It's no secret that Canada's good-natured spirit and warm, 'down-home' hospitality is most on display in the provinces of Atlantic Canada and leading the charge is Nova Scotia's capital and largest city, Halifax. Armed with important historical buildings, a lively waterfront on one of the largest natural harbours in the world and enough pubs and seafood restaurants to supply three fun-loving universities, Halifax and the surrounding area is nothing short of a national treasure. Oh, and don't forget your lobster bib!
Originally occupied by the Mi'kmaq tribe, the picturesque peninsula was settled as a British military outpost in 1749. That same year, construction began on the Halifax Citadel (its present version completed in 1861) which is still the city's main landmark. Perched high on a hill over the city, the star-shaped fort and Canadian Heritage Site has a perfect view of the harbour and today, is a popular museum where ceremonial cannons still fire each summer day at noon. Between Citadel Hill and Halifax Harbour is the downtown core and most of the city's action. The eastern side of the peninsula is the community of Dartmouth and the ferry that operates in between dates back to 1752.
After WWII, Pier 21 acted as Canada's Ellis Island and processed over one million European immigrants. Today, the historic waterfront building has been renamed and opened as the National Immigration Museum. Nearby, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic's collection includes relics from the Titanic and a tribute to 1917's Halifax harbour explosion that killed 2000, as well as hosting summer ship tours of the CSS Acadia & HMCS Sackville.
With a typical maritime climate, Halifax really goes off between May and October when buskers and musicians line the scenic waterfront and the Seaport Farmer's Market. Claiming to be North America's oldest running, the market is open every day of the year (with Saturdays being the busiest) and is packed full of produce from the Annapolis Valley, local milk and breads but clothing, books, art and everything else too. Summers also bring a number of festivals to the city. In particular, the Halifax Busker Festival (August) is possibly the country's biggest and along the waterfront, bars, music and food stalls are jammed with patrons. Every few years, the Tall Ships Festival hosts some of the world's most historic and unique ships.
Just outside Halifax are some of Canada's most scenic drives. Along Highway 3, Peggy's Cove, Lunenburg and Mahone Bay attract droves of visitors and for good reason. The vistas are spectacular and the many lookout points along the way are a perfect opportunity to snap that perfect postcard picture.