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Musical collaborations

By Trevor J. Adams

Rising stars and beloved veterans join forces for a fiery month of music in Halifax.

This month Symphony Nova Scotia’s new season is going full swing, seeing some remarkable collaborations between local stars and touring talents. The excitement begins on October 2 and 3, as hip-hop artist Buck 65 (AKA CBC Radio host Rich Terfry) returns home to Nova Scotia. The Symphony promises fans “a mind-blowing mash-up of symphonic electronic hip-hop.” The Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue hosts the show.

Buck 65

Buck 65

Up next, the Symphony welcomes back Giora Schmidt. This concert is a must for classical purists. The violin virtuoso has wowed audiences on previous visits with his classical mastery. This time, he turns his considerable talents to Sibelius, marking the 150th anniversary of the conductor’s birth with an in-depth exploration of his music. See him on October 15 at the Dalhousie Arts Centre and on October 18 at Alderney Landing—where the Halifax Transit ferries dock—in Dartmouth.

On October 23 and 24, the Symphony returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre for one of its most popular concerts of the year: the Halifax Pop Explosion collaboration. This year, it shares the stage with indie rocker and Halifax native Rich Aucoin. A critically acclaimed master of indie rock, indie pop, and experimental music, Aucoin is sure to take audiences on an unforgettable trip.

Giora Schmidt

Giora Schmidt

And that concert is just a taste of what the Halifax Pop Explosion offers. Running from October 20 to 24, the festival celebrates the best in alt and indie music, with accomplished veterans sharing stages with rising stars.

Rich Aucoin. Photo: Vanessa Heins

Rich Aucoin. Photo: Vanessa Heins

Venues include public spaces like Government House and Saint Matthew’s United Church, plus traditional nightspots The Carleton, The Marquee Ballroom on Gottingen Street, the Seahorse Tavern on Gottingen Street, Gus’ Pub on North Street, the Company House on Gottingen Street, Olympic Community Centre on Hunter Street, and Reflections Cabaret on Sackville Street.

With 150 performers at 15 different venues around the city, this is the East Coast’s biggest celebration of alternative music. This year’s lineup includes Travi$ Scott, Purity Ring, Stars, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Black Tiger Sex Machine, and many others.

Leonie Rettig

Leonie Rettig

And on October 29, the Symphony wraps up its busy month with another gem for true classical aficionados. Hailed by Symphony Nova Scotia’s Maestro Bernhard Gueller as “an extremely talented, wonderful player,” German virtuoso pianist Leonie Rettig makes her Canadian debut with Ravel’s breathtaking Piano Concerto in G, a fantastically colourful work famed for its brilliant melodies and heartbreaking slow movement. Then, the orchestra performs Beethoven’s Second Symphony, brimming with energy and temperament. See her at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

September Hot Shopping


By Suzanne Rent

Outdoors is in

Hit the great outdoors this fall in style with attire from Patagonia on Lower Water Street. Besides jackets, shoes, and shirts and pants for men and women, there is also gear for fly-fishing, diving, and camping. Get the kids suited up in their own right-sized gear, too.


  • Tea drinkers will love the assortment of loose tea at World Tea House at its two locations, on Argyle Street and in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford. All of its teas are fair trade, organic, and sold in biodegradable and recyclable materials. In stock are fresh teas such as black, green, herbals, white oolong, and rooibos. Teaware such as tea makers, tea presses, and tea infusers will help complete your collection.
  • Sawadee Tea House on Granville Street carries more than 375 premium teas from around the world. Owner Mie Mie Sein uses her vast knowledge of tea to create special blends for clients looking for tea for medicinal purposes. Sawadee’s loose teas are of high quality and fair trade. Many of the teas here come from Mie Mie’s own farm in the Annapolis Valley.


Editor’s ChoiceScreen Shot 2015-09-02 at 12.49.51 PM

If you love the mystical side of life, visit Into the Mystic on Cole Harbour Road in Dartmouth. Shop for gemstones, jewellery, herbal teas, pendulums, and tarot cards. If you can’t find what you want in store, the staff will help you order it in. After you shop, stay for a cup of tea and psychic reading, infrared treatment, aura scan, astrology, or numerology report.


Shop ’til you drop

Located in the heart of Bedford, Bedford Place Mall on the Bedford Highway is a community centre with more than 60 shops and services. A mix of anchor stores includes fashion retailers such as Suzy Shier and Tan Jay. Newly renovated with a fresh look and spacious food court area.

Just off the major highways connecting Dartmouth and Burnside, Dartmouth Crossing is an accessible one-stop-shopping destination for everyone in the family. In the centre are the Village Shops, a unique mix of boutiques, restaurants, and complete with a playground and amphitheatre, this space has a main street feel with plenty of parking.

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A mainstay of designer fashion in Halifax, Foreign Affair on Barrington Street and Spring Garden Road, has the hottest fall fashions for women. Find all the latest brands, including Paige Denim, Mackage, Rebecca Taylor, and Vince.

Samuel & Co. in Park Lane, Halifax Shopping Centre, and Mic Mac Mall, has the best in casual, career, weekend, and evening styles for women. Brands include Silver Jeans, Mexx, Tribal, Frank Lyman, The North Face, and Helly Hansen.Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.09.28 PM

August Concierge Q&A

Stephen Morris has worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, starting out in Lake Louise, Alberta as a bellman. In the past nine years, he’s returned to the role of concierge and has been an active member of Les Clefs d’Or, Atlantic Region. He sees himself as “an ambassador” for the Prince George Hotel and the city of Halifax.


What’s your favourite way to spend a summer afternoon in Halifax?

My idea of a great summer afternoon in Halifax is head to the waterfront and the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market. Grab a wrap to go at Wrap So D and head out to one of the many sit-down spots and enjoy the sun. Then I would move on down the boardwalk and enjoy a sweet waffle cone from Sugah. Your stroll along the waterfront will burn off all those tasty calories, unless you head back for a second scoop.

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

My go-to place for my guests is Amos Pewter in the Historic Properties on Lower Water Street. So many handcrafted gifts and souvenirs that truly embody Nova Scotia. You are sure to find something to take home with you.

What’s your pick for this month’s can’t-miss events?

If you like live music and outdoor fun you won’t want to miss the Dutch Mason Blues Festival happening in Alderney Landing in Dartmouth from August 7 to 9. Located right on the waterfront, it’s a short ride from downtown on the Halifax Transit ferry.

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

I would wake up and head over to Steve-O-Reno’s on Brunswick Street and grab a coffee and a bite then head up towards the Halifax Public Gardens and enjoy a nice stroll, a breath of fresh air and take in the beautiful scenery. I would then head over to the Halifax Citadel and watch the firing of the Noon Gun… As I make my way to the waterfront I would grab a bite to eat at Durty Nelly’s on Argyle Street and enjoy a cold beer on the patio. After that I would head to Murphy’s The Cable Wharf where I would get on the Harbour Hopper and enjoy a fun, fact-filled tour of the city and harbour. To top the day off I would relax with a glass of wine and some excellent food at The Bicycle Thief, located in Bishop’s Landing on the waterfront.

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

My recommendation would be The Press Gang on Prince Street. It offers an excellent menu and the lighting is dimmed for a truly romantic ambience. If you are dining on a Friday or Saturday, you will be treated to the jazzy Mike Cowie Trio as you enjoy your meal.

Celebrate Summer

Halifax’s festival season heats up with music, art, culture, food and more

By Trevor J. Adams


A busy month of festivals and cultural celebrations begins with the Scotia Festival of Music. Continuing through June 7 at venues around the city, this event is a must for serious music fans, showcasing the best in Chamber music. This year, the lineup includes coductor Kenneth Woods, cellist Denise Djokic, violinist Giora Schmidt and pianist Simon Docking. A gala matinee concert at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on June 7 concludes the festival, featuring works by Elgar, Beethoven and Benjamin. Concurrently, Halifax’s vibrant Lebanese community celebrates its roots with Cedar Festival from June 4 to 7 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 11 to 14, Halifax Greek Fest always attracts thousands to Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcell’s Cove Road.June---Antique-Car-Show_admirers Lively music and dancing abound, along with cultural exhibitions and Greek cuisine aplenty. This year’s schedule features the Poseidon live band, a screening of FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer (Greece vs. Colombia), Greek language classes, a sommelier-hosted Greek wine and food tasting, and more. That same weekend, Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte hosts the Father’s Day Antique Car Show. Scheduled for June 21, (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 also features one of Halifax’s longest-running summer events: the Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival. Running from June 26 to 28 at the Halifax Seaport Harbourwalk at the corner of Terminal and Marginal roads, the festival showcases Nova Scotia’s many traditional-dancers2cultural communities with music, food, art, cultural exhibitions and more. The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo closes out the month. Running from June 30 to July 7 at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street, it’s the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type. The lineup includes an exciting mix of military and civilian drill teams, bands and performers from around the globe. This year’s highlights include the Halifax debut for Sweden’s Home Guards Band of Eslöv, His Majesty the King’s Guard Band and Drill Team of Norway, the Gym Wheel Team Taunusstein of Germany and the Paris Police Gymnastics Team.



May Hot Shopping

By Suzanne Rent


Made in the Maritimes

Made in the Maritimes

•For an eclectic mix of local, Canadian and international jewellery and accessories, visit Bedazzled in its new location in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford. Find unique and exquisite designers by artisans such as Earth Goddess, Arcane Angel, Myka and Tori XO.



Made in the Maritimes Artisan Boutique brings to its new location in Sunnyside Mall contemporary, high-quality products for its clientele. All of the products, which include woodwork, jewellery, glass art, toys and more, are made in the region.




Find the latest in spring styles at Halifax Shopping Centre, the largest shopping complex in Halifax. Retailers include Coach, Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret, Sephora and Roots. Anchored by Sears, and the annex across the street is home to Winners and Wal-Mart.



•Art lovers will appreciate Art Zone Fine Arts Gallery on Barrington Street, which showcases some of the best of local talent by providing them a space to display their work. The gallery also hosts monthly shows, workshops and artist talks and more.

•For hand-crafted local treasures, visit The Bogside Gallery in the Hydrostone Market on Young Street. The elegant and whimsical art, made by artisans from Nova Scotia and around Atlantic Canada, make for great gifts or décor for your own home.



Drala on Grafton Street is the city’s home to supplies for a contemplative lifestyle. Find Asian-inspired décor items and gifts, as well as meditation cushions and supplies, beeswax candles, Japanese teas and buckwheat hull pillows.



•For fun and casual custom clothing, visit Cool as a Moose in the Historic Properties on Upper Water Street. Outfit the whole family with hoodies, sweats, pajamas and t-shirts, all of which are emblazoned with the store’s logo.

•Located on the rocks of Peggy’s Cove next to Nova Scotia’s most famous lighthouse, the Sou’wester carries a large mix of souvenirs for anyone visiting the province. Finds include kilts, postcards, sweatshirts, and giftware made my local artisans. You can also find books that explore local history and folklore. Visit the restaurant for a treat like lobster or gingerbread.



For one-of-a-kind shopping, visit The Piazza at Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street. Find a dinner wine at Bishop’s Cellar and dessert at Sugah or Rum Runners Rum Cake Factory. Pick up a new outfit at Unicorn and accessories at Frida Custom Jewellery Design or Pearl City.

Hot Dining: Say Cheesecake

Mango Coconut Cheesecake from Sweet Hereafter

Mango Coconut Cheesecake from Sweet Hereafter

For a slice of rich and delicious city-style cheesecake, stop into Sweet Hereafter on Quinpool Road. Sit back, relax and take in the funky décor. Scrumptious cheesecake flavours include apple pecan, white chocolate raspberry, ginger pear, triple chocolate. Gluten-free and vegan flavours available, too.

Things to Do With Kids in Halifax

Things to do With Kids in Halifax

Things to do With Kids in Halifax: see Theodore!

Things to do With Kids in Halifax: See Theodore!
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.
• Theodore Too Big Harbour Tours, Murphy’s Cable Wharf,1751 Lower Water St., 902-492-8847, theodoretugboat.ca
Map and reviews (more…)

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)


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.


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.


The region’s largest professional theatre company, Neptune Theatre on Argyle Street, wraps up another season with another blockbuster. Continuing through May 26, Legally Blonde: The Musical stars Halifax-born Lindsey Frazier as Elle Woods, in a Broadway re-invention of the Hollywood hit.


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.


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.


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.


Hot Dining: Viva Italia


A delicious pasta dish from Cafe Chianti

A delicious pasta dish from Cafe Chianti

Café Chianti on Barrington Street serves up a hearty menu of Northern Italian fare with fresh seafood, lamb and duck dishes. Their extensive wine cellar includes varietals from Chile, Spain, Argentina, South Australia and, of course, Italy.

Da Maurizio on Lower Water Street, three-time winner of the CAA Four Diamond Award, is known for its impeccable service, wine list and northern Italian menu. Indulge in antipasti such as Scampi Alla Marchese or Muscoli Alla San Remo. And don’t forget the desserts like tiramisu, sorbetti, and trio di brulee.

Hot Shopping: Be Crafty

The Loop Craft Cafe

The Loop Craft Cafe

Visit The Loop Craft Café on Barrington Street and pick your favourite colourful yarns from the shelves. This spot has a large selection of wool, crochet hooks, knitting needles, embroidery kits, colourful thread, patterns and more. Local products include spindles, glass buttons and needle felted animal sculptures.

For a creative spin, drop by Dartmouth Yarns. Located on Queen Street in Dartmouth, this store has the knitting tools you need, whether you’re a beginner or pro. Choose from a wide selection of yarns, knitting needles and more. Looking to start a new project or hobby? They also have kits for making bangles, yoga socks, silk purses, scarves and hats.

Hot Dates in Halifax: May

Beauty and the Beast plays a five-show engagement May 24-26. Photo: Joan Marcus

Beauty and the Beast plays a five-show engagement May 24-26. Photo: Joan Marcus

May 9:  Acclaimed roots singer/songwriter David Myles, fresh off a collaboration with rapper Classified, plays the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

May 10: Steve Patterson, host of The Debaters on CBC Radio brings his This is Not Debatable tour to Halifax. 

May 12: The Saint Cecilia Concert Series wraps up another season of celebrating classical music with a matinee concert at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road. Musician-in-Residence and cellist extraordinaire Shimon Walt performs, joined by his colleagues in the Rhapsody Quintet. Their varied repetoire includes a show-stopping rendition of the rock standard “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

May 15: One of the godfathers of outlaw country, Merle Haggard is enjoying a renaissance of late, releasing a string of critically acclaimed songs. He performs at the Halifax Metro Centre.

May 17 to 19: Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Blue Nose Marathon has plenty for both experienced runners and newcomers to the sport, including a youth run, a 5K and a 10K. The full marathon begins at the Old Town Clock on Sackville Street on May 19. It runs past Halifax Citadel, through the North End, back through the downtown along Barrington and Hollis streets, around Point Pleasant Park and back up to the Clock.

May 24 to 26: The classic Disney fairy tale Beauty and the Beast comes to life, as the touring version of the Broadway production plays a five-show engagement at the Halifax Metro Centre on Duke Street. Young fans will love the opulent costumes, detailed sets and familiar music.


Editor’s Choice

May 27 to June 9: The Scotia Festival of Music, Atlantic Canada’s largest annual celebration of chamber music, returns with a roster that reads like a who’s-who of chamber-music scene, including conductor Kenneth Woods, pianist Lynn Stodola, violinist Robert Uchida, cellist Denise Djokic, trumpeter Richard Simoneau, Composer-in-Residence Tim Brady and many more.



Hot Dining Halifax: Sweet Eats

The Middle Spoon Desserterie & Bar

Halifax’s first desserterie and bar, Middle Spoon on Barrington Street, is the perfect place for those with a sweet tooth. Indulge in fresh desserts like Chocolate Lava Cake, Peanut Butter Pie, New York cheesecake or a create-your-own sundae. The cocktail menu is just as decadent with choices including the Ruthless Ruby, Obsession and Pretty in Pink.

Fans of cheesecake will love Broadway Cheesecake Co. on South Park Street. But these aren’t your traditional flavours. Try tastes like apple caramel, Baklava, cherry crumble, chocolate banana rum and Reese Peanut Butter Cup. Or you can sample the pies or cupcakes. The menu also serves a selection of savoury sandwiches.