Halifax today! We had thought about going to Halifax tomorrow to take in the Canada Day events, but concluded that the city may be just too busy if there were a bunch of festivities going on and so we went today.
On our way to Halifax, we made a detour south to visit Peggy's Cove, which is one of the most photographed places in Canada. It was one of those things you just have to do while you're in the area. Before checking out the lighthouse in this little village, we stopped at the memorial site for Swissair Flight 111, which crashed app. 12 km from Peggy's Cove in the Atlantic Ocean. All 229 people aboard the flight perished in the accident in September 1998.
I can't imagine living in Peggy's Cove in the summer months. This picturesque little village was exactly what I pictured a Nova Scotia fishing village to look like, which the colourful homes perched around the bay and fishing shacks on the water's edge. But talk about tourists! We were there mid-morning and the famous lighthouse was already swarmed with tourists. By the time we left, there were three tourism buses parked in this tiny little one-road town. Dad stopped to talk to a local for a few minutes, who told Dad that in the summer months you cannot even drive your car in the village because there are so many tourists that flock here. The view was beautiful, though, and I can see why people come here by the busloads. One of the things that I found pretty cool about this village wasn't the village itself, though - it was the geological history related to how this area was created. Did you know that at one time in history this little rocky stretch of land would have looked like the Himalayan mountains? And during the ice age, glaciers scraped over this area, smoothing the rocks to what you see now. As you look at the rocks, you can see the large scrapes in them that the glaciers left behind.
After enjoying the view of the famous lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, onward we went to Halifax. Dad had done some reading on what there was to do in Halifax, and one of the things he decided that was on his "to-do" list was to check out the H.M.C.S. Sackville, a corvette (the type of ship) that was used in WWII. When we go to the wharf where the Sackville is docked, it just so happened that the H.M.C.S. Halifax was docked behind it, which put the Sackville to shame in terms of size. The Sackville is just over 200 feet long, and it looked like a tiny little toy compared to the Halifax. Unfortunately, we were not able to board the Halifax as they had a ceremony onboard the ship today (they were giving tours the last couple days and tomorrow - we came at the wrong time I guess!) but I would have loved to have been able to tour that ship. The Sackville was still neat, though, and it was cool to see since to this point all we have seen are fishing boats and no war ships.
Next sight in Halifax was just the wharf in general - we wandered down the wharf from where the Sackville was parked to a couple streets that are home to the Halifax historic properties. From there we headed up toward the Citadel in Halifax, which was a fortress built by the British to protect this strategic port. Today, the Citadel is a national historic site and stands as a reminder of our rich colonial and military past. There are guided tours of the Citadel and employees are dressed in attire that would have been seen back in the day. We took a guided tour, and our guide told us about how the soldiers lived, discussed their attire, and took us into a jail cell that was for soldiers who were "naughty," as he put it. Unfortunately, there wasn't time for the tour guide to take us into more of the buildings around the fort, but we did explore a bit on our own as well. Within the Citadel, there is also an army museum, which houses information on soldiers during both World Wars and other points in history, such as weapons they used and their uniforms.
Lastly, we did some more walking through Halifax and we followed the path of their historic walking tour, which would have brought us past the Citadel had we started in a different location, and then went on to pass a couple churches, the Old Burying Grounds (more than 12,000 were buried here if I remember correctly, but only 1,200 headstones remain), the Government House where the Lieutenant Governor lives and past the Alexander Keith's Brewery! Fun tidbit of information - the Government House was built by Sir John Wentworth to pretty much satisfy his ego; according to the plaque onsite, the house was "built to gratify his own sense of propriety and that of his glamorous wife."
And that concluded our afternoon in Halifax!