Top Attractions in Halifax

Credit: Tourism Nova Scotia / Photographer: Acorn Art & Photography
You will find that most of the top attractions in Halifax are linked to the city!s proud maritime history in one way or another. Located as it is on a huge ice-free natural harbor, shipping in its many forms has always had an enormous influence on life in the city.
In addition to the many myths and legends attached to Halifax!s pirate history and its maritime role during WWI and WWII, Halifax is also famous as the port which lay closest to the Titanic disaster and as the principle port of entry for thousands of migrants from Europe. Here are the main attractions which you should add to your itinerary.

Full Tour of Halifax Downtown by Locals
Credit: Delightful Travellers via Youtube

1. The Citadel National Historic Site

Originally built by the British in 1749, the Citadel National Historic Site still dominates the Halifax skyline, even though a modest number of tall buildings have sprung up in the downtown area in more recent times.

Halifax Town Clock located on the east slope of Citadel Hill

Credit: Idawriter, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The citadel is very strategically placed on Citadel Hill, overlooking downtown Halifax and her harbor. The fortress was re-built 4 times during its tenure as a defensive fort to protect Halifax against various invaders, but was never actually attacked. In its final form it is a star-shaped stone structure which is equally impressive from the outside and the inside.
You can take a guided tour of the fort (assisted by costumed guides) that will bring the fascinating history of the Citadel to life. Be sure to plan your visit so that you will be there to see the firing of the Noon Gun, which occurs daily throughout the year.

2. Halifax Waterfront

Most visitors will start their Halifax visit at the bustling and vibrant Waterfront area, which is home to one of the world!s longest urban boardwalks.
The boardwalk stretches for 4 km from the Halifax Seaport to Casino Nova Scotia and is lined with interesting attractions including the modern Queen!s Marque District (shopping, dining and art installations), the Canadian Museum of Immigration, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the Seaport Farmers Market and much, much more. This is definitely the place to visit to soak up the unique ambiance of Halifax.

3. Pier 21 National Historic Site – The Canadian Museum of Immigration

Canada!s population is made up of a melting pot of nationalities, all of whom brought with them their traditions, religions, cuisines and cultures to enrich the national demographic. Many Canadian residents have ancestors whose first sighting of Canada took place in Halifax, at Pier 21.
Back in 1928 Pier 21 was built as a passenger ocean terminal and as one of the major reception centers for immigrants. Between 1928 and 1971 close to 1 million immigrants entered Canada right here.
Although Canada established immigrant reception areas at most large ports, Pier 21 is the only surviving facility in the country. You can learn all about Pier 21 by watching a short film and joining a 30 minute guided tour of this very interesting Museum. There are also interactive exhibits which children can enjoy.

4. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is where you can learn about Halifax!s impressive maritime history. The museum overlooks the harbor and is filled with all things nautical including small boats and many artifacts.

Wandering around the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
Credit: Steve’s World of Wanders via Youtube

One of the most popular exhibits is The Titanic, where you can learn about Halifax!s role as a sanctuary for the traumatized survivors of the tragedy. Other interesting exhibits cover events like the massive Halifax Explosion of 1971, which wiped-out a large swath of the city, and the role played by Halifax Harbor during both World Wars. There are several interactive exhibits that children will enjoy.

Artifacts from the Titanic and other shipwrecks at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Credit: Steve’s World of Wanders via Youtube

5. Peggy’s Cove

A day trip to Peggy’s Cove, located about 43 kilometers south of Halifax will allow you to soak up the quintessential ambiance of the region.
This pretty little bay is lined with colorful houses perched right on the edge of the rocks which line the inlet. Still an active fishing village, Peggy’s Cove oozes authentic Nova Scotia charm. Above the village stands the Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, one of the most photographed lighthouses in Canada.

Tour of Peggy’s Cove
Credit: laura doran via Youtube

Those of you who are old enough to remember may recall that Peggy’s Cove was the site of a fatal Swissair plane crash in 1998 – there is a memorial to the 229 people who lost their lives in the crash.
Peggy’s Cove is a very popular tourist attraction and can get crowded in summer. The best time to visit is early morning or late afternoon – but do give yourself time to enjoy some fresh seafood.

Discover Peggy’s Cove
Credit:Tourism Nova Scotia

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