Join the Nova Scotia Good Cheer Trail

by | Aug 11, 2017 | Canada, Nova Scotia | 1 comment

The Good Cheer Trail is a marketing campaign by Nova Scotia Tourism

We followed the Good Cheer Trail on the Halifax waterfront on the hottest day of the summer

Good Cheer Trail

The Good Cheer Trail celebrates Nova Scotia’s rich culinary history dating back to 1606, when Samuel de Champlain established the Order of Good Cheer in Port Royal.


As possibly one of the first gastronomic societies in North America, the Order of Good Cheer raised the spirits of early settlers and set the tone for centuries of good Nova Scotian food, drink and fun.


We’re proud to carry on Champlain’s legacy with the Nova Scotia Good Cheer Trail – a culinary adventure unlike any other!


The culinary adventure that awaits you on the Good Cheer Trail is liquid.




Explore Canada’s first winery, craft brewery, cidery and distillery trail


Discover new favourites as you explore the Nova Scotia Good Cheer Trail. Sample locally produced wine, beer, cider, and spirits from 50+ locations across the province. Meet passionate Nova Scotia artisans and taste local cuisine that is paired perfectly with your drink. From Yarmouth to Sydney, the trail weaves through stunning landscapes, heritage sites, beaches, farmlands and cities.


With your Good Cheer Trail passport in hand you’ll be able to chart your own route as you taste your way through Nova Scotia. Trail participants will offer an exciting mix of tours, tastings and special events. Whether you’re interested in trying the latest vintage of Tidal Bay, meeting an award-winning brewmaster or sampling a single malt whisky straight from the barrel, the Good Cheer Trail has you covered.

Here are the Nova Scotia government links to the Good Cheer Trail:


Are you ready to explore the Halifax waterfront on the Good Cheer Tour?

Welcome to the Good Cheer Tour

The Nova Scotia government created new policies to encourage the development of small craft distilleries.

This business decision has paid off with increased employment and tourism in cities, towns and rural areas in Nova Scotia.


Inside Nova Scotia’s booming distillery business

Stephen Puddicombe, CBC NewsDec 27, 2016


James Joyce may have predicted Nova Scotia’s future decades ago when he wrote, “The light music of whisky falling into glasses made an agreeable interlude.”


In the province’s case, it’s also making for a profitable one that’s garnering world attention.


Nova Scotia is fast becoming known for something other than lobster, lighthouses and friendly people. Distillers are also making alcohol such as whisky and rum that have taken awards at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition.


Welcoming distillers


A few years ago, the Maritimes’ most populous province rolled out the red carpet for craft distillers.


Nova Scotia craft distillers can use much smaller stills than their counterparts in Ontario, something that can save them tens of thousands of dollars.


The government markup on Nova Scotia-produced alcohol was reduced to between 60 and 80 per cent per bottle from 160 per cent. The markup can be reduced another 10 per cent if distillers use Nova Scotia agricultural products.


The provincial Crown corporation also cut the annual licence fee for distillers to $500 from $2,000.


Liquid gold


Guysborough, one of Canada’s oldest continuously settled communities, has seen the direct benefits of the province’s policy.


The small community fell on hard times until a revival of sorts in the form of Glynn Williams, an Ontario businessman and engineer. He fell in love with the area and decided to give back in the form of liquid gold.


Williams created Authentic Seacoast, a company distilling fine whisky and rum, and brewing craft beer.


He believes the industry is making an impact around Nova Scotia, and says craft breweries and distilleries employ twice as many people in the province as their big corporate counterparts.


“Here in Guysborough, we employ 30 people in a village of three to four hundred,” he said.

“When they see the impact small changes in public policy, in terms of fostering craft industries, can have … I think they should be encouraging the small guys.”


History in a bottle


Jarret Stuart comes honestly to whisky distilling. His great-grandfather was born in Scotland and distilled scotch until he moved to Canada.


The name of Stuart’s whisky came from a discovery in the barn on his property. While renovating, he found the date “Oct. 18/39” written in pencil on one of the beams. He learned the date referred to an unnamed hurricane and it was the fifth hurricane of that season. It was not named because only storms that develop in the Caribbean have titles.


He named his whisky “Hurricane 5.”


Tourists want to have fun on their vacations. The Good Cheer Tour promotes fun.


I don’t like rum and whisky but I had lots of fun on the Good Cheer Trail on the Halifax waterfront.

This map of Nova Scotia greets tourists at the airport in Halifax


This is a map of some of the highlights on the Good Cheer Tour


The Nova Scotia government policy that links the distillery business with tourism is evident when you arrive at the airport in Halifax

The Halifax waterfront is created for tourists, with shops, restaurants and bars


This Beer Garden is a perfect spot to enjoy ocean views on the Halifax waterfront

I have a flower garden in my yard. Next year, I think I will plant a beer garden.

This is the view of the Beer Garden from the boardwalk along the Halifax waterfront

Everyone in this photo looks like they are in good cheer.

The shops on the Halifax waterfront are part of the Good Cheer Tour

We sampled a slice of history and a slice of rum cake at the Rum Runners Rum Cake Factory




Since 2004, Rum Runners Rum Cake Factory has been serving up a “Delicious Piece of Nova Scotia History.”


Imagine a rich, golden rum cake – made from scratch, on the boardwalk of the same harbour that nearly a hundred years ago supplied millions of people with the Prohibition Drink.


All Rum Runners cakes use  rum or whiskey bottled at beautiful Glenora Distilleries on Cape Breton Island, making it a truly Nova Scotian product.


Seafarers up and down the East Coast have always worked hard and risked their lives to make a living. Sometimes, that living was made through less than legal means, but it always seems as though they were filling a need in society.  In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Rum Running was a major industry in Nova Scotia – employing not only captains and crews of rum running ships, but also creating a boom in the shipbuilding industry.


Operating on the other side of the law, the Rum Runners would risk life and limb to make sure the hungry masses didn’t go thirsty in the Speakeasies in Canada and the US.


For a period in the 1930s, these hearty souls were filling the needs of Prohibitions starved residents of the US and later Canada by smuggling rum from Canada and France to the thirsty crowd. The Rum Running years were marked with lost ships, gunfights with the coast guard and incredible wealth to the ships’ owners and crew.


Gordon Stevens was a Rum Runner from Cape Breton in the 1920’s and his wife used some of his illicit cargo to make a delicious golden cake soaked with rich, sweet rum. It’s obvious she was the brains in the family as this was the most ingenious means of getting rum to the people under the watchful eye of the authorities.


We stumbled across the recipe for this delicious concoction The weathered recipe card read “Flour, butter, sugar, rum (AND LOTS OF IT!)…”

You can take a wine and cheese cruise on the Halifax waterfront on the Good Cheer Tour

This business has only been open for a few weeks. A boat tour is a great way to see the coastline and try some Nova Scotia wines.

Here is a link to plan your sunset or moonlight cruise:

This fellow encouraged us to visit his distillery on the Halifax waterfront

He was friendly and fun. He posed for pictures.

We needed a break from the heat so we followed his suggestion and visited the Halifax Distilling Co.

Most buildings in Halifax and Nova Scotia are wooden

This is the exterior of the Halifax Distilling Co.

You meet friendly people on the Good Cheer Tour

The people inside the Halifax Distilling Co are are friendly as the fellow dressed in a rum barrel.

The walls inside the Halifax Distilling Co are covered with great prohibition posters

Lady bootleggers outnumbered men five to one

Being a lady bootlegger had its advantages. It was illegal for a male officer to search a woman. Most judges were not anxious to punish a mother or grandmother who was just trying to feed her family during the depression.

We did not have to risk jail to sample the rum at the Halifax Distilling Co.

You can sample five rums for $10 at the Halifax Distilling Co. We did not want to drink that much rum so the bartender split the samples in two. We didn’t want to try the white rum so she doubled up on the dessert rum. She explained each rum as we tasted it. The total cost for all these rums in the photo is $10. This was the best bargain of the day.

We had lots of fun at the Halifax Distilling Co.


We had lots of fun on the Halifax waterfront on our Good Cheer Trail

Rose Ann MacGillivray

Rose Ann MacGillivray

World Heritage Traveller at
I love visiting World Heritage Sites, celebrating the world’s most fascinating places and cultures, and most of all, having fun on a trip. Join me on the road to fun and fascinating places. Thanks for reading – and remember to add your e-mail below for updates!
Rose Ann MacGillivray