Point Pleasant Park is a large, forested park at the southern tip of the Halifax peninsula. It once hosted several artillery batteries and still contains the Prince Of Wales tower – the oldest Martello tower in North America (1796). Martello towers, sometimes known simply as Martellos are small defensive forts that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century.
Plays are performed in the park every summer by a theatre company called Shakespere by the Sea. The performances take place at Cambridge Battery, and include both Shakespearean productions and original musicals based on classic mythology for audiences of all ages.
In 1866 the British Empire leased the park to the city of Halifax for $1, an agreement that is still upheld to this day.
St. Aspinquid’s Chapel was established by Priest Louis-Pierre Thury at Halifax in the late 17th century. The chapel is a natural stone amphitheatre located by Chain Rock Battery on the Northwest Arm in Point Pleasant Park.
There are numerous notable people buried in the burial grounds around the chapel and it is also the location of the Mi’ kmaq celebration of the Feast of St. Aspinquid, which was conducted through much of the 18th century.
Point Pleasant Park In Halifax
Small amounts of stone were quarried in the park in the 19th century, the small quarries today forming a pond near the park entrance. In the 1920s, the Halifax street line was extended into the park as far as the Prince of Wales Tower but the route was abandoned in the 1940s.
In September 2003, Point Pleasant Park was devastated by Hurricane Juan. Nearly three quarters of the park’s trees were knocked down and the park remained closed until June 2004. While there were still trees remaining, the park now had a very thin canopy.
Despite the long history of violent wars and stone quarries, Point Pleasant Park is a fantastic spot to walk, jog, and even ride a bike. There are numerous park benches and bathrooms throughout the park. Some of the hills can be challenging and the trails can criss cross one another, but the trails are well marked.
To see the history of this park one simply needs to look to either side of the trail while walking where many stone walls and monuments can be found.