Halifax Travel Tip: The Bridge is Closed on Natal Day

It was a long drive from St. Martins to Halifax. Nova Scotia is bigger than it looks, and the shortest distance between two points isn’t always a straight line–or, rather, there isn’t always a road going in a straight line between your two destinations, even if one of them is the largest city in the province.

But it was a beautiful day–big, puffy white clouds greeted us at the immaculate and well-stocked visitor’s center. While my husband obsessively washed his hands in the aptly-named washroom a second time, I collected a few brochures and guides for the city and the province as a whole before we continued on our way.

As it turns out, it was a very, very good thing I collected those pamphlets. One, in particular, saved the day. Here it is:

The art map that saved the day!

You see, the 18 pages of directions I’d printed out before we left did not take into account things like detours, traffic, or, in this case, bridges being closed. The MacDonald Bridge–the bridge we were to take to get to our hotel–was closed to car traffic and covered in pedestrians enjoying the national holiday.

What do you do in a situation like this? Well, I don’t know what you’d do, but we used a combination of directions given to us from a very nice girl working the register at a pharmacy and the guidance of aforementioned art map–which was not drawn to scale or in any detail whatsoever.

But we made it to our hotel!

I must have grown some coping skills since last summer, because all it took was a light lunch and one drink to calm me down enough to actually enjoy the rest of our first evening in town. We spent some time exploring the beautiful Public Gardens across the street from our hotel before venturing down to the waterfront area.

Doug relaxing in the Public Gardens

There just so happened to be a Natal Day celebration going on at the waterfront–so we checked that out for a bit and then headed back up the steep hill towards drinks and dinner.

Natal Day celebration on the waterfront.

After a brief stop at The Economy Shoe Shop (a bar, not a shoe store) we located the absolutely amazing Thai restaurant I raved about in a previous post. All in all, it was a great day. Minus the snafu with the bridge, that is.

So what did I learn?

  • Always grab tourist literature. You never know when it may come in handy!
  • Canada knows how to create amazing public spaces. The Public Gardens were clean, well-kept, beautiful, educational (plaques everywhere–and an exotic dahlia garden)…and had free public restrooms!
  • Halifax has an awesome number of amazing bars.
  • Even if things get off to a bad start, it can still be a good day!

Up next–our two full days in Halifax don’t go exactly as planned. Why? The weather!

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