27 August 2014

Down East From Away

Another of my ancestral descendants homes is on the eastern seaboard.
Not exactly ...

Oh, I see ... someone snuck in a photo of my friend Ricky at Sunnyvale Trailer Park.

My down east home from away has perqs like cats and a balcony. A cat is a perfect home accessory if you are not allergic to them, depending on the current assortment. A balcony is a princely treat for the balcony-deprived. Not that I can see the harbour from here, but I know it's over that hill and down the street and past the Citadel and thank gawd it's mostly downhill walking.

Every summer Halifax is at its best. The city is old. Well, old compared to much else in Canada. Here is where the English set up their naval and military base in 1749 to the dismay of area natives and Acadians.

Downtown, the Old Burying Ground at St Paul's Church is the best place for a family historian to park herself. The oldest Protestant (Anglican) church building in the country will fascinate any historian. Besides the windows and artifacts, its memorial tablets are a record of significant parishioners who contributed to the city's life.

Fairview Cemetery is another popularly visited site where many thousands pay their respects every year to one hundred and twenty-one victims of the Titanic sinking. Buried over a century ago, their gravestones say "died April 15, 1912" but sadly, some individual identities are still unknown. In our twenty-first century, DNA has identified this unknown child as 19-month-old Sidney L. Goodwin of England.  

Perhaps lesser-known, the cemetery at the Little Dutch Church has burials of the earliest "foreign Protestants" who came to Nova Scotia in the 1750s. Some of those Deutsch-speaking Lutherans went on to found Lunenburg. The church here is sited at a mass grave for typhus victims who died during their Atlantic crossing.  

Halifax's history is naturally tied to every aspect of seafaring life. Restored parts of the panoramic waterfront are a delight to stroll, all on a human-size scale. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic ... Historic Properties ... Pier 21 ... Canadian Museum of Immigration ... and nirvana for seafood lovers.

 Since that sounds like a tour brochure, I might as well add that from there it's all uphill to the Citadel, a National Historic Site. Halifax has serious hills. Over a two hundred and fifty-plus year period, the Citadel has undergone several modifications and restorations.

Annapolis Royal cemetery, Fort Anne
It's not all cemeteries and dead people. Down East also has possession of a car, Another princely luxury! That means road trips! Annapolis Royal, here we come. And the Highland Village and Grand-Pré and Birchtown and Louisburg and stop at Frenchy's everywhere. Why doesn't Upper Canada have Frenchy's, tell me that?  

Staying in a rented wee hoose in Shelburne, we celebrated the 225th anniversary of the Loyalist Landing. With Governor Parr welcoming us, it was very like being back in the eighteenth century. Except for the electric lights that greatly added to the exciting parade of ships after dark, blazing up the night sky for the cheering bystanders.

  Ancestor alert: Cape Breton! Best of all, we found great-great-grandfather Hector McFadyen's house at River Denys (ancestral home! ancestral home!). It was up for sale. Checked my bank account; a purchase was not in my future.

Down East folk art lives and thrives, as does its special brand of humour. When is my next visit? Will someone tell me that?! When!!  

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