Cross Canada Adventure: Boats, Forts and Immigrants in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Well, we finally arrived in Halifax! After three months of ferries, trains, buses and rides from strangers we achieved our goal: to travel across Canada.

It seems like the journey went by fast, but then when we think about all of the places we have been and the people we have met, we realize that we have packed a lifetime of adventures into a very short time.

Now that we have made it to the East Coast we can take some time to enjoy the history and culture of this exciting Maritime city.

Halifax: Important Port City

Halifax is the largest city in the Maritimes and an incredibly important port in Canadian history. It is set within one of the world’s great natural harbours and all throughout the 19th and early 20th century it was the only entry point for European immigration to Canada. In fact, one in five Canadians can trace their ancestry back to a relative who arrived at Pier 21, which has now been turned into a museum about Canadian immigrants and their stories.

The Pier 21 Museum in Halifax
The Pier 21 Museum in Halifax

Speaking of museums, Halifax also has its Maritime Museum which has a very moving exhibition about the Halifax explosion and the Titanic disaster. (I must admit, it made me cry!)

Climbing Up on Citadel Hill

This is one of the main historic sites in Halifax and it is a huge fort on a hill overlooking the city and the harbour. One of the most interesting things about it is that despite all of the efforts that were put into securing this port, it was never actually attacked. I suppose its intimidating presence was threatening enough!

Exploring Some Creepy Dungeons on Citadel Hill
Exploring Some Creepy Dungeons on Citadel Hill

Two Cites in One

Halifax actually consists of two cities, Halifax and Dartmouth, which are separated by water. Even if you are not staying on the Dartmouth side it is worth taking the ferry over and enjoying a short visit. As soon as you walk out from the ferry you should see a pub called the Celtic Corner, which is a great place to enjoy some good food and live music. We spent many evenings there during our stay!

Riding the Ferry From Dartmouth to Halifax
Riding the Ferry From Dartmouth to Halifax

Two Coasts: One Country

One of the fascinating things about Canada is that the difference in culture between one side of the country and the other is so vast. When you travel across Canada you visit many distinct regions such as the west coast, mountains, prairies, French Canada and the Maritimes and each of them are so different that they could be their own country.

However, there is an invisible thread which ties all of these different places together, the connection of being Canadian. It’s a hard thing to articulate, but a trip like this one really helps to connect the dots.

If you are Canadian, or have had the chance to travel across Canada, what do YOU think is the connection that brings this enormous and diverse land together? What does Canada mean to you?

The Beautiful View from Citadel Hill
The Beautiful View from Citadel Hill

Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word.

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