Canadian Contemplation

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Art Installation at The Rooms – St. John’s Newfoundland

After travelling through all 10 provinces (and one American state), I still don’t think I have been further enlightened on the idea of Canadianism. When I started this trip I questioned the idea of Canada, and I think I was right at the time, it can mean anything.

I wanted to share some of the memories that stick out for me when looking back on the journey.

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St. Johns Newfoundland – the city was really, really cool. I now wish we had spent more time on the island and seen some other places. I went there expecting it to be old fashioned, and it simply wasn’t. There were a lot of young people running trendy businesses and the sense of history matched any town in the UK. It was also memorable for having to spend 4 days in the same clothing while trying to track down my luggage….fun times.

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The Maritimes – a weird and wonderful place, but don’t go there expecting large metropolises or much action. It is a pretty sleepy area. Most of the cities we visited in the region would certainly be classed as small towns in other parts of the country. I think our favourite attraction had to be the Magnetic Hill in Moncton, rolling the car backwards up the hill. And the blueberry beer.

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The Hopewell Rocks – This was one of my top sights to see on the trip. Not only are the rock formations a stunning sight, but to see the waters of the Bay of Fundy retreating from land and revealing miles upon miles of seabed was extraordinary.

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Heat, heat and more heat – I have never sweated so much in my entire life as when we were in the Toronto/Montreal area. It is so hot and humid there in summer. I appreciate that most people travel to work in air conditioned cars or subways, spend all day in an air conditioned office, and then spend the evenings outside after the sun goes down. But when you are being a tourist, it is torturous. You are constantly looking for air con or shade whenever you are outside. I would stand in the sun for 5 minutes and feel myself burning. Not good for a pale, red head….. but I can now say I have experienced the central Canada summer. And no, I’m not going back to experience the winter.

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The Rocky Mountains – My pictures demonstrate why they are far and away the best part of the trip. I have a feeling we’ll be making a return trip as soon a we can. The whole area was captivating.

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Rural Alberta – Very interesting place. We were lucky to stay on my Aunt’s cattle farm, and visit the Hutterites, the Badlands and Vulcan. There is a lot to see there, and we really only visited a small part.

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Detroit – I know, a bit of a weird detour, but I’m glad to have seen a bit of the city – good and bad. The Detroit Institute of Arts is first class, and the burnt out houses are third world. Detroit and Windsor face each other across a narrow waterway, but are worlds apart. Fascinating.

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Niagara Falls – quite possibly the strangest clash of natural beauty and man made frivolity (big waterfalls alongside garish casinos) but nature wins out and the falls are a must see when visiting Southern Ontario. It’s a stunning sight.

The blog is called Mounties and Moufettes, but we never saw either on the trip. Ok, we saw RCMP officers, but none in the bright red jacket ceremonial dress. Not even in Ottawa during the Three Amigos meeting. As for moufettes….well they are notoriously shy and nocturnal. We certainly smelled many, but no sightings yet. The biggest disappointment was not seeing a moose. We drove through so many moose ladened forests, but didn’t see any. I thought that would have been a guarantee in the Canadian wilderness.

And now some thank-yous to all the people that helped us along the way –

Robert and Diana in Toronto –  your generosity allowed us to see the city in such detail. Thank you so much for letting us crash in your basement and loaning us the Tesla for the trip to Niagara.

The Winnipeggers – Uncle Gary, Auntie Deed, Leanne, Kelvin, Allan, Heather, Uncle John and all the cousins. We had such a good time seeing you.

Auntie Carolyn and Uncle Cliff – it was amazing to finally see your farm, your meaty suppers were legendary, thank you.

Uncle Bill, Auntie Maxine, Daryl, Anita and more cousins – thanks for your hospitality and help with the car rental. It was so nice to see you all again.

All the people that encouraged us to keep going – Our family and friends around the world that took interest in our travels across a country that is stereotyped as being a bit boring.

We made it through the 10 provinces, but there are still the Northern territories to explore. Perhaps we will make it to the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut next.

Canada may be a clumsy mish mash of cultures, languages, regions, strange laws, confusing road signs and poutine…but it’s also beautiful, diverse, laid-back and generally full of nice people. Lovable indeed.

 

 

 

 

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