EDM was retained by Develop Nova Scotia (DNS) in 2019 to create a Visitor Experience Strategy (VES) for the Halifax Harbour Islands. The islands occupy a central location in Halifax’s Harbour and can be seen from vantage points around the harbour, tantalizing visitors from near and far. From their shores, there are outstanding views of the ocean, the harbour and the city, with visual and cultural heritage connections to sites on both sides of the harbour. The Harbour Islands include fortifications that are part of the Halifax Defence Complex (Georges Island and Fort McNab National Historic Sites), under the ownership and management of Parks Canada, and a provincial park (most of McNabs and Lawlor Islands) under the ownership and management of the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry. The Islands’ rich cultural, natural and military heritage provide exceptional opportunities for visitors to explore, experience and learn.
The objectives of the VES were to: identify opportunities and constraints relating to the visitor experience today, and propose new visitor experience concepts, including necessary supports (e.g., infrastructure, transportation, programming, business development, and regulatory changes) to unlock an increased yet sustainable level of visitation to the Harbour Islands.
The VES was developed, in consultation with property owners, management agencies, island users and visitors, to identify new visitor experiences for each island, and the work needed to support this enhanced visitation. Deliverables included document and data inventory summary and gaps analysis, opportunities and constraints maps, a program of experiences, visitor experience concepts matrix, infrastructure asset review, assessment, and prioritization, reporting back on visitor experience concepts, and a final visitor experience strategy. This Visitor Experience Strategy identified opportunities and experiences that could be delivered on the Harbour Islands and the infrastructure required to provide the platform for these experiences to take place.