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Citadel Hill

History in action at Citadel Hill

History in action at Citadel Hill

The imposing fortress of Citadel Hill stands high above downtown Halifax.

Built in 1856 to defend against invasion by the United States, the citadel took 28 years to build and is now one of Nova Scotia’s top attractions.

Citadel Hill’s history, architecture and lofty location overlooking the city can’t help but impress, although it does pale somewhat compared to the more extensive Fortress Louisbourg in Cape Breton.

The citadel is easy to find. From the Halifax waterfront, just look for the stairs winding uphill near the Clock Tower. Stop at the top to catch your breath and admire the view over Halifax Harbour, then enter Citadel Hill via a drawbridge that runs over deep moats.

You can also drive to the top by taking the small road that runs up the hill to a car park near the Citadel’s entrance. Parking costs $3.25.

Guides will take you on a free tour of the star-shaped fort, explaining its history since the British first chose Citadel Hill as an important strategic military site in 1749. Tours last about 45 minutes.

A further hour is enough to explore the exhibits, walk along the ramparts and see marching displays in the central open area instead the citadel. Visit near midday to see the ceremonial firing of the cannon at noon.

The grassy slopes around Citadel Hill are a popular recreation spot for locals to picnic, work on their suntans or go kite flying.

Admission fees: Vary by season. Adults $11 (June 1 to September 15) and $7.80 (early May to June and mid-September through October). Free to wander around the fort in winter.
Opening hours: Daily, 9am to 5pm. Closing extended to 6pm in July and August.