It's funny that when I think of thrilling adventure in Nova Scotia, images of tidal river rafting, zip-lining, kayaking, surfing and even snowboarding come to mind. A recent outing reminded me of another equally exciting activity that should be added to this list!
It all started when my son Jaden got a new sled as a gift from his Nana and Grampie for Christmas. The assembly took way longer than it probably should have (perhaps I am not as handy as I thought), but once complete it looked like a mini-snowmobile complete with brakes and handle bar steering!
We were all excited to give it a try, so we began our quest for the ultimate hill! We had some decent snow fall in the Debert area so we set out to explore a few options nearby. We tried an open field, an unplowed side-road and even a steep snow-covered hill of dirt. Although we enjoyed our journeys to each option, the sledding was not quite up to par.
I remembered that growing up in the Annapolis Valley people would travel from near and far to "Burger Hill" in Kentville. I am not really sure why they called it "Burger Hill", but it was definitely the place to go for serious sledding. I realized that there was an equally well-known hill in Truro of a similar caliber that would fit the bill - the "Legion Hill".
Behind the Royal Canadian Legion off Brunswick Street overlooking Truro's downtown is one of Nova Scotia's great sledding destinations. We arrived there on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon and were shocked to see that only a handful of people were out enjoying the slopes.
The hill had been packed down after several days of use and was almost a sheet of ice. To add to the fun there was a small bump-like ramp built up at the bottom that I knew was going to make things interesting.
Jaden was the first to give it a try and Lienna and I were soon to follow in our two-person plastic sled. He shot down the hill like a rocket! In his enthusiasm to try the handlebar steering he chose to turn just as he hit the "bump" at the bottom. I winced as he flew from the sled and landed on the ground with a great stuntman roll. With a brief pause he lifted his head to smile and give us his two thumbs up.
With my added weight, Lienna and I bolted even faster down the hill. I could feel every ridge and groove of the hill through the sled's thin plastic and I no doubt needed the chiropractic adjustment received as we hit that well-placed bump. Eventually we slowed to a complete stop within about 20 feet or so of the sidewalk. It was an impressive run!
As we fumbled our way back up the icy hill I could see that my wife Sara was patiently waiting her turn. I wondered how she would fair under the icier than normal conditions. Once situated, I gave her a light push and watched intently as she fired down the hill. She handled it like a pro and was totally un-phased by the notorious bump. Nice!
At my count, I think there were almost as many adults out to play as there were kids that day. In fact I am pretty sure we may have had as much fun too.
We decided to pack up to do a bit of shopping downtown before heading home. I was reminded over Christmas how great Truro's downtown really is. The variety of shops and dining options has flourished in recent years. Adding this to the historic character, ample parking and slower pace of traffic (compared to larger urban centres) a trip to downtown Truro for shopping is truly a pleasure.
In addition to great dining, shopping, and sledding, the Town's Victoria Park (for cross country skiing or snowshoeing) and the public outdoor rink at Victoria Square offer even more great places to play. To experience this and more snowy family-fun, be sure to don your best Stanfield's long underwear and mark your calendar for Truro's Winter Long John Festival from Feb. 3rd to 9th - an ideal excuse to get out and celebrate winter!