Halifax Historic Tour, Halifax (Self Guided)

Halifax, a city with a rich and fascinating history, contains a lot of historic architecture. Some landmarks reflect its culture, while others its political past, like the House of Assembly. Other sites speak of its development in education, such as Dalhousie University and the University of King's College.
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Halifax Historic Tour Map

Guide Name: Halifax Historic Tour
Guide Location: Canada » Halifax (See other walking tours in Halifax)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 km
Author: Cathy
1
Town Clock

1) Town Clock (must see)

The Town Clock, also sometimes called the Old Town Clock or Citadel Clock Tower, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the historic urban core of Nova Scotia's Halifax Regional Municipality. The idea of a clock for the British Army and Royal Navy garrison at Halifax is credited to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, who arranged for a turret clock to be manufactured before his return to England in 1800.

It is said that Prince Edward, then commander-in-chief of all military forces in British North America, wished to resolve the tardiness of the local garrison.

The clock tower is a three-tiered (three storey), irregular octagon tower built atop a one storey white clapboard building of classic Palladian proportions. It was erected on the east slope of Citadel Hillfacing Barrack (now Brunswick) Street. The clock face is 4-sided displaying Roman numerals. As with most clocks the "4" is shown as IIII for aesthetic symmetry and not as IV. Its bell strikes hourly and quarterly and the durability of the mechanism (which dates to the original installation) is attributed to its slow movement. The Town Clock began keeping time for the garrison on October 20, 1803.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
City Hall

2) City Hall

Halifax City Hall is the seat of municipal government in Halifax Regional Municipality. Since municipal amalgamation on 1 April 1996, Halifax City Hall has hosted the regular meetings of the Halifax Regional Council, as well as various municipal offices. It was designed by Edward Elliot and constructed for the City of Halifax between 1887 and 1890; it is one of the oldest and largest public buildings in Nova Scotia and is a designated National Historic Site of Canada.

Designed in an eclectic, monumental style, the building is of cream and red sandstone, laid in the freestone technique. It also features granite construction on the ground floor and in the tower. The seven-storey tower has clock faces on the north and south sides. The northern face is fixed at four minutes past nine to commemorate the Halifax Explosion of 1917.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Nova Scotia House of Assembly

3) Nova Scotia House of Assembly

The Nova Scotia House of Assembly, also known as the Province House, has hosted the city legislature since 1819. Constructed in a classic British Palladian style, it is considered one of the most beautiful architectures in North America. Undergoing many renovations from 1985 to 1994, its reopening was attended by the Queen Elizabeth II.
4
Government House of Nova Scotia

4) Government House of Nova Scotia

Government House of Nova Scotia is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, as well as that in Halifax of the Canadian monarch. Unlike other provincial Government Houses in Canada, this gives Nova Scotia's royal residence a prominent urban setting, though it is still surrounded by gardens.

Government House's overall style is one of Georgian with hints of Adam, elements of the main and rear facades having been taken from a book of house plans published in 1795 by George Richardson, a former employee of Robert and James Adam. Many of the materials, however, were acquired locally; the stone came from Antigonish, Bedford Basin, Cape Breton, Lockeport, Lunenburg, and Pictou, brick from Dartmouth, and pine from the Annapolis Valley, Cornwallis, and Tatamagouche. Imported materials came from New Brunswick, Newfoundland, England, and Scotland; notably, the marble fireplace mantles were made in London. These adorned an interior arranged for both entertaining and state business, including a drawing room, dining room, and ballroom for formal entertaining, as well a suite for the Governor, his family, and servants. At the time, Nova Scotia had no equal in design and decoration.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Public Gardens

5) Public Gardens (must see)

The Halifax Public Gardens are Victorian era public gardens formally established in 1867, the year of Canadian Confederation. The gardens were designated as a national historic site in 1984. The Public Gardens encompass 16 acres and are bounded by Spring Garden Road, South Park Street, Summer Street and Sackville Street. They are open annually from approximately May 1 until November 1. The landscaping style is Victorian formal and provides a popular setting for wedding and prom photos.

In addition to statues and extensive flower beds, there are three fountains, two stone bridges, three ponds (one large and two small), and a small concession building (located in the original Horticultural Hall). The gardens also feature a bandstand that is used for free public concerts on Sunday afternoons during the summer. There are celebrations in the gardens every year on Canada day (July 1st) and Natal Day (the first Monday in August). In the past, many people enjoyed feeding the ducks who make the gardens their home, although it is now prohibited.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Burbidge Building

6) Burbidge Building

The Burbidge Building, formerly the Medical Science Building, is the oldest structure of the Dalhousie University campus. Designed by Andrew R. Cobb, it was built in 1922. Constructed mainly of tapestry bricks, granite and Wallace stones, it housed the faculties of Pharmacology, Physiology and Biochemistry. In 1970 the building received its present name in honor of George A. Burbidge, the first Dean of the Pharmacology Department. In 1978 a third floor was added, with more recent renovations done in 2001.
7
Forrest Building

7) Forrest Building

The Forrest Building, a part of Dalhousie University, was financed by the donation of Sir William Young. Built in 1887, it was designed by J.G. Dumaresq. This three-story red brick building was a unique construction at the time it was built. Since its establishment it has undergone several renovations.
8
Shirreff Hall

8) Shirreff Hall

Shirreff Hall is the oldest residence hall still in use at Dalhousie University in Halifax. It consists of four 'houses'; Old Eddy, New Eddy, Newcombe and The Annex. In total, the maximum capacity of the building is 451 students. Shirreff Hall was built in response to a looming housing crisis for female students of Dalhousie University. In the early 1920s, female students accounted for over twenty percent of the university's population. There were no university residences, and landlords in the Halifax area tended to prefer male tenants. Plans for a female-only residence hall were drafted, but no finances were available due to the construction of the Science Building and the Macdonald Memorial Library.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
University of King's College

9) University of King's College

The University of King's College, one of the city's most important historic sites, was erected in Winsdor and rebuilt in Halifax in 1920 after being destroyed by fire. An associate of Dalhausie University to the present day, from 1941 to 1945 it was used to train police officers. In the 1970s it accentuated its religious aspects and remains a prestigious learning institution to this day.

Walking Tours in Halifax, Canada

Create Your Own Walk in Halifax

Create Your Own Walk in Halifax

Creating your own self-guided walk in Halifax is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Halifax Churches Tour

Halifax Churches Tour

Halifax contains a variety of religious buildings, including Brunswick Street United Church and Saint George's Church, as well as old Gothic ones such as Saint Mary's Basilica and Saint Patrick's Church. Besides their beautiful architecture, each one has a unique history all its own.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km
Halifax Art Galleries Tour

Halifax Art Galleries Tour

Halifax is an art-oriented city where many budding artists make their mark, which is why its streets are full of galleries. Whether you prefer classic paintings or modern sculptures, realistic photographs or abstract drawings, Halifax has a gallery to suit your taste.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km
Best Pubs and Lounges in Halifax

Best Pubs and Lounges in Halifax

Halifax is a busy city that has an active nightlife scene. With plenty of pubs and lounges to enjoy a cocktail or local beer, live music performances can also be found. Take the following tour to discover the best places in Halifax to enjoy your evening and receive great service.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Halifax is a city of arts where many budding artists make their mark; hence the number of art galleries. Also the city is noted for its rich and eventful history, manifested in numerous historic sights. Some of the local landmarks reflect the city's culture, others - its political scene. Follow this City Orientation tour and get yourself acquainted with the most notable attractions of...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 km
Halifax Museum Tour

Halifax Museum Tour

Because Halifax has a rich history its museums have much to offer visitors. You will be surprised to find out many new facts about ordinary things at the Discovery Centre, learn about the city's history in the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the Army Museum and the Costume Studies Musueum, admire nature in the Museum of Natural History and Thomas McCulloch Museum and discover Canadian...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km
Halifax Nightclub Tour

Halifax Nightclub Tour

Halifax offers a wide selection of trendy nightclubs to suit any taste, many of them located in the heart of the city. Visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the quality service, great music and posh interiors. Halifax clubs also feature some of the most talented DJs who keep the crowd energized all night long.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Halifax for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Halifax has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Halifax, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.