Atlantic Provinces and New England 2018 travel blog




Communication tools

MacDonald Bridge across Halifax Harbour





Hometown Heroes







Pirate William Kidd's body gibbeted on the Thames River, England, 1701

Edward Jordan being "gibbeted"











Construction IN the harbor


George's Island Lighthouse



"It’s not an exaggeration to say Halifax, a city on the sea, owes its existence to the Citadel. It was the large hill overlooking the easily defended harbour below that led the British military to found the town there in 1749. Among the first buildings constructed was a wooden guardhouse on top of what would eventually be called Citadel Hill, with Halifax’s first settlers building their homes at the base of the hill, closer to the water. Over the years, as the fort grew, so too did the town, with much of Halifax dedicated to supplying the soldiers with both essential supplies and off-duty entertainment. The present Citadel, completed in 1856, is officially called Fort George, named after Britain’s King George II, and is actually the fourth in a series of forts to sit atop what is now known as Citadel Hill. Its distinctive star shape is typical of many 19th century forts built by the British military and gave the garrison sweeping arcs of fire. From its deep defensive ditch, soldiers pointed muskets from every angle of its stout walls and large cannons lined its ramparts. It’s easy to see why no enemy force ever dared to attack the Halifax Citadel."

"The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is the oldest and largest Maritime Museum in Canada. The original concept of the Museum can be credited to a group of Royal Canadian Navy officers who envisioned a maritime museum where relics of Canada’s naval past could be conserved. The Museum is a valuable historical, cultural and educational institution. It is the largest site in Nova Scotia that collects and interprets various elements of Nova Scotia’s marine history. Visitors are introduced to the age of steamships, local small craft, the Royal Canadian and Merchant Navies, World War II convoys and The Battle of the Atlantic, the Halifax Explosion of 1917, and Nova Scotia’s role in the aftermath of the Titanic disaster."

We arrived at the Citadel about 11:30 and spent two hours touring the grounds. This fort was never attacked which speaks to its success. The fort includes the masts of two ships. We learned some interesting facts about their use as communication devices about approaching ships in the harbor. One mast displayed two flags and disc(s). One flag would be raised to show the nation of the approaching ship. The other flag would show what type of cargo was being carried on that ship. The disc(s) would show the number of ships, and its (their) placement on the mast would show the direction in the harbor from which the ship was approaching. The other mast was used to communicate with other forts in the area.

At noon, the "noon gun" was shot from a cannon. This tradition was to announce the time to the area so incoming ships could set their time to the local time.

There was an area of the fort that was dedicated to the Canadian efforts during WWI. It was very interesting.

After a walk down the hill to eat lunch, we visited the Maritime Museum. We spent a few hours there. Afterward, we walked the Harbor Walk in both directions. It was a carnival like environment. We don't know if it's always like that or if this was because of The 32nd annual Halifax Busker Festival. (I have no clue what it is!) We anticipated a nice stroll along the waterfront, but it was anything but quiet. Our walk south was interrupted by the abrupt realization that the Citadel is a gated area and fear that we'd be locked in. We returned with earnest. The walk from the waterfront to the Citadel is straight up climbing. With relief, we found that a number of cars remained in the parking area. It is gated, but we don't know if they gate the exit.

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