2014  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

 

   
 
Runtrails' Web Journal
 
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   OTHER HALIFAX LANDMARKS:  PUBLIC GARDENS,    
HISTORIC CEMETERIES, THE OLD TOWN CLOCK,
PLEASANT PT. PARK, PRINCE OF WALES TOWER,
THE DINGLE (FLEMING PARK), & OTHER SITES

MONDAY, AUGUST 18

 
"Many of the city's historic buildings were constructed by order of Prince Edward,   
Duke of Kent, Halifax's commander in chief 1794-1800 . . . The prince commissioned
the Town Clock on Citadel Hill to discourage tardiness, designing the four-sided
tower so that it could be seen anywhere in town."
 
~ AAA Tour Guide/Atlantic Provinces & Quebec, 2013 edition, p. 152
 
 

Ha! No mention in the guide re: whether that tactic actually worked!

We had a fun time in Halifax today. Despite a couple rain showers, we were able to enjoy several parks, gardens, cemeteries, and historical sites. We also got some shopping done. By the time we got back to the camper late in the afternoon it was mostly sunny and temps were in the upper 60s F.

Here are a couple of the structures that were built in the early 1800s:


Two uniformed sentries stand guard outside Government House (1805).


Corner of the old Presbyterian Manse, built in 1828
and a Registered Heritage Property per the blue plaque

HALIFAX PUBLIC GARDENS 

Our first stop this morning was the beautiful Halifax Public Gardens. Dogs aren't allowed there or in the large cemetery across the street so they stayed in the truck.

The 17-acre Public Gardens, which are free, were opened in 1867 and are considered to be among the finest Victorian gardens in North America. Jim and I meandered all around the gravel walkways among the flower beds, shrubs, trees ponds, fountains, and statues. 

 

 

 

We were impressed with a large bed of brightly-colored dahlias, which grow very large in northern climes with long daylight hours in the summer (we observed that in Alaska, too):

 

The public gardens are a varied combination of formal and informal beds and natural settings.

Although the formal beds were very colorful and detailed, I preferred the more informal and natural areas like these:

Above and below:  pretty water feature with a waterfall and little house

 

There's also a tranquil lake with a little commemorative model of the Titanic in the middle (over 100 victims of the ship's disaster are buried in Halifax),

 

a couple bridges over water features, ornate iron fencing around the perimeter, numerous benches, two buildings, and lots of thick, green grass and trees.

The park is so calming and beautiful, a real treasure for residents and visitors to Halifax.

HISTORIC CEMETERY #1

We took a few minutes to drive through the large cemetery across the street from the public gardens. I don't remember its name but it has some old and interesting headstones under the sprawling trees:

HISTORIC CEMETERY #2: THE OLD BURYING GROUND

Twelve thousand people are buried in this much smaller "common" cemetery that is closer to the harbor, but only about 1,200 headstones remain. At least one dates all the way back to 1749 when Halifax was founded. Some of the occupants died in the War of 1812.

 

 

One of the engraved bronze interpretive panels describes the unique concentration of gravestone art in the cemetery. "A rich variety of styles, poignant images, and carving skills is reflected in these old stones. The winged skulls and winged heads, or soul effigies, are exceptional."

We hunted and found a number of the winged skulls and angel heads.

This headstone for a little girl who died in 1779 at the age of only 18 months is in much better shape than many of the other engraved stones in the cemetery:

The cemetery was closed in 1844 but remains an interesting historical site for visitors. As in other 18th and 19th Century cemeteries we've visited, we are sometimes amazed at the short life spans of many of the people who lived in those times.

THE OLD TOWN CLOCK

On the way to the Old Burying Ground we passed the Old Town Clock on the hill below the Citadel.

As noted in the quote at the top of this entry; this turret clock was installed in 1803 to keep the garrison and townspeople punctual:

 

Note that if you want to get close to the clock you've got to walk up or down a bunch of steps.

We did not visit the Citadel National Historic Site while we were in Halifax even though it is said to be one of Canada's most popular attractions. We've just seen so many North American forts already . . .

This is a picture-of-a-picture of the impressive fort that I photographed from an interpretive panel along the waterfront:

I marked the Old Town Clock with a red arrow.

The massive star-shaped fortification on the hill was built in the 1850s to defend the city and its strategic harbor. For a reasonable fee, visitors can see exhibits, restored rooms and galleries, the ramparts, marching bands, military drills, and parades on the spacious grounds.

YUMMY THAI LUNCH

On our way to Point Pleasant Park we saw a Thai restaurant and decided to have lunch there. It was the Thai Ivory Cuisine at 6303 Quinpool Rd. 

We both had "combination" lunches for $10.99 CA each, minus 5% for paying cash. We had delicious lemongrass soup (our choice from several options), a spring roll, and our choice of about 20 entrees. Jim chose a spicy yellow curry dish with veggies and chicken over rice. I chose spicy rice noodles with basil, veggies, and chicken. We each took half home for another meal. We liked the food so much that we went back to another restaurant in the chain later in the week.

After we got back we did an internet search and learned that there are three Thai Ivories in the Halifax area, including one in Bedford that is closer to our campground. There's another one in Pictou and four more are being built and/or planned.  

POINT PLEASANT PARK

Bellies full, we headed next to Point Pleasant Park, which is aptly named. The 183-acre park occupies the end of the peninsula on which Halifax lies, a very strategic location. It used to contain forts and batteries that were part of Halifax's defense system until the end of WWII.

Now it's a terrific, free place to walk, run, bike (weekdays only), and absorb some more history if you're interested.


Entry display with a map of the trail system in the park

We parked off Towers Rd. and walked with the dogs along a wide pathway to the Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site where there is a round stone guard tower built in 1796:

Although the tower is reportedly open daily, year-round, the doors were locked today so we didn't go inside.

There are also ruins nearby of some of the forts that formerly guarded the city: 

 

 


Good place to see enemy ships approaching Halifax . . .

What a nice park! We wandered around for a couple miles with the dogs but didn't see half of it. The trails range in width from very wide to single-track. Dogs are allowed off-leash on most of the trails, which is great for dog owners.

Casey and Cody got to play with a bunch of dogs at Point Pleasant. Casey had great fun with a group of six other large dogs chasing balls near the fort ruins shown above.

THE DINGLE 

The what??

Next we drove around Northwest Arm to the other side of the water to visit The Dingle, the local name for Sir Sandford Fleming Park.

Fleming is the guy who invented the standard time zones and designed the first Canadian postage stamp.

He also very generously donated 95 acres of wooded and waterfront land to Halifax for this park. The hilly park has trails, a freshwater pond, saltwater frontage along the Northwest Arm, picnic areas, and playgrounds.

A feature popular with visitors to the park is the stone tower at the top of one of the hills:

We climbed about 40 steps from the road to the entrance, then another 151 steps inside to the top of the impressive 10-story memorial tower commissioned by Fleming. It was built in 1912 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of representative government in Canada:


A spiral staircase leads to regular, wider steps from the second level to the top.

We enjoyed the 360-degree views of the city and water from the top level. Here are views in two directions:

 

Only two other people were in the tower when we were there, which was nice.

We did some shopping on the way home and enjoyed a relaxing evening at the campground. Most of the folks near us left on Sunday so we have more solitude now.

Next entrycycling on the St. Margaret's Bay, Heritage, Salt Marsh, Atlantic View, and Shearwater Rail Trails

Happy trails,

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2014 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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