Harbour Hopper in Halifax Harbour

Top 10 Guided Tours in Halifax!

It is great to go your own way, but sometimes it is nice to have a little guidance. Someone with special knowledge or expertise can make your experience of a place or activity much more enjoyable. Experts can provide little-known facts or even exclusive access, things that you may not be able to get on your own.

So, on your next visit to Halifax, try out one of these great guided tours!

1. Harbour Hopper
This unique vehicle can drive on land and in water! This amphibious adventure allows you to view Halifax’s most famous historic sites from both the street and the harbour. A great tour for all ages.

2. Theodore Tugboat

The kids will love taking a ride on this beloved Halifax icon on a tour that brings all the sights and sounds of a working harbour to life. In addition to Theo’s smiling face, they will meet his friends the Dispatcher, Tugboat Crew and Benjamin Bridge.

3. Historic Ghost Walks
Want to hear about the spooky side of Halifax history? Grab your friends and take a ghost walk. See and learn fascinating facts about the city’s most eerie sites, including haunted buildings, troubled spirits and odd occurrences (if you dare!). The Halifax Ghost Walk and Tattle Tours are both popular ones.

4. Pirate Cruise
Join the Pirate Captain and merciless crew on board the Tall Ship Silva, and brace yourself for a swashbuckling adventure! Kids will love signing the Pirate Code of Conduct, scavenging for treasure, hoisting the sails and firing the cannon.

5. Open Top Tours
These tours in 4×4 jeeps allow you to get up close to sites and enjoy the personal attention of being in a small group. They provide a unique way to see many places across the province and allow you to customize a tour based on your preferences and needs. All the benefits of renting a car without having to worry about the driving, navigation or parking!

6. I Heart Bikes
An even more intimate and personal way to see the city is on a bright blue bike. Rent a bike and guide yourself or join in on a guided group tour. A perfect date activity!

7. Local Tasting Tours
The perfect tour for the foodies and beer lovers. Get a taste of some of the best restaurants and breweries in Halifax and learn about our culinary culture in a small group with a super knowledgeable guide. Get an inside look into the minds and kitchens of our local food heroes.

8. Kayak Halifax
You can’t visit Halifax without getting up close and personal with the ocean, and it’s hard to get any closer to it than in a kayak. Watch a beautiful sunset or explore one of our cool harbour islands with experienced guides showing you the ropes. East Coast Outfitters also offer great guided kayak tours.

9. Nature and Whale Watching
One of the best sites in Halifax is the nature, and the best way to view it is on a guided tour. The Haligonian III takes you right to where the action is, to view creatures living in the water (whales, dolphins, fish) and above (sea birds). Naturalists provide you with lots of information while viewing, so you get the complete experience.

10. Picture Perfect Tours
The aim of this tour company is to show you the most photograph-able sites in our province. Take a selfie with our legendary Peggy’s Cove lighthouse and the beautiful morning light beaming behind you, or learn the history of Halifax visually through old photographs, maps, paintings and film clips, courtesy of the provincial archives.

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17 events NOT to miss in 2017!

I know we just got the busy holiday season wrapped up, but if you’re itching to fill in that new calendar you just received, here are some 2017 events coming up that you don’t want to miss.

1: January – Discovery Centre opening
The Discovery Centre has been a fixture on Barrington Street, but during 2016 it bid the address farewell to move to a new location. Opening in January 2017 and located on the Halifax waterfront, the new Discovery Centre has something for everyone.

Boasting “twice as much space for hands-on fun, with five galleries, an open atrium, an Innovation Lab, a Travelling Exhibits Gallery and the first Immersive Dome Theatre in the region,” it’s got something for everyone.

Learn more on their recently revamped website.

2: February 15 – Arkells at the Scotiabank Centre
Halifax has been lucky to see the rise of the Arkells, playing at the Seahorse (sold out!) to the Multi-Purpose Centre and everything in between.

they’re coming back on their 2017 Morning Report Tour to play the Scotiabank Centre, with special guest Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls. Buy tickets for the February 15 show today.

3: February 19 – UFC Fight Night 105 in Halifax
With the main event being confirmed as a rematch of heavyweight contenders Stefan Struve and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos, Halifax is pumped up for the return of UFC to the Scotiabank Centre.

Tickets are on sale now, check out Ticket Atlantic for more details.

4: March 9 – 12 – Men’s College Basketball Final 8
While Canadian teams may not be competing in NCAA March Madness, that doesn’t men we can’t have our own college hoops excitement. For the second consecutive year, Halifax plays host to the Arcelormittal Dofasco U Sports Men’s Basketball Final 8.

While we don’t know the teams vying for the title just yet, tickets are currently available from Ticket Atlantic.

5: April 4 – May 28 – ‘Once’ at Neptune Theatre

Running from April 4 to May 28, Once is adapted from the film of the same name and is currently running on Broadway. The musical is the winner of 8 Tony Awards, an Oscar for Best Original Song and a Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album. This is definitely not an event to miss.

Learn more and buy tickets here.

6: April 26 – 29 – Halifax Comedy Fest
With over 30 comedians appearing on 14 stages, the Halifax Comedy Fest brings all the laughs to the city.

Some comedians have been announced, with more to come – you can buy tickets now for select events.

7: May 20 – 21 – Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon Weekend

There’s something about normal people setting a goal and committing to succeed that brings the rest of us out in droves to cheer them on.

Blue Nose Marathon Weekend is always a special time where it just feels good to get out and celebrate the achievements of others across the city. Also, no matter what the weather may be for race day, it always lets us know that summer is just around the corner, which is really a victory for everyone. With 6 distances spread across 2 days, there is something for everyone.

Commit to those resolutions that felt like a great idea a few weeks ago, and register today.

8: June 19 – July 6  – Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo
A Nova Scotian summer tradition! Celebrated as the world’s largest indoor show, the Tattoo features everything from bagpipes and military traditions, to acrobats and trampoline routines.

Tickets are already on sale, so grab yours today.

9: July 1 – Canada 150
Halifax hasn’t announced their plans for celebrating Canada 150, but it’s bound to be something special! There are sure to be some great events taking place to celebrating the diversity and history of the region, so check back for more details as they become available.

10: July 8 – Mud Hero
Muddy obstacle races seem to be a summertime fixture, and lucky for us it’s only a short trip outside of the city to participate in Mud Hero. There are a couple of distances to choose from, and discounts for registering in advance, so sign up today!

11: July 13 – 23 – Halifax Pride Festival
The Halifax Pride Festival is known as one of Canada’s Premier Pride Festivals, and draws over more than 150,000 participants each year. 2017 marks the 30th year of the festival, so you can pretty much guarantee there will be something special planned. Details are forthcoming, be on the lookout!

12: July 12 – 16 – TD Halifax Jazz Festival
While few details have been released about the 2017 TD Halifax Jazz Festival, if 2016 is any indication it’s going to be another one for the books. On the heels of last years sold out Lauryn Hill show, and great performances by Metric, City and Colour, Chic and Thundercat, I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Keep an eye on the official website for more details.

13: July 29 – August 1  – Return of the Tall Ships

40 Tall Ships will be sailing into Halifax next summer, as a stop on the Tall Ships Regatta – a 7,000 nautical mile Transatlantic race. Additional information will be available in the coming months, but be prepared for lots of excitement on the waterfront!

14: August 11 – 12 – Seaport Beer Fest
Come celebrate the 10th year of Beer on the Pier, August 11 – 12th at the Halifax Seaport. It’s Atlantic Canada’s “largest gathering of Craft Beer, Specialty, Import and Cider!”  There are also “special pavilions from regions such as BC, ON, QC and Ireland.”

This event is always a sellout, and tickets are already on sale, so buy now.

15: September 22 – 24 – Hal-Con
Often selling out of their passes, this yearly event brings a large selection of actors, authors and illustrators to Halifax to sit on panels and engage with their fans. While the 2017 lineup has yet to be announced, you can be sure it’s going to have something for all the sci-fi fans in your life.

Learn more on the Hal-Con website.

16: October 18 – 21 – Halifax Pop Explosion
It seems as though 2017 is a big year for anniversaries, and Halifax Pop Explosion is no exception – this favourite fall event is celebrating 25 years!

While the lineup is generally not announced until a bit later in the year, wristbands are already available for purchase on the HPX website.

17: December 6 – 100 Year Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion
On December 6, 1917, our city was changed forever. Resulting from the collision of two ships in the harbour narrows, the Halifax explosion devastated Halifax, killing approximately 2,000 people and injuring 9,000 others.

The municipality is currently working with the Halifax Explosion Anniversary Committee on memorial plans – details will be released as they become available.

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Pet-Free Hotels in Halifax

The east coast is known across the country and around the world for its friendly disposition, and Halifax is no exception. We love welcoming men, women, children and, in many places, pets too!

But if furry friends leave you feeling sniffly, sneezy and stuffed up, there’s no need to worry!  With a number of pet-free hotels, the city has something for everyone. Here is a list of pet-free accommodations in Halifax, all waiting to welcome you.

1. Halliburton Hotel
Address:
5184 Morris Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

This charming boutique hotel is a trio of heritage townhouses cleverly combined into one luxury location. Only steps away from the historic Halifax waterfront, it is the perfect place for travellers eager to explore the city’s history and culture.

2. Commons Inn
Address:
5780 West Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

This North End locale makes a great home away from home. Ideally situated in Halifax’s fastest growing neighbourhood, there is a variety of shops and restaurants to visit. And of course, as the name implies, there’s easy access to the Halifax Common – home to the Emera Oval.

3. The Hollis
Address:
 1649 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

This pet-free accommodation in the heart of Halifax is an ideal home base for travellers eager to explore the city. Whether you want to wander the waterfront, indulge in a local meal, or take in the city’s museums, markets and shopping, everything is right at your fingertips.

4. Waverley Inn
Address:
 1266 Barrington Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

A Halifax landmark since 1876, the Waverley takes guests back to the charm and character of Victorian Halifax. Within walking distance from some of Halifax’s most famous historical landmarks, there’s no better place to start and end your day.

5. Marriott Courtyard Halifax Downtown
Address:
 5120 Salter Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

With first-rate amenities and views of the gorgeous Halifax harbour, this luxury hotel is an excellent option for visitors. Found in the Brewery Square in downtown Halifax, guests can easily enjoy all that Halifax has to offer.

6. Hilton Garden Inn Halifax Airport Hotel
Address:
200 Pratt & Whitney Drive, Enfield, Nova Scotia

Conveniently located near the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, this pet-free hotel is the perfect jumping off point for a visit to downtown Halifax or to any of the other beautiful destinations in Nova Scotia.

Now that you’ve found a pet-free place to stay, all that’s left to do is enjoy your vacation in Halifax.

Halifax waterfront lamp posts

What is the story behind the Halifax boardwalk lampposts?!

While the list of places to love in Halifax is certainly long, the waterfront will always be close to the top. In the summer the boardwalk is busy with tourists and locals, and you can’t help but feel caught up in the excitement and energy. It’s a great place to catch a cool breeze and a snack or drink from many of the quality vendors. In the winter, the waterfront is generally a little less populated, but that doesn’t make it any less of a great space for a stroll with a friend or a pet.

One of the best things about the Halifax waterfront is that there’s always plenty to see. Sailboats, ferries, cargo ships and naval vessels are a regular sight, as are both George’s and McNab’s islands; however, don’t think you have to turn your eyes to the water to see something interesting. From Donna Hiebert’s ‘The Wave’ at Sackville Landing, to ‘The Emigrant,’ celebrating the arrival of new Canadians from around the world, there is a lot to discover.

That includes the drunken lampposts.

The two pieces, entitled ‘Fountain’ and ‘Get Drunk, Fall Down’, the bendy light post sculptures always seem to be popping up on Instagram feeds and social media streams. So what’s the story behind them? Designed by NSCAD alums Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg, the ‘Fountain’ lamppost shoots a stream of water into the harbour, as though it was relieving itself after a big night downtown. Not far away, ‘Get Drunk, Fall Down’ features another lamppost slumped across the pier, with its concerned friend looking down. The two displays are described as “nakedly honest portraits of unseemly behaviours that are often playing out on our own streets after dark.” Installed as a temporary display in 2013, after it appeared at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, the displays made a big impression on the city, and have become a permanent fixture on the Halifax waterfront.

Have you snapped your photo with the light posts? Share in the comments on Facebook!