Saturday, July 30, 2011

Canadian Summer

My cousin and her family just returned from a week at a cottage near North Bay, Ontario. I love this picture and she kindly allowed me to post it here. It shows everything I enjoy during our Canadian summers...water, beautiful skies and sunsets, bonfires and good company. And the moon is just a spectacular bonus.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

We have now had Raven for 6 weeks and she is growing quickly, gaining 2-3 pounds a week. We could hardly believe how much she changed in the two weeks we were away on vacation. Our vet laughed when he saw her this week for her last puppy shots and figured she was about half way grown. At four months she weighs 38 pounds and stands 24" tall. As a cross-breed, there is no way to accurately predict her adult size.

She is well behaved, affectionate and friendly with other people and dogs but we do plan to enroll her in obedience school at the end of the summer. She does have a willful streak and needs to learn to listen 100% of the time. Right now it is too hot to work hard as we enjoy a midsummer heat wave, thankful for a well-cooled home to rest in after a romp at the dog park.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Western Canada Slideshow

I took hundreds of pictures on our trip across Canada and am still in the process of organizing them. I put about 300 of them in this 20 minute slideshow for people who may be interested in a broad overview of the territory we covered. (The imbedded slideshow does not appear to work well on this site. Here is the link to the movie on You Tube. I will have to try and fix this page after work.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vacation Postcard #12

Totem at Duncan BC

"Indian Art broadened my seeing, loosened the formal tightness I had learned in England's schools. Its bigness and stark reality baffled my white man's understanding...I had been schooled to see outsides only, not struggle to pierce."  Emily Carr, GROWING PAINS

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vacation Postcard #11

Harbour Seal, Victoria BC

I can think of 100 reasons why I would like to live in Victoria or somewhere on Vancouver Island...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vacation Postcard #10

Our lodgings on this trip have been comfortable but unremarkable. Yesterday we pulled into 3 Valley Gap Chateau just outside of Revelstoke BC for the night and wished we could have stayed in this scenic spot for a week. The gardens were beautiful and the mountains rose above us on all sides. On a seemingly vertical rise of rock behind the hotel, we spotted a black bear. In the morning there was a female and two cubs in the same spot.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vacation Postcard #9

We visited Lake Louise AB this morning under heavy, grey skies. The mountains were beautiful and the masses of Icelandic Poppies blooming around the Fairmont Lake Louise Hotel caught my attention. I have never seen poppies in so many colours.

Lake Louise AB

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Vacation Postcard #8

View from the top of Sulpher Mountain near Banff, Alberta

We finally reached to Canadian Rockies and spent the day around Banff, Alberta. I have never seen these mountains except from an airplane. We took the gondola to the top of Sulpher Mountain. The grey skies finally opened and sunlight illuminated the snow-covered peaks. It is very cold here and I would have welcomed a winter coat. Some people arrived in shorts and t-shirts. My husband walked all the way to the peak of Sulpher Mountain but I turned back after going 3/4 of the way because of the cold wind and freezing drizzle.

The walk to the peak of Sulpher Mountain

Friday, July 08, 2011

Vacation Postcard #7

We are at the Calgary Stampede all day today and I will not be on the internet this evening. We stayed in Medicine Hat, Alberta on Wednesday night and the entire front lawn was taken up by a colony of  "gophers". Gopher is a general term used for a number of burrowing rodents and I do not know what exact species this is. The hotel receptionist told us they were not prairie dogs. They were amusing to watch but I am sure no one would want 100 or so living in their yard.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Vacation Postcard #6

The Calgary Tower

We had dinner tonight in the revolving restaurant at the top of the Calgary Tower. The weather is sunny and warm and the view was beautiful. As we ate we watched the crowds gather to watch William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, leave the nearby Hyatt Hotel and travel the short distance to the BMO Centre near the grounds of the Calgary Stampede. We will spend the day tomorrow at the stampede. And here is a little bonus...

Top left: Yours truly with DH            Top right: BMO Centre, the Royal entourage and welcoming bands
Bottom left: Calgary Saddledome    Bottom right: Glass floor of the Calgary Tower

Vacation Postcard #5

A visit to CFB Moose Jaw - Maryse Carmichael second from the left
It is getting harder to pick one highlight each day for my postcard feature. We saw so many interesting things today and I will write more later. My husband received money for a trip from his workplace as a bonus for 20 years of service.We wanted to go to Western Canada and considered driving ourselves, but the distances are great and it would be very tiring to do the trip in 2 weeks. So we signed up for a bus tour with Great Canadian, a company based in our own city and hoped we would like it. So far we have been very pleased with the tour guide, driver and our accomodations. Today, we had a surprise luncheon at the 15 Wing Moose Jaw, also known as CFB Moose Jaw. One member of the forces sat at each table and discussed their job, answering our questions as we ate our meal. We had the privilege of meeting Maryse Carmichael, the Commanding Officer of the CAF aerobatic team, the Snowbirds. In 2001, she became the first female pilot to fly with the Snowbird team. She spoke to our group and was warm, personable, very intelligent and had a fine sense of humour. We do not live near or know anyone associated with the Canadian Armed Forces and found today's presentation to be very interesting and a highlight of the day.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Vacation Postcard #4

Red River at The Forks in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba

My initial impression of Winnipeg when we arrived last evening was not great, but I changed my mind after a tour of the city this morning. Canadian history would have been so much more interesting if we had taken field trips to each province. We stopped in St. Boniface near the tomb of Louis Riel and viewed the famous Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge crosses the river. The steps lead to the river walkway which is obviously flooded at this time. The Assiniboine River is in flood due to above average rainfalls this year and the Red River is also very high for this time of year. (Wikipedia has all the details here)

P.S. My computer time is limited to public internet locations in the evening so I will have to catch up on other blogs when I get back to Ontario.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Vacation Postcard #3

Northern Ontario Mascots

We finally made it to the Ontario-Manitoba border this afternoon, 1823 km from our home. It is exactly the same distance from our house in south-western Ontario to Jacksonville, Florida. We are spending the night in Winnipeg, Manitoba and go on to Regina, Saskatchewan tomorrow.

Many northern Ontario communities have decreasing populations as some pulp and paper mills and other industries have closed down. The economy is definitely hurting in many locations and summer tourism is very important for local businesses. Some towns have famous (or infamous) mascots which remind me of statues of patron saints or deities in other countries like Mexico. Today's postcard shows some mascots we met along the way.

Top left: The Wawa Goose- Wawa, Ontario
Top right: Maximillian Moose- Dryden, Ontario
Bottom left: Family of Bears- Sault Ste Marie, Ontario
Bottom right: Husky the Muskie- Kenora, Ontario (a very beautiful town!)

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Vacation Postcard #2

Terry Fox Memorial just east of Thunder Bay, Ontario

Northern Ontario is vast in size. We drove 700 km between Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay and saw endless expanses of forest and water with a few small communities inbetween. There are so many lakes that it appears too difficult to come up with original names for all of them. We passed Mom Lake, Dad Lake, Baby Lake, Old Woman Lake, and Rabbit Blanket Lake. The flowers at the side of the road were beautiful and  flowering Lupins filled ditches and berms as we approached Thunder Bay. We saw the Terry Fox Memorial in July 1982 when it was first erected but it has been moved to a park just off the Trans Canada Highway. Interestingly, I am reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks while we travel. 

Bonus Postcard-Lake Superior near Wawa ON

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Vacation Postcard #1

The St.Mary's River- Sault Ste Marie Ontario and Sault Ste Marie Michigan   

I never thought about the name of this city until I saw the St. Mary's River today. "Sault" is an ancient French word for a cataract or rapids. The boardwalk on the Ontario side of the river is lovely for an evening stroll and it is still light at 9:45 PM. Westward we go!