“Pic of the Week”, May 10, 2019: Miners’ Union Hall, Canmore

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The first Europeans to live and work in the Rocky Mountains were hunters and miners.  Canada’s Rocky mountains are rich in minerals and the Canmore region — just south of Banff — has especially good coal deposits. 

The Canmore Miners’ Union Hall has been part of this community for more than a century and the building is one of the oldest in the town.  Completed in 1913, it was built to serve as the union office for local coal miners.  The building was one of the first in town to have electric lights.  The miners union helped improve working conditions, safety and miners’ wages.  

Coal mining has ceased in Alberta and the mining jobs have also disappeared, so there is no need for a …

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“Pic of the Week”, May 3, 2019: Whitehorse’s Horse

01 Whitehorse Stallion (1)

Erected near the public safety building on Two-Mile hill in Whitehorse is a horse crafted by Yukon artist Daphne Mennel.  You’ll see it as you drive into the city from the airport.  The piece is made of what appears to be scrap metal, which it is, but the community prides itself that all of the horse’s components were donated by Yukon residents.  For example, the magnificent tail is made from electrical cable donated by Yukon Electric , with many other interesting building blocks ranging from a frying pan, an anvil, a radiater, garden utensils and more. 

The horse statue has a great view of the city and surrounding hills.   To me it symbolizes the spirit of the people of the …

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.All Trips / North America / Western Canada / Yukon

Street Art in Whitehorse

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While by no means a large city, with only around 25,000 residents, Whitehorse is the major population center in Canada’s Yukon Territories.  This large territory (482,000 km2, 186,300 miles2)  is home to only 37,000 people (and about 75,000 moose), so Whitehorse’s influence in the region becomes apparent.

Whitehorse is changing and it is growing.   These changes are perhaps most notable to someone like me who hadn’t been there for nearly 20 years.   An appreciated addition was a proliferation of street murals on the buildings of the city.  These varied greatly in theme and style, but most of them in some way represented life in and the history of the north — notably …

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“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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.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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.All Trips / North America / Western Canada / Yukon

The S.S. Klondike, Whitehorse

00 SS Klondike Whitehorse (3)

One of the most popular attractions in Whitehorse is this sternwheeler which sits on the banks of the Yukon River in the heart of the city.  It’s one of only two surviving sternwheelers which plied the waters between Whitehorse and Dawson City — a relic from the time when waterways were preferred transportation route , before roads and railway provided quick access to the heart of the Yukon.

Whitehorse exists in large part because it of its proximity to the Alaska panhandle (and as such was a passing-through point during the Klondike Goldrush), and because it was the furthest city upstream on the Yukon River that could be successfully navigated by these flat-bottom boats. (Just upriver from the city, the Whitehorse …

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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”, April 5, 2019: Union Point Church, Manitoba.

03 Trip to Morris (11)

Sometimes it’s good to stop at places you’ve driven by hundreds of times and actually explore them.  Such was the case with my visit to the Union Point Church south of St. Agathe in southern Manitoba.

The church is situated between the north and south-bound lanes of highway 75, the road that connects Winnipeg to southern Manitoba and North Dakota.  It’s a fairly important road, so thousands of people drive by the church every day but I suspect hardly anyone ever stops for a visit.

Union Point church was originally built in 1887, destroyed by fire in 1939, and rebuilt in 1940. There’s a small cemetery beside the church with tombstones dating to the late 19th century.  There was once also a …

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