The area now known as Halifax has been inhabited for the past 13,000 years, since the end of the last Ice Age. Halifax’s first inhabitants, the Mi’kma’ki, were the forefathers of Mi’kmaq, and though they didn’t settle permanently, the area was frequented seasonally. The Mi’kmaq settled in Jipugtug (now know as Chebucto) during summer months to gather fish and escape the black flies and it’s where they made the first contact with Europeans (in the Halifax area). In 1746, the British Government commissioned the settlement of Halifax and in 1749, over 2500 settlers landed here led by Colonel Edward Cornwallis.
Due to its location, Halifax grew slowly until the Napoleonic Wars when the British Empire relied on the city for a safe source of timber. From the 1800’s and up until present day, Halifax’s economy became tied to international shipping and foreign trade. This time of prosperity led an expansion of wealth and population, including the foundation of The Bank of Nova Scotia and The Merchants Bank (now the Royal Bank of Canada).
As the Age of Sail gave way to the Age of Rail, Halifax became connected to the global economy. Its geographic location played a critical role in the early20th century when it served as a focal point when the Titanic sank and as a strategic port during both World Wars. In 1917, Halifax suffered its own tragedy, the Halifax Explosion, where nearly 2000 people lost their lives. Post-war Halifax boomed with its amalgamation of surrounding communities, beginning of urban sprawl and development in the downtown core.
As a hub of the Maritimes, Halifax has maintained many of its historical and maritime traditions. Due to the prominent number of post-secondary students, the city has a thriving culture scene, which includes art galleries, theaters, museums, and live music venues. Tourists flock to Halifax year round, where they experience local food and culture along with the untouched outdoors mere minutes from the downtown core.
Due to recent bylaw changes, Halifax has become a hub for development. This wave of change, which started with The Central Library, will see over 27 condo and apartment buildings come to Halifax over the coming years. On the commercial side, the long-awaited Nova Centre will open in the next year with Queens Marquee not far behind.