Halifax – Oct 8
Named one of the Top 10 Global DESTINATIONS ON THE RISE in TripAdvisor’s 2018 Travelers’ Choice Awards – everyone’s talking about Halifax. There’s just something perfectly endearing about Halifax.
I think it’s the bustling waterfront and the fact that the city is steeped in history at every turn. Whatever it is, Halifax has come a long way since its early days as a trading hub on the Atlantic, and has been charming visitors with its east coast hospitality ever since. There are craft breweries and trendy restaurants and bistros galore, especially around the harbor area.
We honeymooned in Halifax and Nova Scotia 39 years ago and it has really changed. We started our visit with a walk down the lengthy boardwalk along the harbor. It reminded us a lot of Vancouver’s waterfront with it’s plethora of sailboats, restaurants and bars. We were lucky to have a warm sunny day which made the walk most enjoyable. The only issue we had was that Karen was stung by a wasp on the neck which proved to be very painful. Thankfully she is not allergic, and we continued our walk.
The last steps portal is in memory of over 350,00 of troops called to action during the course of WWI that sailed away from this port. Some 67,000 never returned. For these heroes, these would have been the last steps on Canadian soil before they sailed away and watched the Port of Halifax disappear behind them.
Then up the hill and there perched atop the grassy hillock looming over town, is this star-shaped fort that played a key role in Halifax’s founding. Construction on the Citadel Hill National Historic began in 1749; the current citadel is the fourth, built from 1818 to 1861. The grounds and battlements inside the fort are open year-round, and we could visit the barracks, the guards’ room, the signal post, the engineer’s store and the gunpowder magazines. The view from the top is amazing but the landscape has certainly changed as I remember.
At the pier is housed the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market. Although it has operated in several locations since its inception in 1750, what’s now known as the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market (in its present location since 2010) is North America’s longest continuously operating market. With more than 250 local vendors from a province that prides itself on strong farm-to-table and maritime traditions.
Next stop was the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. There’s an argument that this dockside museum is Canada’s most important institution. Between 1928 and 1971, Pier 21 was the Canadian version of the USA’s Ellis Island, where all prospective immigrants arrived. More than a million people passed through these red-brick halls, and it’s an emotional experience to walk through the very same doorways where refugees from across the globe began new lives.
Our hope was to get some information on the immigration of Karen’s Grandparents on her father’s side. With the help of their wonderful and knowledgeable staff, we were able to locate the date of departure July 29, 1927 from Liverpool on a ship called the Megantic. We were able to get a copy of the page of the ship’s passenger’s list showing their information as well as a picture of their ship and port of arrival information. I think that actually made our stop in Halifax very special! In looking at the information, their ship was half the Gross Tonnage of our ship and while our ship holds a mere 382 passengers, their ship held 1660 passengers!
Our final stop of the day was at the Alexander Keith’s Brewery. I had expected a chance to sit and sample some of their wares (for the appropriate cost) but their store front was very anticlimactic. They wanted approximately $26 per person for a tour and perhaps that included some sampling, but I just wasn’t that interested.
That’s it for our stop in Halifax. Thanks for reading along. Our next port is Boston and we are looking forward to experiencing at least a small part of BeanTown.