August 5, 2017
We left our cottage on the bay and drove most of the way to Halifax before disaster struck. Our GPS got confused and led us astray. We were puzzling over maps when a couple, our vintage, directed us to the downtown. Not sure what happened but we finally found the Citidal.
The British built this massive granite fortress after most threats to Canada were long gone. Originally Halifax and it’s great harbor were protected by earthen and log fortifications. That was enough to keep it safe during the French wars and the feeble Amerocan forces of 1812. Nonetheless, the structure was built and served as such a deterrent that it was never attacked. Today it a show piece of the British forces in 1869. The garrison was composed of the 78th Regiment of Highlanders. The Regiment was originally formed by a member of the McKenzie clan and the Regiment adopted the McKenzie tartan as their own.Of course, we all know the McKenzies to actually be the McKenney clan. We posed with the Red Coats in kilts and even listened briefly to the bagpipes.
The fort had a special exhibit about WWI trench warfare. The displays were quite a bit cleaner than the trenches we mucked around in Belgium. I find it interesting that the Canadians and the rest of the Brits still refer to that war as the Great War. Canada sacrificed many of its young in both. The young docents were not overly well informed about the figures they represented. They were pleasant and did their best.
Getting out of Halifax was easier than getting in. Our next destination was Peggy’s Cove some 40 miles away. Peggy’s Cove has 35 full time residents but has it’s own off ramp in Halifax. The cove boasts one of the major Canadian tourist attractions, a scenic lighthouse. Being Saturday and sunny, it was insane. We managed to park and get our pictures. It was fun with my Peggy who obviously enjoyed the attention. We even managed some decent lobster rolls and got an appropriate souvenir.
The last stretch along the coast was mostly highway to the UNESCO town of Lunenberg. The town was planned from the beginning. The grid street layout and engineered wharf were unique in the British Empire. Facing a large and hostile French population in Canada, the British successfully attracted settlers from Germany and Switzerland. The Brits hoped they would become farmers. Instead, they took one look at the granite soil and decided to become fishermen and boat builders. They excelled at both. We spent the late afternoon prowling the streets and enjoying the creative architecture that is so un-Canadian. While still having a practical design, the houses enjoyed a Victorian exuberance with unlikely 19th Century color schemes. The home made ice cream was great. It is always a good idea to eat dessert before dinner.
We camped as there were no available rooms in town. The guy from the weather channel next to us was in the same circumstance. He predicted rain for the night and I was glad to see that he missed the forecast. No rain until after we had packed our tent and were on the road.