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The Rideau Canal is a 202 kilometer (125 mile) stretch of scenic waterway. It is a Canadian National Historic Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The entire canal connects a series of lakes and rivers, and stretches from Kingston. Ontario (on Lake Ontario), to the nation’s capital, Ottawa.
The Rideau Canal is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America and its locks are operated today much as they were in 1832. Each lock is unique. Many locks offer the free advice of helpful lock keepers, washrooms, overnight mooring and picnic facilities. In summer the canal is popular with boaters and in winter with ice skaters.
We visited the portion of the Canal that stretches through Ottawa. There are some large flat …
The Niagara Parks Floral Showcase is only 500 meters south of Horseshoe Falls. Greenhouses in the area date to the time of Queen Victoria, but the current complex was built the mid 20th century with several subsequent additions, including a large central atrium. The complex includes space for storing bulbs, planting and growing new flowers for the Floral Showhouse (and elsewhere in Niagara Parks), but that is a behind the scenes activity that you won’t see. What the visitor experiences after walking through the lovely grounds (enjoyable in the summer, less so in the winter) is a series of greenhouses that contain lush tropical vegetation, making it especially popular during times of cold weather.
Plants you’ll see include orchids and cacti, and many …
While almost certainly not as famous as it’s founder would have liked, Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery has developed a niche following throughout Canada, especially in its eastern provinces. The brewery was created almost two centuries ago, in 1820, making it one of the oldest breweries in North America (the oldest surviving commercial brewery is John Molson’s, founded in Montreal in 1786).
Alexander Keith was a Scottish immigrant who had been a brewer in Edinburgh and London before moving to the New World. He had an interesting career that extended beyond brewing and including being mayor of Halifax and President of the Provincial Legislative Council of Nova Scotia. While in Canada he experimented with ale, porter, ginger wine and spruce beer, …
Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is the oldest continuously operating farmer’s market in North America, originating a year after Halifax was founded, in 1750. For over 250 years the market has sold meat and produce delivered from Acadian farms in the Annapolis Valley and elsewhere in Nova Scotia.
The Market has operated in several locations across the city since its inception, including within the Keith’s Brewery Building. In 2010 The Market moved into a converted warehouse along the Halifax Seaport and today hosts over 250 vendors!
We spent more than a day exploring the waterfront area and made several stops at this market. Our visit to Halifax was during the early fall so the produce available reflected the season — apples, peaches, plums …
The Halifax Town Clock (aka ‘Old Town Clock’, or ‘Citadel Clock Tower’) is situated just beneath the old Citadel on a hill overlooking the city and its harbor. It has kept time for over 200 years and is considered one of the city’s iconic buildings.
The clock was a gift from Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (Queen Victoria’s father). Prince Edward was the Commander-in-Chief of British Forces in North America and was stationed in Halifax for about a year, ending August 1800. Upon leaving, the prince (who was obsessed with punctuality and found Halifax residents lacking in this regard) decided to give the city this timepiece.
The Clock was designed by Prince Edward’s engineer in 1801 and was crafted by the …
During my travels I often find myself visiting sites of government. Not sure why this is so because, as a rule, most governments really annoy me. Perhaps it’s because the buildings in which they’re housed are often grand and opulent and their landscaping beautiful, covering many acres of prime real estate.
So a visit to Province House in Halifax was a pleasant change from the norm. When we first spotted the building during our exploratory walk through the city, I thought it must be of some significance because it was old and looked important, but it is not at all large, occupying only a small city block. Perhaps, I thought, it was a courthouse or library? Turned out this was Province …
Halifax’s roots lie in its proximity to the sea, and its large natural harbor. When the town was founded in 1749, among the first buildings constructed was a guardhouse atop what would become known as Citadel Hill. The Citadel, because of its hilltop location, offered a strategic defensive position. As the harborside town grew and changed, so did the fort which overlooked and protected it.
The Citadel was completed in 1856, the fourth and last in a series of forts built at this site. Its official name is Fort George (after King George II). It has a distinctive star shape, strategic for allowing optimum defense of the structure. Fortunately these defenses were never put to the test as the city was …
While I am not a fan of the provincial capitol of Halifax, I really enjoyed the rural landscapes of Nova Scotia, especially the many colorful and picturesque fishing villages along the coast. The most interesting coastal community we visited was Lunenberg, situated about 90 km from Halifax. It has rows of tidy well-kept homes, nice churches and shops, and a lovely waterfront. Canadians best know Lunenberg as the birthplace of the Bluenose, a racing ship which graces the Canadian dime.
Lunenburg’s history has long been entertwined with the sea. The first mention of an European settlement around here was in the early 1600s, which was a simple Acadian village. The British saw the value of the …