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Difficulty: Easy-Moderate (distance).
Setting: Urban park, waterfront, beach, historic site.
Facilities: Bathrooms, parking, benches & picnic areas.
Signage: Information kiosks, maps interpretive panels and trail signage.
The city’s most popular park.
Well marked and maintained pathways.
Old fortifications and ocean views.
Located in Halifax’s South End, this 185-acre park is the cornerstone of the city. The #1 spot for Haligonians to walk the dog, go for a jog, or a bike ride (Weekends & holidays only, on a specific route, see map) for generations.
The park is largely available for off-leash dog walking, but for Sailors Memorial Way, Cambridge Drive and the parking lots. The large, well maintained, wide crusher-dust pathways are alive with wild plants, birds and friendly squirrels galore. There are plenty of benches and picnic tables throughout the park, so you don’t have to travel far to find a spot to sit and enjoy.
One of the region’s best historic sites, the park began as a fortress due to its strategic location in the Halifax Harbour defence network. Remnants of the harbour defence fortifications also exist on McNabs Island and York Redoubt. Its military use began in the mid-1700s and ended after the first world war, but the remnants of old fortifications (much of it built from stone from “King’s Quarry” in the Purcell’s Cove Backlands) can still be seen today.
The Point Pleasant Battery, Fort Ogilvie, the Northwest Arm Battery, Cambridge Battery, and the oldest Martello Tower in North America; the Prince Of Wales Tower are scattered through the park in varying stages of disrepair.
Memorials of great historic significance also dot the park and pay tribute to the importance of Halifax’s Naval Past. For more info on Halifax’s military heritage, I highly recommend checking out the Halifax Military Heritage Society and supporting their mission to promote and preserve Halifax’s military heritage.
With great views of the mouth of Halifax Harbour and the NorthWest Arm, there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the serenity. The park’s “Black Rock Beach”, where pirates were once hung, enjoys a much more peaceful existence today.
The park can be fairly crowded at peak times, but in general, it is a calm experience. Whether you want to take in a play at Shakespeare by the sea, take the family for a Sunday stroll, or shed some pounds with some scenic exercise this is the place to be in Halifax.
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Similar Hikes: Long Lake, Hemlock Ravine, Shubie Park.
Local Habitat: Longhorn Beetle | Acadian Forest | Bunchberry
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