Halifax Nova Scotia: A City of Firsts With a Serious Working Waterfront

Long boardwalk in Halifax.
The longest boardwalk in North America, in
Halifax NS. photo by Mary Gilman.

Nova Scotia is as nice a place as I thought it would be. It’s kind of like Maine, but there are some things here that are way more dramatic. On a double-decker bus tour this afternoon, we drove around this compact city of about 400,000 and saw the impressive seaport–and this is a real seaport, not the small little ones we have in Maine and Massachusetts. It’s the second largest ice-free port in the world, ships come and go all year long here.

In an innovative twist, the container ships can have trucks drive right onto their decks and bring the containers in. There was a massive line of trucks winding around a circular roadway, drivers inching their way ahead. Up above, massive grain conveyers, hundreds of yards long, snaked from massive elevators where the bounty of the fields is stored before being sent into the ships.

Trucks drive right onto the ships with their containers in Halifax, NS
Trucks drive right onto the ships with their containers in Halifax, NS

There is one of the largest boardwalks in North America stretching along the Halifax waterfront. We lunched on authentic thick seafood chowder as a family from Dartmouth, a ferry ride away, sat next to us enjoying Poutine, the french fries, gravy and cheese curd dish that is famous in this part of Canada.

Across the wharf a WWII Canadian Corvette, the HMCS Sackville,  is moored, inside the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic we learned of its heroics in the Pacific theater during the war. It has the dazzle camouflage pattern, light blue, which makes a distant enemy ship think it’s a smaller ship than it is.

We learned on a city tour by English Double Decker bus about some of the men who made this city famous–like George Wright, who was asleep on the Titanic the night it went down and never woke up. This famous tragedy is a large part of the city’s history as hundreds of bodies were taken to Halifax since it was the closest city to the area of the sinking.

The wave in Halifax.
Enjoying the wave on the waterfront in Halifax.

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has dozens of wooden artifacts and a fascinating exhibition all about the details of the Titanic disaster.

We ended our day of exploring with a first-rate seafood dinner at a very classy joint called The Five Fishermen Restaurant and Grill. Here we were treated to the mussel bar, heaping plates of mussels with our choice of four different sauces

Mussel bar at Five Fishermen Restaurant, Halifax
Mussel bar at Five Fishermen Restaurant, Halifax

They took the lobster out of the shell and brought us Nova Scotia’s top wine–Rebirth of a Legend, wine named for the schooner Blue Nose made in Lunenburg by Barbara Thomson at Petite Riviere vineyards. Sommelier  Avery Gavel told us about the history of the building, dating back to 1812.

One of the owners was a woman who had lived in Siam and wrote a book about being the governess for the King there, it turned into “The King and I” a legendary Broadway show and Academy award-winning movie. What a great day in a wonderful Canadian city!