The need for a chill day was in order and there was still some things to see in Halifax.
We grabbed some coffees and croissants from a cafe called If Two By The Sea recommended by many people from NS. I grabbed an almond croissant, which was so large, I saved some of it for lunch.
We took the ferry across from Dartmouth to Halifax again and walked along the waterfront boardwalk to the Canadian Immigration Museum at Pier 21. Halifax was the hub for all new immigrants to Canada via boat and Pier 21 was open from 1928-1971 in order to process new arrivals. It is said to be the Canadian version of Ellis Island. Most immigrants arrived after the war.
As a new immigrant to Canada myself, I found the museum fascinating and could identify with people anxiously waiting to here on a decision about their application to stay in the country.
There was a small-scale model showing the building layouts as well as a recreated welcome area for the arrivals.
A 30 minute free tour is available that took us through the arrival at Pier 21 but the museum has a lot of interactive information and real life accounts. Many people come to Pier 21 to do some historical research on their families, there is research centre at the museum that contains ship manifests and other information.
Outside the museum along the boardwalk is a bronze statue called ‘The Emigrant’ depicting a man leaving his country for Canada. What I don’t quite understand is he appears to be leaving his family behind (in the background).
Regardless, Halifax also done a lot to celebrate its history with immigration.
Next up was the Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour. The brewery is one of the oldest in Canada and opened on 1820 by Keith who came to NS from Scotland in 1817. The main beer that you will find in NS is Keith’s
The tour itself lasts for one hour and cost around $26. As interesting as the story on AK is and the fact that the staff dress up, it wasn’t really worth the money in my opinion. We got a few samples (my favourite was the red amber ale) and we got to hear a Ceilidh – a traditional Gaelic social event with folk music and poetry. We also saw the copper brewery vats but the majority of AK’s beers/ales are produced at a commercial brewery.
The pub next door to the brewery is called The Red Stag Tavern and they also did samples of Keith’s as well as a good seafood chowder.
One place that had been recommended was The Middle Spoon for their cocktails and desserts, however there is a ‘secret’ speakeasy bar under the main floor and we quoted a phrase to get access down there. The bar is called Noble and you just sign up for the weekly emails to get the code/phrase.
When we went downstairs we entered a dimly lit room with a small bar and tables around a bookcase of old books and encyclopedias. The cocktails are much stronger in Noble then they are in The Middle Spoon but damn are they good. I also decided to be naughty and order one of the famous desserts – a chocolate lava cake.
Even when you pay the bill and leave Noble, the bar staff take you out via a back entrance to the alley behind.
On return to Dartmouth, via the ferry we went to Celtic Corner again to watch the hockey world cup game with Canada. There was also some great live folk music playing in the bar at the time.