Thursday, October 24, 2019

Halifax, Nova Scotia!

Halifax cannot match the ambiance of Quebec City, but it has a rugged charm all its own. Set on rolling hills above the harbor, one is never far from the water in Nova Scotia--and the stunning vistas prove it!

We began our trip, however, with a vista of a different sort--the Alexander Keith Brewery. Founded by its namesake in 1820, and now part of the Anheuser Busch InBev conglomerate, the brewery offers a great tour. Generous pours, music, and a nice atmosphere.

The waterfront has a carnival-like atmosphere along the popular Harbourwalk, with attractions for children and adults alike. There are a slew of restaurants and bars, and the waterfront setting can't be beat.

The action continues late into the evening

The harbor does have a dark history, as it was the site on what was, at the time, the largest man-made explosion in history. A Norwegian vessel collided with a French ship laden with explosives and a fire erupted, which soon set off the munitions. Approximately 2,000 people were killed, and more than 9,000 injured. 

The lighthouse at Peggys Point, near the popular tourist destination of Peggys Cove, provides sweeping views of the Atlantic 

It is a good idea to heed the warnings!! 

But there is always someone who breaks the rules!!

This monument is in memory of Swissair 111, which crashed into the ocean with the loss of 229 souls

A stop in Lunenburg for a distillery visit

On a more somber note, a memorial at Lunenburg to those who have lost their lives at sea

Colorful buildings are common in Lunenburg

                                                    Beautiful downtown Halifax at night

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Montreal and on to Quebec City

We made a quick stop in vibrant Montreal. With a population of nearly two million people, it is Canada's second-largest city, after Toronto. Interestingly, it is also the second-largest city in the world, after Paris, where French is the primary language.

We visited one of the city's four Roman Catholic Basilicas: Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral.

A shrine of a different sort awaited us at the original location of the famous Dunn's Smoked Meats:

Following lunch, we travelled on to Quebec City. In my opinion, this European-style city, with the only fortified walls remaining in North American, should be on everyone's 'must visit' list.

The fabled Chateau Frontenac dominates the skyline and is the most photographed site in North America

Enjoy a cocktail at the round bar in the Frontenac, with stellar views over the St. Lawrence River

                                            The city is particularly gorgeous in the evening.

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759, where British forces led by General James Wolfe defeated French troops under the command of General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, today offers visitors the opportunity to stroll the battlefield, visit a museum, and tour the fort.

The upper and lower levels of Old Town are connected by a funicular, and beautiful old buildings and colorful street scenes are plentiful.

Reputably the oldest restaurant in the city

Popular mural 

Well worth the small fare!

We were fortunate to visit during the Quebec City Heritage Parade, recognizing all cultures which have contributed to the Canadian nation

A short drive from the city brings you to the beautiful Mont Morency Falls

If you're wondering, there is a cable car alternative to this staircase...

An unmatched ambiance in a timeless city, with beautiful surroundings! 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Ottawa, Canada, eh?

Canada's capitol city makes for a great visit--a fascinating history, beautiful sites, fine cuisine, and hospitable people. With a population that hovers around one million, the city was named for the river it borders, the Ottawa, which comes from the Algonquin words for "to trade."

One of the highlights of the trip is a visit to the comprehensive War Museum, which traces Canada's military engagements from the very beginning. I found particularly interesting the descriptions of the brief Canadian-American skirmishes following the end of the American Civil War.

Tanks and other military vehicles on display

One of Adolph Hitler's personal vehicles 

Interesting architecture throughout the entire complex!

The National Holocaust Monument, with strikingly contemporary architecture,  is extremely moving.

On a much lighter note, a visit to the Byward Market area and Beavertail pastry is a must--where else can one enjoy a slab of dough, lathered in a variety of sweetness, and stretched to resemble a beavertail??

The "Cattle Castle", once the site of livestock auctions, but now used as an exhibition hall

The Federal Government buildings evoke a sense of old Europe 

The changing of the guard ceremony--elaborate and fun to watch!

The elegant Chateau Laurier, just above the federal government complex. 

Ottawa is truly worth the time. And, if you are a winter sports enthusiast, consider visiting during the annual Winterlude Festival. If you miss that opportunity, you can nevertheless join the locals and skate on the Rideau Canal to take in an entirely different perspective of Canada's national seat. Oh--and have that Beavertail. Or two.