Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday was designated as Halifax day. Pat took us on a tour of her childhood haunts, the house she grew up in, her schools, clubs, hangouts, etc.

Halifax is very different from Regina - the houses are mainly wood and have a unique east coast architecture - lots of gables, porches and bright colours.

We walked down Spring Garden road, window shopping, stopped in at the library to see the statue of Winston Churchill (no one could tell us why his statue was outside the Halifax library), admired our way through the public gardens and eventually made our way to Pier 21.

Pier 21 was the entry point for many immigrants to Canada. Helene’s mother and father arrived here from Europe after the war. We knew the name of their ship (The General Sturgis) and we wanted to gather more information. Although we found information about the ship we couldn’t get access to the ship’s papers - the Privacy Act has limited the public’s access to this kind of information for 75 years. We’ll have to wait for another 15 years or get Helene’s mother to request the information.

Dinner was at Pat’s sister’s home. Mary and Ron have a beautiful home in Dartmouth. Ron is an oceanographer and has spent a great deal of time onboard ships. It showed in the design of their home. It had the most efficient closet organization I had ever seen - in particular in the kitchen. We are always struggling with our pots and pans and other assorted paraphernalia. Their cupboards were beautifully organized and easily accessed.

They prepared a salmon dinner for us which I unfortunately missed - or at least ate later than the others.

I was involved in an internet based conference call. A number of us in Business Education have gotten together to work on some of the issues facing business education. We have been using Elluminate to meet - a cool program that allows for us to speak to one another through our computers. We are hoping that we can shed some light on some of the problems facing business education and perhaps even make some suggestions that will clear the congestion. More on this later.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Our mornings are becoming predictable - I have been waking up around 7 and make my way out to the deck. Dew has coated the table and chairs so my first duty is to wipe them down. I have been most successful in the mornings in catching the very faint wireless signals that are coming from somewhere. I have been trying to find their source and getting closer to it but the signal; only seems to exist at the table on the deck. The signal is very weak and comes and goes at will. On lucky days I am able to see my email but even on those days I am rarely able to read anything more than one or two messages. Responding has been just about impossible.

Slowly the others emerge, coffee is made and books are picked up. Depending on the day we sit quietly reading for a few minutes or for quite a few minutes.

One by one we eventually drift off to grab a little breakfast and a shower. No rush and no deadlines - it actually feels like a holiday.

On Thursday we decided that the first part of the day would be spent at Peggy’s Cove. It is a short ride towards Halifax and then up the other side of St. Margaret’s Bay. The maritime architecture is so different from what I am used to in the prairies. Wood is the predominant house siding with the occasional brick house. Many of the houses out here are large - three floors with what seem like large ‘back sides.’

On the way to Peggy’s Cove we stopped at the Swiss Air memorial. It was a moving site. It is located at a spot called Whale’s Back - the rock protrude from the ground in the same way that a whale’s back would protrude from the water as it is diving. Swiss Air 111 crashed into the ocean in 1998 killing all aboard. The crash, they think, was a result of a fire in the electrical system on the plane. This time is an important and traumatic time in the history of the people in the area.

We moved onto Peggy’s Cove and it was all it was advertised to be - rustic, historical, magnificent views and the most photographed lighthouse in Canada. It was also crawling with tourists. Bus after bus with tourists from all around the world pulled up and disgorged people with cameras. Although there were a few souvenir shops that part of a tourist destination wasn’t too intrusive.

We had lunch in the restaurant that is just below the lighthouse. We had heard that the lighthouse is now a post office so Helene brought a letter to mail so that it would have a Peggy’s Cove postmark.

The other day we toured Pier 21 but we didn’t have time to walk the waterfront so we left Peggy’s Cove and headed to Halifax.

First stop was a bank to get some British pounds. That done we were off to the waterfront. Once again we were impressed by Pat’s enthusiasm and knowledge of the city and its past.

We gawked at the tall ships, walked the pathway’s along the water and enjoyed the very different buskers - in ;particular a little woman with a sunbonnet playing the fiddle.

We stopped for a drink at Mark’s favourite spot on the wharf - we sat on the deck watching the ships, tugs, pilot boats and people pass by.

Pat and Mark’s daughter Jane and her partner Duncan just bought a house in Halifax - in fact it is only a few blocks away from where Pat herself grew up. We dropped by for a drink and a visit. We were very impressed with the house and Jane’s hospitality. They have literally just moved in, yet everything seemed organized and in its place. They have a comfortable feel in the house and we were made very welcome.

Dinner came late and was a bit of this and that and we drifted off to the Olympics on the television

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