Saturday mornings sees local farmers, bakers, artisans, and musicians descend upon the Keith’s Brewery building for this long-established market. Things get rolling around 7:00am in the summer, 8:00am in the winter, peak around noon, dying off rapidly by 1:00. More than a great place to get local, seasonal food, crafts, and hear musicians, the market is a weekly meeting place for Haligonians and the best of Halifax ‘s small-town side is evident in the friendly, high-energy atmosphere.
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
Open May to October, this star-shaped, British fortress was built between 1828 and 1856 and is the fourth version of a major fortification on the site since Halifax’s founding. Its position atop a drumlin affords it an excellent, erstwhile strategic view of the harbor. The town clock on its eastern slope has been operating since 1803 and is an iconic image of Halifax. Visitors to the fortress are treated to the 78th Highland Regiment, the Royal Artillery, and people representing soldiers’ wives and tradespeople in Mid-Victorian dress. The guards change, and the cannon is fired daily at noon, a tradition that goes unnoticed by locals within hearing distance. The site occasionally hosts concerts and plays by Shakespeare by the Sea.
A functioning, busy port and bustling tourist destination, Halifax Harbor is the second largest natural harbor in the world. In season, you can tour Halifax by land and sea aboard the Harbor Hopper – a modified amphibious army vehicle, or its competitor Seymour Splash. Theodore Too, a life-size replica of the title character in the popular children’s show Theodore Tugboat also operates tours. Whale watching tours and trips to Peggy’s Cove are available while those who prefer sailing can book cruises on the Mar II, or the Bluenose II when it is docked in town.
Pier 21 National Historic Site
Pier 21 uses a variety of exhibits to present the stories of departing and arriving Canadian troops, war brides, displaced children, and the more than one million immigrants who arrived in Canada between 1928 and 1971. Opened in its current incarnation in 1999, Pier 21 has several types of exhibitions and a resource center with databases for those wishing to do research related to the site.
Point Pleasant Park
This large park is on the tip of the Halifax peninsula, marking the split between the Harbor and the Halifax Arm. There are fort remains throughout the park – especially notable is The Prince of Wales Martello Tower National Historic Site. Built between 1796-7 to aid the protection of British gun batteries, the tower is open to the public from July to the end of August. Though Hurricane Juan devastated much of the park in September 2003, walking the many trails remains an excellent way to enjoy fresh sea air laced with the smell of pine. The re-growth amidst the more devastated areas is itself inspiring. Shakespeare by the Sea performs Shakespeare and some newer works seasonally in various park locations, usually for a suggested donation.
Province House (Nova Scotia Legislature)
“Canada ‘s First Legislature,” Province House was opened in 1819. A beautiful example of Georgian architecture built of Nova Scotian Sandstone, the legislature can be toured and has extended and weekend hours in July and August.
Open May through November, these 17 acres of Victorian style gardens are so popular they attracted over one million dollars in donations towards their renewal following 2003’s Hurricane Juan. The gardens are well kept, the ice cream cheap, the benches plentiful, and the ducks hungry – though the park prefers they are not fed to ensure migration. In the summer there are Sunday concerts in the gazebo. Warm weather also attracts local artisans to sell their wares on the sidewalk on the Spring Garden Road side of the fence.