Blackpool Illuminations 2009: Fun for all the Family

One of the UK theme parks I‘ve really fell in love with is Pleasure Beach (in case you couldn’t tell hehe). So, I did a bit more exploring, and here’s what I’ve found so far…

Blackpool's Central Pier -- Ferris Wheel(credit)

If you’re looking to view a dazzling light show this year, Blackpool Illuminations 2009 will tantalize, amaze and delight your whole family. This time-honored tradition attracts visitors to the area in their droves, and the Illuminations remain one of Blackpool’s most popular tourist hotspots. Surrounded by luxurious casinos, the Pleasure Beach family theme park, and spacious beaches, the Illuminations thrill tourists year after year with their innovative designs, spectacular visual illusions, and amazing colors.

Here is a whistle-stop tour of Blackpool’s world-renowned Illuminations. From its historic conception to this year’s show, families from all over the world have been left gasping in wonder as they travel the colorful miles together.

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The One Thing Saskatchewan Doesn’t Have

Rollercoasters and Other Fun RidesHave you ever been to Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, England? Well, if you haven’t, you should definitely check out this theme park in the UK. Of all the theme parks I’ve seen in the UK, this one would definitely top my list of spots to see on a holiday. It’s packed full of rides, all kinds of shows to see, great places to eat and grab something to drink including the treats that theme parks are known for. Then, there’s an awesome hotel to stay in right there.

Cool right? Well, Saskatchewan doesn’t have any amusement parks or theme parks…not permanent ones anyway. I’m not sure why, but I’m thinking that I’d have a pretty good idea after trying to get my skin unstuck from the metal roller-coaster after a ride at -40 during a snowstorm would tell me.

We do get rides, but for those, you’ll want to attend Agribition in Regina or one of the local rodeos or stampedes. That doesn’t mean we don’t have any fun rides though.

Kenosee Superslides Waterpark

Instead of the Infusion or the Avalanche roller-coaster in the UK, which do look like tons of fun, you’ll find Twister, Bonzai, and Kids slides at Kenosee Superslides Waterpark. (You’ll find this exciting place close to Carlyle in Southeastern Saskatchewan). Anyway, tons of fun things to do here too, even if you aren’t quite that adventurous.

There’s tubing and the ‘Lazy Canal’ as well as shopping at the clothing store, sports such as volleyball, and all kinds of special events. Then, you can grab something to eat while you’re there, or enjoy some of the other local attractions in the area including the Bear Claw Casino and all of the events and activities hosted there.

Sundance Hot Air Balloon Rides

There’s absolutely no better way to see the beauty of Saskatchewan than from the calm, drifting serenity of a famous Sundance Hot Air Balloon. For around an hour, you can see the best of Saskatchewan from a 1000 feet in the air. There’s no dealing with busy airports, gates, or trying to sit comfortably in the middle seat. You’ll also enjoy the immense peace and quiet of this form of air travel as well.

Sundance offers ride in the morning, the afternoon, and at sunset through most of the year, so you can go when it works best from you. You’ll also want to make sure that you remember your camera so that you can preserve this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Horse Drawn Sleigh and Carriage Rides in Beautiful Saskatoon

If you like a touch of the old, a horse and carriage (or sleigh ride) around Saskatoon’s Spadina Crescent is perfect. You’ll enjoy a slow and relaxing tour of the city’s best areas just as Saskatchewan pioneers would have a hundred or more years ago. You can even havea fire and warm up to end your trip off nicely. It’s certainly romantic and the kids will love it. Regardless who you bring along, it will be one of those activities you’ll never forget. Mmmm roasted marshmallows. Anyone else craving marshmallows? Now where was I? Oh yeah…

Sadly, Saskatchewan doesn’t have any full-time theme parks like the UK, but the rides it does have are just as special. Try them out for yourself and see.

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The Most Haunted Places In the Canadian Prairies You Can Tour

Haunted Places in Canada

Haunted Places in Canada


Who knew the Canadian prairies were so scary! Other places have cemeteries, scary houses on a hill, or buildings that others have created to be scary. Not in the prairies though. Nope. No way! The number of real ghosts, ghost trains, and even haunted hotels will leave you with goose bumps. Here is a very short list of some of the scariest places in the country.


Fort Gary Hotel in Winnipeg

How about a night in the beautiful Fort Gary Hotel? To drive up on this beautiful hotel, you would never know its dark secret. Room 202 is the scariest room in the hotel. As the local legend goes, a couple had been staying in the room. The husband had gone out for the day leaving the woman behind. He died in a car accident and his wife was so distraught she hung herself in the closet. Many say that she can frequently be seen in the corner crying, has asked hotel staff to get her a drink in the bar, and some of the staff has even seen blood running down the wall. Famous figures and staff have had things come flying off the shelves and one woman noticed someone get into bed and lay beside her.

Several other places in Manitoba are haunted. A little girl haunts St. Ignatius School today. She died after falling of the rings in the playground. Many say that when you go on the red rings, you can feel little hands trying to pull you off. Even places like the Ruckers on Regent Ave can be a terrifying experience.


St. Louis, Saskatchewan

Just outside of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan is the little village of St. Louis. Although the town is friendly during the day, the night brings an eerie feeling across the little town. If you look closely, you will notice what looks like a path where railroad tracks once laid. There is a reason they are no longer there! A terrible accident in the area’s history killed a family. The engineer involved in the death of the family became so overran with guilt he killed himself. A train derailment that occurred here as well killed one of the workmen. Today, they say you can now see the engineer and sometimes the workman walking down the tracks with a light. Others say a ghost train still comes through the area.

Weyburn, the home of one of the cruelest mental institutions in the country’s history, has a place of darkness of its own. Many say voices can be heard in the dense trees surrounding the institution that is still in use today. The top floor of the building has been closed off for years, but cries, footsteps, and a ghostly figure have been noticed there.


Banff Springs Hotel

This is one of the most haunted hotels on the planet. Room 873 has since been covered in, but if you look closely, you can find it. The story says that a family was brutally murdered in the room. This was bad enough, but when the staff went to clean the room, they discovered that they couldn’t get the little girl’s fingerprints off the mirror. The noticed other eerie things in the room as well and became so scared they finally blocked off the room.

A set of stairs in the hotel have also been closed in. In this instance, a bride accidentally touched her dress to a candle on the stairs. When her gown burst into flames she panicked, fell down the stairs, and broke her neck. Stories say that she is frequently seen walking through the hotel.

These are just a select few of the haunted places in the Canadian prairies. Some places have only had scary occurrences, but some of these locations have extremely terrifying and tragic stories behind them. So if you are a believer, come out and see for yourself. If you don’t believe in ghosts, the Canadian prairies may just convince you otherwise! If you would like to see a complete list, Shadowlands Haunted Places has a rather comprehensive list of creepy Canadian places to explore.

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An Interesting Post on “Top 10 Reasons to Live in Saskatchewan”

You all may enjoy this interesting post on reasons to live in Saskatchewan. While many of them are made in jest, some of them bring up some interesting points. For instance, our economy and housing market is booming here, but one can’t help but wonder what will happen when the world comes crashing down and Saskatchewan moves back into the territory of “have-not.”

Our Alberta counterparts have been the unfortunate victims of an economy that grew far too fast and too large. Thousands of people moved to the province with a promise of higher paying jobs and the chance to live the Canadian dream only to find that rent is hitting $1000 a month or more if you are lucky to find one.

With the introduction of new fees and the promise of future environmental measures, gas and oil companies clawed back their operations putting many families out of work. Many Albertans have lost their homes as a result and are unsure of where to turn. The government doesn’t seem to be jumping up with any immediate solutions.

Will the Saskatchewan government learn from these mistakes and put solutions into place? We can only brace ourselves, grit out teeth, and wait.

On the bright side, you have to admit that “Buying a huge John Deere mower makes sense” does cause a few entertaining ideas to cross your mind.

The post can be found at

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Include Pyramids, Unique Festivals, and Pure Canadian Culture in Your Edmonton Travel Plans

Tons of other Edmonton attractions and activities exist outside of the West Edmonton Mall in this lively capitol city. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is an important cultural hub for the prairies. The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and more than 30 festival held here each year perfectly compliment the excellent shopping restaurants, and hotels. Edmonton travel plans are easily customized to suit everyone’s tastes.

The popularity of the Edmonton Gay Pride is quickly growing, but so are the other festivals held in the city every year. For music lovers, the Edmonton International Jazz Festival, Capital EX, Yardbird Jazz Festival, the Folk Music Festival, Edmonton Labatt’s Blues Festival, and the Symphony Under the Sky are just a few of the events sure to thrill.

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Family Travel Plans? Visit North America’s Largest Mall

West Edmonton Mall

Top Alberta Travel Destinations: West Edmonton Mall

©2008Angie Haggstrom

For any of you planning a family trip to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, a visit to West Edmonton Mall is a definite must. The mall has a huge selection of various stores, but there is so much more to see and do. There is a large water park, ice skating, movie theatres, amusement park, golfing, marine mammals and so much more. Anything you and your family would want to do is all in one place. Just one thing: you might want to reserve one or two entire days in your travel itinerary for this Edmonton Attraction.

The mall opened in 1981 with a total cost of more than $1.2 billion dollars. The mall takes up 570 000 square miles, which is equivalent to 48 city blocks! Currently, the mall sees an estimated 28.2 million visitors a year and is the largest mall in North America (5th largest in the world) Once you get inside you’ll see why! Don’t worry though…parking won’t be a problem with more than 20 000 spaces available.

Once you get inside, Galaxyland amusement park is a great place to start. The Mindbender roller coaster is three loops of pure adrenaline rush. From there, you have to try the tower! The rest of the park is filled with swinging rides like swings and ships, the fun house, and a special set of rids designed for the younger ones.

After the thrills and chills, how about some water fun? The World Waterpark located inside the mall is also the largest indoor waterpark and wave pool in North America. The waves are fun, but there are all sorts of thrilling waterslides and a special area for the little swimmers. If that isn’t enough, how about bungee jumping over the water?

Animal lovers have not been left out at West Edmonton Mall either. The salt-water exhibit called Sea Life Caverns comes complete with a sunken ship. Here, you can watch sea lions, penguins and other marine animals play and put on a show or play bumper boats. If you travel a little farther in the mall, you will find the fantastic petting zoo. If you would rather go ice skating than petting animals, you can do that here to at the Ice Palace!

Other attractions and activities in the mall include 2 mini-golf courses, movie theatres, casino, rec centre, shooting range, skate park, arcades and many, many more than there is room to list. Generally, anything you want to do or see can be found here. To make it even easier, you can even stay right in the mall in the Fantasyland Hotel and stay in a themed room. Be warned, however, that this one can get a bit pricey. The West Edmonton Mall Inn is great option for those on a little tighter budget.

When it comes to the shopping, it is just as diverse as the attractions will more than 800 stores and restaurants. You will find places like Zellers, London Drugs, and HMV as well as Abercrombie & Fitch, Swarovski, and Urban Behavior. The mall also has three themed shopping areas to help you find precisely what you are looking for – Bourbon Street, Europa Boulevard, and Chinatown.

The mall’s owners currently have plans to add on an additional 30 000 square meters of stores, an office building, trade show and convention center, apartment building and additional parking. Sound like fun? Just wait till you get there!

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Alberta Travel Plans Fit for the Stars: Hollywood’s Top Alberta Scenes

Visit Famous Hollywood Movie Sets In Alberta, Canada

Visit Famous Hollywood Movie Sets In Alberta, Canada

©2008Angie Haggstro

Have you ever seen a setting so beautiful you felt inspired and uplifted? If you have, you aren’t the only one. The same scenes that inspire you are the same ones that have attracted Hollywood’s producers and big name stars like Brad Pitt and Heath Ledger. Several areas in Alberta have been the backdrop for Hollywood movies and once you see them for yourself, you will easily see why.

The city of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada has been a popular place for stars like Robin Williams and LL Cool J. Both stars stayed in the local Ramada Inn while filming their movies “RV” and “Rollerball.” In fact, Robin Williams enjoyed eating at one of the local Mexican restaurants known as “El Comal” and biked through Henderson Park.

If you drive just outside of Lethbridge to Monarch, you might recognize the area as the background for the chase between the ‘Big Rolling Turd’ and the Gornicke’s bus. While Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park, between Lethbridge and Milk River, was one of the main locations of the “RV” movie. You need a guide to see this area, but it is well worth it! The cast and crew as we as the ‘Munros’ enjoyed eating and staying right in Milk River.

Movies have gained a unique Canadian touch in the little town of Fort Macleod. “Brokeback Mountain” (See Below) and “Passchendaele” have used the historic main street of this sweet little town to its fullest advantage. The Red Coat Inn was the place of choice for the cast and crew. Southwest of Claresholm, a short drive away, is the Hart family land. You do need permission to enter, but once inside, you will quickly feel like you are in the ‘Brokeback Mountain’ movie. The land and cabin here were the centre of the storyline surrounding Alma and Ennis.

Brooks was also popular with movie stars and crew. Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood stayed in the Heritage Inn and Convention Center while on set for “Unforgiven” and Robin Williams stayed at the Heritage Inn and Suites and enjoyed eating at O’Sheas. “Texas Rangers” was filmed not far from the city of Brooks, Alberta.

Calgary’s Heritage Park and its operational steam engine were used as a set for “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Redford.” Another area just west of the city also has a history with filmmakers. Highway 1 heading to Banff has been very popular with Hollywood. More than 40 movies have used this area including “Shanghai Noon,” “Legends of the Fall,” Open Range,” and “Lonesome Dove.”

The Badlands of Drumheller and Horseshoe Canyon were used for several scenes in “Unforgiven.” Many areas surrounding Drumheller were used in movies. Midland Provincial Park was used in the movie “Roughing It,” the local golf and country club was used in the movie “Where the Dinosaurs Roam,” and East Coulee was used for movies such as “You Know My Name,” “Dino Sapien TV,” and “Children of Fortune.”

There are many more locations and movie sets in Alberta. This beautiful province is what fairy tales are made from. Travel to Alberta to see for yourself!

*More information on locations used for the movie “Brokeback Mountain” visit

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