The massive star-shaped Halifax Citadel invites you to become a soldier for a day, go on a ghost tour, visit prison cells, see the Royal Artillery fire a 300 pound artillery gun and see how a soldier lived in 1869………all within downtown Halifax??
An ariel view of the Halifax Citadel
That's right, one of the wonderful things about the Halifax Citadel is that it is located in the heart of downtown Halifax! I love to walk everywhere when I am on holiday so I love this part!
By the way, the commanding view of Halifax Harbour and the waterfront from the citadel are a must see for all visitors to Halifax!
Did you know that the Halifax Citadel is a National Historic Site? It has been protecting Halifax since the early 1800’s and was extremely important to British territory in the New World.
Period-costumed uniformed soldiers roam the citadel through the summer months. Be prepared since you will probably hear the bagpipes and drums.
The 78th Highlanders will entertain you. The MacKenzie tartan is their dress.
They are extremely proud of their heritage and the role that the citadel played in the defence of Nova Scotia.
The 78th Highlanders on the move!!
The 3rd Brigade Royal Artillery are also an essential part of the citadel. They know their way around the guns so..........
Get ready for noon since this is when the noon guns are fired……………..a tradition for over a hundred years!!
Members of the Royal Artillery looking quite serious!!
Finding the Citadel
The citadel is in the heart of the downtown core so it is hard to miss it. If you are driving the entrance is at 5425 Sackville St. There is ample parking available at the site with a small fee.
You can also walk to the citadel. Find the magnificent Halifax Town Clock on Brunswick Street and walk towards it. Climb the stairs at the base of the clock and you’ll see the entrance to the citadel. Wait....turn around....you have a very nice view of the downtown area!!
The first place to stop is the Citadel Information Centre to get an idea of the different activities that are happening. There is an entrance fee. Services and visits to the buildings and inside displays are open from May to the end of October.
However, the grounds are open year-round for FREE.
There is a coffee bar and light lunches are served. Public washrooms are also available. There are benches throughout the grounds if you need to stop and take in the atmosphere around you.
There is also a Regimental Shop where you can pick up souvenirs for the folks back home! I bought the Official Site Souvenir when I was there and it is jam-packed with lots of information about the citadel.
A display panel with a little Halifax history!
What to see at the Citadel
There are lots of things to do at the citadel with many special activities the whole family can enjoy!!
Guided walking tours are available all day long. These last about 45-60 minutes and they will give you a good idea of what life was like living and working at the citadel in the 1800s. Visit the soldiers tailor shop, guard room, explosives room, and even prison cells.
Our tour guide at the Halifax Citadel
The citadel was a very important part of the development of Canada and Halifax and your tour guide will show all of the uniqueness of the citadel and why it is still very special today.
After your walking tour check out the display rooms. I was very impressed with these. Everything from the founding of Halifax to the War of 1812 to the two World Wars are covered!
The Halifax Citadel Ghost Tour looks awesome!
Lantern in hand – you go into the deeps of the citadel to see if there are really ghosts down there!
Lots of legends – but are they real??
There are public tours every Friday and Saturday night from early July through to the end of October from 8:30pm to 10:00pm.
There is an admissions fee.
Private tours can be arranged all-year round by calling 902-426-1990 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The citadel has a great program for kids aged 6-11 years called the Halifax Citadel Xplorers Program. Kids get to roam around the fort and complete activities that are planned out in a booklet. After completion of a certain number of them they get a certificate and a special limited edition souvenir.
This is a great way to get the kids involved in a visit like this. The cost of the program is included in the admission price to the citadel.
Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be a soldier back in the 1800s? Well, now you can give it a try! Be a Soldier for a Day!! Experience signing enlistment papers, getting a soldiers pay and wearing an authentic soldier’s uniform.
Ok – when I say authentic I mean a uniform from 1869 complete with cotton shirt, wool kilt, sporran, red wool Highland “doublet,” wool socks, boots, spats, and a Glengarry bonnet bearing the brass badge of the 78th Highlanders.
The 3-hour experience includes foot drill on the parade square, learning how to fire an artifact Snider-Enfield rifle and a sit-down in the Sergeant’s Mess. Of course, a full tour of the citadel is also included.
This is a bit pricy at around $200 for an adult. Call 902-426-1990 or send an email to email@example.com for more information.
The Army Museum is also at the Citadel and is open to all visitors to explore. Rare and unique military artifacts show the development of our armed forces. You can see things from the time when Halifax was young and an important part of the British Naval Forces through to the World Wars.
There is also an historical library and archives here. Books, photos, maps and historical documents from 1749 to World War II can be accessed. The library can be visited by appointment only. Call 902-426-0685 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I really loved my visit to the Citadel.
It gave me a new appreciation of the role of Halifax in the development of our country and, indeed, in its defence!
I especially think it is important to bring kids to a place like this. They may not grasp the value right now but one day they will.
Kids love to roam and they certainly can at the Halifax Citadel!
Kids and adults, too, always love a well-dressed piper!!