Written by René Boudreau
Halifax is home to Canada’s largest indigenous Black community, and boasts a rich Black history spanning more than 400 years. Today, African Nova Scotians make up the largest racially visible group in Nova Scotia, descending from the Black Loyalists, Black Refugees, Jamaican Maroons, and Caribbean Migrants.
The African Nova Scotian community has produced many notable leaders, artists, athletes, professionals and entrepreneurs, and as the city continues to grow, there are more opportunities than ever to support Black-owned businesses and experiences in Halifax.
Experience authentic Ghanaian flavours right in the heart of Halifax at Mary’s African Cuisine. Order one of Mary’s famous Combination Platters like the popular stewed oxtail, and a bottle of fresh house-made juice. This restaurant is not just vegan friendly, they also serve all-day breakfast, and offer scrumptious desserts like baklava, rice pudding, and mango cheesecake.
It wouldn’t make sense to come to the Halifax area and not visit R&B Kitchen, a family-owned African Nova Scotian restaurant located in Dartmouth. R&B Kitchen specializes in soul food and Caribbean cuisine. Check out their social channels (@rnbkitchen902) for a preview of the “Daily Meal”. Some of their top meals are Rasta Pasta, Fried Chicken Alfredo, the Soul Bowl/Burger, and Jerk Chicken and Oxtail.
Hop aboard the Harbour Hopper, Atlantic Canada’s most popular boat tour, and explore Halifax by land and sea. Although not Black-owned, the Harbour Hopper tour is a fun way to learn about the history of Halifax, including the city’s African Nova Scotian history.
After the tour, take a stroll along the beautiful waterfront and enjoy a delicious meal from Brawta Jamaican Jerk Joint, followed by dessert at Black Bear Ice Cream – both Black-owned businesses.
Indulge in an afternoon of self-care by booking an appointment at Rich Waxx Bar, Halifax’s only vagina boutique. This downtown boutique specializes in all waxing, v-steams, vajacials, hydro jelly vajacial mask treatments, brightening services and more.
Next, take a short walk down Barrington Street to Slayed Hair & Esthetics. Although not Black-owned, this salon carries self-care products from My Centrepeace, a Black-owned Canadian business. These products include hand-poured candles made with soy wax and essential oils and yoni steam herbs (they have an online shop as well!).
Visit the Africville Museum in a replica of the Seaview United Baptist Church, a church that was once the heart of this historic community. You’ll learn of the history of Africville, a Black community on the northern shore of the Halifax peninsula that was demolished in the 1960s to make way for industrial development. Today, the museum tells the story of a community that met the extreme indignities of racism with resilience and grace.
Learn about more than 400 years of Black history in Nova Scotia through the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia, located in the historic Black community of Cherry Brook. Visitors will learn about slavery, Black Loyalists and Refugees, the Maroons, Caribbean Migrants, No. 2 Construction Battalion and more. There’s also a great gift shop where you can purchase something for yourself or a loved one.
René is the founder and CEO of Elevate & Explore Black Nova Scotia, a travel community and business aimed at encouraging Black travellers from across the world to visit Nova Scotia and to inspire people from all backgrounds to explore our beautiful province.
René works to promote diversity, inclusion, and representation in travel by creating extraordinary experiences that highlight the best of Nova Scotia’s Black communities, businesses, culture, history, and heritage.
Explore Nova Scotia with René on Instagram @elevateandexploreblackns.