Canada… eh?

April 9, 2010 at 12:56 pm (Travel)

It’s amazing how quickly Easter crept up on me.  Before I knew it, I was on a plane on my way to Canada.  First stop Toronto and a long awaited reunion with my youngest brother James.  James is currently completing a university exchange at York University and loves it.  I can’t explain how proud I am of him for following his dreams and making the exchange a reality.  He is obviously well loved by his friends at York and he has grown into a wonderful young man who I know will be successful.  Love you boy!

In Toronto I got to see York University and stay in James’ quite small room.  We also went up the CN tower to see a lovely view of the city.  The CN Tower is the highest man made structure in the world and is stuck by lightening between 60 – 80 times a year!  James also showed me the district of Kensington market, which is a diverse part of the city with funky off the street shops and we did a little bit of shopping.  (Surprise, surprise!)  We also visited a shoe museum and the Ontario National Museum.

The highlight of my time with James was visiting Niagara Falls.  James’ best friend Laura from York came with us and it was lovely getting to know her too.

At Niagara Falls

I have always wanted to see the falls, and I wasn’t disappointed.  They are absolutely breathtaking.  Almost 4 million cubic feet of water goes over the edge on average and the falls are the most powerful in North America.  At night they are lit up with different colours and during the day the amount of mist that comes up from them is phenomenal.  We visited the attraction Niagara Fury and found out more about the formation of the falls.  They have moved quite a long way up the river over time.  Then we walked approximately 1/3 of the way behind the Horseshoe  Falls.  This was really cool because you could hear and see the water pounding down.

I left James a little reluctantly but was excited to be on my way to see Erica in Whitehorse, Yukon.  Erica and I went to school together and she is currently working and living there.  I was a tad apprehensive, as every Canadian I had told that I was going to Whitehorse didn’t seem to think that there was much to do there.

I arrived at the airport (even smaller than the one in Hobart!) after a stunning flight over the mountains to be greeted by Erica.  Whitehorse is absolutely beautifully situated in the middle of mountains and on the Yukon River.  Within about five minutes you can be lost in the wilderness, which I guess is the appeal the town has for Erica.  It’s not somewhere I would want to live… I felt like I was in Hicksville.  But apparently the population doubles over summer and there are lots of outdoor activities in summer.  My favourite thing about Whitehorse was the loud speaker announcement as you crossed the road at a pedestrian crossing… ‘Cross with caution.  Vehicles may not stop.’  ????

Standing on Schwatka Lake (always wanted to stand on a frozen lake!)

While in Whitehorse we went on a hike to the Hidden Lakes.  Well… we were actually aiming for Miles Canyon, but as Erica (the qualified Outdoor Recreation Leader) decided to leave without a map, we went the wrong way and managed to get lost.  After walking for a good three hours, we found someone to ask where we were and how to get back to the town, only to be informed that we were currently approximately five minutes from where we started.  It was also worrying that Erica thought it was necessary to buy BEAR SPRAY for our walk.  What the hell?

We also went dog mushing, which was absolutely awesome.  Dog mushing is the general term for a sport or transport method powered by dogs, i.e. the use of one or more dogs to pull a sleigh on snow.  We even got to drive the sleigh!  We went up and down a frozen river and the landscape was absolutely beautiful.  Definitely a worthwhile experience.

Driving the sleigh!

We also saw a local ice hockey game and afterwards went in search of the Northern Lights.  We did manage to see a little bit of a green tinge in the sky, which was really cool.  Unfortunately I was unable to get a good shot, I tried, I really did.  😦  I hope I get another chance to see them at some stage.

After Whitehorse Erica and I travelled together to Vancouver.  I really liked the city, it has a Melbournian feel and a good coffee culture.  😉  We visited Capilano bridge on our first day.  This suspension bridge is 136m long and is 70m above the river.  It swang heaps

Erica and I at Capilano Bridge

more than I was expecting and offered wonderful views of the river.  It was interesting walking along the treetop walk, as the trees are quite different to the ones in Australia.

After the bridge we went to Stanley Park.  The park is 1001 acres… that’s bigger than Central Park.  We hired bikes and rode the 8.8km seawall path that circles the park.  This pathway is used by approximately 2.5 million pedestrians, bike riders and inline skaters a year.  It’s easy to see why.

The views are spectacular, the path basically flat.  The park itself is also gorgeous.  Our time there was one of my Vancouver highlights.

To top of an amazing day, we finished with a Vancouver Canucks ice hockey game.  The atmosphere in the crowd was electric and I am finally starting to get the rules.  We had pretty good seats and were lucky to see a highly exciting game.  There were three goals scored in the last two minutes to take the game into extra time.  The Canucks scored a golden goal to take out the North-West conference.  😀

The next day we went on a whale watching tour… minus the whales.  Very disappointing.  This was the only thing I told Erica I wanted to do before we went to Vancouver.  😦  I now have a free ticket to go again… valid for life.  Very useful, considering I don’t think I will be going back to Vancouver.  Oh well.

After our trip, we ventured to Mountain Equipment Co-Op  (MEC).  MEC is like a MASSIVE Snowgum, a huge outdoor equipment store with very reasonable prices.  Those of you, who know my mother well, can imagine that she will be in absolute heaven when she visits in May.  I managed to spend a small fortune there… after all, I am my mother’s daughter.  😉

My last day in the city was spent at Granville Island, the Vancouver Art Gallery and window shopping.  It finished with way too much beer, which resulted in a very uncomfortable flight home.  I should know better.

All in all, I had a wonderful trip.  I still don’t understand nickels and dimes, how to tip or all the rules in ice hockey.  I didn’t see a moose, a bear or a killer whale… but I got to catch up with two very important people and saw a part of the world I never thought I would.

Easter 2008  –  Australia

Easter 2009  –  Germany

Easter 2010  –  Canada

Easter 2011  –   ???


P.s  More photos?  Check out  🙂


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