HALIFAX (Nova Scotia)


The Halifax Regional Community (HRM) is a region in the southeastern portion of the province of Nova Scotia and is considered the province's capital district. The area consists of the communities in the Halifax Peninsula and in Mainland Halifax. People often use the name Halifax to refer to Halifax city, which has been dissolved in 1996. Along with that former city, the HRM is made up of Dartmouth City, Bedford Town, and Halifax County. The new municipality is mostly rural with the urban areas concentrated in the HRM's western end near Halifax Harbor, that is, the total area occupied by the former cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, as well as Bedford town.

The HRM covers an area of around 5.5 thousand square kilometers. There are around 400 thousand people living in the HRM in 2011. This is about 40 percent of all the people living in the entire Nova Scotia province. Most of the populace is made up of white Canadians and those with British blood, so it comes as no surprise that more than 90 percent of the population speaks English. About 85 percent of the population is Christians while other religions are a distinct minority.

The climate in the HRM can be very cold, with the temperatures rising to only around 23 degrees Celsius during August and September. The whole HRM is also considered an important economic center in Eastern Canada. The area occupied by the former city of Halifax still serves as the financial, commercial, cultural and government hub of the provinces making up the country's Maritime region, which includes Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Some of the top economic movers and employers in HRM are Canada's Department of National Defence and the Port office of Halifax. There is also a growing manufacturing sector in the HRM, which is becoming known as an international hub for land, sea or air transportation.


The communities comprising the HRM have a colorful history dating back to the mid-1700s. Ex-Halifax city and its strategically located Halifax Harbor had prominent roles in international conflicts, including the 17th- and 18th-century wars involving the British Empire, the American Civil War in the 1860s, and the two world wars in the 20th century. The establishment of permanent railways in Dartmouth in the late 19th century helped in the economic growth and urbanization of the area. Meanwhile, Bedford saw rapid growth in the years following the Second World War and transformed into a rural community to a suburban area. Halifax County was one of the five Nova Scotia counties originally created in the 1750s.

The HRM came into being in 1996. With that, the area occupied by Halifax city is now known as the Metropolitan Area of Halifax. The area occupied by Dartmouth city, meanwhile, is now referred to as the Metropolitan Area of Dartmouth. The urban community of Bedford now refers to the area occupied by Bedford Town. The formation of HRM happened because of various reasons, but mainly it was to streamline and lessen the cost of administering the different communities. Many long-time residents voiced their opposition to the HRM amalgamation. However, the years following the consolidation of the communities have brought with it economic prosperity and growth.


╣Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. It is an old fort occupying the summit of Citadel Hill. You may hear other people refer to the site as Fort George. It has a live history program, where actual soldiers and their families do re-enactments of life in the fort during the 1860s. During noontime in the summer months, you might even witness its cannons being fired. Special occasions also mean formal military ceremonies in the fort, such as 21-gun salutes.

╣National Immigration Museum, also known as Pier 21. It is a structure located in the southern part of the Halifax Peninsula which saw the processing of European immigrants from the 1920s to the 1970s. It is often compared to the New York City's Ellis Island, which also saw the coming in of millions of immigrants from Europe. Pier 21 is now considered a National Historic Site in Canada.

╣Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. This is an annual indoor event held at the Halifax Metro Center in downtown Halifax. It features military bands and live performers with period-perfect costumes and highly-rehearsed numbers. It is also considered the largest show of its kind throughout the world.

╣Shearwater Aviation Museum. This museum is located in the former Canadian Forces Base in Shearwater, Dartmouth. It features aircraft involved in Canada's maritime and naval history. One of the highlights of the museum is the HMCS Bonaventure, the third and last aircraft carrier that served the Royal Canadian Navy and was decommissioned in 1970.

╣Black Cultural Center for Nova Scotia, located just outside of Dartmouth. It is a combination museum and library dedicated to the African community in Nova Scotia. It has a permanent exhibit of Africville, a small community in Bedford that has since been dissolved with the formation of the HRM. The cultural center also organizes weekly programs for the public.

╣Bedford Institute of Oceanography, located in Bedford at the northern part of Halifax Harbor. It is a major research facility operated by the Canadian government. It is a series of buildings dedicated to ocean research and management.

╣Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. It is located in downtown Halifax and is considered the oldest maritime museum in the country. It features thousands of historical artifacts related to seafaring. The museum also features items concerning the giant Halifax Explosion of 1917, as well as those that had to do with the unfortunate Titanic.


The former city of Halifax has long been a hub for public transport going to different parts of Canada and nearby areas in the United States. There is a train operated by VIA Rail leaving every day from Halifax to Montreal. Also, Acadian Lines operates a bus service that connects with other regions in Nova Scotia, as well as other Canadian provinces, such as Québec, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. Metro Transit operates the whole public transport system in the HRM and the nearby areas. There are also ferry services linking Halifax to Newfoundland and other Canadian provinces. There is also a ferry service from Halifax to Dartmouth and back.

If you are going around in your own vehicle, you should know that pedestrians almost always come first in Nova Scotia. Cars have to break to a stop when people are crossing the street, even if they are jaywalking.