- by Bethany Wells
Reading week is usually seven days of procrastination, napping, and not feeling guilty for acquiring a hangover on a school night. However forgetting that thing called a dissertation I traded this week of duvet bliss in for connecting flights, jet leg, a spot of snow, and most importantly a return to the maple-syrup-loving-land. I was in need of washing away my year abroad blues. Yes this sounds pathetic but you future year abroaders will experience this indefinitely on arrival back in Selly Oak. Naturally the only way to do this was to return to the place I called home last year: Halifax, Nova Scotia – located on the edge of east coast Canada, but the heart of the Maritimes.
Rather than write a “dear diary” entry and bore the socks off people I want to explain why Halifax has become one of my favourite cities that made me return at the first chance I got and why you should visit this Canadian wonder.
Halifax has the promise of a big city with a small town heart. Offering a slower pace and ridiculously warm hospitality, the Nova Scotia City makes you feel appreciated and welcome rather than an anonymous urbanite. Absolute gems of places can be found in the nooks and crannies — you just have to look a little harder, my Lonely Planet book didn’t always pick up on these hidden treasures. Downtown is spoiled with the glories of cheesecake restaurants, vintage stores, live music bars, delicious sea food places, and more coffee shops than you can shake a stick at. A must visit place is “The Black Market”. The little store sitting on Grafton Street proudly attracts attention with its colourful hand painted exterior. However it is not the eye-catching external making this place a must see. The inside looks like Aladdin’s cave. The walls and ceilings are dripping with lots of little twinkly wonderful delights. An endless collection of handmade jewellery, wall hangings, lanterns and lots of other things that make the perfect gift or selfish treat. Everything one of a kind and equally delicious.
After walking through all these culinary and crafty wonders you are met by the wonderful waterfront. Whether snow, rain, or shine the boardwalk and the harbour always offer a picturesque view. Down this part of town you are welcomed by more restaurants, having the added bonus of looking out over the water. The summer compliments the waterfront best. There are ice cream shops galore, you can take a dip in the outside multi-tier swimming pool, and often a baby seal or two can shuffle its way on the boardwalk and show some moves.
Is unlikely you will ever be able to say “I was in the area” in Canada as it’s so bloody huge, but if you ever do get chance to visit Halifax it won’t disappoint. Going back as a tourist rather than a student enhanced my vision of this even more. With a maple syrup farm a stone’s throw away, a hockey stadium located at the heart of the city, the promise of meeting the friendliest people in the world, and a bus ride to the airport costing a single dollar, what are you waiting for?
Beth is in her ﬁnal year at UoB studying ACS and English Literature