More than 110 vendors and exhibitors flock to Exhibition Park for the 30th annual Atlantic Outdoor Sports and RV Show—an homage to the entertainment and serenity found in nature. Displays by Leisure Days RV Centre, Wolf Spirit Accessories, and Cumberland Canoe, among others, brim with everything from new sport- and fly-fishing equipment to ATVs and backpacking gear. In addition to browsing the wares, visitors can check out motocross stunts, attend an educational seminar, or follow their spirit animal to the demonstration kitchen, where chefs prepare dishes using pheasant and venison.
He wears a beaming smile and a red cap, beneath which his eyes turn to meet those of the happy children who pass his way. He is 65 feet tall. He is a boat.
The fleet at Murphy's The Cable Wharf also includes seven other vessels, but the most recognizable is surely Theodore Too: an enormous, custom-built life-size replica of the friendly Theodore Tugboat, star of the CBC children's television show of the same name. He was originally commissioned to sail up and down the Eastern Seaboard, giving kids a chance to take harbor cruises that were previously only possible in their daydreams, until eventually the staff of Murphy's stepped in to give him a permanent home.
Theodore Too wasn't the first remarkable vessel in the Murphy's fleet. In the early 1980s, Captain Gerald Murphy purchased the Mar, a seasoned tall ship that had sailed around the world twice and been the subject of a documentary. He used this storied vessel to establish Murphy's The Cable Wharf, a sailing and tour company based in Halifax Harbour. With ships in the water, Murphy also planned a restaurant?repurposing the old Cable Ship Terminal, which was built in 1913 and had long been dormant.
Decades later, Murphy's nautical vision lives on. The Mar still glides across harbour waters for themed sailing tours and pirate cruises. The spacious Haligonian III embarks on whale-watching excursions that bring passengers face-to-face with minke whales and dolphins, and the Harbour Queen I?an old-fashioned Mississippi-style sternwheeler?embarks on narrated history tours.
The wharf restaurant, meanwhile, continues the nautical theme on dry land, showing off unobstructed views of the waterfront. It even brings a bit of the sea indoors: a lobster tank filled with more than 300 live crustaceans lets guests net their own meals, while a touch tank brings them face-to-face with native marine life. Coastal dishes, from a buttery lobster roll to pan-fried haddock, fuel more maritime adventures.
Long before its first kayak hit the water, East Coast Outfitters (ECO) established a commitment to helping the local community as well as the environment. The eco-tourism company is based in the small fishing village of Lower Prospect, which suffered a massive collapse in the groundfishing industry. To help the town recover, the company started employing residents as guides, maintenance workers, and even office managers.
Today, ECO put the area's cultural heritage and abundant wildlife on display at the same time through sea kayak tours and watercraft rentals.
Every tour and skill-building or certification class departs ECO's floating wharf under the watchful eye of at least one expert guide. These guides have all completed a rigorous eight-month training program, and are certified by Paddle Canada and in Wilderness First Aid, making them quite capable of assisting paddlers.
Most excursions are suitable for all experience levels and range from the half-day to multi-day tour, plus special trips at sunset. Tour guides lead kayaks past the rocky coasts of wild islands and explore sheltered inlets. Sometimes, local wildlife such as eagles, seals, and whales make appearances.
Glowing monkeys scamper toward a neon waterfall, and a knight bearing a radiant yellow lance rides past a bright orange octopus emerging from the ocean. What appears to be a time-traveling session gone awry is really the evolving environment within Putting Edge’s indoor black-lit mini-golf course, which whisks players to deep seas, Aztec jungles, and medieval times. Since opening its original location in Canada, Putting Edge has now expanded to 18 North American locations, all of which invite guests onto its challenging 18-hole courses to seek victory over opponents and the forces that keep their teeth from not glowing as brightly as they could. Elsewhere, the facility houses private party rooms, concessions, and an arcade filled with gamer favorites such as air hockey.
Mixing modern aesthetics with classical form, BJM Danse crafts riveting pieces, choreographed by some of the preeminent names in contemporary dance. Patrons can marvel at muscular dance moves and impress past versions of themselves at time travelling dinner parties by witnessing the world premiere of BJM guest choreographer Cayetano Soto's Fuel. Rossini Cards sets the sumptuous, kinetic choreography of Italian ballet director Mauro Bigonzetti to the familiar, operatic tunes of Rossini. The Rebecca Cohn Auditorium provides ample space for dancers to undertake rhythmic feats, with balcony seating proffering clear views of the stage.
Since its first year more than 25 years ago, Greek Fest has immersed attendees in Greek culture and culinary tradition with a four-day indoor and outdoor festival. Each day, visitors can explore a cultural exhibition spanning traditional crafts, art replicas, and religious artefacts; guided tours roam within the local Byzantine Greek Orthodox church to highlight colourful iconography and ornate interior architecture. A massive white-tented dome hosts live music played on painted mandolins while dance troupes perform regional dances. Children can work out extra adrenalin in a kids' area, where coaches supervise soccer-training zones to keep them away from wild vuvuzelas. A contest running throughout the festival can award two participants with a trip to Greece, allowing them to further explore Greek culture.
Foodies can placate their palates with a range of authentic Greek dishes, assembled from the grill and formed into plates of souvlaki, chicken-filled pitas, and beef donair kebabs. Mythologists can also explore the obsessions of Dionysus at a Greek wine tasting led by local sommeliers Costa Elles.