The Halifax Harbourwalk

 
8 June 2013

Delve into the rich history, culture, food and festivals that make up Halifax’s thriving waterfront area. Whether you have a day or a month, you won’t want to leave this vibrant city!

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Veronica Leonard

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If you only have a day in Halifax, head down to the waterfront Harbourwalk. On this 3.8-kilometre boardwalk stretching from Pier 21 to Casino Nova Scotia you’ll discover a rich taste of the best the province has to offer.

A Dramatic History

There is plenty of history to see along the walk. The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 chronicles immigration to Canada from 1928 to 1971. The last WWII corvette, HMCS Sackville, and the CSS Acadia, a 100-year-old hydrographic vessel that charted the east coast until 1969, are moored at the Sackville landing as floating museums. The memorial cairn to the Expulsion of the Acadians tells of the horrors of 1756. Additionally, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic includes exhibits of the Titanic and the Halifax Explosion.

Credit: Veronica Leonard

Credit: Veronica Leonard

Fantastic Food

At the Seaport Farmer’s Market, Norbert’s Good Food, Foxhill Cheese and Gourmandise Avenue Chocolaterie are open all week and hundreds more vendors arrive on the weekend.

At Bishop’s Landing, Ristorante A Mano sells authentic Italian gelato, while nearby Sugah! concocts its own chocolate delights. The Rum Runner’s rum cakes make unique gifts.

Queen’s Landing has food stalls such as Beavertails, Smoke’s Poutinerie, Canadian Bacon Cookhouse, The Battered Fish and Black Bear Ice Cream which serves organic handmade ice cream.

Cows’ ice cream near the Historic Properties can be found just by looking for the long line-ups.

Recreation

Bicycles and Segways can be rented next to the man-made beach at Salter Landing and the children’s play park. Rickshaw rides are also available and kayak harbour tours are slated to start this summer. Many people use the boardwalk for walking, running and fishing or just watching the shipping in this busy harbour. Leisure craft get free daytime berthing at 1,500 feet of floating docks along the waterfront as well as paid moorings for longer stops.

Credit: Veronica Leonard

Credit: Veronica Leonard

Shopping

The Cruise Pavilion shops, the Seaport Market, the shops at Bishop’s Landing, the Brewery Market, Nova Scotia Crystal and Historic Properties offer a wide variety of artisan crafts, designer clothes, jewelry and unique souvenirs.

Boat Tours

Murphy’s at Cable Wharf offers seven different boat tours. Theodore Tugboat is a favourite with children as well as the Harbour Hopper, an amphibious vehicle that tours both the harbour and downtown Halifax. The Mar and the Silva provide a tall ship sailing experience. Other boats in their fleet offer deep sea fishing, whale watching, harbour tours, dinner cruises and coastal tours to Peggy’s Cove.

Credit: Veronica Leonard

Credit: Veronica Leonard

Low on time and money? A return trip on the Halifax-Dartmouth ferry takes half an hour and costs $2.25. The view is spectacular, especially at night.

Wine and Beer

Most Nova Scotia wineries have booths offering tastings at the Halifax Seaport Market on Saturday. During the week, local wines can be purchased at Bishop’s Cellar at Bishop’s Landing or at waterfront restaurants. Garrison Brewing is located just opposite the Seaport Market, Alexander Keith’s historic brewery is on the corner of Salter Street, and the Hart and Thistle gastropub microbrewery in the Historic Properties has a selection of local craft brews.

Nightlife

Live music spills from the bars and bistros of Lower Deck, Stayner’s Wharf and Salty’s as well as outside concerts by local bands. Diners flock to The Upper Deck, Murphy on the Water, the Waterfront Warehouse, The Bicycle Thief, Hamachi Steakhouse and Ristorante a Mano. Casino Nova Scotia has several dining options and often hosts internationally known entertainers.

Credit: Veronica Leonard

Credit: Veronica Leonard

Festivals

The summer calendar is dotted with events like the Jazz Festival, the Busker Festival, the Multicultural Festival and Natal Day weekend. Every four years the Tall Ships Festival draws huge crowds.

Accommodations

The waterfront is anchored by two hotels. Across from the Seaport Market is The Westin Nova Scotian, a historic former CN Hotel which houses elements on hollis, a restaurant boasting locavore cuisine sourced from a 50-mile radius. At the other end is the Marriott Harbourfront known for its accessible facilities and its beautiful waterfront location. Midway is the Courtyard Marriott next to Keith’s Brewery. Many other hotels are located within easy walking distance.

Want to explore Halifax further?

Ambassatours’ pink double decker buses park by the Seaport Market whenever a cruise ship is in and offer hop-on–hop-off tours of the city on three separate routes. They also offer a regular one-hour Halifax Highlights city tour with a pickup by the Maritime Museum.

If you’re exploring on foot, the raised glassed-in skywalk pedway that starts at the Marriott Harbourfront provides easy access for walking in any weather to the many hotels, shops and restaurants on Granville Mall and Barrington Street.

You can view a complete map of the Harbourwalk here.

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Veronica Leonard

Veronica Leonard is a writer, globe trotting senior and wine tourist. She has been swarmed at a banking machine in South Africa, been driven through miles of dusty Cambodian roads by a gun-toting off-duty army officer and, scariest of all, survived the ordeal of automated toilets in the Rome underground. Whenever possible she includes wine touring as part of her travel experiences.