Learn About Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
Halifax from the air
Regardless of the time of year, visitors to the capital of Nova Scotia, Canada can expect to be greeted by a fresh sea breeze. Halifax, the oldest British town on the Canadian mainland, lives on and from the sea. Originally founded for strategic reasons, it is still an important naval base. But today innumerable commercial vessels also use the huge sheltered bay that serves as its harbor. As a result, it has become the economic center of the Maritime Provinces.
Halifax has a population of 160,000 Haligonians, as the locals call themselves, and if its suburbs and Dartmouth, on the other side of the bay, are included, the total rises to around 500,000, which also makes Halifax the largest population center in Maritime Canada.The historic core of Halifax is situated on a peninsula on the western shore of the bay, between the harbor installations and the formidable Citadel, and, in spite of the inexorable spread of the suburbs, it's still the bustling center of the city's life. The attractive 19th-century houses and warehouses, many of them painstakingly restored, are now occupied by shops and restaurants. Scattered among them, in striking contrast, are modern hotels, conference centers, and office buildings.
Longstanding connection with the sea
Five universities draw young people from all the Maritime Provinces and contribute to the city's vibrant cultural life. In the evening, however, Halifax gives itself over to nightlife, which often dominates the city center into the wee hours. On the morning after, Haligonians often find relaxation in sailing or fishing, maintaining the city's longstanding connection with the sea.
Oldest lighthouse in North America (1758)
Canada's oldest Anglican church
The old part of town, which climbs the hill between the harbor and the Citadel, can be seen on a half-day walk. The heart of the city is the Grand Parade, a pleasant square on the west side of Barrington Street,
Halifax's principal shopping and commercial street. At the north end of the square (originally the parade ground for the local militia) is City Hall. At the other end is St. Paul's Church (1750), Canada's oldest Anglican church.
When people think of Halifax, they think of Theodore Tugboat. Maybe lobster. Sometimes wind. All of these are fair and accurate descriptions, and none do the full city justice.
Province House at 1617 Hollis St., is Canada's oldest parliament building. A fine Georgian edifice completed in 1819, it's still the seat of the provincial government. Standing tall in the gardens on the south side of the building is a statue of Joseph Howe, a celebrated journalist and politician who is generally credited with fathering the principle of freedom of the press in Nova Scotia.
Two streets up toward the waterfront, are Halifax's Historic Properties. Once an area of decaying warehouses, the structures on Lower Water Street have been lovingly restored and given a new lease of life within the last 20 years. At the foot of Duke Street is an attractive little shopping mall with the obligatory boutiques and restaurants.
The Provincial Information Bureau is located in the Old Red Store. Next door, in the historic setting of the Privateers' Warehouse, visitors can sample Nova Scotia's culinary specialty, fresh Atlantic lobster. Boat trips around the harbor depart from the quays just beyond the warehouses. At the foot of Prince Street you'll find the Maritime Museum with its interesting ship models, both sail and steam, and displays.