Happy Canada Day

I’ve been fortunate over the years to travel tens of thousands of miles in Canada. There’s more yet to see, but here are a few of my favourite sights so far. The steep streets of St. John’s with colourful houses tipping into the sea. The best nap ever one afternoon on the sloping grass outside the Hotel Goose in Gander. A double rainbow over Keltic Lodge after driving Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail. Irish Coffee in the Victory Bar of the Lord Nelson Hotel one unusually cold day in July. The two evocative sites near St. Margaret’s Bay commemorating the crash of Swissair 111 in 1998.

Seeing the endangered Northern Right Whale in the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Puffin, the clown of birds, on Machias Seal Island. The Saint John River Valley, prettiest drive in eastern Canada. Any seafood dish at Cy’s in Moncton, sadly now closed. Perce Rock in the Gaspe. A night at La Pinsonniere, a marvellous hotel in the Charlevoix region with views across the St. Lawrence River. Arvida, a town bursting with energy and carved out of the bush, like so many in Canada, to tap our natural resources. Bagels fresh from the oven, 24 hours a day, at Montreal’s Fairmount Bagel. The statuary atop Mary Queen of the World Cathedral. The sight, when I was fifteen, of dozens of pretty secretaries leaving the Sun Life building on Dominion Square at quitting time.

The coldest walk in the world, on a January day from the Chateau Laurier to Centre Block on Parliament Hill, with the wind whipping across the Ottawa River from the Gatineau Hills. Canoeing the Severn River through Gloucester Pool to Beausoleil Island in Georgian Bay. Thousands of swallows resting on the beach at Point Pelee after flying across Lake Erie during spring migration. The Terry Fox Monument on the Trans-Canada Highway outside Thunder Bay with views of the Sleeping Giant.

The desert sand dunes east of Brandon. The Qu’Appelle Valley; spitting image of France. The sign outside Biggar, Saskatchewan: New York is big, but this is Biggar. The rustic Banff Springs Hotel perched amidst the Rockies. Aurora borealis in Yellowknife. Prettiest drive in Western Canada: the Nelson River Valley. The Capilano Suspension Bridge and the white sails of Canada Place.¬†Butchart Gardens and afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel.

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