Halifax Nova Scotia Points Of Interest
Halifax is both the capital of Nova Scotia and the largest municipality within the province and Atlantic Canada. Halifax is home to more than 45% of the total population of Nova Scotia.
Halifax, Nova Scotia is made up of several rural and urban areas and is renowned for its grand, Victorian architecture. The general topography of the area is a mix of farmland and forested hills, and the climate is classified as a humid continental climate – meaning rain plays a major role in the weather!
Halifax, NS is a vibrant community that has lots to offer its residents and its visitors. To find out more about what life is like living in Halifax, NS, along with different attractions and other points of interest, keep reading this article! If you are looking to make the move to the capital, contact a real estate agent Halifax who can find your Halifax dream home!
The History Of Halifax, NS
Halifax, NS became incorporated as a city in 1841, but the human settlement of the area dates back to the Ice Age. The Mi’kmaq people were prosperous people known to live in the area, using the land as part of their seasonal movement around the area.
A British settlement of the area was sponsored in 1746, and by 1749, 2,500 people had arrived to settle, led by Colonel Edward Cornwallis. Though the area they settled in was originally named Chebucto, it was later renamed Halifax in recognition of George Dunk, Earl of Halifax, who was the brains behind the settlement.
The years after the settlement saw much conflict between the English settlers, the French settlers, and the Mi’kmaq people.
Its location in the world meant that the Halifax area didn’t grow economically as fast as other cities, but the local economy did get a boost during the Napoleonic Wars. Afterwards, a ‘golden age’ ensued, based on privateering, international shipping, and trade, that saw massive economic growth for the area.
There was another boost for Halifax’s local economy during the two World Wars, Halifax was used as a major port of operation for shipping European supplies.
Now, Halifax serves as a major economic centre within Atlantic Canada and is home to several government and private interests.
Demographics In Halifax, NS
According to census information, Halifax, NS has a population of 439,819 people, the median household income is $69,553, and the median age of residents is 40.4 years. Though the average age is around the 40-year mark, the biggest populations by age are the people between the ages of 25–29 and 55–59.
Within the population of Halifax, 84.6% of residents identify as European, 3.8% identify as Black, 1.8% as Arab, 1.8% as Chinese, and 1.6% as South Asian. The Indigenous population makes up about 4% of the whole population and is split between First Nations (2%), Métis (1.7%), Inuit (0.1%), along with the rest of the Indigenous population (the data is unprovided for the rest of the Indigenous population).
The largest religious populations in Halifax are Christian (71.49%) and non-religious (24.88%). Other religious groups present in Halifax are Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, and traditional/Indigenous.
While the population of Halifax has continued to grow with each new census, the periods of largest immigration were actually before 1981 and between 2011–2016.
Must-See Attractions In Halifax, NS
Now that you know a little bit about the history of Halifax, you might be thinking of visiting. With that in mind, we’ve taken the time to find the absolute must-see attractions that Halifax has to offer! Check them out below!
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, Halifax, NS
With a history of watching over the city, it is sometimes said that Halifax would not exist without the Citadel. Indeed, one of the first buildings constructed in modern-day Halifax was the guardhouse atop Citadel Hill.
On a day out to the Citadel National Historic Site, you’ll get to learn about the history of the site, go on guided tours, watch the sentry change, and await the Noon Gun that announces the noon hour every day.
The site is open year-round, though services may differ depending upon seasons. Before planning a day trip, check out the website to make sure that it will be open. Some special events (such as those on Canada Day) may cause variation in opening times.
Location: 5425 Sackville Street
Pier 21 Museum, Halifax, NS
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 showcases the incredible story of immigration into and out of Canada. In an ongoing story, you’ll be able to explore 400 years of history and find out how immigration made Canada what it is today.
With first-person stories, multi-sense installations, and a digital collection of stories, you’ll discover a history that includes one-in-five Canadians to this day.
Location: 1055 Marginal Road
Maritime Museum Of The Atlantic, Halifax, NS
You’ll find this museum in the heart of the historic waterfront in Halifax. As Canada’s largest and oldest maritime museum, you can expect to learn heaps about the city’s history on the sea. You’ll discover stories from the entire province and how the sea helped to shape the Halifax area into what it is today.
There’s a huge amount on show, from warships to cruiseliners, and you can usually find an exhibition or two on display also. For maritime fanatics or for a family day of fun, this is the place to be in Halifax!
Location: 1675 Lower Water Street
Sports In Halifax, NS
As well as museums and cultural heritage, Halifax also has a modest sports scene. Community sports include a thriving Gaelic sports scene, along with many different water-based sporting activities, like swimming and yachting.
There are a few university teams and some successful junior teams, along with professional soccer and basketball teams. The soccer team, the HFX Wanderers, compete in the Canadian Premier League and are based at their field (Wanderers Grounds).
Outdoor Spaces In Halifax, NS
If you want to get outdoors while in Halifax, you won’t be disappointed! The region is home to a number of lush green spaces where you can explore, soak up nature and feel at peace.
The area boasts a number of trails, including the Atlantic View trail and the Halifax Urban Greenway, as well as parks and public gardens.
Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, NS
Found on the south end of the Halifax Peninsula, Point Pleasant Park spans a whopping 75 hectares. It offers visitors up to 39km of trails to explore and is wheelchair accessible. The park has several off-leash areas for dogs as well as picnic spots.
In the summer, you can enjoy some time at the unsupervised beach along with taking in the stunning views of McNabs Island.
The park is still owned by the British Government and is rented from them for a sum of 1 shilling a year. The contract length is 999 years!
Location: 5530 Point Pleasant Drive
Halifax Public Gardens, Halifax, NS
Covering 16 acres, right in the heart of Halifax is Halifax Public Gardens, a stunning example of one of Canada’s many Victorian Gardens. Stepping through a wrought-iron gate entrance, you’ll enter a world of natural diversity, with over 100 different tree species to be found. It also boasts a bird sanctuary and some pretty & special flower beds.
You can enter for free, and it is open from 8 am to dusk between mid-April and December.
Location: 5665 Spring Garden Road
Education In Halifax, NS
Education in Halifax is under the jurisdiction of the Halifax Regional School Board, which operates 136 public schools for 48,000 students. These schools cover education from primary to grade 12.
There are fourteen independent schools in Halifax, including Halifax Grammar School, Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts, and Halifax Christian Academy.
The Nova Scotia Community College operates several locations within Halifax, and there are seven institutions offering degree-level education on the Peninsula. These include Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University, University of King’s College, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University and the Atlantic School of Theology. There are a number of private career and business colleges in Halifax as well.
Food In Halifax, NS
One of the biggest points of interest in Halifax, NS is the food and drink you can find. If you’re a real foodie, we recommend getting on one of the local tasting tours in the area, where you can meet local chefs and dine in popular establishments, tasting all that Halifax has to offer.
Halifax is home to several bakeries to satisfy the sweet tooth, with many offering innovative and creative takes on traditional dessert dishes. You’ll also find that many of the local eateries have a long history in the area and make sure to use fresh and local ingredients in their dishes.
Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market at 1209 Marginal Road, is a particular point of interest in Halifax, NS for food aficionados. It was established by a Royal Proclamation in 1750 and moved to Halifax Seaport in 2010.
The market is open daily and is the longest continuously-running market in North America. You’ll find vendors offering meat and seafood reared locally as well as organic fruits and vegetables. And it’s not just food that you can find at the market, you can also find local artists, jewellery makers, and handcrafted goods.
And once you’ve got your fill of the food, you should check out the rest of the Seaport, which has been transformed into a hub of art and culture. The Seaport’s got shops, galleries, eateries, and much more for you to find!
Transport In Halifax, NS
Getting to Halifax by car usually requires you to enter via the Trans-Canada Highway. You will need to pay a toll to enter Nova Scotia by road.
Halifax also has an airport called the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. It is the only airport in Atlantic Canada that offers US pre-clearance. Flights from other parts of Canada into Nova Scotia vary in length, with a flight from Montreal being just 1 hour and 20 minutes and Toronto being 2 hours, but a flight from Vancouver taking 7 hours.
Maritime Bus offers an airport shuttle for people flying into Halifax. It also operates passenger services across the province.
VIA Rail Canada offers a service connecting Western Canadian cities with parts of the US. This is a particularly scenic route to take into Halifax and opens your eyes to the beauty and variety of the landscape on the journey. There is also an overnight train from Montreal to Halifax.
You can also reach Halifax via the sea. The cruises coming into Halifax operate from Spring to Fall and come into Halifax Harbour.
Once you’re in Halifax, you can travel via bus, but we recommend walking. The area is hilly, but the sights along the way are worth seeing. So why not take a walk along the Halifax boardwalk? After all, it is one of the longest continuous boardwalks in the world, measuring at a whopping 4km!
Art, Music, And Culture In Halifax, NS
Art, music and culture are very important in Halifax, NS. The city has a thriving art scene with a number of different galleries for you to visit. They’ve also got local theatre productions and the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo for you to check out!
To find out more about all of these fantastic cultural events and destinations in Halifax, keep reading!
Art Gallery Of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has two locations, one in Halifax and one in Yarmouth. The Halifax location is open most days from 10 am to 5 pm. You can purchase admission tickets online.
As the largest art gallery in Atlantic Canada, you’ll not be disappointed by what you find at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, NS. The gallery’s permanent collection holds over 19,000 pieces, displaying the works of more than 4,000 artists.
Though the gallery dates back to 1908, the Halifax location only opened its doors in 1988. The recent growth of the gallery has seen the implementation of educational programs. The gallery also has a cafeteria and gift shop to check out.
During your visit, you will get to see many pieces from the permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions. Keep an eye out for shows and studio classes that could be fun for the whole family!
Location: 1723 Hollis Street
Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo In Halifax, NS
Inspired by military tattoos around the world, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo has been a tradition in Halifax since 1979 and was originally put on as a celebration of the first international meeting of the clans outside of Scotland. It is now held in the Halifax Scotiabank Center.
It is a unique kind of tattoo, in that it mixes both military and civilian performers. The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo puts on a much more theatrical show than other tattoos you may have seen.
The Tattoo received its royal designation, bestowed by HRH Queen Elizabeth II, in 2004. Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is a charity and is run mainly by volunteers. The show is thought to have been seen by more than 2 million spectators.
Performers from all over the world have been involved in the show; in fact, tens of thousands of performers, representing 21 different countries have been featured! The show changes every year and is truly an event worth seeing!
Lighthouse Arts Center, Halifax, NS
The Lighthouse Arts Center describes itself as a place artists can call home and puts on a range of different shows and events for the citizens of Halifax every year. It seeks to nourish the soul with enriching art and entertainment.
For local, regional, and even international performances, check out the upcoming events page at the Lighthouse Arts Center.
Location: 1800 Argyle Street
The Carelton, Halifax, NS
An established music venue with a rich history of popular acts, if you want to spend your evening listening to music, The Carelton is the perfect place to do so! As one of the oldest buildings in the entire city, you’ll get to enjoy live music, good food, and a little bit of history when you visit.
Check out the upcoming events page on The Carleton’s website to find out more!
Location: 1685 Argyle Street
Conclusion: Points Of Interest In Halifax, NS
Halifax, Nova Scotia can offer a wide range of activities, including food and drink, arts and culture, sports, music, and even the legendary Tattoo. It’s got a rich history that is celebrated in multiple museums, and you’ll get to enjoy nature in the many green spaces, trails and parks the city has to offer.
Whether you’re just coming for a visit, seeking to move to Halifax, or you are a long-time resident looking for something new, Halifax will continue to surprise and enthrall you the longer you stay here!