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Halifax City Guide

Updated: January 19th, 2023

Halifax is the provincial capital of Nova Scotia, and is a thriving business centre with deep roots in its maritime history that helped make it the city it is today. It’s located along the Atlantic Ocean in eastern Canada, which means that Halifax’s climate has a maritime climate, making for short warm summer and cold winters.

Halifax, the coastal capital of Nova Scotia combines just the amount of seabreeze, art, food and scenic landscape to make this thriving metropolis really shine. This buzzing city is a blend of both contemporary and historic, with a lively nightlife and music scene with a little something for everyone who visits Halifax’s shores.

About Halifax

Halifax, Nova Scotia, as we know it today was founded in 1841 and has a population of 417,000 (2022). The largest city in Atlantic Canada and the capital of Nova Scotia is Halifax. Halifax and its neighbouring communities joined together on April 1st, 1996 to become the Halifax Regional Municipal Government.

One of the largest harbours in the world, Halifax Regional Municipality is situated in an advantageous and central location on the province's east coast. Nova Scotia's earliest known inhabitants arrived in the region to hunt caribou around 13,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age.

Over half of Nova Scotia's economy is based in Halifax, a significant economic hub. The city's economic expansion is comparable to that of other significant Canadian cities outside of Western Canada and is supported by a combination of private and public services that give the local economy a solid foundation.

Halifax’s major economic sectors include trade, health care and social assistance, education, and public administration, in addition to lodging and food services, finance, and construction. Halifax's Canadian Forces Base, the Capital District Health Authority, Dalhousie University, and Nova Scotia Power Incorporated are among the region's largest employers. Through 2030, a shipbuilding programme for the Royal Canadian Navy will also add new jobs.

Where is Halifax on the map

Halifax is the capital city of Nova Scotia. It is located on the East Coast of Canada on the Atlantic Ocean.

Climate/Weather in Halifax

Having a brief, warm summer and a harsh winter, Halifax has an eastern maritime climate. The weather is frequently unpredictable and upsetting throughout the year. About 85 days a year in Halifax get snowfall with a depth of at least 1 cm. The average daily maximum temperature of Nova Scotia, in general, is actually one of Canada's warmest provinces, is 11 degrees Celsius. The weather is generally consistent with that of Central Europe.

Work and Jobs in Halifax

Halifax is a city with plenty of opportunities. Jobs are available across all fields from Community Services, education, law, culture & tourism, engineering and healthcare. Here are Halifax’s top available jobs at the comment as examples, according to the provincial website and Indeed.

  • Manager, Investigations & Compliance
  • Director, Correctional Services
  • Program Specialist
  • Visitor Experience Coordinator
  • Deputy Minister, Education and Early Childhood Development
  • Labour Board Clerk
  • Executive Lead, Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV) Modernization
  • Store Team Member
  • Front of House
  • Call Centre Agent

Cost of Living in Halifax

Halifax is in the top five among mid-sized cities for Best Lifestyle and Human Capital (2020–2021). In 30 minutes, you can go from the boardroom to the beach, meaning the city is perfectly sized and easy to navigate. Compared to other Canadian cities, Halifax offers affordable housing. In fact, property prices are decently set. The Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate is at 4.63. You'll also find a diversified community as Halifax is seeing population expansion spurred by new residents.

What is Halifax's typical cost of living? $2,167.50 a month is the average cost of living in Halifax. The city, which is a significant economic hub in Atlantic Canada, is now a part of the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). Your monthly net set on average will be just over $4,000.00 but be aware that rent will be your biggest expense as a one-bedroom will cost you $1,628.38 on average, in the city centre. 

Neighbourhoods in Halifax

The spectacular vistas of the Atlantic, gorgeous beaches, and all the activities that come with maritime living — including maritime weather — are all within close proximity to almost everywhere you choose to reside in Halifax.

Northern End

What was once a quite seedy area of town has experienced a significant metamorphosis in recent years, becoming one of the most lively places in the city. Come to Halifax to find trendy coffee shops like Lion & Bright and Seven Bays, stylish eateries like EDNA and vegan Envie, plus a ton of bars and beer gardens. There are also hip vintage boutiques, spas, and gorgeously renovated townhouses. The streets here will make you feel a little bit cooler just by walking through them.


The charming center of Halifax is continuously changing, and you'll discover a welcoming fusion of new hip restaurants and stores blended with ancient historic structures. When you add ocean views, lovely parks, welcoming residents, and a busy waterfront to this, you have a fantastic destination.

The Hydrostone

This charming area feels like a tiny piece of Europe in the center of Halifax. Even though it's really more of a street than an entire neighborhood, it has a lot of power. A tiny park is located in the middle of the street, which is lined with charming stores, cafes, boutiques, and salons on either side. Shop for treasures at Lady Luck and Made in the Maritimes, compare pizza slices at Mother's Pizza and Salvatore's, and get coffee and pastries at Julian's.

The Heart of Dartmouth

Hop across the harbor to see Dartmouth's compact but powerful downtown. The area's 'I Heart Dartmouth' campaign and the construction of King's Wharf, a new housing development, have transformed the area's once-relatively empty downtown into a thriving center. Visit the area for Two If By Sea's croissants, the hipster food at The Canteen, the drinks at Battery Park, and the breathtaking views of Halifax's downtown. Even the ferry voyage to Dartmouth is enjoyable!

South End

The location is ideal, though slightly more expensive than downtown itself. South End is close to Downtown and has Victorian buildings and streets lined with trees, making it a lovely area to bring up a family. There are plenty of shops, the renowned Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market, which was established by royal proclamation in 1750, and all the conveniences you need for a family life. Not to mention that Pier 21, the point of entry for nearly a million immigrants into Canada, is located in this neighborhood and is home to the incredibly touching Canadian Museum of Immigration.


There are a number of ways to get around this beautiful city, from ordering a taxi or going to a local taxi stand to find one. Another option is the public bus system called the Maritime Bus. This service operates between New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia with connections to parts of Quebec. You can purchase tickets online and find out the routes and bus schedule to help get you around the city.

If you want to use the metro, Halifax has the Metro Transit which runs to Bedford, Dartmouth, Halifax, Sackville, Timberlea and Cole Harbour. If you want to use the rails, then you can travel between provinces using The Ocean rail system.

The city of Halifax also has another form of transport, the local ferries. Depending on the ferry service you choose and the time of the season, the destinations and stop-offs can change. If you want to travel more locally there is the Provincial Ferry Services that travels between waterways within Nova Scotia. The Provincial Ferry Services has 4 provincial ferries and 3 ferries capable of ocean travel.

Things to do in Halifax

A province in eastern Canada, Nova Scotia is an area that covers 21, 000 square miles. Its shoreline overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, with its history, landscape and weather very much associated with the sea. The capital of Nova Scotia is Halifax, where you will find world-known restaurants, fresh maritime air, a beautiful waterfront and some of the nicest people you will find in Canada.

Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

The Fortress of Louisbourg, which was initially constructed in 1713 and was one of the busiest Canadian seaports in the early 18th century, is located on the rocky shores of Nova Scotia. You may now step into the history of this tiny French port town by visiting the Fortress, which has been meticulously restored.

When you visit the Fortress of Louisbourg during the hot summer months, you may immerse yourself in a real soldier's life because the fortress's entertaining activities alter throughout the year. Try some real military bread or even fire a musket that is an exact duplicate of one from the 18th century.

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove, a little fishing community, is only 43 kilometers from Halifax. This fishing community, perched on the Atlantic coast, takes pride in playing the part of a historical reconstruction of a typical fishing community. You won't be let down with the approximately 40 historical structures to visit, which run through fishing piers, boat houses, and art galleries. Learn more about what life was like in a Canadian fishing town by chatting with the costumed guides as they go about their everyday activities.

Grand Pre National Historic Site

At Halifax's Grand Pre National Historic Site, a charming 18th-century chappal with a sordid past is surrounded by immaculately kept gardens.

In order to live in the area, the Acadians who were the first to settle in the Grand Pré area as farmers exploited the saltwater marshes of the Bay of Fundy. 10,000 Acadians were exiled and their farms were burned to the ground when Nova Scotia later became a cause of strife between the British and the French when the Acadians refused to switch their allegiance to France in 1755. Grand Pre's historical significance at that time is attested to by the Grand Pre National Historic Site.

Art & Literature Tour

The cultural hub of Nova Scotia is Halifax. Music, art, and theater have been the main draws since its inception. A large number of officers supported and took part in these activities back when the town was a garrison town.

These customs are carried on by Symphony Nova Scotia, the Neptune Theatre, and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. The permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is kept in its Halifax facility, which also features a variety of exhibitions and activities. Thomas Chandler Haliburton, Thomas McCulloch, Thomas Raddall, and Charles Ritchie are well-known authors connected to the city.

Lunenburg Waterfront

The Lunenburg Waterfront is a must-see destination if you're ever in Canada. The Lunenburg waterfront's magnificently painted heritage buildings serve as a reminder of the port's active past.

Watch the diligent fishermen shovel ice to preserve the freshness of their catch or observe ships entering the harbour. You can also go over to the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic to speak with skilled, seasoned fishermen and learn everything you could possibly need to know. You can also get close and personal with several Halibuts and 6-kg lobsters in an aquarium.

Education in Halifax

Canada is a nation that believes in educating future generations through quality and accessible education. Students in Halifax, Nova Scotia participate in provincial, national, and international assessments and examinations throughout their school careers. If you want a great career and a bright future, study in Canada.


Preschool is the ideal institution to start your child’s early learning and academics. It is also a great daycare option for working moms and dads. Most kids attend preschool between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. There are many different types of preschool programs and approaches in Canada. This includes academic, play-based, community-based, and faith-based programs.

Public Primary and Secondary Schools

Public schools operate directly under the Minister of Education. They are publicly funded, meaning you don’t pay any tuition fees and the school’s are governed by locally elected school division boards.


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 1,000 people, three times the national average.

Unique Immigration Visas to Halifax

Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP)

When you are prepared to relocate to lovely Nova Scotia, you should submit an application to one of the NSNP streams. Prospective immigrants who possess the knowledge and experience Nova Scotia is looking for may be nominated to immigrate through the NSNP. Examine the various NSNP streams to see if you're eligible:

  • Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities
  • Labour Market Priorities for Physicians
  • Physician
  • Entrepreneur
  • International Graduate Entrepreneur
  • International Graduates In Demand
  • Skilled Worker
  • Occupations in Demand
  • Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry

Applications that are qualified for processing could take three (3) months or longer. Apply for your permanent residence visa with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (RICC) within six)months of getting your nominated certificate. All medical, security, and criminal requirements for you, your spouse, and your dependents must be met. You might occasionally be requested to attend an interview. The decision to grant a permanent residence visa rests with the IRCC.

Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP)

For qualified immigrant workers and international graduates from a Canadian institution who want to live and work in one of Canada's four Atlantic provinces—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador—the Atlantic Immigration Program is a route to permanent residence.

As Halifax is in Nova Scotia, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through the AIP if you want to settle in this beautiful seaside city.

Pros and Cons

Like any city in the world, Halifax has its pros and cons. Whether you decide to settle here or not largely depends on getting a good or securing good schools for your children, or; if you’re a student: attending a good university in Halifax. Consider the great things that Halifax has to offer like:

  • Low cost of living comparatively
  • Mild weather
  • Access to the beach
  • High quality of life
  • Low crime rates

But be aware of the cons, too:

  • Like the fact that it’s hard to travel from Halifax or;
  • High tax rates
  • That the city is overflowing with rowdy students (Halfiax has a a lot fo bars). For young people, however, this could be a pro.
  • You’ll need a car if you want to leave Halifax and explore Novia Scotia


What Sports Event Happens in Halifax?

The biggest sports event is the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon held every May. Over two days, participants will take part in six different events including the 5 km, 10 km, half marathon, full marathon, marathon team relay and youth run. The event benefits charities through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, as participants will raise money for 73 registered charities.

Does Nova Scotia Have A National Park?

There are two national parks in Nova Scotia. Cape Breton Highlands and Kejimkujik are the two national Parks in Nova Scotia. They are situated at either end of NS and both offer amazing scenery, wildlife viewing, hiking, and camping areas.

What is The Fort in Halifax?

The Citadel is the highest part of downtown Halifax, it is a fortified location that looks out over the harbour. It was built by the English in the 1700s and has been remodelled a few times. It is a historic site now and hosts many concerts and events on the hills around it. They still fire the noon hour cannon from the Citadel every day.

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