Halifax is located on the eastern coast of Canada, Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and the largest city in the Atlantic region. Halifax is also in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people, who have lived here for thousands of years. Whether you are interested in exploring the past, enjoying the present, or discovering the future, Halifax has something for everyone. Here is a comprehensive guide for travelers who want to explore Halifax and its many attractions and activities.
History and Culture: Halifax
One of the main reasons to visit Halifax is its historical and cultural heritage. Halifax was founded in 1749 by the British as a strategic naval base and a counterbalance to the French presence in Louisbourg.
Halifax was also a haven for pirates, privateers, and smugglers who preyed on enemy ships and traded their loot in the city. It played a significant role in several wars, such as the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the World Wars.
Halifax was also the gateway for many immigrants who arrived in Canada by sea, especially during the 19th and 20th centuries. It was also affected by two major disasters: the Halifax Explosion of 1917, which killed nearly 2,000 people and injured 9,000 more; and the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, which claimed the lives of 150 passengers who are buried in Halifax.
Historical and Cultural Attractions:
If you want to learn more about Halifax’s history and culture, you can visit some of the following attractions:
Citadel Hill: This is a star-shaped fort that overlooks the city and the harbor. It was built by the British in 1856 to defend Halifax from potential attacks. You can tour the fort, watch the changing of the guard ceremony, fire a rifle, or enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic: This is a museum that showcases Nova Scotia’s maritime history and culture. You can see exhibits on shipwrecks, naval warfare, pirates, lighthouses, and more. You can also see artifacts from the Titanic and the Halifax Explosion.
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21: This is a museum that tells the stories of immigrants who came to Canada through Pier 21 between 1928 and 1971. You can explore interactive displays, watch films, listen to oral histories, or trace your family roots.
Fairview Lawn Cemetery: This is a cemetery where 121 victims of the Titanic are buried. You can see their graves marked with black granite headstones. Some of them are identified by name, while others are unknown.
Nature and Outdoor: Halifax
Another reason to visit Halifax is its natural and outdoor beauty. Halifax has one of the world’s largest natural harbors that offers stunning views and recreational opportunities.
You can take a boat tour, go kayaking, sailing, or fishing, or watch whales and dolphins. It also has several public parks and gardens that showcase its flora and fauna.
You can walk among flowers, trees, ponds, and fountains, or spot birds, squirrels, ducks, and deer. Halifax is also close to some small ski areas that offer winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and tubing.
Some Attractions for Outdoor Activities:
If you want to enjoy Halifax’s nature and outdoor activities, you can visit some of these attractions:
Halifax Waterfront: This is a boardwalk that stretches along the harbor for 4 km (2.5 miles). You can stroll along the water’s edge, admire historic buildings and ships, shop at local boutiques and markets, eat at waterfront restaurants and cafes, or watch street performers and festivals.
Public Gardens: This is one of the finest surviving examples of a Victorian garden in North America. It was established in 1867 and covers 6 hectares (16 acres) of land. You can see over 140 species of flowers, exotic plants, statues, fountains, and a bandstand.
Point Pleasant Park: This is a historic park that covers 75 hectares (190 acres) of land at the southern tip of the peninsula. It has over 39 km (24 miles) of trails that wind through forests, ruins, and coastline. You can hike, bike, picnic, or watch Shakespeare by the Sea.
Ski Martock: This is a ski resort located near Windsor, about an hour’s drive from Halifax. It has seven alpine trails, a terrain park, a snow tubing park, and a cross-country ski center. You can rent equipment or take lessons.
Art and Food: Halifax
A third reason to visit Halifax is its artistic and culinary diversity. Halifax has emerged as a cultural hub that hosts many festivals, art galleries, and live performances.
You can experience music, theatre, comedy, dance, and more. Halifax also has a diverse and delicious cuisine that features local seafood and other specialties. You can taste lobster, oysters, mussels, donuts, blueberries, and more.
Some Art and Food Attractions:
If you want to experience Halifax’s art and food, you can visit some of these attractions:
Busker Festival: This is a festival that takes place every summer on the Halifax and Dartmouth waterfronts. It features over 500 shows by street performers from around the world. You can see acrobats, magicians, musicians, comedians, fire-eaters, and more.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia: This is the largest art museum in Atlantic Canada and the home of the famous Maud Lewis Gallery. You can see over 17,000 works of art by local, national, and international artists. You can also take part in workshops, lectures, tours, and events.
Neptune Theatre: This is the largest professional theatre company in Atlantic Canada and the oldest continuously operating theatre company in the country. You can see a variety of plays and musicals, from classics to contemporary, on two stages. You can also enjoy pre-show talks, post-show discussions, and backstage tours.
Five Fishermen Restaurant: This is a historic restaurant that was once a schoolhouse and a funeral home. It is known for its seafood and steak dishes, as well as its ghost stories. You can dine in an elegant setting, with stained glass windows, chandeliers, and fireplaces.
Halifax is a great destination for travelers who want to experience history, nature, culture, and food. Halifax has something for everyone, from museums to parks, from festivals to restaurants. If you are planning a trip to Halifax, you can use Discover Halifax or order a visitor guide to find more information and tips. Halifax is waiting for you!