Halifax is the largest city in maritime Canada. It boasts five universities, a gorgeous public garden, an art gallery featuring a permanent exhibition of brilliant folk artist Maud Lewis (including her tiny house!), a museum of natural science, a maritime museum, and a star-shaped 19th-Century fort. We saw none of these things.
Instead, we had three hours before meeting auld acquaintances of E.g.’s for supper. If I’d researched the city beforehand, we would’ve made a bee line for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Next time.
We had planned to visit the Citadel, but I was out of sorts that day and couldn’t work up enough enthusiasm for it.
Anyway, here’s what we did see: two ugly buildings and two nifty ships.
This is Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, built in 1750, the province’s cathedral and the Citadel’s garrison church for a century or so. When it was built, apparently mullioned windows and pagodas were the height of architectural fashion.
The soldiers at the Citadel next door and the sailors at the wharf two blocks down could none of them remember to get up in time for church, so in 1803 they were punished by the sight of an even uglier clock tower, with matching pagoda in case they forgot which church they were to attend:
Even those Mounties, goose-stepping over to Sobeys for a litre of milk, can’t deny that that’s one silly building. On the other hand, congratulations are in order for the fact that the 200-year-old clockworks, including quarter-hourly chimes, still functions.
It took over another century before prelates and politicos realized that honey might catch more flies than vinegar, and they installed this lovely pair of Pre-Raphaelitesque windows:
Now, even a simple cabin boy might appreciate a moment in church.
Never mind; let’s head for the wharf.
Although the Maritime Museum is closed Mondays, it has two ships that may be visited daily. One of them is sparkly white and baby blue. Take a gander at its dinghies:
Wouldn’t you love to take one out for a splash on a calm lake? Or, if you’re in another frame of mind, you could dispatch an annoying co-worker with this:
“Sorry, boss, looks like my paperweight went off again.”
These bits belong to the HMCS Sackville, a corvette whose job was to rid the Atlantic of enemy u-boats. Here is a mural of the most famous of all WWII sailors, sweeping up the subs. Around the corner is another painting of a muscled arm taking out the garbage; the bag is not very strong, and bits of u-boats are poking out of it:
And here’s a shot of the full ship, gun, Donald, dinghies and all:
The other vessel I’ll include here is a little older. The CSS Acadia was built in 1913. It was a hydrographic ship, charting the waters around the Maritimes and up to the Arctic until 1969. Cartographer Samuel de Champlain, who sounded much of the Bay of Fundy and founded Quebec City, would have loved working on this ship.
I love it for its horn section: