Georges Island National Historic Site in Halifax Partially Opened Thanks to Partnership Between Canada and Nova Scotia

News release

Aerial view of Georges Island National Historic Site in Halifax Harbour.
Photo credits: Tourism Nova Scotia

Wharf completion and new shuttle service provided by Ambassatours Gray Line/ Murphy’s on the Water allows unique visitor opportunity beginning in August 2020

August 6, 2020                             Halifax, Nova Scotia                       Parks Canada Agency

Situated in the heart of Halifax Harbour lies Georges Island, a national historic site that reflects the rich and varied heritage of Canada.

Today, Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax, Geoff MacLellan, Provincial Minister of business responsible for tourism, and Jennifer Angel, President and CEO of Develop Nova Scotia, announced that for the first time in generations, Georges Island will be partially opened to visitors starting on August 8, 2020.

This announcement was made possible by the completion of a new wharf, jointly funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia, through Develop Nova Scotia and Tourism Nova Scotia. The wharf provides a gateway to this unique historical and cultural attraction, enhancing Halifax Harbour for residents and visitors.

The marine infrastructure project, overseen by Develop Nova Scotia, to enable access to Georges Island is complete, with some additional work being finalized on the island. The project includes a new 150' x 20’ wharf, and gangways designed for improved island access. Floating docks on each side will support safe public access by tour boats, water taxis, and recreational boats in the future, as part of Develop Nova Scotia’s growing marine visitation program.

Visitor access to Georges Island will be provided by Ambassatours Gray Line; the boat tour company that was recently awarded the contract, through a competitive process led by Develop Nova Scotia.

While visitor services remain limited at this time, Parks Canada’s continued consultation and collaboration with La Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse and Indigenous partners will ensure the new visitor experience represents the full and complex history tied to this key feature in Halifax Harbour.

This new tourism opportunity will support local economic COVID-19 recovery efforts in the Halifax region. By providing access to Georges Island, Parks Canada is providing visitors with an opportunity to connect with Atlantic Canada’s rich and complex history.


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Photo credits: Nicolle Leblanc


“For generations Georges Island National Historic Site has remained off limits and out of reach to Haligonians and visitors alike. Last year, the federal government in partnership with the Province of Nova Scotia and the Mi'kmaq and Acadian communities of Nova Scotia, shared our plan to open Georges Island at long last. Access to this emerald gem in Halifax Harbour will immerse visitors in the diverse history and ecology of this iconic landmark, while enjoying Halifax from a whole new vantage point. Despite some COVID-19 related delays, this partial opening is an exciting and historic milestone.”

Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Investing in access to Georges Island National Historic Site through the Tourism Revitalization of Icons Program has helped open this sought-after tourism attraction to visitors and provides yet another compelling reason to visit the Halifax waterfront. The partnership with Ambassatours Gray Line demonstrates how investing in infrastructure at our iconic tourism sites can create opportunities for local businesses.”

Geoff MacLellan,
Minister of Business, Province of Nova Scotia 

“To see this project come to fruition which now provides safe access to Georges Island, is exciting. Enhancing authentic sustainable places in Nova Scotia that provide high quality experiences for residents and visitors, contributes to making our province attractive to people and investment. With the support of our partners and the community, we can now explore and learn about this important historical site and unique experience in Halifax Harbour. The Harbour Islands Visitor Experience Strategy that we are leading is focused on Georges and McNabs Islands and includes extensive engagement.” 

Jennifer Angel,
President & CEO, Develop Nova Scotia

“The opportunity to visit Georges Island has been much-anticipated by the public and, with the current travel situation, there has never been a better time to more broadly explore our own backyards. Our captain and crew, at Murphy’s the Cable Wharf, are excited about the opportunity to work with two great partners to facilitate public visits to the island.”

Dennis Campbell,
CEO, Ambassatours Gray Line

Quick facts

  • A total investment of $3.7 million for the Georges Island visitor offer includes $1.6 million through Parks Canada’s Federal Infrastructure Investment program, combined with $2.07 million in funding from Infrastructure Canada and the province of Nova Scotia through the Tourism Revitalization of Icons Fund (TRIP) overseen by Tourism Nova Scotia.   

  • Georges Island National Historic Site is scheduled to be open for visitors from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 pm for five consecutive weekends starting August 8 and 9, 2020, through to September 5 and 6, 2020.

  • Transport to the Island will be provided by Murphy’s and tickets may be obtained online or upon arrival to the Halifax waterfront. Ticket purchase information can be obtained at Ambassatours Gray Line/ Murphy’s on the Water.

  • Upon arrival on the island, visitors will walk up a sloped, gravelled path to Fort Charlotte where interpreters will present the Island’s history and provide short tunnel tours through the lower level rooms and halls of the gun battery – part of the World War II defence works on the island.

  • Visitors and employees will be required to wear non-medical masks or face coverings and to follow public health recommendations including physical distancing and good hygiene measures.

  • Visitors are asked to plan ahead and visit the Parks Canada website before they travel.

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Moira Kelly
Press Secretary      
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

Kelly Rose
Develop Nova Scotia

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