Capital of Nova Scotia, Canada, on the eastern shore of the province; population (2001 est) 359,100. It is the largest and most important city of the Canadian Maritime Provinces (consisting of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick), and is the main port in eastern Canada; industries include oil refining, food processing, and aerospace. Halifax harbour is ice-free all year round, due to the warm Gulf Stream current. There are six military bases located here, and the city is a centre for oceanography.
Location and communications Halifax is situated on a fortified height (the 18th-century Halifax Citadel, which has become Citadel Hill Museum). The harbour mouth has two entrances, formed by McNab's Island, and is connected by a narrow channel with Bedford Basin in the north. It is the Atlantic terminus of the Canadian National Railway and is served by a branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Halifax is the eastern terminus of a transcontinental railway. The 19th-century Shubenacadie Canal links Halifax to the Bay of Fundy across the Nova Scotia Peninsula. The opening of a container terminal in 1970 made shipment via Halifax one of the quickest routes for freight from Europe to central Canada because of the easy transfer between ships and trains. The port of Halifax became so busy that a second container terminal was opened in 1981.
History The community was founded in 1749 by Governor Sir Edward Cornwallis and 2,500 settlers from Britain, on the site of a First Nations village. The Halifax Gazette of 1752 was Canada's first newspaper, and Canada's first post office was opened here three years later. In 1758 the first legislative assembly in Canada met here. Halifax was the base for British operations against the French in 1759, and during the American Revolution in the 1770s, and remained an imperial army and naval base until 1906. It is now the chief naval station in Canada. The first Cunard liner service to Europe left from Halifax in 1840. In 1917, during World War I, a munitions ship exploded in the harbour killing 1,600 people, injuring 9,000, and damaging 12,000 buildings.
Halifax is an educational and cultural centre with several colleges, including the University of King's College (1789), St Mary's University (1802), Dalhousie University (1818), the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1887), the Technical University of Nova Scotia (1907), Mount St Vincent University (1925), and the Atlantic School of Theology (1971). The cornerstone of Government House was laid in 1800; Province House, home of the Nova Scotia legislature, was built in 1819. St Paul's Church (1750), the only building left from Cornwallis's time, is the oldest Anglican church in Canada. HMCS Sackville, a World War II corvette, is a tourist attraction.
Many victims from the sinking of the liner Titanic in 1912 are buried here.