.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

The Niagara River and and its Amazing Waterfalls

00 Niagara River and Horseshoe Falls (1)

The iconic image above would be recognized by most people.  It’s Horseshoe Falls, known by some as Canadian Falls.  The amount of water dropping over this precipice in the Niagara River is staggering and, while the surrounding area is very commercial, it’s hard not to be impressed by this amazing natural spectacle. 

I had an aunt we frequently visited who lived only 10 miles from Niagara Falls. Among my first travel memories are those of seeing this waterfall — as such, Horseshoe Falls has a special place in my heart.

The Niagara River carries the output of four Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie) into Lake Ontario.  The international boundary between Canada and the United States is in the middle of the …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

The Niagara Apothecary, Niagara-on-the-Lake

00 The Niagara Apothecary

The Niagara Apothecary is a pharmacy museum you can visit when in the small historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.  The building actually was a active pharmacy from 1820 to 1964.  It was restored to its appearance circa 1869, and was opened as a Museum in 1971.

The interior is quite luxurious, especially for a small town pharmacy.  There are black walnut and butternut fixtures, and three crystal chandeliers.  Most of the shelves are filled with bottles and jars, all original and imported from Britain around 1830.  A pharmacist in the 19th century made most of the medications consumed by his customers, unlike in the 21st century when pharmacists only rarely make custom medications.

Interior shelving, The Niagara Apothecary

Interior shelving, The Niagara Apothecary

Admission is free and it’s a lot of fun to …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

A Day at Niagara-on-the-Lake

00 Niagara on the Lake (112)

I like to stop at the pretty and historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake when I’m in the Niagara Peninsula region because it’s such a charming community.  It’s located where the Niagara River flows into Lake Ontario. 

Canada is a new country with only a relatively short period of recorded history.  Still, Niagara-on-the-Lake is considered to be of historic significance.  It was founded in 1781 and was originally known as Butlersburg, later renamed as West Niagara.  The town subsequently adapted it’s current name to avoid confusion with Niagara Falls.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

British Loyalists fled here from the south in the aftermath of the American Revolution.  It was the first capital of the Province of Upper Canada (the predecessor of Ontario) from 1792 to 1797.  During the …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 23, 2019: The Spirit of Haidi Gwaii

02 Spirit of Haida Gwaii

British Columbia native artist, Bill Reid (1920–1998), may well be the best and best known Haida artist in the world.  I think his finest work is this piece entitled “Spirit of Haidi Gwaii”. 

Haidi Gwaii is a chain of islands off the coast of northern British Columbia which were formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.  The native culture features a rich history of totem pole carvings.

This white plaster model can be found in the main hall inside the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa.  The piece was subsequently cast in bronze and two copies are available, one outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the other at the International Terminal at Vancouver International Airport.  I prefer this version because …

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Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, August 23, 2019: The Spirit of Haidi Gwaii
.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

Rambling around Ottawa

02 Around Ottawa (5)

Canada’s capital city of Ottawa is one I’d highly recommend for a visit.  It’s small (even if including its twin city of Gatineau across the Ottawa River), has many interesting museums and sites for tourists to visit, is home to some fine restaurants and a great market, and is very easy to explore on foot.  It makes an excellent long weekend get-away destination.

My most recent visit to Ottawa was my third so I had a pretty good sense of the city and where I was going.  I was traveling with my brother and cousin, both less familiar with Ottawa than I was, but we all had a great time wandering and exploring and catching up with what’s happening in each …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / Food Tour / North America / Ontario

Breakfast at the Elgin Street diner

06 Elgin Street Diner

When I last visited Ottawa with my brother and cousin, we decided to have breakfast at the Elgin Street Diner because of a recommendation I’d seen (I believe in Frommer’s).

The diner is open 24 hours, and is a clean well kept place.  It wasn’t too busy when we visited, although it was a late breakfast for us so we’d likely missed the breakfast rush.  Here’s what the place looks like on the inside.

Peameal bacon, beans and eggs, Elgin street Diner

Peameal bacon, beans and eggs, Elgin street Diner

Elgin Street Diner is relatively new — open about a quarter century — and during that time has amassed a very respectable reputation as a good and reasonably priced place to eat in the nation’s capital.  It has been recognized as Ottawa’s best diner and for having the …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 14, 2019: The Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal (23)

The Rideau Canal is a 202 kilometer (125 mile) stretch of scenic waterway.  It is a Canadian National Historic Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The entire canal connects a series of lakes and rivers, and stretches from Kingston. Ontario (on Lake Ontario), to the nation’s capital, Ottawa.

The Rideau Canal is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America and its locks are operated today much as they were in 1832.  Each lock is unique. Many locks offer the free advice of helpful lock keepers, washrooms, overnight mooring and picnic facilities.  In summer the canal is popular with boaters and in winter with ice skaters.

We visited the portion of the Canal that stretches through Ottawa.  There are some large flat …

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Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, June 14, 2019: The Rideau Canal
.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse, Niagara Falls

02 Niagara Parks Floral Showcase

The Niagara Parks Floral Showcase is only 500 meters south of Horseshoe Falls. Greenhouses in the area date to the time of Queen Victoria, but the current complex was built the mid 20th century with several subsequent additions, including a large central atrium.  The complex includes space for storing bulbs, planting and growing new flowers for the Floral Showhouse (and elsewhere in Niagara Parks), but that is a behind the scenes activity that you won’t see.  What the visitor experiences after walking through the lovely grounds (enjoyable in the summer, less so in the winter) is a series of greenhouses that contain lush tropical vegetation, making it especially popular during times of cold weather. 

Plants you’ll see include orchids and cacti, and many …

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