apparel, footwear, gifts, books, wine and more. Make it a day and have lunch at Finbar’s or Il Mercato.
Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth is one of the largest shopping centres in the region. Inside are retailers such as The Bay, Homesense, H&M, Bath & Bodyworks and Aeropostale, making this a great shopping destination for everyone in the family. Easily accessible by car or transit.

June Concierge Q&A

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Frank Opdebeck, concierge at the Delta Barrington, was born and raised in Halifax. He joined the hotel industry in 1989. Currently vice-director of Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic Region, he played an instrumental role in bringing this international association of concierges to the Maritimes.

 

What’s June’s can’t miss event for visitors to Halifax?

The city’s oldest and largest cultural festival takes place on June 12 to 15. Halifax Greek Fest showcases Greek entertainment, dancing, wine tasting and as much Greek food as you can eat. It’s a three-day party!

 

What’s your favourite spot for a relaxed weekend brunch?

One of my top recommendations is Saege Bistro, an established restaurant on Spring Garden Road near the Halifax Public Gardens with an excellent Sunday Brunch menu.

 

If you only had one day in Halifax, how would you spend it?

On a sunny day, I would walk the Halifax Waterfront starting from the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and ending at Historic Properties, perhaps with a cold beer on the patio of the Lower Deck pub. On a rainy day, I would visit the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, enjoy lunch at Stayner’s Wharf and then spend the afternoon at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

 

What’s your favourite day trip from Halifax?

Head to Wolfville and Grand Pré and visit our wonderful wineries. Many travellers are surprised at the thriving winery business here in Nova Scotia. A map will show you all of the wineries to visit in the area including Luckett Winery, Domaine de Grand Pré, Gaspereau Winery and L’Acadie Vineyards.

 

What’s Halifax’s best kept culinary secret?

Stories at Halifax’s best small hotel, The Halliburton House. They have a lovely courtyard garden for dining al fresco.

Celebrate summer

By Trevor J. Adams

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A busy month of festivals and cultural celebrations begins with the Scotia Festival of Music. Continuing through June 8 at venues around the city, this is event is a must for serious music fans, showcasing the best in Chamber music. This year, ScotiaFest marks its 35th anniversary with the return of cellist Lynn Harrell, who performed at the very first edition in 1980. See him at the closing Gala on June 8; he’ll perform Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. Violin virtuoso Giora Schmidt also takes the stage with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, while pianist John Novacek plays Daugherty’s Le tombeau de Liberace.
Concurrently, Halifax’s vibrant Lebanese community celebrates its roots with Cedar Festival from June 5 to 8 at Our Lady of Lebanon Parish on Joseph Howe Drive. Festivities include a special mass, musical performances, art exhibitions, food tastings, games, dancing and more.
June also sees the return of one of Halifax’s biggest and most popular festivals. Running this year from June 12 to 15, Halifax Greek Fest always attracts thousands to Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church
on Purcell’s Cove Road. Lively music and dancing abound, along with cultural exhibitions and Greek cuisine aplenty. Sommelier Costa Elles, the restaurateur behind Ela Greek Taverna and Flipburger, hosts a Greek wine tasting.
That same weekend, Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte hosts the Father’s Day Antique Car Show. Scheduled for June 15 (rain date June 29), the show is a rite of Father’s Day. There are dozens of lovingly restored classic cars, plus live entertainment and Kub Kar races.
This month marks the 30th anniversary of one of Halifax’s longest-running summer events: the Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival. Running from June 15 to 22 at the Halifax Seaport Harbourwalk at the corner of Terminal and Marginal roads, the festival showcases Nova Scotia’s many cultural communities with music, food, art, cultural exhibitions and more.
Bedford Days closes out the month. The erstwhile town to the north of Halifax celebrates its heritage with family-friend events, fireworks, a beer fest, concerts and more. Join the party at DeWolf Park on Waterfront Drive from June 26 to July 1.

Concierge Q&A

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Eva Stoddard is a guest-service supervisor/concierge at Halifax Marriott Harbourfront. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she joined Marriott after graduating from Halifax’s Dalhousie University. She enjoys hosting visitors to Halifax and sharing her favourite places.

What’s the best way to celebrate spring in Halifax?

The best way to celebrate spring in Halifax is to join everyone at the Halifax Public Gardens, which opened for the season in April.

If you only had one day in Halifax, how would you spend it?

I would first walk along the waterfront—visit Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, followed by the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Then visit Argyle Fine Art in the Historic Properties and enjoy a nice lunch at Dharma Sushi on Argyle street. After lunch, I would explore the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site and finish with dinner at La Frasca on Spring Garden road.

What’s the best place to hear traditional Maritime music in Halifax?

The best place to hear traditional Maritime music is the Old Triangle Irish Pub on Prince Street. And for a taste of the local music scene try The Carleton Music Bar and Grill on Argyle Street.

What’s the best place for a romantic dinner for two in Halifax?

The best place for a romantic dinner for two is to have dinner at The Press Gang on Prince Street, especially seated at the table by the stone wall to the right of the entrance.

Ultimate Halifax

By Trevor J. Adams

Theodore Too

Theodore Too

GO PLAY OUTSIDE

At the south end of the peninsula, Point Pleasant Park is a popular year-round destination with native Haligonians and visitors alike. Coastal and woodland trails draw people year-round, but the park really comes to life in summer when it hosts 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 and a green oasis amongst the buildings. It’s also the grave 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 features a lovely flower garden and panoramic views of the Halifax skyline.

CENTRE STAGE

The region’s largest professional theatre company, Neptune Theatre on Argyle Street, wraps up another season, with Mary Poppins. With intricate sets, lively music and a heartwarming story, this is sure to be another blockbuster for Atlantic Canada’s largest theatre company.

OUT OF THE FIRE

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.

BACK IN TIME

•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 tardy. The solution, courtesy of an exasperated early ruler, was the Old Town Clock on Sackville Street.

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

•Halifax boasts 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.

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.

HIGHLIGHTS FOR KIDS

•Kids’ reactions are always priceless when they stroll down Cable Wharf and see the giant smiling tugboat in the big red hat. Theodore Too is a loving life-sized re-creation of the eponymous Theodore Tugboat of PBS fame. Hop on board for a tour that lets your kids live the Big Harbour adventures they’ve seen so many times on television.

•Nautical adventures continue 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, swashbuckling pirates and the world wars. You can see shipbuilders at work and explore a retired hydrographic 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.

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.

•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.

May Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

NEW DIGS

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After 10 years in business, Onyx moved recently to a sleek new location on Argyle Street, boasting a new wine bar and an expanded kitchen. The chic, award-winning resto bar specializes in small-plates and inventive cocktails. Executive Chef Tahir Salamat, voted this year’s Culinarian of the Year by the Nova Scotia Association of Chefs and Cooks, brings a unique global influence to the menu, showcasing fresh local flavours, including Northumberland rack of lamb and charcuterie from Oulton’s Farm in Windsor, Nova Scotia.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

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A bright and colourful eatery showcasing repurposed and vintage décor on Gottingen Street, Edna offers a unique dining experience ina revitalized part of the North End. Sit at the communal dining table that seats 18 for a fun group-dining atmosphere. Share some fresh oysters or order a customized charcuterie board showcasing fresh local ingredients. Open daily for dinner and weekend brunch, also offering late-night tapas from Thursday to Saturday.

BRUNCH IT UP

Chef Geir Simensen, Saege Bistro

Chef Geir Simensen, Saege Bistro

•Craving a fresh croissant and a cheerful atmosphere? Visit Two if By Sea Café on Upper Water Street in Halifax’s Historic Properties and Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth. Drop in for a fresh cappuccino or nosh on a variety of baked goods, including a fresh pain au chocolat or a prosciutto and cheese croissant.

•A staple of Halifax’s brunch scene, Saege Bistro near the Halifax Gardens on Spring Garden Road, boasts a bevy of colourful brunch dishes, including Norwegian waffles, panko-crusted crab cakes, and over six decadent options for eggs benedict. Try the butter-poached lobster or the mushroom and brie.

POUR A PINT

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The Henry House on Barrington Street is your go-to spot for a relaxed night out. The building dates back 1834 and inside you’ll find pub fare classics like pan-fried haddock, tasty burgers, house-made baked beans and fish cakes. On the drink side of things, choose from an extensive list of beer, including five local ales from Granite Brewery.

HIT THE HIGH NOTES

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The Carleton Music Bar and Grill on Grafton Street is an ideal spot to enjoy a night of live music with friends. Nosh on comfort food staples like steak and frites, seafood chowder or lobster mac and cheese. This award-winning live-music venue hosts sold-out shows of top local and national bands, while the bar offers a range of beers, wines, spirits and cocktails.