Mark Critch has a few things on the go. Over the last year, he released his latest book, An Embarrassment of Critch’s, created, produced and starred in a new CBC comedy series, Son of a Critch, based on his childhood in Newfoundland and Labrador (premiering January 4) and continued to write for and star in Canada’s legendary sketch comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes. “It’s been a bit of a crazy year,” he says. While St. John’s is still home base for Critch, he has spent up to eight months a year filming 22 Minutes in Halifax since 2003. “When I first came to Halifax, it seemed like St. John’s on steroids. I’ve never lost that sense of awe. It’s a ‘choose your own adventure’ type of place, which is perfect for a wanderer like me.”
Originally from St. John’s, Mark Critch spends up to eight months a year in Nova Scotia filming This Hour Has 22 Minutes. From pubs to bookstores – here are his top picks on what to do in Halifax.
Illustration by Michael Parkin
Mark’s 5 Spots
Photo: Julian Parkinson
The Arms Public House —I’m often found in this English pub writing sketches for the week’s episode of 22 Minutes. It has great food – I love the seafood chowder – and, because it’s in a hotel, people from all over, but lots of locals, too.
Photo: Michael Hamm
Bookmark Halifax —The staff here are great. I went in recently to buy a David Sedaris title and they asked if I’d sign my new book – I thought, “I hope it doesn’t look like I came in hoping they’d ask me to do that!”
Photo: Rod McLay
Taz Records —I’m a music nerd (I have a 1956 Rock–Ola jukebox at home), and I can say that this is one of the best record stores anywhere. I’ve been searching for rarities here since 1993. They have an incredible collection of vintage vinyl and I always enjoy getting lost looking through it.
Related: Musician Matt Mays on Living Room Concerts and Surfing in Nova Scotia
Photo: Nathan Boone
Strange Adventures Comics & Curiosities —I used to collect old comic books and years ago, I bought a Golden Age comic (a classic from the early 1930s to mid–1950s) with the Flash on the cover here. It’s the kind of place where you open the door and somebody behind the counter says, “Hey, I put something aside for you yesterday, you might like this.” Those are always the coolest spots.
Photo: Gerry Lunn
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic —Being a Newfoundlander, I’m in love with the sea, and this museum is a must–see for the Titanic exhibit alone. Sailors at the time would pick up debris floating in the ocean, so some of the artifacts on display are bits of the grand staircase and other pieces of wood from the ship made into things like a cribbage board or folk art.
Make sure to check government entry requirements before you travel.