Things to do in Canada in summer: Atlantic Canada
For the final installment of our series of articles, “Things to do in Canada in summer,” let Canadian Immigrant take you on a journey to the place some folks reckon is Canada’s best-kept secret: the Atlantic.
Atlantic Canada is divided into four provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador. It is a region of Canada known for its vibrant and friendly people, as well as its hospitality, unique pace of life, culture, music and food. Combined with its rugged and magical coastal landscapes, there are plenty of reasons why the East Coast should be a contender for your time.
As with the other three articles in this series (B.C., Prairies and Ontario/Quebec), we’ll tackle all the must-do attractions and natural wonders in the region, to provide you with all the inspiration you’ll need for your travels.
Tour Downtown Halifax
In Halifax, the capital city of Nova Scotia, there is plenty to see and do. The downtown area has a great eclectic vibe, and there are plenty of fantastic eats and boutique-style shops to keep you busy. While you’re there, check out the street performers. And, at the start of August, there’s the Halifax Busker’s Festival, where some of the best acts from around the world take to the stages on the Halifax waterfront. Be sure to take a wander down to the Halifax harbour and go for a stroll along the boardwalk — it’s one of the longest in the world!
Lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove
Also in Halifax, is the picturesque Peggy’s Cove, known for Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, one of Nova Scotia’s most well-known beacons; it’s one of the most photographed locations worldwide.
Whilst you’re there, leave some time to check out the quaint little fishing village — it’s perfect for a touristy wander. However, if you want some East Coast fish and chips that are everything you ever dreamed of, then you should head to French Village, a tiny inlet that’s just five minutes up the road from Peggy’s Cove — then make a reservation at Shaw’s Landing.
While it’s true that throughout the East Coast, seafood is in abundance, often places that cater to tourists might not always have the best catch of the day. But Shaw’s Landing has seafood that will not disappoint: they use only fresh, local seafood and they refuse to freeze it.
Cape Breton Island a must!
If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience during your travels through Nova Scotia, then surely Cape Breton Island should be front and centre of your list: in fact, it is often voted as one of the best islands to visit in all of North America. With its dramatic coastlines and rich Gaelic, Arcadian and Indigenous cultures, there is much to see and do.
Scenic fishing village
If scenic fishing villages are your thing, then St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador is sure to turn your crank. With rows upon rows of colourful jellybean houses in the downtown area, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled onto a quirky movie set. If you’re in the area, check out the day’s first sunrise in all of Canada, at Signal Hill, take a boat tour, or even stop in a pub for a pint, and a chat with one of the friendly locals.
Wonderful Bay of Fundy
Meanwhile, another popular draw in New Brunswick, is one of the seven wonders of North America: the Bay of Fundy. Popular attractions include checking out the highest tides in the world and whale watching.
When it comes to must-do spots in New Brunswick, then don’t forget to visit the Arcadian Islands. If you’re looking for Arcadian spirit on the East Coast, then you’ll find this culture not just on the islands where the French first settled in the 1600s, but throughout the Atlantic provinces.
For a full-on Arcadian experience, make some time for the Festival Acadien de Caraquet. This celebration that takes place in August, is a party like no other you’ll have been to before. More than 20,000 people invade Main Street during the celebrations, armed with pots, pans and spoons — pretty much anything you can think of, to make noise to celebrate National Acadian Day — it is said to be an unforgettable experience — just don’t forget your earplugs!
Enjoying the natural coastline
Because so many Atlantic cities are along the coastline, you can be certain that there are plenty of scenic hiking and biking trails in all four provinces. If the great outdoors is what you’re after, then there’s no shortage of water sports, such as boating, surfing, kayaking and paddle boarding. If you fancy surfing like a local, then Lawrencetown Beach Provincial Park, Nova Scotia, is the place for you. It’s a popular spot, not only for its amazing natural beauty, but because the surf conditions are perfect for beginners to find their feet, but are also good for more advanced surfers, too. There are plenty of places to buy or rent gear, and you can even sign up for lessons, to make sure you don’t wipe out.
Birthplace of our nation: Charlottetown
Of course, no visit to the East Coast would be complete without a visit to one of the provinces most famous destinations: Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.). Although the region is comprised of the main island and several smaller islands, most tourists will want to head to Charlottetown — the provincial capital and, also, the birthplace of our nation.
Charlottetown is a vibrant seaside city, full of historical charm, and is a place that really comes alive during the summer months, with a plethora of markets, events and festivals that entertain locals and tourists alike.
Book a ticket to see Anne of Green Gables the Musical, or stop for dinner in one of the many local restaurants. And if your travels aren’t until September, be sure to watch out for the PEI International Shellfish Festival — rumour has it that it is supposed to be a culinary experience like no other.
Canadian Immigrant Fair in Halifax
Finally, if professional development is on your mind, don’t miss the Canadian Immigrant Fair in Halifax, on September 7, at the Canadian Immigration Museum at Pier 21. The free fair offers a dynamic environment for immigrants who need information and inspiration as they look for jobs, go back to school and settle into their new home. The fair includes hiring employers, a resumé clinic, free professional LinkedIn headshots, an English pronunciation class and inspirational speakers including a keynote by Tareq Hadhad of Peace by Chocolate.
To learn more and register for the fair, go to www.canadianimmigrant.ca/careerfair/halifax.
Register before September 6 for your chance to win a year of prepaid service with Public Mobile on Canada’s largest mobile network.