“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 / Car Culture / Central Canada / North America

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”, July 1, 2017: Ballooning over Calgary

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Stepped out of my home on my way to work early one morning and was surprised to see this hot-air balloon floating over the roof-tops.  Not a common site and as good as a jolt of caffeine in waking me up.

 

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance! A Day at Calgary’s Ukrainian Festival

Calgary Ukranian Festival 06-2016 (20)

One of the many things I enjoy about summers in Canada are the large number and variety of ethnic festivals held around the country.   Like the United States, Canada has derived much of its character from its many immigrant groups.  People are encouraged to celebrate their heritage, culture and traditions, while become part of the national melting pot.

If you’re interested in learning more about the culture of a country, visiting one of these festivals is an excellent way to take a “mini-trip” to that destination.  This year I wanted to explore somewhere I’d never been to before, so decided to stop by the Calgary Ukrainian Festival.  Over a weekend, the large Ukrainian community of the city presented a great celebration …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 13. 2017: A Frosty Morning in Calgary

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The Canadian prairies are rather dry, especially during the winter months.  There’s not much precipitation and humidity is often very low, cracking skin and boosting the sale of epidermal moisturizers.  It’s so dry that at times snow actually evaporates — not melts, evaporates.  There are rare occasions when it’s a little more humid and even rarer occasions when everything works together to give you the amazing spectacle of Hoar frost.

Hoar frost (aka hoarfrost or radiation frost) refers to white ice crystals, deposited on objects such as branches, leaves and wires. These crystals form by condensation of water vapor to ice on cold, clear nights.  Sometimes the hoar frost is so heavy it resembles snow, except that when you look at carefully, these …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Food / North America / Western Canada

Calgary Farmer’s Market

30 Calgary Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s markets in regions that have four seasons are, as you’d expect, different in character than those you find in tropical climates.  Harvest is seasonal, so the best times to visit them is during the summer and early fall.  Many Farmers’ markets in North America are only open during the summer months, shuttering for the winter.  But not so for the larger markets in big cities.

Those markets that are open all year round need to adapt to the changes in the season.  Most will be in an enclosed building which can be heated when needed (and which keeps you dry and cool in the summer, too).  The local produce in the winter season is much more limited and includes produce …

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

Gasoline Alley, Calgary: The Cars and Trucks

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Besides its extensive collection of antique gasoline pumps and signs, Calgary’s Gasoline Alley museum has a fascinating assortment of cars and trucks!  Many of these are unique, at least in my experience, as they were mostly collected from vehicles driven in Alberta.  As such, you’ll see more trucks than at most car museums because trucks were (and still are) very important to Alberta’s economy.

What follows are several galleries of photos of my favorite vehicles in Gasoline Alley’s collection — far from everything!  For the sake of organization and no other reason, I’ve divided them by year of manufacturing, the oldest first with newer vehicles to follow.  I could just as easily have divided them by brand, trucks versus …

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“Pic of the Week”. May 2, 2014: Prairie crocuses, Calgary

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Nothing says “spring has arrived” on the prairies more than the appearance of robins or the blooming of the prairie crocus.  Crocuses are the first flowers to blossom on the plains each year after the snow’s gone.  They’re the provincial flower of Manitoba and the floral emblem of South Dakota.

These photos were taken close to my home in Calgary (in Fish Creek Provincial Park) just a few days ago and are the first prairie crocuses I’d seen bloom for years.  Prairie crocuses once were very prevalent across the central plains of North America but with the disruption of natural grassland (and its conversion to housing tracts and farmland), you’ll only see them occasionally.   They’re beautiful and short-lived, so enjoy them …

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