The dearth of summer in Halifax is amplified by the halt the beginning of fall semester brings. But September is particularly kind to Halifax, so don’t let your looming semester kill the footloose dance of July and August until your feet are manacled in wool socks and Sorrels. You’re not procrastinating yet—save that for October. Now, you’re still wiggling your body into the sand of the beach that is the city in which you live.
It’s easy, in Halifax, to create universes made up of the four blocks it takes to walk to school, the grocery and liquor stores, your friends’ apartments and whatever bar you and your crew choose to call home. But the universe is big! Expand your horizons and become a part of this city by getting acquainted with all of it. Hold onto summer for as long as you can stand to wear your legs bare by introducing your taste buds to the wares of ice cream shops from the four corners of Halifax.
Down on the waterfront, follow the waft of freshly pressed waffle cones to Cow’s (Historic Properties, Upper Water St.). The queue diminishes after Labour Day and the servers’ biceps are hardened. They’re hankering to scoop a cone for a friendly student after a summer of catering to tourists. Enjoy your cone of Cowie Wowie as you contemplate the beauty in the hulking beast of the oil refinery, or use your tuition-paid transit pass to ride the ferry to Dartmouth as though the day will never end.
A lot of students live between Quinpool Road and Dalhousie, but it’s not all houses. On the corner of Jubilee Road and Preston Street is a diamond in the rough pretending to be a convenience store called Jubilee Junction (6273 Jubilee Rd.). Brave the sickly wind of the freezer fans, sidle up to the counter and order an ice cream sandwich. They come pre-made, but you’re not in a hurry. Smile at the friendly guys who assemble sandwiches from any kind of cookie and any flavour of ice cream. They’re open late, which is perfect—midnight meanders love cold, sweet company.
The Public Gardens have a mandate against fun. No running! Stay off the grass! No bikes! Juxtaposing this is the hand paddled ice cream at Uncommon Grounds (Public Gardens, Spring Garden Road entrance). Here you choose your ingredients like a Blizzard from Dairy Queen—except that it’s made from ice cream that actually started as cream. Order a cone of candied ice cream and a coffee with cream and sugar and alternate a bite with a sip as you jitter your way through memories of Halifax’s British legacy.
Cornwallis was one of Halifax’s more unsavoury characters, but there is still a short north end street named after him, and on that street is DeeDee’s (5668 Cornwallis St.). DeeDee’s ice cream is handmade with local ingredients, and it’s a family run business. Make an afternoon meal out of this one: order the spicy burrito with coffee and ice cream for dessert. It’s excessive, but September is slipping away and your homework is piling up!
Take the long route home from DeeDee’s, for digestion’s sake. See if you discover more ice cream spots along the way (this list is only sample-sized), bump into a stranger who will become your friend or join a game of soccer on the commons. As the Halifax winter settles into reality, use the memory of an ice cream-filled September to face off against the shadow-y universe that is your piles of homework.