A Perfect Day in Halifax

Our guide to the city's best spots, between Halifax's smartest cocktail bar, one of Canada's Best New Restaurants of 2014, and a spectacular – but easy – coastal trail.

10 a.m.

Rousseau Chocolatier

Blond wood panelling and all-glass display cases create an airy backdrop at Rousseau Chocolatier. Owned by a Frenchman and his Canadian spouse, who both trained in northern Europe before arriving in Halifax, the newly opened boutique offers locally roasted, fair-trade coffee from nearby purveyor Acadian Maple to go with the handmade confections, like Belgian chocolate balls, ganache brownies and, bien sûr, candy-coloured macarons. The dark-chocolate slates, reminiscent of the stratified stone found around the province, make a nice souvenir (if you can resist sampling them before takeoff).

1277 Hollis St., rousseauchocolatier.ca

12 p.m.

Gallery Page and Strange

Housed in a Victorian building, the all-white contemporary space of Gallery Page and Strange keeps a smartly curated rotation of artists, from emerging painter Jack Bishop to the late, great Gerald Ferguson (whose work is also in MoMA’s permanent collection). The owners, both NSCAD graduates, can also point you to the best works at the nearby historic Art Gallery of Nova Scotia to round out your art walk.

1869 Granville St., pageandstrange.com

2 p.m.

Duncans Cove

Boasting dramatic coastal views to rival Cape Breton’s but less than a half-hour drive south of Halifax, the 18th-century fishing community of Duncans Cove has a gem of a hike. The linear trail weaves along steep granite cliffs dotted with wild huckleberries and takes around three hours to walk both ways, although you encounter postcard vistas by the first lookout (roughly 30 minutes in) – and a whale sighting, if you’re lucky (pack binoculars). For a proper picnic lunch, stock up at Ratinaud Charcuterie – with imported cheese, fresh-baked baguette and prosciutto cured on site – before heading out of the city.

Duncans Cove, halifaxtrails.ca
Ratinaud Charcuterie, 2082 Gottingen St., ratinaud.ca

7 p.m.

Edna

Photo: Janet Kimber

Jenna Mooers’ Edna is as unstuffy as its name suggests, outfitted with reclaimed wood panelling from a church in the fishing port of Lockeport, a glass chandelier and vintage china dinnerware. The intimate 60-seater space gives a modern twist to locally sourced ingredients, with dishes like the refreshing beet and peppercorn soup with mango chutney. To kick off the evening, order a round of Black Point oysters served with jalapeno and pineapple mignonette, followed by the sea bass with compressed watermelon.

2053 Gottingen St., ednarestaurant.com

9 p.m.

Field Guide

A few doors down, new-bar-on-the-block Field Guide divides its craft cocktail menu between Classics (Whisky Smash) and Contemporaries (Rhubarb Fizz) – both worth exploring. You can also sample from a generous selection of Nova Scotia craft beers and a sparkling white from famed local vineyard Benjamin Bridge while watching head mixologist Shane Beehan shake up signature drinks behind the eight-metre-long wood bar.

2076 Gottingen St., fieldguidehfx.com