Central Zone: Halifax, Eastern Shore, and Windsor-West Hants
From the modern yet historic city of Halifax, to the rugged and wild Eastern Shore, this region of Nova Scotia is a compelling study of contrasts. The largest city east of Montreal, Halifax is the cosmopolitan centre, bursting with restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and nightlife. But just a short drive (or bike ride) out of the city, the allure of nature envelopes you. Imagine dinner and the theatre at night, surfing and hiking the next morning. A specialized care centre for heart health, cancer care, neurosurgery, and organ transplantation, Halifax’s QEII is the largest adult academic health sciences centre in Atlantic Canada. The QEII Health Science Centre is a collection of 10 buildings on several sites. Also in Central Zone is the Dartmouth General Hospital, the East Coast Forensic Hospital, three community hospitals and two Collaborative Emergency Centres.
Halifax – city on the sea
A sophisticated gem, Halifax is an historic port city with a modern attitude. Its high student population keeps the culture young and vibrant, and its thriving tech, creative, and health sectors position the city as dynamic and competitive. At nearly 400,000 people, Halifax has more to offer than a city its size “should”. Incredible dining, creative microbreweries, live theatre and symphony, bustling cafés, and countless pubs make life here a constant urban adventure.
Founded in 1749, Halifax is a city with a fascinating history, and it’s on display around every corner. Walk this city’s narrow streets, and you’ll constantly stumble upon the kind of historic buildings that didn’t manage to escape the bulldozer in other cities. It’s a “living history” that pervades the culture of this place to this day. Plus, countless recognized historic sites remind residents that this city has a storied past.
18 hours : 32 mins : 5 secsNext cannon will be fired
Nova Scotia’s Waterfront
Halifax’s once-industrial waterfront has, over the decades, been transformed into a 10-block long public square. A wonderful place for residents and visitors to gather for food, drink, entertainment, or just people watching, it’s said to be one of the longest urban boardwalks in the world. Follow the water’s edge, and experience everything that makes a port city so fascinating and beautiful.
A haven for foodies
Don’t feel like cooking? Perfect. Few cities indulge your culinary desires like Halifax. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Halifax has more than a few of it. Fine dining, casual bistros and pubs, ethnic restaurants from around the globe, fish and chip stands, food trucks – each is a short walk from each other. And the myriad food-inspired festivals and celebrations that span the year give you even more opportunities to taste everything Halifax has to offer.
- Best Breakfast: Ardmore Tea Room
- Best Fine Dining: The Bicycle Thief
- Best Chef: Renee Lavalle, The Canteen
- Best Wine List: Obladee Wine Bar
- Best Brew Pub: Good Robot Brewing Company
Life after dark
More bars and pubs per capita than any other city in Canada. It’s a phrase that’s often used to describe Halifax (and, yes a handful of other cities vying for that title!) Regardless of the exact numbers, this is a city in which night owls thrive. Halifax is an amazingly alive city, at all hours, and at night in particular the energy rises. Live music; a thriving symphony; outdoor festivals and events; patios that spill into the streets; nighttime here is electric.
The yin to Halifax’s yang, the Eastern Shore is a natural playground. Here you’ll find pristine wilderness, authentic fishing communities, and sandy beaches stretching as far as you care to stroll. Welcome to the off-the-beaten-path adventures that make living on the Eastern Shore such a pleasure.
Take on the waves
Get your wetsuit on (this is the North Atlantic, after all) and hit the surf. Nova Scotia is one of the world’s top cold water surf hot spots. Summer to winter, conditions are just right for incredible surfing – yes, even in the dead of winter. Spend the day at Lawrencetown or Martinique beaches with your own board, or rent one locally.
“Charming” only begins to describe the communities, festivals, and people of the Windsor-West Hants region of Nova Scotia – “fun-loving” is another. Besides being considered the birthplace of hockey, Windsor is also well known for, of all things, giant pumpkins. And there are few things more fun than watching (or helping) people turn thousand-pound pumpkins into boats that are then raced in the lake!
A hill in the backyard
Just 45 minutes from Halifax, adventure junkies get their fix at Ski Martock, the second-biggest hill in the province. In the winter, this bustling ski resort boasts a terrain park for snowboarding and freeskiing, and serves visitors with a quad chair lift and two T-bars. In the summer, mountain biking and Canada’s largest aerial zipline/ropes obstacle course park keeps heart rates elevated!