They Call Them Haligonians

halifax 4halifax 2Halifax was our first “big city” (pop. over 400,000) stop in Canada.  And it turned out to be the place where we had the most consistent rain, fog and otherwise not sunny weather, which is saying a lot since we’ve had some rain all along the way.  So, in order to make the best of it, we mixed our touring with some chores while we were there.

One big overdue chore was that Island Girl needed a wax job.  We’ve been on the road a while now and her gelcoat fiberglass sides were looking a bit chalky.  So Hector tackled the big job over several days.  A thorough wash, some polishing compound, and an entire tub of paste wax later Island Girl is gleaming once again.

halifaxhalifax 5On the first sunny day, we explored the Halifax waterfront.  It’s a pretty waterfront with some very impressive boats.  The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Farmers’ Market are also located here.

halifax 3There are musicians and other fun activities along the waterfront to keep you entertained.  And, by the way, people from Halifax are called Haligonians.  No kidding.

During our exploration, we were fortunate to find a couple of especially  interesting boats docked at the waterfront.  One was the first solar powered boat to circumnavigate the earth, the Turanor Planet Solar.  A VERY weird looking boat.

halifax 9halifax 10halifax 11Another was the U.S. Coast Guard’s training vessel, the U.S.C.G. Barque Eagle.   It’s the only active sailing vessel in the U.S. maritime services.  The 295 foot vessel was open for tours and there were several young Coast Guardsmen on board providing information and answering questions.  She was built in Germany in 1936, and taken as a war prize by the U.S. during World War II.

halifax 12The Eagle serves as a classroom for approximately 175 cadets with a permanent crew of another 50 or so.  These cadets must handle more than 20,000 square feet of sail and 5 miles of rigging.  They must learn the name and function of each line since over 200 lines must be coordinated during a major ship maneuver.  No hydraulics on this ship.  Sheer manpower.

This sailing experience emphasizes teamwork and leadership and tests the cadets endurance.  A fascinating look at this important branch of the U.S. Armed Forces and a little taste of the USA.

halifax 6After touring the barque, we had a nice lunch by the water, where both the hostess and the waiter were extremely helpful in providing us with information about where to find live music in Halifax.halifax 14halifax 27

We spent one afternoon at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.  The museum is extensive, it has a small craft collection and two boat sheds, incredible ships models and artifacts, and the largest collection of ship portraits in Canada.

halifax 28halifax 15The first display is an enormous first order Fresnel lens from the Sambo Island Lighthouse.  Just beautiful.halifax 19

halifax 23halifax 22The museum also houses an extensive and fascinating Titanic collection.  There is a strong connection between the Titanic and Halifax – cable ship crews braved awful conditions to recover the bodies from the disaster. halifax 25

To help solve the mystery of the many unidentified victims, sailors hand stitched canvas bags that were used to keep personal effects together for each body, something that proved to be crucial in identifying those who perished.  Many victims are buried in Halifax.

halifax 24Some fragments of the ship were kept by those involved in the rescue operation, not sold commercially, but kept as reminders, this is called “wreckwood”.  And finally, there are other pieces from the Titanic that were later found by families here as flotsam and preserved for generations.halifax 20

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The museum also houses an extensive collection about another sad, but significant part of Halifax history, the Halifax explosion.  The city’s port served as an assembly and departure point for transatlantic convoys carrying supplies and soldiers during World War I and was evolving into a major base of naval operations.  The war created a significant industrial and residential boom in support of all of these efforts and the city was thriving.halifax 18

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halifax 17Then, in 1917, a miscommunication between two ships resulted in a collision and an explosion that left 2,000 dead, 9,000 injured and the city in ruins.  It was the worst man-made explosion before the atomic bomb of Hiroshima.  The museum collection shows life before and after the explosion and the devastating impact it made on Halifax and Nova Scotia.  But Halifax came back and is alive and well.

Another exhibit I must mention is one on the Canadian Arctic Expedition which took place between 1913 and 1918.  It was a temporary exhibit, but fascinating.  I cannot do it justice in this blog, but it’s a fascinating story.  Please click here for more information about this expedition.  Bottom line is that the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic was extremely educational, it’s a must see.

Samuel Cunard

Samuel Cunard

We also discovered one more farmers’ market.  The Halifax Farmers’ Market is a permanent market, open seven days a week.  Not as large as the Moncton Farmers’ Market, but very nice.  We got some fresh produce, fresh juice, eggs, German sausage and some great Indian food for lunch.  The Market has rooftop seating overlooking the water, which is lovely.  And while we were there, there was someone giving salsa dancing lessons!

halifax 31halifax 38halifax 37We attended the Halifax Pride Parade and it was really quite impressive.  Apparently Halifax has a thriving LGBT scene and the parade was a wholesome and happy affair.  It was great to be there and show our support.

halifax 48halifax 50We concluded our Halifax visit by going to the Seahorse Tavern to see the Mellotones.  This is a nine piece ensemble with a four piece horn section and lots of energy and talent.   halifax 47halifax 52The music scene in Halifax is also alive and well.

And, In keeping with the general weather picture during our stay, our evening ended with an absolutely epic downpour 🙂

~ Brenda

5 thoughts on “They Call Them Haligonians

  1. Island Girl, and both of you, look so happy! I’m very grateful, as always, to share this amazing adventure with you! Love you!

  2. Loved your Halifax description & photos. Could you tell me where in which campground/RV park you stayed for future reference? Hope the weather improves as you move on…..hope you are going to Cape Breton.

    • Hi, Amy. We stayed at the Halifax West KOA in Upper Sackville, about 25 minutes from Halifax. For the kind of touring that we did, I would pick something closer to St. Margaret’s Bay because we spent a lot of time driving to that area. But if you plan to visit the areas east and west of Halifax, it’s probably as good a location as any. The campground was very nice, the owner was very helpful and it’s a great campground for families because it had a ton of activities for kiddos. Campsites were variable in size, some were a bit cramped, but we booked early so we had a spacious corner campsite (E7). We’re in Cape Breton, now, it’s a beautiful place. This has been an incredible summer. Take care, Brenda

      > Date: Sat, 3 Aug 2013 12:41:35 +0000 > To: >

  3. The glow of fun times flatters you both! Thank you for keeping us with you in your travels –know you are in our hearts and thoughts. Godspeed. Jean and Joe

  4. Great descriptions, as always, wish we were there! The photos are wonderful but probably do not this location justice! I was wondering about the name, why not HaliFactions? Do they call youthful pranksters “Hooligonians?” and fire and brimstone preachers “Helligonians?” What about folks that work for the multinational corporation Halliburton, do they call them lying, thieving, cheaters like the rest of us do? Enjoy! BTW. Island Girl looks great! So shiny!

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