Wednesday, June 22
Welcome to Nova Scotia in the Canadian Maritimes. The first thing we'll do is move our watches forward one hour to Atlantic Time. We're so far east that we're due north of Hamilton, Bermuda.
After stopping by our hotel, if time allows we'll head downtown to get acquainted with Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia (New Scotland). Halifax is a small city (pop. under 140,000) located on the world's second largest natural harbor (Sydney, Australia is first), which remains ice free all winter. Halifax is the oldest British settlement in Canada, founded in 1749. Local inhabitants of Halifax are called Haligonians. I'm not making this up.
Rick's awesome poster made from a composite of 10 photographs of Halifax:
Our 11-day tour covers three provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. We'll all need a passport, so make sure yours is valid. Bring your ATM card, but no traveler's checks (no one will accept them). Canadian dollar coins are called "loonies," because they depict a loon. CAD 2 coins are called "twoonies."
Halifax Historic District (photo): Many visitors say Halifax reminds them of a mini-Boston. It sits on the west side of the harbor, opposite the city of Dartmouth. A commuter ferry connects the two, and the short ride offers splendid views of Halifax on the return.
Practical matters: Our first hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn out near the airport, where our coach tour participants will assemble. The hotel has an ATM machine in the lobby, as well as an on-site convenience store and casual restaurant serving throughout the day.
We have a tour orientation meeting at 8:00 pm at our hotel, so we'll get to meet our other coach tour travelers and guide. Days 2 through 9 will find us on a commercial motorcoach tour operated by Caravan.
Average high temps this time of year: 68 degrees F; average lows 52 degrees F, so pack a sweater or light jacket and bring an umbrella. Note: Electricity is the same as in the U.S., so no need to take a converter.