About Our Local Area

Downtown Halifax

Downtown Halifax is the city centre of the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia. Located on the eastern-central portion of the Halifax Peninsula, on Halifax Harbour, it serves as the business, entertainment, and tourism hub of the region. Downtown Halifax is considered to be a "people-friendly" downtown due to the ample number of hotels in the area, combined with pedestrian-friendly narrow streets, annual festivals and events, an array of interesting attractions, and many restaurants.

Business and offices 

Downtown Halifax is the financial centre of Atlantic Canada. Aliant and Emera are headquartered in downtown Halifax. All Big Five Canadian banks have major operations in the CBD. The Bank of Canada also has one of its five Canadian regional offices located in the area.

Historic areas and buildings 

Unlike other historic Canadian cities such as Quebec and Montreal or comparably size New England cities such as Portland, Maine, Halifax has not preserved any heritage districts and has few intact blocks of historic buildings, although the downtown is known for the historic architecture of some individual landmark buildings. Demolition and urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s replaced most of the downtown with blocks with office towers. One of the few blocks to have retained its heritage character is Granville Mall, a pedestrian mall formerly part of Granville Street, made up of an array of shops and pubs in a conglomeration of rowed historic buildings built in the 1860s. It is known for the stone facades on each building. Historic Properties, a collection of 19th-century warehouses converted into shops and restaurants, is located nearby. Despite the heritage focus of these remaining blocks of heritage buildings, none are protected as heritage districts. Halifax developers have argued that economic growth precludes any greater heritage development. One of the only other intact blocks of downtown heritage buildings, the Morse Tea Block between Lower Water Street and Hollis faces demolition as part of a controversial Waterside Centre tower. In 2008, the developer was able to overturn the heritage status of buildings on the block, beginning with the 1840 Sweet Basil Building the first of the block to be demolished.

The downtown is home to individual government landmarks such as Province House, built in 1819 and home to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. Builders such as George Lang created many landmark Victorian Era buildings.

Citadel Hill, a 40-acre star-shaped fort, is another historic attraction in the downtown. Originally established with the arrival of Edward Cornwallis and the out break of Father Le Loutre's War (1749), the current fort was built in the Victorian Era as the hub of the historic defence system for the port. There is also the Halifax Public Gardens and Victoria Park, Halifax which has many Victorian Era monuments.


There are several museums and art galleries in downtown Halifax. Pier 21, an immigrant entry point prominent throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, was opened to the public as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1999. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is a maritime museum containing extensive galleries including a large exhibit on the famous Titantic, 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 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, being home to many small shops and vendors, is a major shopping area in the HRM. It is also home to several small malls, including Scotia Square, Barrington Place Shops, and Maritime Mall. Numerous malls on Spring Garden Road are also located nearby.

Restaurants and nightlife 

The area is home to approximately 200 restaurants and bars, providing an interesting array of world cuisine. There are also over 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.


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 from the area via the Metro Transit ferry service.

Events and festivals 

The Halifax Metro Centre is one of the largest buildings in Downtown Halifax, as well as the largest arena in Atlantic Canada. It is the home of the popular Halifax Mooseheads hockey team, and it also plays host to most of the major sporting events and concerts that visit Halifax. The Nova Scotia International Tattoo is held here every year. It is connected to the Downtown Halifax Link, and directly to the World Trade and Convention Centre. The Atlantic Film Festival, Atlantic Jazz Festival and the Halifax Pop Explosion also take place in some downtown venues.

Information and images courtesy of Wikipedia.com

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