12 Hours in Halifax
During my last visit to Canada I had an opportunity to briefly explore Halifax, a major city in the province of Nova Scotia.
This all came about because after applying and receiving my NEXUS card (written about here) I up and changed my name and needed to find another NEXUS Enrollment Center to review my marriage documents, in person, and approve my new card.
The name change business is an exhausting one, but I'm happy it's complete and I can now travel internationally in my married name. In doing so, I took full advantage of my day in Halifax and wanted to share what I was able to squeeze into half a day.
From the airport I was dropped off at Pier 21. This pier sits at the southwest end of the main drag in Halifax and is the hub for many of the cruise ships traveling in and out of the province. More importantly it houses the Canadian Museum of Immigration.
Though at 9am the museum and many of the shops were not yet open, this area was filled with the hustle and bustle of eager travelers trying to take in as much of the area as possible with the time they were given.
My favorite way to get to know any city is on foot and so I began walking.
I was never much of a history buff in school, but I'm absolutely fascinated by what I've learned about Canada thus far. Each city I've toured has proudly celebrated their history so openly that you can't help but take it in.
My favorite statue is the one in the middle picture above titled "The Emigrant," which depicts a man leaving his family behind in search of opportunity in Canada. It is meant to honor those who left their home countries and contributed to Canada's development.
The Old Burying Grounds are hauntingly beautiful. This historic cemetery was founded in 1749 and is the final resting place for many notable figures in Canada's history. The earliest grave I found dated back to 1775, though really hard to see after hundreds of years of decay.
I will have to come back to Halifax to visit the Fairview Lawn Cemetery which is the graveyard for hundreds of Titanic victims. I wasn't able to make the distance on foot with everything else on my agenda.
From death springs life and from the cemetery I wandered into the Halifax Public Gardens.
True to the Victorian era in which this garden came about, you will find carpet beds. I learned that this feature is designed to commemorate significant events, like 2016 being named the "Year of the Pulses." Pulses are a protein and nutrient dense plant. The goal of proclaiming 2016 as the year of the pulses is to promote pulses as a primary source of nutrition.
Atop Citadel Hill in Halifax sits Fort George. There is some impressive aerial footage of the star-shaped citadel here.
The citadel was built in 1749, the year Halifax was founded, to serve as the city's protection. It has undergone four fortifications in defending the province from various enemies. It was consequential in the aid of many wars including The French and Indian War, The American Revolution, The French Revolutionary Wars, The War of 1812, The American Civil War and both the First and Second World Wars.
My favorite part of touring the citadel was the war museum which highlighted part of Canada's influence in each of these wars. Chronologically you could see communication, weaponry and uniform changes. You could also see the influence of women entering the force. Advertising changes were especially interesting.
I was also excited to walk through a simulated war trench and follow it to a front-line nurses station, where soldiers would receive care during battle.
I strolled into the tailor shop where a gentleman kindly explained its significance. This room housed the sewing machine and materials for uniforms. Measurements were taken and fine materials shipped from England to dress the military in colors according to clan. The Macintyre Clan was largely significant and donned the black, blue and green plaid shown above.
How cool is this bottle of champagne?! As the plaque states, "This bottle was purchased on November 11, 1918, by the men of the 2nd Canadian Heavy Battery. It was to be opened by the last surviving man in the unit. In 1975, the two surviving gunners entrusted their toast to the Army museum."
There were multiple reenactments and volunteers in traditional garb giving speeches. This landmark commanded much of my time and it was well worth it.
The beautiful Citadel Clock Tower is recognizable from a large distance, standing tall against the city. It's been keeping time since October 20, 1803.
Halifax has done a beautiful job in immortalizing these moments in history. I probably could have spent half of my time here, but there were a few more items on my list.
All that walking made me a very hungry girl, so at the recommendation of James's coworker I stopped for lunch at The Wooden Monkey.
Halifax is vastly different than Newfoundland in a number of ways and the food scene is one of them. Here you can find a wide range of specialties and lots of vegan options. On another one of my veggie kicks, I went for their spinach and arugula salad and some raw tacos, which use walnuts and mushrooms as their "meat" base.
The meal was fresh, flavorful and fulfilling.
Another pleasant surprise was the World Tea House. The owner, Phillip, is a friendly tea enthusiast who travels all over the world, not only learning about tea varieties, but volunteering his time with tea farmers.
He brings home over 120 varieties from 12 countries to make his store truly out of this world. All of his teas are infused with natural flavorings, like the cucumber-mint I enjoyed. He dries fresh cucumbers and steeps them into the tea for a truly refreshing, invigorating beverage.
I didn't want to leave, but I now had the energy to keep exploring.
I waved a quick hello to the Fredericton James and I were honored to board in July, that I wrote about here. Halifax in home base for the ship, but crew members appeared to be on board participating in safety drills.
James would have been disappointed had I not scoped out at least one local brewery, so with him in mind I visited Alexander Keith's.
I only planned to show myself around and have a beer, but the sun was so glorious on the patio I found myself there for almost two hours. I finished a book I'd been really into and ended up having dinner. It was a beautiful evening and though there were other things I could have seen, I really enjoyed the enviornemnt.
With not much time left I decided I'd walk the very touristy peer to people watch. Though it was this boat caught my eye more than anything. Surely you see what I see, but I won't put words your head.
And with that, my time was up. I rode back to the airport and rejoined my husband in St. John's for the remainder of my stay. Though there is a lot more I'd like to experience in Halifax I'd say I took in quite a bit in a short amount of time and truly loved it.
I will be back!