When dazzling Christmas trees are illuminated in communitiesacross the province, they signal a time when Nova Scotians andvisitors head out to shops and markets. Whether you’re lookingfor a gift for that special someone, a unique item to treatyourself, or you’re just window shopping, there’s guaranteed tobe something to tempt you. From the novice shopper to the dedicated expert, there’s ashopping experience to meet everyone’s need. Browse throughhistoric shopping districts in Halifax’s Hydrostone area, inAnnapolis Royal, Sydney and Lunenburg. Peruse antique shops inthe highlands of Cape Breton and Pubnico. Spend a day in thelargest malls east of Montreal. Or visit century old farmers’markets and regional craft fairs. Nova Scotia has an international reputation for its handmadegoods, fine wines, and products from the sea. Many Nova Scotiastores also offer clothing and other products found in biggercentres like Toronto, Montreal and New York. On a shopping tourof Nova Scotia, you can find everything you’re looking for, andeven a few surprises you hadn’t planned on. In Mahone Bay you’ll find the finest handmade Belgian chocolates,while across the province in Pictou, you’ll find the highestquality kitchen knives in the world. In Halifax, you’ll find thelatest fashion trends straight from the runways of Paris and NewYork. If a more relaxed atmosphere is what you’re looking for, head toCape Breton where you’ll find stores filled with the perfect NovaScotia gift items including music and one-of-a kind crafts.Antique dealers in shops from Yarmouth to Sydney will tempt youwith their knack for finding those special items not foundanywhere else. Whether it’s the 2003 limited edition Christmas ornament, or thatspecial bottle of wine, you’ll quickly realize that Nova Scotiacraftspeople accept only the best of quality and character intheir work. Shopping makes an ideal excuse for a weekend getaway in NovaScotia. Many hotels and bed and breakfasts offer special packagesto make your shopping weekend that much more special. Whetheryou’re from the Maritimes, New England, or from right here athome, our shopkeepers will welcome you with genuine Nova Scotiahospitality. This year, the potential for a weekend shopping getaway in theprovince is even better. As always, many bookshops and smallerstores are open seven days a week. However, this year, many ofthe larger Nova Scotia stores will also open on Sundays duringthe weeks leading up to Christmas. For further information on winter shopping, events, festivals andattractions, see the Tourism and Culture website atwww.novascotia.com or call 1-800-565-0000. -30- NOTE TO EDITORS: Following is one in a series of feature articlesfrom Tourism and Culture.