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Halifax serves as the capital of the southeastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia, and is considered to be one of the best places to live in the country. Home to a metro population of nearly 400,000, this port city is serviced by Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ). Visitors also enjoy taking advantage of Metro Transit buses, offering free rides everywhere downtown (FRED), and taking the pedestrian-only harbour ferries is also fun. Choosing one of the downtown Halifax hotels can be quite convenient as many of the local attractions are found here, and it’s interesting to watch the cargo and cruise ships come and go. The city is a welcoming gateway into the North American continent.
The Halifax Citadel is a great place to begin your exploration of the city. It has been designated a National Historic Site, protecting the city and harbour. You can take a guided tour to see the soldier’s barracks and a schoolroom, plus explore the Army Museum’s military artifacts. You can see the historic 3-story Town Clock here as well. Another waterfront attraction is the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Here you can peruse some of the collection of over 24,000 artifacts and check out the CSS Acadia. York Redoubt National Historic Site, over 200 years old, is perched high atop a bluff at the harbour’s entrance, offering a little history as well as tremendous views. If you are visiting Halifax in June, be sure to spend some time at the annual RBC Multicultural Festival, held at the waterfront. This fest offers an entertaining and educational insight into Nova Scotia’s history and traditions.
Were you aware that Halifax is known as a cultural centre? Downtown’s Art Gallery of Nova Scotia offers galleries filled with paintings, photographs, sculptures and all kinds of beautiful artwork. The museum also hosts an annual Children’s Festival every November. Another venue popular with families is the Discovery Centre, presenting exhibits and live shows which are sure to spark your child’s creativity – and yours, too! This science centre is also located in downtown. The Museum of Natural History lets you explore archeology, geology and botany, and discover more about local animals, plants rocks and minerals.
The largest college in the city is Dalhousie University, and its Tigers athletic programs drawn many visitors to the city. Dalhousie Arts Centre is located on campus with venues including The Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Dalhousie Art Gallery and Dunn Theatre. Listen to Symphony Nova Scotia performances at this centre. Another school, Saint Mary’s University, offers a nice Art Gallery of contemporary Canadian art along with Huskies’ athletic events.
Sports fans can also attend NBL Rainmen games at Halifax Metro Centre, which also hosts big-time concerts and one of the city’s favorite events, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. This free annual event attracts performers from across Canada and around the world; enjoy singing, dancing, competitions and even bagpipes at this fun fest. Downtown Halifax festivals include Halifax International Busker Festival and the Holiday Parade of Lights; other popular fests include the Atlantic Fringe Festival, Halifax Pride Week Festival, Greek Fest and the wildly popular TD Halifax Jazz Festival. All these events bring many a visitor to Halifax!
Wanting to get outside and explore the outdoors? Begin at the shoreline with Peggys Cove; its iconic lighthouse and rugged coast have kept visitors returning year after year. Another rustic destination is Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park, where you can explore rocky beaches, photograph wildlife, hike, bike and cross-country ski. Another wonderful locale is Point Pleasant Park, and it’s only 2.5 km from downtown Halifax! This is the place to get in a little exercise during your trip, the perfect spot to walk or run. During the summer, this park hosts the annual Shakespeare by the Sea performances. There’s not a better place to watch the Bard’s words come to life on stage! Another fun activity is taking a ferry to McNab’s Island, unspoiled nature at its best.
There’s more: try your luck at Casino Nova Scotia, learn some history at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 or tour Alexander Keith’s Brewery for a taste or two and to learn about 19th century Halifax. And if it’s shopping you’re after, head to the Mic Mac Mall, filled with popular retailers such as The Bay and H and M. A unique Halifax experience is found at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where you can pay your respects to a number of victims of the sinking of the Titanic.
You should have enough reasons to visit Halifax by now. Spend some time reading about all the Halifax attractions and events on our website, then make plans for a great vacation!