Chain of Lakes parkrun, NS, Canada

Chain of Lakes parkrun route
Chain of Lakes parkrun route. Out and back from left to right, downhill then up on the way back.

The start is easy to find, with parking and a portaloo. It’s next to the Art of Stone (a workplace rather than an art installation) and opposite the distinctive 123 Chain Lake Drive.

I walked from the centre of town, which was just over 5 miles. The last mile and a half of that was the course, as that runs from out of the city, back towards it. It’s a straightforward out and back: 2.5km down the trail, 2.5km back up. And it is up, usually (as today) with a slight headwind. The climb is slight, too, but enough that you notice it.

Flag at the parkrun start
Flag at the parkrun start.

This is a fairly new event – last year, Saint-Paulin was as far East as I could get and still parkrun. There were 26 walkers and runners today, with the high so far 39. Healthy, but likely to grow, given the number of people using the trail, several of whom stopped to ask what the event was.

Scenery on either side of the trail
Some shade early on (pre 9, this).
Chain Lakes sign
Explanatory sign in front of First Chain Lake.

This trail is just over 7km long, with a few road crossings (none used in the parkrun), but it links with first the BLT (Beachville, Lakeside and Timberlea, with the running club being the splendid “BLT Runners”) and then St Margarets Bay trails, as the Great Runs site mentions.

My walk there was only on the Chain of Lakes trail, otherwise on quiet roads and across parks from Halifax itself.

Halfway marker, COLTA 2.5km (Chain Of Lakes Trail Association)
There is a temporary halfway sign for parkrun – this one is on the trail permanently.

This week, there were visitors from Australia, one of whom caused a minor sensation by going missing – his wife thought perhaps he had stopped for a lie-down (“he’s not very fit”), but he had just missed the turn-around sign. There were a few other Brits, and a couple from Vermont, run-walking their dogs. Halifax is a bit of a tourist hot-spot, and I’m sure future tourists will also explore the Cabot Trail and/or Prince Edward Island, before coming here for parkrun, so it will remain an international event.

Rocks in the Chain Lake on a clear, sunny day
Rocks in the (First?) Chain Lake.

The lakes themselves provide the emergency water supply for Halifax. As a result, it is pretty, but kept fenced off (at one point it was not, and people swam in at least one of the main lakes). More lakes have been added to the chain as the population has grown; it seems like a huge boon for a not-especially-large city (400,000 in the municipality) to have so much fresh water nearby.

View of the lake over a chain fence, from the trail
View of the Lake.

Coffee, with a 10% discount if you say you are with parkrun, is at Second Cup Coffee house, a mile’s walk from the event start/finish. Cross the road, follow the new trail past Bayers Lake, turn right at the end for a short walk along the roadside, then cross over and the place is on your right. Or hop in a car for a lift, I am sure.

I walked back, in hot sun, on more or less the same route as I had arrived on. I’d normally like to be fitter and run 5-6 miles like that, but it’s a great route for some sightseeing on the trail, and then to nose at the grand, clapboard housing in Halifax’s suburbs. I’ve seen all sorts of weather in the 6 days I’ve been here, needing a jumper a couple of times, then seeing fog roll through the place after some flash heavy showers, so you are likely to get variety there as much as from the people and the busy, cute city. Come visit!

Results from event 24, Chain of Lakes parkrun.

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