VOV: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Went to the Ocean Bar to listen to the piano player and then made our way to the main dining room. It was more crowded than I had seen all trip and I knew it was because of tonight’s menu.

To expedite getting a table, we agreed to share a table for six. It was definitely a Gala menu tonight – lobster tail and filet mignon. I noticed that the filet was smaller than I have seen before, but I didn’t have a problem with the size. Both were delicious and I did not feel stuffed at the end of the meal. If you feel like you can eat more, you are always welcome to order more than one plate.

After dinner, we made our way to the Piano Bar. The piano bar singer was still quarantined with Covid, so the Cruise Director Glen had been persuaded to perform in her absence. There was already a big crowd waiting for him, even bigger than any she has drawn.

Cruise Director Glen introducing an act on the main stage
Cruise Director Glen at the piano

He even distributed lyrics to the songs he was going to play so we could sing along. He was very good and got several rousing rounds of applause.

We ended the night listening to the last set of the Ocean Bar band. When we got back, we had another towel animal.

I was up at 5:00 and breakfast was delivered at 6:00. We had a private tour today from 8:30 – 3:00 with two other couples. The name of the company was Halifax Tour Guys, and the name of the tour was Tour #5Grand Pre, Minas Basin, Valley Look Off, and Halls Harbor. The tour description –

This tour is a 6-7 hour tour of the Minas Basin and the Bay of Fundy. Please remember that this is your tour, and you can stop when and where you wish. We endeavor to show you as much as possible in the time allowed, but due to Cruise Ship departure times you may not see everything listed in the following. Our Company policy is to have our guests back at your pier one hour before you ship leaves. The drive to this area of our Province takes about one hour from your cruise ship and about one hour and twenty minutes to return to your cruise ship.

We include in this tour Grand Pre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where in 1755 the Acadians were expelled from the Province by the British. Visit the Deportation Cross site where the ships waited for the Acadians, many of those deported would never return to their homes. From the View Park on Old Post Road you can gaze over the 1,300 hectares of farm fields, marshes and dyke lands that comprise the landscape of Grand Pre. Tour the Grand Pre Interpretation Center, see and learn the history, beginning with a state-of-the-art cinematic display in the hull of a Deportation Ship.

Throughout the modern building l’Acadie is illuminated with intricate models, regional artwork, interpretive displays and unearthed artifacts. See some of the earliest examples of the use of European technology in Nova Scotia and discover what became of these extraordinary people, who built dykes that turned salt marshes into rich farmland. Enter the picturesque garden grounds, see the French Willows, Old Well, Victorian Gardens, Blacksmith Shop. and Herbin Cross. Then visit the legendary Statue of Evangeline made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem. Finish your visit with the Memorial Church, where famous paintings from Claude Picard and a stained-glass masterpiece by Terry Smith-Lamothe celebrates the culture and courage of the Acadians.

Before we leave the area, a shore drive away is Evangeline Beach with a stunning view of Blomidon Ridge. Take a walk at low tide or go for a swim at high tide. Watch the highest tide in the world, up to fifty-four feet, and see amazing birds like plovers and eagles. After the beach we can stop for lunch at the Evangeline Café, or at Grand Pre Winery for some wine tasting, a possible tour of the vineyards depending on timing and/or lunch at their restaurant.

We travel through the Town of Wolfville, which is situated in the Northwestern portion of Nova Scotia, along the shores of the Minas Basin which is part of the Bay of Fundy and is the home of Acadia University. The Town is separated from the Minas Basin by agricultural dykes which were built by Acadians in the 17th century. Wolfville experiences the Bay of Fundy’s record setting tides each day as water fills and drains from the Wolfville Harbour, which is the world’s smallest harbor.

From Wolfville we make our way along the Minas Basin, stopping if you wish at Fox Hill Farm, a sixth-generation family farm nestled in the lush fields of Port Williams Nova Scotia, is home to Fox Hill Cheese House. They plant the seed, grow the grass, milk their Holstein and Jersey cows, and use the finest, freshest quality milk in their own processing facility. Fox Hill Cheese House produces many varieties of savory cheese, natural yogurt, luscious gelato, and pasteurized non-homogenized milk in glass bottles.

We travel across the Wellington Dyke to Kingsport Beach, which is across the Minas Basin from Evangeline Beach. Then we travel up the North Mountain to enjoy the view from the Look Off where you can see for a hundred miles on a clear day. From the Look Off we travel to Halls Harbor for a closer look at Bay of Fundy, home to the highest tides in the world. Here you can enjoy a fresh lobster lunch on the wharf next to the Bay of Fundy. All tours have full narrative and many stops for any photographs you wish to take, plus any additional requests you might have if time allows.

Chuck and I had never been to Halifax, but the other two couples had. They were not interested in a city tour, but we all agreed that we would like to see the Bay of Fundy, so it was arranged. We didn’t really have to worry about getting back to the ship since all aboard was not until 10:30.

However, one of the couples only wanted the tour to be six hours and not seven so we knew we would not be able to see everything that the tour described.

We all walked off the ship together at 8:30. The tour operator met us at the exit point and introduced us to our driver for the day. We were in a passenger van. One couple was in the very back seat, three of us were in the middle, and Chuck rode up front with the driver.

I had an inkling that the narration part was not going to be great because he had no speaker and, with the noise of the highway driving, the couple in the back could not hear him well. He had to repeat himself quite often.

I thought the countryside scenery was lovely. The towns we traveled through were very quaint. I did learn some things about the Acadians that I did not know. We were not able to time the Bay of Fundy to see any tidal action, but it was a nice view. However, there seemed to be more driving time than stopping time.

First stop – Birthplace of Hockey

Pond was an oval shape
Ducks are replaced by skaters in the Winter

Second stop – Acadian Deportation Site

Next – Evangeline Beach

Next – The Look Off -Minas Basin

Next – Halls Harbor

Bonus – Bald Eagles

First there was two
Then there was one

We did not stop for a full lunch but did stop at a diner recommended by the driver for a piece of pie. Most of us ordered the apple pie but one person ordered a piece of chocolate pie, and one ordered a piece of lemon meringue. We all agreed that the pie was as good as he described.

Even though we did not stop at the Interpretive Center or the Farm, the sites we saw were very nice but, as I said, there was a lot of driving between the sites. If we ever find ourselves in Halifax again, I think we will just take the HOHO bus around the city.

We got back to the ship at 3:00. Chuck and I considered walking along the pier area. Instead, since the fog was long gone and the sun was out, we decided to enjoy drinks on the balcony and watch the boats and jet skis. I had hoped to see the seal that Chuck saw this morning, but I guess with all the boating activity, the seal made itself scarce.

The time passed pleasantly, and it was soon time to get ready for the evening.


Travel Trivia

Halifax, Nova Scotia

The first permanent European settlement in the region was on the Halifax Peninsula. The establishment of the Town of Halifax, named after the 2nd Earl of Halifax.

December 1917 saw one of the greatest disasters in Canadian history, when the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship carrying munitions, collided with the Belgian Relief vessel SS Imo in “The Narrows” between upper Halifax Harbour and Bedford Basin. The resulting explosion, the Halifax Explosion, devastated the Richmond District of Halifax, killing approximately 2,000 people and injuring nearly 9,000 others. The blast was the largest artificial explosion before the development of nuclear weapons.

According to National Geographic, the world’s largest recorded lobster was a 44-pounder caught off the coast in 1977. It was believed by scientists to be at least 100 years old.

The Old Town Clock, a famous landmark, has been keeping time since 1803.

Halifax is closer to Dublin, Ireland than it is to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

The Fairview Lawn Cemetery has the world’s largest collective group of graves from the Titanic tragedy.

Location of the first official rules for ice hockey

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia and Holland America documents

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: