Halifax Harbour

Halifax Harbour: Maritime Beauty

Halifax Harbour, nestled on the eastern coast of Canada, invites you to discover its stunning natural allure and rich maritime heritage. As a captivating waterfront destination, it’s a must-visit for both residents and travelers, offering a plethora of activities and a glimpse into history.

Geographic Areas of Halifax Harbour:

  1. Northwest Arm:

    • Once a river valley, this serene waterway is now a peaceful playground for pleasure boats. Delight in its tranquil atmosphere and calm waters.
  2. The Narrows:

    • As a narrow yet crucial passage to the expansive Bedford Basin, The Narrows adds an intriguing dimension to the harbour’s geography.
  3. Bedford Basin:

    • The heart of Halifax Harbour, Bedford Basin, cradles this maritime treasure. As the harbour’s largest part, it provides a secure haven for ships, surrounded by breathtaking vistas.

Whether you seek the tranquility of the Northwest Arm, the fascination of The Narrows, or the splendor of Bedford Basin, Halifax Harbour assures an unforgettable experience for all who venture to its shores.

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History of Halifax Harbour

Halifax Harbour is a strategic location with a long and storied history. It was used by the British as a naval harbour in the early 1700s and played a major role in the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

In 1917, the Halifax Explosion, the largest man-made explosion in history, occurred in the harbour. The explosion killed over 2,000 people and destroyed much of the city. The disaster taught important lessons about safety protocols and disaster preparedness.

Today, Halifax harbour is a thriving port and a popular tourist destination. The city has rebuilt from the Halifax Explosion, and the harbour is now a safe and secure place.

Top Spots Near Halifax Harbour

Georges Island National Historic Site

It is a small island situated in the middle of the harbour, directly in front of what today is the Halifax waterfront.

The island is accessible by ferry from the Cable Wharf in Halifax. The ferry ride takes about 15 minutes.

Waterfront Boardwalk

The Waterfront Boardwalk is a 3-kilometer long walkway that stretches along the harbor. It is a popular spot for walking, jogging, and biking. The boardwalk is also lined with shops, restaurants, and bars.

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site:

The Halifax Citadel is a 19th-century fortress that overlooks the harbor. It is one of the best-preserved fortifications in North America. The citadel offers stunning views of the harbor and the city.


Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its colorful buildings and its history as a shipbuilding center. The town was founded in 1753 by German settlers, and it quickly became a major shipbuilding center.

Fortress of Louisbourg

The Fortress of Louisbourg was a French fortress that was built in the early 18th century to protect the French colony of Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) from British attack.

The Fortress of Louisbourg is a large and complex place, and there are many things to see and do.

Pier 21 - Canadian Museum of Immigration

It is a former ocean liner terminal and immigration shed that was used from 1928 to 1971 to process immigrants to Canada. The museum tells the story of these immigrants and their contributions to Canada.

Port Bickerton Lighthouse Interpretive Centre

Port Bickerton Lighthouse Interpretive Centre is a former lighthouse built in 1901 and decommissioned in 1976. The interpretive center tells the story of the lighthouse and its role in the history of Halifax Harbour.

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic:

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is home to a collection of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Nova Scotia’s maritime history. The museum also has a special exhibit on the Titanic.

Things to Do In Halifax Harbour

  • Explore Historic Properties: The Historic Properties district is a waterfront neighborhood that is home to many historic buildings. Visitors can explore the shops, restaurants, and art galleries in this district.
  • Visit Local Eateries: There are many great restaurants in Halifax Harbor, serving everything from seafood to fine dining. Be sure to try some of the local cuisine, such as lobster rolls and fish and chips.
  • Enjoy Outdoor Activities: There are many outdoor activities that can be enjoyed in Halifax Harbor, such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming. There are also several waterfront parks where you can relax and enjoy the views.
  • Attend Festivals and Events: There are many festivals and events that take place in Halifax Harbor throughout the year. These include Tall Ships Nova Scotia, the Halifax Jazz Festival, and the Halifax Seaport Christmas Market.


To navigate safely in Halifax Harbour, boaters must follow the rules of the road and use the navigation publications and Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) provided by the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG). These publications and services provide information on the navigation channels, hazards, and aids to navigation in the harbour. Boaters should also be aware of the tides and currents, stay alert for other vessels and hazards, and use a VHF radio to communicate with other vessels. If you are unsure of the safe way to navigate, contact the CCG for assistance.

Here are some key points to remember:

  • Follow the rules of the road.
  • Use the navigation publications and VTS services provided by the CCG.
  • Be aware of the tides and currents.
  • Stay alert for other vessels and hazards.
  • Use a VHF radio to communicate with other vessels.
  • Contact the CCG for assistance if you are unsure of the safe way to navigate.

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