When you think of Canada, places like Montréal and Toronto likely come to mind. Montréal, with its jazz and countless other festivals, cobblestone streets, museums, restaurants, European flavor, vibrant neighborhoods and treasures like Notre-Dame Basilica, exudes a magic of its own. Toronto has no twin. Diverse with more than 140 spoken languages and dialects, the city buzzes with a robust culinary scene and a plethora of dance companies, museums and music venues. But there’s much more to the Canada story: Consider these intriguing destinations in the East Coast provinces.
Halifax, the provincial capital of Nova Scotia, hums as the center of action. Whether you want white-linen dining or street vendors, you’ll find plenty of fresh seafood and Nova Scotia specialties, especially on the waterfront. Queen’s Marque features three new public wharves, public art and Harbour Stairs descending into Halifax Harbour. Visit Maritime Museum of the Atlantic for a history lesson on the HMS Titanic disaster, the Halifax Explosion and more. Don’t miss the oldest continuously running market in North America, Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market.
Another gem, the fishing village of Peggy’s Cove, boasts the Instagram-worthy Peggy’s Point Lighthouse on a rocky outcropping. Sip wine in Wolfville and enjoy Nova Scotia’s own grape, Tidal Bay. Domaine de Grand Pré, the first winery in the area and a UNESCO Heritage site, is perhaps the best-known Nova Scotia winery.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
The Island Walk, launched during the pandemic, loops around the perimeter of PEI. Its 430 miles make a great way to explore Canada’s smallest province. Do as much or as little as you like. See lighthouses, red-sand beaches, provincial capital Charlottetown, Summerside, small coastal communities and more. For something different, head to Basin Head Provincial Park and Beach, nicknamed Singing Sands because the beach sand makes singing sounds when you scuff your feet through it.
PEI is all about fishing, especially bluefin tuna. Set sail on a tuna charter. Check out new food tours like Charlottetown’s Taste the Town: Food + Fact Tour. Explore North Rustico and Cavendish, storybook small coastal towns with local shops and great food. Put Blue Mussel Café in North Rustico on your list; it overlooks the ocean. As for where to stay, consider The Great George in Charlottetown. The boutique, historic hotel is a beauty.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
The capital of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John’s is known for colorful houses, cafés, seafood (the lobster is the stuff of legends), hiking trails, wildlife (especially moose) and the 1898 Cabot Tower. Grab a pint at Quidi Vidi Brewery. The Merchant Tavern, with its double smash burger and wild leek orecchiette, remains a favorite. Check into Blue on Water; the stylish boutique hotel boasts a large selection of whiskey in the bar and an award-winning restaurant.
Fogo Island is the largest of the offshore islands of Newfoundland and Labrador. For a big adventure, spend the night at Fogo Island Inn. This Nordic-style luxurious hotel sits atop stilts overlooking the wild Atlantic. Talk about being away from it all! Imagine the sound of waves lulling you to sleep. Walk the island’s trails and count the caribou. Time your visit during the Fogo Island Partridgeberry Harvest Festival in October for farmers markets, crafts, music, food, dancing and more.
Muir, Autograph Collection
This newly opened downtown hotel sits on the waterfront in the Queen’s Marque district. Highlights include the private in-house art gallery, supersized windows, kayaks, paddle- boards, bikes, the vitality spa pool and studio fitness classes.
1709 Lower Water St., Halifax, Nova Scotia
Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia
Location is everything. Trout Point sits in the UNESCO Southwest Nova Scotia Biosphere Reserve amid Tobeatic Wilderness and overlooks a waterfall. Think remote luxury, wood- burning fireplaces, covered outdoor seating area with river views, cooking classes and guided stargazing.
189 Trout Point Road, East Kemptville, Nova Scotia
White Point Beach Resort
Make yourself at home along this rugged Atlantic coastline. Decide which is more dramatic: sunrise or sunset. Enjoy the outdoor and indoor pools, freshwater lake, beachside bonfires, nightly live entertainment, sauna, hot tub and resort bunnies.
75 White Point Beach Resort Road, Hunts Point, Nova Scotia
The mood is set in what was a schoolhouse in 1817. People may come for the thrill of the “haunted” historic building as much as the prosciutto-wrapped chicken and spring rack of lamb.
1740 Argyle St., Halifax, Nova Scotia
The Bicycle Thief
The cuisine is North American with an Italian soul. Treat yourself to halibut al cartoccio or the legendary house-made chopped tenderloin burger.
1475 Lower Water St. at Bishop’s Landing, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Diners love this neighborhood bistro for its locally sourced and seasonally inspired cuisine. Dinner includes delicacies like pork belly and squid, ratatouille, celery root purée, kalamata olives and walnuts.
2053 Gottingen St., Halifax, Nova Scotia
INFO TO GO
Flying into Halifax, arrive at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, about 30 minutes from downtown in Enfield. Eight airlines regularly serve the airport, with an additional six seasonal carriers, bringing travelers from a wide array of domestic and international cities. There are six car rental options at the airport.
Conveniently located in central Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown Airport offers direct and connecting commercial flights. Consider renting a car, as public transportation is limited. To travel by ferry, sail aboard Northumberland Ferries from Caribou, Nova Scotia, and Wood Islands, PEI. Ferries run May to late December; tolls are collected upon leaving PEI at Wood Islands. The ferry crossing takes about 75 minutes.
To reach St. John’s in Newfoundland, fly into St. John’s International Airport, served by most major airlines including Air Canada, WestJet and United Airlines. Depending on where your trip originates, you may need to plan for one or two connecting flights.
After flying into Gander International Airport, consider renting a car to drive to Fogo Island and to get around on the island. Most major car rental agencies have an office at Gander Airport. Access Fogo Island via a 50-minute passenger and vehicle ferry from Farewell, about an hour’s drive from Gander along Route 330.
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