The Halifax Common – Unlock The Potential

The People's Common

It’s the People’s Common

Join the Friends in championing the Halifax Common. Your enthusiasm about caring for the heart and lungs of Halifax- 240 acres of public open space – already has strong roots in the 1994 Halifax Common Plan.  Help make sure the North, Central, South Commons’ vibrancy, beauty and identity continue to strengthen our neighborhoods, our common connections to each other and remain for all to enjoy.
The 235 acres of common land that King George III granted in 1763 “for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax forever,” includes all the land bordered by Robie and North/South Park Streets between Cunard and South Streets.  Originally the predominant uses were as a military ground, for public grazing & wood, and as public open space.
Over the next two and a half centuries, public institutions were added to the Common as these were seen as appropriate public uses.  Today much of this land is occupied by the hospitals, CBC television studios, Queen Elizabeth High School, the new Citadel High, Camp Hill Cemetery, Dalhousie’s Carleton campus, the Public Gardens and Victoria Park, the Museum of Natural History, All Saints Cathedral, etc.
What Happened?  In the early years the land was considered a bit of a wasteland and over the years using it for institutions and selling parcels to private owners seemed like a positive civic step.
Unfortunately, as a result, less than 1/3 of the original Common remains.  The sites of the Queen Elizabeth High School, the School for the Blind,  the All Saint Cathedral sideyards, and the Grace Maternity Hospital have all been lost despite the public desire to keep them as public open space.  And more is in danger of being lost.