Halifax (Nova Scotia), Canada

  • Visited September 2018

What a place! The people of Halifax have been voted the friendliest in Canada so when choosing somewhere to base myself to celebrate my birthday, this was a no brainer, and I was not disappointed. It’s impossible to come here and not come away having made at least one new friend – spend some time at popular Irish bar Durty Nelly’s and that’s guaranteed! I met a great couple in Real Estate from the Niagara Falls area who got chatting to me at the bar and proceeded to buy me drinks to celebrate the last day of me being forty ha ha. The weather wasn’t great during my visit – although the sun magically came out for my day trip to Peggy’s Cove – but the warmth of the people and plenty of indoor venues to visit meant I still enjoyed myself. If all else fails and you get torrential rain like I had, there are a plethora of pubs ready and willing to serve you and give you a Halifax welcome.

Halifax offers heritage buildings for the historically-minded amongst you, top-notch restaurants for the foodies and craft beer houses galore for beer gourmets. The aforementioned Durty Nelly’s is good craic everyday – I really enjoyed the seafood chowder, a beer called Dirty Blonde (sounded made for me ha ha) and the live music. Lower Deck on the harbour-front is the perfect al fresco venue weather-permitting and the place to be on a Sunday apparently. For a fantastic treat meal, I can recommend The Five Fishermen. This was the chosen venue for my birthday meal as I was drawn to the history of the place (it was once a mortuary for victims of the Titanic and reports of ghostly sightings persist) and reputation of its seafood dishes. In a lovely heritage building you will find a casual grill downstairs and fine dining restaurant upstairs. I received excellent service at the bar upstairs and thoroughly enjoyed my dish of The Five Fish – salmon, scallops, shrimp, swordfish, lobster served with an asparagus risotto. The oyster festival was on on the weekend I visited and you can find fresh oysters, lobster etc at various places in the city.

Being an Art lover, a visit to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia was a must-do for me. They are particularly known for their exhibition of the work of local folk artist Maud Lewis and for having her famous little painted house on display. I recommend watching the film Maudie before visiting to really appreciate the beauty of her work and the house itself.   

Other venues perfect for rainy days include the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (free Tuesdays 5 – 8pm), Museum of Natural History (free Wednesdays 5 – 8pm) and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. I should also note that The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is actually free on Thursdays 5 – 8 pm and the Discovery Centre (Science museum) is free Wednesdays 5 – 8pm. There is a good cinema in the Park Lane Mall, in the downtown area, so I actually popped to the movies a couple of times as I’ve missed seeing films whilst I’ve been travelling in other places.

Nova Scotia is, of course, known for its spectacular natural beauty and many people come to Halifax to do the Cabot trail. Autumn is a popular time to visit as visitors like to see the changing foliage reflecting the seasonal transition. Absolutely unmissable is a half day visit to Peggy’s Cove (you can buy tickets at the ticket hut beside the entrance of the Maritime museum and the bus leaves from this location at 1pm daily). Peggy’s Point Lighthouse is said to be one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world and I was thrilled we had good weather on the day I went and was lucky to take some fab photos. The cove itself is really quaint and you should buy yourself a lobster roll when there.  I didn’t get to Lunenberg, the port town and UNESCO site, unfortunately as the weather was so foul but would like to return in the summer time one day to explore more.

Overall: loved it!

Selection of pictures from my stay: