Monday, March 14, 2011

A summer day in Halifax

With summer quickly approaching, I want to share some things I would normally do on a daily basis in Halifax. On a clear sunny day, I usually like to get up and start my day off with some form of exercise. An easy way to achieve this is to go for a walk, but to keep it interesting, I typically like to head out to the ocean. It takes around 20 minutes to drive to a coastal point from the city. My favourite spot to go is called Chebucto Head. This short drive makes you feel like you have really escaped the city, and on a clear day you can watch boats come in and out of the harbour. Sometimes one can even spot seals or if really lucky, a whale. After about a 30 minute hike I am ready for a swim. Although the ocean is great, it really is too cold for swimming most days of the summer. Around the city there are many lakes to go for a quick dip; most of them within 20 minutes from my house, which makes it vey convenient. 

For dinner it only makes sense to have seafood, but primarily lobster, based on the freshness, quality and price. You would be foolish to eat chicken. Picking up product from either the grocery store or fishermen you will experience good prices and quality. Having people over for dinner, or what I like to call a good old fashion kitchen party is a great way to kick off the evening. After dinner, the waterfront or the bar scene are places where most people tend to migrate to.

Although this is not a daily routine in the summer time, it definitely is typical to experience activities like these numerous times throughout the summer. If you're looking for a good time, I suggest visiting Halifax in the summer. You won't be disappointed. The food, atmosphere and scene is great, but most of all the people and culture is something that will be remembered.     

Monday, March 7, 2011

Like most cities Halifax is great in the summer, and a majority of the fun activities rely on good weather. The waterfront is a great place to go during the summer months, it’s free which is a bonus. The boardwalk is open to the public in the winter months, but some of the shops and restaurants close. Throughout the summer many different events and festivals are the main attraction of the waterfront. Every summer, Halifax hosts the busker festival and sometimes the tall ships, these two events alone attract many people. I have gone to see both events multiple times, and after about the second time it can get very repetitive.
Other attractions include Theodore tugboat, daily visits by cruise ships including the Queen Mary and occasionally the Bluenose. Every Saturday night the Harbour Queen takes people out on the water for a boat cruise, the cruise includes alcohol, a DJ and tons of dancing. There are also tons of patios and restaurants open for food and drinks, the Keith’s brewery another great place to tour around for an afternoon.
If you are not looking to spend money, which is usually the position I am in, the tall ships and buskers are great events to attend. Even spending an hour of your day walking the boardwalk is fun and entertaining. There is always something to see. I cannot wait for summer; this is when Halifax really comes alive.     

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove is one of the most popular tourist attractions that Nova Scotia has to offer. Peggy’s Cove is famous for its shops, restaurants, history and of course the view. The barren and rugged landscape make this a truly unique area. It reflects Nova Scotia’s fishing culture with its colorful homes, wharves and famous lighthouse. The location is amazing, it is one of many coastal points in the province, and on a clear day you can experience the vast ocean and the waves crashing on the rocks.
I have been to Peggy’s Cove many times throughout my life, mostly to take friends that are visiting from out of town. Peggy’s Cove really is a tourist attraction; practically every time I have been there the rocks are dotted with people exploring the rocks and crevices along the coastline. This can be a deterrence, as on a nice day it is guaranteed to be busy with people, which makes it hard to park, eat in the restaurant and walk around. It is also a popular place for storm watchers, as the waves can be huge. Sadly, wave watchers have been swept into the ocean on more than one occasion.
I suggest to any first time visitors to Nova Scotia that Peggy’s Cove is a must see. For locals and residents of Halifax, Peggy’s Cove is still interesting and a great place to go when you want get out of the city. During the summer months beware that it will be busy, but when you get there you won't be disappointed.

Hop, Skip and a Jump Away

The province of Nova Scotia is very unique in size, traveling from point A to B is very simple and efficient for experiencing different things in the duration of one day. Personally, I have found travelling throughout Halifax very convenient, during the summer I can be in the city in the morning and by the afternoon I can travel to the valley and be at the cottage. It is very rare that traffic is ever an issue throughout the city. The city streets can be confusing since there are many one-way streets and difficult intersections. Other than that, major highways are easily accessible from the city and traffic problems are rare.
Traveling from one end of the province to the other would take approximately eight hours, which gives a better understanding of how geographically compact is Nova Scotia. Living in the city is ideal because everything is at your fingertips, and a lot of planning doesn’t need to go into a day trip. To travel to the valley from the city takes two hours by car, and in the other direction two hours can take you to the coast, for example Peggy's Cove or a beach. 
Enjoying a day trip in Nova Scotia is easy and cost efficient. In the summer I can easily wake-up and go to a beach or the cottage and still make it home for dinner.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Current Events

Halifax is very active when hosting different types of events. Events can vary from concerts, celebrations or a myriad of festivals, allowing tourists and locals the opportunity to enjoy endless entertainment. This year Halifax was selected to host the 2011 Canada Winter Games. This event has generated a lot of buzz around town and new buildings, structures and public venues have taken over the city.
One addition that has been a huge success for the city is the Olympic size speed skating oval. The oval was made available to the public two months prior to the games. The oval was open for public skates during designated times for a majority of the holidays. During the public skating hours, the oval was constantly busy and clearly enjoyed by all. For the community the oval has given individuals a place to get exercise and socialize during the winter months. Since the oval has created such a great space for the community, people now feel that after the games are over; the oval should stay for future winter seasons. 

Another major addition to the city is the Canada Games Centre. This centre was built to host badminton, swimming and gymnastics. The centre has three full-size gymnasiums with a 200-meter indoor track and eight-lane swimming pool. The Canada Games Centre is now considered the premier high-performance athletic training facility in Eastern Canada. Halifax has not only been fortunate to host the 2011 games, but now the city can benefit from all the new state of the art facilities for future years.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dance Until The Sun Comes Up

Nightlife is one of the many perks that Halifax has to offer. The city is known for having one of the highest bars and nightclubs per capita in the country. It is common that to see the most popular nightclubs and bars open until 3:30 a.m. on weekends and occasionally throughout the week. The late nights definitely gives Halifax an advantage over many other cities.

A well-known street to many students and youth is Argyle, this street alone has approximately 15 different places to go at night and during the day. Like the majority of downtown Halifax, Argyle Street would take about 20 minutes to walk from one end to the other. Downtown Halifax is ideal for walking from one bar to another, so if there happens to be the dreaded line, another bar is usually only seconds away.

Another popular tradition for the Halifax nightlife occurs into the late hours of the night. Like many other cities it is extremely important to have a place to go after the bar, usually to grab some grub. "Pizza corner" has become a very popular spot for Haligonians to go after the bar. Pizza corner consist of three independent pizza joints all within 20 meters from each other. Around 4:00 a.m. pizza corner is swarmed with people, all three places have amazing pizza and the decision usually is based on which line is the shortest. A typical night is usually not over until around 5:00 a.m after food has been consumed and a cab has been flagged down. After experiencing a fun filled night in downtown Halifax, the back-to-back nights (Friday and Saturday) become pretty rare and difficult to do.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Wealthy Bug

Fishing in the Maritimes has provided many families, communities and industries with income and identity. Lobster trapping is one of the richest and most respected industries throughout the Maritimes. Lobsters, which are also referred to as "bugs" are culturally shared and harvested two seasons throughout the year. The two lobster seasons occur in the spring, (May 1) and also the winter (November 29), lasting for approximately six months.

Nova Scotia has some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. Fishing districts 33 and 34, off the southshore, are known throughout the fishing industry as the wealthiest for harvesting lobster. Last year district 34, which contains 1,700 license holders, generated $222 million dollars in lobster revenue. Not only are the lobsters within this district a hot commodity, but also the fishing licenses carry a great deal of value. Fishing licenses in these districts are worth millions of dollars and are primarily kept in the family throughout generations.

The lobster industry is closely watched in order to maintain and regulate the economy. Fishery officers are constantly at the wharfs checking to make sure fishermen have met the outlined requirements. Landing lobsters below a minimum size or females that are egg bearing is considered illegal. Also regulations pertaining to number of traps set, timing and lines pulled are closely watched.

Although this is an extremely dangerous job, many people across the world, especially in Halifax, enjoy the end product. Fishermen tend to be spotted on the side of the road with their large tanks selling lobster for $5.00 a pound because retail value can be down at times. In the off seasons, many fishermen enjoy six months off repairing traps and preparing for the upcoming season.

Next time you are cracking into a lobster claw, think about the dangerous life of a fishermen and how lucky you are to have the Maritimes close by.