Monday, June 21, 2010

Pop History Moment: Halifax Was Founded

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On this day in 1749 the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, was founded; the city has survived privation, explosion, and invasion - Hell it even survived the ten months I lived there, so you know the people living there are made of sterner stuff...

I can never resist a shout out to an old hometown of mine (unless it's Kelowna), and at the risk of diverting even one tourist from Vancouver, I must say, if you get a chance, see Halifax. Unlike Vancouver the people are friendly (even the gays! especially the gays!!) and if you're looking for a little taste of Europe without those European prices, Halifax is your destination.

As I said, I lived there for about ten months, from the end of January to the end of October 1992. It was time enough to see the city in all of its four seasons, but I was too broke to do much exploring around the region; I did get to see Peggys Cove, thanks to my boyfriend Nick (who had a car), and I spent a night in Antigonish with my buddy Vince, which remains to this day the farthest East I've ever been. While there it was also my privilege to get to travel to Charlottetown, and along the way experience the truly lovely Prince Edward Island at its utmost loveliness - and in the full blaze of Atlantic Canada's annual autumnal splendour besides. Alas, in those days I was still two years away from discovering the camera, so the only souvenirs I have of the place are my yellowed and tattering memories...

Probably my most poignant memory of life in Halifax, though, is of walking past the Old Burying Ground, founded the same year as the city, which has a cenotaph in it dedicated to veterans of the Crimean War! That experience gave me a sensation not possible in the newer parts of Canada such as the West, which was mot only thrilling for a history buff like me, but also gave me a sense of the Canadian panorama I never would have had otherwise.

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