.All Trips / Massachusetts / North America / Northeastern USA

A Day at the New England Aquarium, Boston

10-New-England-Aquarium

I love visiting zoos and aquariums — at least most of them.  I believe they offer an excellent chance for people to see and study our planet’s fellow inhabitants, and that they are one of the most important conservation tools available to us.   People are much more likely to conserve animals and ecosystems they have an emotional tie to.  As a life-long student of biology and nature, I always find something new and fun everytime I go.

Boston’s New England Aquarium, while far from the biggest or best, is a nice place to spend a day with a family.  It is a popular tourist destination, hosting more than a million visitors each year.  Besides the aquatic attractions within the Aquarium …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

A visit to the Library of Parliament, Ottawa

Parliament Hill 02

When you stand on the bank of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, (especially by the Canadian Museum of History), and look across the river you see the Canadian Parliamentary buildings.  This is the view captured in the above image.  The rounded building with flying buttresses in this complex, which is the one in the foreground and closest to the river, is the Parliamentary Library.  Before we step inside, let’s take a look at the history of the Library.

A Brief History of the Library of Parliament

Canada’s Library of Parliament began in the late 18th century with the legislative libraries of Upper and Lower Canada.  These two libraries were amalgamated in 1841 when Upper and Lower Canada united.  It was not …

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.All Trips / California / Food / Southwestern USA

Signs of Grand Central Market, Los Angeles

03 Grand Central Market Los Angeles

Even though I lived in the Los Angeles area for more than 2 decades, it was not until I moved away from the city that I visited its famous Grand Central Market.  Situated in downtown Los Angeles (on Broadway), near many of the city’s massive skyscrapers and businesses, the market has been a landmark for 100 years (established in 1917).

The market has changed with time and it’s not like most of the markets you’ll visit.  Sales of fresh and bulk food , while a component, are a small part of the operation.  It seems these traditional market elements have been pushed out to make room for more restaurant vendors.  People now go to the market to buy prepared food.   …

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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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“Pic of the Week”, August 25, 2017: A Rambler in Prince Rupert, B.C.

Q.C.I.  004 Prince Rupert.  Totem and Rhododendron by courthouse

I spent a rain-drenched day exploring Prince Rupert, B.C some years ago.  I’d flown to Prince Rupert (via Vancouver) to catch the ferry to Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) and had a full day to kill before departing.  As with any such travel opportunity, I pulled out my walking shoes and camera and tried to experience as much of the town as I could.

Prince Rupert sits on the Inside Passage just below the Alaska Panhandle.  A coastal city set against the mountains, it’s one of the few times in my life I’ve landed on an island airport and had to be ferried to the mainland.  The town’s industries are timber-related, fishing and mining, as is the …

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.All Trips / North America / Oregon / Pacific Northwest / Travel Talk

Solar Eclipse 2017 as viewed in Baker City, Oregon

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I’d only seen one prior solar eclipse in my life and that was long ago when I was a university student.  That one occurred on a cold winter day in February 1979, in my home city of Winnipeg, Manitoba.  So when I heard of the proximity of the American solar eclipse of 2017, I knew it was definitely time to view another.

There’s no question that this week’s eclipse was a popular event and thousands of people planned on visiting the areas of totality well in advance.  In fact, I couldn’t find a hotel room for less than $1000/night (which I refuse to pay) within the thousand mile stretch across the Northwestern USA that was of interest to me when I …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Cochrane Farmers’ Market

24-Cochraine Farmers Market 08-2015 27

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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“Pic of the Week”, August 11, 2017: Niagara Floral Clock

001 Floral clock

The Ontario Hydro/Niagara Parks Commission Floral Clock is situated on the Niagara River Parkway not far from Niagara Falls.  It’s a popular and quick stop for people visiting the area.
The floral clock was inspired by the famous clock in Princess Street Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The Niagara clock is the largest of its kind in the world and is three times larger than the Edinburgh clock.  The planted face is maintained by Niagara Parks horticulture staff, while the mechanism is kept in working order by Ontario Hydro.  Designs for the face of this clock are changed seasonally.
Here are some of

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