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Halifax (Nova Scotia)

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Halifax [21] is the capital city of Nova Scotia and the largest city in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. The city's origins and rich maritime history derive from a strategic location and one of the world's great natural harbours. In the 19th and early 20th century, Halifax was the entry point for European immigration to Canada. Today, Halifax is a busy Atlantic seaport and the economic and cultural hub of Eastern Canada.


The old town clock situated at the base of Citadel Hill

Halifax is the provincial and regional hub of Nova Scotia. It is still, however, a smaller city by North American standards (2010 pop. 412,012). Rather than feeling relegated to 'second-fiddle' status, this dichotomy is celebrated by residents who take pride in their slower pace and warm hospitality.


While the area around Halifax has been inhabited by native Mi'kmaq for millennia, modern Halifax was founded on June 21, 1749 as a British military outpost. Easily defended and featuring the world's second largest natural harbour, Halifax proved its worth during the Seven Years' War against the French and later in the American Revolutionary War, and as the base grew in size and importance, a significant population of merchants and other civilians sprung up in its wake.

On December 6, 1917, the collision of a Norwegian cargo ship with a French munitions ship loaded with 2,500 tons of explosives resulted in the Halifax Explosion, which killed over 2,000 people and leveled the northern half of the city. The blast was the largest man-made explosion prior to the advent of nuclear weaponry.

The city was quickly rebuilt and World War II saw Halifax busier than ever, with British supply convoys assembling to start their perilous journey across the Atlantic as German U-boats lurked offshore. After the war, over a million immigrants to Canada passed through Halifax.


The city of Halifax is on Halifax Peninsula, on the west side of the harbour, with Dartmouth to the east. The main landmark is the Halifax Citadel, on a high hill above the city, and it conveniently divides the city into three districts: the South End, representing the older, wealthier urban core south of the Citadel; the North End, the grittier northern suburbs destroyed by the Explosion; and the largely residential West End. The downtown core is sandwiched between the Citadel and the harbour, making navigation a snap.

The suburban areas of Halifax extending beyond the Peninsula are referred to as Mainland Halifax, and include neighbourhoods such as Spryfield and Clayton Park. North of the Peninsula is the Bedford Basin, an inland body of water that once served as a marshalling point for convoys of ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. At the head of the Basin is the community of Bedford.

Inhabitants of the city are known as Haligonians.


Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 0 0 4 8 14 19 23 23 19 13 8 3
Nightly lows (°C) -9 -8 -4 1 6 11 14 15 11 6 1 -5
Precipitation (mm) 151 114 134 121 119 108 106 98 107 135 154 160

See the Halifax 7 day forecast at Environment Canada

Halifax has a maritime climate, tempered by its position near the North Atlantic. Summers are pleasant although occasionally humid, and winters are relatively mild, but wet, snowy and windy. Fall is often a pleasant time to visit.

Visitor information[edit]

  • Nova Scotia Visitor Information Centre (Waterfront), 1655 Lower Water St (On boardwalk, at Sackville Landing), +1 902 424-4248 (), [1]. 8:30AM-8PM daily.  edit
  • Nova Scotia Visitor Information Centre (Airport), Halifax Stanfield International Airport (in the domestic arrivals area on the main level), +1 902 873-1223 (+1 902 873-1224, ), [2]. 9AM-9PM daily.  edit

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The modern Halifax Robert L. Stanfield International Airport (IATA: YHZ) [22] is located 35 km north of Halifax. It is the biggest airport in the maritime provinces, with direct flights from Toronto, Montreal, New York, Chicago, Ottawa, Calgary, Boston, Philadelphia, London, and limited service to a number of regional and holiday destinations. Direct connections to Europe are provided by Air Canada (London-Heathrow), Condor (Frankfurt/Main, May-October only) and WestJet (Paris and London-Gatwick May-October only).

Driving from the airport to downtown Halifax takes about 35 to 40 minutes, longer in the morning rush hour. Not far after leaving the airport (heading south on Highway #102), drivers have a choice to continue on Highway #102 (use the right lanes) and take the longer route to the city via Bedford and Mainland Halifax, or take Highway #118 (left lanes) and travel the shorter route via Dartmouth and over one of the two tolled harbour bridges into Halifax. Note that the expressway portions of both highways end at the edge of the city, leaving the balance of either trip to be made on local streets.

An express bus service (route #320) to downtown Halifax — making intermediate stops in Fall River and Dartmouth — takes 55 minutes and costs $3.50 one-way, or $1.00 extra with a transfer from another route. It runs on 30 minute frequencies on-peak and 60 minutes off-peak, with the first departure from the airport at 5:45AM and the last 12:15AM. Upon boarding you should ask the driver for a transfer so you can continue your trip on a connecting bus.[23]. The bus can be found at the lower level of the airport, on the Arrivals Road (Passenger Pickup). Once outside you will see the parking garage and to its left the "Alt Hotel". The bus stop is located directly across the street from the Alt Hotel (there is a small bus shelter at the stop).

Taxis charge a flat rate of $53.00, limousines $56.00, to Halifax City centre and may be pre-booked at no extra charge [24]. The Airporter shuttle bus no longer operates. Sunshine Cabs (1-800-565-8669 or 902-429-5555, [25]) is a reasonable compromise, with door-to-door service for $26.00 per person going out and $28.00 coming in, but you have to book one day in advance.

By train[edit]

The VIA Rail [26] train station located in the south end of Halifax on 1161 Hollis Street, directly next to the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel has trains to to Moncton, Quebec City, Montreal, and numerous stations en route. Note: As of 2012 this service no longer operates daily, and runs only three days a week. The trip to Montreal takes 22 hours.

By car[edit]

Halifax is connected to the rest of Canada by provincial highways 101, 102, 103, and 104. Highway 102 runs between Halifax and Truro, where it connects to Highway 104 (the Trans-Canada Highway). Going west on 104 takes one to the New Brunswick border, and then onto Maine, Quebec, or Prince Edward Island. It's about 2 hours from Halifax to the New Brunswick border; there is a $4.00 toll at the Cobequid pass. Going east on 104 takes one to Cape Breton.

A ferry service in North Sydney, Nova Scotia connects Nova Scotia with Newfoundland. Highway 103 connects Halifax with the South Shore. Highway 101 connects Halifax with the Annapolis valley. A ferry service connects Digby (about 2.5 hours from Halifax) with Saint John, New Brunswick.

By bus[edit]

Maritime Bus service operates buses throughout the Maritimes. Visitors to Halifax will be dropped at the VIA Rail Station on Hollis Street. [27]

By boat[edit]

Although Halifax is a major East Coast port, no scheduled passenger ferries serve the city, other than the local ferry crossing the harbour to Dartmouth.

Numerous cruise ship lines do make stops in Halifax, however.

Get around[edit]

Halifax has a tendency to sprawl somewhat outside of the downtown core. Although Halifax has an extensive public transit service, it tends to be focused on commuters and shoppers, and may not be ideal for tourists traveling outside of downtown. The downtown shopping and attractions will engage the average traveler for a day or two at most. Beyond this time frame, a car rental will significantly open up the surrounding area.

By car[edit]

Travel by car around Halifax is relatively straight-forward. Streets tend to be narrow by North American standards, and most drivers are quite relaxed and patient (sometimes too relaxed and patient for drivers used to busier cities). Pedestrians are king. People will often cross a road in the middle of the block, and cars stop for them.

There are no photo radar or red light cameras in Nova Scotia. If you are caught, it'll be by a live officer. At some lights, there is an "advanced green", or flashing green light, which means that you can proceed left, straight, or right at your leisure. Green arrow lights are rare. U-turns are legal (de facto anywhere a left turn is allowed, de jure), barring a no U-turn sign.

Use caution with the numerous one-way streets in downtown Halifax, along with restricted left turns at some intersections. Due to Halifax's location on a peninsula, traffic jams occur daily during morning and afternoon rush hour a the "pinch points" entering and leaving the peninsula. Often the two worst locations for delays are the two harbour bridges connecting to Dartmouth. The Macdonald Bridge (a.k.a. the "old" bridge) is the closer bridge to downtown, and the MacKay Bridge (the "new" bridge) is at the north end of the harbour where it opens into the Bedford Basin. Both bridges charge a $1.00 toll for cars. Only certain lanes accept coins, and typically only one lane is staffed with a person who can provide change. Watch the signs carefully as you approach the toll booth.

Parking on or off street is relatively inexpensive, and often free outside of downtown. Be careful of street parking on major routes in and out of downtown where parking may be banned during rush hours.

By bus[edit]

Halifax Transit, [3]. Halifax Transit is the public transit provider for the municipality, encompassing Halifax and surrounding areas. The base fare gives you access to all buses and ferries, excluding the long-distance commuter buses marked MetroLink and MetroX. Transfer tickets are free, are valid for 90 minutes, and can be used for ongoing travel at any bus stop or ferry terminal (i.e. return journeys are possible on one fare). The agency has teamed up with Google to provide an online trip planner through GoogleMaps, however all transit maps and schedules can be found on their website as well. $2.50 as of fall 2013, with discounts for children and seniors.  edit

By taxi[edit]

There are a number of taxi services in the city, although flagging one down may be difficult in certain areas. Calling and reserving cabs is rarely an issue. If you are bar or club bound for the evening, be aware that catching a cab back from downtown after last call may be difficult.

See[edit][add listing]

The Acadia exhibit at the Halifax waterfront.
  • The Halifax Citadel (Fort George), [28]. This classic star fort is a Canadian National Heritage Site. Situated on top of Citadel Hill, it provided a perfect strategic view of the Halifax Harbour when it was constructed. Today it offers the opportune tourist that same view. Presently, the site itself has daily reenactements from guides/interpreters in period dress. It is also home to a museum and a small ceremonial garrison. A must see, especially during Canada day (July 1st) celebrations. The museum is open only May-Oct, but the grounds are open all year around. The ceremonial cannon fired at noon, locally known as the "Noon Gun", is fired every single day, with the exception of Christmas day. Visitors can see a more formal display during the season (May-October), but may also see it free of charge in the off season.
  • Pier 21, [29], recently named as the National Immigration Museum. Canada's equivalent of New York's Ellis Island, this historic waterfront building processed over a million immigrants. Now converted into a modern museum with extensive exhibits related to Canadian immigration.
  • The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic [30] : located on the downtown waterfront. The collection includes exhibits and artifacts related to the sinking of the Titanic and the devastating 1917 Halifax explosion. The CSS Acadia [31], a hydrographic survey ship built in 1913, is an ongoing conservation project. The Acadia is moored a few meters from the museum building; tours are available during the summer. Also, located behind the museum is the HMCS Sackville, the last remaining Flower Class escort Corvettes from the convoys of WW2 (also open for guided and non guided tours)
  • Old Burial Grounds, Located at Barrington Street and Spring Garden Road. This historic graveyard was in use from 1749 to 1843 during which time some 12,000 people were buried there, even though you will only find a modest 1200 headstones. In 1749, when Halifax was founded, this graveyard would have marked the outer limits of the settlement that stretched up from the harbour. As such, to the keen observer, it is still possible to imagine where the walls that once fortified Halifax would have run along this site. there are moderately informative plaques and signs throughout the graveyard that can add more information as you explore.
  • Right across the street from the Old Burial Grounds is St. Matthew's Church, the oldest United Church in Canada. The building was opened in 1859, but the congregation dates back to 1749. St. Paul's Church [32], built in 1750, is the oldest Anglican church in Canada, located at 1749 Argyle St. (a.k.a. "The Grand Parade" square).
  • The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia [33], moderate in size, but does a fine job of highlighting the works of famous local artists such as Maud Lewis (folk) and Alex Colville (hyperrealist), in addition to Mik'maq (aboriginal) art. Check the Web site for traveling exhibitions.
  • Province House, [34] 1726 Hollis St. Home to Canada's oldest provincial legislature and of Britain's first overseas self-government. A fine example of Georgian architecture, the building first opened in 1842. Visitors can learn about the history of the site and the current Legislative Assembly through guided tours, displays and an audio-visual presentation. Province House is open year-round.


  • Public Gardens, Spring Garden and South Park St.. A beautiful Victorian-era garden occupying a large city block, open May to October. There are ponds, fountains, flowers, ducks, geese, a café and ice cream shop and sometimes live music in the gazebo. Free.  edit
  • Point Pleasant Park, (Most southerly point of the peninsula; short ride on bus #9 from downtown), [4]. Dawn to dusk. A large peaceful park that serves as a vantage point to see the mouth of the harbour and into the Atlantic ocean. Was once a dense woods has since been left with patches of devastation and clear-cut from Hurricane Juan in 2003. It still remains a popular place to walk dogs and stroll. The park contains some preserved historic military fortifications such the 18th century Martello tower, as well as ruins of several other fortification. Free.  edit
  • Fort York Redoubt, Purcell's Cove Rd (Bus #15 from Halifax Shopping Centre), [5]. A sprawling complex of forts from 1790s to 1940s. Plan to spend hours exploring tunnels, caves, cliffs, cannons, bunkers, trails, and views of the harbour. Free.  edit
  • Halifax Common, Quinpool and Robie. A large public space open to everyone. In the summer, you can find residents and visitors playing sports, picnicking, and exercising. The Emera Oval, a speedskating rink installed for the 2011 Canada Winter Games, is open for public use during the winter months. It is also open for in-line skating during the summer months.  edit
  • Hemlock Ravine, Kent Avenue, [6]. A large nature park full of old growth forest, large ravine, heart shaped duck pond, music rotunda and a history dating back to the 1700s.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Theodore Tugboat
  • Waterfront, A boardwalk with a great variety of historic buildings, shops, restaurants, and other entertainment. Theodore Tugboat, a WWII era Corvette, and other ships line the harbour. During the summer months, there are many harbour boat tours that launch from here.
  • Harbour Hopper[35], Guided tour of Halifax and harbour in an amphibious vehicle. Very informative and highlights major points of interest in the city in fun-filled hour.
  • Boat Tours Murphy's the Cable Wharf is in the heart of the Halifax waterfront and offers a variety of boat tours including nature and whale watching, tall ship sailing, deep sea fishing, historical harbour tours and dinner cruises. Open seven days a week May-October, 902-420-1015.
  • Canoe the Northwest Arm, Head down to the St. Mary's Boat Club, 1641 Fairfield Road (off Jubilee) 902 490-4688, on Saturdays and Sundays (11AM-7PM) and rent a canoe for $8/hour. Take a trip up the beautiful Northwest Arm to see the historic Dingle tower in Flemming Park, watch the numerous sailboats out for a weekend cruise or catch a regatta if you're lucky. Gawk at some of the mansions that line the water or for the ambitious, head all the way up to Point Pleasant Park, where the Northwest Arm meets Halifax Harbour. While swimming in parts of the harbour was briefly possible due to the installation of sewage treatment plants, they are down for repair and swimming is again not recommended unless a trip to hospital after is desired.
  • The Halifax Mooseheads [36] Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team plays from October to April at the Halifax Metro Centre. Rough, highly skilled games are combined with a near-NHL level of presentation. Tickets are $8-15, and are available at the Metro Centre box office.
  • Alexander Keith's Brewery Tour [37]. Immersive tour of Alexander Keith's original brewery as it supposedly was in 1863, complete with tour guide actors in period garb singing songs, dancing jigs and relaying a bit of the history of the brewery and Keith himself, as well as promoting Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale. You do get the chance to sample two mugs of the stuff at the end. Tours on the hour and half-hour but limited opening hours outside summer, check the website for details. If you are an Air Miles collector, you can redeem your miles here for free tickets.
  • The Spring Garden Road Memorial Public Library, 5381 Spring Garden Road. A convenient place to sit, relax, and watch kids duck between the legs of the pensive Winston Churchill statue out front. As a sliver of scarce downtown green space, the front lawn of the building is well-used by Haligonians as a meeting spot, a reading spot, and most importantly as a place to eat french fries on lunch breaks.
  • Dartmouth Ferry. The Halifax-Dartmouth Ferry dates back to 1752.[7] For the same cost as bus fare, one can take the ferry back and forth between Dartmouth and Halifax. Make sure to get a transfer (valid for 90 minutes), so you can return on the same ticket. A second ferry operates Monday to Fridays (except holidays) serving the Woodside ferry terminal, providing a slightly different view of the harbour. $2.50.  edit
  • Outdoor Winter Activities, [8]. There are lots of great free outdoor activities throughout Nova Scotia. Outdoor skating, snowshoeing, skiing and sledding to name a few. Free.  edit
  • Explore The Outdoors, [9]. Halifax has plenty of parks, trails and wilderness areas within city limits. An eco tourist's dream. Get out and explore popular parks, coastlines wilderness areas and hidden gems. Free.  edit


  • Busker Festival, [38] Visit in August for the festival of street performers along the waterfront. It's a must see, with amazing acts, some grand and awe-inspiring, some quaint, others funny (both intentionally and unintentionally). A very lively time of year along the harbourfront, with music and stalls selling food and the standard run of touristy souvenirs.
  • Nova Scotia International Air Show, [39]. A yearly event, taking place in early September. This is a great chance to see the the aerobatic teams from a number of national air forces. The Canadian Snowbirds [40] perform every year. In past years, the show was held at the Shearwater airforce base, but was moved to the civilian airport in 2005, and subsequently to Yarmouth (3 hours southwest of the city) in 2009.
  • The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, [41]. Happening every July, the Tattoo is the world's largest annual indoor show. Its unique combination of music, dance, drama, gymnastics, comedy, military displays, competitions and much more.
  • Tall Ships Festival, [42]. Every few years, Halifax hosts up to 30 historic and unique (and usually massive) maritime sailing vessels from around the world. The festival was last held in summer 2012.


Halifax is home to 3 major universities. Students make up a significant proportion of the population in certain neighbourhoods.

  • Spread over 3 campuses, Dalhousie University [43] is the largest educational institution in Nova Scotia. With 15,000 undergraduates and a broad range of graduate and professional programs, Dalhousie counts itself as one of the leading universities in Canada.
  • Located in the south end of the city, Saint Mary's University [44] is somewhat smaller. St. Mary's is renowned for its business school, strong alumni support, and athletics.
  • Located just off the peninsula, along the Bedford highway is Mount Saint Vincent University [45], a smaller university with a focus on undergraduate studies, and professional programs including those in teaching and public relations.

Other educational institutions include:

  • The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design [46] is a university offering programs and degrees related to the visual arts and design.
  • The University of King's College [47] is a small liberal arts university on the Halifax peninsula. Affiliated with Dalhousie University, King's is known for its journalism programs.
  • The Nova Scotia Community College [48] has a number of campuses in the Halifax area.
  • The head of the world-wide Buddhist Shambhala organization is in Halifax. The Halifax Shambala Centre [49] offers courses in Buddhism, particularly methods related to the the Shambhala tradition.
  • The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts [50] provides performing arts education for children and adults.
  • The Atlantic School of Theology [51], an ecumenical Christian theological university.


The military is the largest employer in the region. The city is home to Maritime Forces Atlantic HQ and and the navy's East Coast fleet. Among the military installations around the city are Windsor Park, Stadacona and HMC Dockyard. It is hard to go anywhere without seeing a reference to the Navy.

Many corporations have their regional headquarters in the city, some are located downtown like TD and the Royal Bank, while others are located in some of the major business parks in the region like Burnside Industrial Park or the Aerotech Park which is located next to the Airport. Both have direct access to the major provincial highways and while the Aerotech Park is next to the airport which influences the Aerospace theme, Burnside has ~10-15 min travel time to the Airport.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Shopping Areas[edit]

  • Seaport Farmers' Market, 1209 Marginal Road, [10]. M-F 8-5, Sat 7-4, Sun 8-4. This is the new location of the oldest running farmers' market in North America. The market relocated to this building by the waterfront in 2011 and had brought most of the vendors, customers and energy with it. It runs year-round. Saturdays are by far the busiest with the most vendors, but the market is open every day of the week. Along with local produce, milk, bread, meat, and preserves, you'll find a diversity of local and ethnic prepared foods, plants, artwork, clothing, and all sorts of other interesting stuff that you may not expect for find at a Farmers' Market. Buskers play music both inside and out of the building.  edit
  • Brewery Farmers' Market, 1496 Lower Water Street, [52]. This is the formers site of the Halifax Farmers' Market prior to their relocation to the newly constructed Seaport building at Pier 20. However, some vendors have remained or have opened a second location here open Saturdays from 7AM-1PM.
  • Barrington Street (between Cogswell and Morris) is an up and coming area right in the heart of the Central Business District. Beautiful buildings mixed with the growing amount of new stores make this definitely a nice place to 'hit up'.
  • Spring Garden Road [53] (between Barrington and Robie) is definitely the city's main shopping district and is full of all kinds of unique stores and in buildings from all kinds of eras. Definitely very lively and a must see!
  • Quinpool Road (between Connaught and Robie) is lined with streets selling bicycles, tropical fish, dresses, movies, and more. The definite Main Street of Central Halifax.

Halifax also has a wide variety of local, national and international stores represented at the numerous shopping malls and big box areas of the city. The largest mall in the city is Halifax Shopping Centre, easily reached from downtown by bus, including routes #1, 2, 4 and 20.

Specific Stores[edit]

  • Freak Lunchbox, a quirky and unique store on Barrington Street. Not only does Freak Lunchbox sell an array of candy (by weight), but it deals in unique and hilarious trinkets.
  • The Black Market, on Grafton Street, sells a variety of interesting trinkets, accessories, and textiles. Here can be found items from around the world, at very reasonable prices.
  • Mary Jane's is a head shoppe located on Grafton Street in downtown Halifax.
  • Rock Candy, on Prince Street, sells an assortment of(especially rock- and pop-related) music items: shirts, pins, stickets, buttons, and more.
  • Venus Envy, a store which specializes in books and other items pertaining to gender and sexuality.
  • Fifty Hats on Queen Street is a humble and interesting collection of used items. (Hats are in particular abundance!)
  • Dress in Time, often referred to wrongly as Dressed in Time, located in the district of Spring Garden Road, sells quality vintage, quirky, and unique clothing at reasonable prices.
  • Love, Me on Birmingham Street is a fantastic store selling only handmade items by Canadian crafters.
  • Sugah! on Lower Water Street is a remarkably unique chocolate store selling a variety of interesting treats.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Although traditionally known for its seafood, Halifax's culinary scene has exploded in recent years to include a wide variety of foods from around the world and with new takes on local dishes. Many of the restaurants and bars are concentrated in the downtown core, but the North End of Halifax has seen many new, hip locations pop up as of late. It behooves any traveler to Halifax to seek out culinary experiences outside of the downtown; visiting the many new spots in the North End, West End and in the neighboring city of Dartmouth is well worth the short trip.

Seafood is generally not much cheaper in the Maritimes than elsewhere and many restaurants in Halifax specialize in seafood dishes. The exception to seafood being the same price in Nova Scotia are mussels. They are generally good quality, cheap, and found on many appetizer menus. Another seafood worth having is scallops, as they are generally higher quality than the ones you get in many parts of North America (note that good scallops are the size of a golf ball or larger, and do not taste fishy). "Sea pie" is often a good deal when available, as are hearty eats like fish and chips or seafood chowder. Lobster in a restaurant will be expensive, so your best cheap bets are to buy one at the store and cook one yourself, or attend any of the numerous lobster dinners that are hosted by churches and community groups throughout the warmer months. Buying lobster from the various fishermen markets or directly from the fishermen themselves (who will often sell street side out of a car) will get you the best deal.

A plethora of foods that are native to Nova Scotia are easy to find in Halifax: one is the Halifax donair, which is similar to but distinct from the doner kebab. It is prepared using thinly sliced beef meatloaf and a sweet condensed milk sauce and garnished with diced tomatoes and white onions. Other specialties include hodge podge (a creamy soup of fresh baby vegetables; rarely found in restaurants); blueberry grunt (blueberry baked with a sweet dumpling topping); and deep fried pepperoni (a bar snack often dipped in honey mustard sauce). Restaurants in Halifax and indeed Atlantic Canada offer a donair pizza featuring all the Halifax donair ingredients served on a pizza crust. In addition, one can normally find donair meat used in such offerings as donair sausage; donair egg rolls (an egg roll casing stuffed with donair meat); donair pogos (donair meat on a stick, battered and deep-fried, similar to a corn dog); donair calzones/panzerottis; and in donair poutine (an adaptation of the Quebec snack dish). It is customary for bar and pub-goers to flock to pizzerias once all the bars, clubs, and pubs close on Friday and Saturday nights for a bite of pizza, or especially donair.

Garlic fingers are an Atlantic Canadian dish similar to a pizza in shape and size and made with the same type of dough. Instead of the traditional tomato sauce and toppings, garlic fingers consist of pizza dough topped with garlic butter, parsley, and cheese, cooked until the cheese is melted. Bacon bits are sometimes added. They are typically eaten as a side dish with pizza and often dipped in donair or marinara sauce. They are presented in thin strips (or "fingers") as opposed to triangular slices.

Garlic fingers and the Halifax donair are relatively unknown outside the Maritimes, but can sometimes be found in restaurants in other provinces.


Many of the cheap eats in town are along Spring Garden road. Outside of downtown, cheap grub is plentiful on Agricola and the south end of Gottingen Street. Also consider local pubs (see Drink), many of which serve up great food.

  • The Chickenburger, 1531 Bedford Highway, [11]. Oldest drive-in diner in Canada, a local institution famous for ... well guess!  edit
  • Trident Cafe, 1256 Hollis, +1 902 423-7100, [54]. Pick up any book to read in this bookshop cafe, then either purchase it or put it back. Beans are roasted in store twice a week.
  • Steve-O-Reno's, 1536 Brunswick Street (Just off Spring Garden Road on Brunswick), +1 902 429 3034, [12]. Open 'til 6pm every day. Specialty coffees, teas, cold drinks, and baked goods. Get there before 1PM and order an 'Egg-O-Reno' breakfast sandwich, among other prepared fare.  edit
  • Bash Toulany's Fine Foods, 5553 Duffus Street, +1 902 455-5120, [55]. Voted best Donairs in Halifax.
  • The Ardmore Tea Room, 6499 Quinpool. 4am-8pm. Virtually unchanged since 1956, and often voted the best diner in Halifax, and quite cheap. In addition to standard diner fair, they have a few Atlantic favourites such as "Newfoundland Steak" (a.k.a. fried baloney), and cod fish cakes with baked beans for breakfast.  edit
  • Pizza Corner 3 different pizza restaurants at corner of Blowers and Grafton. Unfortunately only one pizza store remains open on the famous corner, surrounded instead by a frozen yoghurt shop and a soon-to-be open Middle-Eastern style restaurant. Good cheap pizza and donairs (Gyro-type wraps, often overflowing with meat and sauce). However, this area can descend into anarchy when the bars let out, and the restaurants often lock their bathrooms, even to customers. If you are looking for a more authentic pizza taste head up Gottingen or Agricola into Little Italy, where numerous "mom and pop" places abound.
  • Bud The Spud, Spring Garden Road. A favourite local chip (fry) wagon parked in front of the main library branch on Spring Garden during the spring and summer. Try them with the malt vinegar. After you've had your fill, donate the rest of your chips to the city's ever-hungry pigeon population. Try to get there early, as they've been known to run out quickly.
  • Split Crow, 1855 Granville, +1 902 422-4366, [56]. Long-standing Pub with late week and weekend entertainment and cheap food. "Power Hour" brings in the crowds for cheaps drinks (2 middies for $5).
  • Hala's Pizza and Donair, 117 Kearney Lake Rd. (Wedgewood Plaza), +1 902 455-5300, [57]. A charming and cozy pizza restaurant - takes pride in its homemade dishes.
  • The Coastal Cafe, 2731 Robie Street, +1 902 405-4022, [58]. Chef/Owner Mark Giffin prepares unbelievable breakfasts, lunches and bake goods for you to enjoy with a complete selection of coffees, teas and other non-alcoholic beverages. North End Halifax
  • Comfy Corner Cafe, 1313 Hollis Street. Great homestyle breakfast, very friendly staff, great atmosphere.
  • Cousin's Snack Bar, 2389 Agricola Street. Homestyle breakfast; quirky old-style interior decoration including faux wood panelling, faded watercolour paintings and an old tv with rabbit-ears.
  • Kings Palace, 6140 Quinpool Road. Chinese Food.
  • Mexico Lindo, 3635 Dutch Village Road. Authentic Mexican Food.
  • Your Father's Moustache, Spring Garden Road, +1 902 423-6766, [59]. Pub.
  • Shiraz, 1240 Hollis St. A tiny restaurant set up in an old taxi stand. Great authentic Iranian cuisine at an affordable price. Famous for their hot sauce, a must try with a samosa!
  • Food Wolf. This food truck ranges around the city all summer, so check their twitter feed for updates on their current location. Street food with a Korean/Latin American vibe, with a constantly rotating menu of awesome snacks. Try the K-Dog with kimchi, spicy mayo and green onion.
  • Ace Burger Company, 2605 Agricola (same building as Gus' Pub). A side venture from the folks who run Brooklyn Warehouse, Ace does damn fine and very affordable burgers. You can also grab a pint from Gus' to enjoy with your savory snack.
  • ASAP Mabuhay, 5237 Blowers Street. Open Tuesday through Friday, lunch only. While it may be cramped and a bit odd inside, their all you can eat lunch buffet is delicious, wildly generous and very well priced at $10. Food is sort of filipino/southeast asian, but there's usually a broad selection of random dishes.
  • The Good Food Emporium, 2186 Windsor Street. Super laid back cafe-restaurant-bakery. If you're self catering, grab a loaf of their delicious Struan Bread to make sandwiches with later. If you're eating in, grab a coffee and a Ghettosocks (grilled cheese with avocado and tomato), a Halifax stonerfood institution.
  • The Nook, 2116 Gottingen Street. Cute, quirky cafe/bar, with a solid array of vegan/vegetarian/carnivore snacks and meals. They have a liquor license, so you can grab a coffee and then switch to a beer or a cocktail once you're well caffeinated. Try the Blueberry-Basil Lemonade ($3), the Knotty Goat breakfast sandwich ($5.5).
  • Tasty Pizza 760 Main S. Low-end pizza place run by a very friendly Lebanese merchant, be sure to quiz him on history for a discount. Pizza is around ($14) for a medium pizza.
  • Robie Street Station 2394 Robie S. Breakfast/lunch location with excellent post-hangover eats. Doughnuts and coffee are excellent.
  • El Chino Snack Bar 2398 Robie S. Directly beside and owned by the same crowd as Robie Street Station, this Chinese/Mexican fusion bar is a great place for a drink or some late night snacks.


  • Lion & Bright, 2534 Agricola Street. Connected to independant grocer Local Source. Good for a coffee, a light meal, or some casual beer and wine in the evening. Cool atmosphere of young professionals and quirky North End kids.
  • Suzuki Sushi, Down a little alley on the citadel end of Dresden Row. +1 902 425-8888. Formerly Doraku Sushi, this is some of the best sushi in the city with a lovely atmosphere and proper inset Japanese tables. Get miso soup, salad, a maki roll and 5 nigiri for only $12 at lunch.
  • Fireside Kitchen, 3430 Prescott Street, +1 902 454-7389. Meals are reasonably priced, atmosphere is cosy and EVERYTHING on the menu is worth eating. The cocktail menu is discounted on Martini Mondays.
  • Economy Shoe Shop, 1661-1663 Argyle St, [60]. Behind the bizarre name lies a stunningly decorated and sprawing complex incorporating everything from chandeliers to lush indoor gardens. Extensive menu. Go on Jazz night (usually Monday) and eat Nachos.
  • Elements, 1181 Hollis St,+1 902 421-1000 [61]. Located within the Westin Nova Scotian hotel, Elements is the winner of a Wine Spectator 2010 Award of Excellence and features contemporary global cuisine. Elements offers many seasonal menus with fresh, local ingredients.
  • The Wooden Monkey, Grafton St, +1 902 444-3844, [62]. Veggie & Vegan friendly bistro featuring local, organic and macrobiotic food and drink. Kid's menu available. Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM.
  • Salty's 1869 Upper Water St (Privateers Wharf), +1 902 423-6818, [63]. Seafood restaurant on the waterfront. Casual patio dining downstairs, fancier setting upstairs. Can get very busy on summer evenings. Reservations recommended.
  • Little Fish (downstairs from the Five Fisherman). 1740 Argyle Street, +1 902 425-4025. Seafood and oyster bar. In the summer, Oyster Happy Hour (1/2 price) happens between 4 and 6 PM daily.
  • Heartwood Bakery & Cafe, 6250 Quinpool Road, [64]. Vegetarian, organic and extremely good. Lunch and dinner menu, soups, salads, entrees, desserts. M-Sa 10AM-8PM.
  • Coburg Cafe, 6085 Coburg Road, (near Dalhousie University). Students come here for group study or just to hang. Great hot chocolate and a $2 mammoth slice of carrot cake.
  • The Paperchase is a news outlet with a cafe on top which serves massive lattes and delicious samosas and sandwiches. Prices usually range between $5-$10 for everything. Vegetarian and vegan selections are abundant. Enjoy their computers, free wi-fi and garage-style windows which open to a full view of Argyle on warm days.
  • 2 Doors Down, corner of Barrington and Salter Street. Open 7 days a week for brunch, lunch and dinner. The menu has an upscale comfort food vibe, and they source the majority of their ingredients from Nova Scotian and Maritime farms and producers, making it a great way to get a feel for regional ingredients. Try the Old School Cheeseburger, the Kale Caesar Salad, or honestly, anything else on the menu.
  • Morris East - Halifax Location, located on 5212 Morris Street, this quaint pizza restaurant has a superb variety of wood fired pizzas to offer. In the summer, it is a great place to get drinks and food on the patio. The Three Mongers pizza is definitely something you should try!


  • Fiasco, 1463 Brenton Street, +1 902 429-4399. Fresh local ingredients prepared in classic European style.
  • Da Maurizio's, 1496 Lower Water Street, +1 902 423-0859. A world-renowned Italian restaurant located on Lower Water St. inside the Brewery Market.
  • Five Fisherman, 1740 Argyle Street, +1 902 422-4421. Lobster, scallops, and other seafood dishes.
  • Onyx, 5426 Portland Place (Currently in the process of relocating to Argyle Street), +1 902 454-8533. Closed Sunday. Seating only 69 guests, this restaurant offers an intimate atmosphere.
  • EDNA, 2053 Gottingen Street. No reservations. A beautifully designed restaurant with astonishingly good, locally sourced meals, with a menu that changes daily based on seasonal availability. Great selection of local beer, cider and booze, as well as an array of oysters, charcuterie and cheeses.
  • Brooklyn Warehouse, 2795 Windsor Street. A constantly rotating menu of expertly prepared dishes, owned and operated by a group of chefs. They also brew their own beer, which you can try in house. Lots of focus on meat and seafood, with a few (very solid) vegetarian options. If you're looking to save money, go at lunchtime, when the prices are significantly lower than at dinnertime.
  • Chives Canadian Bistro, 1537 Barrington Street, +1 902 420-9626. Open daily for dinner. A high-concept restaurant with a daily menu. Serves only seasonal, local ingredients.  edit
  • Studio East, 6021 Cunard S, Asian fusion with local dishes as well. Excellent bar as well. The Chinese doughnuts and pork ramen have built a cult following.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Granville St

There are a large number of good cafes, pubs, and other eateries all throughout downtown. Of particular note are those on Granville St.

Liquor purchases for private consumption are regulated by the provincially owned liquor monopoly called the NSLC (Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation). Stores can be found in stand-alone locations, malls, and grocery stores. Selection is often surprisingly large, but be prepared to pay: a twelve-pack of beer can range from $22-28, and a pint of rum or vodka will set you back $15-16. All prices quoted include taxes and recycling deposits. Most stores close at 10 PM Monday to Saturday and 5 PM on Sundays. Stores are closed for holidays. Port of Wines and several other micro-breweries are also permitted to sell their products from their outlets.

Effective on 17 October 2018, certain NSLC locations will be the only legal retailer for recreational marijuana to adults 19 and over.


Until a couple of decades ago, Halifax retained old British laws about the serving of alcoholic beverages. For example, if an establishment served hard liquor, it had to provide live entertainment; if it served draft beer, it also had to serve food. The heritage of those laws is a great deal of live entertainment and some very good deals on "pub food" which is priced low to get people in the door. Most "pub food" originates not far from the grill and deep fryer. Pubs that specialize in traditional-style music have "open mic" nights. Performers who attend will bring in their fiddles and bagpipes to jam---they are paid in drinks and food.

  • The Argyle, 1575 Argyle Street, +1 902 492-8844.
  • Bearly's House of Blues and Ribs is a mellow and low-key pub on Barrington Street. Great live music!
  • The Economy Shoe Shop on Argyle is a beautiful and popular restaurant and pub.
  • Gus's Pub, 2605 Agricola Street (North End). No-nonsense local pub with hockey on the TV and cheap beer, but they also host a remarkably eclectic selection of local live bands.
  • The Henry House, Barrington Street, [65]. Formerly known as the Granite Brewery. Contains a wide range of local micro-brewery beer (originally Granite Ales, but now carries a much wider stock). Excellent food in an English pub-type atmosphere.
  • The Lower Deck in the waterfront Historic Properties. Has live music reliably, almost seven nights a week usually starting at 9:00 p.m. The style of music tends to be popular not traditional. Beautiful interior.
  • The Old Triangle is a set of three pubs connected by a split level staircase. There is live music in the lower level frequently, starting at 8:00 p.m. The music style tends to be traditional Irish/Scottish ballad. The "open" night is often surprisingly good.
  • Maxwell's Plum English Pub, 1600 Grafton Steet, (902)423-5090. "Pub food" priced food and sixty kinds of imported beer. Voted "Best Beer Selection" the last 4+ years.  edit
  • Rogues Roost, Spring Garden Rd., is a warm microbrew pub where you can order a tasting tray with a sample of 6 of their award-winning brews. Live music some nights, they also have an open-mic night.
  • The Halifax Alehouse is a traditional and popular pub, usually with live music starting at midnight. Features staff in period costumes. 1717 Brunswick Street, +1 902 423-6113.
  • The Seahorse Tavern Halifax's oldest extant tavern. 1665 Argyle Street, +1 902 423-7200.
  • The Split Crow, 1855 Granville. +1 902 422-4366. A true Maritime experience.
  • Your Father's Moustache, 5686 Spring Garden Rd., for a good atmosphere and decently priced food. +1 902 423-6766.
  • Tom's Little Havana, 5428 Doyle Street, +1 902 423-8667‎. A small, cozy tavern attached to Rogues Roost (different ownership), serving local beer and a mix of cocktails, but strangely, no mojitos.  edit
  • The Foggy Goggle, 1667 Argyle Street, (902) 444-1414, [13]. Open Weekdays 11am-12am; Weekends 12pm-2pm. A relaxed establishment serving local and international beers. Bluegrass night every Wednesday, no cover.  edit
  • Good Robot Brewing Company, 2736 Robie St., 9024970150, [14]. A brewery and taproom located in the North End where beers are paired with experiences.  edit


  • Dome/Cheers, Grafton St. Also known as the Dirty Dome. Two different establishments all linked together. Customers pay cover at the doors to either one of the two bars and gain access to both. Cheers is a bar atmosphere which features live bands. The Dome is a standard nightclub with a large dance floor, famous for cheap drinks and infamous for brawls. Wednesdays are student nights, with cover waived if you show a student card.
  • Pacifico, 1505 Barrington Street. A relatively more up-scale establishment, catering to a diverse crowd.  edit
  • Reflections Cabaret, 5184 Sackville Street. Closes 4AM. A busy club, catering especially to the LGBT community. Their busiest night, by far, is Saturday where the cover charge enters the double digits. Electronic, techno and house mix, depending on the night.  edit
  • Taboo Nightclub, located on Grafton St. this is Halifax's most upscale nightclub with a strict dress-code and expensive drink menu. However, if you're looking for a place that attracts a classier crowd than the Dome or the Palace then Taboo is a must see.

It is common in Halifax to begin the night at one of the bars or nightclubs that close at 2:00 am, and finish the night at one that stays open until 3:30 am. For example, one could start the night at one of the bars around 10:30, then go to the Pacifico from 12:00-2:00, and finally finish off the night at the Dome.

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Halifax Backpacker's Hostel, 2193 Gottingen Street, +1 902 431-3170 (toll free: +1 888 431-3170, ), [15]. Easily accessible by train or bus, this hostel offers rooms starting from $20. Free internet service and free towel rentals available. Located a bit from the "downtown" area. Its location is a bit sketchier, but more authentic. Cafe on the front makes great food. $20 dorms, $57.50 private rooms, $80 family rooms.  edit
  • Halifax Heritage House Hostel (HI-Halifax), 1253 Barrington Street, +1 902 422-3863 (fax: +1 902 422-0116), [16]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. Located in the heart of downtown Halifax, this hostel offers free Wi-Fi to its guests. The hostel is easily accessed by bus, metro, or train. Dorms at $26 members, $31 non-members. Private rooms at $57.  edit
  • Dalhousie University Dorm Rooms, 6136 University Ave., 6230 Coburg Road (Howe Hall); 5303 Morris Street (Gerard Hall); 5598 Fenwick Street (Fenwick Place), [66]. Dorm and apartment-style accommodation From late May-Aug. Limited availability (1 of 2 suites in Howe Hall) during the school year. Rooms start at $42.
  • Mount Saint Vincent University Dorm Rooms, 166 Bedford Highway, [67]. Single and double rooms, apartment style accommodations. Available from May 1st to August. Rooms start at $41.
  • Mumford Bed & Breakfast 7015 Mumford Road. [68]. An English-style B&B with just two rooms, starting from $85.
  • Clifty Cove Motel, 8444 Peggy's Cove Rd. This motel is located 35 minutes outside of Halifax, but has beautiful views of St. Margaret's Bay.
  • Hostels & Campgrounds[69]. Many budget friendly hostels, campgrounds and bed and breakfasts throughout the province.


  • The Garden South Park Inn 1263 South Park Street, +1 902 492 8577, Toll Free 1-877-414-8577, [70]. This inn is in the heart of downtown Halifax. It consists of 23 air conditioned rooms with private baths. Rooms start from $99 and vary with the season. The friendly staff can help you make reservations and suggest new places to visit.
  • Lakeview Inn & Suites Halifax, 98 Chain Lake Drive, +1 902 450-3020. The hotel is comfortably located in the Bayers Lake Business Park. Rooms start from $100 and include breakfast and internet. The hotel also houses an exercise room and indoor pool.
  • Waverley Inn, 1266 Barrington St. [71] Unique 19th century property downtown - filled with antiques. Rooms start from $109, and vary according to the season.
  • Atlantic Corporate Suites, 5536 Sackville St.,[72]. $75. The Atlantic Corporate Suites offers fully furnished apartments and condos for weekly rates. The suites are equipped with kitchens, cleaning service, and cable TV.
  • Braeside Court Bed & Breakfast, 2 Bedroom Suite, +1 902 462-3956, [73] Braeside is a modern suite located 20 minutes away from downtown Halifax. The bed and breakfast also offers wireless internet. Rooms range from $80-150.
  • Knightswood B&B & Private Carriage House, +1 902 435-3969 [74]. Located 15 minutes away from downtown Halifax, the bed and breakfast provides two beautifully decorated rooms surrounded by lush gardens. Smoking is not allowed. Rooms range from $100-180.
  • Four Points by Sheraton, 1496 Hollis Street, [75]. The Four Points by Sheraton Halifax - Local calls; high speed internet, both wired and wireless; bottled water; in-room umbrellas...of course it's free!. Located in downtown Halifax within walking distance of all major attractions. Rooms start from $150.


  • Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, 1919 Upper Water St, +1 902 421-1700 (toll free: +1 800 943-6760), [17]. Directly connected to Casino Nova Scotia by indoor skyway, the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel offers unique restaurants, the exquisite full-service Interlude Spa and spectacular views of the Halifax Harbour. $169+.  edit
  • The Lord Nelson, 1515 S Park St, +1 902 423-6331 (toll free: +1 800 565-2020), [18]. Lovely views overlooking the Public Gardens just below the Citadel. $169+.  edit
  • Prince George, 1725 Market St, +1 902 425-1986 (toll free: +1 800 565-1567), [19]. The Prince George Hotel offers guests 189 rooms. There is a restaurant on the premises. $200+.  edit
  • The Westin Nova Scotian, 1181 Hollis St, +1 902 421-1000 (toll free: +1 888 627-8553), [20]. 310 nicely appointed rooms, many of which overlook the harbour. The Westin also has a shuttle that offers complimentary rides to downtown Halifax.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

With the exception of a few instances of swarming - groups of people harassing, robbing or assaulting persons - and robberies, most crime appears to be drug-related and therefore should not cause much concern to the average traveller. However, crime can be a problem in the Halifax area, and some dangers are worth mentioning. Be especially careful at night in certain areas of the North End (Gottingen Street, Uniacke Square) and the Halifax Commons. Be vigilant around drunken folks late at night in the downtown bar scene. Certain areas in North Dartmouth, Spryfield and Fairview are known for their crime problems but are generally safe during the day.

Pedestrian crosswalks are highly respected by drivers in Halifax, and crossings can occur just about anywhere. This provides a double danger: For drivers to keep on the ball watching out for pedestrians; and for pedestrians to not be lulled into a false sense of security while crossing. However, be careful at night, as the crosswalks are at times poorly lit.

Rapidly changing weather means that black ice abounds in winter, and it's particularly nasty when combined with the city's hilly topography. Choose your steps and drive carefully.


Internet Space, 5675 Spring Garden Road. A reasonably priced internet cafe in Nelson Place in downtown Halifax.


Direction 180, 2158 Gottingen Street. The main resource drug addiction treatment. They operate a needle exchange, but you may need to register.

Get out[edit]

  • St. Margaret's Bay is only half an hour away; a gorgeous bay, almost as big as the harbour itself, but without the cities. Instead, it is dotted with islands and small towns.
  • There are beautiful beaches, such as Queensland, Cleveland, Black Point and others, just before the town of Hubbards.
  • The drive along highway 3 (2 lane, coastal) is well worth the twists and turns, for it is beautifully scenic, especially on nice summer days.
  • Peggy's Cove: stunning bare granite rocks and cliffs with its historic and still-used lighthouse. While sunsets are gorgeous and peaceful on clear summer evenings; the best times to see Peggy's Cove are the stormier days, when the waves crashing against the cliffs send salt spray high into the air. Better to get out there early in the day to avoid tour buses.
  • Hiking/Outdoor Recreation [76]. There are plenty of hiking, biking, paddling and other outdoor recreation destinations in and around Halifax. Their short distance from the urban center are perhaps Halifax's most unique aspect.
  • If you have a car, there are plenty of historical towns within an couple of hour's drive of Halifax that are worth visiting, such as Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, and Wolfville.
  • If you are not traveling by car, there is at least one service that can take you to some of the more famous spots around Halifax -- Alternative Routes [77]. Prices are reasonable and it's either a one day loop or a multi-day excursion.

Routes through Halifax
Truro  N noframe S  ENDS

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