Located on one of the oldest ferry routes in North America and just a hop across the harbour from Halifax, downtown Dartmouth no longer plays second fiddle to the Nova Scotian capital. Along Portland and Ochterloney streets, you'll find a mix of old (Fisher's Stationery) and new (The Bike Pedaler). The vibe remains low-key and DIY – this is home to the Trailer Park Boys, after all –
with a group of resident entrepreneurs buoying the town's slow but steady transformation.
Claim to fame Joel Plaskett is a resident
Local drink Beer. Cold Beer. (Perhaps brewed at local Sleeman’s brewery.)
Noteworthy nature With 23 lakes in the city’s boundaries, Dartmouth is known as ‘The City of Lakes’.
Live music Alderney Landing
Annual event The Maritime Fiddle Festival
1. Two If By Sea
"Dartmouth is kind of the underdog and felt right for what we wanted to do," says Tara MacDonald, who opened the café with Zane Kelsall. Now a community mainstay, the café hosts Family Dinners, complete with "I love Dartmouth" T-shirts, and realtors refer to a property's location in relation to TIBS.
66 Ochterloney St., 902-469-0721
2. Strange Adventures
Long-time Dartmouth resident Calum Johnston emphasizes local talent at this comic-book shop. "We carry work by as many of our cartooning community as we can," he says. Emerging talent Rebecca Kraatz shares shelf space with shop employee Kate Leth and Steve McNiven of Marvel Comics fame.
101 Portland St., 902-444-2140
3. Alderney Landing Farmers' Market
Here you'll find heaps of produce along with artisan goods and pumpkin-carving contests; you might even run into Juno award-winning musician Joel Plaskett, who lives in the area. "It's a social event: Grab a coffee, listen to music, buy some veggies," says Lisa Josey, who helped the popular Saturday market grow from four to more than 60 vendors in the last six years.
2 Ochterloney St.
4. Cheese Curds
Worth the trip outside of downtown, this burger joint and poutinerie serves 500 people a day, thanks to former Royal Canadian Navy chef Bill Pratt. Spice up your order with exotic items – ketjap manis-sweated bean sprouts, anyone? – but don't leave without tasting the Legendary CC Porker: a double burger with bacon, buttermilk onion rings and the eponymous teeth-squeaking topping.
380 Pleasant St., 902-444-3446