Karen and I have been so incredibly fortunate over the last several months exploring areas of Canada we have never been before and we have been able to wrap this chapter of our travels up in fantastic form here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After Montreal I thought we had hit the historical jackpot, however Halifax has shown us there is so much more to see.

Sadly a fair portion of the maritime history here is linked to incredibly tragic events. Being the nearest major port to the Titanic sinking there is a number of sites that help tell the story of the tragedy and the heroics that surround that event. A visit to the Fairview Lawn Cemetery where 121 victims of the Titanic are buried is a humbling experience.
From the headstone of the unknown child (at the time of the burial).
To the headstone of one of the crew members who’s family were obviously incredibly devastated but proud of their son.

Also well worth a visit is the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Even if you are not a fan of maritime history or lifestyle you would be well served by spending some time poking around the displays here. If you are a fan it is an absolute must see and you could get lost for hours.

My knowledge and understanding of sailing is nearly zero, however if the sail boats don’t intrigue you, you just have to go upstairs and wander the displays describing everything from the immensely influential Samuel Cunard, born in Halifax, the Titanic sinking, The Halifax Explosion and current day exploration of the maritime area.
Walking along the waterfront in downtown Halifax is a must do. There is Pier 21 where thousands of new Canadians arrived by sea to historical ships like the HMCS Sackville to be seen. Not to mention some fantastic restaurants and bars to be checked out to maintain ones hydration.

We were brought to Halifax by the opportunity to do a three week house sit. To make the experience even better the very generous home owners allowed us the use of their vehicle. This allowed us to venture a little bit out of town to see some iconic sights. Not too far though, as we discovered the very easy going beagle we were caring for is not a fan of winding coastal roads. Poor fellow.

Peggy’s Cove is one of the most famous tourist spots in Canada and we were very appreciative of the opportunity to get out to see it. Unfortunately, despite sunny skies in Halifax our first trip there was an experience in coastal fog. Of course the advantage of being there three weeks is we were able to do a second trip out when there was no fog.
While the skies were clear we also drove to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg to enjoy the sights. We were able to watch as the Bluenose II set out from the dock as we had lunch. A fairly perfect day.

As Halifax has such a wonderful natural deep harbour it has always been a central player in the developments and conflicts that surround the settling of the area.

Places like the Old Burying Grounds in central Halifax where over 12,000 people have been interned in past years. Including the remains of Maj. General Robert Ross (he was the fellow in charge of the burning of the White House during the War of 1812.)
Just walking through and reading headstones tells such a tale of life in those days.
The Citadel at the apex of Halifax. This historic site is well worth a half day of poking about. They have an excellent Museum of the Army as well as reenactments of life in the Citadel in years past. The firing of the noonday gun is also worth taking in.
Because of Halifax’s fantastic location, it is the second largest ice free port in the world (should be #1 as being ice free is hardly a notable achievement for Sydney Harbour in Australia). But as important is it’s extremely defensible location. All around Halifax and area you can find old fortified batteries set up to prevent the enemy of the day from doing damage. York Redoubt is just down from where we were staying and is a beautiful place for a walk.
When walking through Point Pleasant Park we came upon the Prince of Wales Tower which was part of the defences to keep the shore guns safe from soldiers on land. Pretty neat if you have an interest in that type of thing, Fantastic place for a walk if you don’t.

We felt we put a serious dent in the list of things to be seen here in Halifax and successfully ticked off everything on our initial list. However we also found that once we started talking to some of the locals our list started expanding rapidly and we are definitely going to have to return. Admittedly the tragedies that Halifax has been part of can be a bit depressing, The Halifax Explosion, The Swissair Flight 111, and the shipping off of thousands of young soldiers and seaman to war. Also there is a sense of amazing hope and perseverance to improve and acknowledge all who have contributed to the history of this area.

Thank you Halifax and we look forward to visiting again.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

4 comments on “Halifax

  1. Great historical read. For your next visit you gotta get to Local Source for fresh veggies, bread and the best dark chocolate and oatmeal cookies!
    Dairy Bar for gourmet soft serve and Fredericos for the best coffee ever.

  2. Rosemary Hosking

    You two are the gift that keeps on giving. We have enjoyed your blogs here in Adelaide ever since you house sat for us over three years ago. This time you bought back memories of Halifax for us. Thank you we look forward to sharing your next adventure.

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