Halifax Nova Scotia
“Where immigration is supported and encouraged”
Tim Horton – 35 branches
Second Cup - 4
I was feeling pretty wistful after our overnight Ocean train from Montreal so Halifax seemed like the big cherry on top. A long weekend is plenty in this pretty little city on the edge of Nova Scotia with a population of just under 400,000. Unless you have a car and go off to the many coastal attractions.
It does feel Scottish – actually quite British – explained by the fact that the UK provides the largest influx of immigrants, currently over 6000 citizens. This is a city that ‘welcomes immigration’ with a million people having come into Canada this way, as testified by the popular Canadian Museum of Immigration.
Pavia in the Halifax Central Library is my top choice for an all-round excellent coffee experience. The library, the ethos, the views, the service and the London fog! (No, I didn’t have coffee after all).
Cabin Coffee is quite touristy in the end, as expected as they apparently serve the biggest/best cinnamon buns. They were nether but the place has a fairly lovely vibe although on the hippyish side.
An important one for us was the one at Seven Day Bouldering as it adjacent to the bus stop around the corner. This one was only discovered on the last day as it’s the one and only place we could get the bus (with one change at Dartmouth bus station) to the airport on a Sunday. The coffee shop would have been worth it anyway, particularly to say hello to the dog was right outside
We did stop at a coffee shop in Dartmouth at the popular Two If By Sea café.
There are plenty of coffee shops along this waterfront boardwalk Halifax harbour front too.
Away from the water, walk along Spring Garden Road which is really the main street here. The brightly coloured buildings on Queen Street will sure catch your eye as will the stunning Halifax Central Library. Another one to add to my list of the best libraries I’ve visited around the world.
The aforementioned immigration museum is just a few steps from the fantastic food market and the Port of Halifax.
The first building we noted when stepping outside of our hotel towards the waterside area is the
Halifax City Hall where on Remembrance Sunday we had the privilege of witnessing hundreds of locals pay their respects at a beautiful commemoration. I’ve always loved that November 11th is a national holiday in Canada. Here they’d erected some large polystyrene crosses for everyone to respectfully pin their poppy too. We took ours there on the last day to say a fond farewell to this wonderfully welcoming little city.
On a side note, having noted the importance of this day, poppies were so difficult to find. There were no shops offering them in, not even in Montreal, but every news presenter was wearing one. After a week of looking, we got ours by chance on the VIA Rail from Montreal to Halifax.
There’s not a whole amount to in Dartmouth but it is a lovely residential town to walk around. Mainly I’d go to look back at the view but also for the old-fashioned ferry terminal. To get on the boat that takes you across to Dartmouth, you need to throw your coins into a ‘bucket’ to go through the carousel but you still receive a paper ticket for the journey that lasts a few minutes for seemingly no good reason!
Salty's Restaurant was the perfect setting for our Friday fish n chips. We went before sundown and were able to watch as the river disappear under a fiery cloud outside. Had we been in town longer, we’d have gone back for a return visit to enjoy the friendly welcome.
We had an excellent breakfast included at the hotel but ate light on the Saturday so we can enjoy the well-regarded Cora. For me, choosing from this humongous menu is the hardest I’ve had to work all trip and for a non-fruit eater, it was too much as everything came with fruit! I asked for French Toast (my first of the trip!) without any colourful, nutritious accompaniment
Halifax Seaport Farmers Market of course has plenty to eat.
There are plenty of shops around with a couple of little shopping malls.
Spring Garden Road has more sitting alongside the restaurants.
I loved Pete’s Fine Food for groceries. We’d have shopped there if we were stopping longer as we had a fully equipped kitchen at Homeward Suites. Revealing a bit more about the area’s heritage, the shop has a British section and was promoting an upcoming ‘British Invasion’ event.
Also there’s local produce at the aforementioned farmers market.
The airport is some distance and taxi was pricey. The usual route would be a across a bridge that unfortunately was shut for repairs every weekend while we were three. It’s unclear why this would have an effect on where the bus stopped but it did.
Having a lovely hotel with breakfast and – get this – dinner included Monday to Thursday – is a huge bonus. I definitely could have stayed in the Hilton Homeward Suites longer. We had plenty of space at this newly built hotel along with views of the citadel in our case. It’s next to the Hampton Inn making it look like a little Hilton village.