Working away from home has taught me to truly value my time in Nova Scotia and to make the most of the moments that I am able to share with my family and friends. When I think of home, I often reminisce on the simple delights like when I would relax on the beach with sand between my toes, the wind rustling through my salt-water hair and the warm sun touching my skin. This may be what comes to your mind first too, when thinking of the east coast and the abundance of beautiful beaches that they posses. But when I think of Nova Scotia’s most treasured gem, it is actually one without connection to the ocean.
So if you are headed to the Maritimes, visiting the Halifax Public Gardens is a must! Embedded in the heart of Halifax is a historic public garden that is cherished by residents and visitors alike. Centrally located and only steps away from the city’s premier shopping district of Spring Garden Road, this is the ideal place to visit for a quiet stroll or to simply sit down and read a book in the bustling city.
Don’t forget to bring your camera! Much like Miss World, Halifax’s Public Garden celebrates beauty and diversity. The eye-popping and colourful array of blooming flowers in the spring and summer is what makes the gardens a well-known and admired tourist attraction. Along with the beautiful and captivating displays of floral beds for the public to enjoy, there are also statues, memorials, fountains and ponds with wildlife enclosures overlooking the formal gardens.
Happy 150th Birthday!
Just like the establishment of the Canadian Confederation, this peaceful retreat was officially opened in 1867 as Canada’s first public garden and still maintains much of its original Victorian character. The Halifax Public Garden is a 16-acre oasis featuring over 140 species of trees, as well as an abundance of exotic, semi-tropical flowers that provide an enriched Victorian flair. Open free of charge and offering weekly tours, this accessible public destination has been designated as a National Historic Site of Canada since 1984.
Easily spotted thanks to its distinct wrought-iron fence and ornate set of gates, Halifax Public Gardens is said to be one of the most notable surviving Victorian gardens in North America. Consistent with my own humble opinion, Halifax Public Garden was voted “Best Public Space” by The Coast and appointed #4 on the list of “Top 10 North American Gardens worth travelling for” in 2017. Over the years, it has become a tradition for locals to use the gardens as a place of gathering to commemorate special events and milestones including (but not limited to) weddings, graduations and proms.
I’ve also had the privilege of capturing magnificent memories at the gardens; with family and friends I’ve celebrated two proms and my university graduation, in both the sunshine and rain. But it’s not always the big life events that are the ones that I look back on and cherish the most. I have been fortunate enough to capture many other beautiful memories at the gardens starting from a young age. I would often go there with my family and friends to enjoy each other’s company and admire what I would consider to be not only a work of nature, but a work of art as well.
Growing up, my father always had a camera in hand. He wanted to capture the moments that we shared together as a family, and I’ve always admired that about him. So when we would go to the gardens, I was inspired to use his camera to capture these moments too. My younger sister and I would go off exploring and I would direct her to pose “casually” in different areas of the gardens; we would also play chess, look out at the Titanic Model in Griffin’s Pond and visit the bird enclosures to admire the geese and swans.
These are some of my fondest memories; they are irreplaceable and each one holds a special place in my heart. When I look back at these photos a huge smile spreads across my face, and it feels just like yesterday that we were there wandering amongst the magical gardens. Spending quality time with the ones that I love is what I value the most in this world, and the gardens have always provided a place for me to do so. It is important for us to remember to take time out our busy schedules to enjoy and appreciate the true beauty that life has to offer.