Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a delightful city that has the feel that of a small town. It became prosperous because of its harbor and access to the Atlantic Ocean, and this attribute has been lovingly exploited with the development of its waterfront. There are boardwalks and shops and restaurants, as well as boating opportunities and museums. The visitor may stroll many blocks, adjacent to the downtown area without worrying about traffic.
Besides the waterfront area, there are neighborhoods to explore and historic properties to check out. For instance, at the top of the hill which slopes steeply down to the harbor, the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site presides over the city. The fortress was built in the early 1800’s to protect the city and its harbor. There are restored rooms and exhibits to explore, and demonstrations, especially in the summertime. There are also great views of the city and harbor from the ramparts.
Near the Citadel are the Halifax Public Gardens, an oasis of greenery and flowers just minutes from the city’s high rise office buildings. Numerous paths allow access to the many different types of trees and plantings. Ponds and sculptures add to the ambiance. Most importantly, this attraction is free! Walking tours of the downtown area are available at the Visitor Centers.
There are a number of excellent excursions which are available from Halifax. For instance, a drive along the Lighthouse Route takes the visitor to Peggy’s Cove, the quintessential provincial fishing village. Its lighthouse occupies a dramatic location on a prominent jetty of weathered boulders. A few shops and restaurants complete the scene. There is a visitor center which offers information about the geology and a map of the area. A short walk from there brings the visitor to the lighthouse area.
Further south along the route is Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which preserves a typical British colonial settlement of the 1700’s. Obtain a map and walking tour of the town at the Visitor Center and stroll the streets, admiring the restoration of the many vintage homes and buildings. A few of the notable sights along the walk include the Lunenburg Academy, recently restored and still in use, and the beautiful and unusual St John’s Anglican Church. Walk along the harbor and enjoy a lunch, dinner or a drink in one of the waterfront restaurants or take a boat ride. For much of the year, Lunenburg is the home of The Bluenose, probably the most famous schooner in the world.
1. Just opposite the Visitor Center at Peggy’s Cove is the William E Garth Memorial Park which displays a beautiful sculpture in granite begun by the namesake when he was 70 years old, and subsequently completed after his death in 1988. The sculpture depicts fishermen and their families.
2. Just north of Lunenburg is the community of Mahone Bay which is a beautiful and tranquil example of a classic Nova Scotia seaside village.
3. For great views and photos of Lunenburg, travel out of town toward the golf course which faces the harbor. Just before the entrance, are picnic tables along a causeway which offer unobstructed views of the harbor. Go up the hill to the right of the picnic tables for a view from above.