All posts by Jess Ilse

Jess is a marketing assistant and freelance writer who moved to Halifax from Cape Sable Island, exchanging small-town life for big-city living.She's been here in Halifax for eight years and can’t imagine living anywhere else (unless it’s Paris or Monaco…). Jess loves photography, reading, classic movies, pastries (she would write sonnets about macaroons if she there was an audience for it), and anything that involves the Royals. She believes that she'll never finish discovering amazing things about Halifax, which inspires her to get out and explore this wonderful city.
Nocturne Spring Garden

6 FREE Halifax Cultural Activities You Can’t Miss

In Atlantic Canada, Maritime culture is celebrated in plays, movies, music, and art—and Halifax is no exception. And the best part is that you can experience the best of the city’s culture without spending a penny.

1 – Poetry in the Gardens

Calling all poetry lovers! To mark the 150th anniversary of the Public Gardens, visitors can enjoy free monthly poetry readings at sites throughout the gardens. Continue reading

Halifax Public Gardens Gazebo

Halifax’s Top Attractions – Everything You Need To Know (And More)!

As Nova Scotia’s capital city with nearly 270 years of history, the commercial hub of Atlantic Canada and home to more bars per capita than any city in Canada, there is no shortage of things to do in Halifax!

From historical sites to local favourites, here is everything you need to know (and more) about Halifax’s top attractions.

11. Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

Arguably Canada’s most visited national historic site, Citadel Hill is a top attraction in Halifax. While it never actually saw battle, its role in history is undeniable. Explore the fort on your own or with a tour from re-enactment interpreters. Or become a soldier for a day and fire an authentic Snider-Enfield rifle.

Did you know? Many legends surround Citadel Hill. Some believe that secret tunnels were built underneath the city streets to connect the Citadel with the Armoury and perhaps even George’s Island located in the middle of Halifax harbour. Others are convinced that the fort is haunted.

Guarding the fort. #halifax #citadelhill #citadelhillhalifax #novascotia #explorens #explorenovascotia

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10. Old Town Clock

As one of the most recognizable landmarks in Halifax, the Old Town Clock has become a symbol of the city. The clock was installed in 1803 as a parting gift from Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Commander-in-Chief of the British military, who wished to resolve the tardiness of the local garrison. Over the years, the tower housing has been used as a guard room and as a residence for the clock caretaker. Did you know? Few have had the opportunity to explore the Old Town Clock, until now—the bottom floor will be open to visitors June 3-4 as part of Doors Open Halifax.

9. Halifax Waterfront

One of the best ways to experience our historic port city is strolling along the downtown waterfront. Admire the beautiful views of the harbour, complete with heritage vessels, small sailboats, tugs, and the oldest, continuous, salt-water passenger ferry service.

Did you know? The Halifax waterfront hosts some of the best events in the city, including the International Buskers Festival, Canada Day and Natal Day celebrations and, this year, the return of the Tall Ships.

 8. Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 

Pier 21 is a National Historic Site which was the gateway to Canada for one million immigrants between 1928 and 1971, and a departure point for 500,000 Canadian Military personnel during the second world war. Today, Pier 21 is home to the Canadian Museum of Immigration—Atlantic Canada’s only national museum—where visitors explore the immigration experience from the homeland departure to being assimilated in a new country. Did you know? You can trace your own family immigration story for free at Pier 21. Find out more here!

7. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

As Canada’s oldest and largest maritime museum, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic brings the sea indoors with its collection of small craft, model ships, photographs, and relics of maritime history. Exhibits are devoted to sea life and historic events, including the world-famous Titanic. If that isn’t enough, the museum also offers learning initiatives including LEGO Stop Motion Animation User Club and Welcome Wednesdays for families.

Did you know? One of the permanent exhibits at the museum looks at the Halifax Explosion—a maritime disaster that is having its 100th anniversary this year.

6. Halifax Public Gardens

The Halifax Public Gardens is a 16-acre park in the heart of downtown Halifax. The park is a perfect example of Victorian horticulture, boasting ornamental fountains, a bandstand, statues, formal flower-beds, and a beautiful wrought iron entrance. Throughout the park, visitors will find 140 different species of trees as well as ducks and other waterfowl. A can’t miss while in the city is the number of events in the park! Did you know? Having opened in 1867, this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Halifax Public Gardens.

I could make anyone look tall 🙃

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5. Point Pleasant Park

One of the most popular places for a stroll in Halifax has to be Point Pleasant Park. This 75-hectare park is home to towering trees, 39 km of winding footpaths, historical monuments and ruins, and great views of the Halifax Harbour and North West Arm. The park also features a supervised beach for swimming, off-leash dog walking areas, and summer performances of Shakespeare by the Sea. Did you know? Halifax rents the site from the British Government for 1 shilling (about 10 cents) a year, with a 999-year lease.

4. Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Halifax’s Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is the largest art museum in the Atlantic provinces. The museum features a permanent collection, numbering more than 17,000 pieces, as well as temporary exhibitions. While there, be sure to check out the work of Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis. Did you know? There are two Art Gallery of Nova Scotia locations—one in Halifax and another in Yarmouth. Admission to the Halifax location can be used for free admission at the location in Yarmouth (max 7 days after purchase). Also, admission is free in Halifax every Thursday from 5 – 9 pm.

3. Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market

The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is the most popular of all the markets in the region, drawing crowds of locals and tourists alike. With 250 vendors selling local products and a rooftop patio overlooking the harbour, we can see why! While Saturday and Sunday are the prime days to visit the market, its doors are open with limited vendors Tuesday through Friday as well. To take full advantage of the market, join one of their demonstrations, classes, and workshops. Did you know? Although it has operated in several locations since its inception in 1750, what’s now known as the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market is North America’s longest continuously operating market.

Saturday Mornings #beige #breadsofinstagram #farmersmarket

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2. The Discovery Centre

With four floors of interactive, hands-on learning experiences, the Discovery Centre captures the imagination of visitors. As soon as you walk in the door, you can see how they successfully bring STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) to life. Especially with their Immersive Dome Theater, Innovation Lab, and first featured exhibit on The Science of Rock n’ Roll. Did you know? The Discover Centre recently opened in its brand new state-of-the-art 40,000 sq ft facility on the Halifax Waterfront, with exhibits for people of all ages.

 1. Alexander Keith’s Brewery

The brewery has been a part of Halifax history since 1820 thanks to its founder, Scottish-born Alexander Keith. Trained as a brewer, Keith ran the brewery for 53 years, while also serving as the mayor of Halifax. Today, visitors can learn about the man who started it all with an immersive tour of the brewery. During the tour, actors in period costume and character bring 1863 Halifax to life with songs and stories as they lead guests through the brewhouse—which continues to brew Alexander’s ale—and to the tap room for a taste. Did you know? Keith’s Brewery was founded in 1920, making it one of the oldest commercial breweries in all of North America—even surviving the Halifax explosion.

Do you have an interesting fact about one of Halifax’s top tourist attractions? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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Top 6 places to get a cocktail in HALIFAX!

Jess + cocktails = the best relationship. I’m always in search of delicious cocktails downtown, so when I received this assignment I was more than ready to try out some new places and some new cocktails.

1. Lot Six
Address: 1685 Argyle Street, Halifax

Lot Six is a newly opened bar on Argyle Street, and it’s a place I’ve been meaning to try but hadn’t yet had the chance. The bartender recommended a few drinks, including the 12th Year and the Ron Burgundy, but I went with his third recommendation: The Geisha Sour (Beefeater Gin, Dolin Dry, lime, Matcha Tea, rosewater and egg white).

It was sour and tart, and not something I would have picked out on my own, but I definitely enjoyed the departure from my usual selections!

2. The Bitter End
Address: 1572 Argyle Street, Halifax

The Bitter End is known for its impressive martini menu and its popular happy house, so I knew I had to try a martini. I’ve been to The Bitter End before on busy Saturday nights and I had tried their fun, fruity cocktails, but never one of the martinis. The bartender recommended all the martinis on the special Martini Monday menu, and I chose the Sour Apple Martini. It was delicious and tasted exactly like a sour apple!

3. The Middle Spoon
Address: 1563 Barrington Street, Halifax

I’m no stranger to The Middle Spoon – the peanut butter pie is one of the best I’ve eaten anywhere in Halifax. Before I went, I checked out the menu and the Red Sole caught my eye. I waiting until I arrived to make my decision to hear the bartenders recommendation.

She and the two servers recommended the Red Sole as well as the Aphrodite’s Weakness. I went with my original instinct and tried the Red Sole (gin, lillet blanc, orange blossom water, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, fresh seasonal berries, topped with soda). It was super fruity, light, and the blend of liquors and berries were perfect. This is a drink you’ll definitely want to try this summer!

Chocolate or peanut butter? Or both?

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4. The Gahan House
Address: 1877 Upper Water St, Halifax

This waterfront establishment is located right in Historic Properties. When you walk into Gahan House, you’ll be memorized with oceanfront views, high ceilings, big windows and yes, cocktails! For a summery drink I recommend the appropriately named “Halifizz” with gin, cucumber, grapefruit and soda. Another favourite is “The Harbour Hurricane” mad with three different kinds of tropical fruit juices. The names alone are enough to make you want to try a few of their cocktails and you certainly won’t be disappointed.

#novascotia #waterfront #summerdrinks #patio @gahan.halifax A post shared by Alicia MacIntyre (@amacintyre) on

5. Field Guide
Address: 2076 Gottingen Street, Halifax

My friend Lindsay and I went to Field Guide and each tried a cocktail that the bartender recommended. I tried the Love Below, which was gin, dry vermouth, rose petals, lemon, and Peychaud, and thought it was delicious – the rose and lemon blended together nicely, felt like the perfect drink for a warm summer night.

The bartender also recommended the Caribbean Cup, but I’ll save that for my next visit!

Wednesday views 😏

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6. Lion and Bright
Address: 2534 Agricola St, Halifax

Located on Agricola Street in Halifax’s trendy North End, is a fantastic Café Wine bar with no shortage of classic cocktails with an interesting twist. Lion & Bright has two lists of cocktails, divided by stirred and shaken. Yes, they went there. Of course they make your classic “Old Fashions” and “Manhattans” but they can really impress you with cocktails such as “The Narcissist” and “The Last Word”.

You miss 100% of the cafes you don’t go to #drinklocal #roastlocal A post shared by Julia Hanley (@ju_hanley) on

Where is your favourite place to get a cocktail or even better, which is your favourite cocktail of all time? Let us know!

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Top 6 Vegetarian & Vegan-friendly restaurants in HALIFAX

With vegetarian and vegan lifestyles on the rise, and a popular demand for healthy eating, this blog was long overdue! My latest quest for Destination Halifax involved sampling some of these plant-based dishes and restaurants in Halifax. To my surprise, there were more than I thought!

Here’s what I tried for these 6 awesome local venues:

6. The Foggy Goggle
Address: 2057 Gottingen St

The Foggy Goggle isn’t exclusively a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, but offers a lot of selection for those that do eat vegetarian foods. I decided to try something completely new to me: a Thai Peanut Bowl – tofu, black beans, and veggies, all sautéed in a delicious sauce, over roasted potatoes and greens. Delicious and highly recommend! Also, make sure you check in on Monday for their “Meat Free Monday” special of the day!

Different street, same comms team meeting spot. 🏳️‍🌈 Two weeks to @halifaxpride. A post shared by emma robertson (@emmaonadventures) on

5. enVie, A Vegan Kitchen
Address: 5775 Charles Street

EnVie is a vegan restaurant in the North End of Halifax, on the corner of Charles and Agricola Street. They make all of their food from scratch, and locally wherever possible. I went for supper the other night, and tried the delicious Butter Chick’n – tandoori tofu and curry cashew cream sauce over a rice pilaf and accompanied by house made naan bread. I was quite impressed to say the least!

Mmmmm nom nom nom… If you haven’t had a burger yet today you are missing out! . . #hfxburgerweek

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4. The Wooden Monkey
Address: 1707 Grafton Street and 88 Alderney Drive

The Wooden Monkey has long been a popular restaurant in downtown Halifax, and I was looking forward to trying it for the first time. I couldn’t resist taking advantage of the fact that it was also Burger Week, so I got their special: a Mexican Black Bean Burger. This tasty burger was made with rice, organic roasted corn and crusted in organic blue corn chips. The bun was house made with guacamole and chipotle salsa. I can’t wait to see what they come up for next year’s burger week!

I had a delicious Seitan sandwich today 😍 #vegansofig #whatveganseat #whatdoveganseattho#foodporn A post shared by Becca Davison (@_beccadavison) on

3. Wild Leek
Address: 2156 Windsor Street

Another exclusively vegan restaurant in Halifax is Wild Leek, a quaint little restaurant located on Windsor Street. Everything on the menu looked delicious, but I decided to go with the Mac & Cheese bowl, made with a creamy cashew sauce and accompanied by a greens salad. It was quite filling and very delicious!

Mmm these vegan donair’s are to die for! @wildleek is killin’ it, you gotta check out all of their delicious food!

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2. Springhouse
Address: 1209 Marginal Road

Springhouse is a small café located at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market. I ducked in for lunch one day and ordered the grilled wrap – roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, potatoes, veggie pâté, and a side of Caesar sauce. It was a light, delicious lunch, one I’d go back for again.

1. Heartwood
Address: 6250 Quinpool Road

Heartwood, located on Quinpool Road, is a nifty vegetarian restaurant that has been open for over 20 years! The menu looked eclectic, so I went with a dish featuring cuisine I enjoy a lot: Cajun. The Cajun Tofu features two tofu steaks seasoned with Cajun spices and topped with a spicy tomato sauce. There was also steamed greens and organic brown rice. The flavour profile was quite good, and I’d definitely recommend the dish!

They also have a seasonal location called Heartwood By The Sea on the Halifax waterfront!

Our #healthy #wholesome lunch @heartwood_restaurant in #Halifax. Rémi ordered a #vegan bowl on brown rice 🍚👌🏽 

A post shared by MTLVEG • Melodie Anne (@mtlveg) on

What are some of your favourite vegetarian or vegan dishes at Halifax restaurants? Let us know!