Your City

This guide is meant to give you important information about the place you have chosen to call home. Whether temporarily or permanently, this information will help you better navigate a community that values your voice and wants your participation. Get involved!

Our name

Our municipality can be called Halifax, Halifax Regional Municipality or HRM, which consists of Dartmouth, Halifax, the former Halifax County and Bedford areas.

For more information about the areas that make HRM, take a look at the map of our Polling Districts.

Today, Halifax is the most multicultural city in Nova Scotia. We are proud of the mix of cultures, languages and histories that help make this a truly international city!

Location

Halifax is the capital city of Nova Scotia. It is located on the East Coast of Canada on the Atlantic Ocean. Halifax is closer to Europe than many other North American cities by airplane. It is also closer to New York and Boston than any other major Canadian city.

This part of Canada is also referred to as The Maritimes. The Maritimes include three provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

The East Coast of Canada is also called Atlantic Canada, which includes four provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Population

According to our last estimate, HRM has a population of 417,847 people.

HRM is home to 55% of the people who immigrate to Atlantic Canada and 80% of those who immigrate to Nova Scotia.

We have a long tradition of welcoming newcomers to Halifax!

Seasonal Time Changes

In Halifax, we change our clocks twice during the year: One in spring (late March), during what is called Daylight Saving Time (DST), and one in the fall (late November), during what is called Standard Time.

We turn our clocks ahead one hour on the second Sunday of March. On the first Sunday of November, we turn our clocks back one hour. We do this so we can get more daylight during the summer.

Most Canadian cities and municipalities adopt the DST, with some exceptions, such as Saskatchewan (most regions) and a few regions in British Colombia.

Seasons in HRM

The weather in Halifax is very different during winter, spring, summer and fall. Halifax has warmer winters than the rest of Canada because of our proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.

Winter weather in HRM can have strong winds, heavy snowfall, freezing rain and cold temperatures. To keep safe and warm during the winter, it is important to:

  • Be prepared for all kinds of winter weather.
  • Consider jackets with hoods than can keep your head dry. You will also want to wear a hat and gloves or mittens to keep warm your head and hands.
  • Wear several layers of clothes to keep your body heat in.
  • If you will be driving during the winter, make sure to get winter tires on your car.
  • It is always a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car that includes a flashlight, a shovel, a blanket and booster cables.
  • For daily information on Halifax weather, visit the weather office online or call Environment Canada at 902-426-9090 or 1-800-668-6767.
  • Check CBC Weather Centre for cancellations before going to school or work. You can also call the school cancellation number at 902-464-4636 or visit the HRSB.

Making a call

  • The area code to make a call in Halifax or in other parts of Nova Scotia is 902.
  • To make a long distance phone call inside Canada, dial 1 and then the area code before the number.
  • Dial 011 and then the area code to make an international call.

Some facts about Canada

Canada's official languages

Canada has two official languages: English and French. Both languages are spoken in Halifax, although English is more widely-spoken.

Currency

The Canadian dollar is our national currency.

Paper money comes in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Each paper bill has its own unique colour.

Canadian coins include: five cents (the nickel), ten cents (the dime), twenty-five cents (the quarter), one dollar (the loonie) and two dollars (the toonie).

Time Zone

There are six time zones in Canada. Halifax is on Atlantic Standard Time (AST), which is four hours before Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). That means that if it is 7 pm in Halifax, it is 7:30 in St. John’s (Newfoundland Standard Time or NDT), 6 pm in Toronto (Eastern Standard Time or EDT), 5 pm in Winnipeg (Central Standard Time or CDT), 4 pm in Calgary (Mountain Standard Time or MST) and 3 pm in Vancouver (Pacific Standard Time or PST).

Government in Canada

Canada was founded in 1867 when the Queen of England signed the British North America Act.

Canada is a large country with 10 provinces, 3 territories and a population of more than 36 million people.

Canada’s provinces are: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan.

Canada’s territories are: Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon.

Canada has a federal form of government. That means that each province or territory has its own government structure, which works with the federal government in Canada’s capital: Ottawa, Ontario.

Canada is as well a Constitutional Monarchy. Our head of State is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen lives in the United Kingdom and is represented in Canada by the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors of each province, who perform royal duties on her behalf.

The head of government is an elected Prime Minister. Government in Canada follows the principles of parliamentary democracy, which include giving citizens the right to vote in elections by secret ballot.

The Canadian government is mandated to answer to its citizens and can be changed by the people. Every citizen has the freedom to participate in political and social activities to build their communities and shape their nation.

There are three levels of government in Canada, each level providing different services.

1.    The Federal Government looks after the country of Canada. It is constituted by elected representatives from every province across Canada. The Prime Minister is the head of the federal government. The Federal Government is responsible for issues that affect Canada as a whole, such as national defence, citizenship and immigration, criminal law and banking.

2.    Provincial and Territorial Governments look after each Canadian provinces and each of Canada’s three territories. Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for issues such as social security, health care, education, and provincial highways. Nova Scotia’s Provincial Government is constituted by 52 elected representatives from across the province. The Premier is the head of the provincial government.

3.    The Municipal Government in Halifax is constituted by elected representatives for the 16 districts across HRM. There are 16 Councillors, one for each district, and they are all led by one Mayor. Municipal governments are responsible for services to residents such as police, fire, roads, public transit, garbage collection, snow removal, and parks and recreation.

Halifax Regional Council meets on Tuesdays at Halifax City Hall, 3rd floor, Council Chambers (1841 Argyle Street, Halifax). All meetings are open to the public and are broadcasted live on Eastlink Channel 10, or online at Haligonia.ca.

You can also find your District and Councillor on our website.