Public Gardens

Cost – Free!


Every town has its “thing”. You know what I mean. It’s the thing that every tourist does when they come to visit. It’s the thing you pass by every day, forgetting how great it really is. One of Halifax’s things is the Public Gardens. I’m sure most visitors to the city make time to walk through and enjoy what it has to offer, while those of us who live close by don’t think twice about it. That was the case for us, so we decided to go for a walk through the Public Gardens and see what we were missing.


I have lived in the Halifax area for almost ten years now and have never fully indulged in the treasure that exists right in the heart of our city – the Public Gardens. When I found out Brad had never EVER set foot inside its gates, despite living here practically his whole life, we both knew it was time to check out our city’s green space.

Nature and the CityI’m really happy we gave the Public Gardens a chance. Though I’m sure the gardens are much more lush in the peak of summer, it was still a lovely place to stroll through and take pictures of. This may sound like a bit of a stretch, but one reason I enjoyed the gardens so much was because being in the green space and seeing all of the tall buildings shoot out over trees in the distance reminded me of strolling through Central Park in New York City last summer. There was even a bridge or two that reminded me of the Bow Bridge. The best part was that in order to see all of the Public Gardens we didn’t need to cover 843 acres of land! Don’t get me wrong, no public park I’ve experienced yet can compare to Central Park, but I can appreciate what the Public Gardens has to offer.

As we were leaving the gardens, we noticed a building in the centre and upon further inspection learned it housed a coffee shop and ice cream parlour! If only I had discovered this at the beginning of the summer! I can’t wait to visit next summer and order up a hot cup of tea to enjoy out on the tranquil patio with my man.


Let me set the stage for you. New York City in the summer of 2008. It was our first time in the city and it was our last day before we had to leave. We were finally taking the time to see Central Park because Susan was determined to see the Bow Bridge. We had no idea where it was in the park, so we started walking…and walking….and walking….By the time we found the bridge I thought my feet were going to fall off. Then we had to walk all the way back to the gates of the park to get back in a cab. At the end of a long week of walking (although it was all totally worth it) I was not happy about this long trek through the park.

I say all that to illustrate why I enjoyed the Public Gardens as much as I did. It is big enough to take a nice leisurely walk and escape the city, but small enough that I wasn’t risking heart failure. It is very peaceful and there is a lot to look at. There are lots of places to sit down for those who like to just relax and enjoy the surroundings, but plenty of little walking trails for those looking to get a bit more exercise. The only thing that I found weird was the signs posted everywhere saying to keep off the grass, but I guess that’s because it’s not so much a park to run around in as it is a garden to walk through and look at.

Bad IdeaThe highlight of our visit (for me) was when we saw some ducks near a pond. They were coming up close, so in my infinite wisdom I stuck out my finger. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do when you come across a wild animal? Getting bitten by a duck is a very odd sensation. It seems like it should hurt, but it doesn’t. After he bit me, I showed my determination to outsmart the duck by putting the same finger in his face which he promptly bit a second time. I decided that was enough and left him alone. I think I used Susan’s whole bottle of hand sanitizer on the way out. Don’t tell her.

I really had a lot of fun at the Public Gardens and will definitely go back. I’m looking forward to grabbing a coffee at the nearby coffee shop and enjoying nature right in the middle of Halifax. Also, every Sunday throughout the summer they have free concerts so we’ll have to check out at least one next summer. If you have a minute, take a look at some of the pictures we took as we walked through the garden. What is your town’s “thing”? Is there something you pass by every day that you’ve never taken the time to experience? Take a walk through the place you live and look at it through the eyes of a tourist. It’s a great way to spend some time with another person, plus you might discover there are some fun things to do that you hadn’t taken the time to try.

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