Walking Trails at the Heart Shaped Pond at the Hemlock Ravine, Halifax
One of my childhood friends introduced me to this park when we were in university. Had she not taken me here, I don’t think I would have known it existed!
There are no directional signs, so you kind of have to know it’s there. As a result, it’s a hidden gem right off the Bedford Highway!
We used to call it the Bedford Heart Shaped Pond.
Now, I find out, it’s actually in Halifax (before you get to the Bedford border) and it’s really called the Hemlock Ravine!
History Behind the Park
Originally built in 1780 for Lieutenant Governor John Wentworth, Hemlock Ravine is now a great urban park.
Located off of the Bedford Highway, this park is tucked in behind some housing and apartment complexes but you would never know you are in the city once you enter the trail system.
When you arrive at the Park, immediately in front of you is the heart-shaped pond. YES! It is literally a pond in the shape of a heart!
Originally an oval, it was changed into a heart in the 1860s to commemorate a royal visit.
It’s quite shallow, and a great place for ducks to come hang out. This was probably the favourite part for the boys – just hanging out at the pond, watching the ducks, and walking around and around the heart-shaped perimeter.
To be honest, I don’t think we ever did the walking trails in the park. We mostly came to hang out at the pond.
There is a series of great trails within the park.
You can choose lots of different routes and lengths for your hike within the 200 acre boundaries of the park.
The main trails are 3 interconnected loops of around 1 km each. The farthest point in the park is the ravine area and a high point which overlooks the Bedford Basin.
Before you hike, take a picture of the map at the park entrance and plot your route!
All the trails within the park are well labelled, however, you need to know/remember which one you want to take.
The park isn’t that big that you can’t just wander around and eventually come out, but I like to know where I am and where I’m going. And the kids like to know “how much longer they have to walk!”
There are several off-shoot trails that lead to different residential areas. These are not labeled. So, just stick to the labeled trails.
We made up a route that involved most of the trails and walked the perimeter of the park (but never did see the look off over the Bedford Basin).
Our route took us about 45 minutes and was 2.5km. But, there are so many possible combinations.
How to Get There
There are lots of different access points, but the only parking lot is off of Kent Avenue.
When driving along the Bedford Highway towards Halifax, cross the “Bedford city line”. Keep an eye out on your left for the Princess Pavilion (or that’s what we call it!)
Immediately across the road is Kent Avenue. It’s a short, dead-end street, and easy to miss!
Drive to the top and you will find a parking lot on the left. You can’t miss it.