The town of Lunenburg a little ways south of Halifax is probably the quintessential fishing village of Atlantic Canada. Founded as a British colony, it was actually made up of Swiss, German and French immigrants. The town's population grew steadily through the first half of the 20th century declining after the second world war. The core of the town is really well preserved and terribly cute now. Out of every four buildings one is probably an art or craft gallery now and another one is a seafood restaurant. Most of the houses are named after their original inhabitants.
The fisheries museum along the waterfront displays more fishing history than you can probably take. Also featured here is the Bluenose II, a replica of Bluenose (imagine that) which is featured on the Canadian dime and has not a whole lot of fame apart from that.
Between Lunenburg and Halifax lies a very scenic stretch of waterfront consisting of countless small harbors, rocky shoreline and the occasional beach. This is a fairly slow road to travel on but there are any number of diversions. This stretch of shoreline near Peggy's Cove marks a sudden geological change from low boggy coast to enormous boulders.
Peggy's Cove is the official photography spot of Nova Scotia. It really is that scenic and we feel sorry for the 100 or so people who actually have to live here. The area around the lighthouse is open for exploring (with appropriate danger warning signs everywhere) and is a neat place to wander about.
There is an actual cove at Peggy's Cove, and an associated fishing village. The specialty is lobster as you might assume based solely on the vast quantity of lobster traps lying around town. They can also be purchased as a sort of indigenous but awkward souvenir both here and in the Cape Breton area. We're not really sure what you do with a full sized lobster trap but they do seem to be popular.
Downtown Halifax is a pretty modern place full of glass and steel buildings alongside some vaguely preserved pier areas. Several colleges and universities ensure that the nightlife is substantial. That green lump in the middle of town is the Citadel, a rather unassuming fortress built as part of a system of forts and redoubts guarding the harbor.
The current Citadel is the 4th iteration of the fort to stand on that hill. The most recent version was designed to protect from a land invasion by the United States (at the time Canada was a British protectorate). It was never attacked and is now a sort of ceremonial center of Canadian military life.
From the walls there is a great view of Halifax and the harbor. One of the more interesting exhibits associated with the Citadel is the communication method they used between the Citadel and several other distant forts guarding the harbor entrance and the Atlantic coast. A series of large metal discs and pennants were hung from a mast-like contraption on each of the forts. Of course, the fog tendencies of the Halifax area would have wreaked a bit of havoc on that system but it's still rather intriguing.
There are assorted re-enactments taking place in the Citadel involving full period military dress. Cannon loading, precision marching and the like. This guy is probably in about six thousand photographs by now.
Here the mast-like contraption mentioned earlier can be seen. In the foreground is the town clock of Halifax which has been located here since 1803.
Downtown Halifax is a pleasant place for the most part. There's a lot of restaurants scattered around the town and most of the waterfront areas are either restored or rebuilt into shops, bars and museums. This is the province house for Nova Scotia as Halifax is the capitol.
The Museum of the Atlantic on the waterfront is a rather interesting place. They have exhibits on just about everything marine but it's two disasters associated with Halifax that are most fascinating. The Titanic is one of these (most of the dead were buried outside of Halifax) as the closest major port to the site of the disaster. The other is the Halifax harbor explosion which occurred when a munitions ship collided with another vessel in 1917 and drifted close to shore before detonating in the largest pre-Hiroshima explosion in world history. The relics in the museum are stunning as much of the center of town was destroyed and nothing remained of the munitions ship. Over 1900 people were killed and the firsthand accounts are particularly chilling. The museum also harbors a range of different boats and ships that can be explored.