By Jennifer Melo Canadian Living Magazine
A rich history, the wonders of the ocean, a first-class culinary scene, and friendly people: you name it, Nova Scotia’s got it.
If you’re planning a trip to the East Coast, you’ll find no shortage of fun things to do and beautiful places to see. Here are just seven reasons to visit Nova Scotia.
Things to do in Halifax
1. Halifax Maritime Museum of the Atlantic – Learn about the effects of World II on Halifax with incredible model ships and aircraft that’ll take you back in time. Don’t miss the Titanic exhibit where you can see relics from the “unsinkable ship,” including an intact medicine cabinet and pieces of the Titanic’s great staircase. You’ll also see an authentic deck chair from the ill-fated ship and you can sit in a replica for a photo op.
2. Art Gallery of Nova Scotia – A look into The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia permanent collection gives you a good summary of Halifax life and is a nice way to get to know the city. From folk artist Maud Lewis’s eclectic home to kids workshops that nurture the youngest budding artists, The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia offers plenty of pleasing ways to spend a few hours as you peruse their extensive and impressive collections.
3. Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour – Step back in time to 1863 when brew master Alexander Keith was busy crafting his much-loved ale. Actors dressed in period costumes guide you through Mr. Keith’s story, explain how to make beer and take you to the Stag’s Head Tavern where adults can enjoy two beer samplings and live music. You’ll end this tour with a new appreciation for Alexander Keith’s beer and his life’s work as a local politician, a businessman, a philanthropist and a quality-conscious brew master.
4. Pier 21 – For hundreds of thousands of immigrants who made Canada their new home, Pier 21 is where they took their first steps on Canadian soil. For the half a million Canadian troops who journeyed to Europe in World War II, Pier 21 was the last Canadian sight they saw before going off to battle. Today, Pier 21 is an immigration museum on Halifax’s harbour where you can stop by for interesting exhibits that reveal stories of the million people who passed through the pier.
5. Harbour Hopper Tour – See Citadel Hill, Pier 21, huge ships from the Canadian Navy fleet and more on this fun and kid-friendly tour which starts on land, plunges into the Halifax harbour and crawls back onto land via an amphibious vehicle. You can expect to holler out “Ribbit! Ribbit!” to locals and at other Harbour Hopper touring vehicles (the kids love it!) but you can also expect to hear some interesting facts about local landmarks.
The story of the Halifax explosion — the greatest human-made tragedy, second in devastation only to the atomic bomb — takes on an eerie realness as you drift over the same waters where two ships collided, sparking a massive explosion on Dec. 6, 1917. On a lighter note, you just might catch sight of a seal as it bobs its head out of the water.
Nova Scotia towns worth seeing
6. Peggy’s Cove – No trip to Nova Scotia is complete without a visit to a lighthouse and Peggy’s Point Lighthouse certainly has a way with the visitors. The popular tourist attraction draws more than 750,000 visitors a year, even though it lives in a town with only 50 permanent residents: Peggy’s Cove. Built in 1914, the lighthouse is unstaffed today and it’s used as a post office but its beacon still illuminates the Atlantic Ocean, warning ships of dangerous rocky shores ahead.
7. Lunenburg – Shuck some scallops, eat at a waterfront restaurant and stop in at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg, an enchanting fishing village where The Bluenose II docks when she’s not on tour. Lunenburg boasts a picturesque waterfront with several restaurants housed in historic properties overlooking a sparkling Lunenburg Bay. Just 92 km southwest from Halifax, make time for a pleasant drive to this wonderful community, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Halifax and its neighbouring towns are rich with interesting stories, architectural charm, raw beauty and friendly people. With so much to see and do, find out for yourself why Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s greatest treasures.
Get more ideas for planning your perfect trip to Nova Scotia at destination halifax.com or novascotia.com.