Halifax

Travel Guide North America Canada Nova Scotia Halifax

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Introduction

Expoloring Halifax

Expoloring Halifax

© sunraybret

Halifax is a port city with a lively night scene and, as one of Canada's oldest cities, some beautiful architecture and historical sights, including the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. More information available from the Tourism Nova Scotia's Halifax Guide

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Sights and Activities

  • The Halifax Citadel. An old fort on a hill overlooking the city and the harbour. The citadel is a national historic site and home to a museum and a small ceremonial garrison. A must-see, especially during Canada Day (1 July) celebrations. The museum is open only May-Oct, but the grounds are open all year around (for free in this case). The famous 'Noon-Gun' fires at noon every day of the year (except Christmas) as it has since the 1830s. Visitors are welcome to watch the firings at any point through the year. Adult $11.70, senior $10, youth $5.80. Fees are about one-third lower in May and mid-Sept to the end of October.
  • Pier 21 (Canadian Museum of Immigration), 1055 Marginal Rd, ☎ +1 902 425-7770. May-Oct: 9:30AM-5:30PM daily; Nov: 9:30AM-5PM daily; Dec-Mar: Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM; Apr: M-Sa 10AM-5PM. 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. Typical visit 90 minutes including 30-minute film and 30-minute free guided tour. $10 adults, $8.75 seniors (60+), $7 students (w/ ID), $5.75 children (6-16), free for children under 5. Family rate $25 (two adults, three children, additional children $3 each).
  • The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, 1675 Lower Water Street (located on the downtown waterfront), ☎ +1 902-424-7490. The collection includes exhibits and artifacts related to the sinking of the RMS Titanic and the devastating 1917 Halifax explosion. The CSS Acadia, 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 World War II (also open for guided and non guided tours).

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Weather

Halifax has generally warm summers, averaging around 20 °C to 23 °C during the day from June to September, dropping to around 12 °C at night. Winters are cold, between 0 °C (max) and -10 °C. Alltime highs are 37 °C and -27 °C. Precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year, between 100 and 120 mm of rain (and snow in winter) a month, on 12 to 17 days a month.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max-1.2 °C-1.1 °C3 °C8.4 °C15 °C20.3 °C23.6 °C23.3 °C18.8 °C12.7 °C6.9 °C1.4 °C
Avg Min-10.7 °C-10.2 °C-5.8 °C-0.5 °C4.5 °C9.6 °C13.5 °C13.5 °C9.3 °C3.8 °C-0.7 °C-7.1 °C
Rainfall149.2 mm114.4 mm134.5 mm118.3 mm109.7 mm98.3 mm102.2 mm92.7 mm103.6 mm128.7 mm146 mm154.8 mm
Rain Days1915.215.714.91412.912.110.410.912.415.418.3

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Getting There

By Plane

The Halifax Robert L. Stanfield International Airport is the Atlantic Canadian hub for all domestic, regional and international services. Scheduled air service into Nova Scotia is available from all major Canadian cities, from all major United States cities through connecting hubs at Boston and New York, and from major European cities through the connecting hub at London (England).

MetroX Route 320 is the only public transit connection between the airport and city, and the most affordable option. It is an express bus service to downtown Halifax with only two intermediate stops in Fall River and Dartmouth (Bridge Terminal). The total journey time is 55 minutes and the fare is $3.50 one-way. 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 for no extra charge. A transfer is a small slip of paper that you can show the driver of the next bus as proof of payment. You can change buses in Dartmouth or Halifax, or call a cab from either bus stop.

The Bridge Terminal in Dartmouth is a convenient and comfortable place to change buses. It has an indoor waiting area with a concessions kiosk, public washroom, and transit information. From the Bridge Terminal, Route 1 goes straight to downtown Halifax and the Spring Garden Road area. It may be crowded during peak hours.

Route 320's final stop, in downtown Halifax, is located on Albemarle Street. It is within walking distance to certain hotels including the Delta Halifax, Delta Barrington, Prince George Hotel, Hampton Inn, and Homewood Suites. Otherwise, Albemarle Street is somewhat out-of-the-way and you may want to call a cab to reach your final destination. If you are unencumbered by heavy luggage and wish to transfer to other buses you should walk down the hill to the bus stop in front of Duke Tower (for buses toward Quinpool Road) or to the Scotia Square Terminal on Barrington Street (for buses toward the south end, Spring Garden Road, and the universities).

By Bus

Greyhound from New York and Voyageur from Montreal connect with Acadian Lines which serves Atlantic Canada. At Amherst, intra provincial bus lines link most major communities.

By Train

Via Rail Canada provides transcontinental train service; there are stations in Truro and Halifax. Call toll-free 1-888-842-7245.

By Car

Halifax is connected to the rest of Canada by provincial highways 102 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. The drive from Halifax to the New Brunswick border takes about two hours, and there is a $4 toll at the Cobequid Pass. Going east on 104 takes you to Cape Breton or, alternatively, the ferry to Prince Edward Island.

For connections to other parts of Nova Scotia, provincial highways 101, 103 and 7 are the most direct options. Highway 101 connects Halifax to Yarmouth via the Annapolis Valley, Highway 103 connects Halifax to Yarmouth via the South Shore, and Highway 7 connects the Halifax Region with the Eastern Shore and Antigonish.

By Boat

The Port of Halifax is a large port, and a number of trans-Atlantic and east coast USA ships dock in Halifax. Information on the port can be found from the Port of Halifax Website.

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Getting Around

Halifax sprawls somewhat. Public transit is limited and mostly impractical outside the downtown area. The downtown shopping and attractions will engage the average traveller for a day or two at most. Beyond this time frame, a car rental will significantly open up the surrounding area.

By Car

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. Pedestrians are king. People will often cross a road in the middle of the block, and cars stop for them. U-turns are legal (de facto anywhere a left turn is allowed, de jure), barring a no U-turn sign.

It's very important that you give buses the right of way, give them enough room to turn in intersections, and avoid passing them on one-lane streets like Barrington.

Some of the options to rent a car include the following companies:

By Public Transport

Halifax Metro Transit offers bus, BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) and ferry service in the Halifax region. Schedules and route information can be found on their website.

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Eat

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 (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 fishermans markets or directly from the fisherman 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 garlic 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 Atlantic 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.

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Drink

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 12-pack of beer can range from $17-20, and a pint of rum or vodka will set you back $12-14. All prices quoted include taxes and recycling deposits. Most stores close at 10PM Monday to Saturday and 5PM on Sundays. Stores are closed for holidays. The exception has been the sole drive-through outlet near the in Dartmouth end of the MacDonald Bridge; it is frequently open holidays, but for drive-through service only. Port of Wines and several other micro-breweries are also permitted to sell their products from their outlets.

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.

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Sleep

  • Halifax Backpacker's Hostel, 2193 Gottingen St, ☎ +1 902 431-3170, toll-free: +1-888-431-3170, e-mail: info@halifaxbackpackers.com. 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.
  • Halifax Heritage House Hostel (HI-Halifax), 1253 Barrington St, ☎ +1 902 422-3863, fax: +1 902 422-0116. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Located in the heart of downtown Halifax, this hostel offers free Wi-Fi to its guests and has a kitchen. The hostel is easily accessed by bus, metro, or train. Dorms at $30 members, $35 non-members. Private rooms at $57-68.
  • Coastal Inn, 98 Chain Lake Dr, ☎ +1 902 450-3020, toll-free: +1-855-603-8999. 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.
  • The Garden South Park Inn, 1263 South Park St, ☎ +1 902 492-8577, toll-free: +1-877-414-8577. 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.
  • Waverley Inn, 1266 Barrington St, ☎ +1 902 423-9346, toll-free: +1-800-565-9346. Unique 19th-century property downtown, filled with antiques. Rooms start from $109, and vary according to the season.
  • Four Points by Sheraton, 1496 Hollis St. The Four Points by Sheraton Halifax - Local calls; high speed internet, both wired and wireless; bottled water; in-room umbrellas. Located in downtown Halifax within walking distance of all major attractions. $150+.
  • Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, 1919 Upper Water St, ☎ +1 902 421-1700, toll-free: +1-800-943-6760. 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+.
  • The Lord Nelson, 1515 South Park St, ☎ +1 902 423-6331, toll-free: +1-800-565-2020. Lovely views overlooking the Public Gardens just below the Citadel. $169+.
  • Prince George, 1725 Market St, ☎ +1 902 425-1986, toll-free: +1-800-565-1567. The Prince George Hotel offers guests 189 rooms. There is a restaurant on the premises. $200+.
  • The Westin Nova Scotian, 1181 Hollis St (immediately north of the VIA station), ☎ +1 902 421-1000, toll-free: +1-888-627-8553. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. One of Canada's grand railway hotels, built by the Canadian National Railway. 310 nicely appointed rooms, many of which overlook the harbour. The Westin also has a shuttle that offers complimentary rides to downtown Halifax.
  • Cambridge Suites Hotels Halifax, 1583 Brunswick Street (across the southeast corner from the Halifax Citadel), ☎ +1-902-420-0555, toll-free: +1-800-565-1263. Comfortable, clean rooms with fridge and microwave. Continental-style breakfast is included in the room price, and served until 10AM. There is a small fitness centre (weights, hot tub, and sauna) on the top floor available for use by guests at no extra charge, with an excellent view of the harbour. Guest laundry facilities are available. The hotel is within easy walking distance of the harbour - but, because of the steep slope, not so easy a walk back. They have indoor parking at an additional charge. $200+.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Work

The military is the largest employer in the region. The city is home to Maritime Forces Atlantic HQ 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.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet usage is wide-spread in Canada. Wi-fi is available in many locations in larger cities, sometimes free and sometimes at a cost. You will find Wi-Fi in coffee stores, some restaurants and also hotels and motels more and more offer this service for free, but with a code usually. Internet cafes are common along major streets, and and in larger cities, charge between $3 and $4 for an hour, usually in 20-minute increments.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Canada is: 1. To make an international call from Canada, the code is: 011. Emergency services can be reached by dialling 911. This number will give you free access to Police, Fire and Ambulance services and can be used from landlines, phone booths and cell phones.

The populous areas of Canada along the border with the USA have excellent cellular and wired telecommunications, meaning that travellers are never fair from an international phone call home, a WIFI connection or an internet cafe. Depending on the mobile phone provider, coverage could be either CDMA and GSM coverage. Travellers wishing to purchase SIM cards for GSM phones should look for Rogers Wireless, Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility, which all offer nationwide availability.

Post

Postal service is provided by Canada Post, a crown corporation owned by the government but run as an independent business. Most post offices keep hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm though in bigger places longer hourse might be available.

To format the envelope of a letter sent within Canada, put the destination address on the centre of its envelope, with a stamp, postal indicia, meter label, or frank mark on the top-right corner of the envelope to acknowledge payment of postage. A return address, although it is not required, can be put on the top-left corner of the envelope in smaller type than the destination address.

The lettermail service allows the mailing of a letter. The basic rate is currently set at $0.63 for one standard letter (30 grams or less). The rates for lettermail are based or weight and size and determine whether the article falls into the aforementioned standard format, or in the oversize one. The rate is the same for a postcard. Mail sent internationally is known as letterpost. It can only contain paper documents. The rate for a standard letter is of $1.10 if sent to the United States, and $1.85 if sent to any other destination. Oversize or overweight letters may be charged a higher fee. Larger parcels can be shipped via Canada post both domestically and internationally, the rate is dependent on the weight and destination. [1]

Federal Express, TNT, UPS or DHL also provide interntional shipping from Canada and are usually very quick and reliable though might cost a little more compared to Canada Post.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 44.646244
  • Longitude: -63.573566

Accommodation in Halifax

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Halifax searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

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This is version 21. Last edited at 19:31 on Feb 21, 19 by bigleap.abg. 26 articles link to this page.

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