Halifax has a fascinating history. The capital of Nova Scotia will always be connected to the Titanic tragedy of 1912 as the destination was used as the base for the rescue operations. On a happier note, the city was mentioned in Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. A busy port city, Halifax is also an award-winning cruise stop that boasts beautiful natural scenery and interesting historical sights. Here are our top five historic sights in Halifax.
An imposing stone fortress, Canada's most visited national historical site, Halifax's Citadel was originally constructed in 1749 and reconstructed between 1818 and 1861. A living history program brings to life the Halifax of the mid-Victorian era. Consider taking a photo in front of the Old Town Clock at the top of George Street, before heading down town to the Grand Parade. For something completely different, meet knowledgeable local historian and charismatic actor, Andy Smith, at the Old Town Clock after dark, and take a two-hour ghost walk of historic Halifax.
Parks and Public Spaces
Relax in the exquisite Halifax Public Gardens, recognised as a historic garden in 1984, and get active at Halifax Commons, with facilities including bicycle trails, tennis courts, a playground and children's wading pool. Enjoy Point Pleasant Park incorporating 39 kilometres of nature trails and pretty picnic spots. See the eighteenth century defensive structure, the Prince of Wales Martello Tower here. Take a boat tour from Cable Wharf on the waterfront, spend a morning in Peggy's Cove, and visit nearby Prince Edward Island.
The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic features the old chandlery, and Halifax Explosion and Titanic displays. Outside sits the retired English hydrographic vessel, the CSS Arcadia. Wander along the waterfront to discover more of Halifax's heritage, in the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, Memory Lane Heritage Museum and the Museum of Natural History. Alexander Keith's Nova Scotia Brewery offers a fun and fully immersive sixty-minute tour, as actors clad in period costumes sing and dance, speak in the dialect of the day, and offer generous tastings of Alexander Keith's beers at the conclusion of the tour.
The North End
Once known as the Old North Suburbs, Seaview Memorial Park, a National Historic Site, pays homage to its past. The Explosion of 1917 flattened the area. Caused by a collision on Halifax Harbour between ships carrying wartime explosives, the blast is regarded as the largest man-made explosion before nuclear weapons. In memory of the victims, the Halifax North Memorial Public Library was built. A memorial honours the African-Canadian settlers of the 1800s.
After the Titanic disaster, some poor souls who lost their lives were buried in various cemeteries in Halifax. Ten people were interred in the Halifax Jewish Cemetery, 19 people in the Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, and 121 people in the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax's non-denominational cemetery. The most famous individual laid to rest was J Dawson, who was immortalised on the silver screen in James Cameron's 1988 blockbuster.