The Riches From the Sea

Trip Start Jun 29, 2010
Trip End Oct 24, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , Nova Scotia,
Sunday, October 3, 2010

I headed back downtown for another day of exploration.  Did I mention before that Halifax has the world's second biggest natural harbour?  And, it doesn't freeze over which is why it was a great spot for the British to establish a city back in 1749 as a counter balance to the French presence in Quebec and Acadia (at that time included present day New Brunswick, PEI and Cape Breton).  For most of its early history, Halifax was the primary North Atlantic base for the Royal Navy, it prospered during times of conflict and languished during times of peace. 

I had a really tough time trying to find a parking spot!  It was the Run for the Cure day - being hold downtown and there were thousands of people.  I had to park a bit farther away from downtown but no worries, was a nice day for a walk!

My first stop was Alexander Keith's Brewery for a tour.  They have actors in period costume who lead you back in time as you learn about the beer, the brewery and life in Halifax in 1863.  At the end of the tour they take you to a tavern area and you get to sample the beer.  They sang songs for us, told jokes and we played some games.  Alexander Keith was born Oct 5, 1795 in Scotland and he died Dec 14, 1873 in Halifax.  I knew he started the brewery but didn't know he was mayor of Halifax 3 times and a member of Legislative Council for 30 years!

Then I headed uphill to the Town Clock and the Citadel.   The Clock was ordered by Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent and has been operating since October 20, 1803..  It is said that Prince Edward, then commander-in-chief of all military forces in British North America, wished to resolve the tardiness of the local garrison. 

A series of four different defensive fortifications have occupied the summit of Citadel Hill since the city was established. The current star-shaped fortress is formally known as Fort George and was completed in 1856, following twenty-eight years of construction. This massive masonry-construction fort was designed to repel a land-based attack by the United States.  Although never attacked, Citadel Hill's various fortifications were garrisoned by the British Army until 1906 and afterward by the Canadian Army throughout WWI and WWII

The Citadel has a living history program featuring animators portraying life 1869.  In the main building is an Army Museum with a rare collection of weapons, medals and uniforms exploring Nova Scotia's army history. It is an independent non-profit museum but works in close partnership with the Citadel staff of Parks Canada.

My next stop was the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History which showcases the wonder and the beauty of Nova Scotia’s diverse Natural History. They have exhibits about the people, geology, animals, plants and sea life that make up Nova Scotia.   Gus the tortoise is 80 years old, I got to pet his shell.  They also have a collection of ceramic life-like mushrooms - wow. 

Then, yes I'm still going, I went to Point Pleasant Park.  This is a huge park at the southern tip of the Halifax peninsula.  It has a great view across the harbour and out toward the Atlantic.   The park had a total of seven fortifications:  Chain Rock, Chain Battery, Point Pleasant Battery, Northwest Arm Battery, Fort Ogilvie, Prince of Wales Tower and Cambridge Battery. Most were rebuilt or modified four or five times over the subsequent 200 years.

I ended up walking through quite a bit of the park, there just seemed to be something else interesting around the bend.  Parts of the park have less trees and I found out that Hurricane Juan (Sept 2003) knocked down nearly three quarters of the park's trees.

Okay, now my feet hurt!  Time to call it a day!

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m/d on

Yay Gus. Is he old for his breed of turtle? If Halifax has the 2nd largest natural harbour, where is the 1st?? Looks like some very nice parks etc. Took some time but Alexander Keith has finally found his way across the rest of the country. Thanks for sharing!

beanthere on

Gus is a gopher tortoise and the life span is 40 - 100 years. He's from Florida, was bought for a couple bucks and brought to Halifax in 1942 by the museum's director. He used to have free run of the place.

The largest natural harbour is Sydney, Australia!.

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