The Maritimes

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One of the best holidays you can take is a road trip. Throw a couple of suitcases in the trunk, a tank full of gas and away you go. In the past Sue and I have travelled west to Torfino on Vancouver Island and North to Yellowknife. This year we decided to head east and, for two weeks, visit the Maritimes. We had booked only the first and last nights accommodation in Halifax and left the rest up to fate. Our plan was to tour three of the Atlantic Provinces; Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Arriving at Halifax airport, we picked up our hire car and headed into the city. The next couple of days were spent exploring the harbour and surrounding area. The highlight was a visit to Pier 21. This facility was used as a passenger terminal for trans-Atlantic ocean liners from 1928 until 1971. Liners docked at a long seawall wharf divided into Piers 20, 21, 22 and 23. The immigration facilities were located at Pier 21, although the term is often used to describe all the Ocean Terminal piers. Pier 21 had a railway booking office and passenger train sidings for special immigration trains as well as an overhead walkway to the railway station. The Pier was the primary point of entry for over one million immigrants and refugees from Europe and elsewhere, as well as the departure point for 496,000 military personal Canadian troops during World War Two. The facility became known informally as the 'Gateway to Canada'.

Pier 21 was closed in 1971 but was re-opened as a museum in 1999. As the nation's last remaining ocean immigration shed, the Pier 21 Museum tells the stories of the 1.5 million immigrants and Canadian military personnel who passed through its doors. As Sue and I went around the exhibits we learnt a number of personal stories of immigrants who had tried to come to Canada. Some had made it, others were turned back. I immigrated to Canada in 1977 and it made me think that if I had arrived only six years earlier I would have gone through Pier 21.

On the road, we headed 45kms south west to one of Nova Scotia's 'Must-Sees", Peggy Cove. We arrived mid morning and the place was deserted. This is one of the advantages of heading on a road trip in late October, the trees look amazing and there aren't so many tourists. Peggy's Cove is a small picturesque fishing village with a population of 120. It's located on a narrow ocean inlet which provides safe haven for boats during the Atlantic's rough weather. The main attraction is the Lighthouse and the camera was soon into over drive. As we made our way back to the café on the head land six super coaches pulled into the car park and out poured 400 sightseers. We asked one of the bus drivers what was going on and he said this was the cruise ship season and a liner had arrived from New York. Time to hit the road.

In future travel blogs I will talk about scallops, lobsters and a 20 foot beaver.

Quote of the Day

"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"

Vincent van Gogh

Peggy's Cove before the 400 cruise liner folks arrived.

Peggys Cove

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