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Michael and Allison Goldstein



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    Canada's Maritime Provinces

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   What better for an introductory photograph on the Maritime provinces, than one of the famous lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, just down the coast from Halifax, Nova Scotia? Perhaps the world's most photographed lighthouse, this image is unusual in that despite the fact that it's a sunny summer day, the lighthouse is not surrounded by tourists!

   Allison and I are expatriate "Maritimers", and we tend to return 'down home' every two years or so, to restore our salt levels. Come take a tour with us, past lobster pots and salt-encrusted boats, rocky beaches and fishing fleets, lighthouses and historic fortresses. A good place to start is in Metro Halifax, the largest urban area in the region, a gourmet feast of tourism for all who come here.

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    The Old Town Clock, erected in 1803 as the garrison clock and still used by Haligonians to set their watches, is a city landmark. Its unusual shape was dictated by the military commander of the day, Prince Edward the Duke of Kent, who had a liking for round buildings. You'll find it on the brow of Citadel Hill, juxtaposition with the Halifax Citadel, a huge fortress that dominates the city skyline.

    The unusual lighting of this photo was produced not by a special filter, but by the smoke of a huge forest fire, which had drifted down over Nova Scotia from the province of Quebec.

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    "Right, wheel!", calls the sergeant, and men dressed in the uniform of the 78th Highlanders march down the parade ground at the Halifax Citadel, much as they did in the last century. Photographers will enjoy the cooperation of the 'soldiers' at the Citadel, evidenced by the fact that, when requested, these men marched 'round the same circle six times, until I was satisfied with the images I had made.

    The Citadel draws more visitors than any other national historic site. At times, gunners in the dress of the Royal Artillery, exercise their cannon. They are responsible for the noonday gun, fired daily from the Citadel's ramparts.

   Halifax, founded in 1749 by Sir Edward Cornwallis, is sited on one of the world's finest natural harbors. It was one of the primary  British naval bastions in the New World for centuries, and is still very much a military town, home to the Canadian Navy's Atlantic Fleet.

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   Teachers bring their young charges to the waterfront to study their own history, while gazing at HMCS Sackville, last of the "Flower Class" corvettes of World War II, tied up nearby. Sackville, one of the many Canadian corvettes to be heavily involved in convoy duty during that war,  is the primary exhibit of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Her exploits are well described in several novels by author Alan Easton, who was her commander during that period.

    On the left are shown the huge rifled guns of York Redoubt, located at the mouth of Halifax Harbor, which still guards the harbor approaches against the German fleet. Extensive emplacements of gun batteries, the best preserved in the Halifax area, display the state of the art of the day in military science.

    The history of the city of Halifax is closely   tied to the sea, which has provided her wealth, and her very reason for existence. The modern Halifax is even more so, with her huge container port, dockyard facilities for both naval and commercial shipping ... and of course, tourism and recreational sailing.

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   "I learned to sail, on this ship!", the youthful commander of the sailing ketch Mar II, shown on the left, said to me, as he dodged the heavy traffic of Halifax Harbor.  I thought about my fourteen-foot dinghy, back in Toronto, that I was learning to sail at that time, and marveled. Mar II is owned by  Murphy's Tours, who operate the ship as a tour boat during the summer months.

    Shown on the right, a somewhat larger sailing vessel moves down Halifax Harbor, a multi-masted monster participating in Tall Ships 2000. Periodically, Halifax hosts the Tall Ships regatta, during which visitors can overdose on yards and spars, quarterdecks and sterncastles.

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     Visitors to Tall Ships 2000 indulge in visions of nautical history, as they stroll by some of the dozens of  vessels that participate in this celebration of centuries-old sailing technology. The Tall Ships pageants are a post-'sixties innovation ... when I was growing up in Halifax, I was never treated to the sight of tall masts with brailed sails, towering over the waterfront warehouses and hotels. 

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    A statue to the young men lost at sea during World War II is only one of several mariners' memorials to be found in the Halifax area. Halifax Harbor, one of the greatest on North America's East coast, was the assembly point for most of the great Atlantic convoys during that conflict.

    "Come and take tea with the mayor!" Peter Cox, famous Town Crier of the City of Halifax, sometimes accosts visitors in the Maritime fashion, with a smile and an invitation. However, on this occasion, he mistook a native son for a tourist!  The Halifax Parade, where Peter stands, with the Old Town Clock in the background, was a favourite location for military pageants in the previous century.

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    Just along the coast, a short distance from Halifax, the fishing village of Peggy's Cove is found on St. Margaret's Bay. The village has been known to tourists for many years for its famous lighthouse, built in 1916. It is here that you will find the only Canadian post office to be found in a lighthouse! We spent a delightful overnight, at a bed & breakfast that doubles as an art gallery. While Allison "talked shop" with the artist, I wandered the village with my camera....

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    The origins of the village name seem lost in antiquity, the mundane explanation being that it's an abbreviation of "Margaret", and this is the first cove off the Bay. A more romantic version describes the rescue of a sole survivor of a shipwreck, a damsel named "Peggy", who washed up on the rocks during a hurricane, and stayed to marry a local bachelor.

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    At the eastern extremity of Nova Scotia lies Cape Breton Island, and at the eastern extremity of Cape Breton Island can be found the   restored site of Fortress Louisbourg, "the place where fog is born"! From here, the French harassed the British (and the Yankees!), several centuries back in the last millennium. The British eventually levelled the place, making off with much of the fine granite stone, which can now be seen in many of the buildings in downtown Halifax. The French can still be found in St.Pierre & Micquelon, which are the last French holdings in mainland North America. Fortress Louisbourg, however,  has arisen, like the phoenix, from the ashes, and you can step back into history there, if the French marines will let you pass through the gate  (don't wear red!)...

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   One of our Canadian Maritime provinces is itself an island. Prince Edward Island, home of the famous "Anne of Green Gables" novel, was accessible only by ferry or air, until the recent bridge, known as the "fixed link" was created.

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   One of the best ways to see PEI is by bicycle, whether it's along the famous Cavendish Beach on the north shore, as shown on the left, or exploring the 'recycled' right-of-way that the railway once used. PEI is flat, so you can leave 20 of your forward gears at home!

    St. Mary's Catholic Church, at Indian River, is only one of the many attractive sights to be found on an afternoon drive along the north coast road of PEI. 

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    PEI is very agricultural, so it's not unusual to look out the kitchen window of your rented cottage, as we did, and see the south end of a cow, that's heading north!

   The province of New Brunswick also boasts a large island. Grand Manan is found in the Bay of Fundy,  a delightful place accessible only by air or by car ferry, where you will often be told at the grocery store " eggs 'till Tuesday...", as that's when the next supply arrives by boat!

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   The life and culture of Grand Manan is closely tied to the sea, which tends to come and go on a regular basis, as the Bay of Fundy boasts some of the highest tides in the world.  It's easy to find a harbor that is totally dry at low tide, and to see water lapping the tops of the wharves at high tide!

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   The Marathon Hotel has been in business on Grand Manan for more than half a century. One of the old-fashioned wooden hotels still found in the Maritimes, it is one of the few places we've been that offered codfish on its menu!

    Sunrise at the Swallowtail Light is a 'must do' for photographers who visit the island of Grand Manan. Indicative of the wind velocities found here on occasion are the cables that hold down the light! The old house where the lightstation attendant used to live is now a bed & breakfast, where you can stand in the front yard and watch whales breaching, just offshore.

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