Halifax Harbour

Sunrise run on the boardwalk

Urban

Beginner-friendly

< 2 hours

Running along Halifax Harbour at daybreak is an awesome way to see the city. A misty skyline, boats bobbing on the water and the sun peeking over the ocean makes for a sweet start to your day (even if you’re not a morning person). The route is flat and alternates between a wooden boardwalk, crusher dust and pavement, so it’s easy on the feet as well as the eyes.

Halifax Harbour

Halifax Harbour, Halifax, NS, Canada

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Planning your run

Make the most of your morning

But first: coffee

Where you begin depends on where you’re coming from. You can catch the boardwalk at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market or Casino Nova Scotia. If you’re outside the city, a local bus will get you there no problem (check the schedule if you’re getting an early start). The farmers’ market is popular on Saturday mornings and is a great spot for a pre- or post- run breakfast. Need caffeine before your run? The market opens at 7:00am so you can hit up Java Blend Coffee Roasters beforehand, or afterwards if you’re up at dawn.

Chart your course

The boardwalk can be a classic out-and-back route. For a short run, follow the whole boardwalk to one end and back for a quick 45km run. If you want to get in some hills, head away from the water up Duke Street until you get to the large grassy mound that’s Citadel Hill. You can run around it or over it. Once you’ve had your fill of the hill, head back towards the water on Sackville Street and you’ll be back down at the waterfront boardwalk running nothing but flat terrain.

Timing is key on the quay

During the day, there’s a lot of hustle and bustle on the harbour, so the earlier you’re out, the better. Beginning around 5:00am in the summer is best, especially on a weekday. You’ll not only see the sunrise, but you’ll beat the morning commuters disembarking from the ferries. The only people you’ll see will likely be fellow runners and dog walkers.

What to wear

Haligonians know all about the wind. If it isn’t raining and waterproof gear isn’t an issue, wear something that has wind resistance and breathability. As the sun rises, the wind tends to rise with it. A lightweight windbreaker should serve you well, and having sunglasses on hand wouldn’t hurt.

Appreciate your surroundings

You’re running past some important landmarks: the Port of Halifax is one of the largest and deepest natural harbours in the world. And if you decide to run up to Citadel Hill, you’ll be standing on a piece of history: it’s a fortress dating back to 1749. The boardwalk is also home to several modern sculptures you’re likely familiar with if you’re a local, like the “drunken” lampposts, the pile of bicycles, or the wave.

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