Certainly, the best way to visit Halifax is by taking the Dartmouth Ferry. Founded in 1752, the Dartmouth Ferry is the second oldest saltwater ferry in the world.
The first true ferry to be employed in Halifax Harbour started in 1816 when the Sherbrooke “horseboat” was powered by 9 horses walking in a circular motion in the center of the boat and turning the central paddle. The first steam ferry - Sir Charles Ogle - commenced operations in 1830.
Up until the completion of the Macdonald Bridge in 1955, the ferry service was the only way to get between Dartmouth and Halifax. The current generation of ferries was implemented in the 1970s by the former City of Dartmouth up until 1996 when operations were transferred to Halifax Regional Municipality.
Two ferries will get you from Dartmouth to Halifax, and vice versa. Often described as the best and most inexpensive tour of Halifax Harbour, the fare is modestly priced (one-way fare is $2.50). If you don’t have exact change, change machines can be found in the terminal buildings. The ferries can accommodate bikes, strollers, and wheelchairs.
Dartmouth’s Alderney Ferry is located in downtown Dartmouth. The Woodside Ferry is located in Woodside, on Pleasant Street. Both locations have Park and Ride lots.
Ferry service is accessible and integrated with the bus services. You can use a transfer to board ferries and buses. Ferry schedules are shown below. Click here for a larger view.
The Woodside Ferry parking lot is reserved for permit holders, but parking can be found in adjacent commercial lots.
In Downtown, paid parking is available at the Alderney Landing outdoor lot or on adjacent streets (no charge on weekends or after 6 pm) or in the underground parking garage adjacent to Alderney Landing.
When you reach Halifax, you will be in the heart of Halifax’s historic downtown and waterfront.
Another enjoyable experience is to take one ferry one way, and on your return to Dartmouth, take the other ferry. This introduces the possibility of taking a 4 km hike between the ferry terminals.
The Dartmouth Harbourwalk – which is also part of the Trans Canada Trail – provides superior views of Halifax, the harbour approaches, McNabs Island and Dartmouth’s working waterfront.
For more information on The Harbourwalk, click here.