Here's a sampling of free things to do this Canada Day in the Halifax region:

1. Pancake breakfasts in Halifax and Dartmouth

People in Dartmouth are invited to a free pancake breakfast between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Harbourview. Air Force Cadets will raise a flag and there will be a draw for prizes. 

The annual free pancake breakfast on the Halifax side of the harbour is also planned at 8 a.m. Come early and stuff your face with free pancakes while supplies last at Grand Parade, outside City Hall. while listening to the Tattoo Choir.

2. HMCS Halifax tour

Take a free tour aboard HMCS Halifax, which is currently docked in front of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. 

3. Activities at Pier 21

From 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., everyone is welcome to attend the official citizenship ceremony, presented in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., take part in the Multicultural Fair hosted by CBC's Louise Renault. The fair features live multicultural music and dance performances, as well as face painting, origami, balloon animals, photography and much more.

4. Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Parade

Between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., catch a glimpse of Nova Scotia's internationally renowned Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo as the parade winds its way from the Metro Centre to Spring Garden Road and around Citadel Hill.

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Parade route

The route for the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Parade on Canada Day in Halifax. (Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo)

5. Free admission to Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

Sometimes it's fun to be a tourist in your own city. If you've never visited the highest point of land on the peninsula, there's free access on Canada Day.

Be there at noon for free cake, the singing of the national anthem, a 21-gun salute and a flypast by members of 12 Wing Shearwater.

6. Family Fun Fest on the Halifax Common

There's no shortage of family-friendly activities on Canada Day. One of them is the annual family Fun Fest on the Halifax Common between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m., featuring bounce castles, obstacle courses, mascots, and free Canada Day birthday cake until supplies last.

7. Free ferry service all day

Ride the Metro Transit ferry for free on Canada Day. Passengers are asked to bring a non-perishable food donation to support Feed Nova Scotia.

8. Main Canada Day concert at Alderney Landing

The annual free concert at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth is not to be missed. The concert kicks off at 5 p.m. and goes until midnight with the following lineup: 

  • 5:15: Alert the Medic.
  • 6:15: The Belle Game.
  • 7:15: Ben Caplan.
  • 8:15: July Talk.
  • 9:30: Sam Roberts Band.

9. Other free concerts

Take in some music on both sides of the harbour with free concerts at Sullivan's Pond in Dartmouth and the Public Gardens in Halifax.

The Sullivan's Pond concert goes from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature an acoustic duo led by Troy Arsenault, of Alert the Medic. There will be free maple leaf cookies while quantities last and people are being encouraged to wear your favourite red and whites.

The concert at the Public Gardens features the Memphis Knights, a rockabilly band from Halifax. They're on stage between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and there will also be free maple leaf cookies.

10. Fireworks shows

Watch a spectacular fireworks display over Halifax Harbour beginning at 10 p.m. Prime watching spots include the Dartmouth and Halifax waterfronts and Citadel Hill.

There will also be fireworks at DeWolf Park in Bedford as part of the Bedford Days Canada Day celebrations. There will be live music performed by the Big Fish band and local musician Willie Stratton, culminating in the fireworks display at 10 p.m.