When you hear “Spring Break” you probably think of a beach, sun and parties, right? Given that that is the common association to Spring Break, a lot of people were surprised when in 2013 we decided to go on a road trip from Toronto to Halifax and back during our March Spring Break.
Canada is a beautiful country and a huge one, and on the five years we lived there we did’t do a good job of exploring it. So this road trip would solve that problem and would also be a good opportunity to visit friends that live in Moncton, New Brunswick.
We started our journey in Toronto, where we used to live, on a Friday night. The highway was not moving super fast as there were spots where snow was falling or had accumulated. We stopped at one of the On Route plazas to get something to eat before leaving the Ontario province and entering Quebec province.
We had a reservation for a small motel/hotel somewhere outside of Montreal to spend the night, and despite the very low rate we got and having very low expectations, we were pleasantly surprised. The staff was nice and the sleep was good and we were ready to face a fun day on the road to Moncton, to our friends’ house.
The landscape we saw didn’t really differ much from this:
The journey was a long one, almost 10 hours if we count the stops to eat, but we eventually arrived in Moncton:
Moncton is in the province of New Brunswick and this is the only constitutionally bilingual province in Canada, so you will hear a lot of French (or a dialect of French) here. It is a small town but that didn’t stop us from having one of the best sushis ever! They were so good and in this sort of “hidden behind the counter restaurant” inside a type of whole foods market that they were gone before realizing it would be a good idea to take a picture. At least I took a picture of the market, so if you’re ever in Moncton, go to Dolma for the best sushi ever:
After Moncton we set out to explore the province of Nova Scotia, most specifically their capital of Halifax. It could have been done as a day trip, but our friends said it would be better if we stayed overnight so we could see more. And so we did! It was cool to have this short trip with our friends, especially as they had done that trip many times with their family and friends.
Our first stop was the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market and the Harbourwalk. It was super cold, Canadian winter cold, but we were determined to take it all in:
After that we went for a tour of Alexander Keith’s Brewery. I wasn’t sure if kids would be allowed, but to my surprise they were. The whole tour is very interesting and worth the visit, as you learn so much about the history of this part of Canada, it is really educational. At the end of the tour you can sample their beer and kids can have lemonade.
The next day we visited Halifax Citadel. It was extremely cold and I was wishing we could come back again when the weather was warmer. But it was very educational and gives you an insight on the importance Halifax had (and has) to Canada.
I can only imagine the conditions to protect Halifax back in the day, think no technology how we have today, think extremely cold winters and more.
After the Citadel we went on to explore downtown Halifax and headed back to Moncton. It was a fun visit to Halifax but adventures were still awaiting for us as we were heading for a day trip to and around Prince Edward Island the next day.
The goal with our day trip was to drive around Prince Edward Island to take in the scenery and a few pictures and maybe buy some potatoes (Prince Edward Island is known for the potatoes in Canada), since it was very cold and being realistic, we wouldn’t go dip our feet in the water. 🙂
To get to Prince Edward Island you need to drive the 12.9 km or 8 mile Confederation Bridge. Think of the Florida Key’s 7 mile bridge but in Canada, longer and with an arch. Add to that the $45+ toll fee and then you start asking if you really need to pay that to drive around the island. But I tell you, it was worth it. We saw beautiful (and snowy) landscapes and I could only wonder how beautiful and lively it must be in Summer!
It was such a fun adventure but I really wish it wasn’t that cold and that we had had the chance to enjoy that part of the Atlantic Ocean. Maybe we will be back, I tell you that this part of Canada deserves to be seen in Summer!
After that, we went back to Moncton and started getting ready for our drive back. It was so much fun, but our drive back also has lots of adventures.
But that will be the subject of another post!