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Halifax in Canada - experiences in Nova Scotia

Are you familiar with Halifax, Canada? Maybe you've even been here? We visited Halifax, Canada in the summer of 2012 for a conference. Luckily, we had booked some extra time to discover this beautiful Canadian city. Halifax turned out to be a gem!


Halifax in Canada

Halifax is the provincial capital and also the largest city in the province of Nova Scotia in Canada. Nova Scotia ("New Scotland" in Latin) is located on the southeast coast of Canada, and is the most populated coastal province in the country. It was given the name Nova Scotia in 1713, when it was conquered by the British.

The municipality of Halifax has just over 370 000 inhabitants. The city was founded in 1749 and named after George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax. The city is famous for a violent accident in 1917, when two ships collided and caused an explosion that was not surpassed in size until the arrival of the atomic bomb. More than 2000 people died and much of the city was destroyed. Today, Halifax feels like a nice holiday town, at least in the summer.

Nova Scotia
Halifax, Canada - seen from the waterfront
Colourful houses in the city centre

What to do in Halifax?

We visited Halifax because I (Helena) was here on the a scientific conference on intellectual disability. The conference lasted a whole week, and Peter and I decided to stay a few more days to look around. So what can you do in Halifax? Here are our top five tips for things to do!

In place for the conference!

1. strolling in the harbour

Hamnen i Halifax är fantastiskt trevlig med en lång strandpromenad. På sommaren är det skön semesterstämning här med små butiker som säljer glass eller snabbmat, stånd som säljer smycken och trevliga fisk- och skaldjursrestauranger. Här finns också bänkar och solstolar för den som bara vill slappna av en stund.

Peter Halifax
Peter in the harbour on our first day in the city
Murphys Halifax
Murphy's became our favourite place!

Man kan med fördel strosa längs med hamnen och titta på alla båtar, allt från lastfartyg till segelbåtar och enorma lyxyachter. Ombord på lyxyachterna kan man skymta ett liv i sus och dus, alltid med en stor besättning som sköter det praktiska. I stort sett alla är försedda med flaggor från skatteparadis …

Båtar halifax hamn
Huge luxury yachts in the harbour, one after the other ...
Yacht Kanada
It takes a lot of staff to do this!

A slightly different boat, which we also saw in the harbour, is Theodore Tugboat, or Bosse Bogserbåt as it is called in Swedish. The boat is known from a Canadian TV series for children about a tugboat that lives in a harbour together with all his boat friends. The TV show apparently originated right here in Halifax!

Theodore tugboat
Bosse tugboat on site in Halifax harbour

2. Eating fish and seafood

You should definitely take the opportunity to eating fish and seafood när man är i Halifax i Kanada. Det finns gott om fiskrestauranger längs hamnen, och här serveras i första hand lax, kolja, hummer, scampi, krabbkött, blåmusslor, pilgrimsmusslor och oyster. Seafood can be served as is or cooked in stews, soups, gratins, pasta, crepes, salads and sandwiches.

We celebrated Peter's birthday with a seafood platter.
Oysters from three different regions served with several different sauces
Skaldjurscasserole - fylld med lax, kolja, hummer, scampi och pilgrimsmusslor
Seafood casserole - stuffed with salmon, haddock, lobster, scampi and scallops

It felt like there was an abundance of lobster, because lobster was served everywhere and with everything. For example, when we ordered a fish stew, we could almost be sure that it would contain lobster, even if it was not clearly specified on the menu. It was also possible (at least when we were here) to get a lobster taco at the nearest taco bar or lobster roll, in the form of a McLobster, at McDonald's!

McLobster at McDonald's in Halifax, Canada

3. go on a boat trip with a sailing ship

There are many different boats and boat tours in Halifax Harbour, and we chose to take the a boat trip with a large classic sailing ship. The ship we chose to go on was incredibly beautiful and was steered traditionally, using manpower to hoist and carry the sails. The young officers steering the boat were incredibly skilful - fun to watch! For our part, we were content to sit on the deck and enjoy the ride.

Tur med segelbåt Halifax
Great day on the water in the summer heat!
Båttur Halifax
Skilled crew took care steered the ship
Segelbåt Halifax
We could take it easy ...

4. go on a guided tour by amphibious boat

One day we took a so-called "Harbour Hopper tour", that is, a ride on an amphibious boat. This green-blue intermediate between car and boat started on land and went straight into the water. We got an interesting guided tour of the city first from the sea side, and then by driving around the city as a completely "normal" car. The vehicle? It has apparently served in the Vietnam War, but then, in peacetime, got a much more pleasant task.
Harbour hopper tour
From military vehicles to recreational vehicles ...
Guided tours on the water
There is Bosse's tugboat!
Some of the roads are quite steep

5. Shopping

There are a lot of shops in Halifax and we did some shopping while we were there. We found the fashion and clothing style quite different from home, but that's what's interesting when you're travelling!

When it came to sizes, we had to choose slightly smaller sizes than we do at home. For example, I shopped for some tops in the "extra small" size and that would never happen in Sweden. Here I buy medium, and sometimes even large.

We also had to think about prices. The price on the clothes in the shop, the price is before you have added VAT. It works when you get used to it, but in the beginning you have to think about it. It's easy to think that everything is cheaper than it really is!

Service och priser i Kanada
Shopping finds from Canada

Accommodation in Halifax

Det finns gott om hotell i Halifax, och många ligger centralt eller nere vid vattnet. Vi bodde på ett hotell som heter The Prince George Hotel. Bortsett från att frukosten var dyr och inte ingick i priset (men det verkar vara det normala här) så var vi nöjda med hotellet. Rummet var trivsamt och vi hade fin utsikt över hamnen och en kort promenad till centrum.

Hotellrum Kanada
Our hotel room in Halifax, Canada
Halifax kanada
View from the room

Restaurants in Halifax

As we mentioned earlier, seafood is a must in Halifax! Our absolute favourite restaurant was Murphy's, located down by the harbour on Lower Water Street.

Halifax hamn
Peter with a book in the sun

Travelling to Halifax

For example, you can fly with SAS, Brittish Airways or Finnair to London, and from there to Halifax with, for example, AirCanada or Lufthansa. Another option is to fly with SAS to New York and from there to Halifax.

See more in Canada

Of course, there is so much to see in Canada! We haven't been anywhere else in Canada yet, but we would love to see more of the great outdoors.

A completely different reason to travel to Canada is to go on a hockey trip! Please read our interview with Peter's niece Dessi about their hockey trip to Canada.

Svensk hejarklack på hockeymatch i Kanada
Swedish cheerleaders at hockey game in Canada

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