Start to plan a trip like this
Malcolm's Maritime Canada & Quebec Blog
All images courtesy of Malcolm direct from his camera in Canada
Over the next three weeks I will be following the path that many of
our clients tread discovering Quebec and Maritime Canada. I have travelled
this area extensively in the past, but wanted to update myself. However
my wife has not travelled this area, so the blog will include a balanced
view of someone who has seen it before, but also the views of someone
seeing it for the first time.
It is quite a unique combination and these areas were amongst the first settled by the white man in what is now Canada. In both Quebec and Maritime Canada we fought the French for supremacy in this area and there are interesting historical links between the areas that will emerge during the blog.
We set off on our travels on 28 August and will, WiFi connection allowing, update the blog on a regular basis including our own photographs. One of the things that we will be doing a little bit unusually is to visit the Harbour Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton New Brunswick. This is one of the leading festivals in North America and there are several British bands playing. We look forward to you joining us on our journey.
Before I set off...
This week has seen an attempt to clear up ones desk in preparation
for the trip. Complicated somewhat by the fact that I am working this
weekend (we all work two of the long Bank Holiday weekends each in
order to provide clients with full service). It is also our financial
year end and that has involved meetings with our financial director
and accountants tidying up all the loose ends. In an ideal world you
wouldn’t set out on a trip at this time!
We are now really looking forward to the trip and part of this week
has been spent in working out which of the various excursions and
extra trips we will do and in due course report on to yourselves.
Our first stop will be Montreal and I am quite keen to do the cycle
trip around the Grand Prix circuit. (Not quite sure whether 'she that
must be obeyed' is in full agreement with this, watch this space to
see if it occurs.)
Wednesday 28 Aug
An easy journey to Heathrow and we arrived on time at 12.00 at Terminal
3. Many travellers will know that all the terminals at Heathrow are
going through major renorvation work and some airlines are not in
the same terminal as they might have been last time you travelled.
Always check the terminal number printed on your tickets as this will
have the current information.
We always use 'Meet and greet' parking as it is just so much easier
and makes the experience so much nicer. Yes it costs more but once
you have done it I doubt you will go back! Ask for a quote next time
you travel. About 30 minutes before our stated arrival time at Heathrow
we get a phone call to check where we are and if we are on time, on
arrival the driver is waiting in the drop off zone, takes out the
bags and puts them on a trolley and takes the car away. Less than
5 minutes later we were checking in at the self check-in desks at
Heathrow. A little tip I think it is far better to check in at the
airport self check in desks that spend time online. You drive off
both the boarding passes and baggage labels in one go so a much quicker
The flight from Heathrow to Montreal is around 7 hours in the air
so much shorter than recent trips to South Africa. On board the Airbus
A330 there was good amount of space and the service level was good.
A hot meal was served with wine and coffee, later a drinks service
was followed by a snack before landing. Another tip if you cannot
eat cheese (my wife cannot) order a lactose free meal as many airlines
around the world use cheese as a tasty and cheaper form of protein
Landed on time in Montreal. However this is where the fun began. The
waiting lines for immigration where horrendous. It took over an hour
to get through the immigration process. The face to face experience
with the officer was fine but it must be a disheartening job to look
up and find the queue never gets any shorter. The good news is that
you never have to wait for you bags as they have already done more
laps around the carousel then Mo Farrah in a 5000 metre race!
To get to downtown you have two main choices, the 747 bus that goes
from the airport to the central bus station ($8.00 per person) and
a taxi or a walk or a taxi which has a fixed rate cost of $40.00.
Most people will after along flight choose the taxi route. Again another
long queue but this time it was moving at speed and in less then 10
minutes we were on our way. By now the traffic had gone and it was
less than 20 minutes direct to our hotel The Intercontinental in downtown.
On this trip we will use hotels that are currently being used regularly
by us or one we are considering adding to our offering.
More about the hotel and Montreal with the next blog.
We checked into the Intercontinental last night. The drop
off is at curb side but you have to go up one floor to the check-in
area. Little surprised that there was no doorman or help with bags.
Maybe the advent of wheels on bags has made that job redundant! Check-in
was very efficient, we are in a one king bed room on the 24 floor
so need a good head for heights. The room is very good, large with
lots of space, fridge, coffee machine and safe. A television that
makes you feel like the tennis we watched last night you were hitting
every ball! The shower is very good (you might notice as we go along
that this is very important to me) and the bathroom is well lit. The
two downsides of the room are in common with many North American hotels
it is poorly lit by UK standards. The other slight issue again as
you get older it becomes more of an issue is that the toilet is very
low. I had thought that were always the same height but clearly not.
We had a supposed light snack in the restaurant last night. Small
it was not, good it was. By then our bodies said it was 03.00 UK time
in the morning so it was off to bed. We had a great nights sleep and
did not wake up till 06.00 Canada time. For those of you that have
travelled in North America you will know that is a good result. We
have rooms that give us access to the club lounge. This gives us breakfast
included, free WIFI and evening drinks. Just off to breakfast now!
Breakfast in the club area is very good, a good selection of cereals
and fresh fruit, great selection of breads and crossiants plus sausage
and scrambled eggs. All this plus juices and fruits! After breakfast
a site visit around the hotel. All rooms are in the same decor, there
are some one and two bedroom suites plus rooms with two queen beds.
The good news is that they are all good.
There is a good fitness area plus a really good sized pool from a
city centre hotel. We walked to the tourist information centre to
pick up tickets for the hop on hop of bus pass. As in any city it
is a great way to get to know a city in a hurry. Again like many cities
they use London double decker busses. Makes you wonder how London
Transport still works! Montreal is a very interesting city, the second
largest French city in the world after Paris. Home of four top quality
Universities plus a lot more. We had a coffee and snack in the Mont
Royal park (from which Montreal got is name) and then took a walk
to the viewpoint to see the downtown area. After we returned to the
city centre we took a detour to the VIA rail station to pick up our
train tickets for the next leg of our trip. We always advise whenever
possible to pick up your tickets 24 hours before travel just in case
there are any issues.
Spent a good hour in the late afternoon in the pool doing some laps
to get some exercise! Then put back all the calories by eating at
the Keg in Montreal. The Keg is a chain restaurant found in many cities
in Canada and has for the last 30 plus years served great steaks.
Yes I know we should have eaten at a French restaurant but there are
no Keg's on the rest of the trip and to me no visit to Canada is official
without a meal in this restaurant. So far the weather has been really
good around 25C with good sunshine mixed with some cloud. When under
the cloud it does become a little humid but this burns off when the
This morning we meet up with Hugo from Montreal tourism for breakfast.
We went a short walk from the hotel to a very French style local cafe
called La Cartel. Long wooden benches, lots of chatter and noise and
really great food. Unlike in many restaurants they also fill up your
coffee cup for free! It was good to get some local information and
new on trends in the market place. We also discussed ways of getting
more Brits to enjoy all that Montreal and the province of Quebec has
Our train to Quebec City was at 13.00 so not a lot of time to do much
and those that know me understand that I really do not like shops!
However in Montreal my wife says the shops looked really good but
that I always found a way of not letting her experience them. Montreal
is know as the city of festivals many of which are in July and August.
The other thing that many people appreciate about Montreal is that
it hosts the Canadian Grand Prix. Located on an island in the St.
Lawrence river you can get to the area that also hosts the Casino,
a large park and the circuit by water taxi and the metro system. Montreal
has an efficient bus and Metro system and you can buy a day pass or
multi day pass that gives unlimited use.
were limited by time so took a taxi out to the Island and had a drive
around the track! When not in use for the Grand Prix the track is
used by cyclist, skateboarder's, jiggers and walkers plus a lane to
allow cars to enjoy a drive around at 30 Kms per hour! You can rent.
'Boris Bike' at the metro station on the island to cycle around the
track and the park. The views if downtown are really good. Not many
places in the world allow you to do that and even if you are not into
F1 then the views and total experience make the excursion worth while.
Then it was back to the hotel, finish packing and a taxi to the station.
From anywhere in the downtown area, the cost of a taxi to the station
is about $10 or £6.00.
A little about Canada's rail system. The long distance trains are
operated by VIA Rail Canada. There are other train services that are
commuter trains around larger cities such as Toronto, Montreal and
Vancouver. The freight services are operated mainly two freight lines
that until 40 years ago also operated competing passenger services.
These are CP (Canadain Pacfic) and CN (Canadain National). At that
time as they both wanted to close the passenger side down as it was
losing money (the days of cheap airfares plus the long distances in
Canada). The passengers side was moved into a crown corporation. This
is like a private company that is owned by the government. In addition
in various places there are some private tourist trains such as Rocky
Mountaineer that operates a limited short season offering in specific
operates trains right across Canada:
These are the named trains such as the Canadian-Toronto to Vancouver
, The Ocean-Montreal to Halifax and the Skeena Jasper to Prince Rupert.
In addition it runs other services in the more highly populated areas
commonly know as the corridor trains. These cover the area from Windsor
to Quebec City.
Ok after the train lesson what does that mean for us?
Well today we are using a corridor train to travel from Montreal to
Quebec City. Journey time is 3 hours and 40 minutes. Trains are much
better equipped in Canada as they all cover long distance. The space
on the train both in economy and business class is much greater than
in the UK. Most trains including the corridor trains have a separate
baggage car for larger bags and enough space to store 'cabin baggage'
where you sit.
A top tip is to consider on the corridor trains whether travelling
Business Class is a good option. Besides more space you do get all
drinks including alcohol and food included. You also get the use of
the lounge in major stations with free coffee and soft drinks. The
food on our train was excellent, starter, 3 choices of main course
plus desert and coffee. In business class you also get free WIFI allowed
me to attend to some emails. We always recommend travel between say
Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City is done by train as it is actually
quicker that flying and is city centre to city centre. On arrival
in Quebec City luggage was quickly available and a $6.00 taxi ride
has us at our hotel Manoir Victoria in the old walled city of Quebec.
More on the city and its delights tomorrow.
This morning we had an excellent breakfast with the sales lady from
our hotel the Manoir Victoria. She told us about the renovation that
has taken place in the hotel over the last few years and we were shown
a new show room. Approx 70 of the rooms will be upgraded in the low
season (Nov -early Dec). This hotel easy access to all that Quebec
City has to offer which makes this a firm favourite of clients over
After breakfast we set out on a walking tour with Tours Voir Quebec.
These tours set of from the excellent tourist information office which
is located in the shadow of Chateau Frontenac. Our group consisted
of 12 people from Canada, USA, South Africa and the UK and what turned
out to be an excellent guide Micheal. The trip was set to be 2.5 hours
but we were nearly 3 hours. The information we picked up and the appreciation
for the history and importance of Quebec City in the history and development
of Canada was worth the walk!
walk is mainly down hill but it is not suitable if you are not comfortable
walking. Some people might want to consider the bus back from lower
town. Quebec City is divided into upper and lower town. As you might
expect the lower town is down by the river as it was the first to
be settled. However, it soon became apparent that building a fort
at the top of the hill close to what is now the Chateau Frontenac
made more sense. That is until General James Wolfe appeared to capture
the town for the British; not by a frontal attack as was anticipated,
but by an a pincer movement from the rear.
Today Quebec City is the number 1 tourist destination in Canada in
terms of numbers. Those numbers are swelled each year by over 150
cruise ship arrivals. As you might expect there are some great restaurants
which combine French flair with North American ingredients. We ate
at the restaurant 1640 which as you might guess traces is original
starting point to that year. It was pleasant to sit outside and enjoy
good room and watch the world go by. This weekend has been Labour
Day weekend in both Canada and the USA and marks the end of all the
school and University summer holidays. As such Quebec City was very
busy with people but that gave real buzz to the place.
: If you are going to be in the
city from the end of May till Labour day weekend go on line a book
a place at Circus Solieu. Cost is approx. $20.00. There are a number
of totally free places each day which you can only be got by joining
a long line but then it is free!
Sunday 01 Sept
A lazy start today including some face time with both our daughter
and son and daughter in law and grand daughter. We had eaten too much
so skipped breakfast and proceeded to the lower city. We had booked
a short boat cruise down the mighty St. Lawrence river. The river
was, and still is, very important in the history and commerce of Canada.
Quebec City is still an important trans-shipping point for grain and
potash from the prairie provinces enroute to Europe. However the building
of the St. Lawrence seaway and its locks now means that oceangoing
ships can go right into the heart of Canada. Now Montreal and Quebec
City are only important shipping points in the winter when the Great
Lakes freeze but the Seaway is kept open by ice breakers. We spent
the rest of the day looking around this interesting city before an
excellent meal in the Resturant Le Freres De La Cote. A very typically
French busy restaurant with great food and atmosphere. Quite close
to the hotel so quite handy as we had left our bags in store at the
hotel as we we catching the overnight sleeper train from Quebec City
to Halifax. The train leaves the nearby town of Charny but when we
book it for clients we book the connecting taxi/bus from Quebec City
station. The train departs Charny at 22.00. The station is very small
and the train has to make 3 stops on a very short platform so you
can get on the right part of the train.
VIA rail Canada is a major partner of ours and we encourage the use
of the train on any trip to Canada. It is true to say many people
would argue that without the train, Canada would not have become a
country. Unlike the USA thee was no mass immigration to the centre
of Canada by wagon train. The east and the west were not joined to
the centre until the railroad across Canada was completed in 1895.
1 Sept & Monday 2 Sep
At 21.45 the VIA train, The Ocean, pulled into Charny Station.
At this stage it is 25 cars long as the first 5 cars are part of the
train that will separate during the night and travel to the Gaspe.
Due to the short platform at Charny the train pulls forward 3 times
to allow the Gaspe, then the economy passengers and then the sleeping
car passengers board the train. Space in the sleeping cars is at a
premium so we advise clients to check the main luggage and take on
board just a carry-on bag with overnight things in. There is clearly
a difference between the sexes as to what is needed for an overnight!
When you board your compartment is already made up for sleeping with
two bunks. Although space is limited it is very cleverly used so there
is much more space than you first think. However you and your partner
do have to be working together as if one person moves then the other
also needs to move! There is a private toilet and wash room and many
also have a small but efficient shower which turns the bathroom space
into a wet room. Food service on the train is finishing when we get
on so it is time to go to sleep. Your attendant will give you briefing
when you board and part of this is to warn you that around 06.00 the
train will lose power as the first 5 carriages are separated to travel
down the Gaspe penninsular. The train motion was a great way to get
to sleep but the stop does tend to serve as a wake up call.
Breakfast is served from 07.00 till 10.00 so you can come when you
are ready. There is a dome car on the train and under the dome you
can get free tea and coffee all day. I had a wash and shave and went
for coffee while my wife had a shower. We then made our way to the
dining car. Like on all VIA trains that offer sleeping cars most tickets
you buy and nearly all we sell will have the cost of the meals included.
Breakfast was was very good and there is no pressure to hurry as it
is open for such a long time.
We were told that that the girls would come down the train later to
take down our preference for lunch sittings. It was a grey day so
not the best for sightseeing but it was clear to see that a sunny
day and, in particular in the Autumn, the trees would be a fantastic
view. In the dome car the steward does a number of presentations on
such things as the local cuisine, wine and history of the area. Also
at any time you can get tea or coffee plus there is wine or beer to
purchase. We chose the 12.30 lunch sitting as it meant we could attend
a wine tasting later in the day. We ate lunch with another couple
from England and swapped experiences. It is always, from my point
of view, great to see how other travel companies put trips together.
I was surprised that they use a hotel in Montreal that is 4 floors
but no lifts. I had looked at the hotel but rejected it for that reason.
Talking to clients, be they your own or other people's, does allow
you to collect feedback in a positive way and enables us to continue
to improve even after 40 years of doing what we do. Lunch is 3 courses
- soup then 3 choices of main plus a sweet and coffee. And, as it
was 5 o'clock somewhere, we all had a glass of something to wash lunch
down with. This is one of the joys of travelling by train, the chance
to meet and share a meal with interesting fellow travellers and something
you do not experience on an aeroplane.
The train arrived in Halifax on-time at 17.20. Your checked luggage
arrives on a luggage carousel just like at an airport. More luggage
than normal as there where many students on the train than normal
as they return to Halifax, the home of 4 leading universities in Canada.
Taxi's can be a challenge at Halifax station but a top tip is to go
to the taxi phone just by the main door and call a cab, give them
your name and jump the queue! A short ride to our hotel, The Lord
Nelson, a well respected hotel just outside the main core of Halifax,
but given good weather a simple walk into town. This is a solid 4
On arrival we where upgraded to a junior suite thanks to a large tour
group just checking in. Lots of space, a microwave complete the amenities.
The bathroom is slightly small which is common in many slightly older
hotels. There is a good shower but no bath. If you require a bath
in your room please let us know when you book so we can ensure you
get the right room. We walked out to the Red Stag pub for a meal.
It started to rain and after the long weekend not many people were
out tonight. The meal was good but we returned by taxi to the hotel
mainly due to the rain.
Tuesday 3 Sept
Halifax. Well it really can rain in Halifax!!!!!
Woke up this morning to torrential rain running down the hill faster
that a person can walk! One look and we decided breakfast in the hotel
and hoped that the rain might stop. Well it did slow down so we took
a cab from the hotel to the Musemn of Immigration or, as it is more
commonly called in Halifax, Pier 21. It was at this pier that many
of the immigrants from Europe to Canada before commercial air flights
arrived to start a new life.
I have been before but my wife had not so it was interesting for me
to see her reaction which would be like a client's view. We spent
over 2.5 hours which probably says a lot. It is a very graphic and
interesting view of this mass migration and does not shy away from
the mistakes that were made. If you want to understand how this country,
made up of people from so many countries, evolved then this is a must
visit. It is also a graet place to shelter from the rain!
At the musemn they can help try and trace folks who landed from the
1890-1935. After that there is a data protection act that means 1
year is added as each year goes on so in 2104 those who landed in
1936 records will be released. They have no better access to what
is public information but they know better how to search the information.
Best results are found if you know the persons full name including
middle names and dates of birth. If you know the date of landing and
or the ship then results are very much better. There is a small charge
of currently $20.00 which I feel seeing how it is done is good value
We then visited the Farmers Market which is next door. After labour
day it is only fully open over the weekend but it has a full choice
on local products to buy. We continued along the waterfront on what
is the second largest natural harbour in the world. It was very important
in the Second World War as most convoy's picked up there escorts in
Halifax. Also over 500,000 Canadian troops left from Halifax to help
in the war effort. We looked at the shops and exhibits along the way
and spent some time in the very informative Cape Breton Island tourist
centre. After which the skies open to what can only be described as
a Halifax Monsoon! We got wet to the skin before we got back to the
room to dry out. In the evening the rain had stopped!
Time to go to eat and see some of the live music that Halifax is known
for. Please remember that some places only have live music on a weekend.
We eat at the Triangle with some really good seafood and live music
Irish style tonight.
We then went to the Split Crow again really good music and lots of
draft beer choices. Well somebody has to do it! Tomorrow we pick up
the car and start the driving part of our trip.
Wednesday 4 Sept
Just before we leave Halifax it perhaps should be said that
I have been to Halifax on many occasions and up until now had great
weather. All cities look better in sunny weather, and make no mistake,
Halifax is a lovely city to experience. After an easy check-out at
The Lord Nelson we took a cab to the railway to pick up our car.
Yes, I know it is a station, but Alamo has two depots in downtown
Halifax, and the station one we believe is the easiest to pick up
from. Our car is a full size Hyundai Sonate and is really nice to
drive. Finding our way out of Halifax was quite easy just a question
of working your way to the bridge!
We are travelling to Baddeck on Cape Bretton Island but have elected
to travel up the the eastern shore which is a longer journey but really
pretty. It runs alongside the sea for most of the day and involves
one ferry journey along the way. It is a great rural drive with wonderful
sea and lake vistas that will be even better when the leaves turn
in the Autumn. En-route we called in and looked at Liscombe Lodge
which is used by us a lot when clients travel up and down the eastern
shores. We arrived at Lynwood Inn which has become our main choice
in Baddeck for travelling around the Cabot Trail. We have 3 nights
in this hotel. There are two sections to the property; the older section,
which we are in which has 3 rooms in Victorian style, and about 20
inn rooms that are of a more modern style. We have just had an excellent
meal in the restaurant and, given a fine day tomorrow, we will go
around the Cabot Trail in the morning.
Friday 6 Sept
Woke up this morning to a beautiful bright blue sky and bright sunshine.We
planned to travel today to Louisbourg which is the home of the French
Fort in this area and a National Historic Site. The Discovery Parks
Pass covers access to these as well as the National Parks just adding
to the value you get.
It is about a 90 minute drive via Sydney (the one in Canada of course!)
to the Fort. Sydney is the departure point for the ferries to Newfoundland.
The fort site was well packed around a deep bay with a narrow entrance
making it easier to defend. You check-in at the top of the hill to
a well laid out visitor centre and then travel down by bus to the
Fort area which is located on the shoreline. The Fort has just gone
into shoulder season, which means that there are less interpreters
and some of the lessor exhibits are not open. Shoulder season is late
May until late June and then after Labour Day until mid-late October.
As far as we we concerned, it was a great visit and showed how the
fort operated and was run. The interpreters are there to answer questions
on how the fort ran and the various different classes of people who
lived and worked there. It is quite clear that the Governors housing
and food was a little different to the normal soldiers'!
effect the fort was the controlling fort for this part of New France.
Thus, from a British point of view, it was vital to take control of
the fort if the British were to take control of this area. Again,
rather like Quebec City, we used the same attack plan, mock attack
from the front with the main attack from the land side which although
defended was not as heavily defended as the harbour side. Sound familiar?
Well it should, as General Wolfe was also part to the group that first
took Louisbourg. Not surprising he used the same attack plan that
worked well here in Quebec City.
The fort area was a surprising size and to build the walls must have
been a major effort. Why was the fort built in this spot? Well, this
was the area that was closet to the biggest Cod stocks along this
seaboard. The Cod was caught, dried and salted and sent back to France
and Northern Spain. The profits in one year's Cod fishing were more
than the total profit from 10 years of fur trading in the other part
of New France centred around Quebec City. You can now see why this
was such an economically important area.
weather was great; bright blue skies all day. On the way back to Baddeck,
we decided, as we had to pass the entry back on to the Cabot Trail,
thatwe would re-trace our steps and take a look at the part we saw
in the rain; only this time in the bright sunshine. We are pleased
we did and I think you will agree when you see the photos shown here.
On our return to Baddeck we decided we would eat somewhere else. Not
because the food was not good at Lynwood Inn but that we should try
another spot. Several people said try the Belle Buoy and, as we had
to pass it on our way back, we did. We arrived at what we knew would
be a busy time so it was no surprise that we were told there would
be a small wait.
was surprising was, that although there was a bar, you could not get
a drink while waiting as there was no where to sit. After about 20
minutes we were seated but told that there would be still a delay
as ' they were backed up'. We were about to ask for a drink when the
hostess left us. Common sense says we should have left then. I will
not bore you with the details but the service was awful, however,
the food when it arrived was good. A case of a decent chef being badly
let down by no front of house organisation. Some very simple, common
sense changes could have made things run so much better. You had 3
members of staff running about and 3 members of staff who seemed to
be on another planet. Personally I cannot recommend the restaurant.
However if you have the evening to while away then the food when it
comes will be good. If however, you want good food quickly, served
with a smile and drinks when you want them the Linwood Inn is the
place. We went back and had coffee and desert and it was so different.
I hope we caught the Belle Buoy on a bad night but if you are only
there for a few days why take the risk.
Saturday 7 Sept
Woke up again this morning to bright sunshine. Today we were driving
to Caribou to catch the ferry to Prince Edward Island. Before we leave,
we should say how much we enjoyed our stay at Linwood Inn. Centrally
placed, breakfast included, good rooms and a great on-site resturant
. The property has two types of rooms, the Inn Rooms and the normal
rooms. There are 3 Inn rooms located in the same building as the reception
and the Restaurarnt. These rooms are Victorian in style. There is
no lift so you need to let us know when booking if this is an issue.
The main, newer building, are more standard hotel rooms and our clients,
when ever possible, are housed in rooms with a lake view. On 3 floors,
the way it is built into the hillside, means that anybody on floors
1 or 2 do not have any stairs to climb to access their rooms. It was
with some regret we left the property but still so much to do.
It takes a little over an hour to drive from Baddeck to the causeway
back on to mainland Nova Scotia. The road is good so you can travel
between 80-100 Kms per hour. Once on the mainland it takes about another
75 minutes to get to the ferry port. The ferries run approx every
90 minutes and you do need to check on the web for the schedules as
they change with the seasons. Except perhaps for a public holiday
crossing, you dont have to think about booking, but you should arrive
30-45 minutes before the crossing time to be sure. Close by there
is a very pretty Provincial Park if you have some time to kill. The
ferry, or indeed the road bridge if you come in to the north on PEI,
is free! However, you do have to pay to get off the Island! More about
that later in the blog.
The crossing takes about 75 minutes and when you leave it is an easy
45 minutes drive to Charlottetown, the capital of PEI. We are staying
at a delightful B&B called The Dawson House. It is a lovely period
house in the older part of town and about 15 minutes drive to downtown.
We have a wonderful room at the top of the house, but again no lift.
However, Randy, who runs the place with Stacey, is more than wiling
to help with cases. They are a really great couple with a 4 bedroom
place that offers really nice unique rooms with style.
We went downtown to eat and there is a variety of places to eat in
the downtown area centred around Queen Street. As Jean is struggling
to walk longer distances, we took the car which, on a busy Saturday
night, was a slight issue in finding a parking spot but the good news
is that the parking meters are free after 18.00 and all day on Sunday.
Charlottetown is lively and in addition to places to eat there are
several theatres with live performances.
We ate at the Gahan House, which, as you would expect on Saturday
night, was busy. Again a short wait but this time you could get a
drink! We had an excellent meal in a lively spot. About half way through
the meal we realised that we were probably the oldest people in the
place! A short drive back to the B&B and to bed.
Sunday 8 Sept
up this morning to very heavy rain which we both heard during the
night. Breakfast on a Sunday is at 08.30-09.00 and severed to all
the guests. The Dawson House had 6 people staying including ourselves
and, given the weather, we had no reason to leave the table in a hurry!
We did set out eventually and our plan was to drive to Kensington
across the centre of the Island and then look at the beaches and Anne
of Green Gables in the North.
As we started driving along the first part of the coastal drive the
rain stopped. Still cloudy and threatening but when we got to Anne
of Green Gables the rain actually stopped and a weak sun broke out.
Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908 and became an instant hit
around the world. It is still today high on the list of girls books
which is perhaps a reason why I have not read it! It was written by
Lucy Maud Montgomery who wrote another 20 plus books that, like Anne,
are all based on her childhood in PEI and the area around Cavendish
As we left the interesting centre, which again is part of the National
Parks system, so paid for by the pass, it started to rain; slowly
at first and then turned into torrent which would last till after
18.00. The drive along the beaches was like a bank holiday drive in
the UK! We use a property in the Northern beach area to give access
to the fabulous beaches and also some of the sea kayaking and canoe
adventures in this area. The hotel is called 'Shaws Hotel' and is
the oldest, still operating, hotel in Canada. We stopped to do an
inspection and although we parked about 20 yards from the door got
quite wet getting to the property. It is a hotel with lots of character
but the rooms all vary quite a bit. There is a good dining room and
bar area. In the grounds there are number of self catering cabins.
This makes them very children friendly plus you can rent bikes, canoes
and kayaks as well. Meals are also available in the hotel. The hotel
has private access to the beach with a 10 minute walk across the dunes.
The rain continued at a pace so we drove slowly back to Charllotetown,
visited a couple of shopping malls, and then went to eat. We had noticed
a restaurant on Highway 2 driving out of town that said 'proudly serving
the island for 25 years'.
My theory is that if you can stay in business for 25 years in the
Restuarnt trade, you have to be good. It proved to be a great choice.
Not fancy eating, but good food served well. We had some of the best
pork chops I have ever tasted. We then returned to the B&B and
had a really pleasant evening taking to some other guests who were
from Victoria on the other side of Canada.
We have been staying at The Dawson House in Charlottetown. This is
currently not a hotel we use but part of this trip is to use some
existing and some new hotels. It is an excellent B&B located about
a 15 minute walk from downtown. Formerly a large family home, it now
has 4 bedrooms, all slightly different, but all fitted out to a high
standard. There is good WIFI ,a guest lounge, endless coffee and hosts
that are very helpful and available. Breakfast is an ever changing
feast and cooked to order. We will certainly be using the Dawson House
in the future.
When we left town we headed along the southern coastal drive towards
the Confederation Bridge. Really pretty scenery helped by some sunshine,
but a strong wind. We visited Fort Amhurst that sits on the entrance
to the harbour. Clear to see why both the French and the British needed
to command this point to control the area (interesting link here to
Fort Louisborugh). The fertile farmland of PEI were seen firstly by
the French and later by the British as an easy boat ride along the
coast; perfect to supply the fishermen working on the profitable fishing
wanted to visit Summerside, the 2nd largest town on the island, so
we drove into the town and spent a pleasant hour or so on the quay
and discovered some of the fantastic craft areas. To drive back to
the Bridge, we took the coastal route and had a picnic lunch in the
PEI provincial park. Although windy, showing true British style, we
found the most sheltered table! We find that eating 3 full meals a
day is too much so a sandwich and fruit at lunch is more than enough.
We then drove to the bridge which is the longest bridge in the world
over sea water. Just over 13 Kms in length. For those of you who have
read earlier sections of this blog you will know that when we came
to PEI on the ferry we did not pay. Leaving the island however you
have to pay. It costs the same wether you leave by ferry or bridge.
The cost was $45.00 for the car and two passengers. This is approx
£30.00 to travel about the same distance as crossing the English
After crossing the bridge we elected to again travel down the coastal
road know as the Route Arcadian. This took around the coast with great
views. We stopped in Shelidac to take a look at Maison Tait, the hotel
we use in the area, then continued down route 111 along the scenic
Fundy route. We had an unexpected hotel change tonight. We stayed
at Florentine Manor, a property we have used for a number of years.
The owners are trying to slow down a little but have agreed again
to take our guests next year. We are very pleased that they will still
host our clients. Like many B&B's they do not do evening meals.
We took the short ride down the road to Broadleaf Guest Ranch. They
have a good restaurant that serves as a dining room for many of the
After breakfast we were taken by 4x4 to pick up our car.
It had rained heavily in the night, but down in the valley at the
lodge, it was quite clear. However back at the car park there was
a really thick sea fog. As I said in the previous blog, a mistake
was made. Finding the view points was a challenge in itself, but seeing
from them was all but impossible! I was really disappointed for Jean
as the views are stunning and in my view are the best of the Bay of
Fundy. We spent some time in St. Martins where the weather was slightly
St. Martins has two overhead bridges which in other areas are also
called 'Kissing Bridges' as, when taking a girl home by horse and
buggy, you could stop and steal a kiss without the world knowing!
The reason they where constructed was to protect the Wooden floor
of the bridge from the wet and the frost, which caused the bridge
to twist and break. Do take time to walk to the second bridge as there
is a good view of the weir and the salmon ladder. We then drove on
to St. John, the major port of New Brunswick. A Carnival Cruise ship
was in town so the centre and the tourist areas where busy. The weather
had improved a little so we ventured out and visited the St. John
market. This is well worth the visit and there was amixture of local
produce and tourist items; you can buy anything from a cap to dried
seaweed. We bought some seaweed, local wine and a few other locally
produce items .
drive to St. Andrews is about an hour but again we elected to take
a coastal detour as the fog had lifted a little. On the main highway,
about 10 minutes drive out of St. John, all of a sudden, a juvenile
Black bear ran across the highway over all 4 lanes about 30 yards
in front of the car. Yes the camera was not accessible but it did
occur. I have been to Maritime Canada several times but this is the
first bear I have ever seen here.
We arrived in St. Andrews about 15.00 and drove downtown so Jean could
see the town. By now the sun had come out and it was and fantastic
autumn afternoon. It must have been our wildlife viewing day, as along
the shore line, we saw 3 deer, photos are available this time. We
then drove to our hotel Rossmount Inn which is about 2 miles outside
St. Andrews. It is a 3 storey building in an old fashioned style,
and you have guessed it, no lifts and yes we were on the 3rd floor!
The rooms are very nice and the public rooms, including the Restaurant,
has a good view over the lovely pool. It was such a lovely afternoon
we sat outside with a drink and enjoyed the sun, which was really
warm by now. We had booked dinner for 20.00 and a little tip, as this
is one of the premier restaurants in the area and the only one that
offers what in North America calls ' fine dining', it is a good idea
to book in advance (we would be pleased to do this for you). Besides
the hotel guests, there is always a lot of locals dining, especially
at weekends. The reason for this is that the food is very fine dining.
Not out of the normal price range by more than 5% but a very creative
menu. We actually picked the same main dish which was Chicken in a
wonderful tasting sauce and served with a potato rosti. Jean started
with a roasted Squash bisque with a corn fritter, and I ordered marinated
herring with potatoes salad.
Whilst I did not really need a desert, the thought of a fresh ginger
creme brûlée was to much. I was not disappointed. A dining experience
you should definately try if in the area.
Thursday 12 Sept
We had breakfast first thing, which like in most places is normally
included in the rate you pay. The larger, more corporate hotels, tend
not to include breakfast in the rate. The weather was good this morning,
so we went to the main part of St. Andrews to do some washing. Yes,
after a certain amount of time on the road, it has to be done. We
had spotted a laundrette the afternoon before, so while I watched
the laundry, Jean looked around the shops which she said were very
good. It sure comes to something when you have to do the washing to
save going around the shops! While the washing was on, I nipped around
the corner to check with Fundy Tide Runners that our planned whale
watching at 15.00 was still good to go. Then back to the washing and
We then went back to the hotel and sat by the pool. We had decided
that we needed no lunch today but left for the whale watching a little
early to get an ice cream. Well, we are on holiday! Fundy Tide Runners
use a zodiac to do whale watching on. The positive is, that they are
very fast, and can get out to wherever the whales might be. The downside
is, that you have to wear a floatation suit. Photos where taken and
will be sent shortly! The other downside, is that once on, you are
2 and a half hours away from a toilet stop! (Image shown is from Fundy
Tide Runners website not me sorry!)
They take a maximum of 12 passengers, and this afternoon there were
10 of us. 2 Brits and 10 French. Captain Dave warned that conditions
out at sea were challenging, foggy and with quite rough seas. On the
trip that had just returned, they had seen both Fin whales and Minke
whales. When we left the harbour it was flat out of the harbour into
the fog and choppy seas. Captain Dave was on a mission, and listening
to the radio, it was clear that another whale watching ship was keeping
watch over the Fin whale he had found on his previous trip. Suddenly
out of the mist we saw 2 boats, and then the 60 foot long and 60 ton
Fin whale. It was feeding on herring and swimming at about 20 knots
which is quite fast. Our boat however could travel at 30 knots so
we had no problem keeping up. The sea mist was still quite low, but
we did see the whale close in. After about 45 minutes watching this
whale, we left the area into another channel and saw a Minke whale.
These are smaller, about 20 feet long, and could be mistaken for a
young Fin whale. They also feed on herring so it is quite surprising
there was any left for my supper the night before! We watched this
whale for about 25 minutes before we set of back to land through a
thick fog bank. The spray wiped into your face and you soon became
encrusted with salt.
Back at land it was back to the task of getting your suit off and
returning to the hotel for a shower to remove the salt. We, however,
returned back into town to eat having decided to try a downtown restaurant.
We mainly use Rossmount and Tara Manor in St. Andrews but, as Tara
does not do meals, we want to experience another eating option. We
ate at the Harbour front Inn in the centre of town. Trip Advisor does
not rate this very highly. As usual, I rate as I find. We both had
excellent meals with an easy view at a very competitive price. The
service was really attentive and comments from other diners around
us indicated they were enjoying there food as well
Just a note about Trip Advisor and ranking seasonal properties:
as they cannot offer year round employment, people and especially
chefs come and go. Always best to look at trends and also the last
20 ratings. It is also worth noting many Americans rate properties
badly if they have to wait for small portions!
Saturday & Sunday 13, 14 & 15 Sept
Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival
A major part of this trip for us, was to visit the Harvest Jazz and
Blues Festival; held each year in Fredericton which is the capital
of the province. We checked out of our hotel and, as we were doing
so, realised that one of our clients was also checking out as well.
They were heading to Hearst Lodge so we discussed a few options with
them. They were doing the trip the 'right' way round and had enjoyed
the trip so far. On our various travel we have bumped into travelling
clients. I do not deliberately check out where we might run across
clients, but it is pleasing when our paths do cross and they always
seem to be enjoying their trip.
Rain again as we drove to Fredericton and we drove straight to the
hotel and checked in quite early. Most hotels have a 14.00 check-in
time but, because we had to pass the hotel, we decided to check-in.
Our assigned room was not available but they were able to upgrade
us to a corner, much larger room that was ready. We got lucky, these
rooms are often used by frequent travellers and they normally check-out
early. If you do not ask you do not get! We then made a mistake. An
English band, Dave Migden and the Dirty Words, who had won the New
Brunswick Battle of the Blues competition, were apparently playing
at 11.30 at night; as indicated by a programme of events left in our
room. Actually it was 13.00 in the day on Friday so we missed them.
However, we were told by several people, that they had gone down very
well. It is a great chance for bands that are unsigned to showcase,
in one of the leading festivals in North America.
We had an early dinner with Lee and Anne George who run the Battle
of the Blues in the UK and a UK Tavel journalist covering the festival.
After a really good dinner at a restaurant call the Blue Door, it
was off to experience the music. The Festival Site is over about a
5 block area of central Fredericton, and two streets deep! After 15.00
each day, the very central part is closed to traffic which makes getting
around very easy. There are 6 or 7 major tented areas, which house
the venues. Most are on hard ground, but one is on grass which was
not good given the amount of rain. Rather like the Edinburgh festival,
there are plenty of fringe events, and many of the pubs and restaurants
have live bands. Also, for instance, on the steps of the town hall,
local bands perform as part of the free concert program. You can gain
access to the tents either by buying tickets, for a specific event,
or you can buy a pass that covers the vast majority of the events.
The pass is the easiest way, as it allows you to wander from tent
to tent. If you do not like a band you can just move on to another
venue. The event goes on at the official venues until 02.30, and at
some of the pubs until even later!!!
The festival is well organised and most hotels are connected by a
shuttle bus system to a central drop off point. These shuttles run
from 15.00 until 03.00; which makes accessing the event really easy.
The whole town is proud and involved with the festival and a large
group of volunteers are always around to help you get the most from
We use 3/4 hotels in the area: The Crown Plaza; right in the centre
of town and right on the river and very easy to access the whole festival
by walking. The Delta Fredericton; on the river and a little further
out but with easy access by either walking along the river or catching
the shuttle. This is a newly renovated hotel, which itself is a venue
for a free series of concerts in the bar with an added bonus of free
car parking! The Fredericton Inn and the Best Western are located
about 3 Kms from downtown close to the main highway. They are both
served by the shuttle bus and are located close to the big out of
town shopping malls. During Harvest Fest, the time you book probably
decides which hotel you get!
We have eaten in a variety of places in town, The Domiion, located
at the end of the parking lot of the Delta; it has a decent menu and
also features a Chinese buffet. The Blue Door in the centre of Fredericton,
good and varied menu. More pricey than most, bu,t the best steak so
far on this trip and well worth the money. The Lunar Rogue pub just
around the corner from the Blue Door. Very different to the Blue Door.
A lively pub with a pub type menu, food was very good and a great
choice of beer. A free festival venue, Dolans Bar, is at the other
end of town. We just had a snack from the bar with a drink on Saturday
afternoon. Both were fine and the menu was similar to the Lunar Rogue.
The Sunshine Cafe across the room from the Delta. A great find and
a true old fashion Canadian diner. Breakfast is well priced; two eggs,
lots of bacon and a mountain of home made hash browns plus toast for
$6.99. The place was heaving with people. If you are in town it is
a trek but worth the walk. St.Hurberts Strayed a bit with the low
down on the hotels and places to eat. Music was really good at the
venues we visited. I also meet up with Fiona, one of our team who
is also in New Brunswick this week, having been selected to be part
of a select group of agents from the Uk to undertake some in-country
training. This group has been selected by the Canadian Tourist Commission
from companies who are top performers for Canada. Each year we try
to get staff out to see what a they are selling and are thus able
to offer clients the best advice.
On Saturday morning a slower start and then we went to the Fredericton
Farmers Market and sampled what has become a tradition with British
visitors, a Lobster Roll. Yes, fresh lobster in a bread roll. The
market is well worth the visit. This was breakfast with a coffee and
a doughnut! The music starts at around 13.00 so we wandered around
to the various venues. After a while we had a drink in Doolans bar
and sat out in the sunshine! Yes the sun does still exist. We went
back to the hotel for a while before eating in the Lunar Rogue. Then
some really great music till about 12.30am. The music would continue
until around 2.30am but without us. Sunday morning we had a great
breakfast, a trip to a Mall and then we sat in the sun to listen to
the wind-down concert. It was a really good free concert, a large
crowd and fantastic weather. Tomorrow we move on.
Time to leave Fredericton and head back towards St John to catch the
ferry to Digby, Nova Scotia. It is about a 90 minute drive St. John
and the ferry is well signed. There is a Tim Hortons as you come off
the ramp from the highway, which is worth the stop, as there is nothing
down at the docks. You need to arrive about 60 minutes before your
ferry time, so we arrived at 11.00 for our 12 noon ferry. On Arrival
you change your voucher for the boarding passes for the ferry. Boarding
is just like going on any normal ferry. The trip is 3 hours, so a
good chance to grab a bite to eat or just relax with a book. The ferry
is 41 years old so, basic perhaps describes it best, but it does save
a long drive! On arrival at Digby, it is about a 10 minute drive to
the town. Due to the high tidal range, the ferry has to dock well
round the bay. It is about a 60 minute drive to Annapolis Royal, where
we are staying at the Queen Anne Inn. This is a highly rated Inn and
it is well located near all the many things that Annapolis Royal has
to offer. We ate at an excellent Austrian restaurant in the centre
of the village. Strange how you eat Wiener Schnitzel, in Canada, looking
over the Bay of Fundy.
Tuesday 17 Sept
We had a busy day today in and around the Annapolis area, and later
in the day we drove down Digby neck. Annapolis lays claim to being
the oldest settlement on mainland Canada. Hard to say which was the
first, but it is clear to say that Port Royal, on the other side of
the bay, to what is now the town of Annapolis, was certainly one of
the first. Again, a National Parks reconstruction, so we could use
the pass. This settlement was not staffed by soldiers but by farmers
and traders who trade with the local Indians for furs. These were
traded for mainly metal goods like axes and also blankets. Each year
a supply ship would arrive from France and swap the goods for furs,
and also replace most of the people. This was in the early days, and
an all male posting, but one that could make them a lot of money.
Usually it was enough to buy land at home and start there own farms
in France. The most people recorded that overwintered was 45 and the
least was 22. This is a really good exhibit and was fully restored
As with most National Parks, there are interpreters who enact life
as it was. Now we are in shoulder season, they are reduced, but still
around, and full of good and accurate information. If you are in this
area, and you should be, this is a must place to visit. Our next stop
was at the other end of the time frame; the tidal basin power plant.
The tides change every 6 hours within this area with a massive 27
foot change! Hard to explain, but the sea is captured at high tide
and then released at low tide using the 27 foot difference in tides
to generate the power via turbine. This was set up 30 years ago as
a trial project and still powers some 4500 homes to this day. The
problem is, that it only operates for 12 hours per day, the range
when there is sufficient drop between the tides; so another source
is needed. When they have tried to use it in other places, there is
a silt problem which is not found here.
Both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are trying to harness the power
of the tide as, in theory, it can provide almost unlimited power.
However, the Bay of Fundy provides some unique issues. The sheer force
of the tide, about 25% more than say the Orkney's, shattered one attempt.
The high concentration of mud causes real mechanical issues. Then,
the effect of a large number of turbines could affect the whole Eco
system beyond repair. There is a plan however, to move forward slowly
and monitor the effect.
then went to Fort Anne, another National Parks property, this time
right in the heart of Annapolis Royal. As with most parts of this
whole area, we battled with the French for control. Fort Anne was
originally a French Fort which has changed hands nearly as often as
the tide. When things settled down, it finally became British fort
and Annapolis Royal became, for a period, the British Capital of the
area. As was common, this is a star shaped fort, and the exhibit here
also tells the history of how things changed around over the years
until, in the 1700's, the area was handed back to France. This was
only for a while and formed part of a land settlement agreement in
Europe, with this area thrown in as a makeweight! This went on to
become what is know know as L' Acadia. As you travel around, you will
still see the flag. More on tomorrow's blog as the area just south
of Digby is a very strong Arcadian area.
Our next stop was the 17-acre Historical Gardens which are just across
the road from our Inn. This is well worth a visit if you are keen
on gardening. We are keen, but not very good! Many different plants,
and lots that we are very familiar with, given a large number were
brought from the UK during British rule. Then a coffee and a piece
of strudel in the German Cafe, which features, as you would expect,
fine German breads and cakes and the strudel seemed the least fattening!
then drove down along scenic highway 1 to Digby and the bright sunshine
was fantastic on the full tide as we drove along. We then drove down
Digby neck, which if you look at a map, is the spitting image of land
that is due south of Digby, down towards Brier Island; which is a
favourite whale watching spot. The views along the way are very pretty,
but if you are driving to the whale watching, be aware you have to
use 2 ferries, which will add about 1 hour to your journey time. The
whale watching at Brier Island is very good but, as it is close to
where the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic join up, it can be quite rough
and trips are cancelled for rough weather far more than at St. Andrews.
However, the main whales here are Humpbacks, which are more active
than the Fin's and Minkes at St. Andrews.
We drove back to Digby and spent some time there before having supper
in a diner in town. Probably not the best choice we have ever made
of restaurants, but at least it was cost effective. We return to our
Inn in Annapolis for a good nights' rest.
After another great breakfast, we left Queen Anne Inn on a bright
sunny morning. The plan today was to go the long way around the southern
tip of Nova Scotia. From Digby/ Annapolis, you have the choice to
go across the Island, via the Kejimujik National Park to Lunenburg,
or take the longer route around the southern tip. The park does offer
great hiking and water sports options, but the southern route is stunningly
beautiful; even more so on a beautiful clear day like today promised
to be. From Annapolis to Yarmouth, the coast road is called either
the, South Shore drive, or the Evangeline Trail. The powerful story
of the mass deportation of the Arcadians by the British. The area
between Digby and Yarmouth, still has a strong Arcadian heritage and
is a pleasant mix of Canada and France.
You need to take care to allow enough time to do the drive and pick
the right road. A relatively new road Hwy 101 follows the road but
you want old Hwy 1. You will need to carefully map read today and
on some occasions follow your nose! In doing so, you will be rewarded
by a delightful experience. Even allowing a whole day, you will not
be able to follow the coast road all the way to Lunenburg. The section
from Digby to Yarmouth, and from Yarmouth to Jordan Falls, is probably
the best. If you like dramatic sea scapes, small coves and real fishing
communities, then this is the area for you. If you want to follow
the coast road all the way round, in my view, you would best considering
an extra night in Yarmouth, to allow you to savour and experience
the small town atmosphere.
We arrived in Lunenbug at about 6 o'clock. More about Lunenburg tomorrow
but we are staying at the Mariner King Arms right in the centre of
this delightful town. A wide choice of high quality places to eat,
in what is fast becoming one of the real 'foodie' destinations in
Thursday 19 Sept
A special day for us as our daughter was born 30 years ago today.
Our son, who was at school at the time, was not too happy to have
to leave school at play time to go and meet his new sister!
had a very good continental breakfast at the Mariner King Arms, which
was very European and featured cheeses, hams and pickled herrings;
a particular favourite of mine. The breads were very varied so quite
a nice change from the norm. We were able to leave the car with the
hotel and walk to the Fisheries Museum. This has always been a favourite
of mine, and I was pleased my wife also found it fascinating. Besides
telling the story, you can board two ships from earlier days, fitted
out as if they were about to depart to fish in the Atlantic. Last
night, one of these ships were being used (we saw this when we went
for a walk), as the back drop for a new film; featuring Beethoven
(the dog not the composer!)
is hilly, and some roads are quite steep. It pays to have a drive
around to get your bearings which saves lots of walking up an down.
The shopping area is in one area but the art galleries are in quite
a different part! We then left and travelled along the lighthouse
route towards Peggy's Cove. There are two ways to go, up the highway,
and that takes about 90 minutes, or the scenic way via Mahone Bay,
Chichester which takes about 3 hours. If you can take the scenic route
the do, as it is really beautiful. Many people think that Peggy's
Cove is the gem, but personally, I feel that Mahone Bay has a lot
to offer. We had a lovely picnic overlooking the bay in the sun with
25C! We, of course, visited Peggy's Cove which, although busy, was
nowhere as busy as in the mornings. A top tip:- if there are cruise
ships in Halifax, then leave early to get ahead of the crowds. We
then drove back across the Province to Wolfville for our final night
of this trip to Canada.
Friday 20 Sept
We spent our final night in Canada in the The Victorian Inn, Wolfville.
Wolfville is located in a very fertile area about a 75 minute drive
north of Halifax.This is an area settled by the Arcadians, whose story
has been a constant part of this trip. The fertile nature of the land,
much of which was created but the reclamation from the sea by building
dykes (very like in Holland), quickly made this area the most important
in the area; now known as Nova Scotia.
The principle reason to visit was to visit Grand Pre, this is a National
Park site that tells the story of the early settlement and the removal
of the Arcadians by the British in 1775. The story is quite political,
and in reality, it is not part of history that we can be proud off.
The removal was brutal, and probably done more so we could claim the
fertile lands than for the political reason stated. I feel the visit
is well worthwhile and there are now a host of Nova Scotia wineries
located in the area. Many have followed the model set up in the Napa
Valley in California, many also have fine dining associated with a
visit to the winery. We then drove back to Halifax, Jean had only
really seen it in the rain so I wanted her to experience it in the
sun! What a difference the sun makes!
The flight home leaves Halifax at 23.45 which is not the best. It
does give a last full day, but the airport is not at its best late
at night. Perhaps a case of can you close the door of the aiport as
you board the plane! The flight home is 5 hours and 45 minutes. Arrival
back at LHR was quite normal, baggage came quite quickly and the meet
and greet car delivery meant we were driving out of the airport less
than 45 minutes from touching down. However, we then saw more traffic
in the next 2 hours drive home than in over 2 hours of driving in
Nova Scotia. The lesson to draw from this is that, if you drove to
the airport in the UK, then driving in Maritime Canada is a true holiday.
for reading this blog, I have enjoyed writing it and it does impose
a discipline to collect thoughts.
I will be updating our Top Tips for Maritime Canada based on information
gathered on this trip. If you have any questions of need any extra
information please feel free to email me personally at Malcolm.email@example.com
we have been selected by the Canadian Tourist Commission to
be the lead tour operator for the winter sales campaign for Maritime
Canada. As a company, we are proud that our efforts to promote this
area have been recognised.
See when we write the next blog?