DREAMSCAPES FALL/WINTER 2018
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HALIFAX - SIMPLY SUPERLATIVE
 
(2018 - Spring/Summer Issue)

Writer: ALLAN LYNCH



Halifax is a small city stocked with superlatives, like biggest, oldest and only.

It is filled with pubs, clubs, bars, art galleries, museums, history, heritage, shopping and universities. And thanks to all the universities, institutes and research facilities in the area, Halifax has among the highest concentration of oceans-related PhDs in the world. In a way, it’s like a small Boston. And like Boston, Halifax is loaded with history and heritage.

ENTERTAINMENT

This year the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo commemorates its 40th anniversary. Featuring over 1,000 performers, the Tattoo is the world’s largest indoor show. And since participants blast cannons, fire rifles, play bagpipes and drums, fiddle, sing and dance, it may seem like the noisiest. Not even Las Vegas presents a spectacle this big.

As the largest city in Atlantic Canada, Halifax boasts a vibrant nightlife influenced by the large LGBTQ community and the abundance of students who attend the city’s seven universities and three colleges. Activities are centred in three areas: the entertainment district, waterfront and North End.

Entertainment radiates from the pubs, clubs and restaurants on Argyle Street. Down on the waterfront, another cluster of bars, restaurants and boutiques are housed in the privateer warehouses (privateers were legal pirates, who worked for the Crown) in the Historic Properties area. The North End is undergoing gentrification and is a draw for gay clubs, edgier music venues and alternative dining establishments.

Being a seaside city, Halifax offers a variety of ways to explore the water. For $2.50 per adult, you can enjoy a return trip on the harbour ferry between downtown Halifax and Dartmouth. Other watery options range from a paddle steamer to the land-and-sea experience of a Harbour Hopper or the tall ship Silva, which offers day cruises as well as themed evening events such as cocktail and craft beer cruises, Wines on Water, Spirits on the Seas and a DJ dance party.

ARTS AND CULTURE

Long before #MeToo and #TimesUp, the art scene in Halifax honoured women and it still does. This year the spotlight is on folk artist Maud Lewis, the subject of the award-winning movie Maudie. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) has a special gallery dedicated to Lewis that includes the small highly decorated home she shared with husband Everett, as well as a large collection of her works.

Halifax is a military city. Since the 18th century, the Royal Navy has played a key role in the formation of the old city and part of its modern area. So, whether you’re travelling with kids or catering to your inner child, Halifax offers numerous fun places to explore. Follow the window-rattling blast of the noon-day cannon fired from the parapets of the grassy hilltop Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, the largest, deadliest fort in Canada. Inside you will find costumed highland soldiers performing military manoeuvres as well as military museums, a café, armouries, powder magazines and a moat.

HISTORIC SITES

Situated in the city’s North End, Fort Needham is a memorial to the Halifax Explosion, which killed 2,000, injured 9,000 more, and flattened half the city on December 6, 1917. It was the greatest man-made explosion in history prior to the atomic bomb. Nearby Admiralty House, a.k.a. the Naval Museum of Halifax, is a 200-year-old mansion, an ultimate man cave filled with nautical decoration (look for rope-like ceiling mouldings and seashell-carved mantles) and exhibits about the British and Canadian navies.

On the waterfront, HMCS Sackville, a WW II naval memorial and national historic site, is open to explorations above and below deck. It’s next to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, which displays extensive collections about Canada’s wartime naval experiences, Nova Scotia’s pirate history, the Titanic and the Cunard steamships, which started in Halifax.

A stroll along the Halifax boardwalk takes you to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21—Canada’s Ellis Island. A fifth of Canadians can trace their roots to this 90-year-old immigration facility.

LIFESTYLE PURSUITS

Runners and walkers have the choice of dodging pedestrians along the boardwalk, circling the Citadel, dashing through and around the Victorian-era six-hectare Public Gardens or exploring 39 kilometres of forested trails in Point Pleasant Park at the tip of the Halifax peninsula.

For shopaholics, relief is found along Spring Garden Road at the newly refurbished Halifax Shopping Centre, which is welcoming stores like ZARA and H&M, and in Dartmouth Crossing.

Halifax has the usual full complement of brand-name and historic hotels. For the budget-conscious, Dalhousie University, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, offers residence rooms and suites just minutes from downtown.

Halifax is a compact fun destination that can be explored by land and sea.

Travel Planner

For more information on what to see and do in Halifax, visit:

Discover Halifax: discoverhalifaxns.com

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21: pier21.ca

Dalhousie University: dal.ca

Halifax Public Gardens: halifaxpublicgardens.ca

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo: nstattoo.ca

Tall ship Silva (and Harbour Hoppers): mtcw.ca

 
 
 
 
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