I thought I’d write one last post about the Maritimes just to reflect on and highlight some of my learnings about the area. Before our month long visit, I had never been East of Montreal; my idea of the Atlantic provinces was probably based more on cliches than fact. Here are a few observations and/or surprising tidbits:
Historical Pride – Every province possessed a pride in its history, and wanted to memorialize it whatever way possible. I learned so much from reading plaques and visiting historical areas. Even in the cities, there was a sense of tight knit community and togetherness.
Trees – so, many, trees. And this is coming from a person who grew up in British Columbia. Most of Canada is sparsely populated so I shouldn’t be surprised, but it’s like the roads were just cut through the forrest. And no one is driving on them! Green trees on all sides for miles and miles…punctuated by Tim Hortons.
Tim Hortons – They are EVERYWHERE! We got through more than one box of Timbits. (for the non Canadians, Tim Hortons is a doughnut/sandwich shop)
Lobster – yes, it is cliche but there is lobster wherever you go. If you go into a McDonalds, there is a McLobster on the menu. You can also go and have traditional lobster suppers, which include – all you can eat mussels, seafood chowder, salads, a whole lobster, dessert, soft drinks and coffee/tea. The sum you will pay for this feast is about $35. Yes you heard correctly (that’s about £23).
‘The Season’ – refers to the short summer season when most towns come alive. It seems to start about mid June and run to September. It is the reason why so many businesses were closed in small towns that we visited. Better to just open for 2 months and be busy nonstop rather than being quiet the rest of the year. As I mentioned before, this is very jarring, especially coming from a large city.
‘Come From Away’ – a term used in Nova Scotia for sure, but maybe the other provinces. If you aren’t born and raised in a place than you ‘come from away’ even if you have lived there most of your life. Even if you visit the next town 15 minutes away, you ‘come from away’. Quite territorial – in a benign way.
Road Signage – I fear this may be a problem in a large part of the country. Road signs directing traffic are diabolical. They point you in one direction and then suddenly the trail goes cold. As one person in Nova Scotia commented, the locals know where they are going so why should the council put up signs?
Maps – The tourist bureaus in the Atlantic provinces are a wealth of information, and the staff are first class. I easily picked up detailed road maps in each province. Hotels always had excellent city maps. They were all free. Made up for the lack of road signs.
So goodbye to the Maritimes. It’s been an amazing time exploring the region and I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to do it.