By Trevor J. Adams
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.
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.
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.
•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.