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Nova Scotia offers colourful history, beautiful scenery, fantastic food, cosmopolitan shopping, outdoor activities, music festivals, pristine beaches, and arts and crafts. Whatever your interests and enthusiasms, you will find plenty to see, do, and discover in this beautiful and friendly province.
The Halifax region offers the best of land and sea, with its cosmopolitan blend of cafés and shops, galleries and streetscapes, combined with views of Halifax's historic harbour. Nova Scotia's picturesque South Shore is renowned for its special mixture of coastal beauty and historic treasures, such as the stark beauty of the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, UNESCO World Heritage Site Lunenburg Old Town, and the Black Loyalist Heritage Museum. Head south and you will arrive in Yarmouth and Acadian Shores, where French and English cultures intermingle. Visit Acadian fishing villages, with their soaring churches and traditional cuisine, and learn more about the area's rich history at its many museums, including the oldest courthouse in Canada.
The unique tidal environment of the Bay of Fundy is combined with the fertile lushness of the Annapolis Valley's farms and vineyards. The Northumberland Shore has natural beauty, history and culture in abundance, from warm beaches to museums that reveal the area's varied past. With its stunning highlands and vibrant Celtic culture, Cape Breton Island is a paradise of rugged coastal trails, crystalline lakes, and fascinating local museums. The Eastern Shore offers surfing and kayaking, wildlife galore, a host of festivals, and local culinary delights.
The capital of Nova Scotia and the largest city in Canada's Maritime Provinces. Halifax deftly blends the past with the present to produce a skyline dotted with elegant 18th- and 19th-century architecture alongside ultra-modern towers of glass and steel. The heart of Halifax is perfect for exploring on foot, with treelined streets, international restaurants, galleries, libraries and museums. Inviting sidewalk cafés beckon you to while away a few hours amid park-like, waterfront, and historic settings in the busy downtown, often with a backdrop of the bustling harbour, which entertains ship traffic from every corner of the globe.
Halifax has been a port of call for ages, starting when the Mi’kmaq would spend the summers camping and fishing from its shoreline. They called the area “Jipugtug”, which would later become Anglicized as Chebucto, meaning “the biggest harbour”. It was that large, ice-free harbour – the second largest in the world – and its military advantages that would attract the British to establish a colony and fort in 1749.
The Honourable Captian General Edward Cornwallis, accompanied by 2,500 settlers, named the new colony Halifax, in honour of Lord Halifax, President of the British Board of Trade at that time. The town became an important counter to the French fortress at Louisbourg and the British quickly set about building a fortress on top of the hill that overlooked the town, as well as constructing numerous fortifications and blockhouses along its harbour.
Throughout its history, Halifax’s population has swelled during waves of North American conflict, including the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, the War of 1812 and both World Wars. As much as the townsfolk worked to support these military endeavours, they also exerted themselves in more civilian pursuits as Halifax came to be an important centre of trade and industry. Steamship pioneer Samuel Cunard, banker Enos Collins, brewer Alexander Keith and politician Joe Howe are just some of the Haligonians who have left their mark on Halifax and the world.
Music and Entertainment
Get up close and personal with the best in East Coast entertainment. Discover fabulous Halifax music, theatre, festivals and events - all happening in the harbour city. Don’t miss a minute of the non-stop Halifax entertainment scene this spring. From intimate music performances to attractions for the whole family, Halifax is home to the must-see events of Canada’s East Coast.
Halifax Greek Fest - 13 - 16 Jun
The oldest and largest cultural festival in Halifax. Join in for a weekend of authentic entertainment, delicious food and a few new memories along the way. Why not try your hand at some Greek dancing or sample some wines at the wine tasting events, there is even a kids Olympics.This is a great day out for all the family.
International Busker Festival - 31 Jul - 05 Aug
This exciting festival broadcasts some of the best talent there is on offer, from Jugglers and fire-breathers to contortionists and musicians. For the past 27 years the Busker Festival has brought the city of Halifax alive with hundreds of action packed, mind blowing shows from around the globe. This festival is a must see if you in Halifax at the right time, and with free admission there is no excuse not too.
Culinary and Wine
Experience food and wine as only the East Coast can do. Locally sourced ingredients, the freshest seafood, award-winning wines and world-class chefs make Halifax, Nova Scotia the epitome of Maritime food and wine.
Halifax Seaport Beerfest - 9 - 10 Aug
Named Festival of the Year in Halifax’s FACES magazine, the Halifax Seaport BeerFest is Atlantic Canada’s largest beer festival. This year the event will take place at the Cunard Centre on Halifax’s waterfront. .Attendees can sample over 200 local, regional and international beers and ciders at three sessions over two days.
Culinary vacation packages
Due to the many wonderful places to dine and cuisine to sample, Halifax have put together many culinary packages to suit all. This is a great way for food and wine loves to experience the true Halifax Culinary experience.
Must see Attractions in Halifax
Halifax is home to some of the province’s most well-known tourist attractions, including:
Halifax was initially founded as a military settlement and the crown jewel in its defences was the Citadel. Visitors to the Halifax Citadel can stroll through this massive star-shaped fortress, walk the ramparts, watch the kilted 78th Highland Regiment at drill and take in sweeping views of the harbour and downtown. At 12 pm sharp, cover your ears - the firing of the noon-day gun is a Halifax tradition dating from the late 1800s.
The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
Down the hill from the Halifax Citadel and situated on the Halifax waterfront, the Maritime Museum of Atlantic commemorates the city’s vital link with the sea and seafaring life through the museum’s displays of over 20,000 maritime artifacts. Go aboard the CSS Acadia, which was one of the first ships to extensively chart the Arctic Ocean floor and the HMCS Sackville, the last of the World War II convoy escort corvettes. Back inside the museum, visit the displays commemorating the Halifax Explosion and the “unsinkable” Titanic.
The Halifax Waterfront
The Halifax waterfront makes for a relaxing walk at any time of year. Throughout the summer months you’ll see everything from massive cruise ships and graceful tall ships to small sailboats and pleasure cruisers docked along the waterfront. At the south end of the waterfront, visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and browse the many local farmers’, producers’ and artists’ stands at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America. As you head north, you’ll come to Halifax’s Historic properties. Stretching over three square blocks, these timber-frame buildings and stone warehouses were originally built in the late 1700s and early 1800s to safeguard the booty captured by ruthless privateers.
Uphill from Historic Properties is Province House, the seat of Nova Scotia’s government. This building is valued as one of Canada’s finest examples of Georgian architecture, as well as the birthplace of freedom of the press and responsible government in Canada. Throughout the year, visitors can take a tour of Province House and see where political history has been made for over 250 years.
The Halifax Public Gardens
Visitors looking for a few moments of blissful serenity will find it across South Park Street in the cool oasis of the Halifax public gardens. Since its establishment as a civic garden in 1867, the Public Gardens have been a haven of meandering paths, sun-kissed fountains, lively duck ponds and formal Victorian flower beds.
The Museum of Natural History
A short stroll from the Public Gardens is the Museum of Natural History on Summer Street. This popular facility features exhibits on the province’s flora, fauna and geological history, from dinosaurs to eagles and life on the ocean floor. The museum also presents displays on the history of indigenous peoples and hosts traveling exhibits.