Eastern Canada Journey – Part II

Lost: Agenda, Found: Freedom         

                                ~ New Foundland Tourism Slogan 

 

Day 4

North Sydney, Nova Scotia. This is a small town in the northern part of Nova Scotia along the eastern coast of Cape Breton Island. North Sydney acts as the marine link for the Trans-Canada Highway to New Foundland because of its Marine Altlantic ferry western terminal port. And that is the main reason too why stayed for a night here: to catch the ferry on a Wednesday afternoon.

Early morning was spent strolling around the laid-back streets of this town. You can count the number of restaurants and/ or coffee shops in the area. I made a stop at The Theater Pub & Grill and Black Spoon Bistro and tried an early boost of local beers and seafood menu. Few blocks away from Black Spoon is the Heritage Museum. It showcases the very best of the history of Cape Breton’s oldest incorporated town with specific areas devoted to communications, police and fire departments, a Dutch Heritage area and displays of the contribution of the town’s citizens to the World War I & II.

 

A popular landmark too is the St. Joseph Catholic church boasting its Victorian-style architecture.

 

One place that attracted my attention was the memorial park dedicated for Bobby Joe Ryan. Ryan, 5, died in a tragic accident during a school event at the Sydney Mines rink on Jan. 29, 1999 after a hockey puck hit him in the chest. Every year, a North Sydney Minor Hockey Association hosts a tournament in Ryan’s memory. Moreso, teams wear a special shamrock with No. 17 on their jerseys, a tribute to honor Ryan, who was born on St. Patrick’s Day.

 

From North Sydney, I was scheduled to board the Marine Atlantic ferry and leave for New Foundland at 5:30 pm that day. Travel duration was 5:30 pm to 10:00 am the next day (16 hours approximate). Marine Atlantic has two sailing routes:

         Route 1 (178 km) / 7 hours duration approx.
         North Sydney, NS and Port aux Basques, NL
Open year-round

         Route 2 (520 km) / 16 hours duration approx.
North Sydney, NS and Argentia, NL
Operates June to September

Adult passenger rates is $121.26 and $176.75 for the cabin accommodation (depends on the type of ferry). I stayed for the night in the public seating lounge. Some of the amenities that MV Atlantic Vision features include a snack bar, buffet style and fine dining restaurants, bar lounges, gift shop, internet kiosk (no public WiFi service on board), and open air viewing deck.

Book your travel at https://www.marineatlantic.ca/en/. Do not forget about their sailing schedule. Also, take note that if you would go to St. John’s, you will need to opt for Route 2 (North Sydney to Argentia) and travel by land for 2-3 hours. If going to Gros Morne National Park or eastern side of New Foundland, book the North Sydney to Port aux Basques.

Not much you can do inside a ferry but eat, sleep, drink beer, and read a book and stargaze.

 

Day 5

10:00 am to 1:00 pm – Argentia, NL to St. John’s, NL

Based on my research there should be some taxi or a PUV available in the Argentia terminal. Yes, there was one and I was the lone passenger in the van going to St. John.

Observations: 1) I could not understand a word from the New Foundlander driver. But you can notice the sincerity or genuine-ness in their personality. 2) I fell in love the moment I landed. The scenery is amazing, so prestine, so natural.

 

I arrived at St. John’s, the capital city of New Foundland. St. John’s is gorgeous. By the way, that $40 of fare was so cheap for 3 hours of travel. Noticeable are the colorful houses and old buildings.

 

From downtown, I made a way to “The Dog Statues” located in the Harbourside Park. A Newfoundland dog and a Labrador retriever were sculpted by a Bulgarian artist Luben Boykov in 2003. The dogs are one-and-a-half life size, made from cast bronze.

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Few steps away is the Terry Fox monument to honor Terry Fox who began his Marathon of Hope on April 12, 1980 on the edge of North Atlantic Sea in St. John’s, NL.

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“It took cancer to realize that being self-centered is not the way to live. The answer is to try and help others.” ~ Terry Fox

 

Terry Fox attempt to run across Canada not only brought the urge for the importance of finding a cure for cancer but also inspired millions of Canadians to raise money for cancer research. Events like Terry Fox Run are held each year. For 2018, the Terry Fox Run will be on Sept. 16, Sunday, across Canada. To know more about this amazing young hero, visit http://www.terryfox.org/.

St. John’s Signal Hill is a must-visit. This historical place is where Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless transmission ushering in the era of wireless communications in December 12th, 1901.

 

Signal Hill offers an amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean, St. John’s, and the Narrows, a channel through which all ships must pass when entering St. John’s Harbour.

 

There are around five trails around Signal Hill: Burma Road Trail,  Gibbet Hill TrailCentre to Citadel TrailLadies’ Lookout Trail, and North Head Trail. I highly recommend the last three trails as these offers spectacular views of the ocean, rock formations, and history unveiling.

 

Stunning views while returning back to downtown:

 

The night was spent jogging at Qidi Vidi Lake and checking the popular and wild George St.

Day 6

10:00 am – Rented a car (Enterprise) for a day drive in the city. Costed me $115 to drive a Kia Forte. Definitely worth it though.

First Stop : Pouch Cove in Flatrocks, NL

 

Second Stop: Portugal Cove (photos are on a lost phone). A port is located here to be able to go to Bell Island, a previous iron ore mines site and home to three communities in the present.

Third Stop: Paradise. Yes, it is the place’s name. I do not have the photo to justify the name but I would generalize that New Foundland is a “paradise”.

Fourth Stop: Bay Bulls. This is part of the Irish Loop, a loop in the Avalon Peninsula of New Foundland. It is a network of vibrant, rural communities, and unspoiled natural environment with a total distance of 312km. A lazy, out-of-this world, long amazing drive, I would say.

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Fifth Stop: Witless Bay

 

Sixth Stop: Ferryland. One of the most historic and picturesque communities in New Foundland, founded in 1621.

 

Seventh Stop: Chance Cove Provincial Park. Decided to stop as a photo opp for my friend “Chance”.

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Eight Stop: Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve. Located on the south-eastern tip of the island and a UNESCO Heritage Site. A globally significant Ediacaran fossil site, Mistaken Point’s coastline contains fossils of the oldest, large complex multicellular life-forms found anywhere on Earth. { Sources: http://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/ and http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1497 }

Stunned at the sunset and the rugged coastline.

A 15-seconds video:

I was still motivated to drive to Cape Race Lighthouse, another historical landmark, from the Mistaken Point but it was getting darker. This short stop greatly delighted me already.

Those are the last pictures I’ve had from my Nikon camera. Sad thing, I lost my phone months after this trip where other special pictures and videos were saved. The last two stops I did were at Saint Vincent’s and Saint Mary’s where I was ‘screeched-in’ a term use to become an honorary New Foundlander. Long story short, a humbling ceremony in an awesome Irish pub after a wonderful 11-hour drive. (Note: they are one of the few pubs in the Irish Loop and genuineness-wise, they truly have. Drop-by at the Celtic Knot Pub & Restaurant)

Day 7

Checked if I can re-schedule my flight the previous night but it would be too expensive, haha. I wanted to stay for an additional day.

Nevertheless, itinerary was over but the journey did not end.  A re-start, a motivation, to travel, to not be afraid to get lost and yep! to find freedom.

11:00 pm – Kelowna

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Expression of gratitude to New Foundland & Labrador Tourism  and kudos to an amazing tourism marketing. Visit their website at http://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/ and to Celtic Knot Pub & Restaurant, located at Main Road, Saint Mary’s, NL A0B 3B0

Other references:

https://www.marineatlantic.ca/en/

http://www.terryfox.org/

https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/index

https://whc.unesco.org/

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for finding the time to read. Take care and enjoy your travels!

-Allan

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