A May 2002 trip
to Dartmouth by Re Carroll
Quote: Dartmouth is just a short ferry trip across the Harbour from Halifax.
The waterfront is attractive and it has good restaurants and tourist attractions.
The boardwalk leads to the Peace Pavilion, a modern geometric structure that houses
rocks and stones from over 70 countries as a tribute to global peace and harmony. As
well as part of a brick from the Great Wall of China, there is a piece of the Berlin Wall and
rubble from a dismantled U.S. nuclear missile silo.
We visited the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, the largest centre for oceans research
in Canada. In Eastern Passage, we got up close and personal with the ocean by taking a
small boat out to a tiny island where our mother was born. The Passage is also home to
Fisherman’s Cove, filled with shops and restaurants.
I’ve revamped my opinion of Dartmouth - she may not have found the glass slipper but it
doesn’t look like her coach will revert to a pumpkin anytime in the near future.
Restaurant | "MacAskills"
We stopped in for lunch and the menu was pretty extensive and innovative. Seafood
entrees like cajun halibut, shrimp fettucine and a mixture of shrimp, scallops and haddock
in a pesto cream sauce. There were lots of pasta dishes, appetizers, soups, salads, etc.
I started with tomato basil soup and it was thick and rich with a garnish of feta cheese. My main course was a chicken and vegetable wrap with a curried mayonnaise dressing and it was delicious. The wrap was huge - filled with crisply steamed vegetables - broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, onions, carrots and chunks of tender chicken breast. It was accompanied by a large salad with a raspberry balsamic dressing. The salad itself was amost enough for a meal and loaded with mixed greens, carrots, peppers, mushrooms,
radishes and cucumber. The food was attractively presented with a fresh strawberry
garnish and a sprig of rosemary. My sister’s fettucine alfredo was also delicious and the portion was substantial. Both meals came with a large portion of fresh garlic bread so we were, unfortunately, too full to try dessert. We were pretty tempted though with features like lemon mousse with raspberry sauce, chocolate pate and a Belgian chocolate and Grand Marnier fondue for two. Next time, we’ll skip the main course and try the dessert sampler - portions of lemon mousse, chocolate pate and cheesecake. So much food, so little time....
The service was friendly and attentive. I asked for a doggie bag for part of my wrap and
it came packaged in tinfoil and shaped like a swan - very cute.
The restaurant is filled with antiques and in summer, there is outside dining on the patio facing the Harbour. I think this would be a wonderful place for a romantic dinner while
watching the sunset.
Prices were ridiculously low for the quality of food and service - my bill was less than
We didn't need a reservation at lunch but dinner might be another story - better to be safe than sorry.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 30, 2002
88 Alderney Drive
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 2N5
Much of the tables are along the back walls with windows that look out over the Harbour
with views of Dartmouth. We could watch the ferry come and go and it seemed almost
close enough to reach out and touch. In good weather (not during our visit unfortunately), there is lots of outdoor dining with the water only a foot away.
The menu has lots of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta and seafood.
I’m told the brie with raspberry sauce in puff pastry is delicious but I’d already decided on
dessert so had to skip the appetizer.
For my meal, I had a beef teriyaki stir fry. The portion didn’t look that large,maybe
because it was served on a very large plate but it was very filling. There weren’t a lot of vegetables but it was loaded with tender strips of beef and served over rice. My sister had spinach salad served with a creamy shallot dressing and filled with bacon, mushrooms, egg and mozzarella cheese.
We splurged on dessert and it was worth every calorie. I had their signature dessert called
Cadiz. It was a slice of Belgian chocolate mousse served on a hazelnut praline crust and
topped with a thick slab of chocolate. Chocoholic heaven! My sister’s creme caramel was light and drenched with sauce.
My meal was less than $20.00 (CDN) including taxes.
The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner and there is a separate childrens’ menu.
1869 Upper Water St
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1S9
+1 902 423 6818
The first part of the tour is in the main building and we followed the painted "feet" on the floor to the various exhibits which are spread over two floors.
The first room is titled "Mapping Canada’s Ocean Frontiers" and there are a number of
maps on the wall, including the Halifax Harbour and the Bay of Fundy. The fun thing is
that the maps are 3D and glasses are supplied to bring the maps to life.
There is a small theatre with videos that are supposed to run continually but we were there
in the off season so we just watched the one video about mapping the ocean’s floor.
Nearby are models of various coast guard boats as well as a life raft and survival
Downstairs is a model of an iceberg as well as aquarium tanks with
crabs and small fish.
There is a separate section on the Titanic, including a model of what she looked like on the ocean floor and information on the Russian submersible that
explored the ship.
The best part of our visit was the Sea Pavilion, in a small building beside the main site. Inside are large touch tanks with various marine life including starfish, sea cucumbers, clams, lobster, crabs and fish like the flat groupers who stay on the bottom of the tank. Many were missing a limb or otherwise hurt and the guide explained that
divers bring in injured marine life so they can be protected. One tank is the Toddler Tank
with baby marine specimens.
It’s open Monday to Friday from 9 to 4 and there is no admission fee. I think the Sea
Pavilion is only open from May to August.
There is also a small gift shop near the main entrance.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 30, 2002
Bedford Institute of Oceanography
1 Challenger Drive
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
There are picnic tables throughout the site and a wooden boardwalk that allows for a
waterside stroll. As well as a large restaurant called "Boondocks", there is a Subway and an Irish tea room. The stores carry typical tourist merchandise - souvenirs of Nova Scotia, post cards,
Saltwater taffy, books, etc. but it’s fun to wander through the small shops and stop for a
snack or meal.
Some of the boat houses are still used to store fishing equipment and there are lobster pots stacked along the wharf.
At the end of the wharf, Mike Tilley operates Harbour Island ferries and offers
transportation to Lawlors, McNabs or Devil’s Islands.
Mike is easy to spot with his red beard, fisherman’s cap and white rubber boats and he is a wealth of information on the area.
McNabs is the most popular destination and will be designated as a provincial park before the end of the year. Some people have summer cottages here and there are camping facilities and lots of hiking trails. Lawlors is home to wildlife including deer and osprey.
My sister and I visited Devil’s Island which is the farthest away but holds a special significance. Our mother’s family lived here in the early 1900s and she was born on the island. It’s very small - only about 1 mile in length but at one time, over 100 people lived here, mostly fishermen and their families. It is now totally deserted, except for a coast guard operated lighthouse that has seen better days. It’s now home to gulls and brown ducks who have their nests here and we came across lots of eggs that were getting ready to hatch.
The island’s name is attributed to a number of stories. Some say it is named after one of the first settlers, a Frenchman named Deval. Others say it is because people who came here said "why the devil would anyone want to live here?" and another version talks about a card game with the devil. I think the first option is the most likely but the others make for an interesting story.
Continual ferry service to McNabs is $12.00 return. Devil’s is $20.00 return but must be
booked in advance and is contingent on weather and tides since there is no wharf and
Mike has to land in a small cove.
Fisherman’s Cove is open 7 days a week and there is plenty of free parking.
Fisherman's Cove - 200 Government Wharf Road, Eastern Passage (902) 465 6093 FAX (902) 465 6899
Abbotsford, British Columbia