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Perhaps you’ve had a chance to segway around your hometown or vacation spot, but in Halifax, Nova Scotia, you can explore the capital city on segway – and assume the position of a 78th Highland Regiment of Foot soldier – all in the same day.

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A segway is a fun, energy-efficient way to get around. Halifax is the first North American city to allow them on city streets and sidewalks as part of a pilot program, and Segway Nova Scotia was chosen as one of three companies to test and evaluate segway use (currently, segways are not allowed on public roads). In fact, if you’re not part of a pilot program, a segway (considered a motor vehicle) could face a stiff fine if caught on the streets. Here’s hoping they pass the test, because riding one sure beats a packed bus in rush hour!

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Owner Max Rastelli gave our group a brief safety rundown, then explained exactly how to get on and off the segway. An obstacle course in the parking lot allowed us to get our moves down before taking on the busy boardwalk. Look out, here we come, decked out in our hard-to-miss t-shirts!

Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg's "Lamposts on a Bender"

We cruised along to the start of Harbourwalk then back the other direction, passing the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg’s “Lamposts on a Bender” sculpture (yep, that light really isn’t out of commission, it’s drunk), the Tall Ship Silva, and many oceanfront eateries.

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Before long, our 40-minute Waterfront Spin tour ($29) sadly comes to a close and we’re all giggles as the segway really is a toy for adults. Just remember to lean back when you want to stop.

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For longer adventures, there’s a 90-minute Halifax City Tour ($59), as well as two-hour City & Bridge, City to Point Pleasant Park, and Land & Sea Tour options ($79 each).

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Segway Nova Scotia is located at Sands at Salter (1521 Lower Water Street), near the Harbourwalk.

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Once you’ve left the boardwalk, head up to the Halifax Citadel where you can leave your mark on history. The Halifax Citadel offers a ‘Soldier for a Day’ signature experience (two sessions per day) from May 7 to October 31.

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From the moment you enter the national landmark, you’ll leave modern-day Canada and emerge as a solder of the 78th Highland Regiment of Foot. Sounds serious, but the moment you get four ladies into a changing room complete with accessories, the giggles get underway as we’re each outfitted with wool kilts, sporrans, wool socks, red wool Highland ‘doublet’, black boots, and a Glengarry bonnet (bearing the brass badge of the 78th Highlanders).

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As we headed out, I could feel the weight of this getup and thinking how soldiers wore it for hours on end (from what I hear, the employees lose a good 15 pounds each season), through rain, snow, fog, and sun.

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[Our very patient Corporal]

Watching Corporal JS Fougere attempt to train us as we tried to follow along with foot drills, later learning how to hold – and fire – a Snider-Enfield rifle, gave way to even more shenanigans. Four women on the Citadel with lipstick and black sunglasses resembled the Housewives of the Highlands to many curious tourists checking us out that afternoon!

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Once we each fired our rifle, we were led to the Sergeant’s Mess for lemonade and scones. It’s hard work being a soldier, and before our tour was through, we were each given our day’s pay, a replica Queen’s Shilling.

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The Halifax Citadel also includes an Army Museum, dedicated to both preserving and promoting Atlantic Canada’s military heritage. The displays help recall the British, Canadian Regular Forces, and Militia presences in the development of the British Empire. The present Citadel was completed in 1856 and is the fourth incarnation of British forts on the site.

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After the tour and refreshments, we changed back into our civilian clothes and were shown around the citadel, including its rooms, tunnels, and collections of 19th century reproduction artillery garb. The entire experience makes for a unique way to learn about the old traditions of the Highlanders; watching some of the staff dressed in costume, loading cannons and marching across the grounds really gives visitors a sense of time and place.

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You’ll also likely encounter a man playing the bagpipes.

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The tall masts seen in some of the photos here are signal masts that could be seen from all parts of Halifax, used as a vital means of communication. The commercial mast warned the public of marine traffic in the harbour and approaches. The meaning behind the pennants and balls hoisted on the mast was a highly guarded secret, essential to the city’s defense until the 1880’s, when their use gave way to the telegraph system. It took researchers until 1986 to unlock the complex code used!

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The mast is dressed to signify days of commemoration and celebration, precisely the same way it had been in the past when royalty would visit.

Today, the Citadel is operated by Parks Canada and is recognized as one of Canada’s most important historic sites.

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And for a chilling experience, check out the candlelit Ghost Tour, offered every Friday and Saturday (weather permitting) from mid-July to the end of October. Learn about the ghosts and legends that inhabited the ramparts and tunnels of this historic British fort.

Visit the Citadel website for pricing, opening hours, and events.

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