Halifax City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 12, 2007

Halifax is a city well known for its colorful history and distinctive culture, even in a country that has no shortage of noteworthy cities. From its discovery in 1605 by Samuel de Champlain, Halifax has grown immensely in terms of structure and culture yet its unique local color has always remained a constant presence.

A lot of Halifax’s remarkable progress over the years is the direct result of its harbor, which is considered by many to be one of the best in the world. Sufficiently deep and wide, bordered on three sides by imposing hills, and with an island serving as a protective barrier against the winds sweeping in from the ocean at its mouth, the harbor is possibly one of the city’s best features, solely responsible for Halifax’s stature as the premier port city of Canada.

Residential Places in Halifax

Halifax has attracted a large number of people in recent years, many of whom choose to take up long term residence in the city because of its vibrant culture, excellent growth opportunities, stunning natural features and most of all, the superior quality of life that it offers. The ocean is never very far away in Halifax, so breathtaking views of the ocean are available from almost any point in the city.

If you have taken the time to research on apartment and condominium prices in the other major cities of Canada, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover that the rent in Halifax is much cheaper than anywhere else. The close proximity to schools, shopping centers, and the commercial business district–as well as easy access to public transportation–make Halifax an ideal place to stay for a few months…or even longer!

Hospitals and Universities of Halifax

There certainly is no shortage of medical care in Halifax, with a host of fully equipped modern general hospitals in addition to several smaller clinics and health care facilities located throughout the city. Among the bigger hospitals are the Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Center, the Dartmouth General Hospital, I.W.K. Grace Hospital, Nova Scotia Hospital and the Cobequid Multi-Service Center.

Given that Halifax is one of the foremost bastions of education in the country, there is no shortage of learning institutions either. Among the many universities in the city are Dalhousie University, The Technical University, St. Mary’s University & Mount Saint Vincent, The Nova Scotia College of Art & Design and The Atlantic School of Theology.

Dalhousie University is particularly well regarded, being the largest university in the city, offering courses in medicine, dentistry and law as well as graduate studies. The Technical University focuses primarily on engineering and architecture and they offer graduate studies that will prepare students for an eventual doctoral degree in engineering.

In addition to these universities, there are also numerous vocational and trade schools all over the city.

Commercial Places in Halifax

Much of the commercial and cultural activity in Halifax revolves around the Spring Garden district, which along with Quinpool Road and Barrington Street forms the city’s entertainment and shopping hub. Spring Garden itself is comprised of many smaller streets along with South Park Street and Spring Garden Road, with which the district shares its name.

Considered by many to be one of the–if not the–trendiest areas in Halifax, Spring Garden enjoys a healthy crowd of revelers at all hours of the day and night, many of whom are drawn to the district’s numerous bars, restaurants, coffee shops, specialty stores and boutiques.

Spring Garden is also the location for one of the city’s most famous landmarks, the Lord Nelson Hotel, which first drew attention in the 1960s as a popular haven for artists and other people of the more bohemian persuasion. The surrounding area is still a colorful attraction to this day, and during the summer months there is the addition of another well-loved Halifax landmark: the Bud the Spud chip truck.

Service Establishments of Halifax

All electrical energy requirements in Halifax are provided by the Nova Scotia Power Corporation, whom you can call at (902) 428-6230 for your connection and disconnection needs. Telephone services in the city are provided by Maritime Tel & Tel and you can reach them at 811 (800) 688-9611.

Halifax Regional Municipality is in charge of supplying water to Halifax and they are also responsible for garbage collection and sanitation in the city. For water connection services you can call (902) 490-4820 and for garbage collection you can call (902) 490-5960.

Cable television is provided by EastLink and they provide high speed Internet services as well, although there are many other smaller Internet providers in the city. You can reach them at (902) 453-2800.

Finally there are two major newspapers in the city: the Halifax Chronicle Herald and the Halifax Mail Star.

Embassies in Halifax

There is a British Honorary Consul office that services both the Halifax and Dartmouth areas, although they will not be able to help you with any Visa related matters. For that, you will have to direct your inquiries to the office of the British High Commission in Ottawa.

Nonetheless, for any other services that your consulate office can help you with, you can get in touch with them at 1 Canal Street, P.O. Box 605, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 3Y9. Their telephone number is (1) (902) 461 1381 and their fax number is (1) (902) 465 2578. Office hours are from Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1700 local time.

The offices of the British High Commission can be found 80 Elgin Street, K1P 5K7. Their telephone number is (1) (613) 237 1530 and you can fax them at the following numbers:

(1)(613) 237 7980 for general inquiries,

(1)(613) 232 0738 for management related concerns,

(1)(613) 232 2533 for help with your Visa,

(1)(613) 237 5211 for economic matters,

(1)(613) 237 6537 for assistance with your passport, and

(1)(613) 567 8045 for political concerns.

You can also email them at [email protected] and their office hours are from Monday to Friday, 0830 to 1630 local time.

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