Monday, May 12, 2014

A Day of History

Halifax was founded in 1749 as a counter to the French owned Louisbourg. It is the second largest natural harbour in the world. These are just two of the facts Owen and I discovered as we toured along the waterfront and area.

Our first stop was St. Paul's Anglican Church. As mentioned in the previous post, this is the oldest existing Protestant place of worship in Canada. It is also the burial place of Charles Inglis, the first bishop of Nova Scotia. He is also the first bishop appointed to a British Colony. The church doors opened on September 2,1750 after being founded by royal proclamation in 1749.

The church was full of history. They kindly supplied a walking tour pamphlet to help us as we walked around the building. They have two baptismal fonts. The smaller one is actually from a century or more before St. Paul's was founded.

If you look at the bottom left of the second picture you will see a plaque in the floor. This marks the burial place of Charles Inglis. This has special meaning for me. Not only is he the first bishop but I had to present a seminar on him when I was in seminary. Charles Inglis was consecrated in 1787. He made St. Paul's his cathedral. It remained as the cathedral for the diocese until 1865.

The pews were box pews. At the back in the display cases you could see the receipt for the rental of a pew. The front pew on the left side of the centre aisle was the royal pew. I knew it was set apart as soon as I saw the arm rests. I walked around to the side of it and saw that it was roped off. The general public cannot sit in this pew. As a side note of interest, the gentleman who spoke to us told us that things were being prepared for the royal visit next week. So I assume the pew will be in use then.

Our visit here tied in with our later visit to the Maritime Museum. The tie in is the Halifax explosion on December 6, 1917. We were able to join in a tour about the explosion just as we started wandering around the museum. The tie-in with St. Paul's is that the vestry of St. Paul's was used as an emergency hospital. The church was also used to place numerous bodied which were laid in tiers around the walls.

While at the church I discovered some brochures on something called the Old Burying Grounds. I knew from a previous visit that this area of Halifax has a number of cemeteries. Using the map application on my phone we headed over to this particular cemetery. The first grave here was dug the day after the settlers arrived - June 21, 1749. Over 12,000 people were buried here until 1844. Of those around 1200 headstones remain today. The deeds to the cemetery were granted to St. Paul's vestry in 1793.

In 1860 the city's first public monument was erected. The Welsford-Parker Monument was dedicated to two soldiers who fought in the Crimean War. They died on September 8, 1855.

We didn't stay overly long in the cemetery as it had started to rain. We decided to tour someplace indoors. Off we headed to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Thank goodness for map applications on cell phones. Here we learned about the Halifax Explosion. The tour guide also told us of individuals and their fates due to the explosion. The displays told of us of others. Around 2000 people were killed and another 9000 wounded. Things were made worse by a horrendous snow storm the next day that hampered efforts and made things more difficult for those who lost their homes in the explosion.

We wandered through the small craft gallery which housed actual boats.

There were also displays and historical notes on things such as the History of the Canadian Navy and the Titanic. There were many models of various ships. The time and patience needed to craft these was evident in the models on display. Having raised the children with the TV show, Theodore Tugboat, another display caught my attention. I hadn't realized that the show used the Halifax waterfront as its model for Theodore's home.

We were getting quite hungry so we left the museum and headed out looking for a place to eat. We happened on a pub named The Split Crow. We liked the menu board outside so we headed in. We didn't realize that we were in a place rich with history until we read the menu. The Split Crow started out as the Spread Eagle in 1749. It quickly became known as the Split Crow. The menu told us it was "a second home for sailors, mariners, and travelers. They were given comfortable lodgings, food and generous mugs of grog. In the tradition of the day music was played, ladies entertained, politics were discussed and, inevitably, fights broke out. One of these fights resulted in the first ever murder charge in Nova Scotia."

Just a couple of more pictures. I was in seventh heaven when I discovered a real purple house. I had seen colours Owen tried to convince me were purple but this one was very definitely purple.

The last picture is the naval yards we passed on our way home.

We are renting a car tomorrow and heading out to Cape Breton and Louisbourg. We plan on staying in B and B. We will see what adventure lies our way.

Love and Prayers,

1 comment:

Allan Samm said...

Comments on both Sunday and today. A bus lady's holiday checking out all the churches but oh what history. It is good to see Owen in shorts at Peggy's Cove. I have this image of you jumping from rock to rock in 4 inch heels. Good pictures and excellent commentary. Keep on touring. Are there two purple houses in N.S. ?