“Pic of the Week”, February 25, 2017: Percheron Horses, Bar-U Ranch

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Percheron horses are an ancient breed and much of their history is unknown.  Some believe they may have been used by the Romans, others credit the breed to the Moors.  It is known that modern Percherons originated around La Perche in Normandy.

Percherons are large, strong animals that were primarily used for heavy draft work and, as such, were popular carriage and farm horses.  They were used in World War I to haul artillery.  Percherons are known for their intelligence, even temperament, ease of handling and hard-working spirit.

The horses were exported to North America in the 19th century and caught the eye of some breeders.  When I visited the Bar U Ranch in Alberta a few years back, …

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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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Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, January 13. 2017: A Frosty Morning in Calgary
.All Trips / Alberta / Food / North America / Western Canada

Calgary Farmer’s Market

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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 / Central Canada / North America

The Banff Park Museum National Historic Site.

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Today we’re going to visit Western Canada’s oldest Natural History Museum, the quirky yet fascinating Banff Park Museum National Historic Site.   I first visited this museum as a boy decades ago and it’s one of the few things around that hasn’t changed over the years.

Situated at a prime location in Banff, beside the Bow River at the corner of Buffalo St  and Banff Ave, there’s a large building constructed of logs, the Banff Park Museum.   It’s been declared a national historic site because the museum’s original exhibits are still on display, a collection reflecting an early (some might even say “primitive”) approach to the interpretation of Western Canada’s natural history.  Also, the architectural style and detailing of …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 21, 2015. Sunrise in the Canadian Rockies

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There are moments I’m really glad I always travel with a camera.  This past weekend I drove to Banff National Park for a hike and fossil discovery trip (in the famous Burgess shale –more to follow).  I had to leave my home in Calgary quite early, departing before sunrise.  It had been raining overnight and the sky was overcast and cloudy.  As I approached the Bow Valley entrance into the Rockies, the clouds began to break up and the tops of some of the mountains caught the early morning light.

It was beautiful!  I hope you agree.

Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, August 21, 2015. Sunrise in the Canadian Rockies
.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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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Gasoline Alley, Calgary: The World’s largest collection of Car-related Signs and Pumps

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Little did I know when I moved to Calgary a few years ago that this city has one of the finest car museums in North America.  Situated in a 75,000 sq ft building known as “Gasoline Alley”, within Heritage Park, is a collection donated by local oil and gas businessman, Ron Carey.  Mr. Carey collected and restored the 67 vehicles he gave to the city, many of which are trucks.  But perhaps the real highlight of his gift is what’s said to be the largest collection of petroliana in the world — restored pumps and automotive-related signage.

This is the first post of a two-part series sharing some of the automotive treasures of Gasoline Alley, and focuses on the …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Lethbridge

01b Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge.  Pavilion

I’m fond of visiting gardens and enjoy their beauty and tranquility.  This seems especially true of the Japanese Gardens I’ve visited, which combine the various elements — carefully pruned trees and shrubs, flowing and still water, and meticulously positioned rocks — in a balanced and pleasing manner.

One of the last places I expected to find a beautiful Japanese Garden was on the vast Canadian prairies, specifically in the small city of Lethbridge, Alberta.   The Nikka Yuko garden opened in 1967 as part of Canada’s 100th birthday celebration.  The garden covers just 4 acres in Henderson Park, but seems larger.  It was built to recognize the contributions of the Japanese community to Lethbridge, and as a symbol of international friendship …

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