Halifax – Day 2

This was a long day. Getting up to catch the sunrise from Citadel hill. Then an evening concert with Grammy winner Natalie McMaster. Halifax is a very walkable city – not minding the hills that were formed in the last ice age. And there is always a pub around the corner to rest my weary bones. At the end of the evening concert I walked back to the hotel, collapsed into bed, resting for the next day.

Once again, I encounter the Red Chair project. I’ll have to try to find more of them when we go out east. Walked up to the Citadel in the pre-dawn. The soft rays of the sunrise can be seen on the ramparts.

As mentioned by our tour guide the day before, the only time the Citadel was conquered was when an Ontario woman, one night, climbed the centre mast and hoisted a pink flag.

I wanted to get a shot of the sun kissing the old tower clock. However the BMO bank building was in the way. There were some other photographers with me on the rampart. I mentioned the building and one couple said yes, it was a better view before the bank was built.

The Citadel entrance. Unfortunately, I never made it back when the place was open. But it was certainly quiet and peaceful this time of the morning.

Still early but the Victorian Public Gardens were open. This is one of only two Victorian gardens in Canada (the other being in Victoria, BC). To be designated a Victorian Garden, there are certain requirements – variety of trees, statuary, bodies of water and a fence. Flowers, of course.

The large pond in the north part. Caught the ducks swimming by the ship as I sat on the bank in the quiet morning.

As stated as part of the requirements, statuary is located throughout the garden. This is part of the Boer War Memorial and located just inside the entrance I used.

Having been established in 1847 meant the Garden had a lot of history to experience. If you have a Victorian garden, it’s good to have had a king and future queen helping you to plant trees.

The bandshell is located in the centre of the garden. The regular concerts stopped in September. Still no one around.

A rose bed by the bandshell. The flower were abundant and in full bloom.

Our tour guide mentioned as we passed that the dahlias were out in full bloom. When we went by yesterday, the park was packed. This morning, I have all the beautiful dahlias to myself.

Couldn’t help but stop and linger at each one. That is what vacations are all about – providing the time to stop and look at the dahlias.

And there was lots of empty space to roam.

Saint Mary’s Basilica. This was on the tour. It has the tallest, free standing GRANITE spire in North America.

Consecrated in 1899. The spire is made from local granite and is 189 feet. It was about a 20 minute walk from the Public Gardens.

After that walk I popped into the Durty Nelly’s Irish pub. It has a long S shaped bar that came from and pub in Ireland. I’ll be going to a ceilidh on Sunday here.

Durty Nelly’s supports the Liverpool football team. A game was just getting started when I was there. The Liverpool Fan Club were on hand to sing the opening song.

Time for the afternoon setting of the Oyster Festival. Got there early and was second in line. Talked with a guy who moved from Toronto to Halifax 3 years ago for work. He decided to stay. It was less crowded which meant all the more oysters to try.

Had about 25 oysters and then found a seat for the shucking contest. The contest was to determine the finalist who would compete in the evening.

A display showing the ages of oysters. From a few weeks to 5 years in the centre.

These are 10 – 14 years old.

After that gorging, I needed a long walk. Headed up hill to the museum of Natural History. I met Gus, the 97 year old Gopher Tortoise. He is only about a foot long – thought he would be larger. He does get supervised walks each day. The tour guide said he wandered off one day and it took them 2 days to find him. Sneaky Gus.

The Gus Story. He was getting a little anxious with me hanging around so he decided to head for his hidey hole. Took a video of him deciding whether he was going to go in. I figured he would be deciding for awhile so went to see some other exhibits.

It is a Natural History museum focused on the Nova Scotia and Cape Breton region. Displays of fish, birds and mammals give descriptions of what is in the area.

Researching animals for the past – Mastadon country.

Headed to Upper Water street for dinner. Some historic properties that survived the Halifax Explosion.

I wanted to check out this area so I had made a reservation at the Harbourstone seafood grill – part of the Marrioy Bonvoy hotel. Unfortunately, they had closed the patio for the season. It looked out over the harbour. These heavy stone structures were used by the privateers to store their booty.

I’m an early bird so I tend to book my reservations just after restaurants open for dinner. Started with a Passionfruit Margarita. Not many people at 5 pm so got the wonderful booth with cushions.

Seared scallops. I had planned on eating lots of seafood because the ocean was right next door.

Seafood Taglitelli in pesto, tomato cream sauce.

I found Halifax to be a walkable city but there were uphill parts. From Upper Water street – a 30 minute walk uphill to the Dalhousie Arts Centre. Natalie McMaster is a Grammy award wining Cape Breton fiddler. Tonight she is with Symphony Nova Scotia. She played with them last in this auditorium 25 years ago. This is her 4th decade as a performing musician.

She has performed with other musicians including Yo Yo Ma. She told the story of how she wrote and performed The Christmas Song for his Christmas CD. She then played the song.

It was amazing to hear her with a full orchestra. But she did one set of arias with her bandmate on piano.

Natalie has 7 children from 13 to 1 1/2. She introduced her 10 year old daughter Clair who preformed step dancing in the first half. She then joined her mom in the second half on the fiddle and both of them doing a dance. A wonderful, enjoyable evening.

Walking back in the cool, night air, I was hearing the fiddle music in my head. Needless to say, I hit the bed when I got back to the hotel and was fast asleep.