Halifax is the cosmopolitan capital city of Nova Scotia. It is Canada's 13th largest city and its residents, called Haligonians, make up 40% of Nova Scotia's population. It is a friendly city where visitors might be welcomed by the "Oyez, Oyez" of a vociferous Town Crier.
Nova Scotia, the second smallest province in Canada, is approximately half the size of Ohio. In Halifax, a city that embraces the sea, all roads lead to the shore. It is a city that Mother Nature carved out of a hill…where you are never more than 35 miles away from the water.
THEODORE TUGBOAT DOCKED IN HALIFAX
With a population just under 400,000, Halifax is the largest city east of Quebec City and north of Boston. It offers a dynamic and intriguing mix of heritage and culture. Since its founding in 1749, Halifax has played a key role in the economic and cultural development of Canada and the northeastern Atlantic seaboard.
Time does not stand still in Halifax thanks to one of Halifax's most famous landmarks…the stately Old Town Clock situated at the base of Citadel Hill. This historic timepiece was a gift of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and son of King George III. Prince Edward arranged for a turret clock to be manufactured for the Halifax garrison before his return to England in 1800. The Town Clock officially began keeping time for the residents of Halifax in 1803. In its early years, the clock was used as a guardroom and residence for the caretaker.
THE OLD CLOCK TOWER AT BASE OF CITADEL HILL
The Halifax Citadel, a National Historic Site of Canada, was constructed between 1828 and 1856. This star-shaped fortification sits atop a hill in the heart of downtown Halifax. You can take a guided tour or browse through the Army Museum and see the collection of British and Canadian military exhibits. The firing of the noon gun has been a daily ritual since the mid-19th century.
Culinary adventures await you all across Nova Scotia. My restaurant of choice for my Crystal Symphony shore day in Halifax was the Five Fishermen Restaurant and Grill. The multi-award winning Five Fishermen Restaurant and Grill is located in an historical building at 1740 Argyle St. Unlike the Titanic, it has an unsinkable reputation.
WINE WALL AT THE FIVE FISHERMEN RESTAURANT & GRILL
The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic will take you on a voyage of discovery through Nova Scotia's rich maritime heritage. The exhibits and artifacts evoke the magic of the sea and its power in the lives of Nova Scotians. Perhaps the most popular exhibit in the Maritime Museum is the one that depicts the tragic history of the ill-fated Titanic that sank some 700 miles east of Halifax on April 15, 1912. While the Cunard liner Carpathia was taking survivors to New York, 209 of the dead were brought to Halifax.
ORIGINAL DECK CHAIR FROM THE ILL-FATED TITANIC IN THE MARITIME MUSEUM
Fifty-nine bodies were shipped home to relatives, but 150 were buried in three Halifax cemeteries. There were 10 graves at the Jewish Baron de Hirsch Cemetery; 19 at the Catholic Mount Olivet Cemetery; and 121 at the non-denominational Fairview Lawn. One of the first victims to be carried to his grave at Fairview Lawn was a small, unidentified baby boy. A haunting tombstone marks his grave.
FAIRVIEW LAWN GRAVE SITE OF UNKNOWN BABY BOY WHO PERISHED ON THE TITANIC
Thirty-five minutes southwest of downtown Halifax is the rugged fishing community of Peggys Cove (2011 population was approximately 640). Located on Halifax's South Shore "Lighthouse Route", Peggys Cove is an artist's mecca in a moonscape setting. Until 2009, its famous lighthouse, perched high on huge wave-washed boulders, was home to Canada's only post office located in a lighthouse. When mold was discovered in the lighthouse after a storm, Canada Post closed that operation and moved it to The Sou' Wester Restaurant. The Sou' Wester Restaurant, ranked #1 of the 3 restaurants in town, serves up tasty local fare. You might want to try a bowl of their world-famous seafood chowder and a homemade lobster egg roll, all "kicked" down with some Peggy's Rum Punch.
JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer and a Travel Consultant affiliated with The Travel Authority, Mariemont/Cincinnati, Ohio office.