Edward Isle and Nova Scotia
I have written a short account of my wonderful trip to
Canada in September 1998. I traveled with my mom, dad and my mom's sister
via Holiday Tours. It was my first trip out of the United States.
Those first few days in Canada were quite
adventurous getting used to the different currency, food, and the pace of
life. They are very polite people and do not seem to be in as much of a
hurry as we Americans always seem to be. Even crossing streets was an
amazing adventure. Pedestrians, tourist or native, standing on a
curb waiting to cross a street, would be motioned across by drivers. Even
being in the street even if you were not in a crosswalk area, drivers
stopped for pedestrians. Try that in New York.
The food was very good. We ate a lot of fresh fish
such as lobster and haddock. I managed after about a day or so to get
the hang of the money pretty well.
Here is an account of my trip beginning with out
departure from Bar Harbor, Maine.
After two days of long bus rides and a brief stop at
Bar Harbor, we arrived at the New Brunswick Information Center (photo below)
in the Canadian border town of St. Stephen around 4:00pm EST. We moved our
watches ahead one hour to APT and exchanged our US dollars for Canadian
currency. The rate that day was $1.62.
We then headed to St. John to see the Reversing Falls.
The Reversing Falls is a natural phenomenon that occurs twice each day. The
strong tides from the Bay Fundy rise faster than the river can empty. The
tide water attempts to push the river water back upstream causing the falls
to appear to be reversing themselves up stream. We hit the time perfect as
the tide was coming in. An added treat was watching a sea lion swimming up
The next morning we had a long ride to Prince Edward
Island that included going over the Confederation Bridge. This 9 mile bridge
was finished last year to replace a two hour ferry ride between New
Brunswick and PEI. PEI is a beautiful Island. It is almost as sea level. The
islanders are very friendly and take great pride in their country. As in New
Brunswick, you see very little trash and the yards are kept neat and trim.
We had a delicious lobster dinner that night. Prince Edward Island is most
renowned for the children’s author L. M. Montgomery. Her Anne Of Green
Gables series is based on the island and a small farm house she
We took a beautiful drive along the coast of PEI
National Park and a stop at Brackley Beach to take some pictures. The rocks
and soil have a red tint to them. We then drove on to the Green Gables Home
for a tour of the house and grounds.
The next day we had a short ride to Wood Island where
we took a 50 minute ferry ride over to Nova Scotia. This was my first trip
across a large body of water. I stood on the observation deck for the entire
trip, which is where I shot the picture of the lighthouse as we pulled away
from Wood Island. Other than being very windy, it was quite an experience
especially as we pulled into port at Nova Scotia.
We stayed two nights in the beautiful town of Port
Hawkesbury on the edge of Cape Breton Island. Again, the islanders were very
friendly. Pedestrians have the right of way. Drivers will stop in the middle
of the road to allow you to cross the street. The first day we had a local
tour guide take our bus through Cabot Trail on the Island. The Scots
influence is very strong here. We stopped at several shops that featured
Tartans and other Scottish items. The men wear either their own plaid or the
plaid for Nova Scotia. I purchased a scarf of the Thomson plaid for my
I cannot really express the beauty of Cabot Trail. It
winds its way through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. We had rain off
and on most of the day and by the end of the day had seen a total of six
different rainbows. The mountains and valleys of Cape Breton are unlike
anything I have ever seen in the United States. Our guide told us that many
people who have also been to Scotland said this area reminds them of the
We ended the day at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.
The site of the museum is close to the home that Bell had on the island. His
descendents still use the home seasonally. The museum features exhibits of
his inventions and a large replica of an airship. On the bus the tour guide
played a sample of the type of music they listen to on the Island. The
Rankins are the most popular group. I purchased their album uprooted. Their
music is a mixture of Irish and Scottish. I also purchased two CD’s of
bagpipe music, which is my husband’s favorite.
After another long bus ride we arrived at the town of
Halifax. The town of Halifax has worked very hard to restore the waterfront.
You can enter an enclosed walkway on the Main street of downtown Halifax and
walk all the way down to the waterfront indoors. About halfway
down there is a series of shops, restaurants, food courts, etc. that one can
stop along the way and enjoy. One note about Halifax I will warn you
about. Everyday at Twelve Noon on the dot the canon at the
Citadel, which is located on the hill above the waterfront if fired. I was
told this by our tour escort, but forgot. As my parents and I
were walking toward the entrance to the enclosed walkway, the canon was
fired. If I have ever come close to having a heart attack from fright, that
was it. Fortunately I did not have to go back to the room to change my
We had an afternoon bus tour of the town by a local
tourist guide which included a church built in a single day by 2000 men and
the hilltop fortress The Citadel which I mentioned. For dinner that night we
ate at the restaurant at Peggy’s Cove. This is truly one of the most
beautiful spots in the world.
This is also the site where Swiss Air 111 crashed. We
could see the rescue ships about six miles off shore. The Red Cross trucks
were there and tents set up at various locations within the town. Despite
this presence, I still felt the beauty of the place. The winds are so strong
on the rocks it is very dangerous to walk. Also, the waves breaking on the
rocks can take an innocent person out to sea in seconds. I walked around and
took pictures of the coast and the lighthouse, and the huge rocks. As the
sun set over the horizon, the sight was truly breath taking.
The next day we drove to Lunenburg, the home of the
famous racing schooner Bluenose II. Along the way we made a quick picture
stop at Mahone Bay. This small town has three magnificent churches all in a
row. The Fisheries Museum where the Bluenose II resides is one of the best
Maritime Museums I have toured. It is a working museum that features fish
tanks, displays and demonstrations.
The highlight of my Canadian adventure was
topped off the following day when we boarded the Scotia Prince for the 11
hour cruise back to Portland Maine. I was now going to cruise the Atlantic.
We found a choice seat in the lounge by the port windows. Entertainment is
provided all day in the lounge. Movies, bingo, etc are offered in addition
to a casino for gambling. We ate lunch and dinner aboard the boat and I am
proud to announce I did not get seasick. The floor show after dinner was a
Upon arrival in Portland, Maine customs came on the
bus to check each one of our passports. We drove on to our hotel for
the night, glad to be back on American soil, but really having enjoyed the
hospitality and beauty of Canada.
Other trips: Mackinac
Island/Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
and Quebec , New Hampshire
Updated Saturday, April 26, 2003