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Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Citadel, Halifax, Nova Scotia
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The Citadel, Halifax, Nova Scotia

As the plane descended, the view was awash with foliage as far as the eye could see. About 80% of Canada’s Maritime Province of Nova Scotia is forested, and although it is about twice the size of Massachusetts, it has less than 1/6th the population. Its capital, Halifax, is closer to Boston than any other major Canadian city and is the largest Canadian city east of Montreal.

 White Point Beach Resort. Nova Scotia
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White Point Beach Resort. Nova Scotia

Wherever you are in Nova Scotia, Canada’s Ocean Playground, you are never more than 35 miles from the sea. It is a peninsula bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Fundy, connected to New Brunswick and the mainland by an isthmus less than 15 miles wide.

Halifax: Port and fort city

Jutting out into the Atlantic, and with a deep, ice-free harbor, Nova Scotia’s historic capital city, Halifax, was an attractive entry point vied for by for expanding empires. It also served as Canada’s link to Europe in both World Wars.

It has one of the deepest and largest natural ice free harbors in the world. Harbourwalk, which spans nearly two miles, is the longest boardwalk in Canada.

Canadian Maple Sugar candy, Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Canadian Maple Sugar candy, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Rum Runner's Cake, Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Rum Runner’s Cake, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Beavertails, Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Beavertails, Halifax, Nova Scotia

There are plenty of sweet treats along the way—from the top-selling dark chocolate with Nova Scotian Sea Salt at Sugah! to the confections with cleverly concealed Prohibition-era contraband at Rum Runners Cake Factory, and the stand with the uniquely Canadian treat known as Beavertails.

Thai steamed Nova Scotia mussels, Little Fish, Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Thai steamed Nova Scotia mussels, Little Fish, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Our seafood find was Little Fish Restaurant on Argyle Street’s two-course lunch special that includes the popular Seafood Linguine, a confection of scallops, shrimp, haddock and mussels in a lobster cream sauce.

Upstairs, and our choice for dinner the next night, is the Five Fishermen Restaurant, known for its mussel and salad bar and voted Best Seafood in Halifax 5 yrs running. Executive chef Renee Lavallee masterfully prepares a gourmet extravaganza that includes lobster, locally farmed scallops, Digby clams, Malpeque oysters, Atlantic Salmon, hook-and-line haddock, halibut, local harpooned swordfish, and Arctic charr from a local fish farm.

5 Fishermen, Halifax,Nova Scotia
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5 Fishermen, Halifax,Nova Scotia

Its historic building was originally a school of religious instruction for the poor. It became Canada’s first school of arts, The Victorian College of Art and Design, founded in 1887 by Anna Leonowens of Anna and the King of Siam and The King and I fame. Later, it housed Snow’s Funeral Home, serving first class victims of the Titanic disaster, including John Jacob Astor.

Alexander Keith’s Brewery, Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Alexander Keith’s Brewery, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Alexander Keith's Brewery Tour tavern, Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour tavern, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour, Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour, Halifax, Nova Scotia

This university city has more pubs per capita than any other Canadian city. The story of Nova Scotia’s most popular ale, created for the British troops in India, is colorfully enacted during Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery’s interactive tour. Actors in period costumes entertain in the Stag’s Head Tavern with games, tales, and toe tappin’ tunes like “Donald Where’s Your Trousers?” while serving samples produced here in the oldest working brewery in North America.

Fid Resto is a hidden gem packed with locals in-the-know. Chef Dennis Johnston creates contemporary French foods with Asian accents using seasonal local ingredients. It is in the courtyard at 1569 Dresden Row, just off the Spring Garden Road Shopping Area.

Jennifer’s of Nova Scotia is on Spring Garden Road. Everything sold there is hand crafted by Atlantic Canada’s local artisans.

It’s easy to taste your way through Nova Scotia making delicious discoveries of how chefs, farmers, fishermen, and vintners work together to create cuisine with flavors unique to the freshest of ingredients. Be sure to check our other stories on the Annapolis Valley and the South Shore.

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