Best walks to discover Halifax

Feeling the warm air or the cold breeze, the smell of a coffee shop or the ocean, the birds chirping or the waves hitting the rocks, the sound of your feet on dry leaves on the ground or kids laughing are all modest actions but provide a resourceful sensation and a pleasant way to sense a city by simply walking.These are four places that you should explore while in Halifax:

  1. Harbourwalk
  2. Public Gardens
  3. Barrington Street / Hollis street
  4. Point Pleasant

1.      Harbourwalk

Free to access, the 4km (about 2.5miles) boardwalk is next to the Atlantic Ocean. The wooden pathway, not in a straight line, is clean and provides the connection between the water and the city. Boats of different sizes change the scenery daily.

You can spend minutes, hours, or a full day just here. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the Farmer’s Market, the Discovery Center, the Alexander Keith Brewery and the Casino are closely connected with the Harbourwalk.  If you choose to do it all, start early.  You do not need to go any further to find a restaurant, a snack, or a beer. Again, walk along the care-free area to find one.

Historic places like Georges Island, the Historic Properties, Alexander Keith building, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and the history of cable communication at Cable Wharf are interesting elements to understand. Signs along the pathway commemorate special events.

Take a break, sit on one of the hammocks or chairs to enjoy the sound of water hitting the shores, the warm ray of the sun on your skin, or watch for a seal’s head peeking out of the water. Even if your mobility is not optimal, you can still explore the Harbourwalk.

Artworks are also dispersed so you are likely to find something at every few steps of your exploration. Look for a sculptured wave, the drunken posts and the bicycle tree.  Memorials give you a hint of the important people that have influenced today’s Halifax.

If a temporary fair is there, go for a ride. Looking for a souvenir, I recommend the Historic Properties.

For more information on the click here.

 2. Public Gardens

Looking for a greener place to visit?  Think about the Public Gardens.  20 minutes from the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic you will find more shade here in this park. And, if you have not been to the Central Library, I highly recommend going via Spring Garden Road and stop at the library. As you enter the Victorian-style iron gates on Spring Garden Road, you will have a feeling like royalty. The cured grounds, the sound of the birds chirping and the water softly going under the white mini-bridge await newlyweds for a romantic photo. Flower beds, mature trees, ponds, fountains, statues and a bandstand give it a glamorous and rich style. You will forget for a moment that you are in a city.

You can combine this walk with a visit to the Citadel and/or walk the green, treeless hill or as mentioned above, the Central Library.

For more information on the Public Gardens click here.

3.      Barrington Street / Hollis Street (Old South suburb)

This 2.7km (1.67miles) loop without stops is an estimated walk of more than half an hour. If it is your first visit, expect to take some time to stop. You also might even be tempted to get side-tracked. It is up to you to stay on or improvise.

On one end, you will find the Via Rail Station and on the other, Granville Mall. Both are nice places to stop. It does not matter if you go on Barrington or Hollis first but I highly recommend that you do both streets.

Add an extra 10 minutes if you go on Spring Garden Road to the Central Library and back to Barrington Street. Another 15 minutes if you choose to go in, which I recommend.

On Barrington Street, you will have a view of the town clock.  When crossing George Street, you will come across the Grand Parade with the first church in Halifax, St.Paul’s Church and the City Hall. At Spring Garden Road, you will be next to St.Mary’s Cathedral with its unique gothic white granite spire, the old burial grounds and St.Matthew’s United Church and  the Old South Suburb area.

Look around, enjoy the residential architecture. It will be like taking a step back in time as many constructions date to the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th in a location that was praised for political figures, merchants and entrepreneur housing. You will see stylish, distinguished housing designs.

When you reach the end, you are at the connection of Hollis and Barrington Streets where you can find the Via Rail station in front of Peace and Friendship Park, the turning point, or Granville Mall with the two lion’s sculptures. Time to go back via Hollis Street.  You will find the Government House, nice residential places, the Provincial House, the Art Gallery and surprises.

For more information on Old South Suburb click here.

4.      Point Pleasant Park

Point Pleasant Park is a large waterfront area with historical ruins, mature trees, memorials, a beach and trails. One of which will take you to one of the Martello Towers.

On one side you will see a merchandise port of Halifax with multiple containers.

You can go by car or it is estimated at 20 minutes on foot from the Seaport Farmer’s Market via the industrial neighbourhood, and for this reason, I would opt for a car, if possible, or bus. The scenery and the residential streets are agreeable.For more information on the park click here.

More on Point Pleasant Park click here.