Sunday, September 13, 2015

Halifax; Citadel Hill and Public Gardens

On our third day in Halifax we were granted with a lot of sun and a fairly warm temperature. We decided to pay a visit to the Citadel, a fortification built in order to defend the harbour and its surroundings. Completed in 1856, it was then called Fort George.

The Hill itself is located in downtown Halifax, just a few blocks away from the Waterfront Boardwalk. The area features a lot of green spaces with enough space to host a show or a festival, as well as a skate park.

We parked the car in one of the parking lots and started going up the hill.

The way up seemed pretty steep for the tour buses and we feared for the car drivers that were brave enough to share the road with those.

At the entrance booth they give you a sticker (to stick on yourself) and a small booklet to help you find your way around.

The main barrack was converted to host the Army Museum, the shop, and to let people visit the rooms in which the men would sleep.

The Army museum is basically a few rooms showcasing the part played by Canada is bigger and smaller wars, as well as uniforms, paintings, gears, weaponry, and models.

What I enjoyed the most while visiting the Citadel was the variety of uniforms worn by the employees. You can clearly see the influence of Scottish heritage in the designs.

To our modern eyes they might look pretty useless and ineffective, but all those colors and ornaments served the purpose of making the enemy believe they were going to fight an army that was too rich and too powerful for them and thus, perhaps, make them think twice and back off. Now how effective was that? I don't know.

Besides the part that was dug into the hill, you can also go up the walls where the canons are resting and treat yourself out with a 360 view of the city.

Looking down the walls not only the perspective on people is mesmerizing, it also gives you a better idea of how big the Citadel actually is.

Mandatory picture of pigeons.

I didn't snap a picture of everything there is to see because there is quite a lot. Inside the actual walls are more rooms that served as storage, administration offices, even a school and a prison.

The depression all around the Citadel can be visited as well. The way it was built they made sure that no one coming up the hill could get easily in. In fact, not only will you suffer from a mean drop (about ten feet high) but both the outer and inner walls will be full of soldiers ready to pull the trigger.

We spent a few hours there, visiting every room we could, talking to employees, even watched a movie on the story of the Citadel. The sounds of men marching, guns firing, and bagpipes playing made me forget there was a city down that hill.

After seeing what we wanted to see, we decided to walk to the Public Gardens, located just on the other side of the street.

Since the beginning of our stay all the locals asked us if we had visited the Public Gardens. The people of Halifax seem quite proud of those.

It's basically an oasis of peace and beauty. The influence of the Victorian era is unmistakable in the design of the park. Benches, ponds, statues, fountains, you name it, you have it.

If ever you need to take an actual break, there is a coffee shop in the gardens. A scene with enough seats for two hundred people is located in the center. While walking around I realized that some of the floral arrangements would use edible plants and vegetables.

Walking through the park I realized how lucky the people of Halifax are despite living in a relatively poor province. It's like their own little Central Park. And they get bonus points for an awesome access to the water.

And so I am going to finish this post with a picture of the most beautiful pigeon I have seen in my life. I mean what's wrong with Montreal's pigeons? They all look sick and half dead.

And so that's it for today. Until next time!

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