Back-to-School Money Saving Tips

Wow – the end of the summer really creeped up on us. It’s already late August? When did that happen? If you have kids, or university-aged young adults, gearing up for back-to-school, it’s probably turning into a hard time of the year for your wallet.

According to recent news articles, spending in Canada is expected to climb – the average per-child cost is estimated at a whopping $428. There are some ways you can keep a few more dollars in your purse around back-to-school time… my own internet research has unearthed some fantastic money-saving tips, that I’m about to share with you:

Don’t Give into Trends Early

Sure, the kids may want a certain colour, pattern, boy band or other theme early in the summer – but by late August, the trends could have already changed. Save the headache and double purchases by holding off on trendy products until closer to September.

Check the Flyers Regulary

There are always staple products that kids need: looseleaf, binders, pencils, etc. Be sure to read flyers, track sales and shop around to get the best deal on these items.

Look for it Used

Hit up websites like Kijiji, read the classifieds, or even form a group with other parents for buying and trading. There are also a ton of good finds at stores like Value Village and in our region, Frenchy’s.

Have a Good List, Stick to it

You have a list for a reason. With so many purchases to make, don’t be talked into anything needless. Be well-organized and get an accurate list from the school or school’s website.

Don’t Stray from Your Budget (and Spread it Out)

Early on, when you form the list, get an idea of what you can spend on each item and create the budget. Be strict, and keep track of what you’ve spent. Spread out some of the spending on staple items throughout the summer (as you find sales, and also used items) so that you’re not dropping all the cash at one time. If you do find some great deals and second-hand products, your budget may allow a little splurge near the end of the summer! This is your reward for being so frugal!

…and of Course. Travel Well!

Should you be traveling to drop off your university-aged kids, make sure to seek out back-to-school rates and packages. Look for those that offer extras, like ours, which includes a deluxe continental breakfast each morning. Check out our rate here, using the booking code BACK.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Brunch with Culinary Team Canada

As many of you already know, our extremely talented executive chef Luis Clavel was awarded a position on CCFCC Culinary Team Canada just a little while back. On top of being super proud and excited for chef Clavel, we’re also pleased to be able to experience some of the events he’ll partake in over the next few years on their journey to compete internationally in 2016.

A couple of these events just happened over the weekend of Friday July 26th and Saturday July 27th, at the hotel. Most of the team was in town to put on an amazing culinary experience with beer and wine pairings in our Guild Hall on the Friday evening at the Going for Gold Dinner, all the proceeds helping out the team, and then an incredible six-course brunch on Saturday to thank some of the event supporters and promoters.

Now I’m going to lead you through the brunch course-by-course, and be sure to keep following us on Facebook and Twitter for future Culinary Team Canada events as well as Luis’ upcoming monthly Fine Dining Club – starting in September 2013.

First Course - Luis' beet-apple tea with hot & cold temperatures.

"Lobster Eggs Benny" with sabayon

Black box creation by Hamid Salimian - tenderloin of lamb, garlic puree, quinoa salad, cucumber, feta (cold dish)

French toast with basil-infused maple syrup

Aged beef with red wine sauce, hearts of palm puree

Dessert - peanut butter bar with salted caramel sauce, fruit salad

The team helping to promote chef Peter Dewar's delicious line of infused maple syrups!

Full Culinary Team Canada information: 
Hamid Salimian- Vancouver Community College, Vancouver
Natalie Fortier – House of Commons, Ottawa
Clement Chow – Le Tigre Cuisine,  Vancouver
Scott Baechler – Fanshawe College, London
Luis Clavel – Seasons by Atlantica/Atlantica Hotel Halifax, Halifax
Giulia  Nardiello- The Empress Hotel, Victoria
Tobias MacDonald – Vancouver Community College, Vancouver
John Carlo Felicella- Vancouver Community College, Vancouver
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s on for August 2013



Wow — summer is really flying by here in Halifax. We’re in the midst of Halifax Pride 2013 right now, with our hotel hosting some great events!

What’s coming up next month in the city? Lots! Here is a handy August event round-up that I put together…

What’s on for August

The much-loved International Buskers Festival starts on July 31 and runs until August 5th. Grab the kids and head down to the waterfront to take in various forms of entertainment ! It’s always a great time.

It’s also Bell Aliant Natal Day Festival from July 31-August 5! Talk about an amazing long weekend. HRM has fireworks planned, family activities, live music and more!

With all the excitement of Natal Day weekend, don’t miss KISS playing at the Halifax Metro Centre on August 1st! Get your tickets here.

On August 9 and 10th swing by the Cunard Centre for Halifax Seaport Beer Fest! Sample over 200 local and regional beers and ciders, purchase some tasty food, and listen to live music. This year there’s an Irish Craft Beer Village!

Sandjam featuring the Canada Cup is back, running from August 12-18th. This is a cool event — see our waterfront transformed into a professional beach volleyball tournament with teams competing from around the world!

There’s certainly a lot to see and do in Halifax. Planning your trip here over the summer? Find a package that works for you, with us!

Spot-the-Bike, win a seaside weekend away at our sister property, Atlantica Hotel and Marina Oak Island. It’s easy! Find our more, here!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Help Quinpool Road get a Facelift!

This requires immediate attention: our neighbourhood is in the running to get a facelift sponsored by Benjamin Moore Paints! Whatever I was going to blog about this week has been bumped. We need your help!


First, the story. Benjamin Moore Paints started running a contest to choose 20 “main streets” all over Canada and the U.S. to repaint. The program is called Main Street Matters, and its goal is to help preserve important streets in communities, and to keep businesses there thriving.

On the Paint What Matters website, there was a list of nominated towns and cities. After the online voting (over 32,000 were cast) was said and done on June 30, 2013… Halifax made the list of winners! The next step? Deciding which street within our beautiful seaside city will get a complete three-block makeover courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

Quinpool Road is on the list of potential winners for Halifax. How great would our street look with a little makeover?? We’re a classic neighbourhood that would truly benefit from a three-block paint job. We need YOU to vote online every day until July 19th, the last day. To cast an official vote, visit the HRM website here.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Get your Red & White on!

Whether you’re visiting Halifax for our nation’s birthday or live here year-round, chances are you’re busy making plans to celebrate this Monday, July 1st.

Luckily our city always has lots of great Canada Day events to enjoy. As usual, I’m rounding up the info to make your lives easier! So read on, and make plans for an unforgettable 146th birthday party!

Monday, July 1st, 2013

8am – Grand Parade is hosting the Pepsi Pancake Breakfast & Flag Raising

“Free pancake breakfast, while supplies last. Flag raising and singing of O Canada. The Tattoo Choir will be in attendance along with your local councillors! Celebrate Canada Day in the morning with free food, coffee and juice!” (

10:30am – Annual Canada Day Parade, various locations downtown

11am – Official Opening Ceremony at Citadel National Historic Site

“Free admission on Canada Day to the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.

Join the Canada Day Committee, Government Officials and Sponsors at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada featuring the Canada Day proclamation, flypast from 12 Wing Shearwater, cake, and a 21-gun salute.

Singing of O Canada and FREE Canada Day Cake at 12:30 pm.” (

12pm – The Argyle Entertainment District – Molson Canadian Canada Day Celebration

“A street-wide celebration with fantastic Molson Canadian beer promotions, a Proud to Be Canadian audiovisual show running in Neptune Theatre every 30 minutes, tons of free Molson “I am Canadian” swag, a red & white competition for the chance to win $300 in the AED.

Wear your best red & white, get your photo taken at the photo booth – located at the Neptune Theatre Canada Day Headquarters – any time between 12-5pm. Tag yourself on our Facebook page for a chance to win $300.

Visit the headquarters for info, maps, and exclusive coupons for the district. The Molson street team will be handing out buttons, tattoos and other swag all day long.”

3pm – FREE CAKE – along Argyle Street

5pm – Molson Canadian presents the Canada Day Main Event, Alderney Landing

“The biggest FREE Concert in Atlantic Canada for the 5th year in a row featuring Juno Nominees TOKYO POLICE CLUB.

Molson will keep the drinks cold and we will keep the energy up all night long.

The lineup is stacked with talent from all over the country including

SKRATCH BASTID(Halifax/Toronto)

The event is FREE and we ask you all to come down in your best red and white to celebrate our Country’s birthday together.

The Molson Beer Garden area is $5 (Open to attendees 19 years of age or older)

The ferry service will be extended until 1:45 am FOR FREE. All Day free ferry service to and from Alderney Landing” (

10pm – Canada Day Fireworks, almost anywhere downtown

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For the Beer-Loving Dads…

As we all know, Father’s Day is coming up THIS weekend. As both a tribute to the beer-loving dads out there, as well as an idea for anyone needing a last-minute Father’s Day gift, I wanted to take this time to point out the thriving craft beer scene in Halifax.

If your dad is a real beer lover, enjoys trying new brews, and believes in supporting local… you should head out to the local craft breweries and put together an amazing sampler for Dad! 

Garrison Brewing Company

Let’s start with the biggie. Garrison has been around for years – we’ve all seen their impressive looking location in the Halifax Seaport. They just won best craft brewery in The Coast’s 2013 Best Of Awards.

My recommendation? Stop by there and pick up a few of the seasonal and specialty beers.   Make a mix ‘n’ match for Dad. Right now the Nit-Wit Belgian style wheat beer is on the shelves, as well as an American Red that they’re describing as sweet and bitter. Or go with one of the year-round classics, like a six-pack of Tall Ship Amber, a real crowd-pleaser. If Dad likes it dark, there’s usually large bottles of Martello Stout or Baltic Porter in the fridge.

Propeller Brewing

Next, head to the north end, and add a few Propeller beers to the collection. Their highly-reagarded IPA is sure to please any serious beer-drinking dad. If he’s a slightly new to the craft beer scene, perhaps start him off with the regular Pale Ale, or the Honey Wheat.

Can’t decide? Pick up a Propeller gift card.

Bridge Brewing Company

The newest brewer to the Halifax craft beer scene is conveniently located in the north end – so continue your journey to Agricola Street to visit Bridge Brewing. Currently they’re brewing two Belgian style beers, which have been received very well by Halifax craft beer drinkers. Personally I say, grab a 750ml re-fillable of the Farmhouse Ale and surprise Dad; he’ll probably like it so much he’ll want to go back again and again to restock.


More Beer

Looking for a more involved experience? Follow the links above to either of two bigger breweries and book a group tour (get a few friends and their dads together) for a night out of beer-drinking and many laughs. Or, check out their event listings, there may be a beer and food event happening in the near future – perfect to buy dad tickets to, for Father’s Day!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s on for June 2013

We’re all ramping up for summer here in Halifax. There’s a lot of activities and festivals on the books for our seaside city in the 2013 sunny season! Since there is so much going on, let’s take a look at a few June event highlights…

HRM Bike Week

Starting THIS weekend and lasting until June 11th! Click here for full event listings – there are fun, active bike-related activities happening all over HRM for the whole family. Our favourite is the annual Open Street Party at the Halifax Common and skating oval (on this Sunday).

Seasons by Atlantica is offering 15% off food for anyone who comes in with their bike helmet during Bike Week! PLUS we’re extending that offer through the end of August for anyone who comes in with their I Heart Bikes receipt from that day!

Stay tuned for our summer Spot the Bike photo competition!

The Oval: Summer Edition

We are just so excited that our neighbour the Emera Skating Oval will be opening to roller and inline skating, plus other activities over the summer! The city is buying hundreds of pairs of inline skates that will be available to the public. All the details aren’t ready just yet – but stay tuned here. (Also stay tuned for stay and skate packages coming your way!)

Matt Mays Free Concert

You DON’T want to miss this one – as part of his coast-to-coast tour, on June 8th, our hometown rock ‘n’ roll hero Matt Mays will be rolling through on his Red Bull tour bus and playing a free concert on the Halifax waterfront. Wanna go? Just RSVP here.

Multicultural Festival

The annual Multicultural Festival is back at the Halifax seaport on June 21-23. This event is just packed full of delicious international foods, music, dance… and there’s shopping too!

The Tattoo

Starting on June 30th, the must-see Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is back! Do I even need to say more? Buy your tickets now!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Get up and Go on Victoria Day Weekend!

The first long weekend of the sunny season is upon us – and you know what that means – time to make plans to get out and have some fun!

Maybe you’re visiting Halifax from out of town, or perhaps you’re a local who’s just not sure what’s going on over the Victoria Day weekend. Aside from spending some quality time with family and friends, there are many different kinds of activities happening in Halifax. Here are four different experiences open to you over the weekend…


The Halifax Concert Band will perform at the Grandstand in the gorgeous Halifax Public Gardens on Monday May 20th, starting at 2pm. This is a free and wonderful way to get outdoors, listen to live music, and experience the flowers and foliage that our public gardens have to offer.

Food & Drink

The Patio Weekend kick-off event in the lively Argyle Entertainment District is on all weekend. Grab a seat Friday night and experience the official patio lighting on Argyle Street at 9pm. Enjoy live entertainment at almost all venues, along with beer and food specials on patios all weekend long!


The 7th Annual Maritime Tattoo Festival is happening over the long weekend at the Halifax Forum. Even if you’re not ‘inked’ this event offers pure entertainment: reality television celebrities, drag shows, live music and a “freakshow” sideshow!


Last but not least there is, of course, the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon! Head downtown to cheer on participants and take in the energetic vibe – there’s even still time to volunteer. It’s a great environment to kick start some self-motivation and positive energy!

Be sure to check out Seasons by Atlantica’s amazing three-course offering as part of the 26 Myles Menus  – ending May 19th.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pin your way through Mother’s Day!

Oh, that Pinterest. It just has so many ideas for so many different occasions. Not feeling particularly inspired to think up an original Mother’s Day idea? On a budget? Wondering what’s new and trendy? Just visit Pinterest. Here are some ideas, categorized by the types of moms, that I’ve found…


Is mom the traditional type? Keep things classic with old favourites like beautiful flower arrangements, potted plants, gourmet chocolates (there are many local companies in Nova Scotia to choose from) or jewelry.

Click photo for source

Click photo for source

Retail Junky

Maybe your mom’s a shopaholic – and she’d prefer a stylish fashion find on the special day. In that case, look for perfect Mother’s Day gifts like spring purses, scarves or sun/gardening hats. Be sure to visit one of Halifax’s many independent clothing shops for items just like these – and to find something unique, just like her.

Click image for source

Click image for source



Most moms out there just want a gift that comes from the heart. If your mom would rather you put a little time and effort into her gift, instead of just spending money, consider a fun DIY project. Check out Pinterest daily for even more of these great ideas!

Click photo for source



If mom’s a foodie, you’ve got two options: make her an incredible Mother’s Day meal, or take her out for a decadent Sunday brunch. If you’re looking to do the latter – you should seriously check out the Mother’s Day offering at Seasons by Atlantica.

If you’re going to do the former – go all the way – and whip up something impressive (there are a ton of recipe ideas on Pinterest).

Click image for source


Happy Mother’s Day!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Benefits of Fresh Air

Now that it’s finally starting to feel spring-like in Halifax, I’m super excited to get outdoors, like everyone else. Lucky for us Halifax has many beautiful greenspaces, like the Common or Point Pleasant Park. Plus, we’re on the ocean!

What is it exactly about being in the open air that makes us feel so great? Well, as it turns out, a whole lot. The physical and mental benefits to getting fresh air are vast and important. Here are just a few that I found in my research…

More Energy

Inhaling fresh air generally allows you to breathe more effectively (deeper and longer), because it cleans your lungs. This means more oxygen gets to your brain, which, among other amazing things, gives you more energy.

Improve Your Brain Power

The other great thing about getting more oxygen to the brain is that it will work better. This means better thought clarity, better concentration and essentially… more brain power!

Less Stress

We all learned in elementary school how trees and plants take carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen, which humans need to breathe. Turns out there is also a self-protective chemical that they give off as well, called phytoncides. This chemical is at the centre of some stress-reduction studies that have shown people who spend time walking in the forest versus in the city have both lower blood pressure, and lower amounts of the stress hormone cortisol.

Helps Digestion

One of the best things you can do after a big meal is take a walk around the block! The fresh air is a digestive aid and suggested to many people who are trying to lose weight.

Now get out there and enjoy it while you can!

Resources for this article:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment