The Hot Spot: Halifax –

Halifax has an exhilarating spring in its step. Amid a slew of cranes building condominiums for a growing population, a slew of new businesses offer high-design products and fun culinary adaptations inspired by Nova Scotia ingredients that stretch beyond the typical, though still very appreciated, boiled lobster. Beer gardens and open-air cocktail bars line the boardwalk. Mobile ice cream bikes cruise the city. Delicious destinations are serving snacks like cinnamon-sugar donuts (Trickdough Baking Co.) and chili con carne tacos in Oaxacan corn tortillas (Beverley Taco Service). Here’s a selection of exceptional venues that reflect Halifax’s old and new, and the abundance of fun to be found there.

The best cuisine on the east coast

After an ambitious eight-year renovation, this restored heritage house finally opened as a pub last March. Promising true Nova Scotia hospitality, the traditional maritime menu serves dishes found in old cookbooks: Try the Dutch Mess (braised haddock with minced egg and hash browns) or the Boil Dinner (corned beef, turnip, carrot, cabbage, fried leeks). All produce and meat are local, with a standout smoked salmon pate sourced from the Halifax Afission fishmonger.

The atmosphere is as classic as the menu. During the winter, two wood-burning stoves provide warmth and a warm smoky aroma. Antique lighting was salvaged from garage sales and much of the décor belonged to the owners’ grandparents. On weekends, there is live music from the East Coast. This place is so loved by the locals that it was without signage for months and still had lines out the door. Don’t leave without admiring the impressive stained glass windows, dating back to 1896.

best bakery

This recent addition to busy Agricola Street in Halifax’s charming North End is a bakery, pantry and much more. In addition to wonderfully tasty sourdough breads (sesame rye is a perennial favorite), Luke’s specialties include sticky kouign-amann (a sweet and savory French pastry), seasonal scones, and tomato ricotta danish. . They also make sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, including the delicious jambon-beurre, a piece of baguette filled with butter, ham, and sliced ​​pickles. Luke’s own brand of jarred delicacies include chicken liver mousse and tomato relish, sold alongside an eclectic mix of small imported items like chili chips, canned fish and truffle fries.

best day at the beach

One of the best things about Halifax is its proximity to the ocean: not only can you smell the sea salt as you sit by the harbor, but you can find pristine beaches just minutes from the city. Lawrencetown Beach, a 35-minute drive from downtown Halifax, is home to the East Coast Surf School. The two-kilometre stretch of sand is a great place for beginners: the waves are consistent and there are lifeguards on duty. If you already know how to surf, you can rent a board and a wetsuit and jump into the water. Beginner lessons start at $85.

best history lesson

As Halifax evolves, this small museum, which opened in 2012, preserves an important part of local history that continues to resonate. For more than 100 years, Africville was home to Nova Scotia’s African population, until the community was forcibly relocated in the 1960s. Homes were torn down and families dispersed to industrialize the port. The museum, housed in a replica of an Africville church, tells the story of Nova Scotia’s African community, such as pioneering civil rights activist Viola Desmond, and serves as a repository for her stories. The adjacent Africville Park, overlooking the harbor, has trails, a playground, and picnic tables.

best boutique

The gem of a Hannah Sears store has elevated the area’s aesthetic possibilities with a colorful display of clothing, ceramics and accessories, and an emphasis on high-quality, sustainable products. The store itself is a delight, with high ceilings, natural light beams, and custom millwork. Expect playful print jumpsuits, jewel-toned knitwear, and chic flowing dresses from brands like Paloma Wool, A Bronze Age, Mijeong Park, and Halifax’s Maggie Jayne.

Best stay on a budget

The 16 suites at this no-frills North End spot have kitchenettes and modern touches like light wood, concrete walls, and arched windows. There’s also a cute little cafe on the first floor, Sidekick, to satisfy breakfast sandwich cravings. For guests who don’t feel like going out, the room service menu includes White Claw and kombucha.

The best splurge on a stay.

This stylish new property is part of the bustling Queen’s Marque waterfront development. The rooms are paneled in white oak and decorated with tartan details. There’s an Atlantic-inspired restaurant, an in-house art gallery showcasing regional works, and for blissful afternoons, the Windward Wellness Spa, featuring halotherapy salt and eucalyptus steam baths. A 36-foot yacht can be chartered for sunset sailing.

This article appears in print in the September 2022 issue of Maclean’s magazine. Subscribe to the monthly print magazine hereor buy the number online here.

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