From the Novel Readings Archives: A bright, if cold and breezy, outing this morning to my favorite place in Halifax, the Victorian Public Gardens, inspires this re-post. I went with my lovely daughter, as a Mother’s Day treat. At this point the flowers and trees are not yet in full bloom, as they are in the pictures below, but the bulbs have opened and it’s exhilirating, after another long winter, to see the signs of spring.
First opened in 1867, the Public Gardens feature the most spectacular rhododendrons I’ve ever seen, as well as formal flowerbeds, a gazebo (with band concerts on Sunday afternoons), a large duck pond (with abundant ducks) and all manner of fountains and statues. It’s a green oasis in the middle of downtown: you can barely hear the hum of traffic, and as you stroll the well-kept walkways (no dogs, no joggers, and no bicycles allowed!), you can easily feel as if you have stepped back into a Victorian fantasyland.
There’s a Boer War memorial fountain, and a fountain commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Even the swans are named ‘Horatio’ and ‘Nelson.’
When Hurricane Juan struck Halifax in 2003, the Public Gardens were hit hard (though not with quite the devastating results seen at nearby Point Pleasant Park, which lost an estimated 70% of its trees). Since then, the Gardens have been beautifully restored. Here are a couple more pictures from [last year's] trip, including a shot of the bust of Walter Scott that used to be right outside the front gates (during the restoration, it was relocated to just across the street, near the statue of Robbie Burns–we’re not called New Scotland for nothing).
A Victorianist in Halifax today.
Happy Mother’s Day!