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Recreational activities can help you and your family to stay healthy.  These activities are particularly important for children and youth; they can support a healthy development as well as the development of important values and life skills. Recreation also supports the development of stronger families and healthier communities and connects us with diverse cultures.

With over 50 Community and Recreation Centres around HRM, recreation services offer a variety of programs for youth, adults, and seniors. They have a complete list of facilities, including community centres, pools, fitness facilities, outdoor facilities and arenas, as well as for a detailed list of programs, catalogues and registering information.

Accessibility

Halifax Parks and Recreation is committed to providing safe and accessible programs for everyone to enjoy. Persons with disabilities are welcome to participate in recreation activities compatible to their interests and abilities.

Call your local recreation centre directly to schedule a meeting and discuss program supports. Deadline for inclusion requests is two weeks prior to the program start date. Staff will make every effort to accommodate participants but may be limited based upon the number of requests in certain areas.

Recreation

  • Art Galleries
    • 14 Bell Fine Art Gallery: Located in Halifax's unique Hydrostone Market, the gallery showcases working, contemporary Canadian artists
    • Anna Leonowens Gallery: A public exhibition space within the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCAD) with three locations in Halifax, two storefront premises in Granville mall in downtown Halifax and another one at Port Loggia on the Halifax’s waterfront
    • Argyle Fine Art: Art gallery with a specific focus on emerging to mid-career artists from Atlantic Canada
    • Art 1274 Hollis: Halifax's premiere artist cooperative, is a prime location for locals and tourists alike to find artworks, pottery, jewelry and more created by local artists
    • Art Gallery of Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia’s provincial art gallery, with two locations, one in downtown Halifax and another one in Yarmouth
    • Art Zone Gallery: A family friendly space that supports its members through mentoring their art projects by organizing fine art workshops, events and exhibitions
    • Dalhousie University Art Gallery: A public art gallery and academic support unit within the educational and research context of Dalhousie University
    • Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery: An exhibition space and resource to Mount Saint Vincent communities with a particular emphasis on the representation of women
    • St. Mary’s University Art Gallery: An exhibition space that focuses on contemporary art, featuring both emerging and established artists
    • Secord Gallery: One of the longest established galleries and custom framing shops in Atlantic Canada, the gallery represents established and emerging contemporary artists
    • Studio 21 Fine Art: An exhibition space with a wide representation of Canadian artists as well as from the Atlantic Region
    • The Centre for Craft Nova Scotia: An art space that helps promote Nova Scotian crafts people's careers by exhibiting their work and through residences and courses
    • The Khyber: Presents contemporary visual art, which exists in a wide variety of disciplines
    • Zwicker’s Art Gallery: Offers a wide range of painting, graphics and sculpture by a variety of talented local Canadian and International artists
  • Museums and Heritage Sites
    • Africville Museum: Visitors are invited to walk through the history of Africville, a thriving African Nova Scotian village that was displaced to make way for industrial projects
    • Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia: Both a museum and cultural gathering place, this is a place to discover and explore the rich history of Nova Scotians of African Descent
    • Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21: Occupying part of the historic pier that was one of Canada’s main entry point, this is Canada’s national museum of immigration
    • Citadel Hill National Historic Site: This hilltop fortress built in 1749 is open for visitors to explore a piece of Halifax’s military history
    • Fort McNab National Historic Site: Located at McNab Island, a great hiking spot filled with natural beauty, the fort, built in the 1880’s, is open for visitors
    • Maritime Museum of the Atlantic: The oldest and largest Maritime Museum in Canada, this museum exhibits the greatest collection of Nova Scotia’s marine history
    • Museum of Natural History: With a vast collection of artifacts of cultural significance to Nova Scotia, the museum houses collections from Archeology to marine life and more.
    • NS Sport Hall of Fame: The museum celebrates and preserves all sports history in Nova Scotia.
    • York Redoubt National Historic Site: A 200 year-old fortification overlooking the entrance to the Halifax Harbour, this unique heritage site is filled with beautiful views
  • Theatre
    • 2b Theatre Company: Since 1999, this company has been committed to exploring and reflecting Halifax’s urban intellectual climate
    • Eastern Front Theatre: Halifax’s most prominent theatre, dedicated to the development, production and promotion of Atlantic Canadian artists
    • Neptune Theatre: Atlantic Canada’s largest professional theatre, bringing every year a broad range of theatrical experiences, as well as workshops and summer camps
    • Shakespeare by the Sea: This company has been presenting Shakespeare’s work, along with other popular plays, at Point Pleasant Park every summer
    • TAG (Theatre Arts Guild): Canada’s oldest continuously operated community theatre, the TAG promotes the dramatic arts with a variety of shows and workshops
    • Theatre Nova Scotia: Offering a number of activities and programs to serve Nova Scotia’s theatre and support local talent
  • Markets & Businesses

    In addition to supermarket chains, there are markets in Halifax where residents go to get their groceries and find local products. There are three main markets in Halifax; they are:

    Also, you might want to check the schedule of the Mobile Food Market, which travels to communities with limited options to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and offers them quality, affordable food.

    If you are looking for local businesses, you may want to give a look to I Love Local, a group of community-minded independent businesses helping to strengthen our local economy and supporting emerging entrepreneurs.

  • Outdoors

    There is a variety of things to do both outdoors and indoors in Halifax!

    You can find many parks and open spaces across the city where Haligonians go to gather, play sports, go for a walk or just relax.

    There are also several recreation centres that offer gathering spaces for groups, entertainment and programs. Check their schedule and their programs to find the one that best suits your interests.

    There are also a number of events happening through the year, most of which happen outdoors. Give a look to the schedule of civic events that the city organizes and/or supports.

    During late spring, summer and early fall, there are plenty of supervised beaches, outdoor pools and splash pads for you and your family to swim and enjoy.

    Halifax is surrounded by beautiful natural sites, either accessible by car, public transit or walking distance. There a numerous beautiful trails to take long walks and hike, filled with natural scenery and unmatchable views.

    If you like biking, there are plenty of options for you. Also, if you like skating, the Emera Oval, right at Halifax’s core, offers free skates and helmets rental and is open all-year-round, seven days a week. You can go roller skate or ice skate, depending on the season. If you are a beginner or have never skated at all, you may want to register to their free lessons.

  • Halifax Public Libraries

    The Halifax Public Libraries system operates 13 branch libraries in communities across HRM, from Sheet Harbour to Hubbards, as well as the Central Library on Spring Garden Road. 

    Their lending collections include books, magazines, DVDs, audio books on CD, music CDs, and an extensive collection of free downloadable audiobooks and e-Books. 

    If disability, long-term illness or caregiver responsibilities prevent you from getting to a library location, they can send these materials to your home through their Home Delivery Services. They also have a Borrow by Mail service available for all Halifax residents.

    At the Library, you and your family can:

    • Register to attend English Language Learning classes or book a tutor to help you practice your English. Some branches also have Conversation Groups where you can meet others and practice English in an informal setting. You can also borrow books and CDs to help you learn English, as well as many other languages.
    • Use the library computers to search the Internet, send e-mails, play games, and produce documents. You can also bring your own computer and access free Wi-Fi. They offer as well one-on-one computer training sessions.
    • Borrow multilingual materials, from books to magazines to audiobooks to e-books. There is material available in over 20 languages, including French, Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, German, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Japanese.    
    • Access the Adult Literacy programs to connect with tutors for one-on-one assistance with reading, writing, and math skills. 
    • Use their comfortable spaces to study, read, or just meet friends and relax.
    • Volunteer for positions in Home Delivery, English Language Learning, and Adult Literacy. 
    • Make an appointment with library staff to book a tour and get an introduction to your branch’s programs and services.

    All of the Library programs and services are free.  For more information, including the location of your nearest library, call 490-5753.

    Your Library Card

    • Get your library card for free
    • You will need one to borrow books and other items and also to use Library computers
    • To get a card, visit any library and provide one piece of identification
    • If you are under 14 years of age, you will also require a parent’s signature
  • Youth Activities

    If you are between 13 to 19 years old, there are many opportunities open for you to get involved in the community, such as cultural activities, sports, community gatherings, etc.

    You might want to check out is the Halifax Youth website. Designed by youth and for youth in Halifax, this is an ideal place to find events, programs, job and volunteer opportunities, health information and much more.

    Some of the things that you can find in this website are:

    • Youth Events & Program Calendar with lots of fun things to do in the Halifax area!
    • Leadership Programs and Volunteer Opportunities.
    • Support for youth at risk and their families as well as programs to help youth facing barriers to find meaningful employment

    The YMCA Immigrant Services also offers a variety of youth Programs to hundreds of immigrant youth every year. From support for young newcomers to successfully settle in school to fun active living programs to summer camps to workshops to volunteer opportunities, there is surely something for you!

  • Volunteer Opportunities

    HRM Volunteer Services offers a variety of training sessions and workshops for volunteers and non-profit organizations.

    Step Up to Leadership is a free course developed by volunteers for volunteers. The course covers a wide range of topics and is intended to help you develop your leadership skills and to build stronger communities.

    HRM also offers a list of volunteer opportunities available, including a list of non-profits in your area.

Events

Waterfront and Buskers456

Busker Fest 2017

Music

  • Halifax Jazz Festival: The oldest jazz festival and largest summer festival in Atlantic Canada, the HJF brings world renown artists and opens opportunities for local artists
  • EVERYSEEKER: Festival of contemporary music and art with a fluid approach to genres and media
  • Scotia Festival of Music: An annual two-week chamber music festival held during the first two weeks of June with over fifty public events, from concerts to lectures.
  • St. Cecilia Concert Series: Throughout the year, and for more than twenty five years, this festival has been presenting outstanding national and international classical music.
  • Symphony Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia’s orchestra, based in Halifax, SNS performs across the province with innovative concerts and educational offerings.

Large Event in the Cunard Centre

Halifax dinner eating lobster

Halifax Busker Fest at Night

Special Events

  • Atlantic Film Festival: For almost 40 years, the AFF has been one of Canada’s premier film festivals showing, promoting and celebrating local, national and international films
  • Halifax Busker Festival: The oldest and largest festival of its kind in Canada bringing a wide variety of street theatre, acrobatics, visual arts and more
  • Halifax Fringe Festival: This festival showcases non-traditional theatre with all kinds of shows in their program, with original plays, musicals, monologues, and more
  • Nocturne Art at Night festival: A fall festival that brings visual art to the streets of Halifax for one night, both showing and celebrating our local art scene.
  • Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo: The world’s largest annual indoor show, this is a week-long festival presenting world-class entertainment and educational workshops.

Festivities and Fun

HRM residents come together regularly to celebrate events such as Canada Day, Bedford Day, and Natal Day.

Call Halifax Civic Events 24-hour line at 902-490-6776 (ext. 2) for the most up-to-date information on what’s happening around these festivities and the events organized across the city to celebrate them.

For information on large-scale events, you can also visit:

Halifax Pride Parade

Media is an important resource

There is a number of media outlets and platforms available in Halifax; they can go from local to national. Whether it is to keep yourself informed or to find sources of entertainment, there is something you may find in any of these platforms.

Learn about media sources in Halifax