It was a short flight from Sydney to Halifax - less than an hour I think. My luggage was the first off of the plane so I was first in the line up for a cab. The Halifax airport is a good distance form the city - enough for a $70 cab ride.
The only wrinkle in my travel day was arriving at the wrong hotel. There are two Delta hotels in Halifax - I wanted the Delta Halifax on Barrington Street but ended up on the Delta Barrington. Oh well, it was a 5 minute walk to the other hotel.
When I finally arrived my room had a great view of the harbour.
I quickly got settled and headed out to explore a bit.
The first order of business was to get something to eat - I hadn't eaten a thing since breakfast.
There were a number of kiosks selling food along the waterfront. One specialized in lobster rolls. MMMMM
After walking the waterfront a bit I decided to head back to the hotel for a nap.
ON the way I ended up on the Grand Parade - The Grand Parade is an historic military parade square dating from the founding of Halifax in 1749. At the north end of the Grand Parade is the Halifax City Hall, the seat of municipal government in Nova Scotia's Halifax Regional Municipality.
At the south end is St. Paul's Church. In the middle of Grand Parade is the cenotaph built originally to commemorate the soldiers who served in World War I.
St. Paul's Church is the first Protestant Church built in Canada and the oldest building in Halifax. Founded in 1749, the first service held on 2 September 1750. It is the oldest still-standing Anglican church in Canada. It is based on the ground plan of the Gibbs church of St. Peter's, Vere Street in London, with later additions such as a larger tower. For many decades it was one of the only places of worship in Halifax, and other denominations would thus hold services in the building.
During the Halifax Explosion of 1917, a piece of wooden window frame from another building was lodged into the wall of St. Paul's Church, where it remains today.
A recent addition to the Grand Parade was a memorial to peace officers. The concrete arch was unveiled on October 17, 2010 as a memorial to peace officers killed in the line of duty. It is inscribed with the names of 21 fallen Nova Scotia peace officers.
The city has done a great job of making the Grand Parade more open and accessible to the public - even placing brightly coloured tables and chairs throughout so that people could gather and relax.
On Friday we woke to cooler temperatures and grey skies. Rose and I decided to visit the town of Baddeck for the day. Baddeck is a picturesque, vibrant little village right in the heart of Cape Breton Island set on the shores of the great inland sea known as the Bras d’Or Lakes. Baddeck is widely known as ‘the beginning and end’ of the famous Cabot Trail, a magnificent scenic drive along some of the most stunningly beautiful coastline in the world!
The town's most famous resident was the illustrious Alexander Graham Bell, who moved to the area in 1885, shortly after inventing the telephone. Bell's plane, the Silver Dart, flew over Baddeck Bay in 1909 to complete the first recorded flight in the British Empire. Nowadays Baddeck is a resort town, drawing tourists from all over the world who want to learn about Bell and his remarkable life at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site.
We did some running around in Sydney before the drive to Baddeck. Because of the fog we didn't stop at any of the scenic look outs . . . we'd have had a lovely view of fog. LOL When we arrived in Baddeck it was clear that we were there in the off-season - not a bad thing since the small town can be thronging with visitors. What it meant though was that many of the spots we wanted to go for lunch were closed. We found an open cafe and grabbed some lunch.
After lunch we wandered around the town admiring the old buildings and the waterfront.
After our wandering we decided to visit the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. Situated at the edge of the town from the site’s roof-top deck, you can see the headlands of Beinn Bhreagh, Bell’s beloved summer home where many scientific inventions and explorations took flight.
You feel instantly at home with the landscape, as Bell did when he arrived in 1885 and established his summer refuge. So compelled was Bell by Cape Breton’s beauty he believed the area outrivaled any other place in his global travels. It was here where he set down his roots and engaged in many experiments - far more than just the telephone. On the waters the fastest boat on the planet raced - the precursor to the hydrofoil, and in 1909 the first flight in the British Empire took place on the ice.
Yesterday's plans were to drive to Kim's house and load ourselves into her truck. We were then going to explore the area around Louisbourg - an area where Kim's family is from. The Fortress of Louisbourg is a National Historic Site of Canada and the location of a one-quarter partial reconstruction of an 18th-century French fortress. Paul and I had been 15 years ago so it was great to see the changes.
We decided to just take it easy - if we passed something interesting we'd stop and wander. Between Kim, Rose, and I we saw lots of places to stop. In the end I put more than 17,000 steps on my FitBit!
It was a great travel day yesterday. I mean, the usual annoyances were had to b sure but given all of the things which could have crapped out on me it was great.
I tried a new driver service to the airport - this one owned by a former student of mine. The driver was early. He turned out to be the brother-in-law of my former student, and we had the best conversation on the way to the airport. I will certainly use this company again!
Check in and everything was fine - well, except for the ginormous paper cut I got from the luggage tag. What a klutz.
It used to be someone did that for you. Now in the name of efficiency they got rid of the staff that did those jobs and they make the traveler do it. Warning - careful for paper cuts!!! Actually they should have warning signs posted. If I was in the US I bet someone would have sued by now and there'd be huge warning signs posted. Of course, in Canada we generally take the view that 'it's is common sense loon, think for yourself!':-)
There was a short layover in Sydney where I found a store selling Nova Scotia wines and craft spirits. 20 minutes in the airport and I find a place to shop. It doesn't take me long to start amassing bags as I contribute to the local economy.
The flight to Sydney was short. It's been some time since I have been in one of those small propeller plans - I used to call them boneshakers when I did a lot of traveling to our northern locals back in the day. The young lady across from me had clearly never been in a small plane like that because as soon as the propellers started and the plane tarted vibrating she got such a look of terror on her face that I had to hide a laugh.
Rose was waiting, we loaded up the car with luggage and headed out to Glace Bay.
I realized I hadn't eaten since the Toronto airport so we decided to get some lunch. There was a place in town famous for their chicken. My friend Joanne would call it a 'fried things in baskets' place. It was amazing! We loaded up on onion rings, fresh cut fries, and amazing chicken. I'd eat there every day if I could.
When we got to Rose's house we just hung out and chatted. My great niece is every bit as smart and wonderful as I had been told. I had a great chat with my nephew. . . and he had a big bottle of single malt scotch waiting for me which was even more fun. :-)
It was nice to just relax, hang out, and catch up.
Later Rose's friend Kim came over and we had a good time chatting. Before you knew it was bedtime.
Things may be a bit intermittent here for the next week. :-)
The annual meeting of the General Secretaries and Deputy General Secretaries from across Canada takes place in Halifax Sunday to Tuesday.
I didn't DARE fly to Halifax and not pop up to visit my sister on Cape Breton (about a 45 minute flight). I'll have three days to hang out with her followed by three days at the meeting and then back home.
It will be enough of a vacation to tide me over until our New York/Bermuda cruise/Montreal mash up in July.
This column made me smile - particularly when the Hamilton Spectator was caught recently sharing 'news' that they had just picked up from a satirical humour magazine. Such was their rush to smear the NDP that they never bother to checked the claims, nor did they properly attribute the alleged fact.
In our brave new ‘post-truth’ world, every fact needs a fact checker
The Globe and Mail
As a parent, you gaze into the future and think: In what direction should I encourage my child? Where will she find job security and contentment and meaning? Many of us are hoping our children will find a foothold in the STEM professions, or the blackjack tables.
But there’s another growth industry out there, and that’s in fact checking and lie debunking. In a fine column in the Guardian recently, Jonathan Freedland asserted that we live, politically, in a “post-truth” world, pointing to the unabashed mendacity of campaigners such as Boris Johnson and Donald Trump.
That was even before Mr. Johnson, London’s former mayor and current Brexit champion, told a porky about how the European Union restricts the sale of bananas to bunches of twos and threes. Members of BBC’s Reality Check team went out and bought five bananas in a bunch, thus humiliating Mr. Johnson and joining Woodward and Bernstein in the pantheon of heroic journalists.
Will it make a difference to the Brexit campaign? Probably not, no. Pubs from Liverpool to Land’s End will be filled with drinkers shaking their heads over Brussels’s bananas decision-making. An equal number will tell them to shut their stupid gobs, and all will turn to their cellphones for wisdom.
This is where hope lies: In the past several years, there has been a vast sprouting of impartial political fact-checking outfits, which flourish in these dark times like mushrooms in a bed of … well, you know where mushrooms grow. These groups, including FullFact, PolitiFact, FactCheck, FactsCan and many more, take politicians’ statements and attempt to sort the authentic claims from the stuff that your Aunt Cindy posts on Facebook.
I’m sure that many of the people who work as political fact miners spend much of their time in despair, and wonder why they didn’t do something easy, such as become bushfire pilots. Consider the singular case of Donald Trump, declared “King of the Whoppers” by FactCheck.Org. “In the 12 years of FactCheck.org’s existence,” the Annenberg Public Policy Center team wrote, “we’ve never seen his match.”
Over at the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, about 70 per cent of Mr. Trump’s claims are found to merit “four Pinocchios,” the worst rating. As Fact Checker’s Glenn Kessler writes, “Trump makes Four-Pinocchio statements over and over again, even though fact checkers have demonstrated them to be false. He appears to care little about the facts.”
Imagine, a man who appears to have impersonated his own publicist, then lied about it, having trouble with the facts. I don’t have room to get into all of Mr. Trump’s whoppers, because I don’t have Tolstoy’s page count, but they include, in no particular order of egregiousness or absurdity, lies about: President Barack Obama’s birthplace; crimes committed by immigrants; celebrations of 9/11 committed by Muslims; his position on the Iraq war; his net worth; the role of Ted Cruz’s father in the Kennedy assassination; the U.S. unemployment rate; and hairspray.
Despite this Fuji of fibs, Mr. Trump’s popularity continues to grow among his base. He could tell them, at this point, “God gave me these four hands so I could better run the White House,” and his supporters would say, “Yep, he’s got four hands and they’re all yuge.” A national Fox News poll this week found that Mr. Trump actually outscored Hillary Clinton in terms of trustworthiness: 66 per cent of respondents didn’t find Ms. Clinton honest, but only 57 per cent said the same thing about Mr. Trump.
But wait, you might say: What about Hillary’s trustworthiness? Have I not seen this week’s viral masterpiece, “Hillary Clinton Lying for 13 Minutes Straight,” which is a clip of the former secretary of state’s policy shifts over the years? I have, in fact, and I discounted most of it as the usual slipperiness of the career politician. There were policy backtracks, but not blatant lies. Although, when I analyzed my own biases (which lean strongly toward Ms. Clinton and away from Mr. Trump), I admit that I’m as guilty as Mr. Trump’s supporters of an insidious psychological trap called motivated reasoning.
Motivated reasoning, social scientists will tell you, is one of the ways people have difficulty separating fact from belief, and it’s deadly dangerous at election time. It’s the idea that when you have an emotional stake in the outcome of a particular event, you tend to believe information, however spurious, that supports that outcome.
For example, season ticket holders for the Toronto Maple Leafs will discount the evidence of history, statistics and their own eyes to believe that this is the year the Stanley Cup will be delivered from on high. Instead of doing something more useful with their money, like throwing it into a fiery pit of lava, they’ll buy the same seats again.
By the same token, if you already believe that immigrants are stealing your jobs and your money, you are more likely to nod when Donald Trump says the same thing, even if his face is obscured by the cloud of smoke coming from his flaming pants.
In the immortal words of David Byrne, “Facts all come with points of view /Facts don’t do what I want them to.” In a post-truth world, impartial evidence will be as precious as platinum, as rare as a Vancouver bungalow selling for less than a million. Mamas, let your babies grow up to be fact checkers. It’s a public service.
We left the snow behind and headed to California for a long weekend of fun. We shoppedm toured wineries, tasted olive oil, met up with good friends, and ate some wonderful food. I can't wait for slow bowl 2009.