Our Fire Engine Arrives in Canada!

We spent a few days being tourists in Halifax, waiting impatiently for our fire engine…we had obsessed for weeks about its arrival. What would go wrong….Was it clean enough? Would it get through customs? Would Canadian’s know how to drive a manual vehicle (with a choke!)?? Suffice to say, we were a little worried.

“The ship’s arrived” Konstantin exclaimed with glee on the Sunday morning. “Let’s go see it”.

I agreed, it would be nice to see a different part of Halifax. We traipsed for about an hour through large industrial estates and along massive city highways, watching traffic and choking on fumes. It wasn’t Halifax’s best side!

But then, all of a sudden, it loomed in distance. It was hard to miss…all 100,000 tonnes of ship, being busily unloaded.

Spotting our ship in the distance of the port

Spotting our ship in the distance at the port

We walked along the road trying, unsuccessfully, to find a pedestrian entry to the port – straining our eyes across the three lane motorway to see if we could see any glimpse of red. 

“It’s there!!!! It’s arrived”. Knut tugged at my t-shirt and pointed furiously. He was right, in the depths of a car park we spotted a shiny van of red. It was small and parked between two white RVs, but like a mother to their lost child, we just knew. There was our baby.

All we had to do now was navigate through logistics, customs and the port and we would be reunited. But it was Sunday and none of that was possible, so we contented ourselves knowing that at least it was in the same country as us, and went sightseeing.

Being tourists in Halifax

Being tourists in Halifax

We got up early on the Monday and made our way to the logistics office. By a stroke of luck, they had literally just had the papers sent through. We handed over $150 and they gave us a piece of paper with a stamp on it. First stage – sorted! Now to get the thing through customs.

There’s something about customs in any country that fills me with dread. They just hold so much power. We drove over to another of Halifax’s glorious industrial areas and found the customs office. It looked a little like a scene from Parks and Recreation, and we could have being served by April’s older sister, but amazingly it was really smooth.

“You got any alcohol in the van?”


“Any firearms?”


Stamp. stamp. Good to go.

Alas, we were now past 11.30am and the port was closed for collections, so we had to amuse ourselves for the rest of the day, pretending we were being patient but actually just full of nervous excitement.

We were at the port as it opened, and were soon directed to the port collection office.

High Viz on....ready to go!

High Viz on….ready to go!

A jolly lady greeted us. “The red one, no problem, just go and check it over, I’ve got something for you to sign, and then you’re good to go”.

And that was it. We checked it for damage and found nothing. Papers signed, and we were on our way! So simple, we couldn’t believe it.

Reunited with our baby!

Reunited with our baby!

Mileage at the start of the trip....

Mileage at the start of the trip….

Driving out of the port

Driving out of the port

Let the adventure begin….


2 thoughts on “Our Fire Engine Arrives in Canada!

  1. Mike Nash

    You parked next to us last Friday at the Berg Lake trailhead at Mount Robson. I was curious what type of vehicle it was and now I know, a re-purposed fire engine!

    We were on the final leg of a nearly 5,000 km trip through BC, Alberta, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming the main objective of which was to see the total solar eclipse of August 21, which we achieved under the clear, high desert skies in Dubois, Idaho, the experience of a lifetime. I will be posting a YouTube of trip highlights to the website below later in September after I have sorted through pictures, and in the meantime there are other materials there that might be of interest during the remainder of your travels in the West. http://www3.telus.net/pgoutdoors

    1. Konstantin

      Hi, thanks for saying hi. Your trip sounds pretty awesome, we’ll check out your website…
      Hope you had a great time hiking in the Berg Lake Trail…

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