Michael Fraiman is a Canadian freelance journalist and travel writer. He's worked for the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Maclean's, The Walrus and the CBC, and pens a monthly column on Jewish comedy for the Canadian Jewish News. He calls Toronto home, but has often resided in other cities around the world for short stints as well.
Whether it’s the Blue Jays, Raptors or Halifax Mooseheads, there are going to be times when Canadians – especially Maritimers – want to get together to watch the game, and nothing pairs better with a big-screen TV than a pint of domestic beer. Halifax doesn’t have too many sports-specific bars, but those that it does have get the job done perfectly.
Halifax has more universities than seems logically permissible – eight schools in a city of 300,000. The population balloons from September till May, creating a student-driven economy that focuses on their priorities: organic ingredients, cheap prices and creative decor. You can eat at any of these beloved hangouts for under $10 and feel like a local while you're there.
Haligonians will often boast that their city has more pubs per capita than anywhere else in Canada – a claim-to-fame so commonplace it’s proclaimed on Nova Scotia’s tourism website. Their proliferation keeps the happy-hour drinks well priced. These pubs are among the best places to enjoy drinks on the cheap.
You didn’t come all the way to Nova Scotia for the beef, did you? Steeped in English tradition, Nova Scotia’s capital city is home to some of the finest fish and chips in the country. You might encounter a few hefty lineups, but it’ll be worth the wait.
Halifax doesn't strike outsiders as the place to find authentic Chinese food, but its abundant seafood, farm-fresh veggies and sizable Chinese population create a perfect combination for just that. You will never have to drive too far to sate your urge for fried bean curd, kung pao chicken or Shanghai noodles.
How much do Haligonians love chocolate? Consider the nearby body of water called Chocolate Lake – an unintended reflection of how seriously locals take their sweets. There's no shortage of craft chocolatiers in the city, bringing a delicious combination of European flair and rustic Nova Scotian charm to their businesses.
Locals will concede: It's not often warm in Halifax. But on those rare sunny days when everyone pours into parks and spends hours gazing at ships on the Atlantic waterfront, ice cream tops most to-do lists. Thanks to nearby Nova Scotia dairy farmers, quality ice cream and gelato are never far away.
Toronto's chefs tend to avoid simplicity. If making a BLT, they'd rather smoke the bacon, toss in market-fresh arugula and drizzle lemon aioli atop a focaccia bun. After all, the best part of dining out is enjoying something you could never make yourself. Sandwiches, then, pose the perfect challenge; some may seem easy, but at these restaurants, they're utterly unique. [Stack of sandwiches at Rashers. Photo by Parisima Baha]
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