Closet Canuck's Great Big Canadian Train Adventure DAY TWO: Halifax water, suds and pub tunes

Halifax: Since there was no other way to get to downtown Halifax from my hotel at the airport (well, I could have taken the hotel's shuttle back to the airport and then got on another shuttle to downtown), I ended up taking a cab. What arrived was a Lincoln Town Car and a really nice driver who gave me tips on where to dine and what to see, plus pointed out such attractions as Government House, which is the largest mansion in North America. It was worth the $55 fare (the airport is 20 miles northeast of the city). I checked into The Westin Nova Scotian, built in 1930 by the Canadian National Railways, along with other landmark hotels built in the '30s and '40s across Canada. Today, it is still connected to the VIA Rail Canada station.


The tour boat season ended about a week before I arrived, but I still wanted to go out onto the Halifax Harbour. So I took a passenger only ferry with Metro Transit, that travels from downtown Halifax to Dartmouth on the other side. It was only a ten-minute trip; you can read more about it here.


The weather was clear and cold -- and windy. It felt like it was in the 30s with the wind chill factor. I may be doing some shopping for wintry-type clothes as there are reports of snow showers in Montreal, where I'm headed next. But for now, the sunsets and sunrises have been spectacular in Halifax. Oh, and what does this Nova Scotia city remind me of? I've nicknamed it Boslo: it's a combination of Boston and Oslo, with a touch of Portland, Oregon on the side.


My cab driver and several other locals suggested McKelvie's for fish. Since it was so biting cold and dark out, I took the hotel's courtesy car to the restaurant on Prince Street. I wasn't all that impressed with the mussels, maybe because I'm spoiled living in Penn Cove mussel country on Whidbey Island. I found out they were from New Brunswick and they were sort of small and shriveled. The house salad was fine and the Nova Scotian Jost wine had quickly become my vino of choice. I asked the hostess how their fish 'n chips were, and in true Haligonian style (meaning friendly), she brought me a small sample. Dang, that's what I should have ordered! They were beer battered with ale from a Halifax brewery and accompanied by a really tasty tartar sauce.

My dessert was walking across the street to The Old Triangle, a ten-year old Irish pub ("no shamrocks") owned by musicians Evans & Doherty. I started out with a pint of some local brew, and not being a big beer drinker, switched to the Nova Scotian Jost wine that I'd taken a shine to. John Ferguson and Roger Stone played music for the next few hours, and they're the real deal. Coincidentally, Ferguson had previously played with Miller's Jug, a band I'd heard during my first visit to Halifax back in the early 80s at the Split Crow. Both musicians are from Cape Breton (that's Roger on the left and John on the right); they also play together as Glens and Roses.


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