Historic Halifax

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Today we welcome Andy, a charming, knowledgeable and above all entertaining guide from Halifax, Canada. Founded in 1749, Halifax is one of Canada’s oldest cities, and prides itself on being both historically and culturally diverse (and an awful lot of fun besides). Andy has put together a list of his favourite historic attractions in this lively maritime city.

The ”Titanic” Cemetery. Twenty minutes from Halifax's historic downtown, the Fairview Cemetery is the final resting place for 121 of the Titanic's victims. (Thirty other victims are interred in two of Halifax's other cemeteries.) Among those buried in the Fairview's special Titanic section include: Luigi Gatti, manager of the Titanic's a la carte restaurant, his brother in law Italo Donati and John Dawson, the 19 year old who people associate with the star of James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster movie, Titanic.

Located smack dab in the middle of Halifax is North America's oldest Victorian gardens. Opened in 1867, the Halifax Public Gardens feature over 300 plants, shrubs and trees from around the world. For Halifax residents and visitors, the Public Gardens now serve as a stunning site of botany as well as a delightful retreat from busy city life. The Public Gardens, now consisting of 16 acres, first began when local residents requested a community garden. The city gave them part of the city's dumps. Designated a National Historic Site in 1984, the Public Gardens includes a bandstand (1887) as well as a Victorian fountain (1897).

Keith's Brewery prides itself on being North America's oldest operating brewery. Located in Halifax's historic downtown (along Lower Water Street), it now houses a working brew house, a company store and an interpretative centre. Costumed interpreters are available to conduct guided tours. Scottish brewmaster Alexander Keith founded this business in 1820. In addition to operating the brewery, Mr. Keith also served as Halifax's mayor and in other political positions.

Over one million people entered Canada through Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Located along the city's waterfront, this site, recently designated the Canadian Museum of Immigration, served as an entry point for countless new Canadians, those looking for a new life, employment opportunities and adventure. From 1928 to 1971, this building welcomed immigrants, war brides, displaced people, evacuated children as well as Canadian military personnel. The Museum collects, shares and pays tribute to the many stories of Canadian immigration. For many years, this humble building housed Immigration Services, Customs, Health and Welfare and Red Cross operations. You could say that it was instrumental in nation building.

If you’d like to learn more about the history of one of Eastern Canada’s most interesting cities (and perhaps enjoy a pint of Keith’s India Pale Ale), meet Andy for a private city tour: Private guide in Halifax.
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