A self-guided walking tour of Halifax

We woke to totally clear skies, no wind, and full sun. Such a cheerful way to start our last day before the push for home! Dan and Cleone were not feeling tip-top but soldiered on as if they were. We skipped off the ship with maps in hand. Just a few yards down the pier was the farmers market filled to the brim with fresh produce as well as baked goods. Dan and I had passed on breakfast sure we’d stumble onto something irresistible and that came in the form of a blueberry pastry and a cinnamon and white icing pastry. Oh wow, the best we’d had all trip. A quick pop into Starbucks had us adequately fueled for the stroll.

First stop was a magnificent 16 acre public garden nestled in the center of town that dates back to 1874 when two small parks were combined. It is one of the few remaining Victorian gardens left in Canada and a National Historic Site. Very well maintained and brimming with color for what to us seemed late in the season. We wandered the paths hearkening back to the days when everyone who was anyone would have been there strolling, enjoying military bands, playing on the first public lawn tennis court in all of Canada or braving the very first indoor ice skating rink in the country.

Just around the corner was the Halifax Citadel, a fort situated at the highest point of the city and once headquarters for a string of coastal defenses. We snapped a couple pictures of the guard decked out in full regalia to include a kilt, cheerful knee socks, and a gorgeous hat the size of Rhode Island. From the vista we had a great view of the harbor where literally thousands of merchants ships and their naval escorts assembled during both WWI and WWII before they braved the swarm of German U-boats in the Atlantic between Halifax and the United Kingdom. A fun fact about The Citadel is that the fifth son of Benedict Arnold, James to be exact, was educated in Nova Scotia and masterminded the initial plans for the design of the fort. There you have it.

By then we were on the lookout for lunch and settled on an outdoor table right on the water where we enjoyed great fish and chips. Ever heard of a beaver tail, the flat Canadian treat aptly named since it’s shaped much like the tail of a beaver? We set off after lunch looking for a kiosk that sells these thin, tail-shaped, deep fried snacks. Success! We could choose from a variety of toppings, but we settled on the one with cinnamon and sugar. We shared one and wished we had each had our own.

We strolled and shopped along the boardwalk ending back at the ship in time to attend the special show put on by one of Canada’s seven Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) pipe and drum bands. Nine bag pipers and five drummers, mostly civilians volunteering to lend their talents to the band, played traditional songs decked out in impressive uniforms. Think black berets, red jackets, kilts made of the RCMP tartan, and knee socks. Seven dancers did Scottish dances suited to the music. The drums were actually my favorite since I find bag pipes a bit shrill, but the show was fun to see plus the band was led by the very first female pipe major! Girl power.

The ship pulled away from the dock just after the show. We watched from our deck and were amazed by the amount of activity on the water. There were kayaks close to shore, dozens of small sail boats, another cruise ship, container ships, ferries, grain barges, sightseeing craft, and motor boats. It was by far the busiest harbor we’d visited on the cruise.

Before we had totally metabolized our fried lunch followed by our fried beaver tail, we were off to dinner and, by golly, managed to rally for our next to last four course meal. Can you believe that everyone but me had fried (fried I tell ya) chicken for dinner making it a friedpaloosa kinda day from start to finish. I smugly selected salmon for my main course which was a perfect compliment to the chocolate trio (trio I tell ya) I selected for dessert.

Tony Tillman, in from Las Vegas, put on a toe tapping, high energy show that encouraged digestion I guess, because we left the show for a quick run through the buffet line for a small snack before heading to our rooms where we took silent oaths to cut back starting tomorrow. Tomorrow I tell ya. What are we…..five?

Sobering Halifax fact: The largest burial ground [discounting the seas, of course] of Titanic victims is here. The Fairview Lawn Cemetery is the final resting place for 121 victims. It struck us as interesting that we started the trip where the Titanic set sail and our last port was where the largest contingent of victims was laid to rest. As a complete aside, last year Dan and I had the opportunity to visit the second and last port of call [in Ireland] before the ship headed toward North America. It was eerie to be on the exact same dock where 2,000+ others excitedly anticipated the crossing and in so many cases a whole new life full of unimaginable opportunities and possibilities.


2 thoughts on “A self-guided walking tour of Halifax

  1. Love it. Welcome home!!!

    Matt Mongeon | Senior Business Analyst
    PMP, ITIL Foundation, RCV, OSA, SOA
    Technology Team – Cox California
    5159 Federal Blvd., San Diego, CA 92105
    • 619.266.5675 (ex. 55675) |( 619.822.4661 | • matt.mongeon@cox.com


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