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Birthplace of Ice Hockey
Windsor,  Nova  Scotia, Canada – c. 1800
by Garth Vaughan © 2001
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Long Pond at Clifton

Haliburton’s Home,
Clifton Grove

The View (Haliburton)
Building Clifton – Penny
Hale 1926
Denis 1934
Hale 1952
Museum Information

Pictures of Clifton

Long Pond at Clifton


Clifton 1926 by Dorothy StevensKatherine Hale –
Clifton, Windsor, Nova Scotia 1926

Canada is faintly dotted with Martello towers* and blockhouses. Blockhouses are usually the plainest things that e’er the sun shone on. But at Windsor, in Nova Scotia, there is one so small and brown, standing in its tiny hill overlooking the town, that you feel like giving it a loving pat. Here is the site of Port [Fort] Edward, which it has guarded since 1750. In the recruiting days of 1914 – 18, many battalions camped here; British, Canadian, American, the Jewish Legion. New life must have stirred then in its quiet old blood.

Old blood runs in Windsor, on the banks of the Canadian Avon which twice a day rushes up its tidal lane and brings in the Atlantic.

King’s College, the second oldest university in America, was the pride of the town but is now a wreck through fire, the devastator of precious buildings in the Maritimes. It lies just behind Clifton, the old house of "Sam Slick", a "small but elegant structure" a picture of which had fascinated me in childhood. For my father, like most Canadians of a literary turn, used to gather in various periodicals, descriptive of the country, and one of these was, in his time, sufficiently out-dated to be interesting. It was called "Canadian Scenery," and among other old-fasioned plates was this house of Judge Haliburton, "Sam Slick" the noted Canadian author. The "elegant structure" described, was "delightfully situated in an eminence commanding a noble prospect of the whole township." And so it stands to-day, except that it’s charming simplicity has been marred by several "improvements"; a porte-cochére, like a long nose; a sun-room, which providentially fell to pieces; and an imported fireplace in Judge Haliburton’s old library.

The ancient covered toll-bridge over the river, just below the cliffs at the back of the house, has gone since 1886. Until this time the daily stage coach, with its four or six horses, would come clattering into town at a hand-gallop, when a character familiarly known in the town as "Old Johnny Davidson" would open the gates of the bridge and let the coach pass through on its way to Annapolis Royal.

And once, the Black Watch Regiment, en route between Halifax and Saint John, having marched from Halifax to take the steamer at Windsor, stayed over night in the town, and a pond in Clifton woods was given the name of "Piper’s Pond," because a piper of the regiment having dropped his watch into the water, thriftily dived after it – but never came up!

In Annapolis Royal, where he first lived [Note: the author is mistaken. Haliburton was born in Windsor and moved to Annapolis Royal later in life.]; in Halifax, where his early work appeared in Joseph Howe’s paper, "The Nova Scotian"; and here in Windsor, his home for a quarter of a century, the figure of Judge Haliburton is everywhere recalled by portrait, legend and story. His "Sam Slick," type of wandering "Yankee peddler" so well known in these parts, made its creator an author of importance on two continents. It even affirmed that he is the founder of American humour.

At any rate, his house shows the author to have been a gentleman of taste. A simple structure, suitable to the wooded lands on which it stands, square rooms, low-ceilinged; delightful little staircases leading up on each side of the hall to add a touch of dignity to the interior; low shuttered windows, everywhere giving on a sweet plantation of beech and white maple, poplar, juniper and apple trees – these make the place as lovable to-day as when it was built so long ago.

We were told of a famous "thicket of acacias," which in summer makes a great bloomy mass of purple and white. But now it was spring. The beautiful branches of the trees, lovlier than when in leaf, showed that look of surprise that prefaces the first green. But going up the dark little avenue there was still a trace of wintry snow. The tumble-down lodge looked forlorn. Up at the house new occupants were moving in, and Clifton bore the patient look of an old person upon whom some young relation is pressing a new style. But the windows stood open to the tender sunlight. The youth of the year entered, moving through the sweet old rooms, and, though there was not a trace of his actual occupancy left in any article of furniture, still one felt that Haliburton’s house remembered him, and, like its master, was very much alive.

We carried away a spray of mauve-pink daphne, frequenter of early Nova Scotia woods, and we drove over what use to be called, The Kissing Bridge**…Is anyone ever kissed there now? We wondered!

Excerpt From:
Canadian Houses of Romance
by Katherine Hale
with drawings by Dorothy Stevens
The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, at St. Martin’s House, Toronto 1926
Pg 91 – 94

HRM 917.1 G24.ca

* martello tower – a circular masonry fort for coastal defence

Picture of "Martello Tower, Point Pleasant Park, Halifax"

Images Nova Scotia – Along By The Avon (Kissing Bridge)
NS Museum of Cultural History


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