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Halifax Holidays Guide

The capital city of Nova Scotia, Halifax has a population of over 940,000. Its strategic location and one of the world's greatest natural harbours make it an important centre of the province's economic development and regional culture.

The city was established by the British as the capital in 1749, although it had been inhabited for many centuries previously by natives of the area. In 1867 the province was officially named after Scotland and to this day the largest ethnic group are of Scottish descent.

Government during the 1600's seesawed between France and England, but the region finally became a British colony in 1713. However, in 1753, due to the unwillingness of many of the French speaking Roman Catholics not willing to pledge alliance to the British Crown, 12,000 were expelled by the British officials.

To boost the population, a large number of protestants from English and European countries were introduced to the area and their impact is still evident in the cultures that exist today.

As the Nova Scotia province is almost surrounded by water, the ocean plays an influencing effect on the weather in Halifax with frequent coastal fog, cloudy and overcast skies, cold winters and long warm summers. The city comprises the South end, the North end and the large residential West end.  Visitors will find excellent restaurants, cafes and pubs which offer a wide variety of cuisine including the popular seafood dishes of scallops and mussels.

There is always something for everyone in the form of entertainment, from galleries and exhibits, to theatres, dancing, festivals and music. With three major universities located in the city, there is a large proportion of students in certain neighbourhoods. Visitors will find a charming mix of Halifax hotels and assorted accommodation to suit every taste and every budget. The city has an efficient transport network to serve the needs of both locals and visitors.

Take a walk through the historic Halifax waterfront where you will find cobbled streets, restored historic buildings, some dating back to the mid 1800's, some fine examples of Victorian, Georgian and Art Deco style architecture as well as contemporary building styles of today.

Halifax Highlights

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia: A varied collection of over 14,000 works of art including Inuit stone carvings and Nova Scotian folk art. The restored former home of rural folk artist, Maud Lewis is one of the most popular attractions.

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic: Exhibits and artifacts from maritime history including some relating to the sinking of the Titanic, the 1917 Halifax explosion, boatbuilding and other significant events. Guided and non guided tours are available.

The Halifax Citadel: A National Historic Site dating from 1856, formerly known as Fort George. Its hilltop location has excellent views overlooking the city and harbour.  Exhibits include photographs, slides, maps, plans and documents.  The Army Museum is also located here with many artifacts on display. There is a daily ceremonial firing of the noon cannon.

Pier 21: The site of Canada's National Museum of Immigration, located at the south end in Halifax Ocean Terminals. The museum holds extensive exhibits all relating to Canadian immigration.

Old Burial Grounds: At the entrance to the cemetery is the Welsford-Parker Monument, a prominent structure built in 1860 to commemorate the Crimean War. Although approximately 12,000 people have been buried here over the decades, today only 1,200 headstones remain.

St. Matthew's Church: After the original church was destroyed by a fire in 1857, the building of the new St Matthew's church was completed in 1754. It is regarded as the oldest United Church in Canada. A triptych tapestry depicting the history and growth of the congregation throughout the years hangs in the sanctuary. Created at the end of the 20th century, everyone who was a member of the congretation at the time contributed at least one stitch.

Province House: Located in downtown Halifax, it was opened for the first time in 1819. The building is a fine example of Palladian architecture and it's Canada's oldest seat of government. Learn about the history through guided tours, displays, literature and other presentations.

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