Halifax, Canada

Halifax is the capital city of Nova Scotia, Canada. The city covers an area of twenty-one hundred square miles and has a population of around three hundred and seventy-five thousand residents. It is most commonly known as Halifax, but its official title is the Halifax Regional Municipality. The municipality is very large and has a strong urban center that is surrounded by area that are less dense as they travel further from this core. Halifax’s suburbs are completely integrated into the municipality, with its area covering the urban center, a rural commuter shed and its suburbs. It is situated on Halifax Harbor and is the most populous urban area of the Atlantic Coast of Canada. This city is responsible for fourty percent of the total population of Nova Scotia.

The area on which Halifax is situated was settled for several thousand years by a Native American tribe known as the Míkmaq. European settlement wouldn’t come to the area until the mid-eighteenth century, when the British established the settlement as a military garrison to counteract the French forces located at Fort Louisbourg. In 1842, it was incorporated as Halifax City. It had a continous period of growth that resulted in it occupying the entire peninsula by the 1950s. Eventually the city would absorb municipalities around it such as Dartmouth and Bedford and became the Halifax Regional Municipality. Today, the city is a major economic hub of Eastern Canada and has a large collection of private sector businesses and governmental agencies. It is also the banking, cultural and business center of the entire region. Major economic activities in the city include mining, forestry, fishing, the defence industry, agriculture and natural gas extraction.

A popular attraction in Halifax is the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. This museum is the oldest maritime museum in Canada and has a collection of over thirty thousand items. It was established in 1948 and was originally known as the Maritime Museum of Canada and was situated at a naval base called Her Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard. Over the next few decades, the museum moved to several locations, until its current building was constructed in 1981. Since its located on the Halifax Waterfront it has access to several boat sheds and docks. It also has a beautiful view of the harbor. Key features of this museum include William Robertson & Son Ship Chandlery, recreated sail loft, recreated ship carpenter’s shop, 300 ship portraits and over twenty thousand photographs. It also has the CSS Acadia and the HMCS Sackville. Halifax Public Gardens are another popular attraction in the city. This Victorian garden was founded in 1867. The gardens are bordered by Sackville St., Spring Garden Rd., Summer St. and South Park Street. Its Victorian style makes this a popular location for prom photos and weddings. It also has a bandstand that is used for free summer concerts.

Pier 21 is a prominent attraction in Halifax. This museum is situated in a former ocean liner terminal and is currently Canada’s National Museum of Immigration. Between 1928 and 1971, the purpose of Pier 21 was to serve as a passenger terminal for ocean liners traversing the Atlantic. Between 1972 and the late 1990s, it sat empty as a warehouse. In 1999, it got new life as a museum and was opened to the public. The sole purpose of this museum is to tell the stories of all the immigrants who have migrated to Canada throughout its history. Pier 21 has over five hundred oral history interviews, three hundred films, two thousand stories and seven hundred books.

The largest island in the Halifax region is McNabs Island. This island covers an area of nine hundred and seventy-five acres and serves mostly as a provincial park. Sixty-two percent are owned by the province, thirty-five percent are federally owned and three percent are privately owned. The federal portion of the island is run as a park reserve under the guidance of the Department of Heritage. The province uses its lands as a provincial park. The island was an important strategic point for the defence of the area and contains several fortifications which include Fort McNab, Fort Ives, Strawberry Battery, Sherbrooke Tower and Fort Hugonins. Other key points of interest on McNabs Island include a cemetery, Martello Tower, McNab House and the burial site for cholera victims of the S.S. England.

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is yet another prominent attraction in the Halifax Regional Municipality. It was founded in 1988 and is situated in the Dominion Building, which was erected in the mid-nineteenth century. A portion of its facilities are also located across Ondaatje Court in the Provincial Building. It also contains facilities underneath Ondaatje Court. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia contains a collection of over fourteen thousand pieces of art. This collection encompasses works from Inuit works of art to Nova Scotian traditional folk art. Also located in the art gallery is a cafe, art store and a gift shop.

Other attractions in Halifax include Maugher Beach Lighthouse, Citadel National Historic Site, Shambhala Center, Dalhousie University, St. Paul’s Church, Brewery Market, Alexander Keith’s Brewery, MSVU Art Gallery, Life Salon Spa, The Summit Day Spa, Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax Harbor Ferry, Atlantic Playland, Old Town Clock of Halifax, Old Burying Ground, Pacifico Bar & Grill, George’s Island Lighthouse, Hydrostone Market, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, Prospect Short Game Golf, Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design, Cathedral Church of all Saints, Village Restaurant, Halifax Metro Centre, Fultz House Museum, Fisherman’s Cove, Spring Garden Road Memorial Public Library, Halifax Court House, St. Mary’s Basilica, Prince of Wales Tower, World Trade and Convention Centre, Fresco Pizzeria & Ristorante, Shibden Mill Inn, Casino Nova Scotia, Glen Arbour Golf Course, Bentley’s Restaurant, Halifax Greenswards Course, Remedy Facial Bar & Spa, Milan’s Hotel, Holdsworth House Hotel & Restaurant, The Millbank, Design House, The White Swan Hotel Halifax and Old Golf House. Halifax also has a large selection of parks and cultural centers that will keep visitors entertained for days on end.