ANGUS L MACDONALD BRIDGE
Not only that, you were here with me last night if you remember correctly. And in case you have forgotten its name, it is the Angus L MacDonald Bridge.
On all of the previous occasions when I have been here I had never managed to take what I consider to be a decent photograph of it but when I came by here earlier this morning I was in luck for a change. Today's weather conditions were absolutely marvellous and this photograph really did come out well.
I went for a walk out onto the bridge this morning to take a few daylight photos of what it was that we were looking at when I was on there last night, but the orientation of the bridge is from south-west to north-east and so the early-morning sun was shining directly into the camera lens. That clearly wasn't going to work therefore I resolved to return later in the afternoon when the sun has moved around.
And return I did, towards the end of the afternoon when the sun had moved around to behind the camera. This time though I came from the Dartmouth side of the bridge, having crossed the harbour on the ferry.
Dartmouth seems to be built on the top of a butte looking out over the harbour, and it's quite a walk up to the top of the plateau on this warm sunny day. But at least from here there's a good spec to take a photo of the Bridge without being disturbed by the sunlight. It's the first time that I've managed to take a decent photo of the bridge from this side of the river, without the sun being in the way.
It's also a good place to see all of the autumn colours in the leaves. Autumn is definitely the time to go around taking landscape photos.
I took the opportunity to wander around to see if I could find a good spec to take a decent photograph of the Murray MacKay Bridge, but what was depressing was that there was not a single decent view of the thing. I wandered up and down along here for a while hoping to find a break in the trees, but all to no avail.
What might then spring into your mind would be to take a photo from the deck of the MacDonald Bridge, but that's not possible either. There is only a predestrian footpath on the south side of the bridge, not the north side. What with all of these issues about photographing the Murray Mackay bridge, anyone fancy developing a Conspiracy Theory?
Of course, you know my own opinion about Conspiracy Theories. It's not so much that the Conspiracy Theories exist, and it's not so much that people believe in them. It's the fact that these days people have so little faith in their Governments that they are prepared almost automatically to accept the existence of these Theories. The Western Governments have completely lost the trust of the people whom they should be governing.
And so with no footpath on the northern side of the bridge I had to take the southern footpath, which was just as well because the plan is to retake the photos that I took last night so that you can see clearly exactly what it was that you were looking at in the dark. Scenes from the South Side, you might say.
Halifax by night did indeed look quite impressive, but you will not be disappointed by the "Halifax by Day" shot either. It all really does look quite nice from up here on the bridge.
And one of the advantages of having a decent camera and expensive lens is that you can crop and enlarge bits out of other photographs without losing much in the way of quality
What will follow will be a whole series of images cropped from the photo above.
The first shot of this series has of course to be the Citadel. After all, if it wasn't for the Citadel then the city wouldn't be here. You may remember that I came here this morning to photograph it but had the sun in the camera lens. No such issues this afternoon.
In fact this is the reverse angle of one of the shots that I took from up on the Citadel earlier this afternoon . You can see how dominating the Citadel is, even with the modern high-rise buildings, and you will also note the steepness of the bank that any attackers would have to climb before they could confront the defenders. The Citadel really does have an excellent defensive position.
The next photo in our series is the view to the left and down a little from the Citadel, right across the top of the naval dockyard. On the left of the photo is the flyover of Barrington Street that takes Cogswell Street - the road running to the right across the centre of the photograph - out towards the Motorway and the south shore of Nova Scotia. That flyover can be a little confusing to those who are new to the city, said our hero speaking with the voice of experience.
The large building left of centre is a hotel, multi-storey car park and shopping centre and it is behind there that the historical centre of the city might be found.
What we have in the next photograph is the waterfront and the Halifax business district. It's here where you will find all of the new construction.
The flyover is there, of course, just to the right of centre, and if you were to drive under the gantry you would hopefully find yourself in Barrington Street, which is the way in to the city if you have driven along the side of the harbour from the north.
If you remember those old, derelict and abandoned buildings that I photographed a little earlier, they are just behind there and if you look very carefully to the left of the overhead sign you will be able to see the Morse's Teas Building.
Now turning our attention to the harbour, here's a nice cropped image of George's Island. The view from here gives you an excellent idea of how the fortifications on the island are laid out.
Defending the island would be reasonably straightforward, of course, especially as it is right under the guns of the Citadel. Any attempts to surround the garrison would be caught in the rear by a few rounds of grapeshot or shrapnel from the Citadel. The lines of communications to the troops on the island would therefore always be open.
You will notice the lighthouse. It goes without saying that back here 100 years ago in a congested harbour where ships would have been at the mercy of the currents, tides and winds, an island could represent an unwelcome hazard to navigation.
Right behind George's Island we have McNab's Island. This was also fortified during the days when it was necessary to defend the harbour here. If you were to go for a wander out there, you would see the quite-substantial remains of the fortifications.
You can see that it is quite a substantial island, and back in the early days of Halifax it was settled by civilians. Your walk around the island, should you be fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go out there, would take you past all kinds of ruined homesteads and the like. There's a lighthouse there too.
But this island also has a sinister part to play in the history of the city. You will have noticed that there are channels either side of the island that lead to the open sea. Back in the days of World War I when the harbour was overwhelmed with shipping, a one-way system was operating in the channels. Ships entering port took the Dartmouth side and ships leaving port took the Halifax side, to minimise the risk of collision.
Or, at least, that was the plan.
This shot is of the waterfront right down to the far end of the quayside. It's down there that you will find Pier 21, the landing stage for immigrants during the first half of the 20th Century, and the railway station is over to the right out of shot.
There's a little shoal out there with a small lighthouse on the end of it. I'm wondering if that might be the poetically-named Hangman's Beach, a part of McNab's Island. Still, whatever it is, you can see that sailing into the harbour here is not as straightforward as it might be.
You might have noticed that in one of the photos above - the one featuring McNab's Island - at the top right hand edge was an object on the horizon just to the left of the glass building. In the next photo - that of Pier 21, was an even better view of that object.
In this photo here, cropped and enlarged, you can see exactly what it is. A huge ocean-going ship of some description. And judging by the towering superstructure, that can only be a container ship. The containers are of course piled up on the deck and so the superstructure needs to overlook them so that the captain and helmsman "helmsPERSON" ...ed can see forward.
A busy place is this harbour, right enough.
Anyway, let's turn our attention to the Dartmouth side of the Narrows. At the right of centre chugging its way across the water is the Dartmouth Ferry. And then of course we have the oil platform from Sable Island, over there in Irving's Ship Repair Yard. You will also see exactly how large are the oil storage facilities over there at Woodside. They stretch for miles.
It's not exactly a picturesque view, unfortunately, but then again a city is many different things and all the different parts together form the whole.
Here's a nicer view of Dartmouth, taken as I was walking back along the bridge. That's the ferry terminal complex, Alderney Landing, just there and you can see the little ferry coming in to dock. In the terminal is said to be some kind of meeting place or concert hall, as well as a small shopping mall. There's also a cash machine, as I discovered.
The converging railway lines were interesting too, with the trains that we saw earlier. But look at the wharf at 90° to the railway lines, sticking out into the water. As an educated guess, judging by where it is and where its pointing, I would say that it may well have been a railway wharf leading to a railway ferry across the water to Halifax.
It's said that at one time there used to be a railway bridge across the harbour, but that fell down in 1887 and a replacement bridge likewise collapsed, on what was one of the calmest nights ever recorded here. These collapses have been said by some to be due to an old Mi'kmaq curse, which foretold doom to any permanent structure across the harbour.
Seeing as it was a nice day and I was in a garrulous mood, I stopped to talk to another woman in order to tell her how beautiful her city was. And would you believe it? She is from Ottawa too, just like the marching girl I met up at the Citadel earlier . It seems that everyone in Ottawa has come to Halifax this weekend for a look around. They must have heard that I would be here.
I also had a stop to look at a statue on the Dartmouth end of the bridge in honour of the workmen who built it, commemorating their courage and determination. It is said that there were a few people who actually died while working on it.
One American tourist asked his tour guide "did people fall off the bridge often then?"
to which the tour guide replied "no - only just the once"
But probably the most splendid view of Halifax is the one that I took from here, just around the corner from where you come off the bridge on the Dartmouth side and where you head southwards towards the ferry. I think that if one photograph were to sum up everything that there is to sum up about the city, it would be this one.
Of course the beautiful weather, the sunlight and the wonderful autumn colours go a long way to enhancing the view, but I think that it would look quite something even in a thick Atlantic fog.
Well well well. Look at this Ford F-350 pickup. Apart from the fact that it's a corporate vehicle, owned by Canadian National Railways, and that its bodywork is in a dreadful condition, there is something else about this vehicle that is quite interesting.
If you look at the extreme front and the extreme rear you will notice that it has drop-down wheels so that it can travel on the railway track. This was something quite exciting - well, for me at any rate.
Thinking about it, next time I come to Canada I ought to get myself one of these. For years, people have been telling me that I have been going off the rails.