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Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax is a Canadian city, the provincial capital and largest population centre in Nova Scotia, and the economic centre of the Atlantic Provinces. In 1995, the city of Halifax was amalgamated with a number of neighbouring authorities to create the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). As of 2001, the HRM had a population of 359,111.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Education
3 Economy
4 Culture
5 Government
6 Transportation
7 External links


Originally named Chebucto - or biggest harbour - by the Mi'kmaq indians who lived there, Halifax was founded by British General Edward Cornwallis on July 9, 1749 as a military outpost for the British with a handful of farming settlers. Halifax was named in honour of George Montague-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, who was the President of the British Board of Trade. Halifax has the second-largest natural harbour in the world, which is also well protected (with batteries at McNab's Island, North West Arm, Point Peasant, George's Island and York Redoubt) and ideal for a military base, Citadel Hill.

On July 17th, 1749 the first liquor license to be issued in Nova Scotia was given to John Shippey and his tavern The Spread Eagle

Dartmouth was soonafter settled and a ferry system between Halifax and Dartmouth began. This is the oldest saltwater ferry in North America

The city's first University, Saint Mary's was founded in 1802. The second, Dalhousie University, was founded in 1818.

The City of Halifax was incorporated in 1842 and elected its first mayor.

When the Titanic sank in 1912, the search effort was coordinated in Halifax and 150 of the 328 recovered bodies were brought here and buried in the Fairview Lawn Cemetery,the Mount Olivet Cemetery, and the Baron de Hirsch cemetary.

During the First and Second World Wars, convoys of ships would assemble in the Bedford Basin, in Halifax harbour, before heading across the Atlantic Ocean. On December 6, 1917, a particularly foggy morning during World War I, the largest man-made explosion prior to nuclear weapons, the Halifax Explosion, occurred. An incoming Belgian ship, the Imo, laden with armaments struck an outgoing French ship, the Mont Blanc, at the mouth of the harbour. Both caught fire and were abandoned, and minutes later the arms ship exploded, flattening a large portion of the city, leaving over 2000 dead and 9000 injured. The explosion was heard 420 km away.

On September 29, 2003, Halifax was hit by Hurricane Juan, the largest hurricane to hit Halifax directly since 1893. The storm caused serious disruption in the city for more than a week. The entire city lost power for a brief period, and it took up to 2 weeks to restore power to all areas. Several people were killed, most as a result of traffic accidents or fires resulting from electrical problems.

People from Halifax are called Haligonians.

Notable personalities born in Halifax


Halifax is home to five degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions: Dalhousie University, Saint Mary's University, The University of King's College, Mount Saint Vincent University and The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. The former Technical University of Nova Scotia is now integrated with Dalhousie University. The University of King's College shares Arts and Science faculty with Dalhousie University. The Nova Scotia Community College network maintains three major campuses in Halifax and Dartmouth.


The city still serves a major military purpose, as home port for the Atlantic Fleet of the Canadian Navy, and as such maintains Canada's largest naval base and the nation's largest military complex in terms of stationed personnel at CFB Halifax which is comprised of HMCS Dockyard and the Stadacona facilities.

The waterfront witnesses the brawny marine commerce of the North Atlantic Great Circle route with two major container terminals, a small oil refinery, as well as general cargo piers and more specialized cargo handling piers for products such as automobiles and gypsum. Port facilities are also seeing increased use for logistics support of offshore natural gas production platforms near Sable Island, and for ongoing oil and gas exploration. The port has a modestly active shipyard and is also home to a Canadian Coast Guard base and the internationally-renowned Bedford Institute of Oceanography. In recent years, the port has witnessed an increased number of cruise ships. The port is also the eastern terminus of the transcontinental Canadian National Railway which maintains extensive facilities throughout the waterfront areas.

One of Halifax's first mayors, Alexander Keith, was a brewer and produced Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale. The city also has a number of locally brewed beers, including Garrison's Brown and Red Ales, the Clancy's line, Propeller Extra Special Bitter and their sodas, and the products of the various brewpubs, such as the Granite Brewery, the Rogue's Roost, and the (quite new) Olde Halifax Alehouse.

The economy of Halifax has done relatively well in the 1990s and since the turn of the century. Unemployment is low and construction projects have multiplied in those years. One result has been the "gentrification" of some areas of Halifax, for example the North End. The formerly working class area which was reconstructed following its devastation in the disaster of 1917 is now home to many more affluent people, with the resulting change in character of some of its neighbourhoods. The South End, which has traditionally been quite wealthy has remained so.

Another change in Halifax in recent years has been the extensive redevelopment of the waterfront. Traditionally the waterfront was used by industry and to service the ships coming into port. However, with changes in the industry the large ships now use large container terminals in different parts of the harbour. The older areas have now been converted for commercial use, mostly to lure tourists.


Halifax has a large population of students who have a strong influence on the cultural scene in the city. There are a number of art galleries and theatres in the city. Every summer, Shakespeare plays are displayed in Point Pleasant Park.

The tourism industry has also had a strong influence on the city, certainly in the downtown core. In the summer thousands of small vendors cater to the Cruise Ship passengers and others who fill the town. The most popular destinations are the Public Gardens, an ornamental garden, Point Pleasant Park, the casino, the Citadel, and the shopping and restaurants of downtown.

Halifax is reputed to have the highest number of bars per capita of any city in Canada.

The Tall Ships Challenge came to Halifax in 2000 and 2004. Other festivals include the Busker festival held in August every year.


In the early 1990s the provincial government sought to reduce the number of municipal governments in Halifax County and Cape Breton County and created a task force in 1992 to pursue this rationalization. In 1995, an Act to Incorporate the Halifax Regional Municipality received Royal Assent in the provincial legislature and the HRM was created on April 1, 1996 by amalgamting the neighbouring cities of Halifax and Dartmouth with the town of Bedford and rural Halifax County. Sable Island is also considered to be jurisdictionally part of HRM, despite being located 180 km offshore. The population of HRM is 359,111 according to the 2001 census, making it the nation's 13th largest population centre in Canada.

The term Haligonians has been borrowed since amalgamation to apply more broadly to all residents of HRM, although many citizens in Dartmouth and smaller centres in the municipality tend to avoid use of the term when applied to themselves. In fact, despite amalgamation, most residents of the municipality (and Canada Post) still refer to the names of the pre-amalgamation municipalities when describing geographic areas.

The former city of Halifax is represented in the federal riding of Halifax. Other HRM ridings include Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Halifax West, and Sackville—Eastern Shore .


Halifax International Airport, which serves Halifax, is located in Enfield, Nova Scotia.

North: Truro, Colchester County, East Hants (District) of Hants County
West: West Hants (District) of Hants County Halifax East: St. Mary's (District) of Guysborough County, Atlantic Ocean
South: Chester, Lunenburg County

See also: Canadian cities

External links

Halifax, Nova Scotia