Citadel Hill

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5425 Sackville St, Halifax NS B3J 3Y3

Nestled within the vibrant city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Citadel Hill stands as a testament to Canada's rich military heritage. Originally fortified in 1749, the year Halifax was founded, this historic fort played a pivotal role in protecting the British military's Royal Navy dockyard in Halifax Harbour. Over the years, it has undergone significant transformations, including the construction of a star-shaped design during the 19th century by Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, in the Victorian era. The very first fortification on Citadel Hill was built during the American Revolutionary War.

Throughout the history of the city's establishment by the English in 1749, four fortifications have been built on Citadel Hill. Among them, the third one, constructed between 1794 and 1800, was officially designated Fort George, named after King George III, as stated in the General Orders of October 20, 1798. The preceding two and the current fort were officially known as the Halifax Citadel, with the latter being a concrete star fort. Let's embark on a journey to explore the captivating history and attractions of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site!

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What to Know

The Citadel Hill is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts keen to delve into North America's military past. Open year-round, the site offers guided tours and interactive exhibits presented by Parks Canada, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the stories of yesteryears. The Halifax Citadel, designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1951, stands as a living museum that transports you back in time, offering a glimpse into the country's military history.

How to Get There

Situated in Downtown Halifax, Citadel Hill is easily accessible by car, public transport, or on foot. While parking garages are available nearby, public transportation is recommended to avoid high parking costs. The site's proximity to other major attractions, such as the Halifax Waterfront and the Halifax Public Gardens, makes it a convenient addition to your travel itinerary. Consider booking a guided private tour with Tripshepherd for a comprehensive experience that includes famous attractions like Peggy's Cove, downtown Halifax, and more!

Best Time to Visit

For an unforgettable experience, plan your visit during the summer months when the weather is pleasant, and the site hosts various special events and activities. From May to October, the Citadel opens its doors daily from 9 am to 5 pm, welcoming visitors to witness the traditional Royal Artillery's firing of the noon gun, a cherished tradition dating back to the 1800s.


The Citadel boasts a range of attractions, including its barracks, powder magazines, and a guard room, all of which visitors can explore. Guided tours provide valuable insights into Canada's military history and its involvement in the momentous events of both World Wars. Don't miss the opportunity to witness the Royal Artillery's noon gun firing, an age-old tradition that continues to enthrall visitors. In the weeks preceding Halloween, Citadel Hill also hosts ghost tours!


The site houses the Army Museum, an independent non-profit museum dedicated to showcasing an impressive collection of weapons, medals, and uniforms that reflect Nova Scotia's military history. Learn about the 78th Highlanders Regiment of Foot and the significant role of British Forces in Halifax! The Citadel's deep historical resonance is further amplified by the firing of the noon gun, making it a truly immersive experience. So what's holding you back? Book your guided experience now! 


The Citadel's construction began in 1828 and was completed in 1856, resulting in a formidable star-shaped fortress. The fort was designed to repel potential attacks from both land and water, thus playing a crucial role in defending Halifax Harbor and its surroundings. Over the years, its significance in Halifax defences evolved, and it served various other functions as well, including housing prisoners of war during World War I. Despite becoming obsolete due to advancements in weaponry, the Citadel was preserved and gradually restored, thanks to efforts to recognize its historical importance.

Recent History

In 1935, the Halifax Citadel and its fortifications were officially designated a National Historic Site. Following the end of World War II, discussions about demolishing the fort and leveling Citadel Hill to make way for development surfaced but were met with resistance. Instead, the site was preserved, leading to its current status as a living history museum. Today, the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site ranks among the most visited National Historic Sites in Atlantic Canada, welcoming visitors from all over the world.

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site stands as a remarkable testament to Canada's military past, inviting visitors to explore its rich history and immerse themselves in a bygone era. Whether you're a history buff or simply seeking an educational and enjoyable outing, Citadel Hill is a must-visit destination in Halifax. So, come and witness the legacy of the past at this iconic site, where history comes alive!