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Casino Nova Scotia

By Daniel Michaels, May 20th 2005
Nova Scotia's casino industry may be five years old, but it has already had a rebirth. On April 24, the new 33,000-square-foot Casino Nova Scotia opened to the public, complete with copper domes, towers and marble floors. This lavish structure is testament to the growth of Nova Scotia's gaming industry. Before the opening of this new casino, the maritime province's gaming facilities consisted of 36,500 square feet of gaming space divided between two hotels in Halifax and Sydney.

Casino Nova Scotia was designed to complement Halifax's waterfront, with the exterior's pre-cast concrete similar in tone to the sandstone of the city's most renowned historic buildings. Halifax's rich heritage inspired the artistically-crafted schooners on the railings and towers at the north and south ends of the casino. In six or seven years, the copper domes on the towers will have weathered to an attractive seafoam colour, similar to the city's older buildings.

"New materials and construction techniques allowed us to recreate designs found in several of Halifax's landmarks," says Bob Northcott, chief architect for Casino Nova Scotia. "When it came time to build our new home, we wanted it to be special to our region," says Barry Robertson, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Casino Nova Scotia. "The intention was not to imitate the casinos of Las Vegas, but rather to showcase our wonderful Maritime hospitality and combine it with a great entertainment setting." Casino Nova Scotia joins entertainment and gaming together for the first time in Nova Scotia's history. The two older casinos were without stage space, but now the Seawalk Stage, a 100-seat outdoor amphitheatre offers a great view of the harbour as well as an intimate outdoor concert setting. The 6,000-square-foot Schooner Room has a built-in stage, vaulted ceilings, professionally designed theatrical lighting and upholstered walls providing top acoustics. The Harbourfront Lounge located on the gaming level will feature live entertainment up to six nights a week, and the 3,000-square foot Compass Room is ideal for those planning elegant receptions and dinners.

The staircase leading from the banquets and convention level to the gaming floor is sure to impress first-time visitors with its grandeur, but so will the gaming floor. Casino Nova Scotia's gaming area is 50 percent larger than that of Halifax's older facility. It offers 40 table games, including Blackjack, Let it Ride, Caribbean Stud Poker and Craps. There are over 690 slot machines in the casino, with cash, cars and Harley Davidson Motorcycles up for grabs.

Gambling can work up an appetite, and Casino Nova Scotia has enough to satisfy any palate. Located on the gaming floor is the Galley Food Court. "Guests can choose from a variety of hot and cold dishes and beverages without leaving the casino floor," says Greg MacNeil, Beverage & Food Court Manager.

Just off the gaming floor, overlooking the Halifax Harbour is T.G.I. Friday's, with a wide selection of meals served in an energy-filled atmosphere. For those unfamiliar with T.G.I. Friday's, Tom Cruise trained at one for his role in 1988's Cocktail. Whether it's food, entertainment or gambling you're after, with the new casino, Nova Scotia's gaming industry has finally hit the big time.

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