“Pic of the Week”, April 6, 2018: The world’s largest TeePee, Medicine Hat

04 Lethbridge Saamis TeePee (1)

When you drive through the city of Medicine Hat in east-central Alberta, you’ll encounter an enormous steel structure on the western outskirts of the city.  This is the Saamis Teepee, the city’s most prominent landmark. At 65.5 meters high, the Saamis Teepee is the tallest teepee in the world (about as tall as a 20 story building).

Originally built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, it was erected in  McMahon Stadium in Calgary where it housed the Olympic Flame during the games.  After the Olympics, the teepee was subsequently moved to Medicine Hat and erected here in 1991 due to the generosity and ingenuity of Amerigo (RickĀ) Filanti. 

The Saamis teepee now stands on the edge of an old Blackfoot buffalo jump (place …

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Beautiful Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park!

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Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park lies in the Milk River valley of the province’s prairie grasslands ecosystem and has characteristic “Badlands” erosion.  It is situated in southern Alberta, just north of the Montana border.  

This place is sacred to the Blackfoot native population as the Park contains the largest concentration of petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) on the North American plains.  It is believed this site was a place where the ancestors of the Blackfoot people gathered to socialize and tell stories. 

I visited this park several years ago.  It’s in a fairly remote place, about a half day’s drive from the city of Calgary and an hour and a half from Lethbridge.  I visited on a rainy, windy June day that …

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Great Cars Along the Highway: 1959 Meteor Montcalm

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A lovely 2 door hardtop beauty that is approaching 60 years of age! The Meteor  was a Ford model that was built and sold only in Canada.  

In the mid-1950s, Ford thought that to compete with General Motors (eg. with its Buick and Oldsmobile brands), it had to develop similar unique products. The plan affected Mercury by calling for the marque’s completely new platform and body design to differentiate it from Fords, beginning with the 1957 model year.

Eventually a 1960s trade agreement brought the US and Canadian auto manufacturing industry into alignment for cross-border production and trade. These unique Canadian models were axed.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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“Pic of the Week”, January 5, 2018: Prairie Sunrise, Alberta

00 Prairie sunrise

One of the things I enjoy about prairie winters is the soft diffused quality of the sunlight.  The sun is far to the south during the winter months and with cloud cover over the Rockies and its foothills the light is often filtered. 

Recently while making an early trip down the Cowboy Trail highway I enjoyed this lovely sunrise, which I thought I’d share with you today.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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Banff National Park’s best Short Hike — Moraine Lake Rockpile Trail

moraine lake

Moraine Lake is located a few miles south of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, in one of the most scenic and breath-taking locales of the Canadian Rockies.  In the winter the lake is buried under a thick layer of snow and not accessible by car.  The road leading to Moraine Lake is a popular cross-country skiing destination once enough snow has accumulated for the Park Service to groom it, but the skiing trail ends well before the lake because of high avalanche risk within its valley.  During the summer months (June – Sept) Moraine Lake is popular and busy, even though it doesn’t thaw out until late June.  Parking is limited so it’s best to arrive early.  The lake …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 20, 2017: Paradise Valley, Alberta

06 Paradise Valley, Lethbridge (2)

There are probably more places that go by the name “Paradise Valley” than by any other.  This particular one is situated on the western outskirts of Medicine Hat, just off the TransCanada Highway in eastern Alberta.

The valley was home to the native peoples of Alberta for thousands of years.  They lived here, gathered wild berries, and hunted buffalo (chasing them off a cliff at a nearby”jump”).  They valley has a rich archaeologic record documenting this history which has been extensively explored. 

Today this Paradise valley is home to a public park and golf course, and has this pretty floral wagon situated within it.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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“Pic of the Week”, September 1, 2017: Canola field, Saskatchewan

08 Canola Field, Saskatchewan (1)

I had a pleasant drive across the Canadian prairies this summer with my father.  While the landscape is flat and lacks relief, it was a great time to do the trip because the canola and flax were blooming, adding a lot of color to the landscape.  And the first cutting of hay was being bailed, putting a fresh pleasant scent in the wind.  

Canola has become a popular crop in Canada these past few decades and canola fields are everywhere.  The plants are about a meter high and produce beautiful small yellow flowers that ripen into bean-like pods.  Black seeds from the pods are harvested and crushed to create canola oil and meal.  Canola seeds contain about 45 percent oil …

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Cochrane Farmers’ Market

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The town of Cochrane sits in the beautiful Bow River Valley, between Calgary and Banff.  Growing rapidly because of its proximity to Calgary, Cochrane still retains a small town vibe although it’s now home to more than 20,000 people.   The region was originally developed as a ranch, as was much of the western Alberta prairies, and the farmers’ market is still held at the Historic Ranch Site (which you can explore when you’re done with your visit to the market).

While it’s only held during the summer months, the Farmers’ Market is very enjoyable.  It’s busy, but not too crowded, and features locally grown produce and handicrafts, as well as popular food vendors.  You’ll find items here you don’t see …

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