According to estatelearning, Canadian Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and the largest city in the country’s Atlantic provinces. It has a rich maritime history associated with its advantageous location and status as one of the best natural harbors in the world. True, by US standards, the city is considered small: its population does not reach half a million. But here there are two of the oldest churches in Canada, the largest mobile market in Canada, the oldest local government in Canada. It also hosts the world’s largest tattoo fest.
One of the most remarkable city symbols is the snow-white Clock Tower. Its dial is marked with Roman numerals, and for aesthetic reasons, the number 4 is depicted there not as IV, but as IIII.
How to get to Halifax
The Robert L. Stanfield Halifax International Airport is 35 kilometers north of the city. It is the largest airport in the Maritime Provinces with flights from New York, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, Philadelphia and London. In addition, in the summer season, planes fly here from Frankfurt am Main (Condor Airlines) and from Reykjavik (Islandair). You can get from the airport to the city by shuttle bus, which will take half an hour at a good time and an hour at a bad time. By train, Halifax can be reached directly from Quebec and Montreal, Canada.
According to ethnicityology, Halifax was founded in 1749 as a British military outpost. At the time, it was the world’s second largest and easily accessible natural seaport. During the Seven Years’ War with the French and later, during the American Civil War, Halifax was used with might and main and grew as a naval and trading base.
In December 1917, in the harbor of Halifax, a Norwegian freighter collided with a French ship carrying 2,500 tons of explosives. The result was the Halifax explosion, which killed 2,000 people and leveled the northern half of the city. It was the largest man-made explosion before the start of the atomic age. But the city quickly rebuilt and already served the Allies with might and main in World War II: British convoys across the Atlantic departed from here.
In the 19th century and early 20th century, Halifax was the very port where a wave of emigrants from Europe arrived, rushing to Canada. Today, the city is a busy seaport and the economic and cultural center of Eastern Canada.
Attractions and attractions in Halifax
The Halifax Citadel (“Fort George”) is a classic star-shaped fort that is now declared part of Canada’s National Treasure. It is located at the top of the hill of the same name, and from the fort, when it was first built, there was an ideal strategic view of the harbor. Today it houses a museum and a small garrison, which is used mainly for solemn ceremonies. A visit to the fort is a must-do for any tourist in Halifax, especially during Canada Day (July 1) celebrations. The museum is open from May to October, and during the same period at noon you can witness the solemn cannon shot, although you can walk around the territory all year round.
One of the most pleasant places to walk in Halifax is, of course, the waterfront with many historic buildings, shops and restaurants. There are various ships in the harbor, and many sightseeing boat tours start from here in the summer season. In particular, those who wish can go on an excursion on the Harbor Hopper amphibious vessel.
Pier 21 has recently become known as the National Museum of Immigration. This is a historical place, a kind of analogue of New York’s Ellis Island, through which millions of visitors once passed. Today it is a modern museum with extensive exhibitions on immigration.
3 things to do in Halifax:
- To see the smiling “Theodore Tagboat” in the harbor in his red cap – one of the corvettes of the Second World War.
- Visit the oldest mobile farmers’ market in North America – Seaport. The market is located on the waterfront, in a new building on Marginal Road, and is open all year round.
- Take a trip to Peggy’s Cove to admire the iconic picture of Scotland – the snow-white lighthouse Peggy’s Point, established in 1868 – not to mention the stunning local landscapes and nature. The bay is just over 40 km from Halifax.
One of the most remarkable city symbols is the snow-white Clock Tower. The idea to put it here belonged to the British Prince Edward, Duke of Comte, who wished to leave the tower in the city, going back to England in 1800. The tower consists of three tiers, and its upper high part has the shape of an irregular octagon. It is erected on top of a rectangular squat ground floor. The whole structure stands on the slope of the Citadel Hill, facing the present day Brunsvik Street. The watch dial is marked with Roman numerals, and for aesthetic reasons the number 4 is depicted there not as IV, but as IIII. The clock mechanism, made by famous British craftsmen, began to count the time in 1803, and in 1990 the tower was completely restored.
The Atlantic Maritime Museum is located in downtown, near the water. His collection includes artifacts related to both the Titanic disaster and the explosion of 1917. The Arcadia ship, a hydrographic service ship launched in 1913 and mothballed, is moored in the harbor. The Arcadia is a short walk from the museum building, and during the summer months the ship can be explored. Also behind the museum is HMS Sackville, the last Flower-class escort corvette from World War II convoys. It can also be viewed with or without a guide.
The Old Halifax Cemetery is located at Barrington Street and Spring Garden Road. It appeared as early as 1749, along with the city itself, and was used until 1843. At that time, the cemetery marked the outer border of the city, so it’s easy to imagine where Halifax ended in those ancient times. And right across from the cemetery is St. Matthew’s Church, Canada’s oldest Unitarian church. It opened its doors in 1859. The second significant church in Halifax is St. Paul’s, the oldest Anglican church in the country. It was built in 1750 and is located on Argyle Street (“Grand Parade”).
In Halifax there is a beautiful city park, amazing in that here you can find purely southern plants like pineapple or coffee. The park is very large, beautifully maintained, and the ice cream in the local cafe deserves all the praise.
The oldest house where the provincial legislature was located is Provins House, on Hollis Street. It housed the first overseas British self-government body. An excellent example of Georgian architecture, this house was completed in 1842. Today, visitors can learn more about the current state of power in the province, and about the history of this institution.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is not large, but it has an excellent selection of works by local artists working in folk, hyper-realistic or aboriginal styles.
In August, the Basker festival of street troupes takes place on the embankment. It is definitely worth seeing: funny scenes are shown here, breathtaking acrobatic etudes and dramatic sketches, music sounds, street food is sold, and the atmosphere is the most sincere.
Every year in early September, the city hosts the Nova Scotia International Air Show. This is a luxurious chance to look at the aerobatics of selected units of the national air force. National heroes in this area, just like our “Swifts” or “Knights”, are considered “Canadian Thrushes”, whose performance is an obligatory part of the holiday.
And every July, the city hosts the Royal Nova Scotia Tattoo Festival. This is the largest indoor tattoo show in the world. Guests are entertained by music, theatrical performances, dancing, acrobatics, military parades, competitions and much more.
Finally, Halifax hosts a ship festival, though not every year. During the festival, about 30 vintage and unique (usually also huge) ships gather in the harbor from all over the world.
In fact, according to experts, there is no such thing as “Nova Scotia cuisine”. However, there are some specific dishes here, and they are worth a try. Many restaurants in the city specialize in seafood, but the only thing that makes sense to order here is mussels. They are really high quality, inexpensive and often included in the snack menu. The local scallops are also delicious: they are better than in many cities in the US, they are the size of a golf ball and do not have a fishy aftertaste. The best choice for a snack is “sea pie”. But local lobsters are too expensive, unless you buy them directly from the fishermen from the car on the street to cook yourself.