JOIN US IN AN INTERVIEW WITH ADRIENNE CLEMENT FROM HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA!
Adrienne Clement is a bucket list blogger at Bucket Half Full, living in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the east coast in Canada. She writes about food, travel, and overall unique experiences. When she is not blogging or planning her next adventure, you can find her working at her day job in sales at a tech startup, doing anything crafty, or mixing up a mean gin and tonic.
Nova Scotia is one of the most beautiful provinces in Canada, and Halifax, it’s capital, makes for a great destination. Though Halifax lies on the east coast in Canada but is closer to Dublin in Ireland than Victoria in BC. The city was founded by the British in 1749 and has grown to be the biggest city in Atlantic Canada. Halifax is home to a bustling waterfront (where more than 200 cruise ships arrive every year), vibrant culinary scene and peaceful city parks. It’s coastline stretches approximately 150 km in length, and the scenic Halifax drive along the shoreline can be done in about 3 hours.
What is the best time to visit Halifax?
Halifax enjoys four seasons. Summers are pleasant with temperature ranging between 20-23°C and winters are cold and snowy. I would say Summers or early Fall are definitely the best times to visit Halifax. Spring and Winter can be a bit messy in this region, so avoid these times if you want to get out and explore.
Halifax’s proximity to the ocean also makes it prone to hurricanes which form in the Atlantic ocean, so look out for Atlantic Hurricane Season. It’s when city suffers the brunt of tropical storms, depressions and hurricanes. It’s normal to experience 171 wet days in a year.
Which is the most convenient and favored transport of Halifax?
Public transport is definitely lacking in the city. Walking is the best way to get around in the downtown core. If you don’t feel like walking, cabbing would be the next best option. Halifax Transit operates three MetroX limited-stop routes that transport passengers to and from the downtown areas of Halifax, but you need to be patient with public transport. As a tourist you can try Harbour Hopper which is Atlantic Canada’s most popular tour and great for newbies. It is an amphibious adventure that shows you the best of Halifax by land and sea!
From the Halifax airport there are taxis at a fixed rate, metro transit express bus service, Maritime buses, and the airport express shuttle bus during peak season.
What are the top three must visit places in Halifax?
There is so much to do in Halifax that suggesting just three would be difficult. Nova Scotia is often referred as Canada’s ocean playground. Visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic which is the oldest and largest Maritime museum in Canada, the Canadian Museum of immigration at Pier 21 which gives you an insight into the lives of the immigrants (1 million) between the years 1928 and 1971 or the iconic brewery market.
Public Gardens: The Public Gardens on Spring Garden Road are my favourite place to take a leisurely stroll in the Summer. It is a 17 acre oasis containing fountains, rare flowers and the beautiful red gazebo. It is very often addressed as the Victorian garden of North America. The floral arrangements are absolutely beautiful and there are so many peaceful places to spend your time in. Read this excellent guide to know what’s in store for you at Public Gardens.
Citadel Hill: The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site is the most visited Historic Site in Canada. The practice of firing a gun at midday is continuing from the year 1856. It’s a tribute to Halifax’s history, hence gunners today still dress in 3rd Brigade Royal Artillery uniform and fire the cannon every single day at noon. Take a tour of this historic military base to hear the history of Halifax’s founding. If you’re brave enough, they even offer ghost tours at night.
Halifax Boardwalk: The Halifax Harbour which is one of the deepest and largest natural, ice-free harbours in the world. This is one of the liveliest places in Halifax. It is one of the world’s longest downtown boardwalks. In the Summer months, it’s constantly bustling with street performers and artists. This 3 kilometre boardwalk cleaves to the edge of the coast, offering incredible views, numerous restaurants and shops. Stop by one of the local patios to enjoy the view of the harbour.
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Halifax?
Nature: Go for a hike in stunning Duncan’s Cove to get some amazing ocean views. Duncan’s Cove is a small rural community on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean on the Ketch Harbour Road and is located approximately 17 km south of Halifax in the Pennant Granite Barrens natural landscape. The hike is relatively easy and gives you a chance to enjoy the scenery, you also may catch a glimpse of some seals bathing on the rocks. It’s an 8 km round trip hike which should take you between 3 to 4 hours. Do it yourself or approach Hike Nova Scotia which provide excellent guided hiking tours all year round.
Culture: Drive 40 minutes out of the city to see Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, located in the quaint village of Peggy’s Cove along the South Shore. Nova Scotia has around 160 lighthouses but Peggy Cove is one of the most famous Nova Scotia landmarks. You’ll be able to explore a traditional fishing village and take some pictures with one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world.
History: The town of Lunenburg is an hour and a half away from Peggy’s Cove. Lunenburg is one of the most historical towns in Nova Scotia – it’s even a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s one of the best preserved British colonial towns in the world with a strong seafaring heritage, and cute and colourful houses that line the coast. Lunenburg’s narrow streets and unique architecture make it a spectacular waterfront. Take the Lunenburg Guided Tour to know about the heritage and beauty of this town. At a ten minute drive from this town is Blue Rocks village which is a kayaker’s paradise. Nestled in the South Shore, the blue slate rocks at the edge of the ocean, make it a popular destination for artists and photographers.
Which is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Halifax?
Alexander Keith’s birthday is definitely the most celebrated holidays. A Scottish born Canadian politician, he was a former mayor and beer baron, and still has a brewery bearing his name located in the city. Alexander Keith’s beer is a big deal in Halifax and whole of Nova Scotia. The city celebrates by drinking lots of beer and singing maritime folk songs.
What is the most loved local food, savory and sweet of Halifax?
Halifax is world leader in the production of carrots, wild blueberries, strawberry plants but it’s closeness to the sea makes it an ideal location to try all kind of sea-food like lobsters and atlantic salmons. Lobsters specially are the biggest and juiciest you will ever find anywhere in the world. However, the Halifax Donair (the Canadian take on a donor kebab ) is the most famous food in the city. It’s similar to a middle eastern donair, with the addition of donair sauce, a sweet sauce made with condensed milk.
The most classic sweet treat are oat cakes, which were brought over by Scottish settles (the chocolate dipped ones are my favourite).
Are there any popular markets in Halifax which tourists must visit?
Spring Garden Road and Barrington Street are the most popular common streets for shopping in the city. On Saturdays, head down to the Seaport Farmer’s Market which can be found at the end of the Waterfront walk, to check out some amazing food and crafts. Also like I mentioned earlier, the Halifax Brewery Market is a great market too. It is an indoor and outdoor farmer market running year-round in the historic Alexander Keith Brewery Square. The market is open from 7am-1pm from April to December or 8am-1pm from January to March.
Which is the local craft or souvenir of Halifax?
Nova Scotia has strong connections to Scotland; we even have our own tartan. Pick up a scarf or other accessory made from Nova Scotia’s tartan to bring back as a souvenir. Nova Scotia is also famous for their lobster. You can actually buy live lobsters at the airport to bring home to cook.
Which are the best streets of Halifax worthy of taking a stroll on?
Check out Barrington Street to shop in some of our local stores and dine at some of the best restaurants in the city. It is one of the main streets of the city, home to numerous shops, office buildings, as well as Halifax City Hall. Since Halifax has six degree universities, the average age of people is less than 40. You can expect a lot of pubs in the city, more than any other city in Canada.
If you’re here in the warmer months, definitely walk along the waterfront to see some entertaining street performers.
Can you suggest a place from where one can get the best view of the city?
Climb to the top of Citadel Hill (a former military base) to get the most amazing views of city and harbour. The location for the military base was strategically chosen so they could see any attackers approaching from miles away.
Would you suggest any shows in your city to drama, music or art lovers? Where can one spot street art in your city?
Check out the Neptune theatre for some great theatre productions. If you’re visiting in July & August, we have Shakespeare by the Sea where they put on a different Shakespeare play each year in Point Pleasant Park. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is also a great place to visit. They have an amazing collection of Maud Lewis art.
Take a walk along Barrington Street to see some impressive street art on the side of The Freak Lunchbox candy store. Check out this guide for the most popular murals in Halifax Regional Municipality.
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in Halifax?
Transport : Halifax doesn’t have Uber, but download the Casino Taxi app to easily hail a cab.
Food : The best way to find food trucks and food carts in Halifax is the Street Food app where local street food vendors post their locations daily.
Hidden gems : Try any of these guided tours to know more about Halifax.
Do you want to give any suggestion to tourists coming to Halifax?
Though Halifax is the biggest city and there is a lot to explore, if time permits do visit the small towns nearby which have their own charm.