District 8 has a population of 25,700 residents and is defined by its diverse and multi-cultural neighborhoods and strong sense of community. A thriving artistic community, with painters, musicians and writers, as well as traditional African Nova Scotian communities call this section of the city home.
The North End of Halifax has a long and rich history and is known for its perseverance. In 1917, the Halifax Explosion decimated much what is now district 8. Slowly, the community rebuilt itself, with help from significant international support. The Hydrostone development, today one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Halifax, was built during the rebuild period. Today, the district is enjoying a period of revitalization and is known for its vibrant neighborhoods, urban and community gardens, and eclectic art scene.
The north end is home to the former site of Africville, a historic African-Canadian community that was torn down in the 1960s. The Africville expropriation is a dark spot in Halifax’s history and in February 2010, former Mayor Peter Kelly formally apologized to the former residents of Africville. Today, the site is home to the Africville Museum, which tells the story of a community that met the indignities of racism with grace and faith, and looks out onto the land where Africville residents lived, worked, and raised their families by the water of the Bedford Basin.
The district is also home to a lively and ever-growing independent businesses community, represented by the North End Business Association. Gottingen and Agricola Streets are the commercial and entertainment heart of the north end, and are home to numerous shops, bars and restaurants, galleries, and performance venues.
District 8 is also home to a number of grade schools, as well as the Nova Scotia Community College Institute of Technology Campus. The Halifax North Public Library offers a welcoming environment as well as programs that reflect the diverse make-up of the community.
There are many recreational opportunities for residents to enjoy in the North End, as it is home to a number of community facilities including the Needham Centre and Needham Pool, George Dixon Centre and Devonshire Arena. It is also home to the Halifax Forum, an ice arena and multi-purpose facility hosting sporting events, concerts, craft shows and a weekly farmers market.
The Emera Oval, Halifax’s much-loved permanent ice and paved track is perfect for skating in the winter months and rollerblading in the summer. The Oval offers free equipment rentals in the winter, including skates, helmets, and snowshoes, and features a newly constructed pavilion building with washrooms and warming area.
Importantly, the district is home to the Halifax Shipyard, the largest indoor shipbuilding facility in North America. In 2011, the shipyard was awarded a $29 billion dollar contract build the next generation of Canadian combat vessels, adding thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the Halifax economy. The North End is also home to several military installments within CFB Halifax, the country’s largest military base.