15.09.2014 - 15.10.2014 24 °C
My digs were very convenient for Dalhousie University, which is just a few blocks up my street (Morris). Going in the opposite direction, there are only about four blocks before you hit the waterfront. Almost next door is a Chinese restaurant, open very late, one I told myself I must go into, just to be neighbourly but never did. Down a block, on opposing sides of the road there's a brilliant magazine shop and a gift/sweet shop. Further down, there is the wonderful Morris East pizza restaurant (where I had my first meal in Halifax) and across the road, an extremely late night pizza and kabob shop, to which I might have had to make emergency recourse once or twice. Next block down, there is an OK sort of cafe, one I went into more for the name and because it was convenient than because it was a great experience. This is one block up from the waterfront. In between these shops, it is mostly housing, but none as interesting looking as the houses in the final block of Morris.
Straight ahead, there is Georges Island - it is presently closed, but work is underway to restore Fort Charlotte, an important part of the defences against the French built in the mid 18th century. If you go right, you'll see the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market, the Garrison Brewery and end up in the railway station. Although the premises for the market are pretty impressive, the market itself is not - just a few stalls selling produce, others food and the rest the normal sort of crap you find at markets. I guess the cruise boat passengers bought it (the boats tie up outside, and one day while I was there, the prediction was that there would be five of them).
Turning left is much more impressive - the waterfront is very accessible to pedestrians and there is plenty to see as you wander along - there are probably about 2 kilometres of boardwalk. I was there four times at least - mostly it was sunny, but one day the weather was a bit grim, so there were very few about.
I did not try to go up that challenge - some seemed to just stroll up as easily as I walked the boardwalk, others found it impossible, and would slide back down again unless rescued by their friends at the top (who might get pulled down in the process). All very amusing. Nearby is an interesting enclave of shops (with condos built above them) - there's an exclusive cigar shop, an equally exclusive wine shop, some clothing shops, a most excellent Italian restaurant (Ristorante A Mano - I went in on a whim on a Friday night - the place was packed, but they found room for me at the bar, so I could enjoy my linguine frutti di mare) a not bad coffee shop, the Smiling Goat, and foodtrucks and musicians during the day.
There are plenty of other restaurants along the way - most of the wharves have been turned over to their use - but the big event on the waterfront is probably the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. As expected, it has lots of maritime bits and bobs and models of ships but the top floor has been devoted to maritime disasters in the area: most will have heard of one of them - Halifax was the closest port to where the Titanic met its end, and about 150 of the passengers and crew are buried in Halifax cemeteries. Titanic is not actually the first White Star Line ship to sink near Halifax - the Atlantic was actually entering the harbour when it hit rocks and sank in 1873, with a loss of 530 lives. They had surprisingly few actual exhibits from the Titanic, but there were a rather poignant pair of shoes which belonged to an unknown four year old boy.
My favourite part of the museum was actually the Wm Robertson Chandlers Shop, which is presented as it was about a hundred years ago (apart from the girl doodling on her smart-phone).
Outside, they had a couple of ships that could be explored. The K181 (HMCS Sackville) is Canada's oldest fighting warship and the last of her 123 corvettes built during WWII, credited with 2 U-Boat kills but unfortunately put out of action when her own depth charges blew up a nearby torpedo. Acadia is a very different sort of ship, a 100 year old survey vessel which saw action in both wars and as an occasional ice-breaker.
Among all the restaurants, there were also several brightly coloured kiosks selling food, tickets and souvenirs - it was such a long time since I'd had fish and chips (Vancouver!) that I couldn't resist.
At the far end, and not really accessible by boardwalk, is the Canadian Atlantic Fleet - I took a ferry ride to the dark side, also known as Dartmouth (its a place that came in for a lot of cheek from my mates at the meetup group, even more when someone from Dartmouth attended).