Explosions and Bluenoses

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2012

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Flag of Canada  , Nova Scotia,
Saturday, September 1, 2012

Howdy folks,

Packing up the tent this morning, Steffie and I felt particularly nostalgic as travelling to Halifax. Today would be the culmination of our great Trans-Canadian crossing from British Columbia and Halifax is just about as far as you can get; on the mainland anyways. It didn't take long to drive in along the highway and we navigated to a parking spot near the citadel. We walked down past the clock face which is stuck on 9:05am, the precise time when the Halifax Explosion occurred on 6th December 1917. Two ships filled with ammunition and fuel collided and exploded creating the world’s largest manmade explosion at the time which killed 1,900 and injured 10,000 more and levelled most of the north shore of Halifax. It is hard to imagine the scale of destruction now with the big city being reconstructed.

Nearby is Province House which is the oldest and longest sitting form of government in Canada. The building is tiny compared to others except perhaps New Brunswick, but far better kept than it. It was hardly busy as the two security guards were out enjoying the sun. We asked to do a tour and surprisingly we were the only ones there so Keith gave us a guided tour. It didn’t take long, but we had a look in the meeting room and the legislature. I didn’t realise that all the Canadian Provinces are unicameral with their Senates being abolished. I guess that makes things quicker. It was also the place that newspaperman Joseph Howe gave a 6 hour speech on the importance of freedom of the press in his court hearing in the mid-19th century. He seems to be a popular figure in Halifax nonetheless.

Next we reached the waterfront and went to the Maritime Museum. They have a permanent exhibit on the Titanic Disaster with a deck chair and some other trinkets from the actual ship. It was interesting to read how Halifax played a big part in the rescue and recovery mission with a few cable ships going to pick up survivors while at the same time bringing the dead here to bury. Many of the dead were either lost or buried at sea, whilst some were buried at other places including Halifax. They also had exhibits on the Halifax Explosion, Golden Age of Sail and plenty of models.

It was time for lunch so we walked up the hill to a pub called Maxwell’s Plum where we had some good fish and chips also the service wasn’t great. It was a good lead up to the Alexander Keiths Brewery tour down at the waterfront at its original location. Keiths is a popularly known Canadian beer and we weren’t sure what to expect because they no longer produce beer from that location anymore. The tour ended up being an hour long period drama with a few actors in costume taking us back in time to what it was like when it was first produced in the mid-19th century. It was really weird with singing and dancing in the old beer cellar and certainly designed to encourage more consumption of the brand. They could have been on cocaine for all I know.

We climbed up the steps to the Citadel to get a better view of the city, but it wasn’t worth going into because it was about to close. Although it was early, we decided to walk back to the car and drive to the motel. We had a bit of trouble finding cheap accommodation and we ended up staying in Bedford in a motel which looked older than the Voyager: quite a feat! The best feature was the green bathroom. At least Star Wars was on TV because there wasn’t much else happening.

In the morning, I wanted to get on the road by 9am because we wanted to get down and see Adam at Lunenburg by noon. I was keen to visit the Fairview Cemetery before we left. When the Titanic sunk, some of the dead were buried in Halifax and it has the largest collection of graves from the disaster. It was a really sombre visit as reading the names and ages gave you an insight into the sorrow and scale of the disaster. Whole families died and it affected many people around the world.

We kept driving and skipped Peggy’s Cove where there is a famous lighthouse that people get out to take a picture of. Instead, we drove down the Lighthouse Route on Highway 3 which went to all the little communities and had picturesque views of harbours, inlets, islands and sailboats. We drove out to Graves Island to take a quick look along the way. Eventually we rolled into Lunenburg and drove down the streets past pretty coloured houses before finding the home of Mr Jewers. They were home and it was good to see Adam again.

After we caught up, his buddy Brad came over and we all took a walk downtown to the waterfront. We took a look at the Bluenose II yacht which is a replica of the original and undergoing renovations in dry dock. The Bluenose is a racing schooner which has been on Canadian stamps and dimes and is pretty famous here. It was interesting walking through the place which I’ve heard Adam talk so much about, especially the places he has worked and painted (so most of the town). We walked to Big Reds to have a pizza lunch overlooking the harbour front before walking around to the golf course which gave as a view of the complete harbour.

We walked back up to his house right past the graveyard and Lunenburg Academy at the end of his street. Lunenburg isn’t big, but quite hilly so you definitely get a workout. We set up the tent in his parent’s backyard and drove down to get some food for a BBQ dinner. It was great to eat a steak again and afterwards we took an evening stroll down to Timmys. The moon was out and shining which looked good. All in all a great day.
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