Halifax is the capital of the province of Nova Scotia. With a population of 390,096 in the Regional Municipality (2011), and the urban area a population of 297,943, it is the largest population centre in Atlantic Canada and the largest in Canada east of Quebec City. Halifax was ranked by Money Sense magazine as the fourth best place to live in Canada for 2012. It is a major economic centre in eastern Canada with a large concentration of government services and private sector companies. Major employers and economic generators include the Department of National Defense, various levels of government and the Port of Halifax. Agriculture, fishing, mining, forestry and natural gas extraction are major resource industries found in the rural areas.

No stranger to tragedy, Halifax was charged in 1912 with the recovery of bodies from the Titanic. The coroner at the time devised the method still used today in cataloguing and identifying the victims of large scale disasters. The unidentified  victims rest in a specially designated cemetery, their markers indicating only the number assigned at the time of recovery. Halifax is also the site of the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons, when in December 1917, the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship carrying munitions, collided with another vessel, the SS Imo, between upper Halifax Harbour and Bedford Basin. The resulting explosion devastated the downtown core, killing approximately 2,000 people and injuring nearly 9,000 others. Finally, in 2011, Halifax took in almost 10,000 passengers stranded by the 9/11 tragedy (Gander, Nfld. took in another 10,000), housing the majority of them in private residences, a monument to the generousity of the residents.

Halifax's urban core is home to a number of regional landmark buildings and retains some significant historic buildings, combined with mid level office towers in the downtown area. In recent decades, there has been conflict between groups in favour of development, and groups seeking to preserve the cities heritage After much debate, the city is  focusing on allowing modernization and development while at the same time preserving heritage structures.

It was a beautiful day when we arrived, partly cloudy with a temperature of 18 C / 64 F. Our tour took us by bus through the greater urban area up to Peggy's Cove for a lobster lunch, the latter being my idea of heaven. Once again, there were too many pictures of Peggy's Cove to put on this page, so if you'd like to see more, there is a link at the bottom of the page..

First view of the city from our balcony. 

You can see the mixture somewhat of old and new buildings. The roof with the eco-friendly roof in front belongs to the Port terminal. The roof is covered with low maintenance plant life and solar panels . . .

. . . as well as small windmills for electricity

Another view of the city from our balcony.

Looking down on a statue of Joseph Cunard, the founder of the
Cunard Shipping Line, now known as Cunard Cruise Line.

The lighthouse greeting ships entering the harbour.

The harbour is 
one of the world's largest natural harbours and an important seaport.

George's Island, in the harbour.

One of the many tour boats.

We had some time to kill before our tour started, so we did a "walk-about". One of the first things we saw was a local micro brewery, a common site on the East coast.

Another view of Joseph Cunard's statue.

We took a brief trip to Pier 21, a memorial to which is pictured
here. Opened in 1928, it served as Canada's principal reception
centres for immigrants until it closed in 1971. Approximately 1
million people passed through it's doors during that time, including
Izak and his parents, Dina and Leo. The Pier is now home to the
National Immigration Museum, as well as walls of plaques listing
the names of those lost on the Titanic.

One of the tour vehicles servicing the city.

While we only drive around the exterior, one of the first places we saw was The Citadel. Originally named Fort George, it
is the fortified summit of Citadel Hill, and is now designated a National Historic Site. Today the fort is operated by Parks Canada been restored to its original Victorian Period ambiance. There are re-enactors of the famed 78th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot and the 78th Highlanders Pipe Band who were stationed at Halifax for almost three years (1869-1871).

The Citadel is a star shaped structure, surrounding by a waterless moat. Built to defend the harbour, a shot has never been fired from it in an act of war.

Not really sure what these are (they look like ship's masts), as we never went inside.

Openings in the walls for cannons and rifle fire.

Although from the outside it looks like the buildings are "underground", they're not. Its just the grass growing on the thick fortification walls.

An example of the heritage structures found throughout the city.

Part of the campus of Dalhousie University, and yes, that's a big teddy bear on the left.

Small apartment complexes along the river as we head to Peggy's Cove.


Fresh water on one side . .

. . . ocean bays on the other.
The closer we got to Peggy's Cove, the rockier the terrain became. As a result, trees do not grow as tall, as they don't develop a deep enough root base to support a taller tree.


Our first view of Peggy's  Cove
 Cove is a small rural fishing community located on the eastern shore of St. Margarets Bay, and is famous for the Peggy's Point Lighthouse (established 1868). Peggy's Cove gained world-wide notoriety in 1998 when Swiss Air 111 crashed into the bay 3 km from the village. All the fishermen in the area headed to the sight in hopes of rescuing survivors. Unfortunately they ended up assisting in the recovery of bodies and debris instead. A memorial is located at The  Whalesback, 1 km northwest of Peggy's Cove.

The most famous image of Peggy's Cove, the Peggy's Point

The land mass around the bay is solid granite, which carries the scars left by the migration of glaciers over 20,000 years ago (think Nova Scotia next
time you look at your kitchen counter). Peggy's
Cove has been declared a preservation area to protect its rugged beauty. The Peggy's Cove Commission
Act, passed in 1962, prohibits development in and around the surrounding village and restricts development within Peggy's Cove. The area is
comprised of about 2,000 acres, stretching from Indian Harbour to West Dover and includes barrens, bogs, inland ponds, and rocky coastline.

Picnic tables are provided for dinners who prefer their lobster "to-go".

Walking paths are provided for tourists.

Some people prefer to use the paths . .

. . . while others would rather hoof it through the rocks.

The area is strewn with hugh granite rocks (called glacial erratics), not native to the area. They were left here by the glaciers as they passed through.

A piper played near the lighthouse the entire time we were there.


The granite extends for miles.

These are known as the "black rocks". There are warnings all along the paths to stay off them, as it is not unusual for rogue waves to hit in these areas which could potentially wash an unsuspecting tourist out to sea.

That's me, caught as I was taking pictures.

The scars and erratics left by the glaciers are quite noticeable here.

The view to the left - a good example of the "stunted" vegetation.


And the view to the right.

Just giving you an idea of how big those erratics can be.

Barren as it is, it's still breathtakingly beautiful.

The restaurant where we had the best lobster lunch (and I ate every morsel).

Izak picking his way through the rocks.

A quite place to reflect.

The village itself is a typical fishing community.

The village harbour.

Boats, lobster traps and other paraphernalia.

That's St. John's Anglican Church in the background. It is the only church in Peggy's Cove, and has been municipally designated a historic site.


In addition to fishermen, several artisans live in the area. The sign on the roof of the little red building on the left reads "Peggy's Cove Jewellery Studio"

"Amos Pewter", a gift shop for local handicrafts and tours.
The first public art gallery, tea room, and gift shop was opened in a shack in Peggy's Cove in 1937.

I walked down a small lane way in the village and was about to go
closer to the rocks  when I realized to do so I would need to cut
through someone's backyard. While there was nothing to prevent
me, I decided to do the polite thing and took the picture from
where I stood instead.

The Fishermen's Monument
This 30 m (100 ft) sculpture was carved by sculptor and painter William E. deGarthe, as "a lasting monument to Nova Scotian fishermen." It depicts 32 fishermen,
their wives, and children enveloped by the wings of St. Elmo, the patron saint of sailors, as well as the legendary Peggy.
deGarthe (1907–1983) was born in
Helsinki, Finand and emigrated to Canada in 1926. In 1948 deGarthe and his wife Agnes bought a summer home in Peggy's Cove and in 1955 deGarthe gave up
his career in the city and moved there permanently. In 1963 deGarthe completed two murals for St. John's Anglican Church and his works can be found in the
collection of the Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Arts, the Barbados Museum of Fine Arts as well as numerous private collections around the world.

Back on the bus, we head back to Halifax.

The trees get taller, the closer we get.

One of the many bridges spanning the harbour.

The three chimneys mark the place where the ships collided in the 1917 disaster.

A typical side street off the main drag.

Leaving port. A piper played as a salute to the ship as we left.

The ship reflecting in a building as we passed.

Purdy's Wharf.

Harbour traffic.

The last lighthouse.
Farewell Nova Scotia.

We actually debated getting off the ship in Halifax, staying a day or two, and flying home from there. But since the last leg of the journey  was already paid for, we stayed aboard for another day at sea and a flight home from New York. We were to fly out from La Guardia Airport (which for the record is, bar none, the WORST airport I have ever been in) but ended up being stuck there for 11 hours, due to weather, before being put up for the night at a hotel in Jamaica, New York (compliments to Westjet, as that was something they were not obligated to do). Needless to say, our catch phrase became "We should have stayed in Halifax".

To see more pictures of Peggy's Cove, click here.

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