Wednesday 9th August 2023

We are in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It is the country’s largest and busiest port on the Atlantic Coast. Following John Cabot’s finding of the Grand Banks the Portuguese, Spanish and French arrived here from 1502 onwards. Eventually the Portuguese and Spanish pulled out of the cod trade and left it to the French and British to take control.

Today’s city was founded by Britain in 1749 and continues as a major maritime centre with cruise ships, container ships and the military occupying the arm of the Atlantic. As for cod, after five centuries, Cabot’s ‘gold’ was almost exhausted.

During the Second World War the entrance to the harbour was the assembly point for convoys across the Atlantic to the UK. A sole surviving Corvette (protection vessel) is moored opposite the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. This museum demonstrates the long maritime heritage of the city and in particular its links with the White Star Line and Cunard. When the Titanic sank in 1912, and the mini tourist submarine 2023, Halifax being the closest port was the base for rescue and recovery operations. The museum displays the only surviving deckchair from the ship as well as some timbers, the wireless log and poignant artefacts such as gloves and a pair of child’s shoes.150 victims of the Titanic’s sinking were buried in the city’s cemeteries.

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