Nova Scotia.

Spring 2009.

I had a pretty good time in Halifax that weekend, so I decided to throw away $220 on the ferry again, and depart for the mainland during the long weekend of May.

I took the night ferry after a long day of work and landed in North Sydney around 8 a.m.. Knowing there aren't that many large cities outside of Sydney on Cape Breton Island, I filled up on fuel and Sausage n' Egg McMuffins before hitting the unorthodox Highway 4 off the island.

The normal way off the island is a portion of the Trans Canada that is usually quite empty and usually moves quickly; but since I had taken that road about 10 times now, I figured I would switch it up. That decision was backfiring though, as I found construction and drivers only driving 5 over - both in the pouring rain.

That was wearing on my already tired self when I spotted a rundown building off to the side of the road. I had JUST passed the slow driver in front of me, but that didn't stop me from swerving off the road to check the building out.

By the looks of the interior, it was part travel bureau, part doctor's office and part 10 other subdivisions.

For all of the different uses, there wasn't much of interest left behind. There was a lot of stuff, but nothing all that interesting.

The one room appeared to be an old day care and I was humoured by these wall paintings; since I knew that if we found these on one of our road trips, UJ would be artfagging the hell out of them, while Chad & I would stand around rolling our eyes and guzzling Bud Ice Alexander Keith's1.

1 - This is in Nova Scotia after all.

After the roadside building, I continued on for another hour until I was off Cape Breton Island. Speeding a little, I made it to Antigonish before 11 and helped myself to another serving of McDonald's breakfast.

The major destination of this trip - other than Halifax - was the New Glasgow/Stellarton/Trenton grouping of towns. I had seen a building from this region and knew of another closed factory. The factory made rail cars and was quite huge, so I also wanted to check out these towns simply because I thought they'd be working class, character-rich communities worth seeing.

Driving around, it was awfully strange to see a community in Nova Scotia that was even remotely run down. I'm so used to the Liverpools, Wolfvilles and Antigonishs broadcasting a very well off image.

p.s. The board on this burnt house says 'fuck you rat'. I wonder what the story behind that is...

I'm not here to paint New Glasgow (the community in these pictures) in an ugly light though. As I parked my car by an active factory and took to walking the streets, I began to appreciate the beautiful architecture found in the central Nova Scotia community.

Instead of a dead downtown with an ugly sprawl mart outside the centre, it appeared like New Glasgow actually had a functioning downtown with open businesses and patrons.

It was really strange for this day and age. Most downtowns are desolate while everyone drives to the Sobeys-Wal Mart-Canadian Tire location outside of town.

Walking along, I came across more fantastic preservation and continued use in the elementary school - originally constructed in 1899 as the High School.

There are still a few buildings which people would consider eyesores here and there...

I think I spent about two hours just walking around, taking in the fantastic, historic downtown...

...causing me to work up quite the appetite - an appetite that could only be satisfied with my new favourite food: pizza with donair sauce.

The pizza place was even inside a historic structure!

(This isn't the one I ate at, but it looked similar.)

I made it to Halifax that night and it was the typical Halifax night. Getting to hang out with GW, then going the bars and hanging out with all of the amazing friends I've accumulated during my Nova Scotian tenure.

Waking up the next day, I can't remember if I just left early or if GW didn't want to come, but I left for Peggy's Cove on a solo mission.

I've never had much desire to see Peggy's Cove as it is the number 1 destination in Nova Scotia for tourists - pretty much the Niagara Falls of Nova Scotia (which I would never have saw either if an ex didn't find it preposterous that I had never seen Niagara Falls). The thing is though, is that Peggy's Cove is all of 45 minutes from Halifax. All GW and I ever do with our days in Halifax is sit around and watch Seinfeld repeats and sports highlights - so why not just leave for 2 hours and get Peggy's Cove done?

I was sick of being asked if I had seen Peggy's Cove and replying no, so that's what I did: I left a bit early and checked off Peggy's Cove.

The drive was utterly uneventful except for me getting angry. I thought my transmission was going, so I was trying to use my cruise control to regulate my speed, but idiots kept getting in front of me and fluctuating all over the map.

(Thankfully I later learned that it was only my spark plug wires and not my transmission.)

When I pulled into Peggy's Cove, I found a tiny fishing village reminiscent of so many that I've seen in Newfoundland. There were about 40 houses and a pair of impressive churches.

I parked in the visitor parking lot which was immaculately paved - after traveling on a rough road, I found this and it made me realize just how much this place is visited and how well off it is because of the tourist revenue.

The above picture shows the house across the road from the visitor's center. The way it works it that you park at the visitor's center and then walk through a portion of the town to the lighthouse.

So I turned left and moved down the streets; my brain foggy from the gratuitous amount of Leffes0 that I drank the night before.

0 - My favourite beer, it is a superb Belgian beer commonly found in Ontario & Nova Scotia.
It comes in a goofy, over-the-top glass, that my buddy Larry had questioning: "GW, what is Navi drinking? Champagne?"

I don't care for people on normal days and hungover days are even worst. I looked at the number of cars in the parking lot and sighed.

As I walked down the streets, I didn't discover that many other people until the restaurant at the end of the road. When I walked out to the Peggy's Cove lighthouse area, people were all around. I thought a crumby, rainy, drizzly Saturday would thin the crowd, but maybe this was thinned.

It really wasn't that big of deal and I'm being over the top. The only thing I didn't care for was when I would see couples taking pictures and moving around and I knew they were looking at this lone bird with their condescending eyes.

They say throughout your 20s that you think people notice you a hell of a lot more then they actually do; but whatever, they do, they were looking down upon me and I know it.

As I moved towards the lighthouse, it appeared to be perfect timing as a large collection of visitors moved onto a further extension of rocks and others back to the restaurant. The whole area is huge with more than just a thin strip to the lighthouse, so you have plenty of people moving all over and checking out different sections of the oceanside rock outcrops.

I really enjoy whenever there are straight forward signs that don't pull punches.

The sea is dangerous and you should avoid it unless you're an absolute moron. It's clear, it's apparent, it's stated.

Good work Peggy's Cove.

Anyway, I reached the point where everyone takes the famous Peggy's Cove picture.

So I took it; the picture they say is the #1 picture taken in Canada.


After that, I walked back to my car and it was an equally uneventful drive back to GW's.

Once I returned to Halifax, we sat around for the afternoon and watched baseball if I remember correctly. Eventually, we went out for the night, enjoyed some beers at an apartment before going out on the town. It was my first trip to The Lower Deck in Halifax and it seemed like an alright place; but I wouldn't know for sure because it was so jammed pack in there; to the point where waiters were yelling at us because there was nowhere to stand and we were getting in their way.

The Lower Deck is a fairly famous Halifax bar, but that impression doesn't really encourage me to return.

Anyway, I had to return to the Rock the next day, so I was on my way. I left a little earlier to check out a paint company which I knew about and scouted from my previous time in Trenton, NS.

I should explain that the photos of the historic town from earlier in this update are from New Glasgow. New Glasgow is right next to Stellarton & Trenton.

The inside was fairly empty, but I was happy to be inside a big, empty industrial building after some weak buildings in NFLD of late.

Some of the graffiti was also hilarious. The giraffe one because of the obscurity and the skills, and the pigs one because of how stupid a kid must be to spray that on a door where you're trespassing to paint and maybe chill.

There goes your benefit of the doubt out the window.

This whale was also pretty spectacular.

I figured it was also a place to skate besides just painting because of a few ramps and objects set up like a small skatepark.

After driving by the outdoors Trenton skatepark earlier in the weekend, this factory setup looked about as useful.

I also enjoyed this place because there wasn't much around and you could wander outside and be at ease.

I decided to see about the roof.

First was a rickety wood staircase onto a lower roof. It shook side to side with my body weight and also had stairs rotted through. After that was an angle iron ladder which was bolted at the bottom, but not the top. Therefore, I had to use my balance not to pull back very hard as to keep it leaning on the building.

Oh yeah, this was all in the pouring rain as well. It was quite pleasant.

The roof was angled, slippery sheet metal - at a height where about 300 houses in the heights of Trenton could easily spot you.

Therefore, I hung out at the top of the ladder instead, watching the East River flow by and the nearby power plant churn out usable energy. It was a great view and I wished the roof was more secluded and the weather was more favourable - neither were occurring anytime soon, so I made my way back down the collection of unstable ladders.

I lollygagged around for a bit longer because I knew I had the time, before I returned to the Rock the same way I left it - driving through Cape Breton in the rain.


Go Home