.All Trips / Central Canada / Manitoba / North America

Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, Manitoba

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I’ve visited many interesting and historic places in my life, and hope to see many more.  Lower Fort Garry was the very first of these and, in a way, may have stimulated my desire to see and visit unusual destinations.  As a boy we traveled here by school bus for field trips, learning of the fort’s history and seeing actors in period costumes telling us about the lives they lead in the 19th century.  It was a hard life — much work, long bitterly cold winters, warm to hot summers filled with millions of mosquitoes.  Not at all pleasant.

Lower Fort Garry was built as a Hudson’s Bay Company post in what was then Rupert’s Land (now is Manitoba).  Fort Garry …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Signs of Banff

04 Signs of Banff

Banff is the premier resort town of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  Nestled on the leeward side of the Continental Divide, it became a popular tourist destination in the early 20th century when the Canadian Pacific Railroad first laid tracks and built tourist resorts in and around Banff.

Today’s Banff is much larger than the Banff I remember visiting as a boy a half century ago.  It still has great historic alpine charm and is in a magnificent natural setting, but during the summer the place is crowded with tourists –mostly Asian tourists  (Japanese especially) but with lots of Europeans (Germans mostly).  People who live in Alberta value and respect their visitors but tend to avoid the Banff townsite during the summer …

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“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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“Pic of the Week”, July 1st, 2016: White Pelican at Victoria Beach

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It’s Canada’s birthday today — Happy 149th to all my Canadian friends and relatives, eh?!  What better way to celebrate than to feature the American White Pelican, but in Canada.  Highly symbolic of the identity crisis many in the country have, feeling neither American nor Canadian.

Pelicans are great birds to observe in nature.  There’s nothing like watching a group of them catch a thermal and ride it for hundreds of yards, looking more like a formation of fighter aircraft than living creatures.  Among the largest of North America’s birds, the American White Pelican is almost pure white, but with black feathers in its wings visible only when flying.  Immature birds, like the one featured above, often have some dusky feathers …

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.All Trips / Central Canada / North America

A visit to the Historic Banff Springs Hotel

09 Banff Springs Hotel

Situated in the heart of beautiful Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the world famous Fairmont Banff Springs stands like a castle dominating the pretty alpine town of Banff, Alberta.  Nestled between Mt. Rundle, Tunnel Mountain and Sulphur Mountain, it offers some of the best alpine scenery in the world.  It’s just a short 10 minute stroll from the hotel along the beautiful Bow River to the Banff townsite, where a large number of shops, restaurants and other services are located.

Fairmont Banff Springs is a year-round luxury resort that offers access to activities as diverse as horse-back riding and golf, to superb skiing in the winter.  The hotel has been serving guests for more …

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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 / Car Culture / Central Canada / Manitoba / North America

Great Cars along the Highway…. Winnipeg

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A beautiful classic car spotted while visiting my dad in Winnipeg.  It was parked in the lot of a shopping mall — well removed from all other vehicles (wisely so, I think).   One of my  classic cars, a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air.  Obviously lovingly maintained.  I didn’t get to talk to the owner, but I think the photos tell their own story.

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