Halifax : Top 10

(continuer en français) – Last updated: February 1, 2022

Nova Scotia’s capital was created in 1749 by the English with the intention of rivaling the French port of Louisbourg further north. Its wide bay, well sheltered and ice-free in winter, made it a strategic base for the Royal Navy. After its military origins, Halifax became a major commercial city. Here are the 10 places that caught my attention.

01. Citadel

As soon as the town was founded in 1749, the hill was equipped with a wooden fort. After several reconstructions, the stone-clad citadel was completed in 1856. Every day at noon a cannon is fired, that punctuates inhabitants’ day-to-day life. Visitors are offered a variety of activities that retrace the living conditions of the Highlanders, including the changing of the guard.

02. Clock Tower

The tower has been showing the time since 1803 with always the same clock built in London. However, the original tower was rebuilt completely in the 1960s, respecting the Palladian style and materials. Its position at the top of Carmichael Street ensures a view down to the harbour, making it a distinctive feature of the cityscape.

03. Province House

The first meeting of 22 representatives dates back to 1758, in 1819 the assembly moved to Province House. All stages from royal authority to today’s parliamentary democracy have been replicated at the provincial level, resulting in the election of 51 MLAs every four years, with the Prime Minister being traditionally the leader of the largest party.

04. Government House

The residence dates from the early 19th century, when the governor of the time designed it more as a manor house than an administrative building. Most of the building materials came from the province. Since then, the residence has been the venue for many official and cultural events, visitors are welcome during the summer months.

05. Saint Paul’s Church

The Anglican Church construction began at the founding of Halifax in 1749, based on plans for an existing church in London. It was the site of funeral ceremonies honouring the great figures of the province, with plaques and sculptures in their memory decorating the walls. A visit here is like reading the pages of a book on Nova Scotia’s history.

06. Old Burying Ground

It was the first cemetery to be opened and it received new burials until 1844. About 1200 tombstones are listed, although it is estimated that ten times as many people are buried there. There is still that special atmosphere attached to the cemeteries, the dark slabs contrasting with the pretty lawns in the city centre.

07. Public Gardens

The Halifax Public Gardens are located at the foot of the Citadel and opened in 1867, they have carefully maintained their Victorian appearance. Free concerts and Canada Day celebrations on July 1st take place there. Bridges, fountains and ponds adorn the landscaping of the garden around a small water body, Griffin’s Pond.

08. Bank Nova Scotia

The Bank of Nova Scotia was founded in Halifax in 1832. After numerous takeovers and mergers, it is one of North America’s leading banks, operating in some 50 countries under the trade name Scotiabank. The executive management of the banking group is now based in Toronto, but the corporate head office is still officially located in Halifax.

09. Waterfront

Although the commercial port has moved away from the city centre, the docks have been pleasantly converted into recreational areas. There are many attractions, such as a visit to the CSS Acadia, an oceanographic ship that has become a museum. This is the place to go for a walk, indulge in some sweet treats or find a restaurant with a view.

10. The Wave

For the past thirty years, the sculpture The Wave has been installed on Halifax waterfront and has captured the attention of visitors. Although it is officially prohibited, many have tried to climb it. It is also a reminder that the coastal city lies on the path of hurricanes arriving from the West Indies, a little out of breath but always destructive.

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  1. I was planning on visiting Atlantic Canada this summer, but then the pandemic happened. It’s too bad as Halifax looks like a city I would enjoy. For now, I’ll just continue to plan and live vicariously through other people’s travels there. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the positive aspects of the Maritimes is that distances are more easily manageable to get from one point to another. Whether it’s the coastline, cities or villages, it renews what we know about Canada.
      I hope you will soon be able to put your project into action.

      Liked by 1 person

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