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.

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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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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)

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Cypress Hills Alberta: A Wild Outdoor Adventure or a Relaxing Retreat

Reesor Lake - A Great Place For A Day in the Prairie Sunshine

Reesor Lake - A Great Place For A Day in the Prairie Sunshine

©2008 Angie Haggstro

The Alberta side of the Cypress Hills is a quiet haven that can be as civilized or as wilds as you want it to be. Downhill skiing, water skiing, and jet skiing are just a few of the activities you can enjoy here. If you prefer a more relaxed vacation, why not spend a romantic weekend at the Elkwater Lodge taking nature walks and fishing.

If you enter the park from the #1, Elkwater greets you with bang. As you crest the hill, the beautiful lake appears at the foot of the woods, and if you continue around the lake, the small little cabin community of Elkwater introduces itself with style. If you are looking for a place to stay, there is a multitude of options. The campground has a variety of different sites depending on your camping style. Tenting sites are nestled into the bush giving you privacy and the feel of seclusion. Other campsites available include a range of fully electric and non-electric spots that are private, shared, or design specifically for large groups.

Cabins for rent in the area supply you with quiet, quaint cabins to the ultimate in rustic luxury. A small Bed and Breakfast is also open in the area. The opulent Elkwater Lake Lodge can easily become your home away from home. There is a wide selection of rooms available including suites, cabins, and magnificent condominiums. The new facility features an award winning culinary staff in the Buglers Restaurant that serves everything from delicious pastas to rabbit. If a manicure, pedicure, or massage is in order, there is the Woodlands Massage and Spa located right there for your convenience.

Elkwater also has an additional restaurant and store run by some of the nicest people you will ever meet. There is a service station located on the main road into town as well as a visitor’s centre that is a wealth of information about the area and often holds various programs throughout the season. While you are here, be sure to take the time to enjoy the animals and scenery in the area with a hike on several of the established trails or make your own way. You will have the opportunity to see all sorts of wildlife including moose, squirrels, deer, and owls as well as a selection of rare flowers and plants. Some of the local favorites are wild raspberries, strawberries, and beautiful orchids.

The summer season is host to a variety of activities. Mini golfing, fishing, and swimming are great to start your holiday. There is also biking, boating, and a full sized golf course available. In the winter, you can enjoy downhill or cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, ice skating, or even an afternoon just playing in the snow and enjoying the fresh, peaceful outdoors.

If you do decide to go for a drive and the weather has been nice, drive to the east and head towards ReesorLake. It is not the smoothest backcountry road you will ever be on, but it is definitely worth the drive so long as it hasn’t been raining. Reesor Lake is a massive lake with enough space to enjoy their favorite activities from fishing and boating to wind surfing and jet skiing.

Come for a visit, enjoy the area, and feel free to explore! You may even fall in love with the area and decide to stay.

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Royal Tyrell Museum: World Famous Dinosaurs In Western Canada

Dinosaurs In Alberta, Canada

The Royal Tyrell Museum: Dinosaurs In Alberta, Canada

©2008Angie Haggstrom

Located in the Midland Provincial Park at Drumheller, Alberta Canada is Canada’s only exclusive paleontology research center. For anyone interested in dinosaurs, this is THE place to go! Fossils, full exhibits, and all sorts of programs and interactive activities keep visitors of all ages enthralled in this amazing museum.

The roads you travel to the museum are the start of your adventure. Amazing scenes, hoodoos, and kinds of interesting sights fill the prairie landscape. In fact, it is impossible to see everything in only one trip!

Once at the Royal Tyrell Museum, massive dinosaurs and a friendly staff are the first thing you will notice as you journey back into prehistoric times. Fun and informative interactive displays help to understand how the earth worked in its earliest days. The Cretaceous exhibits show you all sorts of dinosaurs and explain how these intriguing beasts lived more than 70 million years ago. (They look extremely real so the youngest visitors may get a bit scared.) Also, another exhibit shows you what the vegetation may have looked like during the days of the dinosaurs.

Other exhibits in the Tyrell Museum include a magnified look at life in the ancient oceans and aquatic life, the evolution of mammals, and the story of how humans come to inhabit North America. While you are here, you can also see paleontologists at work! If you would like a taste of what you will see at the museum, you can have a virtual tour of museum at http://www.seevirtual360.com/themes/2/theme02.aspx?listingID=8716#

Rosedale Suspension Bridge In Drumheller, Alberta

Rosedale Suspension Bridge In Drumheller, Alberta

When you leave the Royal Tyrell Museum, be sure to tour Midland Provincial Park. The park is rich in prairie life and mining history. There is ‘The Midland Coal Mining Company Office’ and several hiking trails that showcase the best the region has to offer. Some of these trails even lead to real mines and displays to help you learn and experience the area. The many trails allow you to customize your tour of the area. There are so many here you could spend days seeing all there is to see here.

For other things to do in the area like the Rosedale Suspension Bridge and historic buildings in the area, see the Virtual Drumheller Website or the Drumheller Valley Interpretive Center in Drumheller, Alberta.

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Welcome To Corner Gas And The Imaginary Town Of Dog River…AKA Rouleau, Saskatchewan, Canada

Saskatchewan - The Home Of 'Corner Gas' and Dog River

Saskatchewan - The Home Of 'Corner Gas' and Dog River

©2008AngieHaggstrom

For anyone who has seen the television show, a visit to the set of ‘Corner Gas’ is a must see attraction when traveling through Saskatchewan, Canada. Located in the town of Rouleau, the entire set as well as their production studio Canada Saskatchewan Production Studios where the comedy team films its indoor scenes.

For anyone who doesn’t know what Corner Gas is, it is a hilarious comedy series that airs on CTV and the Comedy Network about life in the small town of ‘Dog River’. Former topics included the tearing down of a barn and the burning down of a profitable corn stand. Doesn’t sound funny? Normally you wouldn’t think so, however, the cast of Corner Gas can definitely pull it off.

The stories surround Corner Gas owner ‘Brent’ played by Brent Butt, and the ‘Ruby’ café owned by ‘Lacey’ played by Gabrielle Miller. Other places and characters include his best bud ‘Hank’ played by Fred Ewanuick, gas station employee ‘Wanda’ played by Nancy Robertson, miss-matched police officers ‘Davis’ and ‘Karen’ played by Lorne Cardinal and Tara Spencer-Nairn. Special guests to the show have included Prime Minister Steven Harper and CTV’s Canada AM anchors Beverly Thompson and Seamus O’Regan.

During the tour, you have access to the entire set unless the cast is filming. In that case, you miss seeing that particular part of the set, but maybe you’ll get to meet the stars! You are almost guaranteed to meet Josh Strait who plays ‘Josh the Cook’ on Corner Gas and helps with the tours.

Tours of the set and production studio offered by CNT Tours are a bit pricey, but worth every penny. The entire tour lasts for approximately four and a half hours. They also pick you up, drop you off at one of two pickup points in Regina, and also have a choice of hotel packages to save you some cash.

There are many other things to do in Regina as well. The same company that offers the Corner Gas Tours also offers a Ghost Tour of Regina where you get to see Regina’s best sites in the dark and hear the local folklore. The RCMP Heritage Center is located on the original RCMP Training Academy Grounds and tells the story of law enforcement from the start of the Mounties to the present day. There is also a casino, a concert theater featuring the Regina Symphony Orchestra, hayrides, and many more attractions.

For more information, visit the Tourism Regina site or keep your eye out here for future travel tips about this fun-filled area of Saskatchewan! Additional information on Corner Gas can be found on a blog by darylwaynejosephlorette.

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Three Top Spots For A Honeymoon Or Romantic Getaway In The Canadian Prairies

The Best Honeymoons And Romantic Getaways In Western Canada

The Best Honeymoons And Romantic Getaways In Western Canada

©2008Angie Haggstrom

When it comes to planning a honeymoon in Western Canada, it is all about where to stay, since that is where you will be spending most of your time. The variety of great places to stay in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta let you truly enjoy any honeymoon you can dream up. Here are three unforgettable favorite that easily fit into your wedding budget.

3. The Romantic Getaway Retreat In Manitoba

Not far from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and the town of Beausejour, is a small couples-only spot called ‘Romantic Getaway Retreat.’ They offer lovebirds a quiet luxury cabin with a Jacuzzi and steam shower as well as a kitchen, sunroom, fireplace, and many other lavish features. The lodgings are nestled along the water front on more than 100 acres of private forest.

What really sets this little place apart from others is the high attention to fine details. The chocolates, rose petals, and candles are just the start. There are heart stickers on the paper towel and even the toilet paper. If you are looking to include some memorable activities on your romantic retreat, there are great skiing and snowshoeing tours available. With the retreat only a short distance from the city, you can spend the afternoon shopping and sightseeing or you can sample a taste of the local nightlife. The cabins start at $199 a night during the off-season and there are only two of them available, so you’ll want to be sure to book early.

2. Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort

At the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort, it is all about relaxation. Found in the city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, the resort offers guests full spa treatments and a rooftop geo-thermal mineral water pool. They have a beautiful honeymoon suite, which runs around $400 per night, as well as an anniversary suite and many other luxury rooms to choose from.

There is fine dining, a lounge, spa shop, casino, and fitness room directly on site, but because of its great location in the city, your options are certainly not limited. That is, if you can convince yourself to leave the resort. The city has all different kinds of things to do and see. Theater productions, trolley tours, museums, and galleries can easily fill an afternoon. There are interesting attractions like Al Capone’s Tunnels of Moose Jaw and tons of shopping opportunities.

1. The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is truly the ultimate in luxury stays. You can choose from lavish suites to large 7 000+ square foot cabins complete with private garages, pools, and fireplaces. With prices ranging from around $100 to $700+ per night, everyone can enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountains on their honeymoon or romantic getaway.

There is The Edith Cavell for some of the best fine dining in Canada. The Emerald has fantastic food and a breathtaking view of the mountains. You can enjoy the scene from inside the beautifully decorated restaurant, or you can have your meal on the patio while you watch the fantastic sunsets and scenes. There is a health club, spa, and world famous golfing here as well. Because it is situated right in the Great Canadian Rockies, there are an unlimited number of things to do and see.

The Canadian Prairies have many great honeymoon destinations, but these three are definitely at the top of the list. Whether you prefer the ultimate in luxury, the quiet hideaway, or the urban retreat, you won’t be disappointed. The worst part of the entire thing? Having to go home!

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