For our second day in Halifax we took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour. We now realize this is the best way to get an overview of a new city. It was a fascinating day of history.
Our first stop was the Citadel of Halifax, which has existed on the top of a hill here since the 1700s. After touring around there we gained more of an understanding of the conflicts that were part of Canada's history. This is something we don't experience in British Columbia, which was settled rather than won in battle. The back-and-forth between the French and the British is a powerful piece of the history of this part of Canada.
Plus the history of Halifax is dominated by tragedies like the 1917 explosion of the Mont Blanc and the recovery of victims of the Titanic just a few years earlier. History seems very close here--much closer than in Victoria.
We had lunch at a lovely spot in the North End of the city called the Hydrostone District. This was built in the 1920s after two square miles of buildings were flattened by the Halifax explosion (the largest man-made explosion until Hiroshima).
Our next stop was the Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and there I found out some information about my ancestors. They offer a search service for immigrants to Canada so I went in to see if I could find any information about my paternal grandfather who came to Canada from Scotland around the turn of the century. It was a complete long shot as all I knew of my paternal grandfather was his name and that he came from Scotland. Within minutes a helpful young woman with a computer zeroed in on the relevant records. She pulled up the loading record of the ship that my grandfather Alexander Drummond sailed on in 1904 from Glasgow to Montreal at age 24. By then I was crying!
Then she proceeded to find census records from Scotland from 1901 showing that my grandfather had a younger sister Elizabeth, plus his mother's name and the name of the county they lived in. Plus marriage records for my grandfather and his bride from Canada, Margaret Irwin, and the information about all of their five children, including my father who died in 1948. With this info we can now dig deeper to find out about our scattered family.
The last stop was the Maritime Museum with displays about the Halifax explosion and the Titanic as well as all the amazing boats and ships that have sailed from here. It's been an amazing day.