Nova Scotia, Canada

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Our main impression on driving to Nova Scotia was that Canada is BIG, and like Australia, everything is spread out. One our 2 days of driving, there were lots of farmland, forests and rivers. There were also lots of signs warning of deer, moose and caribou but we did not see any of them.
On the way we did see the longest covered bridge in the World in Hartland, New Brunswick. The bridge is 1,282 feet (391 m) long and was originally opened in 1901 and then covered in 1922. There have been a number of changes including replacing many of the wooden piers with concrete ones.
Our main stop in Nova Scotia was Halifax on the Atlantic coast. The city seems to be undergoing a resurgence with lots of development along the waterfront, walkways, restaurants and housing. We enjoyed visiting the Halifax Maritime Museum which shows the history of Halifax as well as having a major exhibition on the Titanic – Halifax was the closest major port to where to Titanic sank. There are lots of historic boats and displays but the one that struck us was on the great explosion on December 6th, 1917 in Halifax Harbour. A French cargo ship ladened with explosives collided with a Norwegian ship and exploded. The explosion obliterated all structures within 800 metres including the whole of the Richmond area. There were 2000 deaths and 9000 injuries. 1630 houses were completely destroyed and a further 12,000 damaged. Some of the stories were amazing such as the young girl walking down the street when the explosion occurred and being carried 500 metres. There were also lots of stories of heroisms such as the Morse code operator who signalled approaching trains to stop knowing he would likely die if there was an explosion – he subsequently was killed in the explosion. The explosion was so large explosive barrels were carried up to 6 kms.
The most disappointing part f our visit to Halifax was the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. From their website, it looked like a great gallery but in reality it is very poor with lots of blank walls and not very good art, despite there being lots of excellent artists in Nova Scotia. If it wasn’t for the permanent exhibition of Maude Lewis, it would have been a non-event. Maude Lewis is one of Canada’s best known folk artists. She lived in a one room house which she continually painted and sold her art at the roadside. Remarkably, she suffered from severe arthritis all her life but sill continued to paint. Her house has been reconstructed in the gallery and there is a very substantial collection of her works.
The coastline south of Halifax is very scenic. Peggy’s Cove is one of the most visited places in Canada. It’s a small fishing village with a lighthouse but it’s the unique rocky landscape that is the most fascinating. Initially, the rocks were formed by molten lava and then the area was covered by glaciers – the boulders are 415 million years old but who is counting.From there we drove to Lunenburg which is a UNESCO listed village. OK, some of the houses were historic and wonderfully restored but how can a place be listed when every street is dominated by telegraph poles covered with lines and cables, seriously it looked like a developing country – very disappointing and UNESCO should revisit and make them lay the cables underground!!! We thought some of the other places such as Mahone Bay and Chester were much prettier. The coastline is picture book stuff with continual bays, inlets, islands and great houses overlooking the ocean.
We had three nights in Halifax and went to three excellent restaurants, the Five Fishermen and the Argyle Grill for dinner and The Bicycle Thief for light lunch during our walk on the waterfront – all had good food and great atmosphere.
Next on our way into the United States.