For our second stop in our ocean cruise of eastern Canada, we stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia or Latin for New Scotland. Halifax is a big city of 400,000 with almost half the population of Nova Scotia. It is a surprising that you do not hear more about this dynamic harbor city on the North Atlantic.
First, we wandered to the Atlantic Maritime Museum which is famous for its Titanic Exhibit. This museum that explains the maritime revolution from sailing ships to modern ocean-going vessels. Halifax played a major role in the recovery efforts during the Titanic sinking 1912. On display are various artifacts from the ship that were recovered from the debris field. The city also contains burial grounds of the 2nd and 3rd class passengers bodies that were recovered and then buried in the city. Along the Waterfront is the building that housed the sound stage for the movie The Titanic.
A major exhibit at the Maritime Museum was on the Halifax explosion which destroyed the city in 1917. It was at the time a major worldwide news event that reshaped the City of Halifax. On the morning of 6 December 1917. SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship fully loaded with wartime explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbor to Bedford Basin. The blast was the largest known conventional explosion at the time. The explosion vaporized the water in the harbor causing a mini tsunami with new seawater rushing into the harbor to replace it. It immediately killed close to 2500 people rendering another 31,000 homeless. Every building within a half a mile was destroyed.
Next, we walked to the Citadel also called Fort George which is the old British garrison fort that dominates the high ground above the city. We watched the changing of the guard before we were off to the Halifax Public Gardens. An old British Victorian Garden that still in mid-October was full of flowers
From the Cruise ship terminal the waterfront walk gives you a great feel for the city and the Fort George. You could spend a whole day here at the shops and restaurants. We went to lunch at Murphy's Cable Wharf on the waterfront, it had some great seafood. This whole city has an unbelievable seafaring feel to it, more so than any other bay town that I have been to.
Throughout our tour of Halifax, the presence of the Canadian Royal Navy was felt. They are the largest employer in Halifax and the Navy yard dominates the northern part of the harbor. There are several memorials to Canadian Royal Navy sailors on the waterfront. Halifax what a great city.