7a // Halifax Waterfront

7 // Halifax Waterfront

1223 Lower Water St, Halifax – Boardwalk behind Nova Scotia Power building

// James Geurts

The Halifax waterfront has always been the historical core of commercial and naval Halifax. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Halifax waterfront featured a busy working harbour in the heart of the city’s downtown development. The post-WWI downturn in traditional waterfront activity was followed by containerized shipping growth, which led to property deterioration as businesses moved elsewhere in the harbour. Over this same period, Halifax declined as a fishing port due to improved transportation connections to more remote coastal areas.

In 1960, a proposed Harbourfront Highway—similar to other North American “urban renewal” projects—came to light. However, the community of Halifax refused to let this happen and demanded a more progressive strategy for their waterfront. All three levels of government came together to develop a plan that would generate economic and social property on the waterfront. Their committee was soon transformed into a Crown Corporation for Nova Scotia, named Waterfront Development, with the mandate of redeveloping and revitalizing the lands surrounding Halifax Harbour (and any other lands designated by its shareholder, the Province of Nova Scotia).

Since 1976 a number of key development projects, including the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel and the award-winning Bishop’s Landing in Halifax took place.