Reviews of bucket-list-worthy things to do all over the world


There were two ports on our 5-Night Canada & New England Coast cruise: Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick. In both ports, my mom and I decided to explore the cities without a car, on our own, instead of booking a shore excursion.

Contrary to what I'd heard about the cold, wet Canadian weather, the weather on the early September day that we docked in Halifax was perfect, slightly cloudy with daytime high temperatures in the low 70's F/20's C.

My mother and I set off to visit the Public Gardens and anything along the way that looked interesting.

Our first unanticipated stop was Trident Booksellers and Cafe (1256 Hollis Street) where we looked over the selection of books and admired a beautiful, hand-made, stained-glass tiger above the door.

A few blocks away, we stumbled on Old Burying Ground (Barrington Street and Spring Garden Road), Halifax's first cemetery, with gravestones from the 1700's and 1800's. It was touching to read the inscriptions on the stones, especially at the graves of small infants and children. One stone held the names of four children who had passed away in one family.
Next, a block away from the Public Gardens, we browsed the beautiful craft items at Jennifer's of Nova Scotia (5635 Spring Garden Road).

The Public Gardens (South Park Street and Spring Garden Road) turned out to be well worth the short, slightly uphill walk from the cruise ship terminal (I'd recommend using Spring Garden Road rather than (the much steeper) Sackville Street to get there). The free admission made our visit to the gardens a bargain. We strolled the winsome grounds that held a lake (with a small model of the Titanic and an island with a little lighthouse), a gazebo, fountains, geese, ducks, trees and flowers. There was a cafe on the grounds as well as clean public restrooms. 
On our way back to our ship, we stopped at Atlantic Superstore (1075 Barrington Street), a grocery store, to pick up some "Canadian candy bars" not readily available in the United States. After a taste test, we declared Cadbury's Wunderbar, a chocolate-coated bar of caramelly, peanuty wonderfulness to be the winner.

Then my mom shopped at the little stores in the cruise ship terminal, while I took a powerwalk on the Halifax Harbourwalk , a three kilometer boardwalk along the harbor. As I walked, I caught a glimpse of Theodore Tugboat cruising the harbor, and peeked into the many shops along the boardwalk. If I had children with me, I would have stopped at the little submarine-shaped playground and watched them join the other kids climbing up and sliding down the large wave sculpture nearby. The highlight of my walk was seeing the stern of the Disney Magic docked at the cruise ship terminal.

I did this in September 2012 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Jen (California, USA)


The free map of Halifax, Nova Scotia, that was available at the cruise ship terminal:

Note: The numbers on the map represent local businesses. The red line along the harbor represents the Halifax Harbourwalk. The cruise terminal is located off the map to the left.