Visit Canada’s Ocean Playground

I live in a small province on the east coast of Canada called Nova Scotia, and it’s a lovely place to live. Clean air, lots of nature, friendly folk, miles and miles of beaches and coastline, fresh seafood, a city with lots to do and a province filled with culture, good food, wine and good times.  The motto of the province of Nova Scotia is “Canada’s Ocean Playground” and it certainly is that.

I read a blog post today from someone that came to Nova Scotia and bicycled around our lovely corner of Canada on her own recently. She made 45 observations about the province based on her experience. I thought it was a great take on how visitors see us.

45 Random Observations About Nova Scotia

I love that she noticed that there’s a lot of colour here. People paint their shops, houses and signs with bright colours in many places, both in the city and in the rural areas, especially the rural areas, I find.  Hmmm butter tarts, a local favourite! With or without pecans and/or raisins, they’re sort of like butterscotch pie in a little shell. Lots and lots of lighthouses. Peggy’s Cove might be the “jewel in the crown” so to speak, but you’ll see plenty of them if you take the coastal routes.

Here’s a few of my own photos from around the province


Where else would you find a field of scarecrows on the side of the road? Cape Breton Island near Cheticamp

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A look at those famous low tides, from Cape Blomidon in the Annapolis Valley


A craft shop near Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia


I’ll challenge the blogger’s claim for seafood choweder. This from the Windjammer Restaurant near Chester.

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This is one of the places that makes those brightly coloured Adirondack chairs. Zwicker’s in Lahave

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Lupins do indeed grow wild here, I love the purples and pinks of them. Late June and early July are the best time for them


Cape Breton doesn’t have a monopoly on scarecrows. There’s a scarecrow festival in Mahone Bay on the south shore of the province in the autumn.


Traveler 50 — Smart Cities

Halifax’s new central library under construction

There’s an interesting take on 50 cities world wide that National Geographic Traveler sees as up and coming or which have smart reasons to visit. I was chuffed to little mint balls to find my own home city, Halifax, on the list because of our new central library being built. It’s due to open later this fall and the new building, in my eyes, is beautiful! It resembles a stack of books, too! I can hardly wait for it to open to see the inside.  I’ve been photographing the construction over the past few years which you can see here. I’ll add to that when I get some interior shots later this year after it’s open to the public.

23 Halifax, 
Nova Scotia: population 375,000: One coastal Canadian city is betting on books. A $57.6 million central library will act as hub to 14 branches—an investment in words and indoorsy charms in a town with a famously outdoorsy outlook.

Other samples are Vancouver, Canada’s quest to be a green city, New York’s development of the High Line park, Rio de Janiero’s new science and high tech museum, a sidewalk in Calais, France that can generate power, and the rejuvenation of Melbourne, Australia.

Traveler 50 — National Geographic.

Nearly done, just the insides to finish. There will be a cafe on that top bit sticking out.

Travel Theme: Horizon

In another weekly challenge, this from Where’s My Backpack, we look to the horizon. Isn’t that what we do when we travel? We want to know what’s beyond it so we walk, drive, fly, or otherwise move ourselves towards and past it but you know what? When we get there, there’s another horizon and more places to find!

Paris from Sacre Coeur

North Devon, England

North Devon, England

View from Signal Hill over St. John's

View from Signal Hill over St. John’s

Lake Ontario and Toronto City airport from the CN Tower

Rainbow Haven beach, Nova Scotia

WPC – Silhouette

This week, the WordPress Challenge is Silhouette. Not something I take a lot of for some reason. Probably just not in the right place at the right time. I will take photos with the subject backlit but they still tend to have some front lighting as well. Here’s a few from the archives:

Viking ship museum, Roskilde, Denmark

House of Parliament, Westminster, London

Collection of piggy banks. Arnhem Open Air Museum, The Netherlands

Road Trip Advice from Wendy Perrin

Bridge to Anglsey, North Wales

Saw this blog post by Wendy Perrin who writes for one of the travel mags, Conde Nast Traveler, I think. Clearly she’s writing for Trip Advisor, too and in this post she’s writing about how to make a road trip a great experience.  With our upcoming road trip getting closer, I read it with interest.

Excellent advice here including:

Get off the highway/motorway/interstate and hit the country roads (Yep, I’ll go with that one. We use the main roads sometimes but like the smaller and slower routes to actually see the area. You never see much of interest from the highways)

Follow the signs to places you have never heard of or didn’t know were there. (We’ve done that and found some interesting museums or just views along the way)

Ask locals for recommendations, forget the guide books and apps. (Well, ok, I’d still use guidebooks because even they have little known attractions and sites but asking locals where to shop or eat is going to steer you in the right direction, for sure)

Find the kitsch, the unusual, the lesser known. (I like to buy tea towels for souvenirs, and can remember the places I’ve been when i use them. I also pin one up in the kitchen for a bit of artwork, and change it from time to time)

The blog post talks about the American Road Trip, but obviously, it doesn’t matter where you’re doing it. Read the full post through the link below.

How to Make Your Great American Road Trip Even Greater

Black and White Monday – Amsterdam

I don’t know who decides these things (Black and White Monday, Wordless Wednesday, Throwback Thursday etc) but what the heck…

Niewkirke, Dam Square. Amsterdam

Niewkirke, Dam Square. Amsterdam

A Word a Week – Create

Sue’s Word a Week challenge this week is “Create”. Here’s a couple of people in the process of creating crystal. The first is of one of the craftsmen from the Waterford Crystal factory in Waterford, Ireland. These artists memorize all the different patterns that they etch into the blown crystal and it takes years to work up to being a master craftsman.

A Waterford Crystal master craftsman

A Waterford Crystal master craftsman

This man is blowing glass to make crystal. Nova Scotia Crystal (sadly, it’s closed now) employed glass blowers and craftspeople from Waterford.

Blowing glass by hand. Nova Scotia Crystal (now closed)

Blowing glass by hand. Nova Scotia Crystal (now closed)

On a different note, my partner creates these wonderful cartoons for my birthday each year, usually focusing on one of our travels from the previous 12 months. This commemorates a misguided GPS that led us into a very tight situation.

Cornwall (St. Ives) 2011

Cornwall (St. Ives) 2011

Photo challenge: Your favourite hometown thing

I participate in weekly photo challenges most weeks. Usually the challenge is given as a word or a theme of some sort. I was going to throw my hat in the ring and issue a travel challenge but I realize that there are a lot of people out there that are armchair travellers and haven’t had the opportunity to see beyond the borders of where they live.

I really love where I live, Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s a small-medium city on the east coast of Canada and is a seaport. We have a military history here and we have a large student population as well. There’s lots of history but the sea is always there. Probably my favourite thing about Halifax is the visits by the Tall Ships every few years. I can’t get enough of them! When you see the waterfront lined with masts and rigging, you can almost forget which century you’re living in. Along with the ships, there’s usually a festival along the waterfront so there’s lots going on.

Here are some photos from our many Tall Ship visits.

I’d like to see your favourite thing/event/location where you live or where you’re from! Leave a comment or a pingback link so we can all travel the world through your photos!

This isn’t going to be a weekly challenge, but I might do this again if I come up with another idea.

Travel Theme: Simplify

Keep It Simple Stupid. The KISS philosophy will serve you well in many aspects of life. Why over complicate it? Sometimes the most simple solution is the best. Ailsa’s weekly travel theme is Simplify. Travel shouldn’t be too complicated but my travels don’t tend to be overly simple either. I like to organize and the idea of just walking out the door and going where my nose leads me goes against my nature. On the other hand, I’m not so rigid that I will freely change plans should something more interesting pop up.

These photos represent a simple way to enjoy life, and find peace. Sitting on a beach watching the ocean. Hiking in the mountains. Listening to the birds in the morning over a still lake in the Scottish Highlands.

A little beach in Cornwall

Hiking in Glencoe, Scotland.

Long Loch, near Arrochar, Scotland

WordPress weekly challenge – Zigzag

Every Friday, WordPress’s Daily Post issues a photo challenge. This week’s challenge is Zigzag. Their idea is to show examples that go off the straight and narrow, so to speak.

This first photo is inside the Morrin Centre library in Quebec. The building has had many lives including a jail and has been a library since the late 19th century. It is the only English library inside the walls of old Quebec City in Canada. (The province of Quebec is mainly French). The curved staircase style is also seen in Montreal on many houses that have had flats built into the upper floors. Rather than build an inside staircase from the street level up to the upper floor flats, they have outside curved staircases similar to this.

Morrin Centre Library, Quebec City

Twisted horns, Danish National Museum, Copenhagen