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Halifax, Nova Scotia

Regional Municipality
Halifax Regional Municipality
Clockwise from top: Downtown Halifax and Halifax Transit ferry, Musquodoboit Harbour, Central Library, Sullivan's Pond, Peggy's Cove, Macdonald Bridge.
Flag of Halifax
Coat of arms of Halifax
Coat of arms
Official logo of Halifax
Motto: "E Mari Merces"  (Latin)
"From the Sea, Wealth"
Location of Halifax in Nova Scotia
Location of Halifax in Nova Scotia
Halifax is located in Canada
Location of Halifax in Canada
Country Canada
Province Nova Scotia
Regional Municipality April 1, 1996
City 1842
Town 1749
 • Type Regional Municipality
 • Mayor Mike Savage
 • Governing body Halifax Regional Council
 • MPs
 • MLAs
 • Land 5,490.18 km2 (2,119.77 sq mi)
 • Urban 262.65 km2 (101.41 sq mi)
 • Rural 5,528.25 km2 (2,134.47 sq mi)
Highest elevation 241.9 m (793.6 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2014)
 • Regional Municipality 414,400 (14th)[2][3]
 • Density 71.1/km2 (184/sq mi)
 • Urban 297,943
 • Urban density 1,077.2/km2 (2,790/sq mi)
 • Metro 408,702 (13th)
 • Change 2006-2011 4.7%
 • Census Ranking 13 of 5,008
Demonym(s) Haligonian
Time zone AST (UTC−4)
 • Summer (DST) ADT (UTC−3)
Postal code span B0J ,B3A to B4G
Area code(s) 902
Dwellings 166,675
Median Income* $54,129 CAD
Total Coastline 400 km (250 mi)
NTS Map 011D13
  • Median household income, 2005 (all households)

Halifax (), legally the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), is the capital of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The metropolitan area had a population of 414,400 in 2014 with 297,943 in the urban area centred around Halifax Harbour.[4][5] The regional municipality consists of four former municipalities that were amalgamated in 1996; Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and the Municipality of Halifax County.

Halifax is considered a global city[6] and is a major economic centre in eastern Canada with a large concentration of government services and private sector companies. Major employers and economic generators include the Department of National Defence, Dalhousie University, the Halifax Shipyard, various levels of government, and the Port of Halifax. Agriculture, fishing, mining, forestry and natural gas extraction are major resource industries found in the rural areas of the municipality. Halifax was ranked by MoneySense magazine as the fourth best place to live in Canada for 2012,[7] placed first on a list of "large cities by quality of life" and placed second in a list of "large cities of the future", both conducted by fDi Magazine for North and South American cities.[8] Additionally, Halifax has consistently placed in the top 10 for business friendliness of North and South American cities, as conducted by fDi Magazine.[9]


  • History 1
  • Cityscape and landscape 2
    • Metropolitan Halifax 2.1
    • Architecture 2.2
    • Public spaces 2.3
    • Rural area 2.4
    • Neighbourhoods and communities 2.5
  • Culture 3
    • Tourism 3.1
    • Sports 3.2
    • Media 3.3
  • Geography 4
    • Topography 4.1
    • Climate 4.2
  • Climate 5
  • Demographics 6
    • Ethnic origins 6.1
    • Religious belief 6.2
  • Economy 7
  • Government 8
  • Education 9
  • Transportation 10
  • Sister cities 11
  • Notable Haligonians 12
  • See also 13
  • Notes 14
  • References 15
  • Further reading 16
  • External links 17


The first permanent European settlement in the region was on the 2nd Earl of Halifax, in 1749 led to the colonial capital being transferred from Annapolis Royal.

Sambro Island Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in North America (1758)

The establishment of Halifax marked the beginning of (Citadel Hill) (1749), Bedford (Fort Sackville) (1749), Dartmouth (1750), and Lawrencetown (1754), all areas within the modern-day Regional Municipality. St. Margaret's Bay was first settled by French-speaking Foreign Protestants at French Village, Nova Scotia who migrated from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia during the American Revolution.

December 1917 saw one of the greatest disasters in Canadian history, when the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship carrying munitions, collided with the Belgian Relief vessel SS Imo in "The Narrows" between upper Halifax Harbour and Bedford Basin. The resulting explosion, the Halifax Explosion, devastated the Richmond District of Halifax, killing approximately 2,000 people and injuring nearly 9,000 others.[12] The blast was the largest artificial explosion before the development of nuclear weapons.[13] Significant aid came from Boston, strengthening the bond between the two coastal cities.

The four municipalities in the Halifax urban area had been coordinating service delivery through the Metropolitan Authority since the late 1970s, but remained independent towns and cities until April 1, 1996, when the provincial government amalgamated all municipal governments within Halifax County to create the Halifax Regional Municipality. The municipal boundary thus now includes all of Halifax County except for several First Nation reserves.[14]

Since amalgamation, the region has officially been known as the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), although "Halifax" has remained in common usage for brevity. On April 15, 2014, the regional council approved the implementation of a new branding campaign for the region developed by the local firm Revolve Marketing. The campaign would see the region referred to in promotional materials simply as "Halifax", although "Halifax Regional Municipality" would remain the region's official name. The proposed rebranding was met with mixed reaction from residents, some of whom felt that the change would alienate other communities in the municipality through a perception that the marketing scheme would focus on Metropolitan Halifax only, while others expressed relief that the longer formal name would no longer be primary. Mayor Mike Savage defended the decision, stating: "I'm a Westphal guy, I'm a Dartmouth man, but Halifax is my city, we’re all part of Halifax. Why does that matter? Because when I go and travel on behalf of this municipality, there isn’t a person out there who really cares what HRM means."[15][16][17]

Cityscape and landscape

Metropolitan Halifax

Urban, Suburban, Rural divisions of the Municipality as defined by HRM Planning Department[18]

Metropolitan Halifax is a term used to describe the urban concentration surrounding Halifax Harbour, including the Halifax Peninsula, the core of Dartmouth, and the Bedford-Sackville areas. It is the Statistics Canada "population centre" of Halifax (2011 pop: 297,943).[4] The dense urban core is centred on the Halifax Peninsula and the area of Dartmouth inside of the Circumferential Highway. The suburban area stretches into areas known as Mainland Halifax to the west, Cole Harbour to the east, and Bedford, Lower Sackville and Windsor Junction areas to the north.[19]

This urban area is the most populous on Canada's Atlantic coast, and the second largest coastal population centre in the country after Vancouver, British Columbia. Halifax currently accounts for 40% of Nova Scotia's population, and 15% of that of Atlantic Canada. Metropolitan Halifax benefits from a process of increased rural depopulation and corresponding urban growth in Atlantic Canada during the late 20th century—a demographic shift that was delayed several decades in the region compared with other parts of North America.


Halifax's urban core is home to a number of regional landmark buildings and retains significant historic buildings and districts. The downtown's office towers are overlooked by the fortress of Citadel Hill with its iconic Halifax Town Clock.

The architecture of Halifax's South End is renowned for its grand Victorian houses while the West End and North End, Halifax have many blocks of well preserved wooden residential houses with notable features such as the "Halifax Porch". Dalhousie University's campus is often featured in films and documentaries. Dartmouth also has its share of historic neighbourhoods.

The urban core is home to several blocks of typical North American high-rise office buildings, however segments of the downtown are governed by height restrictions which prevent buildings from obstructing certain sight lines between Citadel Hill and Halifax Harbour. This has resulted in some modern high rises being built at unusual angles or locations.

Purdy's Wharf towers on the waterfront 
George Lang 
10 Tallest Buildings in Halifax
Name Height Floors
Fenwick Tower 322 feet (98 m) 32
Purdy's Wharf Tower 2 289 feet (88 m) 22
1801 Hollis Street 285 feet (87 m) 22
Barrington Tower 276 feet (84 m) 20
TD Centre 272 feet (83 m) 21
Cogswell Tower 259 feet (79 m) 20
Maritime Centre 256 feet (78 m) 21
Queen Square 246 feet (75 m) 19
Purdy's Wharf Tower 1 243 feet (74 m) 18
Bank of Montreal Building 240 feet (73 m) 18

Public spaces

Point Pleasant Park, a popular forested seaside park on peninsular Halifax.

The Halifax area has a variety of public spaces, ranging from urban gardens, public squares, expansive forested parks, and historic sites. The original grid plan devised when Halifax was founded in 1749 included a central military parade square, the Grand Parade. The square hosts the City Hall at one end, and is a popular site for concerts, political demonstrations, as well as the annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the central cenotaph. Another popular downtown public space is the timber Halifax Boardwalk, which stretches approximately three kilometres and is integrated with several squares and monuments.

The Citadel Hill, overlooking downtown, are favoured by sunbathers and kite-flyers. The Halifax Public Gardens, a short walk away, are Victorian era public gardens formally established in 1867 and designated a National Historic Site in 1984. Victoria Park, across the street, contains various monuments and statues erected by the North British Society, as well as a fountain. In contrast to the urban parks, the expansive Point Pleasant Park at the southern tip of the peninsula is heavily forested and contains the remains of numerous British fortifications.

Located on the opposite side of the harbour, the Dartmouth Commons is a large park next to Downtown Dartmouth laid out in the 1700s. It is home to the Leighton Dillman gardens and various sports grounds. Nearby, the Dartmouth waterfront trail stretches from Downtown Dartmouth to Woodside. Among residents of central Dartmouth, the area around Sullivan's Pond and Lake Banook is popular for strolling and paddling. The forested Shubie Park, through which the historic Shubenacadie Canal runs, is a major park in suburban Dartmouth.

Mainland Halifax is home to several significant parks, including Sir Sandford Fleming Park, gifted to the people of Halifax by Sir Sandford Fleming. It houses the Dingle Tower, dedicated in 1912 by the Duke of Connaught to commemorate 150 years of representative government in Nova Scotia. The Mainland Common, in Clayton Park, is a modern park home to various sports and community facilities. Long Lake Provincial Park, comprising more than 2,000 hectares, was designated in 1984 and affords Halifax residents access to a scenic wilderness in close proximity to the city.[21]

Rural area

The municipality of Halifax is centred on the urban core and surrounded by areas of decreasing density the farther the community is from the core. Rural areas lie to the east, west and north of this urban core. Certain rural communities on the urban fringe function as suburban or exurban areas, with the majority of those residents working in the urban core. Farther away, rural communities in the municipality function much as any resource-based area in Nova Scotia, being sparsely populated, with their local economies developing around four major resource industries: agriculture, fishing, mining and forestry. It should be noted that the tourism industry is beginning to change how some rural communities in Halifax function, particularly in coastal areas such as Hubbards, Peggys Cove and Lawrencetown.

The northeastern area centred on Sheet Harbour and the Musquodoboit Valley is completely rural, with more in common with adjacent rural areas of neighbouring counties.

Neighbourhoods and communities

Detail of Community Planning Areas

The Halifax Regional Municipality is an amalgamation of four municipal governments in the urban and rural areas. There are over 200 official rural and urban communities within Halifax County that have maintained their original geographic names (including the dissolved cities of Halifax and Dartmouth and the town of Bedford).[22] These community names are used on survey and mapping documents, for 9-1-1 service, municipal planning, and postal service.

The Halifax Regional Municipality is divided into eighteen community planning areas which are further divided into neighbourhoods or villages.[23] The regional municipality has taken steps to reduce duplicate street names for its 9-1-1 emergency dispatch services; at the time of amalgamation, some street names were duplicated several times throughout the municipality.[24]

Spring Garden, the city's premier shopping district.

Halifax is famed for the quality of several of its neighbourhoods. Spring Garden, adjacent to downtown Halifax, is a lively mixed-use neighbourhood with a variety of shopping and entertainment options as well as the new Halifax Central Library. The area has seen an uptick in development over the past few years, with new housing being built on most of the surface parking lots. The North End is a multicultural and artistic neighbourhood with a long history centred around several community nodes including the venerable Gottingen Street and Hydrostone commercial areas. The Quinpool District forms the community centre of the West End. Downtown Dartmouth offers dining and shopping and has also been subject to revitalization with the redevelopment of the Dartmouth Marine Slips as the King's Wharf housing area. North Preston, just outside Dartmouth, is Canada's largest and oldest black community.

Halifax is also known for its high walkability, particularly on the Halifax Peninsula, where 25-50% of residents regularly walk to work.[25] Unlike numerous other North American cities, expressways were never built in the urban core (with the exception of the truncated Harbour Drive), resulting in high pedestrian connectivity. Peninsular Halifax is also mixed-use, contributing to an elevated quality of urban convenience and vibrancy as compared to suburban districts with highly segregated land use and car-oriented transportation networks. In recent years, the city has also begun to place increased emphasis on developing bicycling infrastructure.


Argyle Street, home to many bars, restaurants, and music venues

Halifax is a major cultural centre within the Atlantic provinces. The city has maintained many of its maritime and military traditions, while opening itself to a growing multicultural population. The municipality's urban core also benefits from a large population of post-secondary students who strongly influence the local cultural scene. Halifax has a number of art galleries, theatres and museums, as well as most of the region's national-quality sports and entertainment facilities. Halifax is also the home to many of the region's major cultural attractions, such as Halifax Pop Explosion, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, The Khyber, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Neptune Theatre. The region is noted for the strength of its music scene and nightlife, especially in the central urban core. See List of musical groups from Halifax, Nova Scotia for a partial list.

Halifax hosts a wide variety of festivals that take place throughout the year, including the Atlantic Film Festival, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, The Halifax Busker Festival, Greekfest, the Atlantic Jazz Festival, the Multicultural Festival, the largest Canada Day celebration east of Ottawa, Natal Day, the Halifax Pop Explosion, periodic Tall Ship events, and Shakespeare by the Sea, to name a few. Many of these celebrations have become world-renowned over the past several years.

Halifax is home to many performance venues, namely the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, the Neptune Theatre, and The Music Room. Neptune Theatre, a 43-year-old establishment located on Argyle Street, is Halifax's largest theatre. It performs an assortment of professionally produced plays year-round. The Shakespeare by the Sea theatre company performs at nearby Point Pleasant Park. Eastern Front Theatre performs at Alderney Landing in Downtown Dartmouth which can easily be accessed via the Halifax Transit ferry service. There are smaller performance venues at the Halifax Central Library, Citadel High School (Spatz Theatre), and Halifax West High School (Bella Rose Arts Centre).

Halifax has also become a significant film-production centre, with many American and Canadian filmmakers using the streetscapes, often to stand in for other cities that are more expensive to work in. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has its Atlantic Canada production centres (radio and television) based in Halifax, and quite a number of radio and television programs are made in the region for national broadcast.

The new Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road has received accolades for its architecture and has been described as a new cultural locus, offering many community facilities including a 300-seat auditorium.


Halifax's tourism industry showcases Nova Scotia's culture, scenery and coastline. There are several museums and art galleries in downtown Halifax. The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, an immigrant entry point prominent throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, was opened to the public as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1999 and is the only national museum in the Atlantic provinces. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is a maritime museum containing extensive galleries including a large exhibit on the famous Titanic, over 70 small craft and a 200-foot (61 m) steamship CSS Acadia. In summertime the preserved World War II corvette HMCS Sackville operates as a museum ship and Canada's naval memorial. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is housed in a 150-year-old building containing over 9000 works of art. The Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia in Dartmouth reflects the region's rich ethnic heritage.

Halifax has numerous Citadel Hill (Fort George) in Halifax.

The waterfront in Downtown Halifax is the site of the Halifax Harbourwalk, a 3 km boardwalk popular amongst tourists and locals alike. Many mid-sized ships dock here at one of the many wharfs. The harbourwalk is home to a Metro Transit ferry terminal, hundreds of stores, Historic Properties, several office buildings, the Casino Nova Scotia, and several public squares where buskers perform, most prominently at the annual Halifax International Busker Festival in August.

Downtown Halifax, home to many small shops and vendors, is a major shopping area. It is also home to several small malls, including Scotia Square, Barrington Place Shops, and Maritime Mall. Numerous malls on Spring Garden Road, including the Park Lane Mall, are also located nearby. The area is home to approximately 200 restaurants and bars, offering an wide array of world cuisines.[26] There are also more than 60 sidewalk cafes that open in the summer months. The nightlife is made up of bars and small music venues as well as Casino Nova Scotia, a large facility built partially over the water.

The iconic Peggys Cove is internationally recognized and receives 600,000 plus visitors a year.[27]

Cruise ships visit the province frequently. In 2013, the Port of Halifax welcomed 134 vessel calls with 252,121 passengers.[28]


Town Clock as seen from Citadel Hill, with the Scotiabank Centre to the left

Halifax has various recreational areas, including ocean and lake beaches and rural and urban parks. It has a host of organised community intramural sports at various facilities. Public schools and post-secondary institutions offer varsity and intramural sports.

The Scotiabank Centre is largest arena in Atlantic Canada. It plays host to most of the major sporting events and concerts that visit Halifax and is home to several semi-professional sport franchises, including the Halifax Hurricanes of the NBL Canada and the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Nova Scotia International Tattoo is held here every year. The facility is connected to the Downtown Halifax Link, and directly to the World Trade and Convention Centre.

The region has hosted several major sporting events, including the 2003 World Junior Hockey Championship, 2003 Nokia Brier, the 2004 Women's World Ice Hockey Championships, the 2005 Canadian Olympic Curling Trials, and 2007 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship. From 1984 to 2007, the region was home to the CIS Men's Basketball Championship; the tournament was moved to Ottawa, Ontario, from 2008 to 2010 and returned to Halifax in 2011 and 2012. The 72nd Ice Hockey World Championship was held between May 2 and 18, 2008, in Halifax and Quebec City.

Halifax was selected in 2006 as the host city in Canada's bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games but withdrew on March 8, 2007, well before the November 9, 2007 selection date, citing financial uncertainties. In February 2011, the municipality hosted the 2011 Canada Winter Games.

On May 26, 2013, the Halifax Mooseheads capped a 74-win season (going 74-7-3-1[29]) by defeating the Portland Winterhawks 6-4 in the MasterCard Memorial Cup Final, earning their first Memorial Cup in the process.[30]

Halifax is also home to several rugby clubs, the Halifax Rugby Football Club, Halifax Tars, Dartmouth PigDogs, Riverlake Ramblers and the Eastern Shore Rugby Football Club. The city is now also home to an Australian Rules Football team. The Halifax Gaels are the local Hurling and Gaelic Football team that compete in Canadian GAA events.


Halifax is the Atlantic region's central point for radiobroadcast and press media. CBC Television, CTV Television Network (CTV), and Global Television Network and other broadcasters all have important regional television concentrators in HRM. CBC Radio has a major regional studio and there are also regional hubs for Rogers Radio and various private broadcast franchises, as well as a regional bureau for The Canadian Press/Broadcast News.

Halifax's print media is centred on its single daily newspaper, the broadsheet Chronicle Herald as well as two free newspapers, the daily commuter-oriented edition of Metro International and the free alternative arts weekly The Coast. Frank provides the municipality with a bi-weekly satirical and gossip magazine.

From 1974-2008, Halifax had a second daily newspaper, the tabloid The Daily News which still publishes several neighbourhood weekly papers such as The Bedford-Sackville Weekly News, The Halifax West-Clayton Park Weekly News and the Dartmouth-Cole Harbour Weekly News. These weekly papers compete with The Chronicle-Herald's weekly Community Heralds HRM West, HRM East, and HRM North.


Village of Prospect

Unlike most municipalities with a sizable metropolitan area, the Halifax Regional Municipality's suburbs have been completely incorporated into the "central" municipality, often by referendum. For example, the community of Spryfield, in the Mainland South area, voted to amalgamate with Halifax in 1968. The most recent amalgamation, which brought the entirety of Halifax County into the Municipality, has created a situation where a large "rural commutershed" area encompasses almost half the municipality's landmass.


The Halifax Regional Municipality occupies an area of 5,577 square kilometres (2,353 sq mi),[31] (approximately 10% of Nova Scotia) comparable to the province of Prince Edward Island, and measures approximately 165 kilometres (102.5 mi) in length between its eastern and western-most extremities, not including Sable Island. The nearest point of land to Sable Island is not actually in the municipality, but rather in adjacent Guysborough County, however, Sable Island is considered part of District 7 of the Halifax Regional Council.

The coastline is heavily indented, accounting for its length of approximately 400 kilometres (250 mi), with the northern boundary of the municipality usually being between 50-60 kilometres (30-37 mi) inland. The coast is mostly rock with small isolated sand beaches in sheltered bays. The largest coastal features include St. Margarets Bay, Halifax Harbour/Bedford Basin, Cole Harbour, Musquodoboit Harbour, Jeddore Harbour, Ship Harbour, Sheet Harbour, and Ecum Secum Harbour. The municipality's topography spans from lush farmland in the Musquodoboit Valley to rocky and heavily forested rolling hills. It includes a number of islands and peninsulas, among them McNabs Island, Beaver Island, Melville Island, Deadman's Island and Sable Island.


Halifax has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), with warm summers and relatively mild winters, which is due to Gulf Stream moderation. The weather is usually milder in the winter or cooler in the summer than areas at similar latitudes inland, with the temperature remaining (with occasional notable exceptions) between about −8 °C (17.6 °F) and 24 °C (76 °F).[32] January is the coldest month, being the only month with a high that is slightly below freezing (-0.1 °C [32 °F]), while August is the warmest.

Precipitation is high year-round. Winter features a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow with frequent freeze-thaw cycles. Snowfall is heavy in winter, but snow cover is usually patchy owing to the frequent freeze-thaw cycles, which melt accumulated snow. Some winters feature colder temperatures and fewer freeze-thaw cycles; the most recent of which being the winter of 2014-2015, which was the coldest, snowiest and stormiest in about a century. Spring is often wet and cool and arrives much later than in areas of Canada at similar latitudes, due to cooler sea temperatures. Summers are mild and pleasant, with hot and humid conditions very infrequent. Warm, pleasant conditions often extend well into September, sometimes into mid-October. Average monthly precipitation is highest from November to February due to intense late-fall to winter storms migrating from the Northeastern U.S., and lowest in summer, with August being the year's warmest and driest month on average. Halifax can sometimes receive hurricanes, mostly between August and October. An example is when hurricane Hurricane Juan, a Category 2 storm, hit in September 2003 and caused considerable damage to the region. Hurricane Earl grazed the coast as a Category 1 storm in 2010. Atlantic sea surface temperatures have risen in recent years, making Halifax and the coast of Nova Scotia somewhat more susceptible to hurricanes than the area had been in the past.



The Halifax metro area includes 408,702 residents (2013 Statistics Canada estimate). In 2011 approximately 15% of the population was 14 years old or younger, while 13% were 65 and older.

Halifax as seen from the Dartmouth waterfront
Halifax from the Angus L. MacDonald Bridge
Mother tongue language (2011)[34]
Language Population Pct (%)
English only 348,515 90.24%
French only 10,155 2.63%
Non-official languages 23,855 6.18%
Multiple responses 3,675 0.95%

Ethnic origins

Religious belief



The urban area of Halifax is a major economic centre in eastern Canada with a large concentration of government services and private sector companies. Halifax serves as the business, banking, government and cultural centre for the Maritime region. The largest employment sectors in the city include trade (36,400 jobs), health care and social assistance (31,800 jobs), professional services (19,000 jobs), education (17,400 jobs), and public administration (15,800 jobs).[37] The Halifax economy is growing, with the Conference Board of Canada predicting strong 3.0% GDP growth for 2015.[37]

The new assembly hall at the Halifax Shipyard.

Major employers and economic generators include the Department of National Defence, the Port of Halifax, Irving Shipbuilding, the Nova Scotia Health Authority, IMP Group, Bell Aliant, Emera, the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, government, banks, and universities.[38] The municipality has a growing concentration of manufacturing industries and is becoming a major multi-modal transportation hub through growth at the port, the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, and improving rail and highway connections. A real estate boom in recent years has led to numerous new property developments, including the gentrification of some former working-class areas.[37]

Agriculture, fishing, mining, forestry and natural gas extraction are major resource industries found in the rural areas of the municipality. Halifax's largest agricultural district is in the Musquodoboit Valley; the total number of farms in Halifax is 150, of which 110 are family-owned. Fishing harbours are located along all coastal areas with some having an independent harbour authority, and others being managed as small craft harbours under the federal Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Other resource industries in Halifax include the natural gas fields off the coast of Sable Island, as well as clay, shale, gold, limestone, and gypsum extraction in rural areas of the mainland portion of the municipality.


The Halifax Regional Municipality is governed by a mayor (elected at large) and a sixteen-person council. Councillors are elected by geographic district; municipal elections occur every four years. The current mayor of Halifax is Mike Savage. The Halifax Regional Council is responsible for all facets of municipal government, including the Halifax Regional Police, Halifax Public Libraries, Halifax Fire and Emergency, Halifax Regional Water Commission, parks and recreation, civic addressing, public works, waste management, and planning and development.[39] The provincial legislation that provides governance oversight to the municipality is the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter.[39]

The city has three community councils that consider local matters. Each community council comprises five or six councillors representing neighbouring districts.[40] Most community council decisions are subject to final approval by regional council.[39]

The city has a proposed operating budget of $869 million for 2015–2016.[41]


Halifax has a well-developed network of public and private schools, providing instruction from grade primary to grade twelve; 137 public schools are administered by the Halifax Regional School Board, while six public schools are administered by the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial.[42] The city's fourteen private schools are operated independently.

The municipality is also home to the following post-secondary educational institutions: Dalhousie University, Saint Mary's University, Mount Saint Vincent University, University of King's College, Atlantic School of Theology, NSCAD University, and Nova Scotia Community College, in addition to the Halifax campus of Université Sainte-Anne and several private institutions. The largest of these, Dalhousie University, is Atlantic Canada's premier research intensive university ranking 7th in Maclean's and 228th in the world. This school is host to most of the province's professional schools while other institutions focus primarily though not exclusively on undergraduate education. The plethora of university and college students contributes to the vibrant youth culture in the region, as well as making it a major centre for university education in eastern Canada.


Halifax Transit ferry crossing the harbour
Cars heading toward the MacKay Bridge from Dartmouth

Halifax Harbour is a major port used by numerous shipping lines, administered by the Halifax Port Authority. The Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard have major installations along prominent sections of coastline in both Halifax and Dartmouth. The harbour is also home to a public ferry service connecting downtown Halifax to two locations in Dartmouth. Sheet Harbour is the other major port in the municipality and serves industrial shippers on the Eastern Shore.

The Halifax Port Authority's various shipping terminals constitute the eastern terminus of Canadian National Railway's transcontinental network. Via Rail Canada provides overnight passenger rail service from the Halifax Railway Station three days a week to Montreal with the Ocean, a train equipped with sleeper cars that stops in major centres along the way, such as Moncton. The Halifax Railway Station also serves as the terminus for Maritime Bus which serve destinations across Atlantic Canada.

Halifax Stanfield International Airport serves Halifax and most of the province, providing scheduled flights to domestic and international destinations. Shearwater, part of CFB Halifax, is the air base for maritime helicopters employed by the Royal Canadian Navy and is located on the eastern side of Halifax Harbour.

The urban core is linked by the Angus L. Macdonald and A. Murray MacKay suspension bridges, as well as the network of 100-series highways which function as expressways. The Armdale traffic circle is an infamous choke point for vehicle movement in the western part of the urban core, especially at rush hour.

Public transit is provided by Halifax Transit, which operates standard bus routes, bus-rapid transit routes, as well as the pedestrian-only Halifax-Dartmouth Ferry Service. Established in 1752, the municipality's ferry service is the oldest continuously running salt water ferry service in North America.[43]

Sister cities

  • Hakodate, Japan (1982). The cities chose to twin because they both have star forts and are both maritime ports. Halifax has donated many fir trees to the annual Hakodate Christmas Fantasy festival.[44][45]
  • Campeche, Mexico (1999). Campeche was chosen because, like Halifax, it is "a capital of a state" and is "a city of similar size to Halifax on or near the coast having rich historical tradition".[46]
  • Norfolk, Virginia, USA (2006). Norfolk was chosen because, like Halifax, its economy "depends heavily on the presence of the Armed Forces, and both cities are very proud of their military history".[47]

Notable Haligonians

See also


  1. ^ 1996 figures onwards are for Halifax Regional Municipality. Prior figures are for Halifax County.


  1. ^ "2006 Statistics Canada Community Profile: Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia". December 7, 2010. Retrieved April 8, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Population of census metropolitan areas". February 11, 2,015. Retrieved March 13, 2,015. 
  3. ^ "Census Profile". Retrieved January 24, 2,014. 
  4. ^ a b "Census Profile - Halifax Regional Municipality". Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 7, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Census Profile - Halifax (population centre)". Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 7, 2012. 
  6. ^ GaWC. "The World According to GaWC". Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  7. ^ "Best Places to Live in Canada".  
  8. ^ American Cities Of The Future 2011/12 Winners PDF file from
  9. ^ [3] PDF file
  10. ^ Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008; Thomas Beamish Akins. History of Halifax, Brookhouse Press. 1895. (2002 edition). p 7
  11. ^ Wicken, p. 181; Griffith, p. 390; Also see
  12. ^ "CBC - Halifax Explosion 1917". September 19, 2003. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  13. ^ Time: Disasters that Shook the World. New York City: Time Home Entertainment. 2012. p. 56.  
  14. ^ "Municipal History Highlights". June 26, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Goodbye HRM, hello Halifax: Mixed reaction to bold, new brand". CTV News Atlantic.  
  16. ^ "Council Approves Bold New Brand Strategy for Halifax Region". Halifax Regional Municipality. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Halifax mayor, council approve city's new brand". The Chronicle-Herald. April 15, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
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Further reading

  • Laffoley, Steven (2007). Hunting Halifax: In Search of History, Mystery and Murder. Pottersfield Press. ISBN 978-1895900934.

External links

  • Official website
  • Photographs of historic monuments in Halifax Regional Municipality
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