Monday, August 30, 2010

HRM Point of Interest #15: Harbour Hopper Tour

When I was in Toronto this summer I had planned to go an amphibious vehicle tour but I ran out of time; naturally then, it was a pleasant surprise when I found out Halifax also had a similar tour. Unfortunately though, while I now had the time, I did not have the money. Thankfully a friend of mine from my church, and a fellow EPDTN reader, offered to treat me to a ride on the Harbour Hopper this last Sunday, and I'm delighted to say that I had a blast.

The Harbour Hopper's website claims that it is the most popular tour in Halifax. I'm not surprised, as it is the only tour which allows you to go on land and water. That said, you'll never hear me say that the Harbour Hopper is the most comfortable tour in Halifax....

The Harbour Hopper Tour "bus" is a actually a refitted Vietnam War-era Lark V. The Lark V was an amphibious transport vehicle designed to carry up to five-tons worth of troops from the supply ships anchored off land into the military bases in the jungles of Vietnam, often over 1.5 miles away. Each Lark V/Harbour Hopper weighs 19 000 lbs, has no suspension, and sounds like two dump trucks trying to win a "make the most noise" competition. None of that matters though, when you get to splash into the Harbour.

The tour goes past all of the standard Halifax points of interest, many of which I've mentioned before on this blog, like Spring Garden Road, the Citadel, and the Grand Parade, but it's the lively and informative commentary by the guides that really makes the trip fun.

I sat at the back of the Hopper, near the engine (engines?) and so could barely hear, but despite all the racket I can say it was easily one of the most exciting things I've done in Halifax since attending the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Random Halifax Picture #10

Rather than going to Tim Horton's, the "bikers" (it doesn't really count if you aren't using your legs) in Halifax like to hand out at Chebucto Landing, near the Naval Dockyard Clock, on the Halifax Waterfront. To be fair to motorcyclists in other cities without waterfronts, there is a Tim Horton's in the ferry terminal, just out of shot.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Special Announcement: 500th View

Ea-Pea Dave's Terra Nova just received its 500th view this evening. Again, another big thank-you to all of my readers. EPTN's next goal is to reach 1000 views.

HRM Monument #25: Memorial To John Cabot

In 1497 John Cabot landed at Newfoundland making the "discovery" of Canada. This piece of art was erected by the District of Venice, Italy, in 1997, to mark the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Cabot. While Cabot later sailed down the coast and found Cape Breton Island, I cannot think of any reason why this relief exists on the Halifax Waterfront near Sackville Landing, and not somewhere closer to Newfoundland.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Life of an Ea-Pea, Episode 2: In The Dark

When I first moved to my new apartment back in June, it took roughly eight days to get my power hooked up because of an unforeseen complication. In that time I had no power at all and no lights. I remember one person asked me how I could live in the dark, and then jokingly quipped that surely I didn't plan to live by lighting candles every night. The truth is though, that's exactly how I survived. I did everything by sun light during the day, and by candle light at night.

When I finally did get my electricity connected, I felt that it would be a shame to pollute the environment so unnecessarily by relying on my lights like I used to do before this experience. While I do turn on my lights, now and then, for tasks that require acute vision (e.g., cutting thin slices of cheese, or finding my keys), for the most part I live entirely off of natural light sources.

Furthermore, I remembered from a couple of years back how a friend of mine used to unplug all of his non-essential electronics at night to help minimize "phantom drain" (electricity drawn by a device even when it's turned "off"). While my electronic possessions are minimal, I adapted this technique for my most energy intensive activity: blogging. I run my netbook on battery power until it is nearly empty, charge it up again, and then unplug the power cord from the wall and run the battery down again. I repeat as necessary, every day. At night, or when I leave my home, I unplug all the power cords in my house except for the cord for my refrigerator.

The purpose of my energy conservation techniques are two fold. A) Using less energy costs less money, and B) There's no such thing as "clean energy". Every kWh I don't use is one less kWh worth of carbon emitted into the atmosphere from the coal-based power plant used to produce the electricity in the first place.

One day soon I hope to have the money to have my apartment's carbon emissions offset by Bullfrog Power's "cleaner" energy. Until then I'll help save the planet by opening up the curtains on my window and unplugging my modem at night.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nova Scotia National Historic Site #9: York Redoubt

York Redoubt was first fortified in 1793, when war broke out between Britain and France. General James Ogilvie, the British commander at Halifax during this time, built a two-gun battery along the south shore of the Northwest Arm, near the entrance, to help defend the harbour.

The defences were later improved by Prince Edward, the fourth son of King George III, when he was commander at Halifax from 1794 to 1800. By 1800 the site had an eight-gun battery and a round Martello Tower, with a signal mast to provide early warning of an enemy attack. Edward named the site York Redoubt in honour of the Duke of York, his brother.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

HRM Point Of Interest #13: Naval Dockyard Clock

The Naval Dockyard Clock was fabricated in London, England, in 1767 by Ayneth Thwaites. It served as the main time piece for countless sailors and dockyard workers from 1772 to 1993. The Naval Dockyard Clock is the last remaining architectural feature of the original Halifax Naval Dockyard, and one of the oldest turret clocks in Canada.

In 1996 the Navy presented this clock to the Halifax Regional Municipality to be placed here at Chebucto Landing, on the Halifax Waterfront, the place where the original European settlers arrived in 1749.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Random Halifax Picture #9

This isn't really a random picture, it's my old bicycle. I purchased this second-hand, back in June, because I needed a quick way to get around. It wasn't much of a bike though, but as the website for the bike shop said, "it takes a special kind of bicycle to be a $100 bicycle", so I knew what I was getting in to before I bought it (for the record, it cost $150, but that's not much better). In fact one of the workers at Cyclesmith (not where I bought it) who had to fix the tire on it once told me, "my girlfriend had this same bike and it was horrible twenty years ago, so I can't imagine it's much better now."

Nevertheless, even though the seat post clamp wouldn't tighten properly, so I had to constantly pull it up at every red light, and the brakes didn't work at all during the rain, and the dérailleurs were constantly giving me issues, it was still my bike and I felt pretty close to it. It was also instrumental in helping me collect most of the pictures you've seen on this website up until now.

However, a couple of weeks ago I was going to see a friend, and the front tire exploded, and so did the tube. At the same time, the chain slipped off the front and jammed itself up in between the chain rings. That was the third blown tire on the bike in that one week alone, and after being told by someone at Cyclesmith that it needed about $400 worth of work done on it, I thought it wasn't worth it and decided to buy a new bicycle.

This picture is the last I ever saw of my bicycle after walking it over to donate to a North End community bike charity. I hope someone else has more success with it than I did.

For the record, my new bike is awesome. I also bought a rack on the back, and rigged up a "unique" basket for it. I have fenders to keep my shirt from getting muddy in the rain, and lights and a bell. In short, it's the ultimate EP Cruiser. I'll show a picture soon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

EP Road Trip #2: Kejimkujik National Park

One of my sub goals during all of my proposed travelling/living around this country is to visit every single National Park, Marine Conservation Area, and National Park Reserve in Canada. Over the past weekend I made yet another trip with my church's young adults group, this time to camp for two nights in Kejimkujik National Park. One Park down, 44 more to go.

The National Park system in Canada is a Federal initiative to protect and present outstanding representative examples of natural landscapes and natural phenomena that occur in the 39 natural regions of Canada. Kejimkujik National Park is the only inland National Park in Atlantic Canada, but it is rich in historical significance. The large lake in the centre of the Park served as an ancient "inland port" and safe haven, during the colder fall and winter months, to the Mikmaw (Mikmaq) people that lived here and would travel the complex network of rivers and lakes to arrive from their summer camps along the Atlantic coast.

Even today, visitors to the area still enjoy canoeing those same routes that Canada's original people paddled, as well as mountain biking, camping, and going on guided history walks to ancient historically significant areas. I was not able to see the famous Mikmaw stone carvings called Petroglyphs during this trip, due to time constraints, but I will return on a future trip to explore the park more thoroughly.

(Keji Beach at the peaceful, and surprisingly warm, Lake Kejimkujik.)

(The "Mighty" Mersey meandering its way through the old growth hemlock forests of Kejimkujik.)

(A family enjoys itself at the popular Mill Falls - once the location of a portable steam mill run by Morris Zwicker in the early 1900s.)

(A cable and cart system used to measure water depths at the centre of the river.)

(I set out on Saturday to find the Visitor Information Centre, which I thought was only 3 km away from my camp site. It turned out to be 7 km away. On the way back I took an even longer route through the trees to stay out of the blazing hot sun. It wasn't a complete disaster though, as I was able to get this beautiful shot - in my opinion the best hiking trail picture I've ever taken. Total hiking distance for the day ~ 20 km.)

(Some of my fellow church campers were nervous about the wildlife, but compared to Jasper National Park, in which you are almost guaranteed to see at least one ungulate and/or predator each time you visit, Kejimkujik National Park is about as wild as South Korea. This was the most vicious animal I could find.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

HRM Monument #24: Humagination

"Humagination" (a combination of "Human" and "imagination") is another piece of "Public Art" which graces Halifax beautiful downtown section. It was sculpted by local artist Adrien Francescutti in 1979, who also sculpted "Orzo" (or "The Kiss" as it is commonly known). The title for "Humagination" was picked by the artist's roommate from a contest the Francescutti held to "name this rock".

Friday, August 20, 2010

Life Of An Ea-Pea, Episode 1: The 1000 Mile Diet

When I first arrived back in Halifax on June 4, after the conclusion of my cross-Canada travels, I told myself that I would try to buy all of my groceries only from one of the various farmers' markets around the region. In fact for my first three days back, when I was living at a hostel, I ate nothing but beets, beet greens, carrots, carrot greens, and rye bread that I had found at the nearby Halifax Farmers' Market.

I had been inspired by the dedication of authors like Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon who wrote the 100 Mile Diet, about only eating food that had been grown within 100 miles of their home, and numerous other "locavores". I was convinced that eating locally was not only healthier for the environment (think about the damage done by shipping those apples in from South America or cantaloupes from Costa Rica, etc., when they might even be grown in your own province). A problem with my plan arose when I moved further away from the Famers' Market, and realized I did not have the carrying capacity to cycle my groceries back home (or failed to come up with a way to do it). Additionally, the Farmers' Market is only open on Saturdays from 9 AM until Noon, and even though I may be an ea-pea, I just wasn't ready to give up my Saturday mornings when there are four supermarkets within walking range of my current house. (Note: I recently discovered a Thursday afternoon farmers' market even closer to my home than the closest supermarket.)

Enter plan B: The 1000 Mile Diet. I had to be realistic with myself. While eating food only grown 100 miles away might be realistic for middle class yuppies from Vancouver, I was dirt poor, had no capacity to build a garden, and was not mature enough yet in my ea-pea ways to figure out all of my options for buying my food directly from the local farmers. The 1000 Mile Diet involved a pledge to myself to only buy groceries that a) was grown/produced in Canada, and b) came from no further away than Ontario. In a pinch though, I have purchased carrots from New Jersey (roughly 1000 miles away), but only as a last resort.

How do I do it? What does my fridge look like? Well, on any given day I have apples, milk, eggs, potatoes and blueberries from Nova Scotia; delicious, nutritious, organic oatmeal from New Brunswick; and cucumbers, red peppers, and tomatoes from Ontario. On special occasions I even find Nova Scotia carrots, strawberries, cantaloupe, and any of the Ontario vegetables being grown in Nova Scotia too at my local Sobey's, and numerous other Atlantic grown goodies like corn or green and yellow wax beans, or turnips. If I'm patient I can even find peaches from Ontario. In short, I eat a complete diet from food grown/produced only in Eastern Canada.

It's not perfect, but it's a start. By this fall, I hope to be making it to the Farmers' Market on at least a monthly basis, especially now that I have a new bicycle with a basket on the back (more on that in a later Life of an Ea-pea post). Ultimately even, I will eat nothing but hand picked vegetables from my own backyard garden, and hand picked eggs from my own backyard chickens, and even hand squirted milk from my own backyard goat (okay, maybe that last one is a little too ambitious). In conclusion, I am Dave and I am an ea-pea; hear me roar!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

EP Bike Trip #2: Peggy's Cove, Part 2

When I last left you, I was recuperating from my failed first attempt to cycle 43 km to see the world famous village and lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia. Fast forward two days and after filling my new light weight riding pack (a children's backpack I bought at Wal-Mart) with my new light weight, high pressure bicycle pump, spare tube (really just my old tube I had patched up in case of an absolute emergency), a patch kit for any extra punctures I may encure, a smorgasbord of tools, and all the other things I normally bring on a trip, I headed out the door to take another crack at making it all the way.

This time the weather was much more agreeable, and I found it quite pleasant not having to battle the wind. I did however dislike battling the heat that comes with no breeze, especially when I had to wait in line at a road repaving for more than twenty minutes - it'd better get a bicycle lane!

Since I purchased my bicycle in Ottawa, and hadn't had time to set it up properly at the shop before it was shipped (I was on a tight sight seeing schedule), my riding position for the past six weeks or so had been less than optimally efficient. After about 8 km into the ride I figured there was no need to continue torturing myself, and so I pulled over at the only gas station along the entire road to adjust my seat height and position. After fiddling around with every conceivable position for about half an hour, I finally settled on my favourite height/angle, and continued on.

I may have been set back a half-hour, but in hindsight it was definitely worth it. The new position placed my back in better alignment so it didn't get quite as sore, and my legs were able to push more effectively, meaning I practically whizzed along compared to what I had been doing before.

At Shad Bay, the half-way point, I stopped to rest and eat the sandwich and apple I had packed for myself. From here I had one last chance to take the shorter route to Prospect, but I stayed strong and continued on to Peggy's Cove.

This was not the first time I had been to Peggy's Cove - in 2001 I had travelled to Halifax as part of high school music trip. I remember quite distinctly enjoying my visit that first time, but being too immature to truly appreciate it. In fact, one of the main reasons for coming to live in Halifax was to atone for wasting my great chance when I was younger, and to see everything again, the "right way".

During that trip there were three events that stuck out in my mind: 1) Exploring Downtown Halifax, which I actually did very well with no regrets, 2) Visiting the Atlantic Ocean, which I did not do well, but successfully recompleted during EP Bike Trip #1, and finally, 3) going to Peggy's Cove. What follows is the closing of roughly a decades worth of regret (over not paying more attention at Peggy's Cove, not over my whole life), and the beginning of a new chapter for EP Dave, in which I move forward and create new goals.

(I've been waiting roughly nine years to take a picture of these homes. I saw them from the lighthouse when I was here in 2001, but for some reason it was just "too far" to go walk over 200 metres and check them out for myself.)

(This rock, carved with scenes from Peggy's Cove's history/legend, is a memorial to all the fishermen of Peggy's Cove who harvest the ocean - perhaps too much recently. It's called Fishermen's Monument and was carved and donated by local artist William E. deGarthe.)

(There it is, perhaps the most photographed lighthouse in the world. Definitely in all of Canada at least.)

(The fog rolls in quickly though on the coast, and in a matter of minutes the sky can go from clear to thick as soup.)

An interesting side note: The public toilet at Peggy's Cove's Information Centre uses little electricity, employ zero chemicals, create no odour, and produce only safe and reusable end products like compost. In the basement underneath the washroom are four large compost chambers. Any water that is used comes from collected rain water, and waste water is disbursed through a planter bed (whatever that is) to prevent contamination of the ecosystem. These toilets are the first public washroom in Canada to use composting together with treatment from a planter bed.

On my way back home, the sky was still a bit foggy, but I stopped in at a little restaurant along the side of the road in West Dover, called Shaw's Landing (with the beautiful view from the patio seen above). I had noticed on the way to Peggy's Cove that a sign out front said "The Best Fish and Chips" and having seen numerous Fish and Chips shops in Halifax and in Scotland, but never having had the money to go to one (in Halifax), I decided to treat myself. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not have the money at this moment either, but I didn't want to get to the end of my life and regret not having tried those fish and chips.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

EP Bike Trip #2: Peggy's Cove, Part 1

Some time back in July, after I had completed one of my long bicycle rides, I set a goal for myself of being able to ride to Peggy's Cove and back in one day. The distance from my home to Peggy's Cove is roughly 43 km, with a lot of rolling hills. Since that means I would being doing twice my regular distance if I wanted to get back home, I knew I would have to do a fair bit of training first.

My original plan for the "training ride" this day, was to go to the town of Prospect to photograph the quaint fishing village there and then ride back, so that I would get used to having to make a second long ride in the same day (I felt exhausted for the last fifteen kilometres of my Crystal Crescent Bike Trip). However, on this day the wind was a little bit strong, and I started to get upset about it. I was so fed up with battling the head wind, that I decided to try and make it all the way to Peggy's Cove so that I could enjoy the tail wind on the way back.

A couple of days earlier I had seen a petition in one of my local bike shops (Cyclesmith) seeking a paved bicycle lane on the popular Peggy's Cove route. I signed it because any infrastructure work that makes moving easier for riders of bicycles and harder for drivers of cars is a great plan in my mind. Today though, when I got on to Prospect Road, which leads to Peggy's Cove, I found out why everyone wanted to have the bicycle lane.

On the road to Herring Cove, via Purcell's Cove (Purcell's Cove Road) there is a short bicycle lanes for part of the journey, but for the most part the road is wide enough to accommodate both car and bicycle, although not comfortably or conveniently. The road to Peggy's Cove though is ridiculously narrow. I suppose the actually driving lane isn't too bad, but there is absolutely no shoulder whatsoever, which means riders are forced to ride in the lane with the cars when there's barely enough room for the cars. Often I found myself riding on the thin, rough wash-boarded strip of "road" just off to the side of the lane which made for a bumpy ride.

The problem with bumpy rides and road bicycles, is that if you do not have your tires fully inflated it can cause a pinched tube quite easily. I found this out the hard way, after I ran into a small pothole. "Pfffff...." went my front tire immediately (the fourth flat tire I have suffered in the last 8 or so days), and I was left standing there on the side of the road just before the community of Hatchet Lake, with an unusable bicycle.

I thought I saw a garage just up the highway, and I was right, so I decided to walk towards it. When I got there though, the mechanics said they couldn't help me because I didn't have my adapter with me (road bicycle tires have a different shaped valve than a normal mountain bike style tube). Luckily I had brought a sandwich with me though, and after having some lunch I resigned myself to my only remaining option: hitch-hiking back to Halifax.

This was my first time hitch-hiking, so I wasn't sure how long it would take to get picked up, but I have driven past a number of hitch hikers in my day without picking them up (now I feel remorse...), so I had an idea of how it was done. It wasn't as bad as I thought, and after twenty to twenty-five minutes someone turned around to pick me up. Unfortunately they couldn't get me all the way into town, because they were rushed for time, but they did drop me off at a Canadian Tire not too far away from my home.

I went inside the Canadian Tire and bought myself a new bicycle tube. One of the young kids working there helped me change my tube, and he was quite interested in hearing about my hitch-hiking story, as he had never done it before and thought it must have been quite a scary experience. Unfortunately I remembered after the fact that I didn't have my adapter with me and none of the bicycles Canadian Tire sells use a Presta valve, so I couldn't pump my tire up. So after all that wasted time and effort, I was still faced with a roughly hour long walk back home, with a bike that still didn't work properly.

When I did get home, I pumped up my tire and was pleased to see that it looked like a wheel. However, about two hours later I came back and found it flat again. I took off the tire to check for any sharp objects that were still poking through the inside, and found that I had actually torn a hole in the side of the tire, which had pinched the tube as it tried to force its way out. I ended up having to buy a new tube and a new tire. After some deliberation I thought it was best to spend a few extra dollars and buy a more expensive, but thicker, tire that looked and felt much more suitable for taking on potholes and glass from stupid rednecks who chuck their bottles out of their windows (note: this happens far far less in Nova Scotia than in Alberta).

While a lesser ea-pea may have taken the flat as a warning from the road gods to stay away, I was only more resolved to make it to Peggy's Cove, and so I set about preparing for my return attempt in two nights time. (Part 2, to come soon...)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Random Halifax Picture #8

Sarge, and his rider, made an appearance at the Northern Lights Lantern Festival on August 14. I asked the officer if there was an advantage to riding a horse over driving a car or riding a bicycle. The officer told me that being on a horse has two main advantages. A) People who wouldn't normally come talk to the police, will come and talk with him because they want to see the horse. This allows him to become more trusted in the community. B) If crowd control is needed, then riding a horse is the best option since i) the rider can more easily see what's going on, and ii) rather than yelling and screaming to move people out of the way, the horse just takes a step and clears out the path without a fuss or problem. Sarge has his own badge too, as you can see around his neck. Fittingly, it's the badge of a Sergeant, which means he technically outranks his rider.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Halifax International Buskers Festival: August 5-15, 2010

The Halifax International Buskers Festival is the largest and oldest street performers festival in Canada. It has an annual attendance averaging more than 500 000 people over 5 Downtown "stages," and brings in an estimated $20 million dollars in additional revenue to the Downtown Halifax area each summer. Yet despite these obvious upsides, the festival has received zero Provincial dollars in funding for the last three years. Organizers announced a few days ago that this year's festival - the 24th year of Busker Fest - will most likely be the last ever.

Over the course of the 11 days of the festival, I managed to stroll past the Waterfront or Victoria Park stages on three of them. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see the highly acclaimed FlameOz - winners of the 2009 and 2010 Metro People's Choice Award - and I only caught the tail end of the fantastic contortionist routine of Bendy Em. However, my new resolution is to enjoy festivals and performances not on their individual merits, but simply because they're festivals and they're there (see motto under the title of my blog). I find life stops being fun when you're constantly worrying about whether or not you're getting your money's worth, and so I chose to laugh and cheer and clap at whatever performer was up on the stage regardless of the quality of his/her/their performance. Consequently, I had a great time.

The highlight of the Festival for me was when I was called upon to "volunteer" for one of the shows. Actually, I was the third pick, but the other two wussed out and since I was the only one left with any courage I was chosen by default. My job was merely to waste time and fill out the show, I think, by joining with three other volunteers to make a human table in which every person's back was parallel to the ground, yet only the feet of each person was actually in contact with it. This was probably the fifteenth busker "performance" I've attended across the country at various festivals, yet it was the first time I've ever been involved in the show other than being a member of the audience. Since I've been trying to get into the show at every performance I've seen, it was quite satisfying to finally get to be the centre of attention.

(World-class mime, Kate Mior, as Marie Antoinette, hams it up on her "stage" at The Waterfront. I didn't even know that she was doing this until I got my camera back.)

(I'm not sure what's going on here, since I just came in at this moment, but I'm pretty sure it is not what British Health and Safety would deem safe.)

(Australian contortionist, Bendy Em, prepares to shoehorn herself into a 16 inch x 16 inch x 16 inch glass box.)

(Success! I suppose...)

(Captain Finhead, one-half of the "violin stunt team", Strings On Fire, kills some time by juggling flaming torches whilst balancing an axe on his chin.)

("Death defying violin stunts" - four words you don't often hear mentioned in the same sentence. Look closely, the tips of their bows are on fire.)

(Does the above set of photos really need a description? I'll give one anyway. Burnaby Q. Orbax, of the Monsters of Schlock, drives a 5 3/4" nail into his skull, and then a "lucky" member of the audience gets to pull it back out again.

(Just for good measure, Mr. Orbax then decides to hammer a dinner fork into his skull.)

(Burnaby's "step-brother", Sweet Pepper Klopek, dives face first into the world's largest mouse trap, "useful for catching wild Sweet Peppers in the woods.")

(And the result...)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Northern Lights Lantern Festival: August 14, 2010

When people in Halifax talk to me about the North End, it's usually to warn me not to go there. To be fair, there have been some high profile violent events which have happened there, but as one Halifax police officer stated in a local newspaper, after an area around a North End community housing project was voted by its readers as the most dangerous neighbourhood in Halifax, there are actually other areas in the city in which one is more likely to get into trouble.

Despite once being a high class suburb of Halifax, with all of the glamorous people and shops, the North End was largely forgotten by the city after the '60s, as attention shifted to the downtown area. Once vibrant streets and neighbourhoods fell victim to time and neglect, and now show the visible signs of decay that in my opinion gives them a sense of charm. Despite a recent resurgence in interest by a few brave entrepreneurs, and hipsters, the North End is still an area that is home to a good majority of the poor/black people in Halifax; I suspect this has more to do with the aforementioned "warnings" I've received than anything else.

Despite all of the negative, if any, publicity, I consider the North End of Halifax to be one of my favourite areas. It has a community garden, a number of parks, the friendliest people, and the most interesting historic buildings in all of Halifax. Last week, readers will remember that a free barbecue/concert was put on at a park here by a Dalhousie University radio station; this weekend would see the familiar sights and sounds of the biggest North End event of the year: The 7th Annual Northern Lights Lantern Festival, in Merv Sullivan Park ("The Pit").

The Northern Lights Lantern Festival is an event that has run annually since 2004, with the intention of celebrating North End Halifax. Despite expecting more than 5000 visitors, the event organizers once again chose, in that North End generous fashion I and a few other non-North Enders have come to love, to make the admission, food, concerts, games, events, and other booths and tables entirely free. As usual, I took advantage of this, and stuffed myself with five hot-dogs, two pops, two coffees, about seven Timbits, and a giant cupcake. The only thing that kept me from going back for sixths was my painfully swollen stomach. Did I mentioned that I love the North End?

(The obligatory bouncy castle saw quite a bit of action, unsurprisingly.)

(Unexpectedly though, the Northern Lights Lantern Festival has been the only event I've seen so far to include a free petting zoo, complete with its very own Scottish Highland Cow.)

(Making lanterns for the Parade of Lanterns that is the highlight of every Northern Lights Lantern Festival. I didn't stick around to watch it though, as this was already part of a long and busy day, and I decided that I should go home to rest.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Interesting Person #6 and #7: Jennifer Kean and Mike Cross

Jennifer Kean and Mike Cross are bicycle riders training for a 4300 km ride from Vancouver, British Columbia to Austin, Texas, to raise money/awareness for cancer. This year's ride will be the fourth year in a row a team has been organized by the Halifax charity/volunteer organization, GiveToLive, and both Jennifer and Mike have been personally affected in one way or another by cancer.

To help raise the $5000 each needed to take part in the ride, Jennifer and Mike took part in a gruelling 24 hour training session at the Spring Garden Road Library. This picture was taken in the 22nd hour, and poor Mike could barely move his legs.

Please take a few moments and explore the interesting GiveToLive website to learn more about this great ride/cause. Additionally, please consider donating even a small amount to help support either Jennifer or Mike (or both).

Friday, August 13, 2010

HRM Monument #23: Waverly Legion War Memorial

Erected on November 5, 1967, the Waverly Legion War Memorial is yet another monument dedicated to those brave souls who fought and died while in the service of their country. This monument specifically pays tribute to those deceased individuals who came from the communities of Fall River, Waverly, Lakeview, and Windsor Junction.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

HRM Point of Interest #12: Waverly Heritage Museum

Before 1861, Waverly, Nova Scotia was just a tiny town of 500 people. However, when Willis Brooks found a nugget of gold that year, the town quadrupled in size in just six years. The story of the gold rush, and of Waverly in general is told in pictures and artefacts at the Waverly Heritage Museum inside this quaint, white painted church. The church itself was originally located in nearby Fall River, but was brought down to Waverly during the gold rush in two pieces; each piece drug on a sled by a team of horses.

(An old anvil used to make odd-shaped metal nails. I can see now why the development of the ability to make standard sized parts during the Industrial Revolution was such an important event in our history as a species.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

HRM Monument #22: The Sailor

This monument at Sackville Landing on the Halifax Waterfront is a representation of the brave service of all the valiant Canadians who have served in the Canadian Navy during war time and in peace. It was erected by the Atlantic Chief and Petty Officers' Association.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Random Halifax Picture #7

One of the things I love about living in Halifax is all the odd signs I never even knew existed. I've even seen a sign warning drivers to look out for ducks.

Monday, August 9, 2010

CKDU Fort Needham Park Picnic: August 8, 2010

This is Kathryn. Actually, I never did ask how to spell her name correctly. Since she's one of those Alternapendent type of University people she probably spells it CkA7hyrnne, or something like that. I suppose this picture could even have been part of my Interesting People series, since "Kathryn" is definitely one of those too, but I put it in the random picture series since it was the event I came to see, not the person.

This picture was taken at Fort Needham Park, in the "scary" North End of Halifax, during a free outdoor concert and picnic put on by CKDU 88.1 FM (as you can see on the banner). CKDU is an independent radio station at Dalhousie University, and "Kathryn", who works at the station, organized the entire concert event.

I had relatively little interest in the concert, since living in Halifax means there's a free concert or three every weekend, but I never grow tired of free food.