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Ultimate Halifax

History, entertainment, fun on the water and more—discover everything we love about Halifax

By Trevor J. Adams


Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

At the tip of Halifax’s historic South End, Point Pleasant Park is a popular year-round destination with native Haligonians and visitors alike. The park’s coastal and woodland trails are a hit in any season, but Point Pleasant really comes to life in summer when it hosts theatre al fresco withbarrington-cemetary-web Shakespeare by the Sea throughout the summer.

History buffs will be pleased to find the Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site in the centre of the park. Back downtown on Barrington Street, the Old Burying Ground is a secluded historic cemetery and the burial site British Major General Robert Ross, who burned Washington, D.C. in the War of 1812.

Uptown on Spring Garden Road, the Halifax Public Gardens are one of the finest Victorian gardens in North America. In the summer, its bandstand hosts Sunday afternoon concerts. Across the harbour, the Dartmouth Common features lovely flower gardens and panoramic views of the Halifax skyline.


Nautical adventures abound at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street. With lots of hands-on exhibits and a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere, it’s a great spot for kids to explore and learn about the Titanic, fearless explorers, swashbuckling pirates and the world wars. See shipbuilders at work and explore a scientific vessel moored dockside.

Just up the hill on Barrington Street, the Discovery Centre is a hands-on science centre where kids can explore trippy optical illusions, stand inside a giant bubble and even freeze a banana in liquid nitrogen.

The Museum of Natural History on Summer Street offers hours of entertainment for inquiring young minds. Explore Nova Scotia’s forest and ocean environments with interactive exhibits. Visit legendary Sable Island and experience Science on a Sphere. Live amphibians, reptiles, bees, a new Tide Tank and Gus, a 92-year-old tortoise.


The Hydrostone. Photo: Lisa Enman

The Hydrostone. Photo: Lisa Enman

This province is the birthplace of hockey and boasts a long line of sports heroes—most recently, Sidney Crosby. Learn all about them in Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.

Looming over the downtown, the Halifax Citadel Canada’s most popular National Historic Site and home to the Army Museum. Visit at 12 pm to see historical animators fire the fort’s signature Noon Gun.

Perched on the side of Citadel Hill, you’ll spot Halifax’s iconic Old Town Clock on Sackville Street.

Shop and dine where privateers once stashed their plunder—the stone warehouses of the Historic Properties on the Halifax waterfront.

Devastated in the Halifax Explosion during the First World War, Young Street east of Robie is now a stylish neighbourhood called The Hydrostone noted for unique architecture, quaint shops and fine dining.


The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 reopens this month after extensive renovations. From 1928 to 1971, almost 1.5 million immigrants and military personnel passed through Pier 21. Today, the museum (Canada’s only national museum outside Ottawa) tells the story of Canadian immigration from first contact to present day.


With centuries of history, Halifax teems with mysteries, folklore and reputed hauntings. Explore the city’s darker side with the Halifax Ghost Walk. Meet the group at 8:30pm at the Old Town Clock on Citadel Hill (just up from Sackville Street). Narrators lead you through historic Halifax’s nooks and crannies, sharing tales of pirates, ghosts and murder most foul.


Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Centrally located, Halifax is an ideal day-trip base. Take a 45-minute drive east, and you’ll find the Memory Lane Heritage Village, a living-history museum re-creating life in rural Nova Scotia as it was 70 years ago.

Take a 45-minute drive west, and you’ll find the historic fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Its iconic lighthouse, perched on the rocks just above the wild Atlantic waves, is Nova Scotia’s most photographed site.



At the foot of George Street on the Halifax waterfront, NovaScotian Crystal is one of the province’s most unique tourism attractions. In the workshop, you can watch craftsmen use Old World techniques to create functional art: mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal creations.

The *Haunted* Weekend Roundup, October 28 to 30

With All Hallows’ Eve upon us, here’s a look at some spooky ways to spend the weekend around the city. If you’re seeking less zombified events, our regular spine-warming, hair-dropping Weekend Roundup is still here.

photo by Jelle Druyts

Friday, October 28
Grown-up trick-or-treaters can don costumes and make their way around Liberty Village for the Nightmare on Liberty Street. Local restaurants offer deals on food and drink, and there’s an after party at Vogue Supper Club with prizes and a live DJ. (more…)

7 of Canada’s Most Haunted Hotels


Quebec City's Château Frontenac (Photo by HuTDoG83)

Is anything better than a good ghost story? Have your own to tell after you spend a night at one of these hotels known for their paranormal activity. After hearing creepy tales of murders, hangings and ghosts snuggling up to guests in bed, you’ll be thankful if things merely go bump in the night. Happy Halloween!

1. Fairmont Algonquin
St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick
The most haunted room in the 19th-century hotel is rumoured to be no. 473, where guests report seeing a weeping bride, the ghost of a woman who apparently took her own life in the room after being left at the altar. Guests have also recounted sightings of a ghostly bellhop roaming the halls. The hotel revels in its haunted history, telling campfire ghost stories and giving ghost tours. Book it.


Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for October 28 to 31

Tour spooky locals with Haunted Walks. Photo credit: OTCA.

Friday, Oct. 28
What better way to celebrate Halloween than by scaring yourself silly with true tales of ghostly happenings? Sign up for a tour with Haunted Walks that will take you through some of the city’s creepiest locales. The Ottawa Jail Hostel? Check. The site of the last working gallows? Check. Haunted buildings? Check. Our pick is the adults-only tour of the Canadian Museum of Nature on Friday night. Once the doors close to the public you can enjoy wine and cheese and see for yourself where ghostly encounters have taken place. If you dare… Halloween edition tours are offered nightly until Oct. 31, see website for full schedule.

Local chamber ensemble Seventeen Voyces hosts one heck of a performance. They’ll be screening the 1925 silent film classic The Phantom of the Opera on a giant screen and accompanying the film with  live choral and pipe organ music. Don’t expect traditional songs from the musical though — instead, the choir will perform works by Gounod (Faust), Schubert, Beethoven, Berlioz, Kodaly, Puccini (Madama Butterfly), Ravel, and Langlais. The concert runs Oct. 27 and 28.

It’s a world premiere! Whispering Pines, on at the GCTC, takes place in the divided city of Berlin in 1987, where artists Renate and Bruno want to make a new world. When Thomas, a Canadian academic, arrives on their doorstep bearing gifts from the West and dreams of life beyond the Wall, their lives are turned upside down. Years later, in a peaceful cabin on the shores of Lake Superior, the three come together one last time to confront the betrayal that tore them apart. Politics, intrigue, and the cold war — sounds like the makings for a great play. And, bonus!, on the opening night (Friday, Oct. 28), the German Embassy has partnered with GCTC for Whispering Pints (geddit?). Stop by after the show (10pm to 1am) for German beer, food, and music.  The play runs Oct. 28 to Nov. 13.

Saturday, Oct. 29
The final movie has come and gone, but it’s still possible to get your Harry Potter fix. While they won’t be flying around on Nimbus 2000s, Carleton University plays host to more than 100 muggles for the first-ever Canadian Quidditch Cup this weekend. The non-flight version of Quidditch, which does still involve broomsticks, is a modified version of the sport that mixes rugby, dodge ball, and tag and is described as “super intense” by those who play. Eight teams will battle it out to decide who gets to go to the Quidditch World Cup tournament in New York City in November. Come cheer for Carleton, ranked second behind McGill, on Saturday. (more…)

Spooky City: Calgary’s Most Haunted Houses


Hose & Hound (Photo: Bill Longstaff)

Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, there’s no denying the allure of a particularly gruesome ghost story, especially as autumn’s eerie chill creeps through the air in anticipation of Halloween.

For a city little more than 100 years old, persistently sordid tales of murder, suicide and bad blood has marked Calgary as a veritable hotspot for paranormal activity. (more…)

The WHERE List: The Best Places to (Possibly!) See a Ghost in Canada

In the spirit of Halloween, we’ve asked our editors across the country to tell us the places in their cities that are rumoured to be haunted. From a municipal building that used to be a hanging locale to a mischievous monkey spirit, many cities also offer organized ghost walks that highlight some of the spookiest spots around their towns. (more…)