Nocturne: Art at Night

Last year we were honoured to be involved with Nocturne: Art at Night as a venue and to be part of a musical art instalment by Lisa Lipton. This year, although our lounge won’t be becoming physical art again (which was really cool), we’re proud to be a huge supporter of this really important art event in our community.

We are on board as an official sponsor, and are happy to be offering discounted rates for those heading to Halifax to take in the art festival. (Call us if you are!) Don’t know what Nocturne is? Read on… and you’ll definitely want to head to downtown Halifax on Oct. 13 and make a night of it!

Nocturne is a city-wide, free nighttime art show in Halifax. For one magical evening, you can stroll the city and take in a variety of instalments, for free.

Our city becomes living art on this night – everything from light shows, music, videos, window instalments, sculptures, and even the buildings themselves become art. The streets bustle with excited people… it’s really a fun thing to be a part of.

To make your experience that much easier, there’s a Nocturne app available for your smart phone. Start making plans with your friends on which part of town you’ll cover and what instalments are the most intriguing!

Last year I roller discoed with zombies!

Is that enough to get your attention? You need to check it out!

Want to know a bit of the history behind nighttime art festivals? I covered that last year on the blog. Read it here.

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Halifax Pop Explosion!

The Halifax Pop Explosion is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and we’re excited to be part of the action! On October 16th through 20th some of the coolest musical acts to hit the Maritimes come together for four awesome days in Halifax.

Why it’s cool

First, because there’s different ways to buy passes, including early bird pricing (that has already sold out), passes, wristbands, and singular event tickets.

Second, because the festival isn’t just about seeing live music in one place – it’s literally ALL over town at some of the most unique venues that our city has to offer.

Third, because the bands and musicians that perform for the Pop Explosion are true artists. They are talented songwriters and performers (like a personal favourite, Wintersleep) who have great followings in Canada and beyond – and they deserve it.

And last because it’s not just a music festival, it’s a conference. Take advantage of the opportunity to attend workshops and talks on industry topics!

Get connected at the Explosion

The Pop Explosion offers an interactive app for your iPhone or Android, making it easy to plan your schedule over the four days, view the lineups, and read more about artists. That’s pretty sweet!

Host hotel

You may be wondering why we’re so interested in the Pop Explosion this year. We’ve always supported this event as one of the many reasons to visit Halifax in October – but this year in particular we are happy to announce that we’re the new host hotel for the event! What does that mean? It means there are a ton of cool things happening at our property, and if you’re headed this way for the event, you can get a sweet room deal. More details here.

We’ll see you in October!

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Chef Clavel heads to the Canadian Chefs’ Congress

The Canadian Chef’s Congress event started in 2008 in Singhampton, Ontario as an extraordinary gathering of chefs, wine makers, food producers and agricultural professionals as a way to celebrate Canadian food culture.

We’re proud to say not only that the third congress is happening here in Nova Scotia, but that our executive chef Luis Clavel will be a part of it. The event is taking place in the beautiful Annapolis Valley, at Land of Evangeline Campground in Grand Pre, and promises to showcase all that our province’s abundant landscape has to offer.

There are an array of culinary events that happen at the congress. And it’s not just for chefs – many are available to attend, through ticket purchase, to the public. If you’re a foodie, you don’t want to miss this.

The congress is when some of the best chefs in the country gather, work together, have fun with their food, and celebrate their talents and passions.

The Events

The weekend kicks off with a press conference on Sept. 15 at Fleur de Sel restaurant in Lunenburg.

Here’s highlights from the rest of the weekend…

Sunday Sep. 16

Farm tour in the morning – participants will head around the province for this.

Malt Scotch pairing luncheon at Le Caveau (Domaine de Grand Pre).

5pm Nova Scotia Fish Fry $65 for public tickets, only 50 are available.

Monday Sep. 17

Breakfast prepared and served by culinary students from NSCC.

Best of Country Lunch

5pm All Clad Cook-off

8:30pm Nova Scotia Kitchen Party (Chef Clavel to be a part of this)

Tuesday Sep. 18

Breakfast by NSCC Culinary Students

Workshops

Taste of Nova Scotia Luncheon

7pm Pig Roast (tickets available to the public)

For full information on the event, or to buy tickets, click here. We hope to see you out, supporting our Canadian chefs, wine makers and the agriculture industry!

Cheers!

 

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Student City

Photo courtesy of DSU

Although we’ve had our share of lively nights filled with tourists, a busy harbour during Tall Ships, and extravagant shows on the waterfront for Buskers Festival – the generally quieter, hot summer days in Halifax are coming to a close. The traffic was light, people were on vacation, and the student population was back at their respective hometowns or job placements. 

But that’s all about to end! It’s that time of the year when Halifax turns back into a university town. From the big’uns like SMU and Dal, to the smaller MSVU, our art and design school NSCAD, various NSCC campuses, and not to mention all the private colleges – it’s fair to say from September to May, the students run this town!

We love back to school time at Atlantica Hotel Halifax. Not only do we get to host many parents coming to town to drop off their kids (ask about our university rates if you’re booking), we get to see the streets fill with people, experience Shinerama, witness frosh week activities – and enjoy tons of back to school specials on Quinpool Road!

I’ve been a student in Halifax, and here’s my top three reasons why it’s great to study and live in our city…

1. Taking Study Breaks at Beautiful Places

Get your nose out of the books and take a stroll around Point Pleasant Park, have a picnic on the commons – or just walk along our waterfront! If you’re lucky enough to have a car, head out to the beach or Peggy’s Cove.

2. Student Nights/Specials

The day-after-a-big-night-out-brunch is a student tradition! At Seasons by Atlantica we’re offering 15% off our new Sunday brunch menu when you show a valid student ID! And – get this – we’ve got EIGHT different kinds of Caesars, that are only $4 from 11am – 3pm every Sunday.

Along with our own specials, students in Halifax enjoy tons of discount nights at local pubs and restaurants, along with killer deals at the campus bars.

3. The huge, diverse student population

Once the students hit the streets – they’re everywhere. You can meet a photography major from NSCAD, a international business student from SMU or someone taking their masters in chemical engineering all in one night! There’s opportunity to make so many new friends during your time at university – some that will last a lifetime.

 My advice to the new students in Halifax: live it up!

 Happy Back to School!

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Pin it to Win it!

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Are you on Pinterest yet? We are! Atlantica Hotels is proud to say we are now pinning with the best of them out there in ever-changing world of social media.

Why use Pinterest? Well, everyone uses it differently, but for us, the reasons are…

It’s taking the travel world by storm

The tourism industry on Pinterest is booming. Not only do most of the major hotel brands have Pinterest boards, but pinners all over the world are sharing their travel experiences through photos. A high majority of Pinterest users also have boards labeled something like “my dream vacations”, where they re-pin amazing photos from various locations, hotels, resorts and fantastic destinations. It really is helping to build the culture of travel in the social media world, and opening many people’s eyes to cities and regions they’d never even considered.

On top of travelers and hotels using it, destination marketing companies and tourism boards are getting a lot of traction from using Pinterest as a marketing tool. It is an easy way to share high-quality and interesting photos from their region or destination and have the travel enthusiasts on Pinterest to help make them go viral. A little effort can go a LONG way on Pinterest. If you have the right photo and enough people want to share it, it will be re-pinned like crazy!

It’s being used to plan weddings and events

Brides-to-be and event planners are some of the biggest pinners out there. There’s an abundance of wedding and event ideas right at your finger tips. Pinterest has made it easy by having categories – so you can look at pins from users all over the world in mere seconds. Everything from wedding dresses to hair styles to food shots can be found in abundance (and I’m talking millions) on Pinterest.

Now, we’ll be out there posting our best photos from fabulous events and weddings that Atlantica Hotels have hosted!

It’s great for fun contests

Speaking of destination marketing, and speaking of contests… Destination Halifax is currently running a Best of Halifax giveaway in which you can win five adventures, airfare and accommodations (at our beautiful property). Awesome!

Expect many more fun contests and partnerships with our Pinterest page and our great local organizations who work hard to promote Halifax and Nova Scotia.

Happy pinning!

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Take Pride in Pride Week

Here we are in the midst of Halifax Pride Week once again – one of the most fun, lively and colourful events that takes place in HRM! This year, Halifax Pride Week turns 25, and wanted to say a big HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! We are super proud as always to be one of the official hotel sponsors of this event.

Although many events have already taken place (like the comedy show that we hosted here last night), there’s still lots more to come. Tomorrow, take part in the annual dance party happening on the Garrison Grounds from 9pm – 1am!

On Saturday, head downtown to take in the largest parade in Halifax, the annual Pride Parade. It’s sure to impress even more than usual this year with the 25th anniversary theme! The parade starts at 1:30pm and ends at 3pm. Come down early to find parking.

After the parade, the festival and main stage at the Garrison Grounds is free all day. At 10pm it costs $20 at the door to join the WetSpot dance under the stars party! Fireworks will also be happening at 10pm.

To cap off the weekend, Sunday is Pride Family Day. Halifax Pride encourages everyone to spend this day with their families and celebrate their lives together.

Happy Pride Week!

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What is Tall Ships All About?

Photo Source: Playle.com

Sure, we’ve all been hearing a lot of buzz about Tall Ships Festival coming back to Nova Scotia for summer 2012. But what exactly is happening during the festival, and why should you make the trip to check it out? Let me explain…

The festival begins in Halifax, running July 19 – 23, highlighted by the stunning Parade of Sail (pictured above). Take in the impressive fleet that will serve as the backdrop to an awesome summer festival for the next five days on the Halifax waterfront. During the festival’s run in our capital city, there will be food, music, art and history all around us. Here are a couple highlights:

Hey Rosetta! in Concert

On Saturday, July 21, Newfoundland rockers Hey Rosetta! are headlining an party on George’s Island. This is going to be a very rare opportunity to see one of the country’s best bands in a truly unique setting. Imagine partying in the middle of the Halifax harbour, drink in hand, great live music playing, with majestic tall ships in the backdrop! Just awesome. Only 2000 tickets are for sale, and you must be 19+ to attend.

Local Beer, Wine and Food

Brought to you by the great minds at Taste of Nova Scotia, locals and tourists will have a chance to sample the best our province has to offer of food and wine. The Taste of Nova Scotia food pavilion will showcase members of the organization, serving up delicious dishes that range from Nova Scotia seafood, to BBQ goodness, to waffles with local berries.

There will also be culinary demonstrations by well-known chefs. Need a refreshment? Stop by the beer and wine tent, offering only local products!

Once the ships leave our port, they’re headed to others around the province including Lunenburg, Shelburne, Pictou, Port Hawkesbury and Pugwash. The festival ends on July 29, it’s sure to be an exciting time for locals and tourists all over Nova Scotia!

Click here for the festival schedule.

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Summer in the City… er, the HRM

Here are some of my favourite reasons to spend the summer in Halifax…

Canada Day

Our big beautiful country is turning 145 this weekend! What better way to kick off the celebrations than with fireworks? Dartmouth Crossing is starting off the weekend right, with June 29th fireworks, free cake and entertainment.

Keep the party going with a pancake breakfast at Grand Parade on the morning of Canada Day. Show up early – first come, first serve, until the free pancakes run out – 8-9am. While you’re there, check out the official flag raising and singing of our national anthem.

Don’t miss the rocking concert (as usual) at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth. It couldn’t be any easier to get there: hop on the ferry from the Halifax waterfront, and just follow the crowd. You won’t want to miss this year’s headliner, Juno-nominated Mother Mother. It’s only a $4 cover charge to enter the beer garden.

End your weekend by watching fireworks on the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market roof - possibly the best view in town!

Photo source: My Waterfront Development Corp.

Tall Ships

One of the busiest, coolest and most successful events to happen to Nova Scotia is back again this summer. Tall Ships will be in ports around the province from July 19-29, and the Halifax waterfront will be action packed with the Taste of Nova Scotia food pavilion, beer and wine tent, beautiful tall ships (of course) and many other activities.

Natal Day

Halifax is known for hosting a rocking Natal Day weekend every year. This year will be no exception. Alexander Keith’s Natal Day Festival runs from August 2-6th, and features activities for the whole family (like an appearance by Sponge Bob), a huge parade, great concerts and impressive fireworks launched from the MacDonald Bridge.

Photo source: novascotia.com

Halifax International Busker Festival

The 26th annual busker festival is happening on Halifax’s waterfront from August 2nd to 12th! As usual, this free-to-attend event offers something for people of all ages.

Enjoy strolling along the harbour, eating street food, and watching shows that range from magicians to fire-eaters.

Performers work on tips and donations from audience members and provide world-class entertainment for ten action-packed days.

We hope to see you in Halifax this summer!

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Father’s Day in Hali

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Racking your brain for what to do with dad this Father’s Day? Here’s a round-up of a few things most dads love – and how to find them in HRM!

Beer

Halifax is home to many great brew pubs and beer breweries; why not take advantage of the adult beverage that (most) dads love? Head down with a few other friends and dads to Propellor Brewery on Gottigen Street for a tour. At only $15 per person, you can’t go wrong.

If you’re looking to taste some beers with a small group (under ten people), then make your way towards Garrison Brewing, located right beside the Seaport Farmers’ Market on our beautiful waterfront. Here you can do group tours, or just hang around in their rustic brewery and sample the brands at the tasting bar for $2 a pop. If dad finds something he really likes, pick him up a six-pack or growler on the way out!

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Golf

HRM offers so many beautiful golf courses and driving ranges. If you’re not a member somewhere, or a regular golfer, head out for a more casual and affordable experience at Indian Lake Golf Course. It’s only nine holes there, and is about 4 kilometres past Exhibition Park, so there’s lots of time to get back home and BBQ or go out for a bite.

If dad’s a pro – of course you should get in on the action wherever he has a membership. But… you’ll have to let him win… it’s Father’s Day after all!

Movie Night

Maybe your dad isn’t super into sports, or beer, or other stereotypical “dad” stuff. Take him out for a laid-back movie night, letting him choose the flick. The quality time together can mean a lot! If you’re in HRM try the Empire Theatres in Bayers Lake where you can catch something on IMAX or even more intense… IMAX 3-D!

BBQ and Meat-alicious Meals

You might want to make a reservation at Seasons by Atlantica, who have put together the following Father’s Day dinner special:

8oz Barbecue Meadowbrook Rib eye with caramelized onions and Asian Mushrooms with homemade spiced Seasons French fries with truffle aioli, asparagus and corn on the cob

$31

Add Local Scallops $4

Happy Hour Draught

5pm until 10pm, Prices subject to HST

Looking to keep it a quiet night at home? Head to local Halifax butcher, Meat Mongers in the Seaport Farmers’ Market to get some Nova Scotian meat for a delicious BBQ at home – they even offer chicken wings. Stock the fridge with dad’s favourite brew, and be sure that he doesn’t have to do any work!

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Spring at the Farmers’ Market

Spring is in full bloom, and that means new and delicious produce is available from our local farmers.

Here’s a few favourite highlights of spring produce in Nova Scotia, along with fun recipe ideas. It’s easy to keep family dinners locally-inspired in our bountiful province!

Asparagus

Easy to find and to prepare, asparagus is available at most vegetable stalls at the farmers’ market; be sure to grab a bunch this weekend. From puree soups to pizza toppings to simply sautéed as a side dish, asparagus can be a part of breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Grill your trimmed asparagus spears on the barbecue, after tossing in oil, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Once done grilling, toss with lemon zest and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the mouth-watering side dish lemon parmesan asparagus.

If you’re looking to use up your asparagus at breakfast, substitute the ham in eggs benny for grilled asparagus spears, or cut into smaller pieces and toss in a garden vegetable scramble with local eggs.

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Fiddleheads

These funny-looking dark green vegetables can be found both growing wild along riverbeds, and on farms across the province. While many people are skeptical because of their unusual appearance, fiddleheads have a delicate green flavour and are easy to prepare by using simple flavours.

Once removing the brown scales and washing in cold water, fiddleheads can easily be steamed or boiled. Be sure they are thoroughly cooked. Then simply drizzle with your favourite infused oil (I like roasted garlic), or classic melted butter, salt and pepper, and enjoy as a super nutritious side dish.

Also, use your leftover cooked fiddleheads in breakfast dishes like omelettes and quiches.

Spinach

One of the most versatile leafy green vegetables – spinach – can be used any time of the day. Easily added in a variety of egg dishes at breakfast, substituted into sandwiches instead of lettuce, or sautéed with butter and garlic as a simple side dish, this nutritious green can act as an enhancer or be enjoyed on its own.

One of the best ways is to create a fresh spinach salad, along with some fun ingredients. Take a look at the Seasons by Atlantica spinach salad…

Spinach – baby leaf of spinach, spiced cashews, gooseberries, mango chutney, sesame pomegranate vinaigrette

Yum!

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a nostalgic ingredient for many Nova Scotians. Grown in home gardens and on properties across the province, many of us have fond memories of enjoying rhubarb as kids.

This unique plant is tart and sour, and absolutely delicious when the right amount of sweetness is added. Rhubarb can simply be boiled down and sweetened with sugar, or can be the key ingredient in a rich dessert like strawberry rhubarb cream pie.

One of my favourite ways to prepare it is with brown sugar in a rhubarb crumble.

Want to know more?

There’s a ton of resources out there for people looking to get more seasonally inspired. Along with researching where your favourite restaurants get their produce and other items, you can take a look at Select Nova Scotia‘s website. Here you’ll find a seasonal food chart, recipes, lists of local producers and even regional maps on where to find farms and farmers’ markets.

Along with that, simply make it down to your local farmers’ market more often, and chat with the vendors about their produce, practises and what’s coming up with the next harvest!

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