The “Nova Scotian” originally opened its doors on June 23, 1930 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The hotel boasted 130 rooms, five suites and the elegant Atlantic Ballroom which accommodated up to 275 guests for dinner. The beautiful hotel was reminiscent of grand hotels seen all over the world and the only one of its kind in Eastern Canada.
The hotel is one of the original railroad hotels owned by Canadian National Railways, which built landmark hotels all across Canada in the 1930s and 1940s. The Nova Scotian connected Halifax to the rest of Canada. This Halifax hotel served as a supply base for the trains, prepared all meals and provided laundry services for the train linens and bedding.
At the time, the Nova Scotian was eight stories high, and on the 8th floor, there was a beautiful tearoom that overlooked the city of Halifax and CornwallisPark. The tearoom was surrounded by a beautiful rose garden and was one of the most popular and well-respected venues in the city.
The rear of the hotel has a full view of the Port, where historically luxury liners docked as Halifax has the second largest natural harbour in the world next to Sydney, Australia. Today, up to 85 cruise ships a year visit the Halifax Seaport. Many ships still dock directly behind the hotel - a great sight for guests visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Nova Scotian grew in size in the late 1950s, when another 161 rooms were added including nine more suites. At the time, significant Halifax conference space was created including the famous Commonwealth Ballroom, which has hosted royalty and dignitaries from all over the world.
Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth visited the hotel twice, once in the 1950s and once in the 1970s. Also, the late Princess Diana hosted her only official Royal dinner on an Eastern Canadian tour at the hotel in the early 1980s.
In the 1950s, The Evangeline Room, where guests would be greeted by tuxedoed maître d’ and waiters, was considered to be the most elegant restaurant in the city. Here, they could dance the night away to live entertainment – featuring a grand piano, sparkling silver, fine china, gleaming crystal and all the trimmings. The Eager Beaver Bar extended across the front of the hotel and was the most popular bar east of Montreal.
In the early 1970s, Canadian National sold the hotel and it became the Halifax Hilton in the late 1980s. Hilton managed the hotel until 1993, when the hotel closed its doors and the owners of the hotel, Revenue Properties of Toronto, put the Nova Scotian up for sale.
In April 1996, New Castle Hotels & Resorts of Shelton, CT, purchased the hotel and proceeded to invest $4 million immediately in the heritage hotel. This was in addition to the $15 million that Hilton had invested in the late 1980s to restore and upgrade the historical property.
The grand old dame re-opened on August 6, 1996 as The Westin Nova Scotian. The heritage hotel now offers 310 guestrooms, including 10 suites and 23, 000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
The AAA Four Diamond hotel features Westin’s signature product including the Heavenly Beds and linens. Recently, the Halifax convention space has all been upgraded to include high speed internet in each meeting room (wireless available on the banquet and lobby level public areas), updated draperies, carpet and wall coverings.
In September 2011, the elements on hollis opened its doors. This restaurant offers a unique dining experience and serves the freshest of Nova Scotia cuisine focusing on a 50-mile dining menu and serving an award-wining wine list. Our urban-chic cocktail lounge Roy’s offers a contemporary atmosphere to enjoy Starbucks coffee by day and a great selection of beverages by night. The lounge was recently renamed after long-time bartender Roy Clorey who has been bartending at the Nova Scotian since 1963.
An indoor pool, hot tub, and the innovative WestinWORKOUT® ensure guests of the hotel have access to all facilities and services expected of the Westin brand. This hotel has once again become the hotel of choice for high profile social events, large conventions and has established itself as a key player in the corporate group and business travel market segments.
View a printable version of our hotel history.