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By Jane Cassie
(For Travel Writers’ Tales)

Halifax is a city of many contrasts. It's a blend of the young and old and a place where modern skyscrapers rise in juxtaposition to their historical brick neighbours. During this visit to Nova Scotia's capital, we also discover that there are variables with its weather.

#1 pic Old and new

"They can get up to a hundred days of mist here a year," my husband reports, when reading about this metropolitan's stats. Fat droplets splash onto our windshield and I'm thinking we're in for more than just a drizzle. I look at the list of circled attractions on our tourist map–the Citadel, a 19th century British fort that's poses proudly above the downtown core,

#2 pic Citadel above the downtown core

the abundant blooms at the seven-hectare Public Gardens

#3 pic Public Gardens

and the waterfront boardwalk, a popular pedestrian walkway where 19th century warehouses are now artist studios, seaside shops and sidewalk restaurants.

#4 pic Waterfront Boardwalk

They're all on the top things-to-do list–but only if it's dry.

"Fear not," my trusty tour guide husband says, as if reading my mind. "There's lots to do here when it rains. And besides, if anything can change in this city of contrasts, it's going to be the weather. "

After donning our slickers, here are just a few of the rainy day attractions that get our two thumbs up.

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Although the boardwalk stroll may be nixed for the time being, after veering into this waterfront exposition, we're immediately immersed in Nova Scotia's marine heritage. We ogle over the replicated vessels displayed in Days of Sail, read about the massive explosion that wiped out Halifax in December 6, 1917, and learn all about the Titanic. The permanent exhibit portrays everything from this unsinkable ship's creation to its demise and explains the important role that Halifax played.

#5 pic Maritime Museum 1

#6 pic Maritime Museum 2

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

This depository attracts kids of all ages by uncovering the natural wonders from Nova Scotia's land and sea. Fossils, mammals, birds and more. There's opportunities to gaze at glittering gold, gawk at a whale skeleton and zoom in on the culture and artifacts of the first nations Mi'kmaq people. From the sights and sounds of Nova Scotia's forest, to the moon and stars above, we discover it all – and without even putting up our umbrella.

#7 pic Museum of Natural History

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

This magnet for art aficionados is the largest of its kind in all of Atlantic Canada. The two heritage buildings boast over 17,000 works of art and offer a collection that ranges in everything from sculptures and photographs to classical portraits and international paintings. Check out the charming paintings of renowned folk artist, Maud Lewis, a Nova Scotia favourite.

The Halifax Central Library

If you want a good place to chill out, dry off and read a book, there's no better stop than this flagship of libraries. Stairs and bridge-ways criss-cross over the grand atrium of this architectural marvel and the fifth floor cantilevers over the entrance plaza to resemble a book. As well as quiet reading nooks, auditoriums and community rooms, there are a few cafes to appease our hunger and java pangs. And if the rain stops, we could head to the rooftop terrace and soak in the downtown views. Today we stay inside and cozy up with a good book.

#8 pic Halifax library

Cozy up in a cafe

Here are three of our favourite must-tastes:

Rinaldos - We've sampled a lot of seafood chowders during our Nova Scotia stay, and this little Italian cafe gets the blue ribbon for theirs. The two brothers embrace the everything-from-scratch-phillospophy. Thin-crust pizzas, mouth-watering pastas, decadent desserts. Magnifico!

# 9 pic Rinaldos seafood chowder

enVie - Eat well. Drink well. Live well. That's the motto of this vegan kitchen and even though the menu is plant-based, it doesn't disappoint our taste buds. I go for the spicy Pad Thai, Brent chooses the Cauliflower Steak. No dairy, no meat, all delicious!

#10 pic EnVie yummy vegan

Henry House - This British-style watering hole serves up some mighty fine pub grub. Pasties, steak pies, sticky toffee pudding surrounded by Old English charm, yet all in Halifax!

#11 pic Henry House Brit pub

Just steps away is The Waverley Inn, and another reason for us to stay indoors. Since 1876 this Halifax landmark has been pampering guests with its heritage and luxury.

#12 pic Waverley Inn

And now it's our turn. We arrive in time for afternoon tea and just as we're about to chill-out in the parlour over a game of chess, the sun makes an appearance. "I guess we'd better get out that tourist map again," my husband says. "This clearly is a city of many contrasts."



Where to Stay:

PHOTOS by Jane & Brent Cassie

#1 Old and new
#2 Citadel above the downtown core
#3 Public Gardens
#4 Waterfront Boardwalk
#5 Maritime Museum 1
#6 Maritime Museum 2
#7 Museum of Natural History
#8 Halifax library
#9 Rinaldos seafood chowder
#10 EnVie yummy vegan
#11 Henry House Brit pub
#12 Waverley Inn

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