Ken's Journal
No. 6 - Summer 2007

Halifax, Peggy's Cove and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
August 11-16, 2007 - Days 27-32 on the road. Part I.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Some cities make it easy to get into, get around, see the sights and spend your money. Halifax seems to be one of those. There's ample parking downtown on the waterfront where most of the sights are located. There's a 1.5 mile boardwalk along the waterfront that connects all the sights, and there's a free downtown loop bus named FRED - Free Rides Everywhere Downtown. FRED has a running narration describing the sights you're seeing so it's almost like a free tour of the downtown. I didn't take the bus though - I walked the downtown - exercise is good for you and the weather was mostly nice.

Parking is not a problem. I parked my big truck in a lot on the waterfront. You can park the whole day during the weekend for $6 and during the week for $10 - not too bad. All the lots, and there are a few of them, are equipped with "Pay & Display" kiosks where there are machines that will take your credit card or coins and return you a receipt to display on your dash.

Halifax, Nova Scotia - Shaped by the Sea.

That's the way the promotional material starts. Halifax Harbor is the second largest natural harbor in the world. (Map here). The Titanic hit an iceberg and sank in 1912. The rescue tasks fell to several Canadian vessels, two of which came from Halifax. One of the Halifax vessels, the cable ship Mackay-Bennett, recovered 306 bodies. Some were buried at sea but in all, 209 bodies were brought to Halifax with 150 buried in three Halifax cemeteries.

Before Titanic, another vessel owned by the same company, the White Star Line, was involved in what was then the worst ocean liner disaster in history. In 1873, the SS Atlantic sank off the coast of Terence Bay, just outside the Halifax Harbor, after hitting a shoal and ripping a gash in her side. The SS Atlantic went down and took 565 people to their death.

During the First World War, Halifax was a major staging point for convoys of ships carrying supplies, munitions and troops to the war in Europe. On December 6, 1917, the French munitions ship Mont Blanc left her anchorage outside the harbor to join a convoy in Bedford Basin (Map here - same as above). At the same time, the Norwegian ship Imo left the Basin bound for New York. The two vessels collided in the narrowest part of Halifax Harbor and fire broke out on the Mont Blanc. Shortly thereafter, the Mont Blanc, fully loaded with munitions, exploded. Over 1600 people died and more than 9000 were injured. Half of Halifax was flattened.

Today, Halifax is a major seaport and supports a major fisheries industry.

A view of downtown from the Citadel, a fortification built on the highest point in the city.

Another view of the city from the Citadel.

The Citadel. There's not much to see from street level as the walls of the fortification (on which I'm standing) are flush with top of the hill. The present Citadel is the fourth to be built in this location. Each was built in a time of perceived threat, the first being built in 1749.

The defensive ditch surrounding the bastion - basically a moat, but empty. Construction on the Citadel you see today was started in 1828 and finally finished in 1856. This Citadel was intended to deter an overland attack from the United States. Never attacked, the fort was garrisoned by the British until 1906 and by Canadian forces through WWII.

An example of a canon in one of the canon galleries. How'd you like to be in this room when that sucker went off?

One of the canon on the ramparts. Each day at noon, there is a small ceremony and this canon is fired - blanks of course.

The Citadel has been restored to the mid-Victorian period with a living history program featuring the 78th Highland Regiment and the Royal Artillery. This is a guard on station at the entrance to the bastion.

This piper kept the bagpipe going for a full 30 minutes! He's probably not a smoker . . .

The Citadel hosts a nice military museum. Here's an early Gatling Gun - second or third generation I'm sure.

Another display in the museum - munitions.
For more info on the Citadel - go here.

All the temperatures on the news channels here are given in degrees Celsius. Here's a nice little converter I use to figure out what to wear.

Temperature Converter


Just enter the temp you want to convert from and tap the associated convert button.

"Old men and far travelers may lie with authority." - Anonymous

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