The Mar in Halifax Harbour

Halifax Travel Tips: Come sail away

A ride on The Mar in Halifax Harbour is a great way to spend the day in summer — or fall. ( photo)

Story by Staff

HALIFAX – Not a lot of time today for fancy words, but I thought I’d give a mention to the folks who’ve turned the Halifax waterfront into something truly special.

I had a chance to walk along the harbour walk last week, taking in museums and the Garrison brewing company and the farmer’s market, pausing to check out restaurant patios and the Rum Runners rum cake shop and more. I also forked out a few bucks for a 90-minute sail on the Mar tall ship, enjoying a perfect summer’s day and chatting about the city with the crew.

The mast of the Mar II tall ship in Halifax. ( photo)

“Halifax reminds me of Vancouver and Victoria,” said one crew member, who hails from Nanaimo. “But I think it’s more family-oriented here. They’re both maritime places, but I think people here feel more strongly about family.”

A friend who’s a doctor in Halifax for a few months said it’s not uncommon for an entire car-full of folks from, say, Cape Breton to come to the city for a parent’s 45-minute consultation.

I noticed a LOT of people stopping in their cars to let me jaywalk on busy streets. Astonishing for someone from Toronto, especially considering many of the polite drivers were cabbies.

I don’t know if it’s typical, but when I stopped for a shoulder bacon sandwich at the farmer’s market I got another slice of Halifax life.

“What drinks do you have,” I asked the woman who served me my sandwich (pretty good, by the way).

“We don’t have any,” she said. “There’s a guy just down the row who serves lemonade and someone else has orange juice.

“They’re our neighbours and our friends so we don’t want to compete with them.”

Isn’t that nice?

The Mar is a great ride and you might get to help hoist a sail or two. There’s plenty of beer on board and the views of the city are magnificent.

The Waverley Inn B&B is a lovely place to stay on trendy Barrington Street. ( photo)

I kept hearing about Halifax and its famous donair sandwiches. I’m big on falafel and I really like shawarma and, even better, a good gyro with plenty of garlic and hot sauce.

So I tried King of Donairs, which is located on what locals call “pizza corner” in downtown Halifax, owing to three pizza/donair shops on three of four corners on Grafton St.   at Blowers.

The meat in my donair was good but I don’t like the sauce they use. It’s way too gloopy and sweet.

But it was the only bad meal I had in four days, so what the heck. The seafood was out of this world, as you’d expect. Awesome fish and chips at Henry House, the best lobster of my life at Press Gang and a fabulous arrabiata pasta dish with shrimp at Du Maurizio on Lower Water St. And I can’t forget my buddy, Ash, at the Economy Shoe Shop on Argyle.

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Vicky is the worldly publisher of Having graduated from McGill University in Montreal, she has set about building a talented team of travel experts to deliver to you words and images of the very best places to see and experience in Canada. Based in Yorkville in Toronto, Vicky regularly jet sets around Canada — be sure to catch up with her when she's in your part of the country.

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