Halifax vacations exceed expectations

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Posted September 23, 2015 by Rod Charles in Canadian Museums
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On guard at Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada. (Rod Charles/Vacay.ca)

Vacay.ca has teamed with Choice Hotels Canada to create a series of articles highlighting the best bargain hotel travel experiences in the country this fall and winter. In the second installment of the series, Vacay.ca Deputy Editor Rod Charles explores Halifax.

by Rod Charles
Vacay.ca Deputy Editor

As an outsider, two things strike me when I visit the city of Halifax – the ocean and the history. If you get a chance to visit this enchanting east coast gem, you’ll understand why that is.

In Halifax, the ocean is like a skin, a part of its anatomy that surrounds and has literally shaped the city. You simply can’t begin to understand the friendly people who call this charming outpost home until you understand its connection to the ocean. Whether you’re learning about the area history at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, strolling along the waterfront on a walking tour, enjoying a tuna steak at one of many distinguished local restaurants or just watching the sunset, the connection to the sea is unforgettable.

One place to begin your journey is at Chateau Bedford, part of the Ascend Hotel Collection , located in a lush part of the city right next to Hemlock Ravine Park.

Chateau Bedford, Halifax
Website: http://www.choicehotels.ca/cna64
Address: 133 Kearney Lake Rd
Phone: 1-902-445-1100
Amenities: Free wired and wireless high speed Internet, mini fridge and guest safe, complimentary newspapers, fitness centre, complimentary hot breakfast and swimming pool.
Click here to sign up for Choice Privileges Loyalty program for free nights!

This hotel has 98 comfortable, contemporary rooms, each with 1 or 2 queen beds and executive rooms with a king bed.

Five Terrific Reasons to Visit Chateau Bedford, Halifax

Water, water everywhere: Leave the comfort of Chateau Bedford and head for the beauty of Halifax Waterfront, a captivating stretch of boardwalk that runs roughly two kilometres from Casino Nova Scotia (1983 Upper Water Street) to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 (1055 Marginal Road). Dotted with magnificent places to shop or get a bite to eat, Halifax Waterfront is teeming with activity and life. It’s also the second-largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney, Australia.

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One of the first things you will see when you walk into the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is a replica of an unfortunate pirate who met his fate in a gibbet. (Rod Charles/Vacay.ca)

Ocean history, inspiring and sad: The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (1675 Lower Water Street) is a must-see for anyone visiting Halifax. You will see several exhibits that tell the story of Halifax’s relationship to the ocean. Unlike the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in the popular village of Lunenburg, which tells the story of the ocean from a fisherman’s perspective, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic tells it from a marine commercial perspective.

The museum tells the story of important events that not only affected Halifax, but had an impact on the world as well. One intriguing exhibit deals with the Halifax Explosion of 1917, which occurred when the munitions ship Mont Blanc collided with the Belgian relief ship SS Imo triggering an explosion that devastated the city and killed more than 1500. Another exhibit deals with the sinking of the Titanic, which occurred in 1912. Artifacts include a model of the ship and a replica of the deck, as well as baby shoes from a child that was lost in the disaster. This is the only museum in Nova Scotia that has Titanic articles. Another place to pay homage to the Titanic is Fairview Cemetery, the final resting place of 121 people who lost their lives in the disaster. Over 1,500 lives were lost when the ship went down in the North Atlantic.

The museum also has other interesting and educational displays about the Canadian navy and Canada’s role during World War One and Two.

When you’re ready to head back to your hotel, it’s time for a swim. Chateau Bedford has a lovely family pool. So your enjoyment of water doesn’t have to end when you leave the waterfront.

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Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 will inspire you. (Rod Charles/Vacay.ca)

Pier 21: If you’re feeling lucky, check out Casino Nova Scotia (1983 Upper Water St). On the other end of the boardwalk is the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 (1055 Marginal Rd). Pier 21 was a major exit and entrance point for many new immigrants to Canada. For many soldiers who left our country to fight in the wars, it was the last time they ever saw home. Pier 21 was also where many war brides arrived in Canada after the war was over to be with their husbands. The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 was one reason why we selected Halifax as one of our Top 20 Places To Visit In 2014.

Why Museum of Immigration hits home

Food that inspires: The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market (Lower Water St) is a must-see for anyone visiting the waterfront. Created by Royal Proclamation in June 1750 just a year after the founding of the city, Halifax Farmers’ Market is the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America. You’ll find everything you need here – crafts, art, fresh food, delicious treats and more likely than not, live music. Before heading back to Chateau Bedford to watch a movie or relax after a dip in the pool, be sure to pick up a couple of drinks, sandwiches and cookies to make the evening perfect.

If you’re looking for a slightly more relaxing dining experience, Halifax has several restaurants to choose from and there are too many to mention here. Several restaurants from Halifax have made our Top 50 Restaurants in Canada list, including Brooklyn Warehouse (2013), Chives (2013, 2014), Edna Restaurant (2015) and Morris East, Halifax (2013).

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada: A diamond in the Parks Canada family, the Halifax Citadel sits on its hilltop location like a crown over this proud city. Built in 1749 to protect the city, the Citadel offers a look back at what life was like with the 78th Highlanders and the 3rd Brigade Royal Artillery.

The museum features special events throughout the year. As many as one hundred historic re-enactors set up an authentic military camp in the Citadel’s ditch to allow visitors an opportunity to experience what life was like at the time of the American Revolution. Parks Canada also presents special displays that illustrate the story of Canada’s involvement in the two World Wars.

Besides the history, one big reason to get up there is for the view. Surrounded by a sea of green grass, this is truly the best place to see the city of Halifax. Who knows, look hard enough and you may even be able to see Chateau Bedford.


About the Author

Rod Charles
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Rod has previously worked for Canoe.ca and is currently freelancing for Huffington Post Travel. He’s also written travel articles for the Toronto Star and Up! Magazine. Living in Toronto but raised in the small central Ontario village of Holstein, Rod is a country boy at heart who has never met a farmer’s market he didn’t like.

 
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