HALIFAX, the capital of Nova Scotia, is the east coast's largest metropolitan center and the economic, cultural, educational and civil service center of Atlantic Canada. Governor Edward Cornwallis and 2500 settlers founded Canada's first British town here in 1749 on the shores of the worlds' second largest harbour. In the Mi'kmaq culture the present day site of Halifax was referred to as 'Chebucto" or "The Great Long Harbour". The lively downtown waterfront area is an easy sixty-minute drive from Tulips and Thistle B & B, and this historic city has much to offer as a large metropolitan center.
High above Halifax sits a star-shaped citadel built by the British between 1828 and 1856. Visitors to the fortress are treated to the 78th Highland Regiment, the Royal Artillery and actors representing soldier's wives and trades-people, all in period costume. The guards change and the cannon is fired daily at noon. The Town Clock on the Citadels' eastern slope has been operating since 1803. No visit to Halifax would be complete without a visit the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, one of Canada's' popular treasures.
Take time to visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and gaze upon artifacts from RMS Titanic, learn about the horrific 1917 Halifax Explosion and explore the Museums' largest artifact, CSS Acadia. Interactive displays provide the visitor a window into Nova Scotia's rich maritime history.
If you plan on visiting between July 1st and July 8th, you should plan to attend the Nova Scotia International Tattoo. It is the biggest annual indoor show in North America and includes civilian and military performers from several countries that range from marching bands, to comical gymnasts, to Russian dancers , and, of course, lots of bagpipes.
Other unique places to visit and experience include:
- Pier 21 National Historic Site where a variety of exhibits present the stories of departing and arriving Canadian troops, war brides, displaced children, and the more than one million immigrants who arrived in Canada through its doors between 1928 and 1971.
- Halifax Public Gardens, said to be the finest Victorian Gardens in North America
- Alexander Keith's Brewery, brewing beer locally since 1820, was restored and opened for public tours in 2000. Actors in 19th century dress give a guided tour that invariably ends with a pint.
- Tour Halifax Harbour by land and sea aboard the Harbour Hopper- a modified amphibious army vehicle.
- Visit Historic Properties, the reconstructed waterfront area with its unique specialty shops and restaurants.
- If visiting in August, plan to attend the Halifax International Busker Festival where buskers from many countries have come to perform for the throngs of locals' and tourists' spare change.