I lived in Halifax for a year as a kid. I remember loving it because of its proximity to the ocean. I’ve still got fond memories of the city, perhaps because that’s where John and I got engaged. I’m not sure if that constitutes a fun fact or even an interesting fact but now you know.
I’ve got the city in my sights for next summer and thought I’d share some of the fun, weird and interesting facts that I’ve dug up about Halifax.
Here are 26 fun and interesting facts about Halifax.
- Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia. It hosts the largest population east of Quebec City – 403,000 people at last count.
- Halifax has been around for a long time. It was founded in 1749 by Honorable Edward Cornwallis of England. (Not all agree with the honorable connotation.)
- The Halifax Explosion in 1917 was the world’s largest man-made explosion prior to Hiroshima. About 2,000 people were killed and 9,000 injured when the SS Mont Blanc, a French cargo ship loaded with wartime explosives collided with an empty Norwegian ship. It caught fire and 25 minutes later exploded. A tsunami and pressure wave also occurred and caused considerable damage.
- The Cunard Steamship Line was founded in Halifax in 1840.
- The Public Gardens on Spring Garden Road are a 17 acre oasis containing fountains, rare flowers, trees and the beautiful red gazebo.
- The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site is the most visited National Historic Site in Canada. The practice of firing a gun (from the site) at midday dates from 1856 and continues today.
- The Old Town Clock, a famous landmark, has been keeping time since 1803.
- Point Pleasant Park, a 77 hectare park and one of the cities best, is located on the southern tip of the Halifax Peninsula only 2.5 kilometres from downtown. Halifax rents the site from the British government for 10 cents a year and has a 999 year lease.
- Halifax is on the Atlantic Time Zone.
- Halifax is closer to Dublin, Ireland than it is to Victoria, British Columbia.
- Halifax boasts the second largest ice free natural harbour in the world after Sydney, Australia.
- Halifax enjoys four distinct seasons. Winters are cold and snowy, whilst summer temperatures are usually in the 20-23°C range. Look out for Atlantic Hurricane Season when Halifax can suffer the brunt of tropical storms, depressions and hurricanes. It’s normal to see 670 mm of rain over the period from June 1st to November 30th.
- Halifax has an average of 171 wet days per year.
- The coldest day ever recorded was -29.4°C (-21°F) on February 18, 1922. The highest temperature ever recorded was 37.2°C (99°F) on July 10, 1912.
- On the summer solstice the sun rises at 5:29 AM and sets at 9:04 PM. On the winter solstice the sun rises at 7:48 AM and sets at 4:37 pm.
- The median age is 39. And 59% of the population is under 45
- The average selling price of a house in Halifax in 2011 was $259,060 – one of the lowest in Canada.
- The three biggest employers in Halifax are CFB Halifax, Capital District Health Authority and the Government – on all three levels.
- There are more pubs per capita than any other city in Canada. That might have something to do with the fact below.
- There are six degree granting universities in Halifax – Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Nova Scotia Community College and The Atlantic School of Theology. There are 81 post secondary students per 1,000 people, three times the national average.
- Halifax has a strong connection to the Titanic sinking. There is a permanent Titanic Museum at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
- Seafood is one of the thing great things you’ll find in abundance. Look for lobster, Atlantic salmon and Digby scallops on restaurant menus.
- Every August Halifax hosts an International Busker Festival.
- The biggest sports event is the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon held every May.
- There are no big time professional sports teams but there are the Halifax Mooseheads Hockey Club and Halifax Rainmen Basketball.
- Dave Carroll of United Breaks Guitars fame lives in the Greater Halifax area.
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