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Active Greenways: Halifax to Tantallon

9 Aug

What do you do with railways that aren’t in use anymore?  Turn them into an active transit greenway that will get you all the way from Halifax to Lunenburg.  It started with a trip to ‘cheap movie night’ at the Bayers Lake Empire Theatres.  The trail not only got us there quickly, but it made our movie night feel like more of an adventure (and helped us excuse all of the movie theatre treats).  Since then, we’ve been taking progressively farther rides.

The first part of the trail, the one that takes you to the park, is the Chain of Lakes Trail.  As indicated by it’s name, it runs along the Chain Lakes  and Bayers Lake.  These lakes are gorgeous but please resist the temptation to dive in as these are the municipality’s back-up water supply.  Chain of Lakes runs parallel to Joseph Howe Drive in the west end of the Halifax core area, before turning west at Springvale Avenue.  You can access the trail here, at the Ashburn Golf Course entrance and at Crown Drive off the St. Margaret’s Bay Road.  The trail is newly paved in some sections and crusher dust in others. Continue reading

Scotia Sessions Wakeboarding – Nine Mile River

7 Jul

A few years ago, I hitched across Canada and ended up at a bachelor party at a cottage in Muskoka.  The fellas there were wakeboarding, so being a good sport I gave it a go.  I was a dismal failure (i.e. I couldn’t even stand on the board).  Naturally, I haven’t been too keen to get back on a wakeboard since then.  But when Gillian told me that Nova Scotia was home to a Cable WakeBoard park, I couldn’t resist trying a second go.

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#21 Bus Route – Lakeside

30 May

For our third post on day-trips and vacation spots in HRM accessible by bus (and bike!), we’ll take you for a ride on the #21.  We were originally thinking of doing a post combining routes #21, #22 and #23 to cover all the lakes you can get to along St. Margaret’s Bay Road.  Then we discovered D & Jo’s Country Market and decided to give the #21 its own post.

Note for Cyclists: As always, we have included the cycling distances from the point of origin at a Metro Transit Terminal.  This time we began the route at the Lacewood Terminal, near the corner of Lacewood and Dunbrack.

Canada Games Centre (1km)

The Canada Games Centre is on Lacewood Avenue, halfway between the Lacewood Terminal and Hwy 102.  It is HRM’s newest recreational and fitness facility, built for the 2011 Canada Games.  It includes an Olympic-sized pool, state of the art workout facilities, basketball courts and an indoor track.  A big pro is that they do women-only swims on Sunday.  A big con is the membership fees (pricey).  (@cdagamescentre)

Keshen Goodman Public Library (1km)

At the same stop for the Canada Games Centre, you will also see the Keshen Goodman Public Library.  This is one of the best libraries in HRM, with floor to ceiling windows allowing plenty of natural light, a great selection of books, audio books, videos and comics.  It also features a café, free Internet access and a great meeting space.  (@hfxpublib)

Bayers Lake Business Park (2.4km)

To be honest, this isn’t the sort of thing we’d normally include in a local travel post, but, it is along this route and it is a place people might want to visit.  It has everything you’d expect to find in a business park, with the full range of retail, grocery, building supplies & discount stores mixed with fast food and franchise restaurants.  Ela Greek Taverna (formerly Opa) is something of a standout here.  (@BayersLakePark)

Chain of Lakes Trail (4km)

Formed in December 2009, this trail runs more than 7 km before linking with the Beechville Lakeside Timberlea Trail.  As suggested in its title, this trail hits most of the many lakes along the St. Margaret’s Bay Road, and is bike and foot friendly.  The trail takes about 2 hours to walk one way.  Once you get tired, make a beeline for the road and let your friendly bus driver do the rest of the work. To find out more on this trail, click here.

Lovett Lake (7.1km)

You are now approaching major lake activity. If you stayed on the #21, you have only a few more stops from Bayers Lake to get to Lovett Lake.  After spending some time at Lovett, you can also switch to the Chain of Lakes trail from this area. Walk up Lakeside Park Drive, then take the trail to get to the back side of Governor Lake.

Governor Lake (9.0km)

Whether you reach it by bus or by trail, we urge you to check out Governor Lake. This spot is said to be a great fishing spot for speckle trout.  There is also a farmers market here for lake supplies (see below), and a restaurant if you are looking for a larger meal. There are multiple entry points to this lake, some of them smaller than others. Either way it is a great spot for an afternoon of swimming.

There are a number of small entry points to Governors lake off of the neighborhoods that line the lake off of the St. Margaret’s Bay Road

D & Jo’s Country Market (9.0km)

This delightful country market really clinched this bus route for us.  It’s not huge, but it’s packed with many local food items we haven’t seen in too many other places, including Cavicchi’s Meats, Schoolhouse Bakery, Char’s Country Dips & Seasoning and Farmer John’s Herbs.  We’ll definitely be catching the #21 to come back out here.

Other Notable Swimming Spots

If you continue on from Governor Lake, you’ll come across Six Mile Lake (a bit of a trek from the road), Mill Pond, and Frasers Lake. All are great but a bit harder to access from the road.  Fraser Lake, the last lake along the #21 Bus Route, is a very large lake, but the spots accessible from this route are mostly occupied by private properties.

According to an article in The Coast, two of the lakes along this route are popular spots for swimming in your birthday suit. While naked dips are illegal in HRM, we thought we’d share this fun fact.

Did we miss something along this route? Snap some photos and send an email to localtravelerns@gmail.com to help us get a full picture of things to do on the #21. Looking for more bus-able adventures? Check out our past posts on the #15 Bus Route and the #60 Bus Route.

Help us build our next route:
We’ve been inspired by the crowd-sourced Twitter account, @celebrateNS and would like to invite you to share your favourite places in HRM and the route you use to reach it.  Walking trails, community centres, watering holes, panoramic vistas, local shops are all welcome additions to preferred destinations.  Comment on this post, or email us at localtravelerns@gmail.com.