One Way to do Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Continuing in my series of  ‘One way to do…’ here is our experience of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

We arrived at Halifax on board Queen Mary 2 in October 2011. The weather was showery and, due to the weather conditions,  we made a rapid change of plan from our original visit itinerary.

We disembarked the ship very early and following some quick enquiries at the Cruise Terminal Tourist Office we negotiated what we  thought would be an interesting schedule for the day with a waiting taxi. This was the first time my wife had visited Halifax though  I had spent some time here while serving in the Royal Navy. I was keen to show my wife the Fairview Lawn Cemetery where the majority of the Titanic victims were buried, so that was where we headed first…

Fairview Lawn Cemetery

One hundred and twenty-one victims of the RMS Titanic  sinking are interred at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery.  The three long lines of graves,  in gentle curves, following the contours of the sloping site. By co-incidence, the curved shape suggests the outline of the bow of a ship…

Most of them are memorialised with small grey granite markers with the name and date of death. Some families paid for larger markers with more inscriptions. The occupants of a third of the graves, however, have never been identified and their markers contain just the date of death and marker number…

One of the better-known Titanic markers is for an unidentified child victim, known for decades as The Unknown Child. No one claimed the body, so he was buried with funds provided by sailors of the CS Mackay-Bennett,  cable ship that recovered his body…

Another headstone of particular interest is that of the  Chief Deck Steward on the Titanic, Earnest Freeman who  also apparently served as a secretary to White Star chairman Joseph Bruce Ismay.  Ismay is credited with erecting his headstone.

The number 239 near the bottom of the headstone  indicates that Freeman’s body was the 239th to be recovered from the sea… 

Prior to our arrival at Halifax we could not help to notice the popularity of one certain tourist site on the ship’s excursion list. Though we had not originally planned to visit Peggy’s Cove the time saved by taking a taxi to the Fairlawn Cemetery now gave us additional options.  So from the Fairview Cemetery we headed for what we considered to be, and  had certainly had heard was,  one of the most popular of the tourist destinations in the area. This was Peggy’s Cove

Peggy’s Cove lies some 45 kilometres from Halifax and during  the course of the journey our driver suggested we may wish to visit a genuine Maple Syrup production centre. We agreed and in due course we arrived at the Acadian Maple Products Centre for what turned out to be a fascinating insight into how this world famous product is both extracted from the maple tree and, not just refined into  maple syrup but many other products including soap…

a taste…

 

 

…and the obligatory visit to the shop…

 

 

So, having duly purchased a selection of the products on offer, which, incidentally,  we discovered later were considerably cheaper than those on offer in the Cruise Terminal building, we continued to Peggy’s Cove

One stop not to be missed is the colourful home of the Peggy’s Cove story teller….

Peggy’s Cove itself is situated on a barren peninsular on the Atlantic coast and has a long history as a fishing village. On our arrival there were four tour coaches already parked up however, the volume of people did not distract from the wild beauty of the place, with it’s famous lighthouse

 

and rugged coastline…

…and one can well see the benefits and advantages of the natural and  actual Cove…

…immortalised in the  famous ‘Fisherman’s Monument’ rock carving by the artist and sculptor William deGarthe at the entrance to the hamlet…

Despite the weather we had a very enjoyable look around Peggy’s Cove and it was not difficult to understand why it is so popular with ship’s excursions.

We were anxious to visit the Halifax Citadel which had been on our originally planned  itinerary.   For our return journey  to Halifax our driver took  a different route winding through woodland and coastal bays, all  of considerable beauty. He delivered us to the main entrance of the Citadel early afternoon and at this point we bid him farewell.

The Citadel – also known as Fort George – is a Canadian National Historic Site and is steeped in British as well as Canadian military history. Apart from the excellent exhibits and views over Halifax from the Citadel walls, the entrance fee includes an  interesting and informative  guided tour…

 

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Within the Citadel there is also a separate museum  The “Army Museum”, located in the Citadel’s Cavalier Block, displays 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. Well worth a visit in itself…

Leaving Fort George we started our descent from Citadel Hill and headed  towards the town. On our way we  passed The Town Clock which has been a feature of Halifax since it first opened on October 20, 1803.  It has served  the community since….

Our next intended stop had been the Maritime Museum however, having just come off Citadel  Hill,  we fortuitously stumbled across The Old Triangle Pub

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…where we enjoyed a well deserved late lunch and some of Halifax’s famous liquid refreshment…

 

Boy did I enjoy that  home made corned beef,  Swiss cheese, dill pickle and grainy mustard, oven roasted  pretzel bread platter.

Suitably refreshed we dropped the few streets before arriving at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

 

Located in the heart of Halifax’s waterfront, this museum covers Nova Scotia’s rich maritime heritage from small craft boatbuilding to World War Convoys, the Days of Sail to the Age of Steam, the Titanic to the Halifax Explosion. This museum was also listed on ship’s excursions and is an excellent venue to discover the stories, events and people that have come to define Nova Scotia and its relationship with the sea.

 

 

 

Sadly time was now running out and we were grateful for the fact that there was but little walking distance back to Queen Mary 2’s berth. As if to hand us one last bonus the waterfront route took us past firstly the Sailors Statue commemorating the Canadian naval contribution during WW II  at Sackville landing…

 

and,  the icing on the cake for any Cunarder,  the Statue to the man himself, Sir Samuel Cunard

We returned to the ship with around half an hour to spare before sailing. We had covered a lot of ground but it was well worth the effort and I sincerely trust that this account of our day will prove useful to future visitors to Halifax.

Our taxi driver David,  http://www.nova-scotia-van-tours.com/    charged us $180 Canadian and earned his $20 tip. There was ample room in his vehicle to take another two possibly four more passengers. Dave gave an interesting commentary throughout the journey and we were well pleased with his service. Highly recommended

One response to “One Way to do Halifax, Nova Scotia.

  1. Pingback: One Way to do Halifax, Nova Scotia – Second Edition | Solent Richard's Cruise Blog·

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