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Metropolitan Halifax (2006 pop.: 282,924[1]), often referred to as Metro Halifax, or Halifax, is the urban part of the Halifax Regional Municipality, a regional municipality that covers a large area of Nova Scotia, including rural areas. Metropolitan Halifax is a broad term used to distinguish the urban core of the HRM from the city of Halifax, since Halifax is only one of three major urban areas within Metropolitan Halifax, the others being Dartmouth and Bedford. Metropolitan Halifax is the most populous urban area in Atlantic Canada and home to Nova Scotia's capital district.

While the majority of urban areas include a city surrounded by towns and suburbs that are often self or separately governed from the city, Metropolitan Halifax is unusual in that the entire urban, suburban and rural commuter-shed—as well as a substantial unrelated rural area—are all a part of a single-tier municipal corporation called the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), a regional municipality that governs Halifax County, covering a geographic area larger than the province of Prince Edward Island.[2]

Metropolitan Halifax benefits from a process of increased rural depopulation and corresponding urban growth in Atlantic Canada during the late 20th century—a demographic shift that was delayed several decades in the region compared with other parts of North America.



Map showing the urban, suburban, commuter and rural areas of HRM

The urban area of HRM is located in the western end of the municipality, fronting on Halifax Harbour. The dense urban core is centered on the Halifax Peninsula and the area of Dartmouth inside of the Circumferential Highway. The suburban area stretches beyond Mainland Halifax to the west, Cole Harbour to the east, and Bedford, Lower Sackville, Fall River and Windsor Junction areas to the north.[3] The municipal government considers all of the urban, suburban and rural commutershed to be a part of the Halifax urban area.

Unlike most cities with a sizable census metropolitan area, Halifax Regional Municipality's suburbs are incorporated into the Halifax Region proper, with the urban area including the urban core, suburban communities and a rural commuter shed that encompasses almost half the region.[4]

This urban area constitutes the most populous urban area on Canada's Atlantic coast, and the second largest coastal population centre in the country, after Vancouver. HRM currently accounts for 40% of Nova Scotia's population, and 15% of that of the Atlantic provinces.

The north eastern area of HRM, centered on Sheet Harbour, is completely rural. This area is not a part of the Halifax urban area, and has more in common with neighbouring counties such as Guysborough. and has little day to day interaction the rest of the region.[citation needed]


For the history of the present day community and the former city of Halifax, see City of Halifax, for information since 1996, consult the History of the Halifax Regional Municipality.

The town of Halifax was established by the British to counter-balance the French presence in Québec and Acadia, which at the time included present-day New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton Island and the Gaspe Peninsula. For most of its early history, Halifax was the primary North Atlantic base for the Royal Navy, it prospered during times of conflict and languished during times of peace. Despite Halifax's status as the regional centre and colonial capital, the city had difficulty sustaining peacetime economic success in its early years.

The four municipalities in the Halifax urban area had been coordinating service delivery through the Halifax Metropolitan Authority since the late 1970s, but remained independent towns and cities until April 1, 1996. On that date, the Province created the Halifax Regional Municipality by dissolving and amalgamating the City of Halifax, the City of Dartmouth, the Town of Bedford and Municipality of the County of Halifax.


  1. ^ Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and urban areas, 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data: Nova Scotia. Statistics Canada. Accessed 15 November 2009.
  2. ^ Guide to Municipal Services for Newcomers, Immigrants, and New Residents of the Halifax Regional Municipality. Halifax Regional Municipality. Accessed 15 November 2009.
  3. ^ Urban Core Boundaries. Halifax Regional Municipality. Accessed 15 November 2009.
  4. ^ Settlement Areas (HRMmaplg.jpg). Halifax Regional Municipality. Accessed 15 November 2009.

External links

Coordinates: 44°40′12″N 63°36′36″W / 44.67°N 63.6099°W / 44.67; -63.6099



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