The city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is one of Canada’s and North America’s oldest and most historic cities, rivaling places like Boston, Quebec and New York for historical importance. It was from Halifax that Britain launched its campaigns during the American Revolution, and it was from Halifax that convoys sailed to Europe during both world wars. For nearly 400 years Halifax has stood on the Atlantic seaboard as a piece of North American history.
Today Halifax is a bustling and dynamic city with a population of nearly half a million. The greater Halifax region encompasses the cities of Halifax, Dartmouth, Sherbrooke, Bedford and Cole Harbour. Halifax is the largest city in the Canadian Maritimes and the biggest natural deep water port in North America.
For most of its history Halifax was a port city with strong ties to naval traditions. While those ties still exist (Halifax is the largest naval base in Canada), and international shipping accounts for more than 20% of Halifax’s economy, the city has grown well beyond its maritime tradition. During the mid-20th Century Halifax took on importance as a manufacturing, logistics and transportation hub, and then in the early 21st Century Halifax’s regional government dropped taxes for tech and communication companies and attracted a host of major tech players to the city. Several large research facilities, call centers, technology parks and communication company mainframes are located in Halifax, providing jobs for thousands of people.
Halifax is also well known for as a party city. For centuries Halifax built fame as a hard-drinking, hard-fighting sailors’ town and the cities businesses have embraced this heritage. Pubs and bars and nightclubs (more pubs per capita than any other city in Canada!) line the historic downtown streets and offer a diverse array of tastes for everyone. Tourism to Halifax, whether to take part in one of the dozens of annual festivals, visit historic sites or travel around beautiful Nova Scotia, accounts for a large segment of the economy and the city is called the “Atlantic’s Playground” for good reason. Halifax also boasts three large Universities and a couple of colleges. These Universities, such as Dalhousie and St Mary’s, are famous for research and innovation and attract thousands of international and domestic students per year.
Visit Halifax some more below:
HMCS Sackville, a World War II corvette that sunk several U-Boats during the Battle of the Atlantic. Today it is a museum piece and visitors can tour the vessel and explore what life was like for a Canadian sailor in that great conflict.
The Angus L. Macdonald bridge (aka: “the old bridge”) is one of two toll bridges that connects Halifax to Dartmouth.
Public gardens in center of Halifax
Halifax is a bustling container port. More than $100 billion in trade flows through Halifax every year, making it the third largest port in Canada after Vancouver and Montreal.
In early 2012 Halifax was awarded a defense contract by the federal government to build two dozen warships over the next twenty years. This will create more than 6,000 high-paying jobs and pump millions into the local economy.
Halifax Regional Police are kept busy by a fairly high crime rate by Canadian standards. A rash of drug and gun crimes in the region in recent years shows the influence of gangs moving in to the city from overseas.
Halifax is surrounded by stunning natural beauty. Despite 400 years of development and settlement, the coastline and the surrounding countryside remains in pristine condition.
Halifax carries a strong Scottish tradition.
Dalhousie University, one of the top 5 best schools in Canada, offers both undergraduate and graduate programs and is famous for its medical sciences department.
Old-time flair keeps downtown Halifax alive and well.
Pubs and cafes line a downtown street.
The famous hills of Halifax, where 300 years ago British sailors formed press gangs and forced any man unlucky enough to be outside into Royal Navy service.
Brewery Market in Halifax, where the age of the city can be seen in the historic buildings which are still in use today.
Halifax is Canada’s largest naval port.
The Halifax Citadel, a massive fortress built by the British to protect first against a French and then against American attack. The cannons control the harbour entrance and the surrounding city, and the approaches to the fort would have been suicide for an advancing army. As a result of the fort being situated here, Halifax was never attacked.
Winters in Halifax have a lot of snow but temperatures rarely dip below -10 centigrade.
Every year Halifax hosts the International Tall Ship Festival.
The ferry from Halifax to Dartmouth
Another bar on a historic Halifax street.
The Titanic cemetery. The great ship went down only 100 km from Halifax and most of the bodies washed ashore near the city. They are buried here.
A piece of a ship from the Great Halifax Explosion of 1917. This was found 20 km from the explosion site!
The Halifax International Tattoo celebrates marching bands from around the world and takes place every year in Halifax.
Theodore tugboat, a favourite children’s tv show, hails from Halifax.
Halifax’s history is on display everywhere
Actress Ellen Page is from Halifax.
Porn star Peter North is from Halifax.
Canadian indy rockers “Sloan” hail from Halifax.