Fortress Halifax – A City Shaped by Conflict

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

The largest and newest exhibit at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site fills over 550 square metres (6,000 square feet) within the walls of the historic stone fort. Divided into seven rooms, each room presents a different time period starting from before Halifax was established through to modern day.

Immerse yourself in the social and military story of Halifax as told through the lens of the four Citadels. Halifax and its Fortress share a rich and vibrant history. Experience it as never before through stories, paintings, digital journals, and anecdotes as told through multiple perspectives. Be among the first to travel through time to explore Halifax from the turbulent colonial era to the World Wars and beyond!

Discover the history of Halifax! | Parks Canada


Animated Parks Canada logo.

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, Nova Scotia. [An overhead view of the Halifax Citadel fortress.]

[Two visitors, one in a wheelchair, pass a 78th Highlander sentry as they enter the Halifax Citadel.]

[A sign reading "FORTRESS HALIFAX"]

[A closeup of a visitor looking up at something inside the Fortress Halifax exhibit.]

[The visitors move through the Fortress Halifax exhibit.]

[In a split screen, a few different military artifacts from the Fortress Halifax exhibit are quickly shown.]

[A mother watches as her child uses the "One Land, Four Peoples" interactive touch table.]

[A visitor taps on a touchscreen inside the Fortress Halifax exhibit.]

[The mother and child walk into a gallery with a sign reading "1763-1790".]

[A visitor takes a photo of another, who is posing with a soldier standee.]

[The mother watches her child walk out of a reproduction historic tent.]

[Two visitors interact with a touch table.]

[Two visitors look at reproduction military costume pieces.]

[The mother and child pose after trying on reproduction military costume pieces.]

[The mother and child use a touchscreen to fire a Smoothbore Cannon model.]

[The mother and child walk past large interpretative panels.]

[The child sits in movie theatre-style seats to watch a video.]

[A visitor takes a card reading "HOMETOWN HEROES / Share your story…"]

[A visitor smiles as she watches a video presentation on the history of Halifax.]

[A quick montage of the child walking through different rooms of the Fortress Halifax exhibit, his back to the camera.]

[The mother and child smile and laugh as they look at something, and the video fades to black.]

Parks Canada logo.

Animated Canada wordmark.

Government of Canada chime.

Exhibit map

The map shows themes of each room of the exhibit.

Text version

The entrance to the exhibit is on the right and the exit is on the left.

The exhibit rooms include (from the entrance to the exit):

  • Mi’kma’ki aq Kjipuktuk
  • The First Citadel (1749-1763)
  • The Second Citadel (1763-1790)
  • The Third Citadel (1790-1820)
  • The Fourth Citadel (1820-1906)
  • The World Wars (1906-1945)
  • The Citadel Today (1945+)

This map shows the seven rooms of the exhibit. Each room focuses on a different time period. Visitors travel through the exhibit chronologically.

Top five highlights from the Halifax Citadel’s new signature exhibit

View artwork created by Leonard Paul

Masked visitors looking at large floor to ceiling panels of Mi’kmaq art.
Artwork at the Halifax Citadel by Leonard Paul

View artwork by renowned local Mi'kmaw artist, Leonard Paul, depicting Kjipuktuk (Halifax) and Mi’kma’ki (ancestral land of the Mi'kmaq) as it was before the British arrived.

Learn more about the resilience of the Mi’kmaq through to modern day.

Interact with digital touch tables

Visitors lean over to interact with a digital exhibit.
Animated digital touch table at the Halifax Citadel

Discover how the city was shaped by military and social needs of the time, over a span of centuries from the first wooden structures to the brick and mortar fortress that still stands today.

Interact with digital touch tables and watch an animated history of Halifax as it unfolds in front of you in just three minutes.

Connect with people from the past

Visitors taking a selfie with a life size picture of Napoleon
Life size picture of Napoleon at the Halifax Citadel

Listen and watch first person perspectives recounted from the British, French, Mi’kmaq, Black Loyalists, Acadians, and more. Learn how a Royal Prince, father of Queen Victoria, influenced Halifax and how global conflicts affected the city and its citizens.

Kids will enjoy exploring the soldiers’ home tent display and the dress-up station featuring War of 1812 uniforms representing the Royal Artillery and Royal Newfoundland Fencible Infantry.

Discover wartime Halifax

Visitors looking at exhibits about the First and Second World Wars
Halifax in the First and Second World Wars at the Halifax Citadel

Discover the crucial role Halifax played during two global wars. Catch the original “Capitol Theatre” vintage photo reel depicting the city’s role in the World Wars and learn how Halifax and province’s Hometown Heroes, both men and women, contributed to the wars at home and overseas.

Explore one land, many peoples

Visitors pointing at a large floor-to-ceiling historic map of Halifax
Historic map of Halifax from 1879 (source US Library of Congress) at the Halifax Citadel

For centuries, the Mi’kmaq chose this area as an encampment and place of gathering. Along with the Mi’kmaq, people from many cultures continue to call this bustling modern and diverse port city home.

Discover how much has and hasn’t changed over the past 200 years.

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