Alberta / Central Canada / North America

“Pic of the Week”, April 26, 2019: Downtown Calgary

Returning to Calgary from Whitehorse (17)

I’ve always thought Calgary had a pretty skyline — and I’m not alone in that opinion as it’s been featured in several movies.  Rising from the prairies, a modern city that seems to be optimistic about its future.

Downtown Calgary is about 12 miles southwest of Calgary International Airport, so  you often see it as you fly into the city.  Usually it’s too dark or I’m sitting on the wrong side of the plane or there’s some other reason not to pull out my cell phone and snap some photos, but recently the conditions were perfect.

My plane approached downtown from the west, looped south of downtown, then to the east and north up to the airport.  From my seat in the …

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Alberta / Central Canada / North America / Western Canada / Yukon

“Pic of the Week”, April 12, 2019: Flying to the Land of the Midnight Sun

Flight to Whitehorse from Calgary (19)

I left for a 2 week vacation to the Yukon and Alaska last June 29th, just 8 days after the summer solstice.  My flight departed Calgary at 9:45 pm just in time to enjoy a pretty sunset, which you can see below (photos are in sequentially arranged).  There had been heavy rain that day and the clouds were starting to break apart as the sun dipped below the Rockies.

As we flew further north, the daylight seemed to be increasing, something I expected but still surprised me by how relatively bright it was.  Soon the sun was above the horizon again, illuminating our plane’s engine.  It only grew brighter the further north we flew.

We were scheduled to arrive in Whitehorse at …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 25, 2019: Bow Valley Provincial Park

04 Bow River PP

Alberta has a fine network of provincial parks (analogous to American state parks).  One of these is situated just east of the Alberta Rocky mountains on the banks of the Bow River as it makes its way from Banff to Calgary and ultimately to Hudson’s Bay.
 
The park has several campgrounds which are very popular during the summer months.  It provides excellent access to Banff and Canmore, and is also not that far from Calgary.   The park also offers some easy hiking trails that provide a nice way to explore the terrain of the Rocky mountain foothills.
 
We parked at Middle Lake and explored many of the trails in the area — Middle Lake, Moraine and

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Visiting Alberta’s Dinosaur Country: 1) The Royal Tyrrell Museum

006 Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller.  Albertosaurus 69,000,000 yrs ago

At first glance, the small city of Drumheller seems an unlikely place to find a superb science museum – one of the finest in Canada and one that is very family-oriented.  The museum opened in 1985 and was given “Royal” status in 1990 by Queen Elizabeth, a sign of high distinction.

I live in Calgary and when I have visitors who are inclined to see a museum, I always suggest they drive to see the Royal Tyrrell.  Alberta is the dinosaur capital of the world and this museum houses one of the most interesting and diverse collection of fossils and related items you’ll find anywhere.  The Royal Tyrrell has a collection of over 125,000 fossils, mostly vertebrates.

Entrance to Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

The Museum is located in …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 24, 2018: A Disappearing Prairie Icon

elevator 1

Grain elevators, prairie sentinels, prairie cathedrals — all synonyms for the large structures that have dotted the Canadian prairies for more than a century.  I recall when traveling across the plains as a boy, you could spot these wooden towers at great distances — often 20 or more miles away — providing welcome relief to the otherwise flat landscape.  Each elevator was a storage facility that marked the location of a prairie town; the larger and more plentiful elevators were in a given location, the larger and more prosperous the town.

The business of the prairies is agriculture and mechanisms needed to be developed to get the bountiful grain crops to world markets.  After some experimentation with bagging the grain, it …

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“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 (Rick) Filanti. 

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

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

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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.All Trips / Alberta / Car Culture / Central Canada / North America

Great Cars Along the Highway: 1959 Meteor Montcalm

00-Show and Shine Car Show (110)

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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