Halifax is the capital city of Nova Scotia, Canada, and a busy port on the southern part of the province's eastern shore. It has one of the biggest and deepest natural harbours along the eastern seaboard of North America. Known as both a garrison town and Canada's naval base, this lively and sophisticated port is the oldest British town on the Canadian mainland, as well as the home of Canada's first representative government, first Protestant church, and first newspaper. The waterfront's crown jewel is the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, where one can learn the colourful history of Samuel Cunard, a Nova Scotia native, who founded the Cunard Steam Ship Company to carry the royal mail and along the way established an ocean dynasty.
The city is most famous as the home of the Bluenose Schooner, the 19th-century privateer's dream machine. In the Historic Properties section, warehouses that once stored siezed cargo from all over the world are now the city's trendiest shops and restaurants. The massive stone Citadel, built in 1856 to defend the British Maritimes from French and American warships, now looks out on a bustling harbour full of cargo and cruise ships, fishing boats and pleasure yachts. Also worth a visit are Halifax Public Gardens.
Other points of interest include Province House (1819), the seat of the Nova Scotia government and Canada's oldest legislative building ; St Paul's Church (1750), the oldest Anglican church in Canada; and Martello Tower (1796-1798), an old fortification in Point Pleasant Park. A drive down the Atlantic Coast will take you to the spray-spattered lighthouse of Peggy's Cove, and the ship building port of Lunenburg, where gaff-rigged schooners including the Bluenose were built by the score.
Located on a site called Chebucto by the Micmac people, Halifax was settled by the English in 1749, when British Colonel Edward Cornwallis established a military and naval base here. Despite early setbacks and mass emigration to the American colonies, Halifax developed as an important army and navy base, serving as such during the War of 1812 and in both world wars.
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