If you are staying in Downtown Halifax, get used to going up and down hills. Though hardly a brutal climb, it is something to be aware of if you are from flat country. It's also not very far to walk, so don't despair. Particularly if you are thinking of wheeling your luggage up the hill or carrying lots of shopping bags.
During my 2012 visit I noticed many areas with ongoing construction or better said: demolition.
Some historical buildings suddenly are gone forever.
I hope some landmarks will be saved.
Nova Centre webcam at Argule street.
At times you may step into a time machine and land way back at a different spot on the globe.
Halifax is a booming location for shooting movies, due the the mild tax ruling on the salaries for actors.
So, don't be surprised if you end up at San Francisco's Fisherman's Warf some 150 years back in stead of walking along the Halifax harbour.
BTW Also the town of Lununburg is used as a movie location.
The people of Halifax (they call themselves Halligonians) are very outgoing and friendly. It's easy to feel welcome when you visit this world-class city abeam the maritimes.
But, the people - and especially the young people - seem to have a slightly offbeat view of life and the world. They enjoy being silly and and a bit daft, and they (as we sometimes say in America) clearly march to the beat of a different drummer. The best way I can describe it to world travellers would be comparing the folks in Halifax to the citizenry in Berlin, especially the citizens of the former "West Berlin". It's a difficult "way" to describe, but they're realistic and maybe a little fatalistic, and yet so willing to engage in foolishness. I can imagine this as a town that would love Monty Python movies.
They are full of life, and they see life and living through different shades, so to speak. You'll see what I mean.
The photo below shows two high school students we encountered in town. They were collecting money for a "cure cancer" campaign, and these two fools had decided taping themselves together would be a better way to attract attention. I guess it worked because I gave them $5 or something like that.
There was another kid who had a guitar and he was playing and singing Dylanesque folk tunes. He was horrible and that was his schtick.... people could contribute a certain amount of money and he wouldn't play for a certain number of minutes. You can actually see the guitar guy in the photo below, to the right.
See what I mean?
While not as hilly as, say, St. John's in Newfoundland, Downtown Halifax and Dartmouth do have a few pretty steep hills. Citadel hill rises above the harbour so the streets heading down to the harbour from it can be daunting. The main streets are parallel to the hill so are flat (Barrington, Hollis, Granville, Grafton, Brunswick, Argyle, Market, Lower/Upper Water, Bedford Row).
I generally do the "zig zag" approach (up a block, over a block on the flat,etc) but the easiest route from the waterfront/ferry terminal area to Barrington street is to head north along Lower Water (cross over) and where it meets the interchange with Hollis, turn left, BE CAREFUL crossing Hollis, keep to the right and go around the end of the buildings and you'll find yourself in the pedestrian section of Granville and the back of the Delta Barrington hotel. Go into the back doors at the right end of the building, up one set of escalators and out the door ahead of you. You're on Barrington Street and there are lots of busses on both sides of the street, depending on where you need to go.
You will see a lot of Panhandles in Halifax. That's because Halifax is the centre of the Maritimes and there is no where else that a panhadler would be able to have enough people to pass them to give them money.
Most of them are nice, will ask you for money and let you pass. There is a rare few who might make a disgruntled comment. Just keep on walking.
No one will follow you... don't worry.
If you don't want to hand out moeny, then don't do it. Just keep on going.
My best peice of advice is not to avoid the places where you see these people mill about... especially in front of the library on Spring Garden Road.
There is no way to see everything this great city has to offer in just one or two days. Plan on spending a fair amount of time here. If that's not possible--like it wasn't with Bobby and me--then make an effort or promise to return. From the shops to the galleries and museums and from the historical sites to the waterfront and outlying areas, it's hard to fit everything in.
During 2002 there was an instance when a young couple from England set off for their dream wedding in Sydney, Australia. They got a very good deal on the air tickets - only realizing their mistake when they landed in Sydney, Nova Scotia a city on Cape Breton Island! Not to be deterred, they decided to make the best of it and, with the cooperation of officials, had their wedding there instead and honeymooned on the Cabot Trail. They enjoyed the experience so much that they plan to return again!
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