My family has been traveling to the Halifax area since I was in Kindergarten. As I’ve gotten older and had kids of my own, it was natural to bring them up to visit family. We’ve also enjoyed a few trips to the waterfront in Halifax and Catherine is now at the age where she’s really starting to enjoy the area.
Halifax is not as popular as it’s West coast counterpart, Vancouver. Like Vancouver, it’s a maritime city with plenty to do and see. We timed our visit this to year to coincide with the Busker festival, a festival of street performers that focuses on the Halifax waterfront. When I was younger it used to be more spontaneous, with various street performers carving out a corner here and there throughout the city. It’s become more formalized with 4 or 5 stages along the waterfront. There’s always a show going on during the two weeks of Buskers, and the majority of the shows are appropriate for kids of all ages.
There’s also a military presence in Halifax with a naval shipyard not far from the main part of downtown. There are a few ships that have taken up permanent residence for tours along the waterfront, and at the start of the Busker festival this year we were lucky enough to have service ready Destroyer from the Royal Canadian Navy dock alongside the festivities for tours. Catherine got to stand on the helo deck, sit in the captain’s chair, and even take a moment to drive the boat (well, pretend to drive).
We hopped on some of the older ships for tours where Catherine tried out her steering skills once again.
And, as it turned out, we kept running into the same street performer that Catherine fell in love with. She must have seen her a half dozen times over the course of our short visit. Poor lady must have been sweating like crazy in the 90 degree heat!
Though we didn’t get the chance to go this time, there’s also the Citadel, a fort on top of the hill in Halifax that served as a battleground dating back to the 1700s. For kids, there are some secret tunnels and guard shacks to run through, as well as a ceremonial firing of a cannon every day at noon.
A short walk from the Citadel is a kid’s science museum with plenty to occupy kids on a rainy day.
About a 45-minute drive from downtown Halifax is Peggy’s Cove, one of the more memorable images of Nova Scotia and it’s embrace of the maritime surroundings. Nearby is the memorial for Swissair Flight 111, a sad remembrance of the plane that went down offshore over a decade ago.
Peggy’s Cove is one of the few remaining lighthouses that dotted the coast of Nova Scotia. There’s a bunch of shops and a few restaurants right nearby and plenty of places for kids to climb and explore (not to mention a few caves).
Any family can easily find 5 or 6 days worth of exploring to do in the Halifax area. The winters in the area can be a bit brutal but spring, summer and fall all have unique characteristics that make it an enjoyable place to visit for most of the year.