Unicorns!

I was pretty chuffed to learn recently that Klout considers me influential about unicorns, so I will have to demonstrate my bona fides. Before this revelation, I only knew unicorns as mythical creatures who frequent fantasy-genre art and were among the first generation of My Little Ponies that existed when I was a kid.

However, recent research suggests unicorns are the ultimate travel companion, as they are genial in nature and their horns are said to make poisoned water potable. This skill is immensely valuable if you like to carry your own water bottle (like I do). Further observation confirmed I live in a province that is blanketed in unicorns. Nova Scotia’s coat of arms features a finely-attired unicorn, which I understand is a heraldry-related carry-forward from our Scottish namesake.

Source

Halifax is Nova Scotia’s capital, so there are a lot of historic government-related buildings in our city. This means unicorns. Lots of them.

Province House, Halifax
Unicorn surveying his domain at Province House, Halifax

This Province House unicorn is basically in a stare-down with this fella right across the street, at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia:

But that’s not all. Not only is there a unicorn on Nova Scotia’s coat of arms, there’s also one on Canada’s coat of arms. Since there are also a number of federal government buildings in the city, that means even more unicorns:

It would be pretty easy to write this unicorn omnipresence off as a by-product of living in a province that’s part of a country with a strong English-Scottish heritage. In fact, you probably should. However, upon further reflection, it occurred to me that I have encountered unicorns outside of the three-block area where I spend most of my days.

In Paris, I spent some time at the Musée Cluny, la Musée national de Moyen-Age, the museum of the medieval era. Among the Cluny’s many delights is a unicorn forest (la fôret de la licorne) on the grounds (spoiler alert: it’s a garden, not a forest).

The unicorn "forest" at Musée Cluny
The unicorn "forest" at Musée Cluny

The Cluny is probably best-known for housing the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, a beautiful series of medieval panels depicting the five senses and one that is completely subject to interpretation. The French guides suggest some sauciness, and I’ll leave it at that. There’s another unicorn-themed tapestry from the same era at the Cloisters site of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, which I will visit eventually.

The Lady and Unicorn tapestries, Musée Cluny
Sitting in the dark, looking at The Lady and Unicorn tapestries, Musée Cluny

While exploring the narrow passageways of Essaouira, Morocco, I found La Licorne restaurant, one of Essaouira’s fancier establishments. I didn’t get a chance to eat there, because I went to a Casablanca/Old Hollywood-themed seafood restaurant that was a ton of fun.

The unicorn's reign of terror has spread to North Africa
The unicorn's reign of terror has spread to North Africa

When you look at the totality of the evidence, I don’t think there’s a lot to work with except finding sufficient grounds to name Halifax the Unicorn Capital of Canada. That said, I wouldn’t rule out some kind of quiet, multi-century campaign for world domination. Remain vigilant.

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8 thoughts on “Unicorns!”

  1. Super series!! What a great idea. I also love the Musée Cluny. It’s one of my favorite spots in Paris. Did you make it to the gift shop? Unicorn-o-rama! (Confession: I scored a few Plainsong dvds. Funny impulse purchase!) Theadora

    1. I breezed through the gift shop, starving for food. The funny footnote to the Cluny is that I almost fell asleep in the tapestries room. It was so dark, quiet, pretty…

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