Although now located entirely within HRM, the peninsula was the original host to the town and now former City of Halifax. The founding of the town sparked Father Le Loutre's War. The settlement expanded beyond its walls and gradually encroached over the entire peninsula, creating residential neighbourhoods defined by the peninsula's geography.
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The neighbourhood referred to as the "North End" by Halifax residents was bounded on the east by "The Narrows" of Halifax Harbour and on the north by Bedford Basin. Its other boundaries are not as sharply defined, but the western limit of the neighbourhood is generally agreed to be Windsor Street. The southern boundary was, traditionally, the northern limit of General Cornwallis's original Halifax settlement along the slope of Citadel Hill (now Cogswell Street), and continuing along the northern edge of the North Common to Quinpool Road.
The North End of Halifax was primarily blue-collar workers and at one time had a reputation for crime and low income. That has all changed with the cost to own in South End continually rising for homeowners and the high cost or lack of land for developers. Buyers and developers have moved into the North End with both condo and apartment development. Many of the blue-collar baby boomers are filling the need for the new high-rise apartments. Many of the older homes are being purchased by young professionals and renovated. These millennials like the area because the price point is where they can afford and the proximity to the downtown core within walking distance.
One of the most popular neighbourhoods in the North End is the Hydrostone. This was a community built by the government for rentals after the Halifax Explosion. In the 90’s the main shopping district was transformed into a unique shops and restaurants with a park boulevard in the middle.
The South End of Halifax borders from Quinpool Road encompassing all the area to the southernmost point of the peninsula, including Point Pleasant Park, and boarders on either side by Halifax Harbour and the Northwest Arm. The southernmost point is home to Point Pleasant Park, which is rich with history of colonial Halifax.
In 1918 the completion of a railway line through a deep rock cut parallel with the Northwest Arm to form a new rail line at the South End’s business district. This rail line replaced the badly damage North End line after the 1917 Halifax Explosion. One result of the building of this railway line has been to geographically isolate parts of the peninsula, creating opportunities for wealthy and exclusive neighbourhoods to develop.
This area has remained the most expensive real estate on the peninsula, home to estates from some of Halifax’s most famous entrepreneurs like the Oland family. It is also home to students attending Dalhousie University, renowned for its medical and law facilities, and Saint Mary’s University, renowned for its Commerce program including the Sobey’s School of Business.
The three major hospitals of Nova Scotia are also located in the Southend. Students and postgraduates create a demand for student housing in the Southend, which has created an influx of investment property purchases.
The Southend, like the Northend is also experiencing a growth in the demand for condos and rental units from downsizing white-collar professionals.
The West End is predominantly middle class with many blocks of tree-lined older residential streets. However, it is also home to many students and small low rent units. Rising real estate prices have also led to some levels of gentrification. The streets are set in a grid pattern the way town officials originally planned in the 18th century.
For the first century and a half of Halifax's history, small farms and country estates occupied the area of the West End. It was developed in the 1870s as residential streets were laid out. The growth of streetcar lines accelerated development. Chebucto School was built in 1912 to serve the expanding neighbourhood and the building served as a morgue for the Halifax Explosion as it was close to the north end but relatively undamaged.
Simpsons built a large department store in the West end in the 1930s, the first retail centre outside the downtown. The large remaining open areas of the West End filled with housing after World War II with many blocks of Victory Houses and 1950s suburban homes.
The area hugs the Northwest Arm, a historic inlet that is part of Halifax Harbour and which defines the Western side of the Halifax peninsula. Today, private residences and several parks front much of the shoreline of the Northwest Arm and there are many key public access points for the public to enjoy the Arm and all its beauty.
Census (2016) 76,700
- Inglis Street Elementary: Grades PP – 6
- Joseph Howe Elementary: Grades PP – 6
- LeMarchant-St. Thomas Elementary: Grades PR – 6, including French Immersion
- Saint Mary's Elementary: Grades PR – 6
- Sir Charles Tupper Elementary: Grades PP – 6
- Springvale Elementary: Grades PP – 6
- St. Catherine's Elementary: Grades PP – 6, including French Immersion
- St. Joseph's-Alexander McKay Elementary: Grades PP – 6, including French Immersion
- St. Stephen's Elementary: Grades PP – 6
- Westmount Elementary: Grades PP – 6
- Gorsebrook Junior High: Grades 7 – 9, including French Immersion
- Halifax Central Junior High: Grades 7 – 9
- St. Agnes Junior High: Grades 7 – 9
- Highland Park Junior High: Grades 7 – 9
- Oxford School: Grades PP – 9, including French Immersion Grades 7 – 9
- Citadel High: Grades 10 – 12, including French Immersion
South End Halifax is home to Grand Parade, the Halifax Common, and Point Pleasant Park as well as many smaller parks scattered throughout the city. Recreational centres include the Centennial Pool, Citadel Community Centre and St. Mary’s Boat Club.
North End Halifax is home to 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.
Residents enjoy The Emera Oval, Halifax’s much-loved permanent ice and paved track. The Oval is perfect for skating in the winter months and rollerblading in the summer. Free equipment rentals are available in the winter, including skates, helmets, and snowshoes.
Scotiabank Centre, the largest multi-purpose indoor arena in Atlantic Canada is also located in central Halifax. Home of the Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL hockey team, and the Halifax Hurricanes basketball team, the Scotiabank Centre also hosts premier sporting and cultural events and concerts throughout the year.
The Halifax Central Library was completed in 2014 and has become a community and cultural meeting place for residents and visitors. The library has been recognized nationally and internationally and has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Lieutenant Governor’s Design Award in Architecture in 2014 and a Governor General’s Medal in Architecture in 2016.