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26 Fun, Weird & Interesting Facts About Halifax, Nova Scotia

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I lived in Halifax for a year as a kid. I remember loving it because of its proximity to the ocean. I’ve still got fond memories of the city, perhaps because that’s where John and I got engaged. I’m not sure if that constitutes a fun fact or even an interesting fact but now you know.

I’ve got the city in my sights for next summer and thought I’d share some of the fun, weird and interesting facts that I’ve dug up about Halifax.

"Halifax waterfront"

Halifax waterfront

  • Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia. It hosts the largest population east of Quebec City – 403,000 people at last count.
  • Halifax has been around for a long time. It was founded in 1749 by Honorable Edward Cornwallis of England.
  • The Halifax Explosion in 1917 was the world’s largest man-made explosion prior to Hiroshima. About 2000 people were killed and 9000 injured when the SS Mont Blanc, a French cargo ship loaded with wartime explosives collided with an empty Norwegian ship. It caught fire and 25 minutes later exploded. A tsunami and pressure wave also occurred and caused considerable damage.
  • The Cunard Steamship Line was founded in Halifax in 1840.
  • The Public Gardens on Spring Garden Road are a 17 acre oasis containing fountains, rare flowers, trees and the beautiful red gazebo.
"The red roofed gazebo in the Halifax Public Gardens"

The red roofed gazebo in the Halifax Public Gardens

  • The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site is the most visited National Historic Site in Canada. The practice of firing a gun (from the site) at midday dates from 1856 and continues today.
  • The Old Town Clock, a famous landmark, has been keeping time since 1803.
  • Point Pleasant Park, a 77 hectare park and one of the cities best, is located on the southern tip of the Halifax Peninsula only 2½ kilometers from downtown. Halifax rents the site from the British government for 10 cents a year and has a 999 year lease.
"Point Pleasant Park in the spring"

Point Pleasant Park in the spring

  • Halifax is on the Atlantic Time Zone.
  • Halifax is closer to Dublin, Ireland than it is to Victoria, British Columbia.
  • Halifax boasts the second largest ice free natural harbour in the world after Sydney, Australia.
  • Halifax enjoys four distinct seasons. Winters are cold and snowy, whilst summer temperatures are usually in the 20-23 C range. Look out for Atlantic Hurricane Season when Halifax can suffer the brunt of tropical storms, depressions and hurricanes. It’s normal to see 670 mm of rain over the period from June 1st to November 30th.
  • Halifax has an average of 171 wet days per year.
  • The coldest day ever recorded was -29.4C (-21F) on February 18, 1922. The highest temperature ever recorded was 37.2 C (99F) on July 10, 1912.
  • On the summer solstice the sun rises at 5:29am and sets at 9:04pm. On the winter solstice the sun rises at 7:48am and sets at 4:37 pm.
  • The median age is 39. And 59% of the population is under 45.
  • The average selling price of a house in Halifax in 2011 was $259,060 – one of the lowest in Canada.
  • The three biggest employers in Halifax are CFB Halifax, Capital District Health Authority and the Government – on all three levels.
  • There are more pubs per capita than any other city in Canada. That might have something to do with the fact below.
  • There are six degree granting universities in Halifax – Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Nova Scotia Community College and The Atlantic School of Theology. There are 81 post secondary students per 1000 people, three times the national average.
  • Halifax has a strong connection to the Titanic sinking. There is a permanent Titanic Museum at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
  • Seafood is one of the thing great things you’ll find in abundance. Look for lobster, Atlantic salmon and Digby scallops on restaurant menus.
  • Every August Halifax hosts an International Busker Festival.
  • The biggest sports event is the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon held every May.
  • There are no big time professional sports teams but there are the Halifax Mooseheads Hockey Club and Halifax Rainmen Basketball.
  • Dave Carroll of United Breaks Guitars fame lives in the Greater Halifax area.
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Photo credits: WaterfrontPublic Gardens, Point Pleasant Park

Author Hike Bike Travel

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

More posts by Hike Bike Travel

Join the discussion 72 Comments

  • Alouise says:

    I spent an afternoon in Halifax a few years ago, and really loved. I’d love to go back, especially because I didn’t know that there were more pubs here per capita than anywhere else in Canada.

  • Alouise says:

    I spent an afternoon in Halifax a few years ago, and really loved. I’d love to go back, especially because I didn’t know that there were more pubs here per capita than anywhere else in Canada.

  • Nancie says:

    Leigh, you know that I am a native Haligonian. Love all your facts. The only one I didn’t know was the last one. I really need to get in tune with the music.

    Did you know that Denny Doherty of Mama’s and Papa’s fame grew up in Halifax’s Northend?

    I plan on being in Halifax next summer to celebrate my Dad’s 90th birthday. We might be there at the same time!

    • @Nancie That sounds like a great reason to go back to me. I’ll be following you through the blog so I’ll have a pretty good idea if we’ll be able to cross paths. I have a number of outdoor adventures to research and I want to visit a few of my old haunts – like Hall’s Harbour – the small community where we bought our first house for $24K.

  • Nancie says:

    Leigh, you know that I am a native Haligonian. Love all your facts. The only one I didn’t know was the last one. I really need to get in tune with the music.

    Did you know that Denny Doherty of Mama’s and Papa’s fame grew up in Halifax’s Northend?

    I plan on being in Halifax next summer to celebrate my Dad’s 90th birthday. We might be there at the same time!

    • @Nancie That sounds like a great reason to go back to me. I’ll be following you through the blog so I’ll have a pretty good idea if we’ll be able to cross paths. I have a number of outdoor adventures to research and I want to visit a few of my old haunts – like Hall’s Harbour – the small community where we bought our first house for $24K.

  • I read a novel set i Nova Scotia recently and had vivid dreams about the place. Would love to go for real.

  • I read a novel set i Nova Scotia recently and had vivid dreams about the place. Would love to go for real.

  • It is always refreshing to read about your own city and discover something new.

  • It is always refreshing to read about your own city and discover something new.

  • Clayton says:

    To date, the Halifax Explosion is still the largest, non nucular man made explosion in history. It broke windows in Truro, a 45 min drive away.

  • Clayton says:

    To date, the Halifax Explosion is still the largest, non nucular man made explosion in history. It broke windows in Truro, a 45 min drive away.

  • Love the photos, especially the first one. Wow, some interesting facts and I’d love to visit Nova Scotia one day.

  • Love the photos, especially the first one. Wow, some interesting facts and I’d love to visit Nova Scotia one day.

  • jan says:

    The photos show a beautiful place. I like the amount of pubs – is that because of the fishing traditions?

  • jan says:

    The photos show a beautiful place. I like the amount of pubs – is that because of the fishing traditions?

  • Ayngelina says:

    I grew up in Nova Scotia and didn`t know a lot of these, the biggest one being we`re closer to Dublin than Vancouver – although I would suspect the culture is more similar as well.

  • Ayngelina says:

    I grew up in Nova Scotia and didn`t know a lot of these, the biggest one being we`re closer to Dublin than Vancouver – although I would suspect the culture is more similar as well.

  • Steve says:

    Is Halifax aware of your close relationship with the city? I mean, if the Titanic gets a museum, you must at least deserve a statue or something.
    I’ve never been to Halifax, but your seafood stats make it sound tempting…

  • Steve says:

    Is Halifax aware of your close relationship with the city? I mean, if the Titanic gets a museum, you must at least deserve a statue or something.
    I’ve never been to Halifax, but your seafood stats make it sound tempting…

  • Aaron Smith says:

    Nice post and the pictures. Nice pictures and the places in pictures are beautiful. I like it and enjoy it.

  • Aaron Smith says:

    Nice post and the pictures. Nice pictures and the places in pictures are beautiful. I like it and enjoy it.

  • Debbie Kelly says:

    I live in Halifax and we have so much more history as well. I have some great posts on my blog, including the Titanic graveyard, the 100 year memorial at the famous St. Paul’s church with the famous Head shape in the window, as well as waterfront pictures with the kids and around Halifax. I have more to post but haven’t had time yet.

    When the Halifax Explosion happened, it was felt all the way to Boston and Boston was the first to send aid to Halifax. The day after the explosion, there was a horrible blizzard which made recovery so difficult. I have stories from my grandmother of what happened on that day. I plan to to post this story as well.

    Please check out my blog to see these great posts and “join” please if you can then you will get the updates when I post them to my blog site.

    Thanks.

  • Debbie Kelly says:

    I live in Halifax and we have so much more history as well. I have some great posts on my blog, including the Titanic graveyard, the 100 year memorial at the famous St. Paul’s church with the famous Head shape in the window, as well as waterfront pictures with the kids and around Halifax. I have more to post but haven’t had time yet.

    When the Halifax Explosion happened, it was felt all the way to Boston and Boston was the first to send aid to Halifax. The day after the explosion, there was a horrible blizzard which made recovery so difficult. I have stories from my grandmother of what happened on that day. I plan to to post this story as well.

    Please check out my blog to see these great posts and “join” please if you can then you will get the updates when I post them to my blog site.

    Thanks.

  • Kugluktuk says:

    hello there I like the facts about Nova Scotia.

  • Kugluktuk says:

    hello there I like the facts about Nova Scotia.

  • Doug says:

    Not quite sure how the park is rented from the British government since it is on Canadian land. You may want to fact check this one as it doesn’t make sense.

  • Doug says:

    Not quite sure how the park is rented from the British government since it is on Canadian land. You may want to fact check this one as it doesn’t make sense.

  • Dave Mercer says:

    Great article, but I used to work for the provincial Department responsible for higher education – and Nova Scotia Community College doesn’t grant degrees. Nitpicky, I know… :)

  • Dave Mercer says:

    Great article, but I used to work for the provincial Department responsible for higher education – and Nova Scotia Community College doesn’t grant degrees. Nitpicky, I know… :)

  • seerat says:

    this is a good website there are so many good fun interesting facts about nova scotia thanks for the website and thanks for all of the fun facts and the interesting wried and fun facts about nova scotia thanks for everything.

  • seerat says:

    this is a good website there are so many good fun interesting facts about nova scotia thanks for the website and thanks for all of the fun facts and the interesting wried and fun facts about nova scotia thanks for everything.

  • Pepsi Girlll says:

    Many of the Universitys where used as hospitals in the Halifax Explosion. And Citadel Hill was made to protect us Haligonians in case of another explosion but that never happened. The clock hasn’t been keeping time since then it stopped at around 1897 and was fixed in 2002. and there is a graveyard dedicated to those who were killed in the Titanic..
    Sorry I am a bit of a know-it-all.
    Thanks love these facts! Do some on the Quebec Winter Carnival. ;D

  • Pepsi Girlll says:

    Many of the Universitys where used as hospitals in the Halifax Explosion. And Citadel Hill was made to protect us Haligonians in case of another explosion but that never happened. The clock hasn’t been keeping time since then it stopped at around 1897 and was fixed in 2002. and there is a graveyard dedicated to those who were killed in the Titanic..
    Sorry I am a bit of a know-it-all.
    Thanks love these facts! Do some on the Quebec Winter Carnival. ;D

  • Heather says:

    Hi Leigh,
    Great list! Just to update one item, NSCAD–the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (as it was called when I went there) is now NSCAD University. It became a university in 2003. Some interesting facts about NSCADU is that Anna Leonowens, was the founder of the school in 1887 (it was first called the Victoria School of Art, after Queen Victoria). Anna would become famous as a tutor for the King of Siam; she wrote a book that eventually was turned into a stage play and movie, The King and I, starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr.
    NSCAD has had an impressive list of influential and famous principles/presidents, including Arthur Lismer (of the Group of Seven) and Gary Neill Kennedy, who was president when I was at the school. Gary modernized the school and brought the school to the international stage; he was responsible for bringing in some of the most famous artists and designers as professors, lecturers and visiting artists, including Horst Deppe, Andy Warhol (he got an honourary degree), Michael Snow, Krzysztof Wodiczko, etc.

    Oh and there are two other degree granting universities in Halifax (so a total of eight, not six): Université Sainte-Anne (Halifax campus) and University of King’s College.

    Another great fact about Halifax is that it has an incredible amount of musical talent: Joel Plaskett, Rich Aucoin (Buck 65), Sarah McLauchlin, Sloan, Hank Snow, Matt Mays, Jenn Grant (and more) all were born or lived in Halifax. Other performers/artists from Halifax include Rudy Keeler (actress) George Elliot Clarke (author), Ellen Page (actress), Nikki Payne (comedian)… And Sidney Crosby, hockey player par excellence: born and raised in Cole Harbour, part of the Halifax landscape.

    There really is something in the water there…!

  • Heather says:

    Hi Leigh,
    Great list! Just to update one item, NSCAD–the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (as it was called when I went there) is now NSCAD University. It became a university in 2003. Some interesting facts about NSCADU is that Anna Leonowens, was the founder of the school in 1887 (it was first called the Victoria School of Art, after Queen Victoria). Anna would become famous as a tutor for the King of Siam; she wrote a book that eventually was turned into a stage play and movie, The King and I, starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr.
    NSCAD has had an impressive list of influential and famous principles/presidents, including Arthur Lismer (of the Group of Seven) and Gary Neill Kennedy, who was president when I was at the school. Gary modernized the school and brought the school to the international stage; he was responsible for bringing in some of the most famous artists and designers as professors, lecturers and visiting artists, including Horst Deppe, Andy Warhol (he got an honourary degree), Michael Snow, Krzysztof Wodiczko, etc.

    Oh and there are two other degree granting universities in Halifax (so a total of eight, not six): Université Sainte-Anne (Halifax campus) and University of King’s College.

    Another great fact about Halifax is that it has an incredible amount of musical talent: Joel Plaskett, Rich Aucoin (Buck 65), Sarah McLauchlin, Sloan, Hank Snow, Matt Mays, Jenn Grant (and more) all were born or lived in Halifax. Other performers/artists from Halifax include Rudy Keeler (actress) George Elliot Clarke (author), Ellen Page (actress), Nikki Payne (comedian)… And Sidney Crosby, hockey player par excellence: born and raised in Cole Harbour, part of the Halifax landscape.

    There really is something in the water there…!

  • Kevin says:

    I lived there until I was 10 and then we had to move to America. I miss it there and can’t wait until this summer to go back.

  • Kevin says:

    I lived there until I was 10 and then we had to move to America. I miss it there and can’t wait until this summer to go back.

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