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.
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.
Since its Toronto location opened in 1976, Yuk Yuk's has been a collective launching pad for such comedy heavyweights as Jim Carrey, Rick Moranis, and Russell Peters. All of Yuk Yuk's laugh-establishments invite seasoned jokesters and up-and-coming comedians to their stages every weekend for up to four days of high hilarity and three nights of cozy lodging atop their cocktail tables. Many Yuk Yuk's locations offer drinks, dinner, or bar fare during the show, but those interested in dining should contact their club of choice to find out about reservations.
Situated just steps away from Lawrencetown Beach and Stoney Beach, Kannon Beach furnishes wave runners of all skill levels with boards and gear to buy or rent. A full-day surfboard rental (a $15 value) equips surfers with one of the shop's trusty boards so they can glide across wave faces or win races against lazy rivers. Kannon's knowledgeable staff stands guard to helpfully suggest gear, boards, or accessories to assist with the day's excursion. The outlet also rents wet suits ($15/day, not included in today's deal) or full knight armour to surfers without their own.
Raise a fist for the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League as they shred through home ice at Metro Centre. On March 18, Halifax battles the Acadie-Bathurst Titan for league ranking, bragging rights, and friendly competition for the most remaining teeth. Seating ($14.50–$15.75) in Metro Centre’s lower and upper bowls is based on best availability at redemption.