Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Halifax - Old, New, Hip!

Arrived in Halifax on Monday evening (Oct 16) for my very first visit. Aside from the connection of living in Seattle - another port city - my mother's family is all from Newfoundland and I spent four years in the early '70's growing up in Chatham, New Brunswick so the salt in my blood seemed excited as I exited the airport and breathed in the salt air.

The Quest office here in Halifax overlooks the harbor and has a truly incredible view. I'd love to spend a couple of weeks here in the summer! We cut out of the office a bit early to head out to Peggy's Cove which is a very famous tourist hot spot here. It's also where the memorial to Swissair Flight 111 is located. Click the picture below if you want to check out the pictures I took while we were there.

Halifax is an old town by North American standards. It was founded in 1749 by Edward Cornwallis and is been an important port city in Canada, North America and the World. So, I was wondering why - as I was walking around on the waterfront - that the buildings weren't old. If you've ever been to an old port city like Quebec City, Boston or Lower Manhattan you can see old buildings that are 200-300 years old. Well, a quick Google and I found out why: On December 6, 1917 two ships collided in Halifax harbour, one carrying about 2,600 tons of various explosives. After the collision the ship caught on fire, drifted into town and eventually exploded. More than 1,900 people were killed and much of downtown Halifax was destroyed. An evaluation of the explosion's force puts it at 2.9 kt. Hence, most of the buildings located on the harbour front and downtown aren't even 100 years old yet!

An interesting side note for Beantown friends: Boston responded with so much aid and compassion that to this day the City of Halifax sends the City of Boston a Christmas tree that is put up at Prudential Center. Maybe you've seen it?

I went to dinner on Tuesday night at Salty's which - of course - overlooks the harbour (no, I'm not spelling "harbor" incorrectly, that's how it's spelt up here in the Great White North!). Then, wondered over to the Halifax Casino and played Texas Hold'em to the wee hours.

The reason for my visit was to meet up with the R&D folks here in our office to get a preview of some of the new products that are coming out and make some decisions on packaging and pricing. I was pretty amazed at what we are working on in the areas of group policy, compliance and security. Next year we are going to release some awesome new products. Watch out for them! I'll probably blog more about them as we get closer to RTM - no need to give our competitors any advance notice, eh?! Oh, and kudos to the team here - they're doing a great job and definitely passionate about their work.

I'm off to Ottawa tomorrow morning to meet with folks in our offices there. Same story: review progress on product development, R&D and talk to the sales and marketing folks that are located there...

More soon.

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