Photos from Nova Scotia – Part I

After arriving in East Ship Harbour on my bicycle, worn out from the long days of cycling in the summer heat with far too many hills for someone of my fitness level, I was glad to relax for two weeks and enjoy my grandmother’s cooking in the company of my uncle John, my sisters Lisa and Jos, and Jos’s boyfriend Matt.

John, me, and Lisa in the oceanside yard:

Grandma and Jos:


Grandma is a terrific baker. She definitely helped me regain the weight lost on my cycle trip!

I got to be lazy the whole two weeks I was visiting, as John took care of all the mowing and other hard manual work so that we could relax.

The beautiful view looking East from the house:

On the 8th, us four younger ones drove into Halifax for a few hours to take care of some practical stuff that couldn’t easily be done in the countryside. The highway is windy and hilly, but it only takes about 1 hour 20 mins by car to do what I did in a day’s worth of cycling…

While I sat in a coffee shop using the high speed internet, a big tank type thing rolled past, as if the War Measures Act had been implemented!

Turns out it’s part of a small daily parade put on by the military during peak tourist season…

I didn’t speak to this fellow coffee drinker, but I bet he would have had something interesting to tell me. I like his bow-tie.

The girls did some laundry at a laundromat, and I caught up to them after printing a few photos elsewhere. The laundromat has a strange rule against drinking juice, pop, or coffee. They only allow people to drink containers for some reason…

In the afternoon we headed back out of town past the more industrialised parts of the harbour and across the bridge to hit the highway home:

The next day, we visited a couple of old friends a few miles down the road. They’ve got two dogs, really cute little things! The first one can’t sit still, jumps all over the place, runs in circles, and is generally just hilarious to watch. The other is a lot better behaved and perhaps more photogenic.

As we arrived home after our visit, the sun was setting behind the power lines, and we were soon having our supper and preparing for a quiet evening at home.

A Poem for Barry Colpitts

I arrived at my grandmother’s house in East Ship Harbour on July 6th, and the next day my sister and her boyfriend Matt went to interview a local resident for their film project. Barry Colpitts is a folk artist who lives in East Ship Harbour and makes all sorts of folk art pieces at his home, and he very kindly showed us around and told us about his work.

This is his house:

And a selection of his art:

Jos and Matt interviewing Barry on camera:

Cycling from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia in 56 photos

With a bare minimum of words, here’s my one week journey in 56 photos. I landed in Fredericton, New Brunswick on June 30th, reassembled my bike in the airport parking lot, cycled into town and spent two nights there. Then on July 2nd I cycled 110km to St John. On July 3rd I took the ferry to Digby, Nova Scotia, and on July 4th I cycled 120km to Crescent Beach, just outside Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. On July 5th I cycled 95km from Mahone Bay to Halifax, and on July 6th I cycled 82km from Halifax to East Ship Harbour, where my grandmother lives. 4 full days of cycling + some cycling within cities = 440km total.

Leaving Toronto:

Fredericton, New Brunswick:

Late-night videogames at The 476, home of Emily and the rest of my hosts and hangout place for many randoms:

Canada Day fireworks:

En route to St John:

St John, New Brunswick:

Hayley, my host in St John, with her friend as we enjoyed an evening drink at a local pub:

The ferry trip from St John, New Brunswick to Digby, Nova Scotia:

Billy Baker, a friendly and entertaining off-duty Coast Guard worker with whom I spent the ferry trip laughing a lot:

Entering Digby as the fog began to lift:

Digby, Nova Scotia:

Dianne, the wife of my host in Digby, with the terrifically delicious meal she made for her husband and me:

Lawrence, my host in Digby, who showed me around town and with whom I had some great conversations:

Driving the first 43km out of Digby in a torrential downpour. Lawrence saved me from what would have been the worst three hours of cycling of my trip! I still did 120km on the bike after being dropped off.

Cycling across Nova Scotia toward Bridgewater:

An old Canadian Navy warship, docked in Bridgewater harbour for many years since being decommissioned, and removed only weeks after I saw it. See for more info.

On the wall of a bakery between Bridgewater and Crescent Beach:

My host’s home in Crescent Beach:

With Simone, another CouchSurfer, from Germany:

The barn!

Simone, who was also staying at the same house as me on July 4th, had a goal to visit a particular nearby restaurant owned by her mom’s former classmate, so our host drove us there, which included a short ferry trip!

With the friendly ferry guy!

A few of Lunenburg:

Lunenburg Academy, a local (and very old) primary school. Imagine going to school in this place!

David, our host, playing a good game of ping pong in his barn. He was better than Simone, and better than me, but he let each of us get a few points to be nice. It was really fun playing late-night ping pong in his vintage barn.

Made famous in a popular postcard, the three churches of Mahone Bay:

A loon:

In the home of my fun hosts in Halifax:< br />

Cycling from Halifax to East Ship Harbour, Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia revisited

Dad and I took a short trip back to Nova Scotia to visit with family in East Ship Harbour from July 14-19. It was a great trip, and I’m glad I managed to get a week off work to go. Here are a few pics from the trip:

Here you can see my Uncle John, Grandma, and my Dad, visiting Dad’s Aunt Rita who’s sitting in this photo.

This is the car my dad rented for the trip, a Chevrolet Impala with only 49km on the odometer when we got it.

This is the view looking East along the shore from my grandma’s back yard, which is directly on the Atlantic coast (the end of the yard is where the water meets land).

Veggies in need of water:

On the 16th we drove across the province to Pictou for a céilidh. They have a replica of the ship Hector which brought over the first group of Scottish settlers way back in 1773, quite neat.

The Nova scotia flag as seen on the replica ship. If you care to know, the flag is the inverse of the Scottish flag (which is a white St Andrew’s cross on blue) with the Scottish Lion Rampant (formally known as the Royal Standard of Scotland) crest in the centre.

The detail on the back of the ship:

We were a bit early for the céilidh so we sat outside the Decoste Centre for a while listening to a practice session of a local pipes and drums group. I love bagpipes, so it was really nice to get to watch these men and women play.

The céilidh was probably not too well advertised, as only 20 people were there as spectators, in a place that was set up to seat about 150 very comfortably. The performers didn’t let it phase them, so we had a great time. This is Jimmy Sweeney, an Irishman who came to Canada some time back, and was our MC as well as one of the performers. He’s a really good singer; I really enjoyed his performances of a bunch of traditional Irish and Scottish songs that I know.

This is a 9 near old Highland dancer performing the Sword Dance, something to do with dancing around the swords which were still hot from battle.

These two young ladies were down from Cape Breton. They’re sisters and both play a bunch of instruments. I personally preferred when both were playing fiddle, but I enjoyed everything they did, including one song where the pianist was step-dancing while the other fiddled.

This is Stephanie Hardy, winner of the 2008 ECMA Up And Coming Young Artist award. She sang a bunch of her own stuff, in a contemporary style. She’s super talented. Her voice in some of the songs sounded a lot like Sarah McLachlan.

The next day we went to Monk’s Cove, named after my family (my great grandfather was Daniel Monk, and a large area where my family still lives was all settled by the Monk family when they came over from Scotland via the US). Did I mention that almost everyone in the area is related to me in some way or another? Anyways, we saw our friend Charlie DeWolfe there, and then we drove to Murphy’s Cove to have a look around. This scene on the short drive seemed photo-worthy:

The next morning we were up early, and Dad, Uncle John, and I set out to Martinique Beach for a walk. It was nice and windy with big waves and people surfing on one side of the spit of land, but on the other side the air and water were perfectly still. I skipped a bunch of stones, as that side of the beach had hundreds of perfect skipping stones. Then I followed a small butterfly until I could catch it on camera:

We also found some wild strawberries in the scrub, which are really tasty. Wild strawberries tend to be tiny, as you can see:

This is the road back to our parked car after our beach walk – nice and foggy, the way I like Nova Scotia.

Lobster fishing is much smaller in Nova Scotia than it used to be, but there are a small number of lobster fishermen around still, like Charlie DeWolfe. We passed this lobster boat on our drive back from the beach:

Lastly, for a little humour, if you’re a fan of Krispi Kreme donuts (I don’t care much for them myself) then maybe you’d also enjoy Krispi Kraut! Product of Nova Scotia.