Let it snow: Halifax Public Gardens to stay open for winter strolls

Main paths in Halifax Public Gardens will be cleared of snow throughout the winter so users can continue to enjoy the park.

Historic downtown gardens will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Halifax Public Gardens is now open to residents and visitors year-round. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

The Halifax Public Gardens will be open year-round, starting this winter.

The city will begin keeping the historic gardens, established in the mid-1800s, open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the winter months, said spokesman Nick Ritcey on Wednesday.

Previously, the gardens closed around mid-November and opened again in late April or early May. Since 2012, there have been efforts to keep the site open during the winter for limited daytime visits, as weather permitted.

This year, major paths will be maintained and the four corner gates will be kept open, Ritcey said.

Main paths to stay cleared

"In the coming weeks, we'll have a map about what those will look like. We will release the maps on the site, on our website and social media [to show] where people can travel throughout the gardens," he said.

"Some of the paths, when there is a snow-clearing issue, won't be cleared. We will only be focusing on the main paths. There will be an area around Griffin's Pond that won't be accessible because there's going to be some work there this winter."

He said the city is responding to feedback from users who want to access the downtown park during winter months, in addition to urban green spaces such as Point Pleasant Park and the Halifax Commons.

"We ask that everyone follow and respect the rules of the gardens and enjoy it through the winter months as it can be really nice in the winter as well," Ritcey said.

No bathroom facilities in winter

"There will probably be lessons we will learn about trying to clear the snow and keep the paths clean. Obviously when there's big storms, everyone's going to have to be patient. The streets will take first priority but we'll be making every effort to keep it open throughout those hours."

There won't be any bathrooms open throughout the winter, Ritcey said.

The cost of keeping the gardens open will be minimal and mostly connected to snow clearing, he added.

"We'll be assessing after this winter how everything went and see if any changes need to be made next winter."

The gardens will remained closed for safety reasons in the event of a major storm and if a significant amount of snow removal is needed.