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  • Overview

    Halifax is the provincial capital of Nova Scotia, and serves as the centre of commerce for Atlantic Canada. It sits on one of the largest natural harbours in the world and has long been an important maritime centre.

    Founded in 1749 by the British who sought to strengthen their presence in the North Atlantic, the city retains its British military air. Many historic stone and wood buildings have been preserved, particularly in the restored waterfront area, which has become a major tourist attraction. The metro offers shopping, exciting nightlife, eclectic restaurants and a diversity of entertainment, and it boasts North America's oldest yacht club, Northwest Arm.

    Halifax is also the cultural hub of Nova Scotia and the Atlantic provinces as a whole. It has a number of art galleries, museums, theatres and other charming cultural attractions. It's also home to the Nova Scotia Symphony, and also hosts many cultural festivals such as the Nova Scotia International Tattoo, Shakespeare by the Sea, the Halifax International Busker Festival and the Atlantic Film Festival.

    Visitors can find out more about the city's culture from reading The Coast, its free alternative arts weekly magazine which can be found online. The city also offers a range of lovely recreational sites, such as parks, beaches, walking trails and some living-history experiences such as the firing of the noon day gun at the Halifax Citadel and the working locks of the Shubenacadie Canal.

    Halifax offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into life in Canada's Atlantic provinces, and there's so much to see and do here that tourists will hardly ever experience a dull moment.

    Citadel

    One of Halifax's military-history heritage sites, the Citadel was built between 1828 and 1856. It's designed in a star shape and features vaulted rooms, a dry defensive ditch and a musketry gallery, offering an awe-inspiring view of Halifax and its harbour from the ramparts. Visitors can watch an audio-visual presentation about the defences of Halifax and visit the soldiers' library, barrack rooms, powder magazine and garrison cell. The site also has exhibits on the communications, engineering and construction of the Citadel. Guides at the site wear the uniform of soldiers of the Royal Artillery and the 78th Highlanders of 1869, and conduct tours in English and French.

    Address: Citadel Hill
    Citadel, Halifax Citadel, Halifax drazz
    Memory Lane Heritage Village

    This site in Clam Harbour Road, Lake Charlotte, is owned and operated by the community, and features 13 restored buildings that illustrate rural village life in Nova Scotia in the 1940s. Local people demonstrate traditional skills such as rug hooking, while the cookhouse offers typical meals of the period, completing the feeling of immersion in a historically-accurate coastal community. An award winner, this interesting living museum fills a few hours with fun for the whole family.

    Address: Lake Charlotte
    Halifax International Busker
Festival Halifax International Busker Festival Heidi Maria
    Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

    This museum has one of Canada's finest collections of both ship models and ship portraits, as well as the world's largest assemblage of wooden artefacts from the Titanic. In addition to a collection of about 24,000 marine photographs, some dating back to the 19th century, there are also examples of rare and unique Nova Scotian boat-building traditions with its small craft displays. The exhibition includes shipwreck treasures, naval World War II convoys, steamboats and the opportunity to explore the 1913-built ship CSS Acadia at the dockside. The museum also boasts a large collection of genealogical resources, including journals, diaries, ship's logs, shipping registers and a library containing more than 5,000 shipping-related books.

    Address: 1675 Lower Water Street
    Maritime Museum Boat Shed Maritime Museum Boat Shed Dale Simonson

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Its position on the coast ensures that Halifax experiences less extremes in its climate compared to inland Nova Scotia. Summer temperatures average between about 57°F (14°C) and 75°F (24°C). Spring arrives in April, marred by rain and fog, but as summer moves in conditions warm up and balmy ocean breezes blow the damp away. Autumn is a beautiful season, the days warm, nights cool, and the foliage taking on spectacular hues. Winters are cold and wet, with both rain and snow, and average temperatures between 17°F (-8°C) and 37°F (3°C).

    Halifax Robert L. Stanfield International Airport
    Location: The airport is 19 miles (30km) north of Halifax.
    Time: GMT -4 (GMT -3 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
    Getting to the city: An airport shuttle service serves the main hotels in the metro area, and a variety of other bus services connect to various destinations in the region. Taxis are available outside the airport building.
    Car Rental: Several major car rental companies are represented at the airport: Avis, Budget, Enterprise, National, Alamo, Thrifty, Dollar, and Hertz.
    Airport Taxis: Taxi services are available curbside in the arrivals area.
    Facilities: There are a number of shops, cafes and restaurants at the airport, as well as duty-free shopping, internet access and children's play areas. ATMs are located in Arrivals and Departures, and a currency exchange booth is available for international travellers. Tourist information is available in Arrivals. Disabled passengers are well catered for.
    Parking Hourly parking is located in lots P1 and P2. Visitors will find daily parking in lots P1, P2, P3 and P4.

    Central Halifax is walkable, but visitors who want to explore more widely should hire a car. That said, Metro Transit provides a bus service in the city and to surrounding areas, and runs passenger ferries from various city-based terminals. Free transfers are available from the ferry to buses. Cabs can be hailed in the downtown area and there are taxi ranks at the largest hotels and shopping centres.

    Halifax's waterfront is a tourist playground of pubs, shops, museums, craft markets and outdoor concerts. In fact, the city's student population ensures a lively pub and bar scene well beyond the waterfront district.

    Visitors will encounter plenty of history too, such as the graves of about 150 victims of the Titanic disaster, Pier 21, which is where immigrants were once processed for entry to Canada, and the Halifax Citadel. Visitors who enjoy maritime history should stop at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

    Most tourist attractions are located downtown and can be reached on foot. Visitors who want to explore more widely should consider booking a tour or hiring a car, as the public transport system is not comprehensive. Travellers should note that some attractions only open in the summer months.

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