Halifax & Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

July 19, 2019

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Friday I backtracked along the route I had come in to Halifax on to stop at another memorial site which I missed the turnoff for yesterday – this one for the SS Atlantic.

On April 1, 1873 that ship, carrying an estimated 975 passengers, ran aground near the small town of Terence Bay (lower left corner on the map above).

SS Atlantic photo

(Photo credit: theglobeandmail.com)

SSAtlantic

(Photo credit: ssatlantic.com)

The ship, aka RMS Atlantic, was owned by White Star Line (the folks who brought you the also-ill-fated Titanic).  She was sailing from Liverpool, England to New York City.  The ship could be propelled by sails and/or coal-generated steam.  It was a dark and stormy night, to borrow that phrase, and the sails were useless against the strong currents of the storm.  The captain, fearing that they might not have enough coal on board to make it to New York, ordered the ship to stop in Halifax, a port with which both he and the crew were unfamiliar.

The ship was off course and ran aground at 315 am local time on what is now called Mars Head, near the towns of Lower Prospect and Terence Bay.  Lifeboats were lowered but they were all carried off or destroyed by the heavy seas.  Because they were close to shore some of the passengers and crew were able to make it to land and an estimated 562 people died, including all the women and all but one child.  It was the worst maritime disaster in the North Atlantic prior to Titanic and remains the worst Canadian maritime accident of all time.

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Another moment of silence, please…


 

Next I headed over to the east side of Halifax to drive on some scenic roads near the ocean.  Before that – lunch.

I was in Halifax and wanted to try their tasty snack – a Donair.  This is similar to a Greek Gyro – a large round of pita bread wrapped around meat, tomato, onion and drizzled with garlicky white Donair sauce.

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(Photo credit:  Mr. Donair – a fast-food chain, not a person)

Mr. Donair (chain) claims to have created the Donair in the early 70’s, naming it after the Turkish doner.  I ate at a chain called King Donair (“the King of Donairs”) which claims to have introduced Canada to the Donair in 1973.  Boys, boys… don’t make me stop the car…

A Donair is stuffed with Donair meat.   Hmmmmm….  That makes me a little nervous.  Is it from a Free Range Donair??  Cage-Free, perhaps??  And the “secret sauce”??  What’s THAT all about??

The meat is supposedly beef, cooked on a vertical spit and shaved off to place on the pita bread, then curled up with one open end.  The entire thing is then wrapped in aluminum foil.

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Mine was quite messy but wasn’t terrible.  My mother would have said “It’s not something I’d miss…”

I resisted the temptation to don one of King Donair’s crowns while I was eating:

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After lunch I drove out several small coastal roads (shown in yellow on the map) as far as Musquodoboit Harbour, then south to spend some time overlooking the ocean at Martinique Beach.  I then drove back up to NS-107 (shown in blue) to return to town.  It is a 2-lane, limited access highway with a much higher speed limit.

Close to town I drove to the north side of the city of Dartmouth, stopping at Lake Banook.  It is home to both the Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club and the Banook Canoe Club.  There are lots of buoys out in the lake to create “lanes” to help keep all the boaters organized and avoid collisions.  There was a nearby gondola where I could watch the boaters from the shade.

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After watching the boaters for a while I drove up and around another big body of water (the Bedford Basin) and back down to the south side of Halifax where I was staying.