Sunday, September 16, 2012—Halifax, Nova Scotia

Today marks our last full day in the Maritime Provinces.

After a restful night’s sleep, we awoke, had coffee, and finished packing for our departure.  Sebelle and Susan, owners of the Atlantic Sojourn B&B, had a late evening, so we all delayed breakfast until 8:30 AM.  However, all the guests met in the common area near the dining table and visited, getting to know one another better, and we asked them lots of questions about Canada, their customs, their healthcare system, food, etc.  They were quite patient with us.We all enjoyed another hearty breakfast, and we excused ourselves for a 9:30 AM departure.

The drive to Halifax was just over an hour; we bypassed Peggy’s Cove at the suggestion of Sebelle.  We all checked into the Westin near the harbor. We all walked the harbor front and purchased tickets on the Grayline’s Ambassatour of Halifax.  The downtown area is vibrant, with lots of young adults everywhere.  We also saw families enjoying the city, especially along the water front.  Three things aroused my interest in Halifax:  their public garden, the explosion of 1917, and their role in the Titanic disaster recovery.

120916_EditedMy favorite part of the Ambassatour was walking through the Halifax Public Garden, one of only two Victorian gardens in Canada.  It was well kept, and the flowers and plants were awesome.  Some of the blooms were huge, and I could have been there all day taking photos.  We were amazed at the number of people, including many families, enjoying the gardens.

I was also surprised to learn of the 1917 explosion in the Halifax harbor. This explosion occurred in December 1917 when the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship fully loaded with wartime explosives, collided with the Norwegian SS Imo in “The Narrows” part of Halifax Harbor.  About 2,000 people were killed by either debris, fire, or collapsed buildings, and over 9,000 were injured.  Every building within a 16-mile radius, over 12,000 in all, was destroyed or badly damaged, essentially leveling a major portion of the riverfront area.

120916_Edited-4Halifax played a major role in the Titanic disaster recovery. White Star Line built, owned, and operated the Titanic on its maiden voyage. When news broke regarding the “unsinkable” Titanic hitting an iceberg, White Star officials in New York at first believed that the damaged Titanic would sail to Halifax, the closest major port and trains with relatives and immigration officials departed from New York to Halifax. Hours after the Titanic sank, however, White Star Line commissioned their cable ships based in Halifax to recover the bodies of victims. Of the 209 bodies brought to Halifax, 150 were laid to rest at three local cemeteries.  It was apparent that many in Halifax still hold the White Star Line and its wealthy owners in disdain for their handling of the whole recovery effort and callous treatment of victims.  The “rest of the story” is pretty interesting, indeed!

After the tour, Kay and I split off from John and Sandy to walk the downtown area.  We were hungry for regular food, so had a sandwich at Subway, and it was real good.  We spent the rest of the evening in our room, ready for our trip back to the US and home.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

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