Visit Nova Scotia
Jonas Thor, tour director of Thortravels,
and his wife, Anna, brought 18 Icelanders to Nova Scotia on September 9th,
2010, for a one-week visit. This
was the second tour that Jonas has organized to Nova Scotia. The group
consisted of senior citizens. What
energy and zeal they demonstrated!
Sept. 10: City Tour of
Halifax. The weather
turned out to be beautiful after a rather black morning.
At 1 p.m. the tour left their Hotel Atlantica.
J. Marshall Burgess, Chair of the Icelandic Memorial Society of
Nova Scotia, welcomed everyone to Nova Scotia.
The group first visited the
Gardens which were still looking quite magnificent.
Then the bus took a drive around
Hill to provide a panoramic view of the city. Next came a stop at the
Parade where City Hall is located and a visit to St. Paul’s
Anglican Church, the oldest church in Halifax.
The bus took a drive along Halifax waterfront where the
Museum of the Atlantic and
Museum are located. The tour then went to the north end of the
city where the
Explosion occurred in 19l7 and 2,000 people died.
Next stop was the
Gravesite where 200 bodies are buried from the 1912 disaster.
After viewing Dalhousie University and St. Mary's University, the tour
ended by going to Point Pleasant Park to see two cruise ships leaving
Halifax Harbour. What a
beautiful day for these visitors in our capital city!
Sept. 12: Visit to Markland. The
Icelandic Memorial Society of Nova Scotia hosted the group on
this day trip to
Markland, the group was introduced to the executive/members of
the Society and was told the story of Markland
(1875-1881 – 200 Icelanders) and the Memorial Cairn
erected in 2000. After a 45-minute walk through the old
settlement, the group came to Lot 3 (“Stadartunga” owned
by Sigurdur Jonsson) where the Society soon plans to erect a
replica of the log cabins built by the Government of Nova
Scotia for the pioneer settlers. The Society had cars
available to shuttle people to and from Lot 3 to the Memorial
Cairn. This group
insisted on walking in and back!
One of the guests discovered that her relative, Halldor
Halldorsson Armann, settled in Markland in 1875 on Lot 24 “Austurhlid”.
What a surprise this was for us all!! The group was then taken
to the Moose River Provincial Park for a picnic lunch and a
visit to the
River Gold Mines Museum. An informative tour was given by
Betty Belmore, society member and member of the Musquodoboit
Valley Tourism Association. Many of the pioneer settlers
worked in the gold mines here and in nearby Caribou Gold
Mines. In this museum
are some pieces of furniture made by the Icelanders.
When they left, they gave their furniture to local
people who had helped them while they lived here. The bus
driver then took the group back to
Musquodoboit to stop at some vendor’s booths in the
Yard Sale, held the second Saturday/Sunday in September of
each year. I don’t
think these people had ever seen anything quite like this!
Then it was south to the seacoast at Musquodoboit Harbour and
along the Eastern Shore back to Halifax.
at Moose River Provincial Park
Mon., Sept. 13: Visit to
Mahone Bay and
Erna Jonsdottir, an Icelander who lives in Dartmouth, joined
the group for this day trip. First stop was a tour of the Town of
Lunenburg, a UNESCO world heritage site.
This Town was settled by the German Protestants in 1753.
Lutheran Ministers from here would go twice a year to Markland
to take care of the spiritual needs of the Icelandic pioneer settlers. The guests got to see the School Academy which is an architectural
gem and St. John’s Anglican Church. Lunch
consisting of baked haddock and blueberry grunt was served at the
Lunenburg Atlantic Fisheries Museum. The
fishing captains in the group really enjoyed this Museum and the story
of the Bluenose, which was built here in 1921. Next stop was to shop
at the boutique shops in Mahone Bay and view the three beautiful
churches located there. The final stop was to walk through the village
of Peggy's Cove and a stop to see the
DeGarthe Rock Sculpture. He was a Finnish artist who lived in
Peggy's Cove. Then back to Halifax for yet more shopping!!
Wed., Sept. 15:
Split, Grande Pré, Wolfville and Gaspereau Valley Winery. Phyllis
Parker, the IMSNS secretary, joined the group for this day trip.
The first stop was at the Grand
Historic Site to see the movie about the expulsion of the Acadians
(l0, 000 of them) from Nova Scotia in 1755.
Most of the Acadians landed up in Louisiana, USA.
Next stop was a trip to
for a panoramic view of the Minas Basin and Annapolis Valley.
Lunch took place at Actons, a wonderful French restaurant in
Wolfville, which is the home of Acadia University.
The final stop was at Gaspereau Vineyards where the group got
to taste six different kinds of wine. The
maple syrup cognac was a hit with the Icelanders.
Anne Bishop and Jan Morell raise Icelandic sheep in the nearby
village of Falmouth. They
came to visit the group and brought samples of their Icelandic wools.
All of the Icelandic women in the group knit, so they were very
interested in the wools. After so many samples of wine, we all sang
our hearts out on the bus trip back to Halifax.
The bus driver, Harry, got quite a kick out of this!
group flew home on September 19th. This
was the second tour from Iceland to Halifax and Jonas is already
planning another visit for next fall.
Many commented that the trip to Markland was the highlight of
their trip. Maybe next years trip will be a fall foliage tour in October
including a trip to Cape Breton. The
Society is so happy to participate in these tours and make the
Icelandic visitors feel welcome here. We certainly hope that more
Icelanders will come back next year to visit.
Marshall Burgess, QC
of the Icelandic Memorial Society of Nova Scotia