A Travellerspoint blog

November 2014

St John's

overcast 20 °C

Being stuck away on the East coast of Canada makes Halifax just a bit awkward to leave. My plan had been to catch an overnight ferry which runs from the south of Nova Scotia down to Portland, Maine but it finished running for the year a bit before I was ready to leave. Then inspiration struck: why not go to an even more remote place? A while ago, I read Theatre of Fish by John Gimlette, who wrote about his touring around Newfoundland, tracing the footsteps of his great-Grandfather and noting the devastation to small maritime communities when they could no longer fish for cod, and more recently I read The Shipping News. They both made me want to spend some time there. While I wouldn't have time to get out and explore the Rock, I could at least have a few days to St John's and fly on to the States from there.

Halifax didn't seem all that keen to let me go: I was well in time for the hourly airport bus, but it was not there. Other buses came through, and I found out that there was a gas leak which had led to the road being closed and big traffic jams, and that's where my bus was stuck. I got talking to three others waiting for the same bus - three New Zealanders, as it happens, on their way to a wedding on Cape Breton - and we decided to share a taxi. Of course, then there were no taxis and none of us knew how to get one, but eventually one turned up to drop a passenger off at the bus stop, so we were finally on our way - with the airport bus pulling in just as we left.

St John's turned out to be a great wee city - first settled in the early 1600's, it only formally incorporated in 1921 and has about 200,000 residents. It was the kick off point for the first transatlantic flight and has a Marconi history of its own, as the first transatlantic radio message was received here. It was largely a fishing port until the fishery collapsed in the 1980's, but has had an oil boom - the main CBD is in much better health than Halifax. It is essentially two long main streets (Duckworth and Water) running along the harbour's edge, so close that you'll ships tied up at the ends of some streets.
St John's Harbour

St John's Harbour

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The whole town is built on the side of a hill - I doubt that there are more than about 10 square metres of naturally flat land in the whole place. About three kilometres up the hill is where they've put both the public library and the university - so I spent my time there trundling along the main streets, climbing the hills up to the university and, of course, doing some work there, getting claustrophobic in the extremely high shelving.
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One of the unique features of the place is its colourful houses, with about as many stories about how they came to be that way as there are colours - the two leading contenders for most accurate story are that fishermen painted their houses the same colour as their boats, so they could find them or that it is the St John's way of giving the finger to the fog and general grey weather - I didn't see the sun until my last day, and that only happened because we got hit by the tail end of a hurricane, which cleared away all the cloud.
Coloured Houses, Misty Day

Coloured Houses, Misty Day

large_270_IMG_9702.jpglarge_IMG_9700.jpglarge_IMG_9706.jpgNewfoundland National War Memorial

Newfoundland National War Memorial

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That last picture is of a very cool record shop, Fred's, which had lots of local music - I spent a couple of hours in there and came out with a couple of discs, including one by Ilia Nicol. I was looking for something to do that night and more than a little surprised to find that Ilia Nicol had a gig that very night. I'd talked a bit about local music with the guy at Fred's and he never mentioned it, and he obviously knew she was playing as I saw him there. The gig was in a venue called the Levee in St John's infamous George Street, made infamous by having the greatest concentration of bars in all of North America, most of them playing music, loudly (once they finally open, that is, at 10:30 at night).

Ilia was actually up first in the line out - on her CD she's quite mellow, but live there's quite a bit more energy - she needed it, because the Levee is in a little courtyard it shares with three other bars - one doing very loud rock and roll, another doing some sort of goth-heavy metal mash-up and the other, who knows, no-one could hear what was happening. The next band up was another local band called the Domestics - it took me a while to warm to them, but then they did this amazing song called What Kind of Man Are You, where the band took a back seat and let the rather mournful vocals shine. I also enjoyed their last song - You're Never Coming Back. They were kind enough to tell us that Gonzales (the former hurricane) had been further downgraded from a tropical storm, then spent a few minutes telling us how to prepare for a storm.

The main event was a band called the Naysayers, three bearded guys and a rock chick, 30's, in from Dawson City, Yukon - very loud, with an acoustic guitar, played furiously: in that venue, I found the music relentless. Most of the crowd disappeared when they came on, although a different group came in so it wasn't deserted. I'm afraid I deserted, however, they just weren't doing it for me. Outside I had a fairly random confrontation with an attractive enough woman in a green greatcoat. She came toe to toe with me, raving about some sort of implement she wants from US, waved her hands around to illustrate its size. The only thing I understood is it is for smoking, its like smoking 5 cigarettes at once, not e-cig, not hookah and it won't kill you. Sounds magic. After all that, I needed a bad kebab.
Entry to George Street

Entry to George Street

Ilia Nicol & Band  @ The Levee

Ilia Nicol & Band @ The Levee

large_IMG_9677.jpglarge_IMG_9678.jpgThe Domestics @ The Levee

The Domestics @ The Levee

George Street

George Street


Downtown had very few chainstores - a couple of Subways, a Hortons, a Starbucks, but otherwise it was all local shops and cafes and one thing that struck me was the number and quality of the menswear shops - I went into one, Chafe & Sons, which has been going for more than 80 years. It was a sizeable shop, so much stock I could hardly move. One illustration of the depth of their stock: they'd put up a shelf which ran the entire length of one wall, maybe a metre down from the ceiling - the shelf was stacked to the ceiling with caps! I'd been planning to buy a cheap belt from somewhere like Walmart, but I was happy to pay these guys a bit more. Just along from there is an amazing cafe - the Rocket Bakery - which I came across in my first walk and made a point of going to every day I was there - a couple of the staff were a bit off, but the rest were great, nice food, nice coffee but it was the shop itself which spoke to me.
Rocket Bakery

Rocket Bakery

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Just along from there is another cafe I swore I wouldn't go into (I think that cafes which can't do better than name themselves coffee or bean or variants thereof don't get my business), but I was wandering past Coffee & Company and there were a couple of old guys doing some really authentic music, the woman behind the counter was rather, um, appealing and they had fantastic cakes. Another cafe I stumbled across was in The Rooms - the local museum - which is where I took the elevated photos of the harbour. I mentioned I had a bad experience with cod on Cape Breton Island - here they had codcakes, so I thought I'd give them a go. Alright, I guess. I had a third go at cod - coming back down the hill, I was hit by a downpour just as I passed a cod shop - I think its official, I don't like north Atlantic cod.
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Codcakes & Beer @ The Rooms

Codcakes & Beer @ The Rooms


Last couple of pictures don't really fit anywhere else - the Newfoundland Supreme Court, and then up past the Cathedral, the entrance to another church caught my fancy.
Supreme Court of Newfoundland

Supreme Court of Newfoundland

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I need to finish by talking about the hostel - in some ways its one of the worst I've been in - just two toilets, so that I had to go to the cafe next door, and four chairs to sit on in the kitchen area. But it was one of those "it was the worst of times, it was the best of times" kind of places - one of the best hostel experiences I've ever had. I happened to mention to Elizabeth in the office that I was finding it weird that there was nowhere to sit - apparently the office is where people come to chill: I met heaps of people but best of all were the three women who worked there, Elizabeth from Toronto (obsessed with Brazil), Jeannine from Germany (obsessed with whales) and Laura from Bulgaria (obsessed with rum). I had been planning to go for a final night out on the Saturday, and was occupying 25% of the seating in the kitchen pre-loading (having ONE quiet beer!) when they came in. I fell for all three, as a collective.

Posted by NZBarry 16:04 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

On the Trail of Two Heroes

all seasons in one day 26 °C

When I was so much younger than I am today, I had an interest in electronics and radio. I made crystal set radios (that work without any power source),oddly shaped aerials, amplifiers, a malfunctioning power supply and the like. I read most of the magazines and several books devoted to these hobbies and in the course of doing so formed a vague admiration for a couple of 19th century inventors (but, oddly enough, when I had to do a school project about someone I admired, I wrote about that well-known Victorian inventor, Gandhi). I was more than a little surprised to find that both of the guys I admired when I was young have a pretty strong connection with Cape Breton Island, in Nova Scotia.

Alexander Graham Bell run aground (literally) on Cape Breton, and was so taken with the place that he established his estate, Beinn Bhreagh, just south of Baddeck and lived there for the last 30 years of his life. Here, he participated in the first manned flight of an aircraft in the British Commonwealth and developed some very fast hovercrafts, setting a watercraft speed record of 71 miles an hour (Lake Bras d'Or, being so big, would have helped). I was not able to look around Beinn Bhreagh, as it is closed to the public, but Parks Canada have built a shiny museum in Bell's honour in Baddeck.
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Alexander_Graham_Bell

Alexander Graham Bell Museum

Alexander Graham Bell Museum

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Not a Bell Telephone


There is a Bell Aliant telephone company - even if there is no connection with Bell, the least they could have done was put a Bell telephone outside the Bell Museum. Going in, there is a long time line setting out his various achievements, put into the context of world developments. One of the quotes was rather prophetic, albeit a bit early - he wrote a letter moaning to his wife that "the days of handwriting are gone forever; they belong to the 19th century". Yesterday, I went into two big stationery/office product shops - neither had any sort of writing pad, the type you use to write letters!

Something I didn't know about Bell (among the many things) was that he was very keen on phonetics, following in his dad's footsteps and given practical importance to him because Mabel, his wife, was deaf. She was actually his student, Using his method, visible speech, deaf people could communicate. I tried, but I coudn't work out how it works.
Visible Speech Alphabet

Visible Speech Alphabet

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Naturally, there was a fair amount of telephone related stuff - including the photophone, a very early version of a cell-phone, in that it transmitted speech without wires (using lightwaves) - they had it working but couldn't see it having practical significance. Another, his Liquid Transmitter, used water - for those who understand such things, here's a description I found of how it works:

The operating principle of a liquid transmitter is quite simple. A wire attached to the bottom of a parchment diaphragm is adjusted so that it just barely makes contact with the water, which is made electrically conductive with a small amount of acid. Words spoken above the diaphragm cause it to flex up and down, making the attached wire have more or less contact with the acidulated water, thereby changing the circuit resistance. The resulting current variations in the listening device reproduce the original sounds. Properly set up, a liquid transmitter can transmit remarkably clear conversations.

Cellphone, 1880 version

Cellphone, 1880 version

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The main event, however, looks to his association with the early days of flight. He must have been an annoying sort of husband - he had an idea that required objects of a particular shape - Mrs Bell came home one day to find all of the washbasins had been removed, welded together and were out on the lake. He was also a bit of a night owl - but apparently was not amused when Mrs Bell told him that she'd had a painting made of him, although he obviously got over it, because the painting took pride of place in his office.
Bell's Office

Bell's Office


He started with a kite so big that it would carry two men, Cygnet, which he flew on 6 December, 1907. I've seen photos of this as being in the museum, but didn't see it - maybe it was out flying? There was a group of kids outside the museum having fun with their kites. Bell made another kite, with an engine - Cygnet II - which would not lift off but was a stepping stone to making the Silver Dart, which he flew off the ice of the frozen lake at Baddeck on 23 February, 1909.

He had already moved on - a year earlier, he met a young American engineer called Baldwin, who became the son the Bells never had, and they started work on hydrofoil speedboats, which they called hydrodomes. This was their way to get powered flight - the hydrofoils would lift the hull, give it enough speed to allow it to fly. The first version was launched in 1911, but the HD-4 seems to have been the go. I don't know why, but he never actually rode in it, but Mabel did and enjoyed it "immensely". I don't think it actually flew, but it did set speed records. Unfortunately for the project (but a good thing for the rest of the world), World War 1 came to an end, and his funders were no longer interested. It seems criminal, but the hull just sat outside his house for decades - it is now in the museum, together with a replica of HD-4.
Flight Wing, Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site

Flight Wing, Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site

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HD-4 Replica


large_WP_20140920_007.jpgHD-4 Original

HD-4 Original

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As for my second hero, I was warned by the ranger at the Bell Museum not to expect much. After doing the Cabot trail, I headed east to Sydney and then to a town on the coast called Glace Bay, where I followed a large number of signs, before I finally found my destination. It is here that the very first transatlantic radio signal was sent from west to east (a year earlier, one had been received at St John's, New Brunswick. The man in charge of both sites was this fellow:
Guglielmo_Marconi

Guglielmo_Marconi


To say there was not much going on would be to overstate the activity. At the best of times, little seems to happen here, but when I was there, the site had closed for the season. Oh well, seeing the coastline was worth it.
Marconi National Historic Site

Marconi National Historic Site

large_270_IMG_9456.jpgCoastline, Glace Bay

Coastline, Glace Bay


Not really - because all of my buggering about meant I missed something quite spectacular. In Halifax, there are a couple of forts built to defend against the French, who had their own fort, just down the coast a bit from Sydney, at Louisbourg. I knew I would not be able to get in because it was so late but I thought I'd at least be able to get a look at the outside. The first two photos are found on the internet, the third is mine, taken from as close as I could get:
Fortress of Louisbourg

Fortress of Louisbourg

Fortress of Louisbourg

Fortress of Louisbourg

Fortress of Louisbourg

Fortress of Louisbourg


There was not much going on in Louisbourg, but it was a long way to anywhere else, so I thought I had better eat - the only place that seemed to have people in it also looked kind of interesting and, being on the coast, I thought the fish would be good. Problem is, I ordered cod, which is not at all like the delicious blue cod we get back home. This was not entirely the restaurant's doing: I have been all scientific and tried it somewhere else - not much better. By the time I'd eaten it was well after dark - so I have no idea as to whether what looks like a great drive down the east coast of Lake Bras d'Or has any nice views. Apart from a quick Horton's stop, I just kept driving until I hit Antigonish, back on the mainland, where I stayed. After a very nice visit (in heavy rain) to the Tall and Small cafe, it was back to Halifax for me.
Grubstake Restaurant

Grubstake Restaurant

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Posted by NZBarry 14:29 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Cape Breton and Cabot Trail

sunny 28 °C

There was quite a bit of chatter in the hostel in Halifax about the Cape Breton Trail and how unmissable it is. Once I'd worked out it is a trail you drive, rather than walk, I was in. I rented a ridiculous looking car, a Kia Soul, which was OK, actually and off I went. Received wisdom was to drive up the main highway to Cape Breton Island as I was leaving at about 3:00 in the afternoon, but I eschewed that wisdom as I wanted to take the coastal route, up (NS 7), as I was convinced it would be more scenic. It was, but much slower - a three hour zoom up the main road was almost doubled - mind you, I saw lots to stop for and took several detours - I reckon it was worth it.
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I headed out through Dartmouth - the road is forced to run inland a bit, as there are all sorts of inlets and harbours that would interrupt its flow, and I'm afraid I've lost track of which particular harbours I stopped at.
Cabin, Porters Lake

Cabin, Porters Lake

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Sheet Harbour (?)

Sheet Harbour (?)

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Harbour between Sheet and Sherbrooke

Harbour between Sheet and Sherbrooke

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The road cuts inland at Sherbrooke - by then it was well and truly dark. I dithered with the idea of staying there, but everything seemed so quiet, I didn't even know if I'd find something to eat. The town itself looked like it is a museum - which later research shows it is: Sherbrooke Village is an open air museum made of 30 odd buildings set up to look like an old main street (something like it was during gold rush days, I imagine). Might explain why the place looked deserted. Anyway, I headed on through the dark to Port Hastings, the first place across the causeway to Cape Breton Island and stayed in a huge, nearly empty motel which faced back across the harbour. At just before 10, my only dining options were McDonalds or Subway. Should have left earlier. My first stop in the morning was Baddeck, which is the gateway town for the Cabot Trail - it is on the enormous inland sea or lake (jury seems to be out) called Lake Bras d'Or - it has multiple islands, ferries, bridges - I could have spent a couple of days just exploring the lake.

Sherbrooke

Sherbrooke

Port Hastings

Port Hastings

Little Narrows Ferry across Bras d'Or Lake

Little Narrows Ferry across Bras d'Or Lake

Little Narrows Presbyterian Church

Little Narrows Presbyterian Church

Baddeck Waterfront

Baddeck Waterfront

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I have a separate post about something I did at Baddeck - now I want to focus on the Cabot Trail. After hunting up and down the road for a petrol station (the one in town closed at noon), it was time to hit the trail. It basically runs up the east coast of the northern part of Cape Breton Island, cuts across through the forest (Cape Breton Highlands National Park) rather than going right to the top, then comes down the west coast to Margaree River, and then runs through to its start point. On the east, it is almost uninhabited for miles, until it hits Ingonosh (where things get weird, because the road crosses in and out of the National Park several times, but for about a maximum of a kilometre each time - I think I was a fool for paying the park fee). At Neil's Harbour, it heads west.
Start of Cabot Trail

Start of Cabot Trail

First contact with coast, Cabot Trail

First contact with coast, Cabot Trail

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Ingonish Church

Ingonish Church


Ingonish River

Ingonish River

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Neil's Harbour

Neil's Harbour


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There is a road which does go to the very top of Cape Breton, to a wee town called St Margaret, Bay St Lawrence Harbour and then finally to Meat Cover, where I found a closed restaurant and a very windy camping ground on top of a hill which, even in the wind, had a few hardy souls camping. By this time, I was once again in the dark so there are no more photos for the day. I had to head through the forest in the dark to my hostel at Pleasant Bay - luckily enough there was still a place to get some very average food for dinner.
Near Bay St Lawrence

Near Bay St Lawrence

Bay St Lawrence

Bay St Lawrence

large_IMG_9428.jpglarge_IMG_9429.jpglarge_IMG_9430.jpgCabot Trail, heading over pass to Pleasant Bay

Cabot Trail, heading over pass to Pleasant Bay

Pleasant Bay

Pleasant Bay

Harbour @ Pleasant Bay

Harbour @ Pleasant Bay

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There was nowhere to eat, so I did a quick look back through the forest to see if I missed anything in the dark (nope) then headed south, finally stopping in an odd town called Cheticamp for another average meal - the town was weird because it was so string out along the coast, with no real centre and large distances between each building.
Heading south, East Coast Cabot Trail

Heading south, East Coast Cabot Trail

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Chéticamp

Chéticamp

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Margaree

Margaree

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Church @ Margaree Harbour

Church @ Margaree Harbour

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It didn't really take long, and before I knew it, I was heading east from Margaree River, and came across a wonderful cafe, the Dancing Goat - I overheard my fellow guests saying how far they'd come for lunch - not quite from New Zealand, but clearly, people were prepared to put in some miles to come here. I, unfortunately, was still full from my mediocre breakfast, so could only fit in coffee and cake.
Dancing Goat cafe

Dancing Goat cafe

Posted by NZBarry 23:43 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Halifax: A Long Walk, South to North and Back

sunny 24 °C

This is a bit of an extended walk - from the south of Halifax to the north end - which I didn't do all at once, or just once, It is quite long - you might want a cup of tea, but I wanted to get this done.

Although I was staying just off the main street, and its name is a fancy version of my own name (Barrington), I spent very little time on it. It has some interesting old buildings but is sorely in need of rejuvenation - several of the buildings are unoccupied - and there is not actually very much of interest on it. There's a nice bahn mi place and I found some great fried chicken in Stillwell Bar, but I also had the one dud meal of my time on this street. Of course, the Lieutenant-Governor lives there in the 210 year old, Georgian Government House, but I never received my invitation to visit.
Barrington Street

Barrington Street

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View of Harbour from Barrington

View of Harbour from Barrington

Government House

Government House


Government House (rear)

Government House (rear)


Old Burying Ground

Old Burying Ground


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St Paul's Anglican Church

St Paul's Anglican Church


The Old Burying Ground is pretty much opposite Government House, and dates back to 1752: it was closed to new residents in 1844. Apparently, Canada has a history of moving cemeteries away from such prominent spots, but this one is a National Historic Monument, so cannot be touched. There is a fairly pugnacious notice outside the Ground, explaining that Canadians are not Americans because of the service of men and women like those buried in this cemetery who died to prevent annexation by the Americans. I picked up a few interesting stories about the place: it was run but not owned by St Paul's Church. Because it was not church property, the church could not charge for burials, so it charged a whopping fee to ring the church bell for funerals. In the very early days, about a thousand people were killed by typhoid, more than the tiny town administration could deal with, so a law was passed, requiring every citizen who found a deceased person to take him or her to the burial ground, otherwise they'd be fined and sent to jail. But perhaps best of all, lying in this cemetery is the man who caused the White House to be a white house:

Major General Robert Ross, to quote his tombstone, "was killed at the commencement of an action which resulted in the defeat and flight of the troops of the United States near Baltimore, on the 12th Sept. 1814". His troops captured Washington, burning several public buildings including the President's mansion. The pale limestone building was so badly stained by smoke that it had to be painted white. Ross is remembered by Americans for inadvertently giving them a name for the White House, and through his use of rockets in battle, inspiring their national anthem.

A block up from Barrington is Argyle Street, centre of Halifax's bar scene - they all seemed a bit formulaic to me, so didn't actually go into any. Just off Argyle is one of the sweetest wee cafes in town, Le French Fix - the barista was delightful, and extremely precise and methodical in her movements. I'd take a break here, and read one of the stories in the Oxford Book of Detective Fiction. Quite a good collection, with a couple of oddities: in one, the detective basically gives up and asks us (the reader) to let him know if we find the culprit. In another, the detective solves what he thinks is the murder, only to find that he's the victim - that one ended abruptly.
Le French Fix

Le French Fix

large_WP_20140927_037.jpglarge_WP_20141011_006.jpgArgyle Street

Argyle Street


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Auctionhouse Pub

Auctionhouse Pub


On one of the walks, I took the ferry across to Dartmouth so that I could walk back across the Angus L McDonald (former law professor and Premier of Nova Scotia): I certainly hoped that PL Pratley (he designed it) knew what he was doing - I had a moment when I worried about the bit I was on falling off, as you do.
Downtown Halifax

Downtown Halifax

Angus L. Macdonald Bridge

Angus L. Macdonald Bridge

Dartmouth

Dartmouth

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Halifax Harbour

Halifax Harbour

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Atlantic Fleet

Atlantic Fleet

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This put me at the beginning of Gottingen Street, which is a bit of a rough street - there is a fair amount of social housing (including the wonderful looking and named Sunrise Manor) - but has several bright spots which made it an interesting walk, such as a couple of performance venues, a great cafe (where they serve tea in a glass pitcher with a wee fire under it - I took a few surreptitious photos with my camera on my knee, but they're all a bit weird and perhaps dodgy).
Edna's

Edna's

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Maritime Command Museum

Maritime Command Museum

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Sunrise Manor

Sunrise Manor

Nook on Gottingen

Nook on Gottingen

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At the far end of Gottingen Street, you'll find The Hydrostone - several people had mentioned it to me, and when I was looking for places to stay, they said their place was in The Hydrostone, as if that was a good thing, but I had no real idea what it was. Turns out hydrostone is an early brand name for concrete, concrete blocks in fact. It resulted from The Halifax Explosion - two ships, one carrying munitions, collided on 6 December 1917 in the nearby harbour, which set fire to the neighbourhood, killed 2000 people, injured another 10,000 and destroyed the housing (until the development of nuclear weapons, it was the biggest man-made explosion ever). So they had to rebuild and didn't want fire - I'd say that many have been rebuilt, others have been re-clad, so there aren't that many which are obviously concrete block. They also built a wee row of shops - the Hydrostone Market - which have been kept up very nicely. I, of course, had to pop in to Julian's Patisserie because walking is thirsty work. Coming back down Agricola Street, there wasn't much to see - a tiny microbrewery which makes such a great Belgian Pale Ale I had to buy some, and the Lion and Bright cafe, which has a dedicated workspace. I actually came back on Thanksgiving to work here, but way too many people beat me too it, so I went to my old friend, the Killan Memorial library.
Hydrostone Market

Hydrostone Market

Hydrostone Houses

Hydrostone Houses

Julien's Patisserie

Julien's Patisserie


Lion & Bright Cafe

Lion & Bright Cafe


Back in town is the Citadel - or Fort George - which was built in the 1740's as a defence against the French (there's another on an island in the harbour) and re-built three times since, but never actually attacked. They have guards, so there's a changing of the guards. They have big guns, so every noon they fire one - I happened to be strolling past when the did, and can confirm from direct person experience that when you stand under one of these babies when they go off, they're LOUD. There is also a nice (strategic) view across the top of Halifax.
Army Museum, Citadel

Army Museum, Citadel

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Changing Guard

Changing Guard

New Guard

New Guard


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Town Clock

Town Clock


Town Clock

Town Clock


Nearly home again, now. Just going to pop into Brunswick Street which has an interesting looking boutique (next door is Mary-Janes Smoke shop, to help you smoke weed but not tobacco) and the Stubborn Goat pub - on my last Sunday in town, a couple of people raved about it, but I didn't go in - I had three pubs two blocks away from my house which did me fine - even if one did faintly rip me off, by promising a 1 cent steak if you buy a drink - I was very happy to do so, but in the invisible print carried around in the waitress's head, it was i cent for the second steak. So I had two. Go up past St Mary's Cathedral Basilica, turn left at the Medjuck building, go past some cool houses and you're at mine (which was so not cool I took no photo).
St David's Church

St David's Church


Brunswick Street

Brunswick Street


Black Market Boutique

Black Market Boutique

Stubborn Goat pub

Stubborn Goat pub

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St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica

St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica

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Medjuck Architecture Building

Medjuck Architecture Building


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Holy Cross Cemetery

Holy Cross Cemetery

Posted by NZBarry 14:17 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Halifax: A Wander along the Waterfront

sunny 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.
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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).
Morris Street

Morris Street


Halifax Harbour

Halifax Harbour

Georges Island

Georges Island


Georges Island

Georges Island


Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market

Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market

large_WP_20141005_004.jpgPumpkin Carving @ Seaport Farmer's Market

Pumpkin Carving @ Seaport Farmer's Market

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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.
Fishing @ Halifax Waterfront

Fishing @ Halifax Waterfront


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Halifax Waterfront

Halifax Waterfront


Pilot Boats

Pilot Boats

Climbing Challenge

Climbing Challenge


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.
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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.
Shoes of Titanic Boy

Shoes of Titanic Boy

Goose Boat

Goose Boat

Parrot

Parrot


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).
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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.
K181

K181

Acadia

Acadia


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Acadia Speaking Tube

Acadia Speaking Tube

Emergency Wheelhouse, Acadia

Emergency Wheelhouse, Acadia

Captain's Cabin, Acadia

Captain's Cabin, Acadia

First Mate's Cabin, Acadia

First Mate's Cabin, Acadia

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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.
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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).
Canada's Atlantic Fleet

Canada's Atlantic Fleet

Angus L McDonald Bridge

Angus L McDonald Bridge

Halifax Harbour

Halifax Harbour


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Posted by NZBarry 22:37 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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