Join me on a 6-part web series as I share with you MY NOVA SCOTIA JOYRIDE
by: Tracey Drake, Editor in Chief NICHE magazine & atHOME Victoria magazine ( #TheTravellingEditor on instagram and twitter)
I was fortunate enough to be part of an invited group on a monumental travel experience trip called Nova Scotia Joy Ride. It was eight days of exceptional travel, exploration, fun and educational adventure, in and around Halifax. I was in awe of the immense historical importance of the City of Halifax and what it means to Canadians. After the welcome party at Pier 21, we broke up into small groups of four; my group included me, Ariane Colenbrander from Vancouver, and New Yorkers Vicki Salemi and Yvonne Yorke – as well as our always smiling, ever optimistic guide, Regis Dudley from Destination Halifax. We dubbed ourselves The Lipstick Brigade. For eight days, we pretty much did everything together, and boy, did we have fun! Although we did venture out to Peggy’s Cove, Mahone and Lunenberg, and had some fantastic adventures in Halifax (that I’m excited to tell you about in upcoming parts of this series), our journey started and ended in the heart of Halifax so that is where I will begin… with the best (wearing a kilt and wool socks) afternoon ever!
Part 1 – The Lipstick Brigade
Fort George is the fortified summit of Citadel Hill, a National Historic Site of Canada in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and if you are planning a vacation that includes Halifax this summer – this should be a MUST on your ‘to-do” list.
Our group was excited to leave our own unique mark on Canadian history and take part in the Citadel’s Signature Experience “Soldier for a Day”
Instead of just standing on the sidelines or taking the nickel tour, we were fitted for uniforms and enlisted for the day, becoming part of the 78th Highlanders. Did you know that thousands of soldiers served at Halifax Citadel between 1749 and 1906? Once we were sized and fitted, I had to make sure that the uniform would pass the NICHE fashion muster! Certainly a little retro in design, the kilt was surprisingly comfortable and the fitted jacket would honestly be so cute with jeans and boots. Dressed to the nines, we marched out into Parade Square, were told to fall in line, and proceeded to practice drills (or at least attempt to), learn how to load and fire the rifle and all those other necessary skills expected of a good soldier-ette. Honestly, on this account, I am pretty sure our group failed, as we were often distracted – comparing skirt lengths, button details – and oh yes, the mandatory lipstick break before photos.
Our master and commander was so good humoured, and played right along with the fun we were having. We started to draw a crowd, and it became apparent that other tourists thought we were part of the show. After each of us fired our rifles successfully, we marched into the main building for lemonade and scones, and were presented with an enlistment contract and a reproduction English shilling from 1869 for our day’s work.
This would be a fun experience for a family (children under 16 can dress but not fire rifles), a great honeymoon memory for a newlywed couple, or a team building day for work colleagues.
BEFORE YOU GO:
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada – The present Citadel was completed in 1856 and is the fourth in a series of British forts on this site. Today, the restored Citadel is a national landmark, commemorating Halifax’s role as a key naval station in the British Empire and bringing history to life in Atlantic Canada’s largest urban centre.
Location: 5425 Sackville St. Halifax, NS
From the waterfront (stay tuned for the segment on the fab Halifax boardwalk), walk uphill on any street and head toward Brunswick Street. At the base of Citadel Hill, you will see the Old Town Clock. Climb the stairs directly in front of the Clock to the entrance for the Halifax Citadel.
Hours: The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site is open year-round, but our hours and services change with the seasons:
May 6 to June 30– 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. July 1 to August 31– 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
September 1 to October 31– 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. November 1 to May 5 – 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
SEE BELOW FOR MORE IMAGES Photo credits: NICHE magazine, Destination Halifax and Vicki Salemi
My special thanks to Pam Wamback at Nova Scotia Tourism and Regis Dudley at Destination Halifax for an amazing East Coast journey!