Halifax, the largest maritime town in Atlantic Canada, stands on the east coast of this North American country. It is the lesser known cousin of its more famous counterpart, Vancouver, on the west coast of Canada. Halifax was the port of entry for British and French immigrants in the 18th century and was later developed into a naval base which is the way it stayed during the First and Second World Wars.

Today, Halifax is a bubbling town and an attractive destination for international students seeking graduate and post-graduate qualifications offering a wide variety of options to choose from. Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University, the NSCAD University, Saint Mary's University and the University of King's College are all located within the Halifax Regional Municipality.

I shall be bringing you a series of stories, activities and events about this delightful town which has so much to offer, and yet, is not so large that you could get lost in the maze.

Photo Credits: Culture Trip
Photo Credits: Wikipedia

The first aspect of Halifax one is exposed to is its unpredictable weather. One learns early to check on the weather before venturing out because each day could be starkly different from the day before. In one week here, I’ve seen beautiful sunshine heralding spring with the sound of seagulls swirling in the sky, I’ve seen weepy rainy days from torrential rain one day to consistent light rain on another, I’ve heard cold winds howling through the windows and I’ve seen snow in the month of April! Each of these adds to the flavour of this enchanting town, which is loved dearly by the locals as well as those who choose to make it their home.

Halifax offers an eclectic combination of old architecture, modern buildings and quaint cottages, which is a pleasant change from the cookie-cutter homes one often sees in many North American cities.

Photo Credits: musiqueorguequebec.ca
Photo Credits: stpaulshalifax.org

Built in 1750, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, one of the city’s most beautiful old structures, standing in downtown Halifax, is the oldest surviving Protestant church in Canada and the oldest building in Halifax. One of the windows of the church has the profile of a man imprinted on it, which has an interesting story attached to it.

In 1917, the Halifax Explosion occurred which was the biggest man-made explosion to have taken place before the Hiroshima blast in 1945. On December 6, 1917, two ships collided near Halifax port. One of them, ‘Mont-Blanc’, heavily laden with ammunition and explosives, was sailing from Dartmouth, headed for the continent to provide supplies for the First World War. Due to miscommunication with the crew of a second ship, Imo, the ships collided resulting in a horrific blast. The explosion was so terrible that items blown up from the ship were to be found as far as 5 km away. Most of the northern side of the city was completely destroyed; structures which survived flung shattered glass for miles around. Nearly 2,000 people died, another 9,000 were maimed or blinded, and more than 25,000 were left without homes. The southern and western parts of the city were saved by Citadel Hill, a large hill which was a military fortification. The explosion was so great that it caused a tsunami which destroyed whatever was left.

Halifax was shattered, windows were blown out and there was devastation everywhere. A piece of window frame at St. Paul’s church, which got embedded in the entrance, has been kept that way, with a plaque - “A Relic of the Explosion.” But the most mystifying is the face in the window at the church. It is believed the heat was so severe at the time of the explosion, that the deacon’s face got outlined on the window as he was standing close to the window at the moment of the explosion. Over the years, despite numerous attempts to clean the glass, this strange phenomenon and the face in the window stays for all to see.

Photo credits: Banner Left: YouTube; Banner Center: KLM; Banner Right: Travel Fashion Girl.