Halifax & Nova Scotia

HomeScamperFamily TreeGoogleBookmarks

Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs

It was at first visit for this Torontonian.

I have made 25 trips to NS since Aug, 1997: 1 by air, 1 by rail, 23 by road.    Last trip: June-July 2013.   Length of last stay: 31 days.

Comments on the site?  Leave a message.

I first visited Halifax and Nova Scotia in the summer of 1997 when one of my daughters began studies at Dalhousie University. Since then I have visited many times, always with increasing fondness for the unique atmosphere of both the province and its capital city. Torontonians sometimes ask me what I like about going down East, so what follows here is an attempt to describe the charm.


Roadside Lupins at Weymouth, NS, June, 2004      "Nova Scotia," an original watercolour by Ontario artist Pauline Stephenson      Roadside Lupins at Weymouth, NS, June, 2004


Click the rockets to see Canada Day Halifax Harbour fireworks!

QuickTime may be needed to view videos.

As viewed from Citadel Hill, 2010.

As viewed from Dartmouth Waterfront, 2013.



Click the film reels to see other film clips of Halifax.

Hurricane Juan hit Halifax September 28, 2003, around midnight, inflicting huge damage.
Hurricane Juan Photo Gallery from Environment Canada
Damage to the Public Gardens
Damage to Point Pleasant Park
July, 2009: Regeneration at Point Pleasant Park is starting to show!


Getting There

Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs

Travelling to Halifax from Toronto:

By air - 2 hours: The Halifax International Airport is one of eight "major" airports in the country. Finding a direct flight to Halifax is possible from most airports in Canada, and from several international points as well. The airport is situated about 30 km NE of the city, and shuttle service to your hotel can be arranged upon arrival. You can choose from limousine service (about $45 one way), cabs (about $35 one way) and shuttle bus which drops passengers off at most of the major hotels in the Halifax-Dartmouth region ($18 one way). If you are planning to rent a car, make your reservations early as cars are sometimes just not available. A nonstop flight from Toronto takes 2 hours, 2.5 hours for the return.

By train - 28 hours
: VIA Rail runs "The Ocean" from Montréal to Halifax, now reduced to 3 times a week. Total time on the rails from Toronto is 28 to 30 hours. You must change trains in Montréal. This change can sometimes be a simple as crossing the platform, but it's more likely that you will have to go upstairs to the station and join the queue for the Halifax train. Expect to be in Montréal for an hour or two. If the number of passengers exceeds VIA expectations, this train change can be quite tiresome. Checked baggage will be transferred for you. I strongly suggest sleeper accommodation, and I guess VIA does too as their brochure describes The Ocean as "a B&B between Montréal and Halifax." On the whole, the scenery is better by road. The train goes through everybody's backyard. You will miss the St. John River Valley because the tracks take you through New Brunswick by way of Campbellton, Bathurst, and Miramichi. The Skyline Car is great so long as it's not full of kids throwing popcorn. VIA staff often forgets to turn off the dome lights at night, making it impossible to see out. Dinner on board The Ocean is wonderful.

By car - 20 hours
(exclusive of food and rest stops): The Canadian route (1885 km)? Or the US route (1840 km)? One night on the road? Two? Or more?

The Canadian route: It's the most straightforward route from Toronto. Whenever possible I opt for a relaxed pace with 2 overnight stops. To avoid congestion in both Toronto and Montréal I prefer to leave Toronto on a Sunday. Montréal is really the only serious obstacle on the Canadian route. Monday to Friday wait times at the Montréal bridges can be considerable during peak traffic times. There are a number of ways to pass through Montréal. I have often simply remained on Highway 20 (401 becomes 20), following it through Dorval into Montréal, and then crossing the St. Lawrence on the Champlain Bridge. This tends to be a slow route, but it does afford a spectacular view of the Montréal skyline as you travel along the shore of the St. Lawrence after exiting the bridge. On this route you have to watch carefully for the signs to 20 East (Québec) because the route requires a few turns. If you let your attention lapse you can end up going to the U.S. or even back over the bridge.

A more straightforward and sometimes faster (albeit less scenic) route through Montréal is Highway 40. You will have an opportunity to take 40 as you are approaching Montréal on 20. Follow 40 to the Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Tunnel. A caution: at peak traffic times you may find this tunnel claustrophobic and suffocating. Keep windows closed against fumes and avoid the center lane which is for trucks. Exiting the tunnel you are on 20 and bound for Québec with no turns required. If tunnels are not for you, just stay on 40 East. Outside Montréal, Highway 40 becomes an excellent divided highway running along the north shore of the St. Lawrence. It is somewhat more scenic than the exceedingly bland 20 which parallels 40 on the south side of the river.  It is also about 20 km longer, and you will need to watch the signs in Trios-Rivières as there are some turns. If you opt for 40 you will need to cross the St. Lawrence at Québec on the Peirre Laporte Bridge instead of in Montréal, but it is a much easier crossing than any of the options in Montréal.  The following map of Montréal may help:

Map of Montréal

Toronto to Québec City is a fairly relaxed day 1 drive.  If you wish to visit Québec I suggest staying in or near Lévis, on the south shore. Accommodation there is less expensive than in Québec City, and you will probably arrive in time to take the ferry across the St. Lawrence for dinner in old Québec. A recent discovery is the Hôtel Bernières (535 rue Aréna, at St. Nicholas, Québec, 418-831-3119, 1-800-749-3119, email: info@hotelbernieres.qc.ca). Conveniently located alongside Highway 20, only 1 km from the Pierre Laporte Bridge, the Hôtel Bernières offers rooms that are superior to the Comfort Inn at Lévis and at much better prices. And the garden-like setting is very relaxing. Another 200 km east of Québec City is Rivière-du-Loup, which is approximately halfway on the Canadian route. If you want to drive the trip with only one stopover, then make Rivière-du-Loup your day 1 destination. I suggest the Motel Boulevard Cartier (80 Boulevard Cartier, 418-867-1830 -- take Exit 507). It is clean, reasonably priced, and attached to a St. Hubert Restaurant. If you prefer more upscale accommodation there's a Comfort Inn directly across the road. From Rivière-du-Loup head south on the mostly 2-lane 185 to Edmundston, New Brunswick. Put your watch ahead 1 hour to Atlantic time when you cross into New Brunswick. From Edmundston drive the new 4-lane and very scenic St. John River Valley route (Highway 2) to Fredericton, an excellent spot for a day 2 stopover if you are ready. If Fredericton is too far then I recommend the Auberge Près du Lac at Grand Falls or the Econo Lodge at Woodstock. In Fredericton, the Silverwood Motel / Thistle Family Restaurant (take the Mactaquac exit to 102) was always my favourite place to overnight, but as of 2010 the Silverwood has changed owners.  I have not yet evaluated its new identity. Regardless, the Mactaquac exit is a good choice as it will take you into Fredericton via the old highway, 102, also known as the Woodstock Road.  It is a riverside drive, a very pleasant route.  To rejoin Highway 2, keep right onto Prospect Street and follow the signs.  To go into downtown Fredericton, follow the Woodstock Road.  Once downtown, you can always get back to Highway 2 by taking Regent Street uphill until you see the interchange.

Map of Fredericton

Of course, if you really want to punish yourself, you can drive Toronto to Fredericton in one day. Leaving at 6 a.m. Toronto time, and allowing for the 1-hour time zone loss, plus minimal time out for meals, you will likely get into Fredericton about 9 p.m. local time. A 10 a.m. next day departure from Fredericton will put you in Halifax by mid-afternoon.

Take a break at Fredericton!
Go for a walk on the extensive river trails,
enjoy an ice cream at the riverside lighthouse,
and cross the St. John River on the world's longest pedestrian bridge.

Entering Nova Scotia from New Brunswick, take Trans Canada Highway 104 to Truro, then take NS Highway 102 to Halifax. I suggest entering Halifax via the Hammonds Plains Road exit. Turn right at the lights when you run out of road and then follow the Bedford Highway into the city. This route gives you a great view of the Bedford Basin and the McKay Bridge.


2009 Update: A Montréal Merry-go-around – The Road Less Travelled: If you wish to avoid Montréal entirely, there is a way to do it and still remain in Canada.  The route offers a relatively peaceful mix of 2 and 4-lane highways.  It does pass through some towns; however, given the time consuming traffic chaos in Montréal, I would say this route adds only about an hour to the overall journey.  Going this way you will miss Montréal entirely by passing to the north of it.  From Toronto, drive 401 East to Lancaster, which is just east of Cornwall.  At Lancaster, take Highway 34 North (Exit 814 on 401) and drive to Hawkesbury.  At Hawkesbury, cross the Ottawa River to Québec, and drive a short distance north on Québec 344.  Go past Highway 148 to Highway 50.  The fact that 50 has been extended to meet 344 may not yet have found its way onto your road map.  Drive 50 East to Highway 15.  Do a short jog north on 15 and connect with Highway 158 East at St-Jérôme.  Now you will follow 158 East all the way to 40; however, as you approach Joliette, watch for a small, easy-to-miss sign that marks a turn for the continuation of 158.  Continue east on 158 and then join 40 East at Berthierville (Exit 144 on 40 West if you are returning this way).  You can then drive east on 40, crossing the St. Lawrence on the Pierre Laporte Bridge at Québec.  If you have time, and wish to enjoy quiet roads for a while longer, try crossing the St. Lawrence on a ferry near Berthierville.  To do this, give the exit to Highway 40 a miss, and continue a very short distance on 158 to the river at St. Ignace-de-Loyola.  Then cross on the ferry to Sorel-Tracy.  From there take 132 East, and then pick up 122 East (just after Yamaska) and follow it to connect with 20 East at Drummondville.  I found that there is no significant difference in distance between this route and taking the Pierre Laporte Bridge.  Although possibly somewhat slower, it is peaceful and more interesting.  The ferry trip takes about 15 minutes, and one of the two boats in operation leaves every half hour from either side – cost is $7.50 one way for car and driver.  Have a look!  By the way, if you overnight at Hawkesbury you can easily make Edmundston, or even Fredericton, NB, the next day.


The US route:
There are several advantages: you avoid the traffic of Montréal; it is a more peaceful and slower journey; it is very picturesque in places, especially in Vermont; there are more opportunities for shopping as the route winds through many towns; fuel prices are generally somewhat better than in Canada. The are also disadvantages: you must have some American money; you may need extra medical insurance in case of accident; there are border crossings to manage -- a passport is now a very good idea, especially if you were not born in Canada; "Peaceful and slow" can actually be frustrating if you are in a hurry, and even if you are not. REDUCE SPEED AHEAD signs are everywhere, and if you see a construction sign in Maine saying PAVEMENT ENDS you know you are in for a rough ride. The route takes you through four states (New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine). It becomes the main street of several towns. On the highways, almost all of which are winding 2-lane roads, the speed limit is 55 mph. But nonetheless the route has its charms. I recommend crossing to the US at Cornwall, well short of Montréal. You can also cross at Montréal by following the signs to the US -- take Highway 15 -- but to me one of the main advantages of taking the US route is avoiding the traffic chaos in Montréal. If you leave Toronto just before noon, you can easily arrive in Burlington, Vermont, in time for a leisurely patio dinner on the Church St. Mall.

After you cross the bridges at Cornwall, take Highway 37 to Malone, NY. Turn left at the lights in Malone and take 11 North – it runs north for only a short distance before heading east. From here there are a couple of possibilities, depending on your time and inclination. (1) You could follow 11 North to 9, then take 9 South to Plattsburg, continuing on to Port Kent where you can cross Lake Champlain to Burlington, Vermont, on a car ferry. It's a very pleasant voyage and brings you right into downtown Burlington. In Burlington I recommend dinner at any of the numerous restaurants on the Church Street Mall. The Anchorage Inn, located at 108 Dorset Street, South Burlington, VT 05403, 1-800-336-1869, is a reasonable place to stay. (2) A second possibility would be to follow Highway 11 North to Rouses Point. Then take 2 South through the islands of Lake Champlain. This is a very scenic route. Leave Highway 2 at Interstate 89 South to drive the last 10 miles into Burlington. From I-89, take the South Burlington Exit (14 E) which exits onto Williston Road. For the Anchorage Inn, drive Williston to Dorset Street, turn right. The Anchorage Inn is on the left shortly after turning, just past Barnes and Noble.

Leaving Burlington, take the scenic I-89 South to Montpelier, then it is Highway 2 all the way to Bangor.  Watch out for signs pointing to Highway 2.  It is particularly easy to lose Highway 2 in St. Johnsbury.  A good place to stop for lunch is Welsh's Restaurant in Gorham, New Hampshire.  It's located on 2 which is Gorham's main street, on the left side. There is easy parking in front.  At Bangor I now believe that the best plan is to take Highway 9 straight across to Calais. Tank up in Bangor as Highway 9 is almost completely without services.  On the map, the Highway 1A/1 loop running to Calais from Bangor through Ellsworth, Hancock, and Machias looks like a scenic coastal route.  It is not. The ocean is almost never visible, and the countryside is bland.  If you do opt for this route, and it is time for a stop, I found the Ellsworth Motel, 24 High Street, Ellsworth, Maine 04605, (207-667-4424) offers good value.  NOTE: As of 2010, The Cat, running from Bar Harbour, Maine, to Yarmouth, NS, is no longer in operation.  No matter which route you take, you will be crossing to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, at Calais, Maine, and then following Highway 1 to Saint John, NB.

Driving to Halifax from Saint John you have two choices: (1) Take the shortcut across the Bay of Fundy to Digby, NS, on board the Princess of Acadia. Bay Ferries paints an idyllic scene: "So, instead of checking your mirrors, you'll be able to check out the seabirds that soar overhead. Instead of being strapped into your seat, you'll be able to roam free on the decks looking for whales and dolphins. Instead of hearing groans from the back seat, you'll hear your family's laughter as you enjoy your adventure on the high seas." Yes, it is indeed a very pleasant 3-hour voyage, but you will be lucky to see any whales. I have sailed the Princess of Acadia twice. The first time there was dense fog the whole way. The second trip was beautiful, but no whales. Nevertheless, I do prefer this way of arriving in Nova Scotia. Once in Digby, Halifax is only 3 hours away, a smooth ride on the 101 through the Annapolis Valley, Wolfville, and Windsor. The alternative (2) is to drive from Saint John to Halifax via Moncton, Amherst, and Truro, and certainly this is a pleasant drive on excellent roads.


Hello Halifax

Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs


Halifax Population
Driving Distances
Halifax Overview: Map 1  Map 2  Map 3
Halifax Radio Stations
Maritime Area Map
Halifax Area Map
Halifax Weather
Nova Scotia Counties
Downtown Halifax: Map 1  Map 2
Halifax Chronicle Herald  • Halifax Live
Nova Scotia Road Map
Bedford Map

 Flower power on Birmingham Street, Halifax.


Where to Stay?

Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs

Hotels in Halifax

Best Western, Chocolate Lake + Slide Show 

Esquire Motel

Garden Inn

Super 8 DartmouthDetailed Review  &  Slide Show

University Accommodation

 In Memoriam: The Halifax Wandlyn / Bayview Motor Inn


Halifax & Nova Scotia Photo Gallery

Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs



Peggy's Cove Lighthouse


Peggy's Cove Harbour


Point Pleasant Park


Point Pleasant Park Stump Art

Point Pleasant Park Squirrel

Halifax Farmers' Market


Creative Crannies


GUS the Tortoise


All tied up in Halifax!


Pier 21:: Gateway to Canada

Tall & Ugly!

A mix of old and new


Iron-Eating Trees on Citadel Hill!


MacDonald Suspension Bridge


Halifax Public Gardens


The Halifax Buskers Festival

Lucknow Street, Halifax

Harbourside Market


Hydrostone Market


Seaside Retirement


Halifax Homes Image Gallery


Frog Pond Image Gallery

South Park Street, Halifax

Oxford Theatre, Halifax


The Signs of Good Food are Everywhere!


Wild Iris, Briar Island, Digby Neck


Atlantic Jazz Festival


Point Pleasant Park Lodge

Balancing Rock on Long Island

Gallery photos by John Tomlinson


It's not always summer in Halifax: Winter Panorama of South End
Halifax City Scenery
Photos of Historic Halifax
Nova Scotia Travel Images

Halifax webcams: Very Best View of Halifax, Fenwick Place webcam.


Webcams aren't noted for great photography, and yet this image recorded on Dec 6, 2010, by the Boardwalk webcam at Cable Wharf is quite etherial.

.Check out other live views of Halifax.



What to do IN & 


Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs

The Band Stand, Halifax Public Gardens.  Architect Henry Busch designed the Bandstand in 1887 in honour of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.

Bring your walking shoes to Halifax! Virtually everything is within walking distance.   But it's a very steep climb up to the Spring Garden Road area from the waterfront, so you may want to plan ahead to avoid repeated ups and downs.

The Halifax Waterfront: A public boardwalk extends along the Halifax waterfront and passes many points of interest such as the Historic Properties, a designated Heritage Canada site which comprises three city blocks of restored waterfront warehouses that were originally built in the late 1700s and early 1800s to store privateer treasures. The treasures they now house include elegant specialty boutiques, eateries, and a market. Take the ferry from Halifax to Dartmouth and explore the Dartmouth waterfront. The Halifax-Dartmouth ferry is the oldest saltwater ferry system in North America and is an inexpensive way to view both waterfronts. Further along the boardwalk are the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Cable Wharf -- so allow lots of exploration time. Thw Halifax Regional Municipality web site provides an excellent 2 - 3 hours walking tour of the waterfront and downtown areas.

The Frog Pond: From the Armdale Rotary in Halifax travel Purcell's Cove Road for 1.4 km; turn left onto Dingle Road, and then go left again. There is a parking lot at the end of the road. Another parking lot may be found at 2.2 km along Purcell's Cove Road. Look for the parking lot on the left just before the frog pond. The Frog Pond Trail is part of Fleming Park, a 95-acre park with two major walking trails through four natural habitats: second-growth woodlands, a heath barren, a saltwater habitat, and the frog pond. Also in the park are a sandy beach and the Dingle Tower, with bronze lions at the foot. The park was donated to Halifax in 1908 by Sir Sandford Fleming, creator of Standard Time Zones, designer of Canada's first postage stamp, and engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Dingle Tower was dedicated in 1912 to commemorate 150 years of representative government.

Halifax Public Gardens: Located on Spring Garden Road at South Park St.: Rare example of a formal Victorian public garden surviving intact and relatively unspoiled in the heart of a modern city. Many floral displays, mature trees, statues and fountains. The 17-acre park is enclosed by a wrought-iron fence with a magnificent set of ornamental gates. Responsibility for the original garden (N.S. Horticultural Society, 1836) and a civic garden (1867) was assumed by the city of Halifax in 1874, and the gardens were brought together by Richard Power, who created the present design in 1875.

Point Pleasant Park: From Spring Garden, take Tower Road to Point Pleasant Drive. Point Pleasant Park is one of Canada's finer urban parks, and there's no better place for a walk along the water on a balmy day. This 186-acre park occupies a wooded peninsular point, and it served for years as one of the linchpins in the city's military defense. You'll find the ruins of early forts and a nicely preserved Martello tower. Halifax has a 999-year lease from Great Britain for the park, for which it pays 1 shilling -- about US10¢ -- per year. You'll also find a lovely gravel carriage road around the point, a small swimming beach, miles of walking trails, and groves of graceful fir trees. The park is located about 1 1/4 miles (2km) south of the Public Gardens. No bikes are allowed on weekends or holidays. Source: Frommer's Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, 4th Edition. You should also be aware that in the summer of 2000 it was discovered that the park is threatened by an infestation of Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetles with the result that there are now some bare patches where infected trees have been removed. There is some debate about the seriousness of the beetle threat. After your walk, don't forget to get an ice cream at the Point Pleasant Variety Store, corner of Tower and Point Pleasant Drive. (Read the text of the official Park brochure.)

The Dingle Tower: Located in Sir Sanford Fleming Park.  The park is named after one of Canada's great renaissance men.  Fleming created Standard Time zones, designed Canada's first postage stamp, and was a chief surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway.  He donated the park's 95 acres to the city in 1908.  Its extensive waterfront and hillside trail system lead through four distinct natural habitats.  Rising above the park is The Dingle Tower (1912), built to commemorate 150 years of representative government in Nova Scotia.  The 10-storey stone tower is open in summer and fall, and offers spectacular views of the Northwest Arm and surrounding area.  To get to the top you will have to climb five flights of regular stairs, plus one  flight of spiral stairs at the bottom and another at the top.  The regular stairs hug the walls of the empty interior space.  If heights bother you, just stay next to the wall and keep focused on the stairs.  Once you have climbed all the regular stairs there is a full floor, from which the second spiral stairs ascend.  At the top, there is a good view; however, it is obstructed by a wire mesh barrier which keeps people in, and pidgeons out.  The observation deck has undergone a renovation and is no longer dingy and graffiti-ridden.  A supervised salt-water beach, children's playground, and canteen are other attractions here.  If you feel like walking, the park is connected by trails to the Frog Pond.

McNabs and Lawlors Islands Provincial Park: The park is located at the mouth of Halifax Harbour; it comprises all of Lawlors Island and most of McNabs Island. Fort McNab National Historic Site of Canada is operated by Parks Canada and is situated on McNabs Island. Visit the McNabs Island at your own risk. There are NO emergency facilities or telephones. The old forts, wharves, and other ruins may contain hazards. McNabs Island is accessible by commercial or private boat from Halifax, Dartmouth, Eastern Passage, and Purcell's Cove. The trip takes about 25 minutes from downtown Halifax, or 10 minutes from Eastern Passage. Several ferry and charter boat companies offer drop-off and pick-up service, as well as group charters to McNabs Island.  Rates and times vary. Lawlors Island is located opposite MacCormicks Beach in Eastern Passage.  The island is mainly forested and supports a colony of Great Blue Heron and many Osprey.  Deer are often seen grazing in the fields on the island.  Lawlors Island was farmed for nearly 100 years until 1970 when it was acquired for use as a quarantine station and hospital.  Lawlors Island is not open to visitors.  Devils Island is a small island at the mouth of Halifax Harbour.  Once home to 19 families, the island is now uninhabited.  Devils Island is privately owned and not part of the park.  To read more about the history of Devil's Island, use your public library's online magazine database service to find an artticle in the Aug/Sep 1998 issue of The Beaver / Canada's History: Title: "Devil's Island," by: Kate Langan, The Beaver, 00057517, Aug/Sep98, Vol. 78, Issue 4.  The Friends of McNabs Island Society is a registered charity established in 1990 to protect and promote the islands for use as parkland. The Friends maintain the island trails, and organize island events and clean-ups.

Spring Garden Road: There is everything you want on Spring Garden Road: restaurants & sidewalk cafes, bookstores and a library, a university, parks, and a Victorian garden known as the Halifax Public Gardens. At the Public Gardens, along the outside of the surrounding wrought iron fence, artisans display and sell their work. You'll also find shops, offices and services in abundance. The Spring Garden area is the heart of the city!

Dalhousie University: Dalhousie University was founded as a non-denominational institution in 1818 -- with the help of booty captured during the War of 1812 -- by the Earl of Dalhousie, at the time Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. But, the university did not function as such until the 1860s, when it was reorganized. The first degrees were awarded in 1866. Dalhousie University is located in the south end of Halifax. It occupies more than 60 acres of lush grounds in a primarily residential area and is only a few blocks from the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and the city centre to the east. DalTech, also referred to as the Sexton Campus, occupies land in the hub of downtown Halifax, about six blocks away from the main campus. Walk to the top of University Avenue and explore the campus, not forgetting to visit The University of King's College which has a main entrance off Coburg Road near Oxford. King's is the oldest English-speaking Commonwealth university outside the United Kingdom.

Mount Saint Vincent University: MSVU has a huge and architecturally very interesting campus located on the Bedford Highway. Only a very small portion of the campus is visible from the road. Be prepared to climb, but a walk through this campus is worthwhile. There are woods, and a creek, and a duck pond -- all on the campus. I walked along something called the Freda Wales Trail which affords a real tour of the campus. There's even an art gallery you can visit.

Saint Mary's University: The Saint Mary's Campus is located in South End Halifax and is well worth a tour. Saint Mary's is proud of its heritage as the oldest English speaking Roman Catholic university in Canada. The university traces its earliest beginnings to 1802 when the Reverend Edmund Burke, later Bishop Burke, initiated instruction for young men at the Glebe House, located on the corner of Halifax's Spring Garden Road and Barrington Street. 1802 is the first of many key dates in the university's history. Some of the significant benchmarks in Saint Mary's early history include 1841 when the Nova Scotia Legislature bestowed the degree granting charter to Saint Mary's, 1940 when the Jesuit leadership began, and 1970 when the university became a public institution.

The MacDonald Bridge: Take the pedestrian walkway across to Dartmouth! You'll get great views of the Halifax waterfront and Canada's East Coast Naval facilities. The bridge is high and vibrates slightly, so you may want to set aside various phobias for the duration of the walk!

Citadel Hill: It's a stiff climb from the Town Clock up to the fortress, but worth every puff. Even if you don't take the inside tour there's a wonderful view from the top. Constructed between 1828 and 1856, the Halifax Citadel is an impressive star-shaped masonry structure complete with defensive ditch, earthen ramparts, musketry gallery, powder magazine, garrison cells, guard room, barracks, and school room. During the summer months, you can ask a soldier's wife what life was like, watch 19th-century kilted soldiers drill on the parade, listen to the sound of bagpipes, sample a soldier's fare in the restored coffee bar, brush up on the past with a guided tour, visit the Army Museum or view the "Tides of History," a 50-minute audio-visual show on the history of Halifax and its defences. A number of regularly scheduled events, such as the firing of the noon gun -- synonymous with lunch hour in Halifax -- make the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site an exciting place to visit. You might need a full day to explore Citadel Hill, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Canada. Guided tours are offered and there are often special events during the summer months. Fees vary depending on the season.

The Canadian Navy, present and past, is everywhere in Halifax. Start on the waterfront with the Acadia. CSS (Canadian Survey Ship) Acadia was launched in 1913 at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in England. She was the first vessel specifically designed to survey Canada's northern waters, the only ship to serve in the Royal Canadian Navy during both World Wars, and only vessel still afloat to have survived the Halifax Explosion in 1917. She was retired in 1969 after 56 years of service, and in 1982 became a floating museum ship, part of the collection at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on the Halifax waterfront. If you happen to be in Halifax on Canada Day, check the waterfront for Navy vessels open for touring. On July 1, 2006 the HMCS (Her Majesty's Canadian Ship) Halifax was moored at the waterfront and open to the public. The Halifax is a "City Class" Multi-Role Patrol Frigate. Twelve of these helicopter-carrying frigates were launched in the early-to-mid 1990s. They combine anti-submarine, anti-surface and anti-air systems to deal with threats below, on and above the sea surface. They are named after Canadian cities: HALIFAX (330), VANCOUVER (331), VILLE DE QUÉBEC (332), TORONTO (333), REGINA (334), CALGARY (335), MONTREAL (336), FREDERICTON (337), WINNIPEG (338), CHARLOTTETOWN (339), ST. JOHN'S (340), OTTAWA (341). Looking at Halifax from the bridge of the HMCS Halifax gives a unique perspective! For a great view of Canada's East Coast Naval Shipyards, just walk out a short way on the pedestrian walkway of the MacDonald Bridge.

The South End: Start at Spring Garden Road and walk south along South Park Street. Here you will see many types of architecture, a few high rises, mostly houses, many converted into flats. Continue on South Park to the corner of Inglis Street. Here South Park Street switches names and becomes Young Avenue. This switching of street names in mid stream is an idiosyncrasy of Halifax. Continue south along Young Avenue and you will view some of the very best, older homes in Halifax. At the end of Young Avenue is Point Pleasant Park, with 186 acres of natural parkland. The park is very hilly in some areas yet the walking and wheeling trails are well tended, hard packed with some light gravel. Go into the park either from the end of Young Avenue or turn left and head down the hill; it's a good walk but you will find another entrance to the park that will take you to the mouth of the harbour and Black Point Beach. The water is cold and the beach is not accessible but walk along the shoreline past the beach and you will get a real feel for the harbour and park.



Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs

The Halifax bus system (MetroTransit) is really very good indeed.  There is almost nowhere in Metro Halifax than cannot be reached by bus.  One of the most useful routes is that taken by the #1 or Spring Garden bus.  As shown on the map below, the Spring Garden bus runs between Dartmouth's Bridge Terminal, and the Mumford Terminal.  The route includes the Macdonald Bridge, Spring Garden Road, Oxford Street, and the Halifax Mall.  On the #60 bus, you get get all the way out to Fisherman's Cove, the jumping off place for McNabs Island.  If your Halifax stay is lengthy, consider getting a MetroPass which may also be used on the harbour ferries.

There are many motorcycling enthusiasts  in Halifax.  The place to check out the iron horses is Ferry Boat Lane.

Nova Scotia Biker News: Coming from the Halifax Regional Police Deptartment



Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs


Ardmore Tea Room, Halifax



Halifax has the usual North American assortment of franchised restaurants: Tim Hortons, Harvey's, Swiss Chalet, McDonald's, East Side Mario's, KFC, Second Cup, etc. If you must have fast food in Halifax, then Quinpool Road between Oxford and Robie is the place to go. I recommend Subway, Wendy's, or Perks. Smitty's Family Restaurant, at Tower and Spring Garden, serves reasonably priced meals in a pleasant environment, and you get air miles. Here's a site that lists many restaurants in Halifax: The Coast.  Some of the restaurants in the haphazard and personal listing below, as noted in red, have gone out of business, but remain listed here for nostalgia's sake.



BreakfastLunchDinnerLocal Breweries    

Ardmore Tea Room 6499 Quinpool Rd – quaint, breakfast is good, service may be "relaxed."
Esquire Restaurant

The Esquire Family Restaurant, 772 Bedford Highway -- bright, clean, easy parking, friendly service.  Personal favourite, especially for breakfast, late 90s - 2012.  I had a very disappointing dinner experience, in respect to both service and food, at the Esquire in 2013.  But this restaurant enjoys considerable popularity for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so I'm willing to try again.

Montreal Grill Montreal Grill & Catering: Great homemade food at a great price! Located at 5151 George Street, Bank of Montreal Tower, B3J 1M5, Tel 902-425-5900, across from Murphy's.  Open 5 days a week, Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 5p.m.  Personal favourite 2011 - 2012.

BreakfastLunchDinnerLocal Breweries    

Atlantic Superstores

There's always a good variety of fresh sandwiches available, and usually a pleasant area in which to sit and eat. My favourite is the Barrington Street store where neighbouring Cornwallis Park provides a great picnic spot.  The locations at the Bayers Lake shopping complex and on Quinpool Road are also great, offering particularly good wraps, and pleasant eating areas.  Personal favourite late 90s - 2013.

Bud the Spud

Parked outside the library on Spring Garden Road – chip wagon extraordinaire.  Bud the Spud, otherwise known as Bud True and his wife Nancy, have fried up fresh hand-cut fries from jumbo P.E.I. potatoes for the last 23 years.  Their chip wagon, Bud the Spud, has a reserved spot on Spring Garden Road in front of the library.  Discontinued 2009.  See CBC News report on the loss of this Halifax icon.  BUT, during my 2010 trip I found Bud the Spud reborn.  The same chip truck is now being operated by new owners.

Chickenburger, Bedford
The Chickenburger, 1531 Bedford Highway.  Follow the #2 highway to Bedford and The Chick is on the right, across from Sunnyside Mall.  Open for over 40 years, the retro decor isn't the only sign of the past: homestyle burgers, thick milkshakes, fresh fish, and the signature chickenburger, with its tender pieces of bird and warm bun, speak to a time when life was sweet, simple and downright tasty.  Reviewed by The CoastPersonal favourite 2009 - 2012.
Daily Grind Cafe Formerly "The Daily Grind Newsstand & Cafe" at 5686 Spring Garden Road, but now relocated to 1479 Birmingham Street – order from counter: excellent sandwiches & soups, very pleasant and relaxing eating area complete with chandeliers and fireplaces.  At the old location you passed through a great selection of books, magazines, and newspapers on the way to the food, but the new facility has no such literary element.  This spot was personal favourite, and the very first place I ate in Halifax in 1997.  It came under new ownership as of 2009.  Sadly, the "jazz players," like the books, are gone, but in 2012 I scored a really excellent egg salad sandwich on a croissant at the new location, so...  Personal favourite 2012.
Harbourside Market

1869 Upper Water Street in the Historic Properties -- located on the waterfront boardwalk – The Harbourside Market offers a decor of warm wood-tones, a loft with microbrewery vats nestled among the heavy roof beams, indoor and outdoor (harbourside) eating areas, and a marché-style assortment of foods.  Captain John's Fish Company or Loaf Leaf N' Ladle are good choices in my experience.  I found the chickenburger at The Burger Gourmet to be tasty but disappointingly small.  Discontinued 2009.  Only Loaf Leaf N' Ladle remains, the whole waterside area outside and inside having been taken over by a pub called Hart & Thistle, which I have not tried.  There are still shops at the Harbourside Market, but the loss of its affordable eating area with free view is unfortunate.

Ma Belle's Cafe
44 Ochterloney Street, Dartmouth.  Open 7 days a week, Sun - Wed 8 to 5, Thu - Fri 8 to 8.  The food at this English Tearoom is marvellous, whether you are having breakfast, lunch, or high tea.  Three days a week it is also an excellent choice for dinner.  Omelettes are splendid!  From Halifax, take the Dartmouth ferry.  At the Alderney Landing ferry terminus, exit at the north end (by the market area and liquor store) then cross Alderney at the lights and proceed a very short distance uphill on Ochterloney.  Also a great place to eat if you are staying at the Super 8 in Dartmouth.  Personal favourite 2013.
Nixie Cafe & Tearoom, Goodwood This restaurant was formerly Golda's, and as such a longtime personal favourite, but it was reborn as the Nixie Cafe in 2010.  I had lunch there in 2010 and the food seemed to be every bit as good as formerly.  Located at 816 Prospect Rd., Route 333, Goodwood, N.S., Phone: 902-876 2200, Regular Hours: 8 - 4 Tuesday to Sunday, closed Monday.  Summer Hours: 8 - 8 every day of the week.  This is an excellent spot to eat if you are heading to or from Peggy's Cove.  Using St. Margaret's Bay Road it can be reached from Halifax in about 15 minutes.  Personal favourite 2010.  Discontinued 2012.  Sadly, this site is no longer a restaurant.
Perks Coffee Ltd. Among Halifax's most popular coffee shops, these locations offer hot drinks to perk you up and cool ones for a sunny day. The menu includes soups, sandwiches, bagels, gourmet coffees, and desserts. Several locations around the city: 1781 Lower Water St., 902-429-9386 6098, Quinpool Rd, 902-429-1856. Personal favourite, 2006 - 2011, especially the Quinpool Road location.  Discontinued 2012.  All Perks locations have now disappeared or have been replaced by Tims (waterfront) and Second Cup (Quinpool).
Sobeys Like the Atlantic Superstores, Sobeys supermarkets maintain a selection of sandwiches and salads, along with an eating area.  I have enjoyed several excellent lunches at the Mill Cove Plaza location, 961 Bedford Highway.  Personal favourite 2009 - 2012.

BreakfastLunchDinnerLocal Breweries    

Armview Restaurant & Lounge
7156 Chebucto Road, at the Rotary -- A competent family restaurant offering good food in generous quantities.  The Armview's fries are particularly good.  A personal favourite 2011 - 2012.  Sadly, an unhappy note for 2013: food remains good, but service was disappointing.  On a bill of $13.80, after tendering a 20, I was asked, "Do you need change?"  That change, $6.20, if left, would have been a tip of 45%.  The question should never have been asked, and my change took forever to arrive.  A server should always say, "I'll be right back with your change."
Brewdebakers 612 Windmill Road, Dartmouth -- Casual family restaurant located in the middle of a full-service brewery. Recently taken over by SAS Restaurants. Food and service are first rate.  A personal favourite 2000 - 2011.
Bearly's House of Blues and Ribs
1269 Barrington St. -- If you are looking for upscale furnishings and decor, don't go.  The theme is pub basic.  But if food and music are priorities, then you will be happy.  Bearly's doesn't really get going until about 10 p.m. when the live music is underway, but even at 5 p.m. you can get a great meal.  Watch out for the stuffed bear, located inside above the main door.  A personal favourite 2001 & 2012.
Fireside 1500 Brunswick St. -- casual dining in comfortable rooms with four fireplaces.  It's something of an underground den, very cozy.  A personal favourite 1997 & 2012.
Freeman's Little New York 6092 Quinpool Road -- Casual dining, specializing in pizza, finger foods, burgers, and donairs. Great for pizza but I have been disappointed in other menu selections.
Granite Brewery/Ginger's The Granite Brewery & Ginger's Tavern, 1662 Barrington Street.  I haven't tried the Granite since its move from the location that is now Henry House; however, food at the Granite was always great and of course they brew a number of fine beers which they continue to supply to Henry House. The Granite's Toronto location at Mt. Pleasant & Eglinton is a personal favourite.  The Toronto location still going strong, but Ginger's Tavern has been discontinued in Halifax.  The Granite's Halifax brewery operation, however, continues at 6054 Stairs Street between Robie and Kempt where beer may be purchased.  Granite Brewery products are among the beers offered at the The Maxwell's Plum & Lion's Head Tavern.
Henry House Henry House was built in 1834 in the suburb of Halifax. It has a side hall plan which is typical of the houses built in that period. The use of ironstone and granite is relative of the style of many Halifax residences of the early 19th century. The masonry of the gable wall and surrounds are British in character. For twenty years it was the home of William Alexander Henry the Father of Confederation. Three levels of The Henry House have been restored to create a restaurant, a pub and a private dining facility. The Henry House offers 5 English-style ales that have been brewed at the Granite Brewery in Halifax. They are top-fermented, unpasturized ales which are brewed with all natual ingredients, including award winning Old Peculiar Ale. 1222 Barrington Street, Telephone 902.423.5660.  Personal favourite 2005.
Jim's Family Seafood Restaurant 243 Bedford Highway, 90-443-6112.  Jim's has an extensive menu.  I can vouch for the lasagna, and also for the excellent view of the Bedford Basin from the dining area nearest the water.  Personal favourite 2009 - 2011.
Lakeside Grill, Chocolate Lake Hotel 20 St. Margaret's Bay Road, 1-877-559-7666.  This is usually a quiet and relaxing place to eat, with an absolutely splendid view of Halifax's well-hidden Chocolate Lake.  Food quality and variety are good, prices comparable to downtown waterfront restaurants.  On your way in you may see Cocoa, the hotel's resident Chocolate Lab hostess.  Personal favourite 2009 - 2012.
Lion's Head Tavern 5833 Sullivan St. in North Halifax, near the Hydrostone market.  Very much a PUB, but with good food at reasonable prices.  The all-you-can-eat spaghetti night is a particularly great value. The only disappointment is that the baked potatoes come foil wrapped, an environmental and culinary no-no.   Personal favourite 2009 - 2012.
MacAskill's Dartmouth Ferry Terminal Bldg., 88 Alderney Dr. – great view, great food, definitely upscale – "From any table within our dining room, experience the most spectacular view of Halifax Harbour and savour the most superb seafood in Metro. Our kitchen professionals continue to create a variety of seafood specialties, using only the freshest seafood and produce available. For those who prefer an alternate, MacAskill's offers choices in pasta, steak and poultry that will satisfy both the traditional and the adventurous in culinary preference."  Enjoyed an excellent graduation celebration dinner in here in 2001.  MacAskill's closed in 2012 and has reopened as a second location of The Wooden Monkey.
Maxwell's Plum
I have had two excellent meals at The Maxwell's Plum, both in 2013, using coupons provided with event tickets, such as the Tattoo.  I highly recommend this restaurant, and suggest making use of any event ticket coupons you get.  They are good value.  Both food and service are excellent. And they really do have over 60 varieties of beer available.  Personal favourite 2013.
Murphy's On The Water 1751 Water St., Cable Wharf ( 420-1015) – international, sandwiches, salads, lobster, chicken, pasta, burgers, fish & chips, steak.  I recommend the seafood casserole.  Personal favourite 2008 - 2009.
Rogue's Roost Rogue's Roost Ale House & Micro-brewery at 5434 Spring Garden Road is an affordable eatery with excellent food.  I can vouch for the pan-fried haddock which is accompanied by nicely done vegetables, a rare nutritional treat for the traveller depending on restaurant meals.  See also brewery information below.  Reviewed by The Bar Towel; see below.  Personal favourite 2009 - 2013.
Salty's You'll find Salty's at the end of a 19th century wharf, known as the Privateers, in Halifax's unique Historic Properties shopping area.  Review by fodors.com: "This restaurant overlooking Privateer's Wharf and the entire harbor gets the prize for the best location in the city.  Request a table with a window view.  The Salty Dog Bar & Grill on the ground level is less expensive and serves lunch outside on the wharf in summer.  Reservations essential."  Tried in 2008.
Seasons Bistro & Wine Bar Atlantica Hotel, formerly the Holiday Inn Select – 1980 Robie Street, located at the corner of Quinpool Road and Robie Street.  Panoramic view of the historic Halifax Commons.  Not tried since the late 90s.
Stayner's Wharf 5075 George Street -- This used to be a Pizza Delight, but it has been renovated, emerging as Stayner's Wharf, and offering really excellent food plus entertainment at reasonable prices.  Check out the regular Thursday night jazz feature.  An open-air courtyard is open in summer.  Stayner's Wharf is a personal favourite; the food is always top notch.  Personal favourite 2001 - 2008.  Prices at Stayner's have risen significantly.
Thirsty Duck

5472 Spring Garden Road – Casual, friendly and affordable.  Home-style cooking, imported and microbrewed beers on tap. Saturday and Sunday brunch.  Outdoor rooftop patio.  The Thirsty Duck underwent extensive renovation in 2006 and was reborn under new management.  I have not yet visited for a meal, but a look inside reveals a very much spruced up space.  Discontinued 2009.  Reopened as Minstrels Gastropub, also discontinued 2009.

Tom's Little Havana Cafe 5428 Doyle Street, off Spring Garden Road (902) 423-8667.  Tom's has more of a New Orleans feel than a Nova Scotian feel.  This unusual restaurant is actually linked via the washroom passage to Rogues's Roost, but is a separate establishment as far as I know.  Atmosphere is unique, making you feel as if you are in some sort of illicit opium den, but in a pleasant way.  Fantastic crab cakes.  Personal favourite 2009 - 2010.
Tomasino's 5173 South St. – cozy atmosphere, gourmet pizza, pasta, salad.  A personal favourite 2002.  In 2009 I tried to have dinner at Tomasino's, but had no luck.  I arrived early, at 5 p.m. and had the place to myself.  I ordered a beer and spaghetti, and settled in for what turned out to be a very long wait.  After about 45 minutes, during which time there had been several assurances of imminent food arrival, I gave up and went to the bar, suggesting I just pay for the beer and we call it quits.  They did apologize, citing a huge take-out order by way of explanation, and I was not charged for the beer.  I will give them the benefit of the doubt and try again next time.  Discontinued 2010.  It reopened in 2011 under the name "Tomavinos" but is closed as of June 2012.  A note on the door reads, "The original is coming back.  Will be open soon."  We shall see.
Waterfront Warehouse 1549 Lower Water Street (425-7610) – specializes in seafood – interesting warehouse atmosphere complete with much overhead machinery still intact. Outdoor deck.  Personal favourite late 90s.  Not tried recently.
Wooden Monkey 1707 Grafton Street, 902-444-3844.  My meal at The Wooden Monkey in the summer of 2010 was a disappointment.  I had the pork tenderloin, and although the food quality was good, I found the quantity to be quite inadequate.  I pointed this out to my server, but was offered only regrets.  I left still hungry, and with a considerably lighter wallet as this restaurant is not inexpensive.

BreakfastLunchDinnerLocal Breweries    

Granite Brewery Reviewed by The Bar Towel: The Granite Brewery in Halifax is the sister pub to the Granite in Toronto. The original pub is the Halifax location, founded by Kevin Keefe (brother to Ron, the proprietor of the Toronto location). Due to this close relationship, the beers from the two pubs are very similar. The Halifax Granite offers a selection of beers that Toronto beer connoisseurs will be familiar with: Best Bitter, Best Bitter Special, Peculiar, Ringwood and Keefe's Irish Stout. This is a great little pub, and worth visiting. The Granite started in Canada at Henry House, 1222 Barrington St., and still provides beer to the Henry House restaurants. The Granite now flies its flag at 1662 Barrington Street.
Garrison Brewing Company Independent Micro-Brewery. Located on-site at the Brewery, the Garrison cold beer store offers fresh bottled product & party kegs, as well as T-shirts hats, hoodys, & great glassware. The cold beer store is open Monday through Thursday from 10:00a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday 10 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., Sunday 12 noon to 6:00 p.m. Additionally, Garrison beer is available at most NSLC stores, specialty liquor stores around Nova Scotia, at the Saturday Farmers Market, and at select NB Liquor stores.Located at 1149 Marginal Road (across from Pier 21), Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 4P7, Phone: (902) 453-5343, Fax: (902) 453-4672.
Propeller Brewing Company Propeller offers cold beer 7 days a week. Hours: Monday to Friday 9 AM until 6 PM, Saturdays 10 AM until 6 PM, Sundays from 12 PM until 6 PM. The Propeller cold beer store is located behind the brewery at 2015 Gottingen Street. Enter off Portland Place, near the Marquee. Brewery tours & tasting are by booking only. For more information and to book a tour, call 422-7767. The Propeller Brewery has also created four unique and all-natural sodas: Root Beer, Ginger Beer, Orange Soda and Vanilla Cream -- available at select merchants throughout Nova Scotia. Produced in the style of old fashioned sodas from days gone by, Propeller Sodas are all-natural, caffeine free and made without preservatives using the best ingredients with Propeller's usual high standard of care.
Rogue's Roost Reviewed by The Bar Towel: "Rogue's Roost Ale House & Micro-brewery (5434 Spring Garden Road) is a very unassuming pub, located in an office building that fronts onto Spring Garden Road, one of Halifax's main downtown streets. The pub is quaint, with a long bar and a number of tables that look out onto Spring Garden. The brewtanks are located at the end of the establishment, and are viewable through large glass doors and windows. Many walls of the pub are decorated by nautical maps of Nova Scotia. Rogue's Roost offers a number of unique home-brewed beers: Rogue's Red, Bulldog Brown, Raspberry Wheat, Cream Ale, Oatmeal Stout and IPA. Seasonal brews include Peated Porter, Pale Ale, Barley Wine, and Imperial Stout. Rogue's Roost is an excellent brewpub which should be at the top of any beer lover's to-do list during a trip down east."


The Point Pleasant Grocery Store, on Tower Road right across from Point Pleasant Park, is THE place for ice cream in Halifax, especially afer a walk in the park.

The friendly couple who own the store have been serving up Farmers ice cream for 28 years.  Sadly, as of 2011, the store is up for sale.

Attend a Performance

Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs


Nova Scotia International Tattoo

Atlantic Jazz Festival A major event on the Canadian music scene, the TD Canada Trust Atlantic Jazz Festival Halifax is Atlantic Canada's largest music festival with over 450 local, national, and international performers delighting audiences for nine days every summer in mid July.  Line ups of performers are announced in late spring.  The Festival Tent (outdoor stage) is located at the corner of Spring Garden Rd. and Queen St.  There are other venues around Halifax, from soft seat theatres to intimate clubs and bars.
Dalhousie Arts Centre Rebecca Cohn Auditorium -- Home to Symphony Nova Scotia -- Showcasing local, national, and international talent.

Halifax Metro Centre

Home of the Nova Scotia International Tattoo and many other events.  Watch the official online video of Tattoo performances!  Watch my clip from the Canada Day pereformance, 2009.

Movies in Halifax Empire Cinemas: Bayers Lake, Bedford, Dartmouth, Imax, Oxford; Park Lane 8, Penhorn 5 (Dartmouth)

Neptune Theatre

1593 Argyle Street -- Internationally recognized for excellence, Neptune Theatre is one of the oldest professional regional theatre companies in Canada. Offering evening and matinee performances featuring drama, comedy, musicals and much more to delight all audiences.

Shakespeare by the Sea Plays in the Park -- from July to September, just minutes away from downtown at Point Pleasant Park, you can spread your blanket and enjoy a production by Shakespeare by the Sea, the company voted best small theatre company two years in a row.

The Pond Playhouse

6 Parkhill Road, 477-2663 (From the Armdale Rotary take Purcell's Cove Road to Parkhill, just past the Frog Pond) At The Pond Theatre, the Theatre Arts Guild (TAG) presents community theatre at its very best. TAG is Canada's oldest continuing operating community theatre group.




Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs


Bayer's Lake Business Park Take the Bedford Highway to the lights at Bayview Rd. (just past the Bayview Motor Inn). Turn left at the lights, climb the hill, and then turn right onto Lacewood Drive. Follow Lacewood which will become Chain Lake Dr. until you see the big box stores emerge. Bayers Lake Business Park has witnessed spectacular growth since its development in the mid 1980s. Its location at the junction of Highways 102 and 103, its immediate proximity to the rapidly developing Clayton Park area, and its closeness to the Downtown Halifax (approximately 10 kilometers) have contributed to the success of the Bayers Lake Business Park. Over 580 acres (236 hectares) in size, Bayers Lake Business Park is one of the major concentrations of light industrial and commercial activity in Greater Halifax. In particular, warehouse retail "superstores" or "box stores" have recognized the value of Bayers Lake Business Park's strategic location, including Costco, Walmart, Kent Building Supplies, Staples, Future Shop, Zellers, Chapters and Sears to name only a few.
Halifax City Farmer's Market 1496 Lower Water Street -- Billed as North America's oldest farmers' market, it does date back to the 1750's. Housed in a historic refurbished brewery, its vendors offer baked goods, meat, fish, produce, arts and crafts. Musicians entertain customers. Open every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. This market is a MUST!
Halifax Shopping Centre 7001 Mumford Road -- The Halifax Shopping Centre has over 150 stores plus food court.  If you have to visit a mall this is one of the better ones -- not usually crowded. Take Connaught to Bayers Rd. for easy access.

Historic Properties

1869 Upper Water Street -- Indoor -- The Historic Properties are located on Halifax's waterfront and represent Canada's oldest surviving group of waterfront warehouses. The restored buildings dating back from 1800 to 1905 now offer unique specialty shops and boutiques, excellent restaurants and bars, a boardwalk and entertainment. The Historic Properties are open year-round.

Hydrostone Market

5515-5547 Young Street -- The Hydrostone Market is a collection of shops and boutiques. It sits in the heart of the North End's Hydrostone Community, which rose from the ashes of the Halifax Explosion.

Pier 21

There's a somewhat interesting gift shop on the second floor, but the real shopping opportunity at Pier 21 comes with the arrival of the cruise ships. Whenever a cruise liner docks the large warehouse adjacent to Pier 21 fills with area craft merchants.

Park Lane Shopping Centre

5657 Spring Garden Road -- Indoor -- The focal point of the mall is a central three story court, with generous plantings, a fountain, and skylights.

Quinpool Road

More than 180 businesses invite you to explore Quinpool Road, Halifax's one-stop shopping, service, dining and entertainment district. This central street in the heart of Halifax has family businesses and major retailers, plus plenty of parking and easy access by foot, bus or bike. Shopping on Quinpool Road can be quirky. Where else could you buy tropical fish model cars, underwater gear and a grand piano in such proximity? But the street also serves everyday needs. It's home to Canadian Tire, an Atlantic Superstore, independent grocery stores, clothing stores, major banks, bakeries and gas stations. There are professional and business services of every stripe, and a major hotel. Dining on Quinpool Road has an international flavour, but it is also Halifax's fast food stretch with McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC, Subway and a dozen family-run eateries serving pizza, hamburgers, and Nova Scotia's popular donair. Quinpool Road is known for its bright neon lights that come alive after dark, turning the street into an entertainment district, for dining out or eating on the run, for taking in a movie at the fabulous "Art Deco" Oxford Theatre or grabbing a video and heading home.

Spring Garden Place

5640 Spring Garden Road -- Indoor -- Good selection of shops and services from home decor to fashion. Enjoy the Garden Market on the lower level for fresh produce and gourmet cuisine. If you are looking to buy original Nova Scotia art, check out the Painter's Palette Art Gallery. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia also has original art for sale.

Sunnyside Mall

1595 Bedford Highway, Bedford -- Indoor -- An interesting mall, as malls go, but be sure to go on a Sunday (10 to 5) when most of the stores are closed! On Sunday local arts and crafts vendors move into the walkways and the shopping becomes a lot more interesting. This mall is also known for Pete's Frootique, quite possibly the most entertaining produce market in North America. As well as rare and unusual produce and food products from around the world, you will find Steve Dooks, resident musician, belting out favourite songs and providing topnotch piano entertainment Thursday and Friday afternoons, as well as all day Saturday and Sunday.



Halifax also has some wonderful old stores scattered around the city, like Sievert's Limited, an old-fashioned tobacco store that will evoke memories for those of a certain age.  Centrally located at 1573 Barrington Street, Sievert's is definitely worth a visit even if you don't smoke.  Ardith Sievert, mother of the proprietor, was a respected Halifax artist.  Look for one of her paintings hanging just inside the store.


Explore Dartmouth


Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs

Click on the "Welcome to Downtown Dartmouth" sign for slide show:

Ochterloney Street Rhododendrons

Listen to the voice of the Dartmouth ferry!

Outlook to Lake Banook from Prince Albert Road

Although Dartmouth is part of Metro Halifax, amalgamation has done little to blur old distinctions and it is generally regarded as its own city, physically separated from Halifax by the harbour.  During my Halifax sojourn of 2012, I stayed in Dartmouth for 31 days, and found that it is greatly underrated.  In fact, it has a great many charms, and is definitely worth far more than the dismissive drive-through so often accorded to it by visitors.  True, downtown Dartmouth is no Spring Garden Road, but sometimes that is a virtue.

There are three ways to get to Dartmouth from Halifax.  You can drive around the Bedford Basin, taking the clearly marked exit to Dartmouth (Dartmouth Road) by the Sunnyside Mall in Bedford.  Then watch for the exit to Windmill Road, on the right, which will take you into downtown Dartmouth.  You can reach the same destination more quickly and directly by driving (or taking a bus) over the Macdonald Bridge, or you can take a ferry from Halifax, docking at Alderney Landing in downtown Dartmouth. 

On Saturdays, Alderney Landing hosts a farmers' market, which, although smaller in scale than the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market, is perfectly charming, with lots of crafts and produce on offer.  After exploring the market, cross Alderney Drive using the lights at Ochterloney Street, and walk up the hill towards King Street for breakfast at Ma Belle's Café.  After breakfast, you might decide to walk to Sullivan's Pond and Lake Banook: just continue northwest on Ochterlony which will become Prince Albert Road.  Sullivan's Pond will be seen first, on the right, and shortly after that you will spot Lake Banook, also on the right.  There is a pleasant boardwalk running along right beside the lake.  Time your walk so that, on your return, you can have lunch, or just coffee and a cookie at Two if By Sea, on Octhterloney, and visit the International Home of the Happy Face at 22 Wentworth Street.  Wentworth is one block from King, so turn left from Ochterloney if you are returning from Lake Banook, or, if coming from Alderney Landing, turn right one block after you pass King.  Debbie Power's Happy Face Museum is open on Saturdays only, 1 to 4, during June, July, & August, or by appointment.  No admission charge.  She has an absolutely astounding collection.

You might want to conclude a Dartmouth day with dinner at the Nectar Social House on Ochterloney, said to be exceptional, or perhaps, less formally, at the Celtic Corner Pub, across from Alderney Landing.  That could be followed, if you have planned in advance, with a performance by the Dartmouth Players, local theatre at its best.  See map link below for location.

Map of Dartmouth showing the location of The Dartmouth Players.

Explore Fisherman's Cove at Eastern Passage,

Gateway to McNabs Island


Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs

If you are looking for an excursion that won't take you too far from Halifax, then consider visiting Fisherman's Cove.

If you can stand the enroute chemical wastelands of oil refineries. you will find Fisherman's Cove worth the trouble.  The Cove is located on the east side of the harbour, directly across the passage from Lawlors and McNabs Islands.  Unless you have hired a charter from downtown Halifax, this is also where you need to be in order to get across to McNabs.  But Fisherman's Cove is certainly a destination in itself.  It is a very pictureque spot with lots of shops.  I found it to be an excellent place to purchase gifts, and at a very reasonable cost.

There are a number of ways to get there.  My usual method, as I like to avoid the harbour bridges and their tolls, is to drive around the Bedford Basin on the Bedford Highway.  Turn right in Bedford at Dartmouth Road which becomes successively Highway 7, Windmill Road, and Alderney Drive.  From Alderney, go right onto Portland and go right again onto Pleasant Street.  Follow Pleasant Street / Eastern Passage Road past the ESSO Refinery, Shearwater, and the Autoport.  Once you come to a fork in the road (the Cow Bay - Shore Road junction, at the traffic lights), take the right fork onto Shore Road and you're there.  And there are certainly other ways to get there.

Picturesque Fisherman's Cove at Eastern Passage, a destination in itself and jumping off point for McNabs Island.


Trips to McNabs Island, June - July , 2010

My awareness of the city's harbour islands developed gradually.  From Point Pleasant Park and various other places on the Halifax and Dartmouth sides of the harbour, one cannot help noticing the islands, and wondering about them.  Islands have a strange fascination.  Fiction abounds with island environments.  At the sublime end of the island spectrum there is Shakespeare's The Tempest, with Prospero's magical island; at the ridiculous end I suppose TV's Gilligan's Island comes most strongly to mind.   In between, the list is lengthy: Daniel Defoe's tropical island refuge in Robinson Crusoe, Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, Jules Verne's Mysterious Island, the island of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, Agatha Christie's and Ian Fleming's evil island settings for And Then There Were None and Dr. No respectively, TV's Fantasy Island.  One could go on and on.  If McNabs Island has not yet provided the setting for a famous work of fiction, no doubt its time will come, for its past is certainly checkered enough to provide the required mystique.  Meanwhile, it is a siren call to folks like me who simply want to satisfy a curiosity about that great mass of unspoiled green that sits invitingly out there in the harbour's mouth.

Halifax visitor information services make no secret of the fact that McNabs Island is a Provincial Park, open to all, and yet, as the proprietor of a store I visited in Fisherman's Cove put it, McNabs Island is "Halifax's best kept secret."  The Halifax Herald feels the same way.  Most visitors to the area, and even many Haligonians, never get there.  Considering that I made twenty-two trips to Halifax before landing on McNabs, I am in no way being critical of those whose feet have not yet touched its shores.  In fact, the major charm of the island is its lack of human population.  Unlike Toronto's groomed and prettified harbour island – we Torontonians pretend we have three islands – McNabs is mostly wild.  There are no cars and no pavement, only a rough and tough path, wide enough to be called a road, which runs the approximate three mile length of the island, plus a number of hiking trails.  The Friends of McNabs Island Society publishes an excellent map of the island, and with it are warnings about the lack of services there: no food, no drinking water, no phones, no shelter, no supervision, no transportation other than your own two feet, and pit toilets only.  You must leave no garbage.  And, of course, unless you have your own boat, there is no scheduled way of getting there.  All of this means that anyone who has a mind to visit McNabs must do some preparation, and make some transportation arrangements.  It is not as simple as jumping on the Dartmouth Ferry.  It all tends to conjure up fears of being cast away.  What if no boat appears to take me off?  What if I have an accident?  After all, those Sirens of mythology called sailors to their doom!

Of course, as with most challenges, once you seriously attack the difficulties they fade away.  Years ago I had joined the Friends of McNabs Island Society in anticipation of an eventual visit to the island.  I was determined that on this trip I would actually get to McNabs.  I picked a sunny day, drove out to Fisherman's Cove, and poked around, hoping to find a ferry operator, Mike Tilly or Steve Taylor.  A much better plan is to phone ahead: Mike Tilly (465-4563), Steve Taylor (465-6272).  On arrival I could find neither of the ferry operators.  I phoned Mike Tilly who said he could take me within the hour, right after he finished lunch.  True to his word, and within an hour of the call, I was seated in his boat, receiving his very interesting "pre-flight" safety orientation.  I particularly enjoyed his tongue-in-cheek terminology; oars became "manual propulsion devices."  With a shout of, "Hold on to your bonnet," we were off at speed.  I hadn't realized that the shore I was seeing from Fisherman's Cove was actually Lawlors (Mike insists on the "s") Island, and was mildly surprised when we veered around and headed farther out.  But McNabs quickly appeared, the whole pleasant journey taking only a few minutes.  Mike beached the boat and I jumped ashore.  Finally, I was on McNabs.

OK, I'll confess there was a moment of panic when Mike motored off, leaving me alone on the beach, holding my map, looking for the break in the grass which he promised would lead to the road, trying to remember all that he had said about finding my way to the other end of the island, and all I should try to see along the way.  Going all the way to the other end of the island had not actually been my plan.  I was just going to poke timidly around for a couple of hours (dropping breadcrumbs to find my way back) and then leave from the drop-off point.  But now there was no choice.  Mike would be waiting at Ives Cove, at the north end of the island, in about three hours, and if I wanted to get back to the mainland I supposed I'd better be there too!  In truth I have dramatized this a bit.  There is good cell phone service on McNabs.  Both Mike Tilly and Steve Taylor are accommodating guys who look after their passengers well.  If you get into trouble or want to make a change in plan, all you have to do is call.  Just make sure your phone is charged before going, and remember to record your captain's phone number!

I got to the north end that Friday with no problems and saw so much of interest, so much natural beauty.  I took hundreds of photos, explored Fort Ives, discovered the Teahouse and other ruins, walked the beach, and followed some trails.  Then, just over a week later, I came back  and did it all again, arriving earlier and spending more hours on the island, seeing more.  And yet I have scratched only the surface of what McNabs has to offer.  Visiting the island will be at the top of my list for future trips to Halifax, and I will hope to get the official tour offered by students working for the Friends of McNabs Island Society.  McNabs is a gem, surprisingly undisturbed in spite of its proximity to Metro Halifax.  Occasionally one sees something out of place, like the three derelict vehicles I noticed on my first visit, their windshields smashed, the grass growing tall all around them.  But on my second visit I found those same vehicles being slowly hauled along the road towards Garrison Pier to await removal by barge to mainland wreckers, their absence leaving McNabs a little more pristine.  For a harbour island, there is generally an absence of shoreline junk, and that, I am sure, is thanks to the wonderful efforts of the Friends of McNabs Island Society, whose work I applaud most sincerely.  I now feel I must plan a visit for a time when I can help with the Society's McNabs Island cleanup.

My hope for McNabs is that it will stay unspoiled by over visiting.  Let it remain a bit difficult to access, a bit daunting to the casual tourist.  You can bet that, given a chance, someone will try to put an amusement park there, like Centreville in Toronto, or a zoo, or who knows what other "attraction."  And of course government plans need watching too.  Millions being invested in restoration may translate into changing the way the island is used.  Governments tend to expect return for dollars spent, and they don't always plan wisely.  Perhaps we should all hope that McNabs never does find fictional fame, or any other kind of fame for that matter.  The price would almost certainly be a destructive influx.   I am encouraged, however, that McNabs enjoys the benefits of having good Friends.

Explore the Lighthouse Route to: Peggy's Cove, Mahone Bay,

Lunenburg, Liverpool, Yarmouth


Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs


A visit to Peggy's Cove is a MUST.  You can combine it with Mahone Bay and even Lunenburg, but it will be difficult to do justice to all three is a single day. The best way to travel to Peggy's Cove is by boat.  Look for a charter or whale watching tour out of Halifax harbour.  The Peggy's Cove Express used to run tours, but I believe that specific service has been discontinued. The folks at Peggy's Cove Express advertised whale and dolphin sightings during the trip, and indeed they did go out of their way to spot marine life.  I have done the trip 3 times and the whale sighting has been disappointing – just the tail of one large whale – but at one point we were surrounded by leaping dolphins for quite some time.  Even if you do go by ocean, you will want to do the drive as well, possibly venturing into places like Terence Bay and Prospect on the way (well worth the detours).  By car, just follow the signs westerly from the Halifax Armdale Rotary. The Rotary is at the head of the North West Arm not too far from downtown Halifax.  Drive out on St. Margaret's Bay Road for 3 kilometers (1.6 miles) and then turn west on Prospect Road (333) for about 40 kilometers (25 miles) all the way to Peggy's Cove.  It will take longer than you think because the road twists and turns, making it virtually impossible to pass.  Just relax and enjoy the drive, keeping in mind that route 333 can be dangerous. There are many roadside crosses, memorials to folks who were in a hurry.

If lunch is on the agenda, I suggest the Nixie Cafe & Tea Room. You will find it in Goodwood, less than 7 km from Halifax on 333. If hunger doesn't strike until you arrive at the Cove, then the Sou'Wester Restaurant is a good choice; I recommend the salmon burger.  As you explore Peggy's Cove, do heed the warning about climbing out on the rocks. Many tourists have actually been killed by being too adventuresome.

In Mahone Bay, try the Saltspray Café and Chowder House.  Food doesn't get any finer than a Saltspray seafood casserole or chowder, followed by a large piece of fresh strawberry pie.  This restaurant moved to a different location on Main Street in 2008, and in so doing lost its charming waterside patio, but the food is still great.

In Lunenburg be sure to visit the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.

If you are returning to Halifax, you might want to go via Highway 103, especially if it's getting dark. The 103 is a fast expressway that will return you quickly to Halifax from any of the destinations along 333.



Explore the Evangeline Trail to: Annapolis Royal, Digby & the Neck,

Weymouth, the Acadian Shore, Yarmouth


Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs


[From Wikipedia]  Route 1 in Nova Scotia (also called and marked as the Evangeline Trail (from Mount Uniacke) runs from Bedford to Yarmouth via the Annapolis Valley.  It was known for many years as "the Post Road".  The route runs parallel to (and in some places has been replaced by) Highway 101, which bypasses all towns where Route 1 is the main street.  The highway is 323 kilometres (201 miles) long.

In the Halifax Regional Municipality, Route 1 starts in Bedford at the intersection of Rocky Lake Road and the Bedford Highway on Highway 2, .It is known as Sackville Drive, and is the main street through the community of Sackville.  The road continues northwest through Mount Uniacke to Windsor, where it meets the Avon River.  Route 1 follows the west bank of the river through Hantsport.  At Avonport, Route 1 turns west through the Annapolis Valley, following the south bank of the Cornwallis River through Wolfville, New Minas and Kentville.

Bypassing the town of Berwick to the south, Route 1 meets the Annapolis River at Aylesford, and runs along the river's north bank through Kingston, Middleton, Lawrencetown and Bridgetown.  The road crosses the Annapolis River at Annapolis Royal (on the Annapolis Royal Generating Station), and runs along the southern coast of the Annapolis Basin through Upper Clements and the former site of CFB Cornwallis.

Route 1 joins up with Highway 101 at Deep Brook to cross the Bear River, then splits apart to loop through the village of Smiths Cove, across from the town of Digby.  Route 1 joins up at the western end of this loop, with Highway 101 assuming Route 1's former alignment along St. Mary's Bay.  A new controlled-access segment of Highway 101 is proposed for this area; and it is assumed Route 1 will be re-signed along this stretch if completed.

At Weymouth, Route 1 re-appears, and continues south along the coast through the Municipality of Clare to its end in downtown Yarmouth on Main Street at the ferry terminal to Bar Harbour Maine where it meets the Highway 3 .



Click on the Weymouth loop sign for Evangeline Trail photos and information.



Study Halifax History

Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs

Stamp: Halifax harbour.  Denomination: 13-cent ultramarine.  Issued: 15th November. 1938.  Designed: The Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited, Ottawa.

Here are some sites that focus on the history of Halifax:

Wikipedia: Halifax Explosion
Halifax Then and Now
CBC: The Halifax Explosion
Halifax History
Titanic and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
Halifax Explosion
Halifax History & Information
Titanic Graves of Halifax


Ask Questions

Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs




Is Halifax separate from Dartmouth and Bedford?

Like Toronto, the municipalities in the Halifax area have undergone amalgamation. "Metro Halifax" now includes both Bedford and Dartmouth but most people still use the old names.

Is there Sunday shopping in Halifax?

Sadly, yes, as of October 2006.  Most shops don't open until noon.  The Sunnyside Mall in Bedford still has a craft market Sunday mornings, although during my 2008 trip I noted dimished vendor participation.

How can I email my friends from Halifax?

Go to the Halifax Regional Library on Spring Garden Road where you will find free public internet access. They will ask you to become a member, but the application process is fast and you'll come away with a nifty plastic HRL library card. Signup is for 30 minute sessions.

Does it rain all the time in Halifax?

No. But pack your rain gear, especially in spring and fall. Rain is not uncommon and often comes in the form of a fine mist mixed with fog and "sea smoke" on the water. Halifax rarely experiences the hot and muggy weather that often plagues southern Ontario. Bright sunny days are plentiful enough.

What is the traffic like?

Normally not bad, but Halifax does have serious morning and afternoon peak traffic periods. The Halifax peninsula is like a bottle, with everyone trying to use a limited number of roads that pass through the neck. The Bedford Highway is especially troublesome, and I recommend avoiding it for heading into Halifax in the morning and exiting the city in the late afternoon. Also, the Lacewood Dr. / Chain Lake Dr. access to the Bayers Lake shopping complex can become a bumper-to-bumper parking lot on a Saturday.

Do I have to go over one of the bridges to get to Dartmouth?

No. You can drive around the Bedford Basin in about 20-30 minutes. The distance is approximately 25 kms.  Follow the Bedford Highway to Bedford, and then exit onto Dartmouth Road.  Look for the right-hand exit to Windmill Road, and follow Windmill right into downtown Dartmouth. To come back just retrace your route or hop across one of the two bridges.  (Bridge toll is $1.00 each way.)

Why do cars stop when I stand at the curb?

Believe it or not drivers are actually waiting for you to cross! This is a hard concept for Torontonians to grasp, but there is still considerable road courtesy in the East.

What is the Northwest Arm?

It's really a part of the harbour. If you take a harbour tour by boat you will be able to explore the arm which is home to yacht clubs and some of the city's premier real estate. The Arm is a huge recreational asset for Halifax and the reason the city is a peninsula. It is so named because it points in an almost perfect northwesterly direction.

Why are directions so confusing in Halifax?

Like the Arm, the Halifax Peninsula is distinctly northwest in bearing, with the result that very few directions may be given as exactly north, south, east, or west. In general, consider that Point Pleasant Park is at the south end and the MacKay Bridge is north.

Why do roads in Halifax change their names so often?

That's one of those ultimate philosophical questions that has no answer this side of the divine, but it's certainly true that Halifax roads have serious identity problems. You can rely on Robie St. and Barrington St., but many other roads have multiple personalities: South Park St. becomes Young Ave., Chebucto Rd. becomes North St., Quinpool Rd. becomes either Cogswell St. or Bell Rd. depending on which fork you take, University Ave. becomes Morris St., Kempt Rd. becomes Lady Hammond Rd. which becomes Duffus St., and on it goes. Have fun and keep the map handy.

Why do I always seem to find myself in the left turn lane?

Well, Halifax is a peninsula, and as such it has very limited space. Perhaps the lack of dedicated left turn lanes is a space saving measure? In any case, if you travel in the left lane be prepared to move right before an intersection, unless you want to spend eternity turning left!

Is Halifax bicycle friendly?

There is only one road with a designated bike lane that I have seen, that's aside from the one on the MacDonald Bridge. The steep hills make cycling downtown a real challenge. Bikes are allowed in Point Pleasant Park except on weekends and holidays. A bike helmet is mandatory in Halifax.

What is the transit system like?

Not bad at all, but as with any transit system you will wait for busses. Get a route map from the tourist centre on the waterfront or at the ferry terminal. In July and August you can ride "Fred," a free downtown shuttle bus that makes regular trips between the Casino and Pier 21.  Just hop on!

Can I drive the Cabot Trail in one day from Halifax?

No. It's too far. I suggest first taking a day's drive to Antigonish, with an overnight stay there, perhaps at Whidden's Campground. In spite of the name you don't have to camp. There are fully equipped trailer homes for rent at not much more per night than a motel room.

And how do you pronounce "Antigonish" anyway?

Antigonish is pronounced with the emphasis on the last syllable: Anti-gon-ish. Locals blur the "t," making it more like "Annigonish."

So can I drive the Cabot Trail in one day from Antigonish?

Yes, but it takes all day. Leave by 7 a.m. and drive north to the Canso Causeway which links Nova Scotia with Cape Breton -- by the way, it's the world's deepest causeway, rising 66 meters from the Strait of Canso floor. You can drive the Cabot Trail clockwise or counter clockwise, but it is really only the portion of the road that runs along the western shores where you will find the truly spectacular scenery. Some parts of the drive, particularly through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, are reminiscent of the Rockies -- winding roads, engine challenging inclines, descents that are liable to toast brake linings. A major difference is in the terrain: rolling rather than jagged, and covered in deciduous trees that explode with colour in the fall. On the western coast, there are spectacular shoreline views every few miles, and lots of places to pull off for pictures.

Do I have to go home the way I came?

Certainly not! Try driving to Digby and taking the ferry to St. John, New Brunswick. Or drive to Caribou, NS, and take the ferry to Wood Islands PEI.


Request a brochure from Nova Scotia


Get ThereHelloStayGalleryWalkRide Dine PerformancesShopExploreHistoryFAQs

HomeScamperFamily TreeGoogleBookmarks