After a good night’s sleep in my lodgings near the Halifax train station, I woke up refreshed and ready to celebrate Canada Day as only
Haligonians can! In other words, all the stops are pulled out in this fair city to pay tribute to ‘our home and native land’! I had, in fact numerous reasons to feel joyous in the Canadian city that I fondly refer to as my second home.
It was such a thrill to also meet up with a longtime friend, Dr. Peter Wells, a Professor in the International Ocean Institute at Dalhousie University. From 1984 until the early 1990’s, Peter and I and other friends had numerous intrepid wilderness adventures in Nova Scotia’s great outdoors.
While I was on the ‘Ocean’ train en route to Halifax, Peter and I corresponded by email. ( I was so glad to have that mini-tablet with me!)We arranged to meet along the Canada Day Parade route, and I got the biggest chuckle when I saw Peter first, approached him tentatively and then boldly asked (en francais) if he spoke French! “Oui…,” he started and then recognized me after half a second. What a laugh we had on the crowded sidewalk!
We watched the parade until it ended, then wandered through the lovely Public Gardens and lunched at a middle-eastern restaurant as we caught up on many years of our lives. Later, over a
delicious haddock dinner at McKelvies, a longtime fish-specialty restaurant near the Halifax Waterfront, I convinced Peter to try
Dominica’s Waitukubuli National Trail. He’s an avid hiker and had recently taken on the Himalayas (serious stuff!). I insisted that his hiking forays would be lacking if he did not try some tropical treks. Renowned local bird authority, hiking guide and forestry officer Bertrand Jno Baptiste is already on notice to assist with this adventure, if he isn’t already booked! I think Peter will time it to be here for Carnival celebrations too. I expect to see him on the Nature Island next February – and I’ll go along on some of the hikes!
As I only had a couple of days to spend in this historic port city (and former hometown) before heading to the Annapolis Valley for my aunt’s 90th birthday celebrations, I selected a few main sites to see, leaving the rest for next visit.
I certainly walked down memory lane when I spent a couple of hours in Point Pleasant Park, a popular green space at the most southerly point of the peninsula of Halifax. This lovely setting had taken a beating during Hurricane Juan in 2003. It caught everyone off-guard and the damage to this forested park and the Public Gardens was extreme. Fortunately, Mother Nature and citizens alike put things back in place before too long, and these parks are once again as lovely as ever.
Here are a few photos of this serene setting:
As the fog lifted, I leisurely walked for about 20 minutes
towards the Public Gardens, where I treated myself to a delicious snack:
Energized once again, I took my time walking towards the waterfront from the Public Gardens. I admired abundant shops, new developments and my favourite historic sites that have always ‘been there’ during my lifetime, and well before! Like Quebec City, Halifax played an important role in the founding of Canada and of course, its defense!
Here are some of the buildings that have always captured my attention, along with some historic street scenes:
You will appreciate that I had been ‘hoofing it’ for a few hours and it was time for a late lunch. I looked about the busy streets – so many choices. Suddenly, a prominent hanging sign caught my eye: The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse:
I instantly remembered that Peter had recommended it, as it was near to McKelvie’s where we had dined the previous evening. My meal was large, tasteful and wholesome. I couldn’t have asked for better anywhere, I don’t think.
As you can imagine, I was not able to walk far after that feast. As I was in close proximity to the waterfront, I decided to hop aboard the Dartmouth Ferry and take a quick trip across the Halifax Harbour and back. The waters were calm and I sat for a while, enjoying the views of the Nova Scotian capital city as we approached the opposite shore.
It had been a full and active couple of days in my second Canadian hometown and I enjoyed every minute of it. But I was expected to arrive in the Annapolis Valley later that afternoon, so I picked up my rental car and headed out-of-town and down the highway. The ‘Relations’ were gathering for the first of a number of celebrations to salute my aunt’s 90th birthday. I was delighted to be in Nova Scotia for this momentous occasion. In the next post, you will see why this grand event will never be forgotten!