Point Pleasant Park - Halifax, Nova Scotia
History and Ownership of Point Pleasant Park
Experience the beauty of Halifax's natural scenery by enjoying a picnic with stunning ocean views or trekking through 186 acres of forest in one of the city's most cherished parks - Point Pleasant Park. Located at the southern tip of the Halifax peninsula, this sprawling community park is predominantly forested and was once home to numerous weapons batteries. Today, it boasts the oldest Martello tower in North America, the Prince of Wales Tower, built in 1796. The park is a popular recreational area for Haligonians, offering forest walks and picturesque views of the harbor and the Atlantic.
Every summer, the park comes alive with performances by an acclaimed theater company called Shakespeare by the Sea. The shows take place at Cambridge Battery and include both Shakespearean productions and original musicals based on classic fairy tales, catering to audiences of all ages. The company also operates the 80-seat Park Place Theatre in the park's lower parking lot, which serves as a rain venue during the summer and for indoor productions in the fall and winter.
Point Pleasant Park is owned by the British government and administered by the Minister of the Department of Canadian Heritage. It is leased to Halifax Regional Municipality for a nominal fee of one shilling per year. The original lease for the land was negotiated by Sir William Young in 1866.
In 1943, the park was honored when a Canadian steamship was named after it - the SS Point Pleasant Park. The ship's captain was presented with a framed picture of the Yonge Street gate by the mayor of Halifax, which was displayed in the ship's dining room until it was torpedoed in 1945.
In 2000, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency proposed to cut down 10,000 trees in the park to prevent an outbreak of the Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle (Tetropium fuscum). The plan was challenged in court by the Friends of Point Pleasant Park, resulting in a temporary injunction that stopped the cutting. Although the injunction was later lifted, the number of trees cut down was reduced to less than 2,000.
In September 2003, the park suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Juan. Nearly three-quarters of the trees in the park were destroyed, and it remained closed until June 2004. The park's canopy became very thin, but the Canadian government provided support to Halifax Regional Municipality to help with the restoration and revitalization of the park. By June 2008, over 70,000 Acadian forest trees had been planted in the park, exceeding the number of trees lost to Hurricane Juan.
To ensure the long-term care and preservation of Point Pleasant Park's forest, a comprehensive plan has been put in place based on Canada's national standards for sustainable forest management. The process of Adaptive Management will be used to guide the renewal and maintenance of this historic urban park.
If you’re planning a trip to Point Pleasant Park, there are a few resources that can help you make the most of your visit. The Nova Scotia Visitor Information Centre is a great place to start. They have six locations throughout the province, including one in Halifax, where you can drop in for information on Nova Scotia’s travel experiences. Their friendly and knowledgeable travel counsellors and tourism ambassadors can help you plan your trip and make the most of your time in Halifax.
Another useful resource is the Tourism Nova Scotia website. Here you can find information on visitor centres, travel guides, and top attractions and experiences throughout the province.