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Overview of Where you dock
If you are coming to Halifax of of one of our many cruise ships which come to Halifax each and every year, I would recommend taking a look at what the downtown core has to offer.
The first thing that I would recommend would be to have a look at cruisehalifax.ca, to see how many other cruise ships are coming in at the same time as yours. If you find a bunch of them at the same time, then you will have to make some decisions on what it is that you want to try to accomplish in the 8 hours or so that you have while you are docked in Halifax.
Let’s start with how to Get to Halifax.
The port of Halifax has a great little link site which will show you some of the different ways that it is that you can get to Halifax.
http://cruisehalifax.ca/our-port/ – This will show you some great links to get you to Halifax.
This PDF is a walking tour map of downtown Halifax that you can print off before you come. Or just keep along with this site, and we have different places you can visit on your tour. Historic-Hfx-Map14-WEB
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When you arrive in Halifax you will be docked at either Pier 20, 21, 22 or 23.
No matter where you dock, the first thing that you should know is that if you are planning on taking “shore excursions from the boat, this is where you will be able to find your bus.
Click on the next tab to see what you will find in this area.
Pier 21 - Canada's Ellis Island
We celebrate and share the Canadian immigration experience by honouring the unique stories of immigration throughout history. We also pay tribute to 1.5 million immigrants, war brides, displaced people, evacuee children and Canadian military personnel who passed through Pier 21 between 1928 and 1971.
With a goal of telling the story of all immigration to Canada, Pier 21 includes the broader story of nation building and will soon showcase exhibits highlighting the early beginnings of Canada (including first contact) and immigration from 1867 to the present. We aim to be a national centre for celebrating Canada’s rich culture and diversity. pier21.ca.
Lower Water Street
When you are doing a walking tour of Halifax lower water street is definately one of the streets which you will need to travel. There are many different things to see and do on this old street.
Lower Water street today is much different than it ever was in the past. In 1749 when the decision was made to put the town of Halifax in this area, they started about half the way up the hill by clearning out a main section for a town square and one of the first buildings that they started to make was St. Pauls Church, now found in the Parade Square area of Halifax. Over time as Halifax grew the town was designed to have square blocks and the idea was that they were only going to be 6 streets high by 6 streets wide, and that was it. One of the first streets was water street, which was aptly named as it was directly beside the harbour and the water.
Today Lower Water Street is well known as a transportation route for any trucks that are heading out of the city from the docks in the south end, it is also well travelled by many people as it is the entrance to the longest waterfront boardwalk in North America. My recommendation would be to walk through downtown starting on Lower Water. There are also many bars, pubs and places to eat in this area.
If you are coming in from the Cruise Ship Terminal you have a choice of either walking the boardwalk or you can walk Lower Water Street.
The Garrison Brewery is named after the famous Garrison which was at the heart of the British Town of Halifax. Today if you are in Halifax, you should definately make a trip to Citadel Hill where the Garrison can still be seen during the winter months, you will also hear every 12 O’Clock Noon a cannon fire throughout the downtown core. This would be the Garrison continuing the tradition of the noon day gun from Citadel Hill.
The Garrison Brewery is an excellent place to sample some of the Nova Scotia Craftmanship when it comes to the brewing business. Garrison Brewery has been around in Halifax since 1997, and during that time they have solidified their place in Halifax as a true craft beer. If you drop by the brewery you can try the “samples” at a reasonable price, and you can even buy bottles to take home with you. It is an excellent choice. www.garrisonbrewing.com
Bishops Landing is a very unique place in Halifax. The Landing is a combination of apartments and condos as well as some very unique shops and services in Halifax. A few of the most noteable things that you will find in Bishops Landing are The Bicycle Thief fantastic restaurant in the heart of Halifax, Bishops Cellar which carries some of the best wines from not only Nova Scotia but around the world.
Bishops Landing is also one of the best places to live in Halifax hands down. There are both condos and apartments that are available for people to either purchase or rent. bishopslanding.com
Bishop and Lower Water Street
Bishop’s street is a much different street than many of the streets in Halifax. Originally Bishops Street was two different streets as the lower half (off of Lower Water Street) was once called Bishops Street by itself, however the upper half of the street was named Wallace Street. The Upper Half which was known as Wallace Street was named after the Honorable Judge Wallace whose home stood on the corner of wallace and hollis street.
Mr. Wallace was a man who was on the commission for the city streets and therefore that is how he got his name on a part of the street. Over time however, the street better became known as Bishop Street as the Bishops of the area usually lived on this street. Today the only remenence of Wallace Street is at the top half on the corner of Barrington and Bishops, if you look in the wall of the home on the right hand side (if you are heading to the waterfront) you will see the name Wallace Street.
Alexander Keith's Nova Scotia Brewery
As you come past Bishops Landing however you will then also come up on one of Halifax’s greatest Landmarks. This is the Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery. The Keith’s Brewery was not originally his own, he took over a competitor,” Charles Boggs inheriting the large and commodious brew house and and premises in Lower Water Street” as per the Acadian Recorder (the paper of the time).
The brewery has not changed much in the past 120 plus years, however when you go in, you will have the opportunity to step back in time by taking one of Keith’s hour long tours. This tour “takes you back” to Mr. Keith’s time and you have the opportunity to see how beer was made then, and continues to be now.
Also in the brewery you will also find the Red Stag Tavern, this is a fantastic place to sample some of the greatest pub foods (and of course Keith’s fine ales) in Halifax.
The Mariott Courtyard Hotel
Attached to the Keith’s Brewery is a new hotel / apartments to Halifax. The Mariott has a number of rooms and one of the best views of Halifax Harbour. Located to be easily found in downtown Halifax you will be pleased with your stay here.
Also attached to the hotel and the Brewery is Cut, one of Halifax’s steak houses.
From June 15 – June 17, 1995 the G7 summit was held here, and for this event, they built the glass building you see here on the right hand side. This building today is used for offices for many different businesses and it also has a fantastic map store here called maps and ducks. If you are travelling throughout Nova Scotia and you are looking for some unorthodox maps this is where you will want to find yourself.
If you are here in the summer, the area directly beside the G7 building is a fantastic place to grab some fish and chips, and in August it is home of one of the stages of the Halifax Buskers Festival which is normally held during either the first or second week of August.
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is a place where you will want to go while you are in Halifax. The Museum gives you a full understanding and appreciation of the importance of Halifax to the Canadian Navy, as well as a full understanding of the past, present and future of the Navy and Halifax. The Museum also shows the history of the Halifax Explosion and of Halifax’s link to the Titanic.
From this picture, you would not know it, however this is where the Harbour Hopper departs from many trips a day throughout the spring, summer and fall months. The hopper gives you an opportunity to get a quick one hour tour around Halifax, by land and by water. For more information on this click here.
The Sea Shacks
In the area beside the Harbour Hopper there are a few tourist shacks in this area. There are some very interesting and tasty spots to check out here.
Starting with The Lost Cod Co – this is a small but mighty T-Shirt shop. The owners of the Lost Cod have gone out and found historic logos and pictures from around Halifax that they put on shirts and hats while you wait. If you are looking for something historic and worth a short wait. The Lost Cod is the place to go. Check out their site here: http://www.thelostcod.com/
Another interesting shack in this area is the Battered Fish. Yes, you would be correct that it is a place on the waterfront where you can get fish and chips, but it is worth every penny. It is a great spot where you can grab some food and there are seats on the boardwalk right behind their shack where you can sit and enjoy the summer.
The third shack is known for a Canadian tradition. This is a Beaver Tails. And no for those of you coming off of the cruise ships, we do not actually eat real Beaver Tails. Instead it is a tasty treat that needs to be experienced to be believed. http://www.beavertailsinc.com/
Nova Scotia Crystal / Tim Hortons / Ferry Terminal
The building on the right hand side, is Nova Scotia Crystal, it is the Maritimes only mouth blown hand carved crystal shop, during the summer months you will be able to see them blowing and making some of the crystal through an open side door in the building.
If you continue to walk down to the end of the road, you will see the Halifax Dartmouth Ferry, the ferry is Canada’s oldest working ferry, for more info click here.
Also in the culdisac you will see Stayner’s Wharf, this is one of the best patios during the summer months.
Ferry Boat Lane
Ferry Boat Lane is a small row of many different shops and services, starting with Tim Hortons and going through some very unique shops. Also anchoring the Ferry Boat Lane is the Nova Scotia store which is a great place for you to be able to go and pick up some gifts and souvenirs.
The Historic Properties are a place that you will definately want to go while you are visiting here in Halifax. Many of the buildings that are here have been around for over 100 years and there are some great stories that go with them.
As you are going through the buildings, you will find some of the best places for souvieniers. Also one of the places that is world famous is the Lower Deck Pub. The Lower Deck is a fantasic place to see what true “Nova Scotia Hospitality is all about. The final building over is where you will find the Lower Deck and during the summer months, you will also find Cows Ice Cream, it is one of the best ice cream shops you will find in Canada.
The Hotel on the right hand side is the Mariott Harbourfront, this hotel (like many in this area) are all attached by the pedway system. The Pedways connect you from the Mariott down to the Casino, to Scotia Square and up as far as the Halifax Metro Centre and the World Trade and Convention Centre. To see more on the Pedway click here.
The area that you will see here is also known as the Cogswell Street Exchange. This is one of the most confusing driving places that you will ever come across and so if you are attempting to get to the Casino, go to the right when you get here.
Casino Nova Scotia
On your right hand side you will see the Casino Nova Scotia, this is not only a casino but it is also an excellent place to go to see different shows and events. The Casino is open Sunday – Thursday from 10am – 4am, and on the weekends 24 hours per day. Inside the Casino you may also be interested in the All you can eat buffet, as well as the trapeze restaurant, these are both excellent choices to grab something to eat after your long walk down the boardwalk.
If you have walked the waterfront down, you may be looking at trying to “get up the hill” it is a really large trip up if you are planning on trying to make it, however instead you could head back and forth up the hill to finally reach the top.
If you head up Duke Street you will see on your left and right hand side Granville Street
If you are looking at the “old” section of Granville street the first thing that you will notice is that the street is closed to cars. This area is a protected area of our Historic Properties. All of the buildings that are built on both sides were originally built using steel. If you walk down Granville street and look closely you will see if you look closely at the buildings the markings of the steelwork from New York City. It is an interesting area.
The Split Crow Pub
The first restaurant that you will see in this area is the Split Crow Pub. The split crow is one fo the oldest pubs in Halifax and it is a great place to grab some lunch and a pint in the downtown core. It is also a great place to get your barrings before you head out further.
From Granville Street head up to Barrington Street and look way up.
The clock of City Hall / The Halifax Explosion
When you get to the corner of Barrington and Duke you will see on your left hand side our city hall, or actually our back of city hall. If you look to the top however you will see the clock is stuck at 9:05am. This is because when the Halifax Explosion happened on December 6, 1917 the clock had never been repaired as a reminder of the explosion and that it should never happen again.
Scotia Square on Right hand side
Scotia Square is a small mall that has a pharmacy, a bookstore a dollarama (a place that has a lot of small inexpensive goods, however it is a good place to go to get cheap trinkets to take back to your family. There is also a food court that is mostly open on Monday through Friday. There is also a Starbucks and a Mcdonalds in the mall if you need to get your fix.
Barrington Street towards ship
If you head down Barrington Street on your right hand side you will see a fortified area, up at the top of the hill you will see the old town clock of Halifax, this is a pretty iconic photo opp of Halifax. Head into the fortified area, it is the “Grand Parade”.
The Grand Parade comes from the fact that the oldest building in Halifax can be found in this area. It is Saint Paul’s Church
St Paul's Church - Grand Parade
It is said that Saint Paul’s Anglican church is the oldest building in Halifax. There are many stories about Saint Pauls however the most famous is that when the Halifax Explosion Happened in 1917 it was so powerful that the doors to the church blew open and a piece of the building was lodged in the building. It is normally open for visitors during the day. And yes there are still services done there.