HALIFAX SPORT HERITAGE WALK

The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame has created a free walking tour for you to explore all the historic sporting sites! Follow this guide (or grab a booklet at the Hall of Fame museum) and we will guide you around Halifax to some of the most important sport heritage sites in the city. We are excited to announce that this is now a Handpicked Halifax experience with Discover Halifax.

DOWNTOWN CORE LOOP

◆ Walking time (non-stop):
50 minutes
◆ Recommended time:
2 hours
◆ Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Downtown Core Loop Route Details
  • Leaving the Sport Hall of Fame through the Carmichael Street exit, walk down Market Street.
  • Turn right onto Sackville Street.
  • Turn left onto South Park Street.
  • Walk through the gates of the Public Gardens on the corner of Spring Garden Avenue and South Park Street.
  • Make your way through the gardens, passing the pond, and exit the gates on the corner of Sackville and Summer Street.
  • Continue down Summer Street until the intersection with Veterans Memorial Lane, then take a right onto the footpath through the Wanderers Grounds to Bell Road.
  • Turn right on Bell Road toward the crosswalk and cross left to Ahern Avenue.
  • Continue down Ahern Avenue to the Cogswell roundabout and head left around the roundabout to Cogswell Street.
  • Walk down Cogswell Street and turn right into the Halifax Oval.
  • Passing through the area of the Oval, continue towards the fountain in the centre of the Halifax Commons.
  • Take the path to the right and exit the Commons on North Park Street.
  • Turn right, continuing on North Park Street to the Cogswell roundabout.
  • Keeping left, walk down Cogswell Street to the Centennial Pool.
  • Walking in the same direction, make your way to the corner of Cogswell Street and Gottingen Street.
  • Turn right onto Gottingen Street and continue on Gottingen (making a left toward the water) to Duke Street.
  • Continue onto Duke Street to the Scotiabank Centre.

The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame was established by John “Gee” Ahern, Mayor of Halifax in the 1940s, as a response to Kingston, Ontario’s claim of being the birthplace of hockey. The Hall of Fame officially opened on November 3rd, 1964 and moved locations many times over the decades as it continued to grow. It moved to its current location adjacent to the Scotiabank Centre in 2006. Make sure you check out Sidney Crosby’s famous dryer and try your skills in the multi-sport simulator!

The Halifax Public Gardens opened in the 1840s and became the home of Canada’s first covered skating rink in 1863, followed by the first public lawn tennis court in the country in 1876. The gardens’ pond was a training spot for Hall of Fame rowers John O’Neill and George Brown (pictured here), and its grounds served as a meeting spot for croquet, cycling, snowshoeing and archery clubs (the Ramblers Bicycle Club is pictured here). The gardens have many attractions including the bandstand, which hosts free concerts on Sundays from mid-June through mid-September. The gardens are open daily from 7am to 1/2 hr before sunset. Entry is free.

The Wanderers Grounds were established in the 1880s and were once a part of the Halifax Commons. These grounds were home to the Wanderers Amateur Athletic Club for rugby, lawn bowling and more. The Wanderers Grounds were also home to the Navy Clubhouse, and many Halifax and District league baseball games. Babe Ruth visited in 1942 to put on a batting exposition for the Navy troops. In 1957 these grounds hosted Canada Soccer’s first ever Challenge Trophy match played east of Montreal. New seating was installed in 2017 for the Halifax Wanderers Football Club, which started to play in 2019 as Halifax’s first professional soccer club.

Ahern Avenue is located between Citadel High School and Citadel Hill and was named after John “Gee” Ahern (pictured here). Ahern was the mayor of Halifax from 1946 to 1949 and was also a member of the Nova Scotia Legislature. Ahern felt strongly that there should be recognition for Nova Scotia athletes. He initiated the formation of the Hall of Fame in 1958 and was later inducted in 1982 for his contributions to hockey, baseball and rugby in Nova Scotia.

A part of the Halifax Commons, the Emera Oval was built for speed skating competition at the 2011 Canada Winter Games. Did you know Halifax/Dartmouth also hosted the first-ever Canada Summer Games in 1969? The Oval is open to the public year-round. Ice skates are available in the winter, and inline skates, bikes, and skateboards are available in the summer, all free of charge. Try a few laps!

The Halifax Commons were originally used as a pasture for horses and livestock, as well as being used as a place for army regiments. The Commons stretch from Cunard Street to Citadel High School, with a break in the grounds made by Cogswell Street. The Commons have been a sports hub for decades, and you will often see games of softball, soccer, cricket, field hockey and more. Kids will appreciate the playground and splash pad.

Centennial Pool was built in 1967 to help local athletes compete at a higher level. The pool played a vital role for the 1969 Canada Summer Games and made history as being one of the first Olympic sized pools in Atlantic Canada. Nova Scotia’s 1969 swimming and diving team is pictured here.

DOWNTOWN CORE LOOP ROUTE DETAILS

  • Leaving the Sport Hall of Fame through the Carmichael Street exit, walk down Market Street.
  • Turn right onto Sackville Street.
  • Turn left onto South Park Street.
  • Walk through the gates of the Public Gardens on the corner of Spring Garden Avenue and South Park Street.
  • Make your way through the gardens, passing the pond, and exit the gates on the corner of Sackville and Summer Street.
  • Continue down Summer Street until the intersection with Veterans Memorial Lane, then take a right onto the footpath through the Wanderers Grounds to Bell Road.
  • Turn right on Bell Road toward the crosswalk and cross left to Ahern Avenue.
  • Continue down Ahern Avenue to the Cogswell roundabout and head left around the roundabout to Cogswell Street.
  • Walk down Cogswell Street and turn right into the Halifax Oval.
  • Passing through the area of the Oval, continue towards the fountain in the centre of the Halifax Commons.
  • Take the path to the right and exit the Commons on North Park Street.
  • Turn right, continuing on North Park Street to the Cogswell roundabout.
  • Keeping left, walk down Cogswell Street to the Centennial Pool.
  • Walking in the same direction, make your way to the corner of Cogswell Street and Gottingen Street.
  • Turn right onto Gottingen Street and continue on Gottingen (making a left toward the water) to Duke Street.
  • Continue onto Duke Street to the Scotiabank Centre.

After several years of having all its artifacts in storage at Sport Nova Scotia, The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame was guaranteed a permanent facility in The Brewery Market on Lower Water Street. The official opening of the new facility took place in 1983. (Today you can find a weekly Saturday market in the Brewery Market building.) Soon a new facility was needed to meet demand. In 1988, the Hall of Fame moved to the World Trade and Convention Centre directly across from the Metro Centre Box Office. In the spring of 1995, the Hall of Fame moved again—this time to the Centennial Building at the corner of Sackville and Granville Streets. The boxing statue outside the building has since moved to outside Palooka’s gym on Bedford Highway.

THE SOUTH END LOOP

◆ Walking time (non-stop):
1 hour, 50 minutes
◆ Recommended time:
3 hours
◆ Difficulty: Medium-Hard

South End Loop Route Details
  • Exit the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame and cross the box office level of the Scotiabank Centre to exit onto Duke Street.
  • Walk down the hill and turn right onto Granville Street.
  • Turn left onto Sackville Street (with the Centennial Building on the corner) and follow Sackville to the boardwalk. Walk along the boardwalk to Bishop’s Landing where you can see McNabs Island.
  • Walk up Bishop Street to Lower Water Street and turn right onto Lower Water. Turn left on Salter and then left on Barrington. Take a right onto Spring Garden Road.
  • Follow the lively shopping district of Spring Garden Road (past the Sport Nova Scotia offices) to Robie Street.
  • Take a left on Robie, then right on University Avenue. Turn left onto LeMarchant Street and then right on South Street. Follow South Street past the Dalplex to the end of the street, where you can view the Northwest Arm from the water’s edge.
  • Return up South Street to Oxford Street. Turn left onto Oxford and then right on Coburg. Take Coburg to Robie and turn left.
  • Turn right at the Camp Hill Cemetery and take the footpath through the cemetery, exiting at the corner of Sackville and Summer Streets, where you will see the Wanderers Grounds.
  • Enter the Halifax Public Gardens from the gate on the corner of Sackville and Summer Streets. Walk through the Gardens, making your way Southeast and exit on the corner of Spring Garden Road and South Park Street.
  • Turn left on South Park and then right on Sackville and left on Brunswick Street to return to the Scotiabank Centre.

While you cannot actually walk to McNabs Island, this route will take you along the Halifax waterfront where you can clearly view McNabs from the boardwalk. It is the larger of the two islands in the Halifax Harbour, and there are excursions to the island available by boat. McNabs was an important site in the popularization of quoits (a game similar to horse shoes or ring toss). Records of quoits date to 1762 on McNabs Island. The sport was likely introduced by sailors as it was a popular game at sea. Pictured here are the Lorne Rowing Club Hodge Podge on McNabs, 1924, and the Carnival Rowing Race on the Halifax Harbour, 1896.

The Dalplex opened in 1979 with its cutting edge “air structure” roof. It became the primary athletics and recreation facility for Dalhousie University, providing much more space than Studley Gym (which is still used today and can be found off South Street at LeMarchant Street). The Dalplex stands near the site of the old Studley Field, which held a large variety of sport events, including the meetings of the Studley Quoit Club (pictured here). The club was founded in 1858, and welcomed a visit from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VIII) on August 18, 1919. The Dalplex has since hosted many championships, and is home to extensive fitness facilities and a pool.

The Northwest Arm has been the setting for many a great rowing championship, as well as much paddling and boating activity for over a century. World Champion rower and Hall of Famer George Brown achieved many of his great victories on the Northwest Arm. Standing at the very end of South Street, you can look across the Arm to the Dingle Tower at Sir Sanford Fleming Park. If you’d like to take to the water like the great paddlers, rowers and sailors of the past, you can take a side trip by walking up Oxford Street to Jubilee Road and following Jubilee toward the water until you get to the Saint Mary’s Boat Club. Here you can rent canoes for free on weekends between June 1 and September 30, and take in amazing views of the city from the Arm.

SOUTH END LOOP ROUTE DETAILS

  • Exit the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame and cross the box office level of the Scotiabank Centre to exit onto Duke Street.
  • Walk down the hill and turn right onto Granville Street.
  • Turn left onto Sackville Street (with the Centennial Building on the corner) and follow Sackville to the boardwalk. Walk along the boardwalk to Bishop’s Landing where you can see McNabs Island.
  • Walk up Bishop Street to Lower Water Street and turn right onto Lower Water. Turn left on Salter and then left on Barrington. Take a right onto Spring Garden Road.
  • Follow the lively shopping district of Spring Garden Road (past the Sport Nova Scotia offices) to Robie Street.
  • Take a left on Robie, then right on University Avenue. Turn left onto LeMarchant Street and then right on South Street. Follow South Street past the Dalplex to the end of the street, where you can view the Northwest Arm from the water’s edge.
  • Return up South Street to Oxford Street. Turn left onto Oxford and then right on Coburg. Take Coburg to Robie and turn left.
  • Turn right at the Camp Hill Cemetery and take the footpath through the cemetery, exiting at the corner of Sackville and Summer Streets, where you will see the Wanderers Grounds.
  • Enter the Halifax Public Gardens from the gate on the corner of Sackville and Summer Streets. Walk through the Gardens, making your way Southeast and exit on the corner of Spring Garden Road and South Park Street.
  • Turn left on South Park and then right on Sackville and left on Brunswick Street to return to the Scotiabank Centre.

THE NORTH END LOOP

◆ Walking time (non-stop):
1 hour, 30 minutes
◆ Recommended time:
2.5 hours
◆ Difficulty: Medium

North End Loop Route Details
  • Starting at the Sport Hall of Fame, exiting on Carmichael Street, turn right to walk toward Brunswick Street. Take a right on Brunswick and walk until you reach Gottingen Street. Continue uphill and take a slight right to continue on Gottingen. Turn left onto Cogswell Street.
  • As you are now on Cogswell outside of the Centennial Pool, continue on Cogswell until you reach North Park Street.
  • When you get to North Park Street you can keep right at the round-about to reach the Emera Oval.
  • You can walk through the Halifax Commons (heading North from the Oval and past the fountain) to arrive at the corner of Robie and Cunard Streets.
  • Continue west on Cunard until you reach Windsor Street and take a right. Continuing on Windsor, you will come to the Halifax Forum.
  • Continuing on Windsor past the Halifax Forum, turn right onto Young Street. The Mayflower Curling Club is on Monaghan Drive (right off of Young Street). After the Mayflower Curling Club, proceed down Young Street until you reach Agricola Street and turn right.
  • Continue on Agricola until you reach North Street and turn left onto North. When you reach Gottingen Street, turn right. Further down Gottingen Street you will find the George Dixon Centre on your left.
  • After the George Dixon Centre, continue down Gottingen and you will pass by Buddy Daye Street on your right.
  • Continue on Gottingen Street. keeping left where Gottingen meets Rainnie Drive and walking downhill. Then turn right onto Brunswick Street and continue until you reach the Scotiabank Centre.

The George Dixon Recreational Centre was named after one of the greatest boxers Nova Scotia and Canada has ever produced. He has also recently been named Nova Scotia’s sixth greatest athlete of all time. Dixon was born in Africville, NS in 1870 and started his professional career when he was 16 years old. His talent flourished quickly and he soon became the first Black man to win a World Championship, and the first man to ever win more than two World boxing titles. The George Dixon Recreational Centre has contributed greatly to the youth in this community by encouraging a safe and fun space to play. If you would like to extend this route north on Gottingen St./Novalea Dr., you can visit Dixon’s birthplace of Africville (which is now home to a park and museum) on the far Northern tip of the peninsula.

Buddy Daye Street was named after Hall of Famer Delmore William “Buddy” Daye. Buddy won the 1964 Canadian super featherweight boxing championship in the Halifax Forum in front of 5,000 people. He later became the first African Nova Scotian Sergeant-at-Arms for the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.

The Halifax Forum officially opened on December 26, 1927, on the ruins of the provincial exhibition building which was destroyed in the Halifax explosion. The complex was originally composed of an arena, industrial building, cattle shed, grandstand, horse racing track and horse barns. The arena at the Forum became the first artificial ice surface east of Montreal, and the industrial building housed the first Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame museum when it opened in 1964.

From its first hockey game (pictured above) to major concerts, the Forum has welcomed many significant events. The original arena is now accompanied by four attached buildings that provide multi-purpose space for the community. You can find a farmers market there on Saturdays, a flea market on Sundays and bingo every day of the week (including glow-in-the-dark “cosmic” bingo on Saturday nights)!

The Mayflower Curling Club was founded in 1905 and is a very historical site in Halifax. In 1912 the Mayflower was used as a morgue when the Titanic sank and many bodies washed ashore in Halifax. Only five years later the club was completely destroyed by the Halifax Explosion. The Mayflower Curling Club was then rebuilt on Monaghan Drive in 1962. The sport of curling really started to evolve after the rebuilding. The Mayflower even became the home club for Nova Scotia’s greatest curler—Colleen Jones.

If you would like to learn more about the Halifax Explosion that demolished the first Mayflower club, you can extend your walk down Young Street and through the hydrostone area to Fort Needham Park, which was a popular recreational area in the early 1900s. It also overlooks the site of the collision that caused the explosion, and has been recently renovated with historical info integrated into the park.

The Scotiabank Centre opened as the Halifax Metro Centre on February 17, 1978. It was renamed to Scotiabank Centre in 2014. It is Halifax’s main venue for premier sports and entertainment events. It is the home to the Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL team, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, the Halifax Thunderbirds NLL team, and the Halifax Hurricanes NBL team. The biggest audience to fill the arena’s stands was a crowd of 11,000 basketball fans who came out to watch Saint Mary’s University defeat Acadia for the national championship in the centre’s opening year. It was the ultimate battle for supremacy between two Nova Scotian teams.

NORTH END LOOP ROUTE DETAILS

  • Starting at the Sport Hall of Fame, exiting on Carmichael Street, turn right to walk toward Brunswick Street. Take a right on Brunswick and walk until you reach Gottingen Street. Continue uphill and take a slight right to continue on Gottingen. Turn left onto Cogswell Street.
  • As you are now on Cogswell outside of the Centennial Pool, continue on Cogswell until you reach North Park Street.
  • When you get to North Park Street you can keep right at the round-about to reach the Emera Oval.
  • You can walk through the Halifax Commons (heading North from the Oval and past the fountain) to arrive at the corner of Robie and Cunard Streets.
  • Continue west on Cunard until you reach Windsor Street and take a right. Continuing on Windsor, you will come to the Halifax Forum.
  • Continuing on Windsor past the Halifax Forum, turn right onto Young Street. The Mayflower Curling Club is on Monaghan Drive (right off of Young Street). After the Mayflower Curling Club, proceed down Young Street until you reach Agricola Street and turn right.
  • Continue on Agricola until you reach North Street and turn left onto North. When you reach Gottingen Street, turn right. Further down Gottingen Street you will find the George Dixon Centre on your left.
  • After the George Dixon Centre, continue down Gottingen and you will pass by Buddy Daye Street on your right.
  • Continue on Gottingen Street. keeping left where Gottingen meets Rainnie Drive and walking downhill. Then turn right onto Brunswick Street and continue until you reach the Scotiabank Centre.

DAYTRIP IDEAS

Places of Heritage Significance throughout Nova Scotia

  • Annapolis Royal – where a section of the Governor’s Gardens at the British Garrison Grounds was converted into Canada’s first lawn bowling green in 1734
  • Antigonish – home to the annual Highland Games since 1863
  • Cape Breton Highlands Golf Course – designed by world-renowned golf course architect Stanley Thompson and rated by Sports Illustrated as his most influential course
  • Lake Banook, Dartmouth – home to three canoe/kayak clubs and the site of Natal Day sport events since 1904 (easily accessible from Halifax by Metro Transit)
  • Lunenburg – the birthplace of the world-famous Bluenose racing schooner
  • Long Pond, Windsor – believed to be the “Birthplace of Canadian Hockey,” also known as “The Cradle of Hockey”
  • Truro Raceway – home to harness racing since 1875 and also the site of the annual Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition
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