Flin Flon Manitoba is Famous for More than Just Medical Marijuana

Flin Flon

Manitoba Travel Destinations: Flin Flon

©2008AngieHaggstrom

Flin Flon, Manitoba gained worldwide attention in 2002 when it became the site of a government approved marijuana farm. The legalized farm produces around 400 kg of medicine each year in an underground copper and zinc drift. If you happen to travel to this area of Manitoba, I wouldn’t get my hopes up for a tour offering free samples. Sadly, when the globe focuses on this historic event, they missed out on a lot of the unique scenery and attractions the area has to offer.

The city of Flin Flon, founded in 1927, lies directly on the border between Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The interesting points surrounding this beautiful city begin with how it got its name. A gold prospector by the name of Tom Creighton had found a book entitled ‘The Sunless City’ by J E Preston Muddock in the woods. The book told the story of how ‘Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin drove a submarine into a gold coated tunnel and discovered a hidden civilization. Not long after the prospector discovered a rich area of copper and named his mine Flin Flon after the character in the book. The city began to grow in the area and continued to take pride in ‘Flinty’ into the present day.

Since Flin Flon is built on an ancient volcano, the city has many unique traits including Ross Lake which is found in the center of the city and surrounded by two billion year old cliffs. The lake has a beautiful boardwalk that encircles the lake and is perfect for a romantic stroll. The Hapnot Lake Wildlife Sanctuary is also located within city limits along with stunning cliffs and mountainous terrain.

The city also boasts a large number of manmade attractions within its borders. The tallest of the group, and the tallest free-standing structure in the Canadian prairies, is ‘The Stack,’ which falls only 175 feet short of the Eiffel Tower.

The Hundred Stairs staircase was originally constructed in 1935 to connect the two portions of the city. It now leads to Flin Flon’s Bomb Shelter that was started in 1947 for a cost of $32 000. Interestingly, the excitement over the shelter waned 4 meters short of the goal and the tunnel was narrowed to the point that it is nothing more than a storm drain. Of course, a large cartoon-like statue of Flintabettey Flonatin still perches proundly in the city of Flin Flon.

Another interesting site to see in Flin Flon is the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting’s Mine and Smelter Site. The copper vein that Tom Creighton is generally accredited with finding was actually discovered by a trapper and merely shown to the prospector in 1914. The find did prove to be a massive find, but a process called smeltering was needed in order to purify the ore. Today, the North Main is closed, however the South Main is still in use as well as the other operations associated with the site.

There are tons of beaches, lakes, and attractions in and around the beautiful city of Flin Flon, Manitoba. This little city is the perfect blend of the region’s iconic past and of history in the making. If you would like to explore the city for yourself, feel free to visit Flin Flon’s Website.

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(This post now appears here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/manitoba/flin-flon-manitoba-medical-marijuana/)

Massive Mountain Rock Travels More Than 200 Miles from the Rocky Mountains

Fascinating Alberta Travel Destinations

Fascinating Alberta Travel Destinations

©2008AngieHaggstrom

Imagine, a massive 17 ton rock falls more than 200 miles from the mountains and lands in the middle of the prairie landscape. That is exactly what happened in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada. How about that for a fascinating stop in your Alberta travel plans?

Of course the idea that this massive rock rolled just shy of 250 miles isn’t possible. This large chunk of quartzite, known simply as ‘The Big Rock’ or ‘Okotoks Erratic Rock,’ was actually carried away by glacier ice more than 10 000 years ago. Quartzite is one of the hardest substances on earth, but this trait also makes it very fragile.

Experts believe that an ancient rockslide caused this piece of mountain to land on a glacier that was flowing down the Athabasca River that once flowed wildly past Jasper. Eventually, the glaciers began to melt and deposited into the middle of the grassland. As one traveler wrote about in his post, the local Aboriginals have their own unique story about the rock’s origins. For more information see this great page from Alberta Heritage.

The true magnitude of the stone is understood when you stand beside it. It has a way of humbling you and giving you a true perception of size and the realities of this world. It isn’t the only one. In fact the region from Jasper into the northern half of Montana is known as the Foothills Erratics Train and is the largest in North America.

If you do decide to travel to Okotoks, there are many other interesting things to do in and around the region. Several different tours are available that will take you through Okotoks and throughout Kananaskis and the Foothills. The town is only a 15 minute drive from Calgary.

The beautiful outdoors attracts people here from all over the world. In the winter, the region has some of the best skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing in the country. Snowmobiling is a popular activity with the local residents and tourists alike.

For summer travel plans, there are tons of beautiful trails that you can hike, ride, and drive. The Cowboy Trail is a great opportunity to experience real modern life on a ranch with a taste of the area’s history. Water sports such as water skiing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and canoeing are also popular sumer activities in the region.

How about a visit to the Chinook Honey Company? You get to tour a real bee keeping operation in action. You get to see how the honey gets from the bee to the table as well as other delicious treats and interesting items such as beeswax candles, beauty products, honey mead, and honey chocolate! They offer tours and tastings all year around.

Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump

Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump

One site embedded deep in the local Aboriginal culture is the World Historic Site known as Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump. (Virtual tour anyone? It takes a few extra seconds to load, but it is the next best thing to being there.) For almost 6 000 years, the local tribes would chase the buffalo up this massive cliff and run them off the edge. The buffalo would fall approximately 10 meters and either die or be hurt badly enough that the people could kill them The meat, bones, hides, and every aspect of the animal was used for many necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, and tools.

Many more sites and scenes are hidden throughout the region. The natural history of the land and the deep culture of the people here are displayed for all the world to explore. Whether you arrive by plane, car, bike or two feet, there is something for everyone in Okotoks.

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Proof That Saskatchewan Is Not As Flat As First Thought – An Introduction

From the Top of the Cypress Hills

From the Top of the Cypress Hills

This is an introduction to the region in the Canadian Prairies known as the Cypress Hills. This is the first in a four part in-depth series of one of the most mystical places on Earth.

©2008Angie Haggstrom

Perhaps the most amazing place on the prairies, this special region is the highest point between the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec and the Great Canadian Rocky Mountains in British Columbia. The Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, found in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, is Canada’s only Interprovincial Park.

The beautiful prairie oasis rises gracefully from the rustic prairie grasses and contains an amazing forest ecosystem. This magical place is home to a variety of unique species that draws visitors and experts from around the world.

Scientists believe that the park was formed during the last ice age. They believe that as the glaciers moved across the earth, the earth in this area pushed up between the icy plates and remained untouched. The result is approximately 220 bird species, more than 700 species of plants, and a mixture of animals including coyotes, wild turkeys, moose, elk, and cougars. Some of these species such as the Lodge Pole Pine and several orchids can’t be found anywhere else in the area,

In the early years of the park, the region was a center to the Aboriginal people and settlers in the area. As time went by, they were settled onto a reserve that remains there today. The park was then split into three distinct parts and ran by the Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Federal governments.

It soon became apparent that the secret to the park’s future would involve everyone working together to protect this vital area. In response, the park officially became an Interprovincial Park with the signing of the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park Agreement on August 25, 1989. Today, the park is still referred to in three blocks – Cypress Hills Saskatchewan, Cypress Hills Alberta, and Fort Walsh– but everyone, including the local residents work together.

The Saskatchewan side of the park, just south of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, has managed to find the perfect balance between tourist’s haven and a taste of the natural untamed world. Elkwater, Alberta, the Alberta portion of the park, contains a large, beautiful lake with a small taste of civilization hidden in its wild arms.

Combining the two of them is a quiet back country road that is completely impassible when it rains, but it offers you a look of the forest that cannot be seen any other way. Lastly, the northern region of the park can be found to the west of Maple Creek. Called Fort Walsh, this region holds a National Historic Site and tells of the hardships and the good times of days gone by for all of the area’s early residents.

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To be continued…

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Dinosaur Eggs, Devils Coulee, And Log Cabins – It’s Gotta Be Alberta!

One of the Many Sights of Southern Alberta, Canada

Travel in Southern Alberta, Canada

©2008Angie Haggstrom

Sadly, the southeast corner of Alberta, Canada is a virtually unknown area to many world travelers. There are no major cities south of Medicine Hat or west of Lethbridge, but what it does have more than makes up for the lack of urban activity. When you travel to the area surrounding Warner, Cardston, and Etzikom, you have a chance to see rare sights such as nests of dinosaur eggs, historic log cabins, and a chance to see real carriages.©2008Angie Haggstrom

South of Medicine Hat, AB, the little town of Etzikom is a great place to start your day of travel and excitement. The Etzikom Museum and Canadian National Historic Windmill Center is different from any other museum you will ever visit and even the kids will love it.

The tour of the Canadian National Historic Windmill Center starts with the acreage surrounding the Etzikom Museum. Restored windmills and water pumps stand proudly retelling more than 200 years of wind power history. The tour continues inside the museum with several interactive displays that allow you to experience several different eras of Alberta’s history firsthand. The fossils, petroglyphs, and many other displays of period life including Indian artifacts and early pioneers are just a few of the things you can see and play with. From May to September, you can wander through the entire thing on your own or take a guided tour.

Once you are done there, drive over to Warner, Alberta and be sure to watch the beautiful scenery as you go! Old farmhouses dating back to the early 1900s, beautiful coulees, and delightful hills mark the entire trip. One coulee of particular interest is called Devil’s Coulee.

Originally discovered by a young local girl in 1987, the Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur Museum has rare Hadrosaur dinosaur nests, embryos, and a variety of other fossils. The tours take you through the excavation site and even teach you how to identify dinosaur fossils. The Heritage Gallery, found in the same location, has period history displays focusing on everything from the women in the early 1900s to the life of soldiers during WWII.

Last stop on the tour of southern Alberta is the quaint town of Cardston. This little town is literally filled with period buildings dating back to the start of the 1900s. One of these great buildings is the Cobblestone Manor, a beautiful Bed and Breakfast constructed from logs and river stones. Haven’t fallen in love with the place? Then ask about the heart-wrenching history behind the construction of the B&B.

The most interesting spot in this quiet little town is the Museum of Carriages. It was recognized by the government as one of the “Best Indoor Attractions in Canada” and with more than 250 examples of different non-motorized vehicles, it is certainly no surprise. On your way out of town, be sure to check out the Card Pioneer Home, which is almost the same as the day it was build more than 100 years ago.

The southeast corner of Alberta has something to offer everyone including the littlest of travelers. With so many different things to do and see, the memories gained from your vacation here are sure to stay with you for a lifetime.

For more information, visit Travel Alberta Canada or Alberta’s South Travel & Tourism.

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Willow Bunch – Sitting Bull: Historic Saskatchewan Travel Destinations

Willowbunch, Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Travel Destinations: Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan

©2008Angie Haggstrom

Originally called “Talle-de-Saules,” the town of Willow Bunch is a must see travel destination in the heart of Southern Saskatchewan, Canada. The Metis were the first to settle in the area in 1870 and are the subject of several amazing culture and historic sites in the area. The Willow Bunch region is loaded with interesting attractions that tell the story of Saskatchewan from ancient petroglyphs and artifacts to the early life of settlers.

If you would like to learn about a great Saskatchewan mystery during your travels, head to St. Victor Petroglyph Park a short drive from Willow Bunch. The beautiful park is home to fascinating petroglyphs made on the top of a cliff. No one knows who made the drawings into the stones, but they know that they have to be from 500 AD or earlier because of artifacts that were discovered at the same location.

Another great part of the mystery is why the petroglyphs were drawn. Some people believe the area was used in various religious ceremonies while others think it may have been a place of communication between tribes. Maybe you can solve the mystery. Take a guided tour of the area and enjoy the surrounding view, or take a tour of the park adjacent to the petroglyphs that tells the history of the North West Mounted Police.

Be sure to leave room in your Saskatchewan travel itinerary for the McGillis House in St.Victor. The simple rustic façade of the little rustic cabin doesn’t seem significant at first glance, but it is by far one of the best historical buildings in the province. Originally built in 1890 by “Catchoo” McGillis, the house was constructed from basic items such as willow stake and prairie grasses. Now a museum, the historic site gives visitors a firsthand look at what life was like for Metis settlers who first lived in the region.

While traveling in the area, be sure to stop at Jean Louis Legare Regional Park for a picnic lunch and maybe even take pictures of the birds and natural wonders in the area. Being part of the Big Muddy Valley, the Legare Regional Park is full of spectacular coulees. The area now known as Hole 7 of the golf course was the last place Sitting Bull stayed before he entered back into the United States in 1881. The regional park was also home to Jean Louis Legare’s trading post and telegraph office.

Found in the Big Muddy Badlands, Castle Butte stands proudly against the Saskatchewan horizon. Those who travel to the area can recognize it easily by its layered cone-shaped sides and flat top. Guided siteseeing tours of the area are available as well. They are the perfect opportunity to explore the badlands by vehicle giving visitors the chance to see many of the natural wonders in the area including openings in the earth that reveal the coal that is hidden just underneath the surface. Along the way, you can learn more of the area’s rich history concerning Sitting Bull, Jean Louis Legare, and other people who resided in the area long ago.

The area surrounding Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan is as beautiful as it is rich in history and culture. The instant you arrive, you will immediately see why this travel destination is one of the best hidden gems in Canada.

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Olympic Tepee Plays A Starring Role In Southern Alberta Travel Itineraries

Medicine Hat Travel Destinations

Medicine Hat Travel Destinations

©2008Angie Haggstrom

The world’s largest tepee located in Medicine Hat, Alberta proudly greets anyone traveling through Southern Alberta. Although it is easy to spot during the day, the Saamis Tepee lights up beautifully at night to give visitors to the area a warm welcome. The structure stands more than 65 meters (213 feet) high and has a diameter or almost 50 meters (160 feet) at its widest point. The tepee was originally built in Calgary, Alberta to honor the Aboriginal people during the 1988 Olympics. In 1991, they moved the 200 metric ton (800 lbs) structure to Medicine Hat where it remains the pride of the city. ©2008Angie Haggstrom

For those who travel into the heart of Medicine Hat, historic buildings house a wide array of specialty shops, restaurants, stores, and services that are completely different from both malls located in the city. The Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District is one of the most unique historic sites in the country. Guided tours of the attraction tell the history of Medalta Potteries and Hycroft China Complexes along with the history of the clay industry. The factory was a leader in the brick and tile industry in the early 1900’s. Soon, Medalta and its sister factory in Redcliff, Alberta moved into the pottery and porcelain industries. Up until it closed in 1989, these factories produced a variety of famous pottery and china products.

Another Medicine Hat travel destination to include in your travel itinerary is the Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre. Housing a world-class performance venue, spectacular art gallery, as well as historical archives, this state of the art building is the cultural hub of the city. They have musicians, artists, and dancers from all over the world giving you the perfect opportunity to see amazing performances and shows in a small town setting. The concert hall is just the right size to give everyone the perfect seat.

Whether you are seeking interesting sites, a historic journey, shopping, or culture, Medicine Hat has it all. The large number of amenities and location make it the perfect stop for everyone’s travel plans. Feel free to venture through the city’s hidden treasures and fall in love with this beautiful city.

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