Map of Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

Discover what makes Halifax Citadel a unique place to visit. Plan a minimum of two hours to explore, or spend the day taking in all that the Halifax Citadel has to offer!

The Citadel's Living history program brings to life the 78th Highlanders and the 3rd Brigade, Royal Artillery, with activities such as sentry changes, the noon gun, performances of the pipes and drums and rifle and cannon firing demonstrations.

Map

Map of Halifax Citadel

This downloadable map (PDF 1 MB) shows the locations of exhibits and attractions and facilities and services like washrooms, first aid, and the gift shop, as well as safety information.

Exhibits and attractions

Cavalier Building

1. Information Centre (45 to 60 minutes)

Begin your visit here for an overview of site activities and programs.

Tours begin here throughout the day. Hosted tours last from 45 to 60 minutes and provide an overview of the site’s vibrant history and its many attractions.

Minimum time recommended: tours run 45-60 minutes.

2. The Army Museum (30 minutes)
Visit the Army Museum!

Nova Scotia’s military past is presented through exhibits of artifacts, photographs and documents dating from the First World War to the present.

The Road to Vimy and Beyond exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the Trail of the Canadian Army 1939-1945 tells the story of Nova Scotia’s contribution to Canada’s war effort during the Second World War.

Minimum time recommended: 30 minutes

 
3. A Harbour Worth Defending (15 minute film)

A 15-minute film telling the story of Halifax as a key British and Canadian naval base.

Minimum time recommended: 15 minutes

4. Barracks (10 minutes)

This was home for the Citadel’s soldiers. See where they ate and slept, and discover what they owned and carried. Try out a barrack cot and heft a full knapsack.

Minimum time recommended: 10 minutes

The grounds

The fort has three levels:

  • Dry ditch level
  • Parade Square level (ground level)
  • Ramparts level
5. North Viewing Platform (5 minutes)

A clear view of the naval dockyard which the Citadel was built to protect. Ground zero for the 1917 Halifax Explosion is also visible, marked by the farthest suspension bridge.

Minimum time recommended: 5 minutes

6. Warden of the North (20 minutes)

This award winning exhibit tells the story of the Halifax defences and their influence on surrounding community, region, and the Canadian landscape.

Minimum time recommended: 20 minutes

7. Seven-inch Rifled Guns (2 minutes)

In the 1870s, the Citadel re-armed with these massive rifled muzzle-loading guns, which had a range of over a mile and were capable of sinking the ironclad warships of their day.

Minimum time recommended: 2 minutes

8. Guard Room & Main Gate (5 minutes)

Take a turn in the lock-up cells in what was once the main entrance and security office for the Citadel.

Minimum time recommended: 5 minutes

9. Engineer Store (2 minutes)

Find out what the Royal Engineers kept on hand to ensure the Citadel was maintained in good repair.

Minimum time recommended: 2 minutes

10. Orderly Room (5 minutes)

Try your hand at using a dip pen with India ink as you “enlist” in the British Army here in the garrison’s administrative office.

Minimum time recommended: 5 minutes

11. Tailor Shop (10 minutes)

Assist the regimental tailor in this shop where uniforms were made and repaired. Try on a uniform coat and have your picture taken.

Minimum time recommended: 10 minutes

12. Noon Gun (2 minutes)
See the blast of the Noon Gun!

This reproduction 1809 12 pounder gun is used as the Citadel’s traditional daily “noon gun,” and also for firing artillery salutes at other times.

Minimum time recommended: 2 minutes

 
13. Sally Port No. 1 (Entry/Exit to Dry Ditch) (10 minutes)

Follow the sally port, a long tunnel through the Citadel’s thick main wall, to the dry ditch, which served as an obstacle to potential attackers.

Minimum time recommended: 10 minutes

14. Musketry Gallery (5 minutes)

Explore this dark tunnel that was built to allow soldiers to fire into the dry ditch while under cover.

Minimum time recommended: 5 minutes

15. South Ravelin (2 minutes)

This triangular outlying fort, one of three, protected the Citadel’s walls from artillery fire and was another potential obstacle for an attacking army.

Minimum time recommended: 2 minutes

16. Sally Port No. 2 (Entry/Exit to Dry Ditch)

One of six tunnels under the Citadel’s walls that allow access to the dry ditch.

17. Shaping the Hill (15 minutes)

Examine detailed and interactive exhibits and scale models that explain the nature of fortifications and how the design and construction of the Four Citadels influenced the landscape.

Minimum time recommended: 15 minutes

18. Signal Post (2 minutes)

Find out how the Citadel’s tall masts were used for sending coded signals to both the citizens of Halifax and to the other forts that protected the harbour.

Minimum time recommended: 2 minutes

19. South Viewing Platform (2 minutes)

Take in the spectacular view of the harbour mouth and of McNab’s Island, location of Fort McNab National Historic Site, and the smaller Georges Island, location of Fort Charlotte, both key harbour defences.

Minimum time recommended: 2 minutes

20. Expense Magazine (2 minutes)

Explore this tiny dark “bomb proof” room where cartridges for the artillery were stored.

Minimum time recommended: 2 minutes

21. Defence Casemates and Garrison Cells (10 minutes)

Descend the steps to these dank rooms that were designed to allow cannon to fire into the Citadel’s north and south defensive ditch. The rooms were also used to house military prisoners.

Minimum time recommended: 10 minutes

22. 32-pounder Gun Battery (2 minutes)

More than thirty of these large smoothbore guns comprised the Citadel’s primary armament from the 1830s to the early 1870s.

Minimum time recommended: 2 minutes

23. South Magazine (5 minutes)

Count the barrels in this reinforced structure where the Citadel’s gunpowder was stored.

Minimum time recommended: 5 minutes

24. School Room (10 minutes)

Soldiers and their children alike were educated by the Regimental School Master. Stop here to take a lesson and see a “Magic Lantern” show.

Minimum time recommended: 10 minutes

25. Fortress Halifax: A City Shaped by Conflict (New Exhibit) (45 minutes)

Explore the history of Halifax, from pre-establishment to today, and the role it played on the world stage through the lens of the four forts that have stood on Citadel Hill.

Minimum time recommended: 45 minutes

26. Storm the Beach D-Day Exhibit (15 minutes)
Re-trace the steps of the Canadian soldiers who stormed Juno Beach!

Discover Canada’s role in the Battle of Normandy in this special exhibit developed for the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings on June 6, 1944.

Minimum Time Recommended: 15 minutes

 
27. Path to Garrison Grounds and additional parking

Facilities and services

entrance and exit Entrance/Exit: There are two entrance/exits into the Halifax Citadel:

  • The front entrance/exit is located on Southeast portion of the Citadel facing the Old Town Clock and Brunswick Street.
  • The back entrance/exit is located on west side of the Citadel facing Ahern Avenue and Bell Road.

restrooms Washrooms: Located across from the Cavalier Building near the front entrance/exit.

elevator Elevator to ramparts: Located behind the Cavalier Building near the back entrance/exit. Use this elevator to visit upper level attractions.

parking Parking: Accessible from the back entrance/exit and located in the ditch or lower level of the Halifax Citadel.

accessible parking Accessible parking: Located at the front entrance/exit near the front entrance kiosk.

first aid First aid and security: Located across from the Cavalier Building near the front entrance/exit.

WiFi WiFi hotspot: Available on the Parade Grounds within the walls of the Halifax Citadel.

Cavalier Building

Gift Shop Regimental shop: Find historical souvenirs and locally sourced gifts at the regimental shop.

Coffee shop Coffee Bar and Soldiers' Library: Visit our warm welcoming café. Stop in for refreshments or a light meal or choose to take your lunch ‘out’ and find your Perfect Picnic place within the walls of the fort or on the grassy hillside. No pre-ordering required. Closed until further notice.

Elevator Cavalier building elevator: Located on the main floor inside the Information Centre. Use this elevator to access the Army Museum located on the second floor.


For Your Safety

The Halifax Citadel is a 19th-century fortification with steep masonry walls surrounded by a dry ditch up to 9 metres deep.

To have a safe visit, please observe the following:

Please use North and South viewing platforms to enjoy the site’s most impressive views.

The top of all earthen walls, stone inner walls, and gun openings are “do not enter” spaces based on the high level of falling risk they present, especially when wet.

Watch out for low doorways, steep stairways, water gutters, and uneven ground and floors.

Site requires all young children to be under close adult supervision at all times.

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