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.
Though the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has been open to the public for more than six decades, within its walls, time stands still. Here, steamships still travel up rivers, the Battle of the Atlantic wages on, and Nova Scotia is still rallying to aid in the aftermath of the Titanic disaster. Through permanent and rotating exhibits, the museum?which is the largest of its kind in Canada?lets visitors relive these and other key moments in maritime history.
Located on Halifax's historic waterfront, the museum's collections house more than 24,000 artifacts of Canada's naval and maritime heritage. The permanent exhibition Halifax Wrecked intimately connects visitors with the events and aftermath of that historic disaster, considered to the the largest man-made explosion before the atomic bomb. A thorough Titanic exhibit lets viewers experience what life was like on the doomed ship, including a replica deck chair to sit in and an authentic one to admire. Visitors can also enjoy the museum's largest artifact, CSS Acadia, a 101 year-old ship on the water (check for availability). Beyond receiving free admission for children 5 and younger, kids and parents will find plenty to enjoy, as well, including the massive tentacles of a full-size kraken and Merlin, the friendly rainbow macaw and museum mascot. At the William Robertson & Son store, guests can soak up the waterfront atmosphere or try their hand at making their own knot craft.
Since its inception in 1992, Curves has been specifically designed with women in mind. Founders Gary and Diane Heavin set out to create a supportive, encouraging atmosphere in which women could get in shape without feeling self-conscious. Their unofficial motto, "no makeup, no men, no mirrors," is now repeated at nearly 10,000 locations in more than 85 countries, helping women of all ages and fitness levels reach their health goals. To cater to the all-female client base, their equipment and specialized workouts are built to enhance the feminine physique.
Their classic 30-minute workout is designed to work the entire body. As ladies move from station to station, they complete a circuit-style workout that intersperses weight training with cardio sessions designed to maintain heart rate. Most of the 13 machines are double positive, which means they work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement—simultaneously toning the abs and back, or the chest and vestigial tail. Each machine also supports the CurvesSmart system, which tracks each patron's individual progress. Before getting started, clients receive a card with their personal fitness information embedded within. When the card is inserted into a machine, a green light lets them know that they’re working at the correct intensity level. As muscles get stronger, the workouts get tougher, and at the end of each session, a progress report lists details on muscle strength and the number of calories burned.
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.
Surprisingly spry for a 90-year-old, Gus the gopher tortoise greets Museum of Natural History visitors while strolling around the premises and snacking on clover and dandelions. As the museum's mascot for more than six decades, Gus has amassed a substantial following, and he keeps his 1,500+ Facebook friends abreast of the latest goings-on at his home's seven permanent galleries. Unearthed tools, arrowheads, and Tupperware of the Mi'kmaq and Acadian peoples await in the archaeology exhibit, and the pre-contact culture, religion, and language of Nova Scotia come to life in the ethnology hall. Life-sized models of feathered bipeds and four-legged furballs lurk in the mammals-and-birds gallery. Live snakes, frogs, salamanders, and honeybees call Netukulimk home, embodying a Mi'kmaq conception of the relationship between the human and natural worlds.
From its founding in 1908, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has brought residents the chance to see historic and contemporary art from across the province, continent, and globe. The collection?all 15,000-plus pieces of it?focuses primarily on artists with ties to Nova Scotia, including Maud Lewis, whose life story rivals her paintings in color and vibrance. The tiny house in which she lived and painted, itself a work of art, is on permanent display in Halifax, the result of joint rescue efforts from the gallery and the province.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia stepped up its commitment to making local and international art accessible to all citizens with the 2006 opening of the Western Branch, located in Yarmouth. While the branch is still not old enough to drive or apply to art school, the building is as historic as the work it contains, complete with Corinthian flourishes and a cornerstone laid in 1912.