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Exploring Halifax

June 20, 2011

Ok – I’ll admit it – before getting to Halifax I knew almost nothing about it and had very little idea about what to expect.

The two most interesting things that I have learnt are that:

  1. It is the site of the biggest natural harbour in the Americas which is ideally formed for defence. As a result there has been a naval base here since Halifax’s establishment in 1749. The defences have been so strong that they have never even been tested. The fact I really liked was that the British used this as a base to conquer Canada from the French !
  2. Despite never having been attacked the harbour suffered the largest pre-atomic era explosion in history when two ships collided in 1917. One was stuffed to the gills with explosives and ammunition and caught on fire. A big crowd gathered on the waterfront to watch the burning ship and then it exploded. This killed over 2000 people and flattened 300 acres of land breaking windows over 90km away.
Recovering Bodies From the Remains of the WaterfrontWe started our first morning in Halifax, knowing the Beast hadn’t arrived, by visiting the downtown area and walking around the very touristy part of the town. The waterfront itself has a lot of restaurants and a few boats offering tours of the harbour. All in all not really our scene but we were there early so there were not many people about.
From here we wandered up through town to the Halifax Citadel. This was the centre of the fortifications of the town and took 28 years to complete, being finished in 1856.
Compared with a lot of the castles etc in the UK its not that impressive. However what is impressive is that Parks Canada have made a real effort to make it interesting. There are re-enactors dressed in historic uniforms acting as the soldiers would have done back in 1870 and they fire off one of the old guns every day at 12.
After the Citadel we decide to head out of town to the South on a coastal drive called the Lighthouse route. This went through a a succession of small fishing towns which looked like they should be on the New England coastline. However we were dogged by some fairly thick fog and the views never really materialised.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Graham Money permalink
    June 21, 2011 6:41 am

    I see all is going well and once the ‘beast’ is there things should get interesting. You must try the real Maple Syrup with pancakes they are the awesome the syrup is the best I know of. Good luck on your next stage.


    • June 22, 2011 2:01 am

      Hi Graham,

      Great to see you following us. Hope things will soon get a bit more exciting ! We will make sure to try the Maple Syrup. Halifax is the home of the lobster and haven’t seen too much Maple Syrup yet – I’m sure it’ll come.


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