Saint Paul's Church & Grand Parade
This and the snapshots are an addition to our original Blue Diamond Exclusive The Almost Free DIY Cruise Ship Excursion: and some new activities outline for our Almost Free Family Fun in Halifax - Nova Scotia!
The original DIY Cruise Ship Excursion had you taking a Harbour Cruise on the Halifax - Dartmouth Ferry, which has been in continuous operation since 1750. This is still a great idea as you will see and learn much during your harbour cruise.
Our snapshots show the ferry leaving the terminal, and then the view as you walk up George Street where you will pass the Celtic Cross, in memory of the Irish Settlers of Halifax (that’s settlers not Irish Setters!).
As you travel west towards Barrington Street and the Grand Parade, on the left you will pass Province House where the Nova Scotia Legislature has met every year since 1819. Our provincial building is Canada’s oldest seat of government. In fact, in 2008 we celebrated 250 years of responsible representative government. The building is considered to be one of finest examples of Palladian architecture in North America.
The next snapshot is of (insert # 954) the same corner (Granville Street at George Street) that is depicted in the oil painting in our friend’s condo, although there is no Binny Streetcar today! (see Bishop’s Landing blog of April, 2009).
Arriving at Barrington Street, if you look to the left you will see an original wall-painting on the side of a George Wright building (check out A Secret Halifax - April 9, 2009), and Saint Paul’s Church circa 1750. To the right, north on Barrington Street (on the same side of the street as the Grand Parade) is a Metro Transit bus stop. FRED (Free Rides Everywhere Downtown - See Halifax with Fred August 20, 2008) stops here, as does the #1 Spring Garden bus which will take you to Mumford Road Bus Terminal which is where the Halifax Shopping Center is located.
Saint Paul’s Church parish, which was founded by Royal Decree in 1749, and the church building which dates from 1750, is the oldest church in Halifax. The design of the church is based on St. Peter’s Church, Vere Street, London. The timbers were cut in Boston and shipped here along with other building materials, although local materials and bricks were used as well. The design, materials and construction have stood the test of time. We encourage you to explore the interior of this historic and great church.
Halifax City Hall standsat the north end of the Grand Parade, which was designed in 1749, and is found on the original ‘blueprints’ for the city of Halifax. Halifax City Hall is a Victorian-style building(circa 1888) and is the original site of Dalhousie University, the largest university in Nova Scotia (est. 1819). We encourage you to visit our City Hall and Saint Paul’s Church as both are National Historic Sites.
To the west is the original location of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD), founded by Anna Leonowens, (the Anna of The King and I) and constructed in 1887. The new campus for NSCAD is now located at Pier 20 - the Cruise Ship Pavillon.
To the west you will see a building that was a funeral home and helped with the burial of Titanic victims (April 12, 1912). With our DIY Cruise Ship Excursion, you could use Metro Transit to get to The Fairview Lawn Cemetery where most of the victims of this tragedy are buried.
Also to the west, you will find Halifax’s World Trade & Convention Center. If you look at the roof of the building you will see the Schooner Bluenose as a weather-vane. Up the street from The World Trade and Convention Centre you will see The Citadel Fortress. The original fort was built in 1749, however the fort on the site today is actually the fourth fort and is circa 1826. On the slopes of Citadel Hill you will see the Old Town Clock (circa 1803) with the signal masts of the fort in the background protruding above the fort walls. These signal masts were used before radio as a means of communication between fortified sites around the harbour. One mast was for commercial purposes, and was used by Halifax merchants to learn when ships were coming into port and/or to order stevedoring crews to unload their ship.
From here you may wish to continue up George Street (renamed Carmichael Street) to Brunswick Street where you will see the steps leading up to the Old Town Clock and the Citadel Fortress. Remember, FRED can also take you there as well as ‘he’ runs on a 40 minute schedule and is FREE.
Alternately, you may wish to return to Chebucto Landing (the Ferry Terminal area), or perhaps you may want to visit The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (founded 1908)which is located in the old Dominion Building (circa 1867) and is found on the southeast corner of George and Hollis Streets “The gallery has over 9000 works of art in its varied collection, ranging from Nova Scotian folk art to Inuit stone carvings. One of the most popular attractions in the gallery is the restored former home of rural folk artist Maud Lewis.”. Both Province House (which has daily free guided tours) and The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia are worth the time to visit.
In the center of Chebucto Landing (the Ferry Terminal area) you will find the Old Dockyard Clock (1767) that served Halifax’s Naval Dockyard from 1772 until 1993. And, as you are aware, Chebucto Landing is on the Harbour Walk, so if you turn right you are cruise ship bound, or if you turn left, you will be heading towards the Casino area on the harbour which is next to Canada’s Naval Dockyard facilities.
FRED stops at the Metro Terminal next to Perk’s Restaurant, and from this location you can catch both Metro Transit Routes #2 and #4 (among many other buses) from which to start the original DIY Cruise Ship Excursion - June 21, 2008. As always, this DIY Cruise Ship Excursion is FREE but if you wish to do this and much more, Blue Diamond Tours will create a “Perfect Shore Excursion in Halifax” for you.
Thank you, and cheers!