A Visitor to Halifax

I awoke super stupidly early to try and get some nice dawn photos.  Nice idea except that it was a cloudy, and thus dawnless day.


it was still nice, though, to see the village and everything completely empty of tourists.  There was just me, and I’m not a tourist.  I’ve decided that: I’m a visitor instead.  You see, a tourist is there for his or her own benefit, to go and look at something, take away some photos, leave behind some trash, spend some money, piss off or mollify the locals, and generally be ignorant.  It’s the very nature of how the tourism and the industry that serves it has evolved.  I and my family strive to be a little different, at least in how we see ourselves, even it makes no difference to how we are seen by the locals.



We went to the Citadel in Halifax today to see some folks pretend to be soldiers from the 19th century.  It reminded me and the kids of Fort Henry in Kingston, except I don’t think the Citadel has ever been allowed to fall into disrepair.  You see, Halifax has always seen itself as an important port (and indeed it is) and the people of Nova Scotia have always had a lot more pride in themselves as people from this place. 

I got that feeling from reading stories of people from the play “VIMY” last year, and also from reading stories from the museum at the Citadel.  It’s a place with a lot of memory and pride.


This fellow showed us how fast a bolt-action breech loading rifle could be loaded and fired.  He managed about ten shots in a minute, which is fine when you aren’t actually shooting at anything (he was firing blanks).


Harry signed up as a soldier, but then went AWOL when he found out that he would only be paid a penny everyday.  When I found out that a penny would purchase three pints of been down in the city, I signed up!  I went AWOL to go check beer prices, and it turns out things have changed in two hundred years…



This pirate was hanging out at the museum, which is a particularly cool place to spend an afternoon.  You can seen artifacts from the Titanic (recovered by ships out of Halifax as part of the grim search for bodies).  It is a gripping exhibit, and full of poignant memories and recollections.


Here is the multi-facetted lens from a lighthouse.  You can see the size of it beside the girl taking pictures (of a parrot).

Of particular note for me was the exhibit displaying artifacts and storyboards about the Halifax explosion of 1917 – even the a piece of the telegraph receiver used by the man on the docks who first saw the flames on the munitions ship that would explode in minutes from his transmission.


Included with the museum admission is a free reign on-board the Acadia.  This is a research vessel used from 1903 through to the late 1960s.  It’s pretty cool – it was used to survey much Hudson’s Bay and James’ Bay and throughout the north.


We thought, for a minute or two, what it might be like to hang out on-board this ship, but it was a fleeting thought.  Probably full of tourists.


Here’s a cool thing.  It might be useful to that boat shown above if its GPS fails and it runs aground off Sable Island.  It’s called a Lyle Gun, and it fires the projectile on the left with the line attached overtop of a grounded ship in distress.  Then the folks on the ship can pull a heavy line in from the island and get pulled to safety.  Pretty cool.

It was a good day, but it was nice to come back to the cove, too.  We had no real dawn, but by golly we had a nice sunset.



more later – joel

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