Things To Do In Canada — Fort Steele, BC

Things To Do In BCYou know that ‘someday’ list we all seem to make? The one that just keeps getting longer? Yeah, that’s the one…underneath your coffee cup. Well, I’ve got one too, and I plan on knocking off a few items this summer.

One of the items on my list, aside from stopping in at the Royall Tyrel Museum in Drumheller, is a stop at wonderful Fort Steele, a restored and reconstructed pioneer town situated at the foot of the Great Canadian Rocky Mountains. Not far from Cranbrook, this delightful little town began as a small collection of homes and was driven by gold rush and mineral discoveries until it died out in the early 1900s. One step on the dusty street and you’ll easily lose 150 years or so.

The cars disappear. There’s no loud music, and all signs of modern life seem to melt away. I haven’t been there since I was a young kid, but even then you could feel the stress dissipate. It seemed almost pushed out by a simpler life that somehow envelops you like a favourite childhood blanket.

Read the rest of this post on Travel The Prairies at http://www.traveltheprairies.com/canada/things-to-do-canada-fort-steele-bc/

Advertisements

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.

Read the rest of the post at its new home here:  http://www.traveltheprairies.com/canada/blackpool-illuminations/

Top UK Theme Parks: Let’s Explore!

I’ve received numerous questions about the UK theme parks I’d mentioned previously. And, since I’ve recently made the decision to move to the UK, I thought it would be fun to explore them a little more. I can hardly wait to try them myself! So, without further ado…

If you’re looking for a new sensation-packed stomping ground, the top family theme parks in the United Kingdom will not fail to delight. Whether you’re into thrilling rollercoasters or prefer to sample the nation’s premier haunted houses, the UK’s best parks have something to offer everyone.

Here is a list of the UK’s theme park leaders:

Pepsi Max Big One at Pleasure Beach Blackpool(credit)

Read the rest of the post at the new Travel the Prairies site: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/canada/uk-theme-parks-explore/

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.

(This post also appears on Travel the Prairies at http://www.traveltheprairies.com/saskatchewan/saskatchewan-doesnt-have/)

Qu’appelle River Valley — Where The Land Tells You Its Own Story

Fort Qu'appelle 1910

Fort Qu’appelle 1910

Dividing the province of Saskatchewan from Lake Diefenbaker to the mouth of the great Assiniboine River in Manitoba, the stunning Qu’appelle River (link has a great video of the area!) and its beautiful valley has been the center of many Saskatchewan lives for centuries.

One look and you’ll be in awe of the lay of the land while the kids will be screeching ‘go faster, go faster’ from the back seat. It is definitely the highlight of many road trips.

Qu’appelle Valley — Its History

Historically, both the Hudson’s Bay Company (known as ‘The Bay’ today) as well as the North West Company, which had a post at Fort Esperance, used the river as early as 1781 and 1819 respectively. As a main trading route, many of the goods throughout Canada and Europe during those years came down this river.

The Qu’appelle River Valley was also an important location for the area’s Cree people. The legend says, as a warrior was crossing Echo Lake, he heard a voice call his name. He answered the call by yelling back ‘Qu’appelle’ or ‘who calls’ or ‘who is calling’. The sound he heard was that of his princess who called his name with her dying breath. Many still say they can hear the calls of the two lovers today. (Lebret, Saskatchewan is said to be the best spot for echoes.)

Qu’appelle Valley — The Land

The Qu'appelle Valley near Cutarm, Saskatchewan, circa 1910

The Qu’appelle Valley near Cutarm, Saskatchewan, circa 1910

The valley was created just after the last ice age. The result of runoff from the glaciers, the fertile land is brimming with native vegetation. Some of the species here are unique to Saskatchewan and the world in some cases. In fact, the area is one of Saskatchewan’s most ecologically sensitive regions.

The water system links Katepwa, Echo, Mission, Pasqua, Round, and Crooked Lakes that come to life from May long weekend until September long weekend. There are tons of places to camp and different events to attend throughout the season. Hiking in the area is fantastic and there are some amazing fishing opportunities all year around.

For me, however, it isn’t the destination that intrigues me as much as the drive. Tons of little back roads and main highways will take you across the river, but they all seem to have one thing in common:

As you approach the valley, you can almost tell something is coming. The roads take you up and down soft river hills and past farmyards that give you a glimpse of life on the farm. My personal favorites are the abandoned farmhouses long since forgotten, but still standing triumphantly against the horizon telling their stories to anyone who will listen.

All of a sudden, you find yourself at the top of a hill and the road all but disappears. You are looking at the hills in the distance (a couple of miles in many spots) with the Qu’appelle River twisting its way through the rugged terrain below. You can see how the water has cut into the land revealing earth than hasn’t been seen for thousands of years. It is like standing on the edge of a cliff and going over knowing you’ll land safely at the bottom.

I will tell you that my favorite ones are the little gravel roads. They have a certain rustic feel that plays my romantic heartstrings and temporarily appeases my hunger for history and culture. Some even wind along the side of the river valley and take you on a quiet scenic tour not many see.

However, I recommend that you not take any of the less traveled roads without knowing for certain which ones to take. Not that you’ll suddenly find yourself without a road at the top of a cliff, but many of them do not take you across the river. You can get lost easily, and with little to no traffic and few farms along the way, it could be a bit tricky finding help. Also, the deep valley also means that cell phone service is patchy at best.

For more information about the area, check out Virtual Saskatchewan’s entry on the Qu’appelle Valley.

(Dedicated to the 4 most loyal readers ever. You guys are the best!)

(This post can also be found here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/manitoba/quappelle-river-valley-land-story/)

The Great Migration is Upon Us! Shorebirds and Endangered Species Heading for Chaplin Saskatchewan

The Piping Plover - Saskatchewans Endangered Species

The Piping Plover - Saskatchewan's Endangered Species

Click Here to Hear the Piping Plover

©2008AngieHaggstrom

More than 100 000 birds descend on Chaplin, Saskatchewan, Canada every fall for breeding as well as a gathering site where they will prepare and rest for the long journey south for the winter. This might now sound that amazing until you see the sheer numbers of birds and variety of species that collect here starting in September.

This area has become so vital to the survival of songbird species, the area was designated as a Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network site in 1997. (For those who are like me, not an avid bird watcher, this is the highest reserve designation possible and is one of only five in Canada.) More than 30 species have been recorded in the area. In some instances, more than half of the entire population of a species can be found in the area at once. This brings forth scary thoughts especially when it comes to the large number of endangered species here such as the Piping Plover.

Four lakes (Chaplin, Reed, Old Wives, and Fredrick) are all within close proximity to each other make the area the ideal location for large bird populations. In fact, not far away is Cabri and the South Saskatchewan river. Here large numbers of bald eagles and geese nest every year.

The Chaplin Lake itself is a massive saltwater lake that literally sits in the middle of the prairie and the second largest in Canada. This lake not only attracted birds, however. A sodium sulphate also operates in the area a short distance away. It is easy to spot. The company uses the heat from the sun to evaporate the water and leave behind the crystal white mounds and streams that mar the area. It smells terrible, but it really is interesting to see.

These birds are truly remarkable, and with so many important species and rituals occurring in one place, it is also one of the most important locations in North American. Without this area, hundreds of species would be gone from this planet forever. If you would like additional information on the Chaplin area’s reserve, you can visit the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network or visit Saskatchewan Tourism.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

(This post can now be found here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/saskatchewan/great-migration-shorebirds-endangered-species-chaplin-saskatchewan/)

Eat Manitoban Style: The Top 3 of the Best Places to Eat in Winnipeg

Best Places to Eat in Winnipeg

Best Places to Eat in Winnipeg

©2008AngieHaggstrom

The multiculturalism in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba make it one of the best places in the Canada to eat and enjoy foods from around the globe. It doesn’t matter what your personal tastes are, there is a restaurant, cafe, or bistro with an atmosphere and price range you will love. Here are three top spots to eat in Winnipeg to include in your next Manitoba travel plans. (In no particular order, you just simply have go there! You’ll be addicted!)

1. Stella’s Cafe and Bakery

Anyone in the city looking to enjoy a quiet lunch, relax with a book, or spend breakfast with a loved one has to try Stella’s Cafe and Bakery. That is what this place is known for – desserts, breakfasts, and lunches. Found on both Kenaston and Osborne, the desserts are all made right there. The meals look fantastic and taste even better than they look. Portions are not too small and not too big and the prices are really quite reasonable. Inexpensive when you consider the care and effort put into each menu item. The service is efficient and knowledgeable while still creating the comfortable and friendly atmosphere. Be warned, however, both locations can get extremely busy!

2. Amici Restaurant and Bombolini Wine Bar

If you want to dine like a rock star, the Italian restaurant Amici’s on Broadway is sure to please — even Mick Jagger was impressed. This place is even a member of Canada’s Top 40. This is not the typical family restaurant. Fine dining combines with an elite ambiance for a high-class and romantic evening meal. Some of Canada’s top chefs carefully scrutinize every fine detail of the meal and the service is the finest in the city. You and your guests will truly be treated like royalty. The pastry chefs are not to be left out of the equation either. Good thing the meal is delicious. Otherwise, it would be difficult to concentrate with the dessert cart going by. You will definitely pay for your meal, but it is worth every succulent morsel. For a more affordable alternative, Bombolini’s is right there and it is run by the same kitchen.

3. Muddy Waters Smokehouse BBQ and Blues

Western Canadian cuisine is the feature of this unforgettable steakhouse. Not far from The Forks and other popular Winnipeg attractions, Muddy Waters has the best ribs you will ever taste in your entire life. This is a place of fun, partying and great food albeit a little unusual. When you order the ribs, the entire thing comes with a galvanized pail. Now you’re asking why…For the bones! This is definitely not a suit and tie affair. You might want to consider a bib though. There are two large patios at Muddy Waters so you can enjoy looking at the historic Forks historical site while you enjoy your meal. The food is reasonably priced and the service is excellent.

These are just a few of the great places to eat in Winnipeg. For more information, visit World 66 and enjoy your trip!

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

(Picture provided by ilonamay from Stock.Xchng)

(This post can now be seen here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/manitoba/eat-manitoban-style-best-places-eat-winnipeg/)