Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Last Tour of Halifax

These are the last photos I'll post of our trip to Halifax.

I loved the long, wide boardwalk along the harbour. Out hotel - the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront - right alongside the "Historic Properties" anchored one end of the harbour so it was perfect starting location for exploring the harbour and downtown by foot. In fact, everything I really wanted to see was within reasonable walking distance.

Even the Citadel. Up a very steep hill but not too far. I didn't get any good photos of the citadel because I didn't have time to actually walk and explore there. I just drove around it as part of the Harbour Hopper tour I went on.

These hungry little scavenger birds were everywhere. I don't know what they are but they were abundant and not shy. The gulls, too, were bold.

This very old gull shared a some fresh fish with me. The younger gulls gave him a wide berth. I don't know if it was out of respect or fear. I don't know much about gull culture. He either had arthritis or an injury and his feathers were a bit greyed. He just looked really old compared to the other gulls that were hanging around. And BIG! We almost mistook the gulls for small turkeys at first! I've never seen gulls so big!

Bob and Jo (who had a nasty cold) declined the whale watching trip but they saw us off at the dock. Bob volunteered to monitor the recycling bins, like a good Sarcan representative.

This is the view from Salty's, a restaurant only a hop skip from our hotel and, obviously, overlooking the harbour and Dartmouth. Amy, Dan, Bob, Jo, Kevin and I had a lovely meal. I must say, though, that the portions were on the skimpy side. This wasn't a problem for me but the guys were left a little hungry. Needless to say, the restaurant makes a good portion of its money on deserts because we sure all had room for some, that's for sure!

This is just a piece of St. Matthew's United Church on Spring Garden Road, the oldest church in Canada. It opened in 1850 but its congregation's history dates back to 1749. It's a beauty!

The Bicycle Thief, also along the harbour, is another restaurant we dined at. It was very good. Italian with a twist. Good food, good wine/beer/cocktails, good service, and fun environment. We really enjoyed it! It's undoubtedly named for the critically acclaimed Italian movie of the same name. Amy ... funny girl ... pretended to steal one of the bike props. Ha!

Another wonderful restaurant we dined at was The Wooden Monkey. Delish and we loved the concept. The menu is based on organic, macrobiotic, and locally grown fresh ingredients. A restaurant with a conscience. Loved it.

These twin buildings are called Purdy's Wharf. I understand them to be offices and they are directly beside the hotel we stayed at. That's our hotel to the left of the towers. What interested me about Purdy's Wharf  ... and what I learned on my Harbour Hopper tour ... is that those tall, round supports that are featured in the design of the building aren't, as I would have guessed, supports. They are straws! They draw water up to be used for heating and cooling saving them tons in energy costs. Cool!

It only makes sense that I, being a flatlander, wouldn't know about "pilot boats". When a vessel being captained by someone who isn't familiar with the harbour approaches, they put a call in to the Harbour Master who then sends out a Pilot Boat to pilot them in. Kind of like valet parking for giant ocean-going vessels. At least that's how I understand it.

The Historic Properties are old. Really old. Well, old by our new world standards. Not so old by European standards. Still ... pretty old in my world! I love them ... all that stone.

The Lower Deck is a huge, multi-level group of restaurants and bars right across from our hotel. We had a SUPER good time there one night. Live music. A good band that played covers of songs we all new and could sing along to. Loudly. And we did. The place was packed with people ... shoulder to shoulder! So FUN! It was our last stop on a mini pub crawl. We started by meeting Grace (Luke's friend who is attending Dalhousie) at The Pogue ... a happenin' pub. We then moved to an Irish pub where a live band was playing Irish music. And then ... to the rockin' Lower Deck. A great time! They have whole streets of nothing but pubs in Halifax (and in St. John's as I recall). We don't have anything like that here. It's against our bylaws to have pubs in such close proximity of each other. Or at least I think it's a bylaw. Don't quote me.

We spent some time one evening at The Split Crow, a pub near our hotel. We enjoyed the live music - a band playing covers of mostly seventies music. The place has a lot of character.

It was interesting to see how the old buildings had been repaired and renovated over the years. I expect there was a lot of damage after "the explosion" and a lot of necessary repair work done after that.

If you had been a teenager in the early 1900's, this is where you would have gone to school. It was from here, on the morning of the explosion that students had gathered at the upper windows to see the French ship on fire in the harbour. A teacher insisted they return to their seats and she pulled the heavy drapes, covering the windows which, I'm told, probably saved the lives of the students because when the ships exploded every glass window in Halifax shattered. The force most certainly would have injured or even killed students who had been standing there.

The coolest thing that happened to me in Halifax, though, involves a certain West Jet employee. A one "Michelle". When we were checking in to fly out of Halifax we found that our seats weren't together. We had to abandon the self check-in and see an attendant. I was busy messing around with luggage while Kevin was speaking to the attendant. Her voice really caught my attention. I knew that voice. I could visualize Diane Gunn clear as day right there in front of me. And then I looked up. And there was Diane! Just as she looked in high school. But it wasn't really Diane, of course. I noted her name tag, which read "Michelle", which I knew to be the name of one of Diane's daughters. It had to be. When I asked if her Mom happened to be named Diane, she looked pretty startled! It was kind of freaky considering the size of Halifax and just the improbability of running into someone like that. I hadn't seen Michelle since she was about 12 years old ... years ago ... and if she hadn't looked so much like her Mom I wouldn't have known her. She's really the spitting image. Amazing! And the same voice, too. Crazy! So we had a nice little chat. It was pretty special. Diane and I grew up together in White Bear and went to school together from kindergarten right through grade 12. And while I knew Diane was living in Halifax, I also knew she had other things going on while I would be there and, additionally, I didn't know for sure what my schedule would be like. It can be a lot of responsibility being a trophy wife, you know! *wink wink*

I hope I get back to Halifax again. There's something about Atlantic Canada that just feels right to me. Love it!



  1. Hi Heather,
    Now why would one photo appear but not the others. . . is it my computer?
    What a wonderful trip. . . On my bucket list too!

  2. Well I for one am happy to see you back!

  3. Thanks for alerting me, Laurel. I had trouble with Blogger last night so I'm not surprised. I reuploaded the photos tonight so they should be there now. If you really haven't been to Atlantic Canada yet, Laurel, you MUST go! It strikes me as a place that you, too, would really love. Maybe I can fit into your suitcase because I REALLY want to go back.

    Hi Berny!

    Thanks for missing me! I'm slowly getting back to some regular rhythm in my life. I still have a little catching up to do ... a lot of phone calls to make and emails to send. A bunch of neglected chores and THEN maybe I can take some time for quilting.

    I'll be in touch one way or another so I can find out what you've been up to!

  4. Sure looks like you had an awesome visit! So glad. That little bird is a common starling.


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