By Ruby Banwait
I’m a west coast girl to my core. I grew up in what was at the time, a small fishing and farming community in the mouth of the mighty Fraser River. I spent countless hours playing in tide pools and splashing around the emerald sea. Few things give me greater joy. However, in 2012 when I traveled across the country to discover the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean around St. John’s, Newfoundland, I realized just how easy it is to fall in love with any Canadian coastline. So when I had the opportunity to travel to the Maritimes in June of this year, I simply couldn’t pass it up!
Ruby spotting her first iceberg in St. John's, Newfoundland
Halifax is a fun place boasting more pubs per capita than any other city in Canada. Visiting from Vancouver, which caters to foodies and desperately tries to be the country’s “greenest” city, I was elated to find organics receptacles beside every garbage and recycling bin as well as some great vegetarian restaurants. My only regret is not dining in Nova Scotia before becoming a vegetarian. I’m sure I missed out on some of the best lobster dishes around!
The invitation to visit Halifax and stay with good friends in their seaside home combined with scouting out locations for a new mini aquarium while adventuring around the beautiful province couldn’t have been a sweeter combination for this fish geek.
Nova Scotia is rich in maritime history yet there are few places where you can meet live marine animals that call this part of the world home. What better location for the Back to the Sea Society to build a mini aquarium than within the greater Halifax area? As the founding curator and general manager of the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium in Newfoundland, I felt honoured to be included in the search for potential homes of the Back to the Sea Mini Aquarium! I couldn’t be more excited to see the perfect location that Magali has found for her seasonal, hands-on, conservation and education based facility. Stay tuned!
Interpreting a tank at the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium
One of the highlights of our trip was an extensive private tour of Hope for Wildlife, an animal rescue and rehab center located in Seaforth, Nova Scotia. I watch the show on the Knowledge Network and even PVR it so I don’t miss any episodes. Yes, it’s true. This fish geek is just a lover of all animals. Thanks to Alison Dube for an absolutely wonderful tour. I got to cuddle a three legged skunk named Maxwell and discovered I have a great love for porcupines. Special thanks to all the staff and volunteers at Hope for Wildlife for your dedication to animals and passion for better wildlife education!
Look out for the Back to the Sea Society’s marine animal touch tanks at the Hope for Wildlife Open House on August 28th.
Hope, Ruby and Maxwell the three-legged skunk
My time in Nova Scotia was entirely too short and I was already looking forward to a return visit before I even left. This is a province not to be missed!
Ruby Banwait is an Aquarium Biologist at the Vancouver Aquarium and was the founding Curator and General Manager at the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium. She is one of Back to the Sea's valuable advisors. We are so thankful to her for taking time during her vacation to scout locations for the future Back to the Sea Aquarium and for contributing to the blog.