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The Big Day Downtown – Part Deux

Posted Aug 02 2010 7:16am

Chances are, if you’re reading this, it’s because you’re back after seeing my first post of our Big Day Downtown .  If not, click here to read Part One .

After finishing up lunch, we strolled along through Historic PropertiesHistoric Properties area group of 19th-century warehouses, now home to many shops & restaurants.

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I know this looks touristy but it’s so gorgeous!  Views don’t cost a thing! ;)

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Hehehe!  Wasn’t he a good sport?

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Further down on the waterfront was where all the action was happening. 

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Between the Natal Day celebrations and the fact that it’s prime tourist season, it was quite busy.

[Start Rant] And, despite the fact that smoking causes cancer and is illegal in most public places in Nova Scotia – there was still lots of air pollution.  :(  Hubby and I both remarked to each other, on several occasions, how unpleasant it was. [End Rant]

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On to more positive things, the waterfront has a great view of Georges Island!

“Georges Island, a small drumlin located in the middle of Halifax Harbour, was shaped by glaciers thousands of years ago. From the mid-18th century to World War II, this island was the scene of constant military activity and played an integral role in the defence of Halifax Harbour. Tales of hidden tunnels abound in the folklore associated with this mysterious island. Parks Canada is now preparing this heritage site for future visitation.” [ Source ]

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Further along the boardwalk we went, stopping at Bishop’s Landing for some Sugah! Actually, for some of their much anticipated hand paddled ice cream.

“Our philosophy is that fresh is better, local is better, and pure is better. We use only real ingredients that you would find in your own kitchen - no artificial colourings or additives.”

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I ordered a small,  made with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter fudge & chocolate rum cake.  With a waffle cone, of course! It was GOOD and I’m certain, not good for my poor waistline. ;)  Hubby got a medium made with chocolate ice cream, peanut fudge & butter crunch.

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We sat and watched all the sail boats and other small watercraft while we enjoyed our tasty treats!

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It was late afternoon by the time we reached Pier 21 .

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Pier 21 is Canada’s National Immigration Museum and one of the Seven Wonders of Canada .

“We celebrate and share the Canadian immigration experience by honouring the unique stories of immigration throughout history. We also pay tribute to 1.5 million immigrants, war brides, displaced people, evacuee children and Canadian military personnel who passed through Pier 21 between 1928 and 1971.” 

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We came and and went to pay admission, only to find out mine had been comp’d!  Back at the launch party I met a lovely lady who works in the gift shop and told her about my plans to visit; this was a nice surprise.  Thanks Laura. :) 

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A museum tour was scheduled for shortly after we arrived, so we had a quick look around and then headed upstairs to wait for it to begin.  I was pretty excited for the tour and seeing the museum in general.    My grandparents met during WW II and my grandmother actually came through Pier 21 as a war bride!

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Showing off my my admission ticket.

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At this point hubby and I were tired and getting a little silly. I love this picture! :)

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Let the tour begin… 

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Our tour guide was excellent, she started off by explaining all the people that came through Pier 21 – refugees, soldiers returning home, war brides, Jewish children etc.  In total, over one million people immigrated to Canada through Halifax from 1928 to 1971.

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She took us out into the WW II room, which was towards the side and facing the harbour.  There were big windows, which she explained used to be doors.  Ships would pull up and then planks would be laid so people could walk into the building.  The same area we were standing in, now in 2010,  is where my grandmother came through in 1945. 

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Apparently a lot of war brides coming from Europe were in for quite a shock when they arrived.  The rural areas of Nova Scotia were a great contrast to the busy streets of London.  Also, many war brides brought along young children that were meeting their fathers for the first time ever.   I can’t even imagine!

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They were given 2 books when they came through the Pier.  One was a cookbook with “Canadian” Recipes.

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Lots of really cool artifacts that my camera had a hard time capturing due to the glass cases. :(

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There was a huge replica of the building.  We were shown the whole process of what happens during the immigration, from the time they got off the ship until they boarded the train. (Or stayed in Halifax.)

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After that we watched a short film “The Ocean’s Of Hope” in the museum’s theatre. Since it’s a national museum, the film was offered in both official languages.   Thought it might be fun to see if my French skills were still up to par, so I watched the video in French and understood the whole thing! :) 

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“The video takes viewers on an emotional journey through Pire 21’s history, from the late 1920s to the early 1970s, depicting the exhausting voyages of newcomers, as well as the role Pier 21 had in World War II. The stories presented are individual sketches drawn from many sources, including personal memoirs, and are not generalized portraits of the time.”

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This was the view of Georges Island from The WW II room

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One more fun thing from the museum -  Downstairs in their gallery was a travelling exhibit, “ Food For Health ” which was really neat and relevant to the blog.

“Food For Health is a bilingual exhibition from the Canada Agriculture Museum, which looks at concerns and questions many Canadians have about the role food plays in ensuring good health. Food for Health combines hands-on interactive components, multimedia technology, historical artifacts and graphics to showcase Canadian initiatives designed to ensure that our food is as safe as possible.”

There were multiple interactive displays set up including ones on how our eating has changed from the 1900’s the 2000’s and translating food labels into what each of the items does for your body (I wish I had gotten a shot of that one.)

I thought this one in particular was pretty neat –“Farms Across Canada

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There were two rows of various foods – beef, potatoes, pork, berries etc.  You pressed the associated button and green lights appeared on the map where that resource is from.   It was really cool!

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We did take a moment to browse the gift shop, spotted this magnet. ;)

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Back outside we hit the streets for our finally destination, Supper!  

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We made it up to Talay Thai just as they were opening.  And thank goodness we did.  About 10 minutes after we arrived the place was PACKED.  

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Our visit to Talay Thai was planned in advance.  I had been wanting to go for a while now and when I saw that Team Buy was offering $35 dining credits for $17 I knew it was meant to be. :)   I prepaid for 2 credits so that we could enjoy a full meal.  The credits were good for food, non-alcoholic beverages and tax  What a great deal! When we arrived, I simply let our server know about coupons and they were happy to accommodate.   I have to admit that I was a little hesitant to use Team Buy but my experience was great.  I’ll be checking back for future deals and would definitely recommend them.

I started with water and glass of iced tea. It’s nice that they put a little effort into a simple glass of iced tea!

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We had a bit of time to look over the menu.  There were lots of yummy sounding dishes.

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They had both fresh and deep fried spring rolls.  I asked our server what she recommended because I wanted to try both!  She offered to do half orders of each, Yay! 

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Fresh Spring Rolls - Bean sprout, cucumber, carrot, coriander and glass noodle wrapped in soft and thin rice paper and served with house special tamarind sauce.  

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Deep Fried Spring Rolls - Glass noodle, shredded cabbage, carrot, and chinese mushroom wrapped in spring roll skins, deep-fried, and served with house sweet & sour spicy sauce.

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I'm so glad that I was able to have a half order of each of the rolls, they were both fantastic!  What I liked most was that they tasted fresh.  Hints of fresh mint & cilantro in the raw rolls and fresh ginger in the deep fried.

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For his appetizer, hubby ordered the Satay Chicken Skewers - Strips on wooden skewers marinated with coconut milk & curry powder, grilled, and served with peanut sauce & cucumber salad sauce.

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Since I shared my rolls, he somewhat grudgingly shared a skewer. ;) Mmm yummy curry!

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For my main dish, chose the Masaman Curry Chicken - Masaman curry paste with sweet potatoes, onion & whole peanut.

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He ordered the Pat Chaa Beef - Stir fried sliced beef w/ ginger, red pepper, basil, chiles, green beans & curry powder.  This dish was rated 3 chilies and VERY hot!

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Along with a side of steamed Jasmine Rice.

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I had a scoop of each on my plate.  The Masaman Curry chicken was delicious.  Very sweet; almost decadent.  Huge hints of coconut milk. Mmm!  The Pat Chaa Beef was also quite good.  I usually can handle spicy food but I couldn't finish my portion, the heat made me full.

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Of course, we made room for dessert! Deep Fried Banana with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream.  I thought pan fried caramelized banana was delicious but this was divine! ;)

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The verdict? We had an excellent dining experience at Talay Thai.  Our server was great, service was speedy, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was cozy. Oh and we left with a huge doggy bag of tasty leftovers! We'll be back.

We had to rush to get down to the waterfront in time to make the next ferry.  People were boarding when we arrived but we made it!  I was so happy we didn't have to sit around in the terminal for 30 minutes waiting for the next one. It was a fun day but I was tired.

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My General Thoughts On The Big Day Downtown
Once again, huge thanks to the Downtown Halifax Business Commission for inviting me to participate.  I think providing bloggers and other media with this opportunity will truly showcase the vast variety of everything our beautiful downtown has to offer.

I personally had a wonderful experience!  It's not often that we stop to actually take it all in. I enjoyed exploring the historical areas & buildings, unique shops, museums, restaurants and seeing some gorgeous scenery. It also gave hubby and I the opportunity to go out on a date. :)

Some people may disagree, but I have to say that I think our city is quite pedestrian friendly -  with lots of side walks, boardwalks, ferry services, trails, parks, pedways and waterfront shopping/dining.

The bottom line, AWESOME! DHBC Downtown Logo

The Numbers

Now, for the real number… the $100 budget.

Item

Cost

Note

Ferry

$7.20

We had bus tickets so we didn’t technically pay for these.
Just Us Café

$4.38

 
United Book Store

$9.16

 
Hart & Thistle Gastropub & Brewery

$34.00

Meal - $29.90, Tip $4.10
Sugah

$8.63

 
Pier 21

$8.60

My admission was comp’d, so we only paid for hubby’s.
Talay Thai

$44.58

Team Buy Credit - $34.00, Overbudget - $0.58, Tip - $10.00

Grand Total $116.55
We went over budget slightly.  If you don’t count the ferry trip, even less.  Most of my $100 was spent on food, which was okay. We were more than happy to spend the little extra, it was worth it considering ALL that we did!

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and hearing about our Big Day Downtown.  My blog posts, along with other participants, are available on Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s website .  I really encourage you to check out it and see how what other bloggers did for their big day!

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