What is Culture and Heritage?
Culture is how we understand, express and communicate our unique perspectives and histories, and the medium through which we celebrate the diversity of experiences and identities in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Culture includes the broad spectrum of arts and creative expression, community character and identity, culturally-held practices, languages and traditions. Heritage is a critical component of culture—it’s our cultural memory and how we can better understand the culture of our place and time through the lens of those cultural forms, traditions, arts and expressions that preceded and informed it.
Culture is the substance of our shared and unique identities, and the dynamic basis for defining who and what we are as a people.
Below are examples of culture:
A STORY SHARED—over a pizza baked in the community oven in the Dartmouth common.
A LANDMARK—meeting a friend at the Public Gardens.
A CELEBRATION—listening to traditional music at L’Acadie de Chezzetcook.
A FUTURE EXPRESSION—supporting NSCAD grads as they pursue careers in the cultural industries.
AN ANNUAL TRADITION—gathering for fireworks on New Year’s eve.
How does the Halifax Regional Municipality support Culture and Heritage?
Nearly every department of Halifax Regional Municipality is involved in some way in supporting culture—from the Municipal Archives, to Planning & Development, to Civic Events. While the municipality currently offers a variety of opportunities in the arts, cultural and heritage sectors, it has not yet established coordinated priorities on the allocation of these resources- How are they employed? Who are they directed to? And, How do we measure success?
The Sharing Our Stories Project is an undertaking of the municipality intended to clarify its role in cultural investment, and includes assessment of current programs, identification of gaps, and the rationalization of overall investment in Culture toward the maximum benefit of all residents
Here are some examples of how the municipality supports local culture and heritage:
- The Grants to Professional Arts Organizations program directly funds not-for-profit arts organizations and specific arts projects each year. The program funded 31 organizations and 9 individual projects in 2019-2020.
- The Halifax Regional Municipality is the first municipal government to create a Gord Downie & Channie Wenjack fund Legacy Space in City Hall.
- You can borrow from our collection of over 150 musical instruments using your library card—just like you borrow books.
- We've named our newest ferries after Nova Scotia civil rights activist Viola Desmond and Rita Joe, a Mi’kmaw artist, songwriter and craftswoman from Eskasoni First Nation in Cape Breton.
- The municipality acts as a steward of the Shubenacadie Canal Cultural Landscape by protecting the area as parkland.
- Memory keepers, the Municipal Archives houses images, words, artifacts and objects that tell our civic history. The municipality supports many community museums in telling our stories.
- Barrington Street Revitalization project: $3.9 million budgeted in tax incentives and grant programs to revitalize the street.
- Staff time, equipment and resources like transit are donated in support of Nocturne: Art at Night, bringing art and wonder to the streets of Halifax and Dartmouth.
- The municipality provides a grant to the Middle Musquodoboit Agricultural Society to host the annual Halifax County Exhibition. This traditional country fair has been in existence since 1884 and continues to attract visitors to its livestock competitions, displays, and local vendors.
Culture and Heritage in the Halifax Regional Municipality