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Explore Black Culture & Heritage in Halifax

About This Experience

Strengthen your understanding of how the Black community has shaped the Halifax region.

Peoples of African descent are a vibrant, integral part of Nova Scotia’s past, present, and future. Nova Scotia is truly at the heart of Black culture and heritage in Canada, boasting the largest indigenous Black community in the country.

Learn more about a local history that spans more than 400 years and the rich legacy built by African Nova Scotians in this province and the Halifax region.

The Plan

  • Spend some time at the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia in Cherry Brook
  • Have a delicious lunch from one of Halifax’s Black-owned businesses
  • Visit the site of Africville at the northern tip of the Halifax Peninsula

Begin by discovering centuries of heritage

Head to Cherry Brook (about 25 minutes from Downtown Halifax),  for a visit at the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia. Learn all about the 52 historic communities settled by Nova Scotians of African descent – from Shelburne to East Preston to Annapolis Royal to Sydney to Springhill and many more!

Fun fact: The first Black resident of what is now Nova Scotia is believed to be Mathieu da Costa, who signed on as an interpreter at the settlement of Port Royal in 1609.

Support one (or more!) of Halifax's Black-owned businesses

Have a delicious lunch from one of Halifax’s Black-owned restaurants. We recommend taking the McDonald Bridge to Downtown Halifax where you can enjoy Mary’s African Cuisine  outside on the picnic tables in Grand Parade Square.

Tip: Grand Parade Square is a convenient place from which to continue exploring.

  • Consider a walk to Citadel Hill, once refortified by Maroons (settlers brought to Nova Scotia from Jamaica) in the 18th century. 
  • Or venture down to the Waterfront and grab a scoop from Black Bear Ice Cream, known for its home-made, old-fashioned ice cream.

Take a walk through Africville in the North End

Visit the site of Africville at the northern tip of the Halifax Peninsula, an African-Nova Scotian settlement that stood for over 100 years before being displaced to make room for Halifax’s industrial expansion in the 1960s.

Now a memorial park and museum, the site today provides an opportunity to learn about the resilience of African Nova Scotians and their long history in the province.

Bonus: Visit Viola Desmond’s grave site in the stately Camp Hill Cemetery, next to the peaceful Halifax Public Gardens.

The new Canadian $10 bill bears the image of Viola Desmond, a Black Nova Scotian who grew up in the North End of Halifax, who was arrested on Nov. 8, 1946 for refusing to leave a whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, NS.


  • Plan to visit or support other black-owned businesses along the way by checking out the Black Business Initiative's Member Directory
  • Be sure to check museum and restaurant hours beforehand
  • If traveling across the bridge from Halifax, bring $1.00 toll (each way)
  • Prepare beforehand or continue your learning about Black history in Halifax afterward by checking out this series of short videos
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