I know so many people who went to the famous Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax, and they’ve all been banging on about how lovely the city (and province) is ever since, that I finally gave in. Last summer my husband, Jason, and my then-two-and-a-half-year old Benjamin, went to Halifax to see what all the fuss was about.
We set up camp at the newly renovated Radisson Suite Hotel. Between its location in the heart of downtown—near to both the waterfront and all the restaurants we wanted to try (don’t miss Chives Canadian Bistro, and its sister resto, 2 Doors Down)—plus its sweet indoor pool where Ben took his after-supper swims, it was the perfect home base. In five minutes we could wander to the boardwalk, which had a fun ship-themed playground, the Discovery Centre or the art gallery. Best of all, we were close to the purveyors of the bustling foodie scene, where, with typical east coast laissez-faire, nobody blinked an eye when Ben marched into even the nicest restaurants clutching his crayons and iPad.
Junior sailor school
Take a ride on Theodore Tugboat around the harbour.
I stumbled upon Woozles, Canada’s oldest (and possibly cutest) children’s bookstore.
Place for a picnic
The lovely Halifax Public Gardens.
All-in-one kid zone
We survived a blistering afternoon by hiding out at the Halifax Common, running between the free outdoor pool, the playground and the skate park.
Visiting the fort at Citadel Hill was a fun step back in time, complete with actors in period costume.
What to do
Take a Drive
While we were naughty tourists and never ended up making it to either the famous Peggy’s Cove or Cape Breton (Nova Scotia is a lot bigger than I thought!), one of our favourite afternoons was spent in must-see Lunenburg, about an hour-and-a-half outside of Halifax. A postcard-perfect place where the Bluenose—the boat on the Canadian dime—was once docked (her progeny, the Bluenose II, now bobs in her place), it’s a quintessentially quaint seaside spot, and Old Town Lunenburg is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site to boot. Nestled among the expected touristy boutiques were some pretty cool stores thanks to the young artists who have set up shop there. Our favourite was Dots & Loops, full of hip Etsy-style handmade goods. And I had the best lobster mac ‘n’ cheese of my life (I’m kind of an expert on this subject) at the super-adorable Salt Shaker Deli.
Read more about Leah's trip to Nova Scotia during her stay at the iconic family spot White Point Beach Resort.
Downtown Halifax grew up around the strategic military high ground of Citadel Hill. This means the city has lots of very steep climbs, so be sure to bring your walking shoes.
DID YOU KNOW…
* Halifax was Canada’s Ellis Island, and many 20th century immigrants landed at its famous Pier 21. We even found my great-grandparents on the passenger lists.
A version of this article appeared in our June 2014 issue with the title "Postcard From Halifax, Nova Scotia," p.18.