As much as I like Toronto, I can say this: we spent two weeks in Nova Scotia in 2011 and it was barely enough. We certainly didn't see everything.
You got good suggestions for day trips out of Halifax. I can recommend them equally. Lunenburg / Mahone Bay are gorgeous communities well worth your time. Peggy's Cove is a giant cliche and yet ... irresistible. Make sure you go - early in the day when it's quieter. A bad weather day might even be better. :)
Cape Breton is fabulous. Stay a few days in Baddeck and you can do a day trip to the Cabot Trail and Cape Breton National Park, and a separate day trip to Sydney where you can go to the fabulous Louisbourg historical reconstruction. (Arrive at the gates at opening ,and plan to spend the day; it's that good.)
The Bay of Fundy coast is equally beautiful and worth a visit as well.
Do Toronto and Nova Scotia as separate trips, unless you can afford three weeks or more.
I am in Halifax! Off to Cape Breton tomorrow until Sunday evening, accommodation bookings pending. Gonna do the Cabot Trail.
Probably doing daytrips south next weekend and there might be the possibility of a cruise on someone's yacht.
Try to book one night, at least, in Old Quebec (inside the walls). One full day and evening wandering up and down (literally) the old city will be an unforgettable experience.
On the drive between Quebec City and Montreal, visit Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, the center of artistic wood carving, and Montmagny, the site of the world-famous accordion museum.
You will like the cabot trail.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts about it vs the landscape in New Zealand, of course only if you have traveled in NZ.
Originally Posted by polyglot
If you are still entertaining the drive to Montreal, drive via St. John in New Brunswick. The scenery is much more dramatic, and still get's you where you need to be.
Won't have time for Montreal, sadly. Breton this weekend, daytrips to southern NS next weekend, not sure what on the third. Maybe Sydney? Should I do the Sydney area or Prince Edward? Or more of the south or west of NS?
Then a couple of days in Vancouver area (different thread).
Well, I have been through North Sydney every summer as a child (Newfoundland Ferry) and there is not much there. However, I did live 5 years in P.E.I. and some of the scenery is quite stunning. The red sand dunes in the central north (canvendish national park) are worth the trek. Just don't get sucked into the multitudes of tourist traps.
Along the way, New Glasgow is quite a nice area.
First, welcome to Nova Scotia. I hope you enjoy your visit. The drive to Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail is not a short one, I doubt you'll want to do most of the route over again to visit Sydney. You might want to visit the Bay of Fundy if you're into coastal regions and the world's highest tides. If you time it right a route from Halifax to Truro then Parrsboro to check out the tides. Then off to PEI before nightfall.
If your evenings are free there may be a few sites within an hour or so from Halifax worth seeing. If you are looking for Historical forts and reenactments Louisbourg is having a 300 year party http://louisbourg300.ca/ but that's another long drive to Cape Breton.
Louisbourg is a great visit but PEI is also a wonderful visit. Won't take long to drive around PEI but if you love eating, I'd take the island and hit all the suppers for lobster, blueberry pies etc..