After Newfoundland, we headed back to the mainland for another couple games in Halifax. With thanks to the two other passengers who volunteered to be bumped from our flight back to Halifax ("due to weight issues," even though the flight was not oversold–maybe we overpacked?),we made it back without incident. We missed Barack Obama in St. John’s by a day, and later found we missed him in Halifax by a day. Clearly, he was following the tour!
That evening back in Halifax we didn't have any events or games scheduled as a buffer in case weather grounded us in St. John’s, so we had some free time to explore the city and interact with the Haligonians (easily the best demonym of the trip so far). Some of the group enjoyed a walking tour to various craft breweries in the city led by Scott. A number of us visited the Maritime Museum, which included an exhibition with more artifacts from the Titanic. Charlie geeked out on the various vessels on display. One exhibit focused on the history of shipwrecks in Nova Scotia, which are estimated to be as many as 25,000. Numerous factors combine to make the seas around the province incredibly dangerous without modern navigational aids, but this exhibit also provided insight into the mentality of a part of the world that has dealt with more than its share of tragedy as previously mentioned.
The following morning we were scheduled to play a game at the curling club of Canadian Forces Base Halifax, which we were all looking forward to. Unfortunately, the wind and rain that had accompanied us during our evening exploration of the city had caused the facility to lose power, and the game had to be canceled. We took advantage of the time to explore Dartmouth, a neighborhood on the other side of the harbor, to grab some coffee and visit New Scotland's clothing shop. (Sadly the brewery itself was not open.) After raising concern among local businesses about a suspicious group of dudes in uniforms lurking about the neighborhood, we re-boarded the bus and headed to Truro. We made one additional pit stop at the famed Curling Store. Folks grabbed new grippers, fun Goldline t-shirts, and Matt snagged a corn broom!
The Truro Curling Club is a great facility and our hosts were extremely hospitable. Brooms were stacked with care at the fourth end break while rum and whiskey were offered, fueling four of our five teams to victory, and reducing our point deficit. A local junior team, MacIsaac, gifted us all beautiful Nova Scotia tartan scarves, adding to our unofficial team uniforms. The local MP was there to greet us as well, and we learned she was the voice of Rogue in the X-Men animated series! After the game, there was a great banquet upstairs, along with our standard evening program of singing and "jokes" (or as Darryl calls them, "groaners"). After dinner, we visited the local brewery and club sponsor, Salty Dog, for a round of blueberry and pumpkin beers before heading back to the hotel nearby.
In the morning we set out for the Westville Curling Club, our first stop on our first double-header day of the competition. Westville is a former coal mining region, as evidenced by a lump of coal featured on their club crest. Westville was a four-sheeter, and it was Team Packard's turn for a bye. Matt had a little slice of home when he saw a photo of his club mates hanging on the bulletin board from when they participated in the Ship Hector a few years ago. The Ship Hector is one of those big, multi-club bonspiels hosted in Pictou County, definitely something to come back for in the future. The ice was slower than we had been playing and ran straight, so it was time for our arena curlers to shine, where we won three of the four matches! After an enjoyable lunch with our opponents, we stopped at the Their Light Shall Always Shine Memorial, built in remembrance of 26 coal miners who lost their lives in the Plymouth Mine explosion in 1992. Stops like this one were both interesting in terms of learning some local history, and also helpful in terms of putting our on-ice efforts into perspective.
We then continued on to the Highlander Curling Club in St. Andrews (though nearby to the much more fun to say town of Antigonish). This is one of the newer clubs, having been formed in the 1990s, and like most on the trip, they are 100% volunteer run. Being a three sheeter, Team Gamboa and Horsman sat this one out. The three squads playing at Highlander had a good afternoon; we won all three games and reduced our point deficit to just two points! (Insert your own joke here about Sean Connery or immortal swordsmen.) Feeling successful about our time in Nova Scotia, the team turned its sights to our next province, Prince Edward Island.
This is the space to stay updated with the CanAm 2019 Tour Team. We'll post updates leading up to the event, as well as dispatches from Eastern Canada from Nov 8 through Nov 24.
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