Here are our Halifax highlights:
1. looking up our grandparents’ (and Travelling Companion’s mom’s) boats that they emigrated to Canada on at Pier 21. The people who work at the research centre are very helpful and very quick. I mentioned the boat, and our helper had information in less than a minute.
2. seeing James Wolfe’s cloak at the Halifax Citadel. (!!!!!!!!!) It was the cloak he wore on the Plains of Abraham in 1759, and on which he was lain after he was killed in action. I had no idea it was here in Halifax. It is on loan from the Queen of England. It was very fitting to see it, as on our way home we’ll be stopping in Quebec City (TC has never been there) where I’ll be taking her to see the Plains.
The Halifax Citadel itself was interesting. It’s constructed in the same manner as the citadel in Quebec, as well as Fort Henry in Kingston. The Halifax Citadel marks the last place that the British Army was stationed in defence of Canada. In 1906 they left, and we took responsibility for our own defence.
3. seeing Sidney Crosby’s childhood home (as mentioned in a previous blog entry) as well as the famous Crosby family dryer at the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame. The dryer was in the Crosby family basement and is covered with puck marks and the buttons are broken off.
4. dinner at a restaurant called Il Mercato. It was very good. Also attached to this (seeing as it’s the food entry on this list) was going across to Dartmouth after dinner one night to visit the Celtic Corner for a drink, then to come back again to Halifax on the ferry –in part so we could live out that Joel Plaskett line “I took the Dartmouth ferry into the town….”
5. The stay at the Chocolate Lake Best Western — which is the second hotel we stayed at here in Halifax. The CLBW is located on a lake, has clean, spacious rooms. And a very good staff of people who are helpful. The restaurant was good as well (we had a nice lunch there one day). We wished we spent the whole time here.
6. The sunset at Peggy’s Cove. Yes after seeing the lighthouse in Louisbourg I thought that i had seen enough lighthouses. But the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse is, well, spectacular. It’s clinging to rocks. The rocks are pounded by the ocean. And it’s very windy. And it’s beautiful to look at.
7. Visiting Canada’s last corvette: The Sackville. The corvettes were the guard dogs of the Atlantic convoy crossings in WWII. The helped protect men, materials, and foodstuffs as they were transported from North America to Britain. They fought against U-boats. And they were pretty small ships. It was sad to think that while there was a busker fest going on and there were thousands of people lining the boardwalks of Halifax that, for most of my visit, I had the Sackville to myself. While on the ship, you really get a sense of how turbulant a trip on a corvette would have been. Even docked I could feel the ship moving when below deck. When you look at pictures of corvettes in action, you see them really getting moved by the waves. Their primary weapons were depth charges. And after that, well, there are stories of a corvette actually ramming a U-boat in order to sink it. After reading about them (and hearing from guide at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa talk at length about them on a visit there last summer) it was a great experience to actually walk around, and go on one.
Walking back today from having our final walk around town (seeing the Province House, which said it was Canada’s first legislature and opened in 1819) I had to laugh when I heard one of the many buskers in town yell over a microphone during his performance: “I’m from Australia and I’m a freak.” So yes, it seems that Halifax could safetly call it the Australian busker fest.