Tall Ships Nova Scotia Festival
This annual festival traditionally begins mid-July in Halifax and is the largest international gathering of world class Tall Ships from Canada, North America and beyond. It makes for an impressive sight. The event runs for 13 days and journeys on from Halifax to other ports on Nova Scotia’s coastline.
Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo
This military tattoo celebrates the links between Nova Scotia and Scotland (Nova Scotia means ‘New Scotland’ in Latin) and with a cast of over 2,000 is the largest annual indoor show in the world. The event runs during the first week of July in the Halifax Metro Centre and mixes both military and civilian acts from several countries ranging from marching bands and comical gymnasts, to Russian dancers, and of course, bagpipes.
The Phenomenal Bay of Fundy
At 270 kilometres long, this ocean bay is home to the highest tides in the world. Each day 100 billion tonnes of sea water flows in and out of the Bay of Fundy and makes for spectacular viewing. Stretching between the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Bay is rich in nutrients and boasts amazing marine life from Minke and Humpback Whales to the second largest animal on earth – the Finback Whale – which uses the Bay to feed and play.
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
Open May to October this star-shaped British fortress was built between 1828 and 1856. Its elevated position atop a drumlin affords an excellent view of Halifax Harbour.
The town clock on its eastern slope has been operating since 1803 and has become an iconic image of Halifax. The fort was garrisoned by the British Army until 1906 and by Canadian Forces during the First and Second World Wars, but has now been restored to the mid-Victorian period and has a ‘living history’ programme. Visitors are treated to entertainment from the 78th Highland Regiment, the Royal Artillery and people representing soldiers’ wives and trades people in authentic mid-Victorian dress.
As well as being a busy port and bustling tourist destination, Halifax Harbour is also the second largest natural ice-free harbour in the world. The best way to explore and view Halifax Harbour is by ferry, which takes just 12 minutes to cross from Halifax to Dartmouth on the eastern side of the port. Several islands populate the Harbour, the nearest island being George’s Island which is home to a small lighthouse. This lighthouse played a key role in the Harbour’s defence system for almost 200 years and although not open to the public, it has been named a National Historic Site and the local heritage department is currently restoring its fortifications. Further out in the Harbour is McNab’s Island which is accessible by ferry or boat. This Island was another important part of the Harbour defence system and also home to several generations of independent settlers.
Lawlor’s Island lies close to the mainland, creating the eastern entrance to the Harbour and consists primarily of undeveloped protected woodland, home to wild deer and osprey.