Day 6 – Halifax, Nova Scotia
Today, we hired a local guide to give us a tour of Halifax, Nova Scotia, a bustling city in comparison to St. John. Our guide was, in his terms, a “professional screen actor” and occasionally would mix his two professions. This meant that, when he took us to a burial site that honored 120 of the victims from the Titanic, he would burst into a small monologue, complete with a thick Italian accent, to convey one of the victim’s stories. Not in an irreverent way, just in a “I’m clearly practicing for my acting class” kind of way.
“Luigi! Luigi!” he proclaimed as he jumped in my face, recollecting the pain of the Titanic’s head chef’s grieving widow. I had that awkward “stumble backwards over a grave” moment in order to get him out of my personal bubble. Don’t get in my personal bubble, please.
The Titanic memorial was really interesting, especially being able to see the tombstone of J. Dawson, the real life Titanic staff member that inspired Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the movie. There’s something especially chilling about rows and rows of graves with the same end date – April 15, 1912. The weight of the tragedy became evident in the names, dates, and numbers engraved into the stone. Whether identified or not, every gravestone bore a number marking the order that the body was pulled from the ocean. Even more heartbreaking were the nameless tombstones, reduced to simple number indicating the order in which they were found.
Not all of Halifax was as heart-wrenching. Our next stop was Peggy’s Cove, where Mr. Pitt told us a romanticized story: because of Halifax’s jagged coastline, shipwrecks occurred on a regular basis. One such shipwreck left a ragged girl clinging to life on a rock along the coastline, where locals found her and nursed her back to health. The girl remained in Halifax, grew up, and fell in love with a man who named the cove after her. The more factual story is that Peggy’s Cove sits in St. Margaret’s Bay and Peggy is often short for Margaret (this was news to me). Basically, our guide’s romantic retelling of the cove’s name allowed him a little more acting practice, complete with fake sobs and sniffles. My family exchanged glances that carried the weight of a thousand words, most of them along the lines of, Cut the theatrics, please.
Since this was a private tour, our guide asked if there was anything in particular that we wanted to see or visit. Our only request was Tim Horton’s, which he found hilarious. It really would be like someone coming to the States and getting excited about a Dunkin’ Donuts. This is our second and last day in a Canadian province, so we had to take advantage of our Timmie’s, as the locals affectionately refer to it.
In other fast food news, for a few months of the year, the local McDonald’s serve a McLobster Roll, which sounds about as appealing as a McRib sandwich to me. Gross.
I can’t tell you how many times on this trip I’ve heard Peter Griffin’s voice in the back of my head: Rock Lobstah. Don’t ask me how this post went from tragedy to Family Guy; I just needed to end it on a happy note.