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Canadian Whisky Awards raise a glass to Vancouver Island’s Devine Distillery – Saanich News.exuper: Canada (part-3)

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A Saanich Peninsula distillery will have to slide the bottles over and make some trophy space on the top shelf. The Devine Distillery and Winery team once again has reason to raise a glass after receiving several accolades in its best showing ever at the Canadian Whisky Awards , including Artisan Distillery of the Year.

The small-batch whiskey distillery had one spirit with an intoxicating presence at the awards. Ken Winchester, a recently retired Devine master distiller, received a Lifetime Achievement Award during the online event. There are so many talented people, and such great opportunities, in this country. I look forward to tasting what comes next. Devine says the majority of products that go into its spirits are sourced from local farms, so you can taste the Peninsula in every sip.

The Canada Whisky Awards are usually held during the Victoria Whisky Festival, but the celebration was broadcast online this year due to the pandemic. All the whiskies are blind tasted by a panel of independent experts. Located on the Saanich Peninsula, outside Victoria, Devine is a true small-batch, craft distillery creating handcrafted spirits made solely from British Columbia-grown ingredients.

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There are hot showers, a cooking shelter, frequent whale sightings and the whole place is nearly bug-free. The building was a general store for decades and is still full of strange flotsam and jetsam. Three units have kitchen facilities and there are views of Aspy Bay and mountains. Kayaks, canoes and bicycles are available free for guests. They frolic here all spring, summer, and into the fall. Carry a compass and refrain from exploring side paths; locals have gotten lost in this area.

Old logging saws, antlers, fishnets, bottles and other heritage paraphernalia make the ambience, while thick sliced homemade bread and fresh local homemade ingredients make up wonderful seafood dishes and light lunches.

Be prepared for high winds. Ingonish At the eastern entrance to the national park are Ingonish and Ingonish Beach, small towns lost in the background of motels and cottages. This is a long-standing popular destination, but there are few real attractions other than the Highlands Links golf course , ; www.

There are several hiking trails and an information center nearby in the national park Click here. Ingonish Beach is a long, wide strip of sand tucked in a bay surrounded by green hills.

The owner works at the park and is a mine of info about hiking and activities. Keltic Lodge , ; www. You must have a valid entry permit Click here to the national park, as the lodge, the golf course and the hiking trail are all within park boundaries. These are real gritty, working-people towns and, even though there is some nice architecture and colorful homes, this road feels distinctly off-the-beaten tourist track.

The artists are easy to find, just keep an eye out for the signs along the main road. Make sure you have change for the pay showers. Rainbow paintings grace the walls and Joan cooks up a million dollar breakfast in the morning. Meals breakfast and dinner are served on the screened-in porch.

See medical and electrical devices, telegraphs, telephones, kites and seaplanes and then learn about how they all work. The rooms in the inn are full of character, have bay views and are decorated with subtle prints and lots of flair. Modern self-contained cottages are set in the woods and are great for families.

Lynwood Inn ; www. Another refreshing aspect to this place is its chic, modern design. All rooms and suites have private entrance and kitchenette, and fabulous breakfasts are brought to your room or to the sunny patio. Meals come with just about everything and, although not spectacularly prepared, could fuel you for days. The parish hall is just opposite the VIC right in the middle of town. By appointment, elders will show the use of traditional games and craftspeople can demonstrate beading and basket weaving.

Between Wagmatcook and the next town of Whycocomagh is the new, bed Bear by the Lake Hostel ; www. Call in advance to make sure someone will be home when you show up. Arguably the regions best pit stop, the deli serves gourmet sandwiches, soups and salads. Grab a bag lunch or snacks for the road. Most places to stay are along Queen St about 2km west of the ferry terminal. Rooms have shared bathrooms. Most rooms have private bathrooms. Owners Cyril and Loretta are phenomenally know- ledgeable about their natural surroundings and will proudly teach you about everything from beekeeping to medicinal plants.

Open Cafe. For information about the Marine Atlantic ferry ; www. There are several nice places to stay if you want to use this as a base to explore Louisbourg. The more expensive rooms have en suite bathrooms and kitchenette facilities. Shared bathrooms get awfully busy when this place is full.

The rooms are extra comfortable. All of the meat served is oven-roasted, not processed. Entertainment A lot of touring bands make the trek to Sydney. Fiddlers and other traditional musicians from the west coast of the island also perform here or at the Savoy in Glace Bay right. Air Canada Jazz , ; www. Air Saint-Pierre , ; www. The Acadian Lines bus depot is at 99 Terminal Dr. There are also a number of shuttle services to Halifax.

The highlight of this museum is the adventure under the seafloor to visit closed-down mines with a retired miner as a guide.

The town itself has plenty of soul, with its working fishing docks, old-timers and a friendly vibe. Bring your camera to capture the views back toward the fortress at the national historic site.

Built to protect French interests in the region, it was also a base for cod fishing and an administrative capital. Louisbourg was worked on continually from to about as saltwater in the mortar led to corrosion. The British took it in a day siege in , exploiting intelligence from British soldiers who had been prisoners in the fortress. It would change hands twice more.

Since its founding in , the Sydney steel mill has produced some , tons of toxic sludge, the by-product of burning dirty coal to produce coke for use in the steel plant. The hectare coke-oven site is now a field of rubble contaminated to depths of 25m. The immense scale and extreme toxicity of the site have thwarted several clean-up attempts.

Once solidified, the area will be covered in plastic, then soil and eventually grass. Workers in period dress take on the lives of typical fort inhabitants. Free guided tours around the site are offered throughout the day. Travelers with mobility problems can ask for a pass to drive their car up to the site; there are ramps available to access most buildings.

Though the scale of the reconstruction is massive, three-quarters of Louisbourg is still in ruins. The 2. Three restaurants serve food typical of the time. Cranberry Cove Inn , ; www. Each room is unique and several have Jacuzzis and fireplaces.

The views over the bay here are lovely and the service charming. Other shellfish platters as well as burgers and chicken are available. The largest town on the islands, Arichat, is one of the oldest communities in Nova Scotia and was a booming seaport in the s. Le Noir Forge Museum ; Lower St; admission free; 10am-5pm Jun-Sep has blacksmith demonstrations in a restored stone blacksmith shop on the waterfront.

The menu features burger platters at lunch and pastas and fresh seafood for dinner. Running from Cape Canso at the extreme eastern tip of the mainland to the outskirts of Dartmouth, the Eastern Shore has no large towns and the main road is almost as convoluted as the rugged shoreline it follows. If you want to experience wilderness and are willing to hike or kayak, this is your heaven. From the picnic area on the highway below the campground, a footbridge leads to a small island.

Desbarres Manor ; www. Check the website for schedules. Long dependent on the fishery, Canso has been decimated by outward emigration and unemployment since the northern cod stocks collapsed around The cape surrounding the village has some very off-the-beaten-track opportunities for hiking, kayaking, bird-watching and surfing. In the British built a small fort to offset the French who had their headquarters in Louisbourg.

The outpost was extremely vulnerable to military attacks and was totally destroyed in The boat to Grassy Island departs from the center upon demand, weather permitting. Chapel Gully Trail is a 10km boardwalk and hiking trail along an estuary and out to the coast. It begins near the lighthouse on the hill behind the hospital at the eastern end of Canso. A large map is posted at the trailhead. Most people come for the Stan Rogers Folk Festival www.

Accommodations are pretty much impossible to get unless you reserve a year ahead. Locals set up campsites for the festival; check the website for details and try to get a site away from the festival site if sleep is a priority. The owners will help you organize your preferred activity. There are 25 buildings to visit in this living museum that effectively helps its visitors step back in time.

Rooms in the house are shared while the loft style chalet has its own bathroom. On one side is a long, very fine, sandy beach fronting a protected bay.

Some 17km of hiking trails cut through the spruce and fir forests. The Headland Trail is the longest at 8km round-trip and follows the rugged coastline to scenic views at Taylor Head.

The shorter Bob Bluff Trail is a 3km round-trip hike to a bluff with good views. Pack the picnic cooler and plan on spending a full day hiking, lounging and if you can brave the cool water swimming here. The Acadians had been forced to abandon all their livestock and it appears that Boston merchant ship owner Thomas Hancock helped himself to their horses then put them to pasture on Sable Island to keep it low profile. The horses that survived became wild. Today the island works as a research center; scientists come every year, mostly to study the birds, seals and horses.

Since , natural gas fields run by Exxon have been working only 10km from the island but so far there has been little environmental conflict. Highly recommended Coastal Adventures Sea Kayaking , www. The man of the house used to row 16km to get to his fishing grounds, leaving his wife and 13 daughters at home.

Costumed local guides offer tea and hospitality. If you enjoy a creamy seafood chowder, the one here is to die for. Other specialties on offer include lobster, seafood and steaks. Wealthy American sportsmen and glamorous Hollywood starlets regularly journeyed north to fish its rivers and hunt in the vast forested interior. Gradually New Brunswick slipped into relative obscurity; a terra incognita lying between Quebec and Nova Scotia.

But the unspoiled wilderness is still there. So are gentle green valleys dotted with farms, colorful fishing villages along the coast, and a maritime culture melding the heritage of the early Acadian and British settlers with strong aboriginal traditions and those of recent immigrants.

The Trans-Canada Hwy cuts a roughly diagonal swath across the province from its northwest corner to the southeastern tip en route to Prince Edward Island.

To see New Brunswick, you have to get off the highway and explore its small towns and villages, scenic river valleys, wilderness parks and coastal islands. New Brunswick offers outstanding opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors. Whale-watching around Passamaquoddy Bay and Grand Manan is so good it comes with a sighting guarantee. Sea-kayak outfitters offer a rigorous day out on the waves.

The inland lakes and rivers have unlimited opportunities for canoe-tripping. There are 64 covered bridges and 70 lighthouses in New Brunswick. Many places still bear their aboriginal names although the Aboriginal people who today number around 17, are now concentrated on small pockets of land.

Following in the wake of explorer Samuel de Champlain, French colonists arrived in the s. The Acadians, as they came to be known, farmed the area around the Bay of Fundy. In they were expelled by the English, many returning to settle along the Bay of Chaleur. In the years following, the outbreak of the American Revolution brought an influx of British Loyalists from Boston and New York seeking refuge in the wilds of New Brunswick. These refugees settled the valleys of the St John and St Croix Rivers, established the city of Saint John and bolstered the garrison town at Fredericton.

The majority of the population still has British roots. Irish ancestry is dominant in Saint John and Miramichi. Through the s lumbering and shipbuilding boomed and by the start of the 20th century other industries, including fishing, had developed. That era of prosperity ended with the Great Depression. Today, pulp and paper, oil refining and potato farming are the major industries. The church parking lots are generally full on a Sunday morning, but so are the pubs on a Friday night, and there is some overlap in clientele.

Country and gospel music are popular in these parts, but every sizable town has a small alternative music and arts scene and a few young people walking around with pink hair and black clothes. You will rarely have a problem being understood in English or French. There are four distinct seasons. Summers are generally mild with occasional hot days.

The Fundy shore is prone to fog, particularly in the spring and early summer. The primary tourist season lasts from late June to early September. Many tourist facilities beaches, organized tours and some accommodations in resort areas shut down for the remainder of the year.

Kouchibouguac National Park encompasses a serene land and seascape of tidal marshes and estuaries, sand dunes, beaches and forest. Fundy National Park is a big chunk of rugged coastline on the Bay of Fundy. There are 12 provincial parks scattered throughout the province. There are also several designated historical sites including colonial forts and homes of prominent people. The Fundy Coast is a major bird migration corridor, with great viewing in spring, summer and fall.

Other creatures of interest include black bear, moose and deer, which inhabit rural and wilderness areas, whales in the Bay of Fundy, and Atlantic salmon in the Miramichi River. For concert listings and events, pick up the free [here] tabloid in Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton.

Follow the Old River Road through Gagetown to the port city of Saint John, stopping at a few pottery studios along the way. The next morning, head west along the Fundy coast to catch the ferry to Grand Manan Island. Take your pick of whale-watching tours, hiking, cycling or relaxing on the verandah with a book. Stop for a dip in the ocean at Parlee Beach near Shediac, then head north toward Bouctouche. Get a taster of Acadian culture at Le Pays de la Sagouine, then round out the experience with a visit to the modern village of Caraquet and a time trip to the early 19th century at Village Historique Acadien.

Alternatively, head up to the Miramichi for a few days of salmon fishing and tubing on the famed river. Outdoor Adventures Start with a couple of days camping by the ocean, kayaking along the dunes and exploring the cycling and hiking trails at Kouchibouguac National Park. Take a sea-kayaking expedition in Passamaquoddy Bay, then spend a week canoe-tripping through the Chiputneticook Lakes.

These are open from mid-May to mid-October only. WestJet also flies into Saint John from Toronto three times a week. Click here for airline contact details. The three-hour crossing can save a lot of driving. From Saint John between late June and early September, departure times are 9am and pm daily with an additional am crossing on Tuesday and Thursday. From Digby, departure times are 1pm and pm with an additional 5am sailing on Tuesday and Thursday.

During the rest of the year, ferries run once or twice daily in both directions. Even with a reservation, arrive an hour before departure. Walk-ons and cyclists should be OK any time. For Fundy Isles ferries, see the section dedicated to the islands Click here.

BUS Acadian Lines ; www. For information on the daily bus service between Bangor and Calais, Click here. Traffic is generally light, although crossing the Maine border usually means a delay at customs. These accidents are almost always fatal for the animal and about five people a year die this way. Eighty-five percent of moose-vehicle collisions happen between May and October and most occur at night.

Slow down when driving after dusk and scan the verges for animals, using your high beams when there is no oncoming traffic. High-risk zones are posted. Its grassy banks are mowed and dotted with fountains, walking paths, playing fields, tall elms and willows. The small downtown commercial district is a neat grid of redbrick storefronts.

Surrounding it are quiet residential streets lined with tall, graceful elms shading beautifully maintained Georgian and Victorian houses and abundant flowerbeds.

A canopy of trees spreads over the downtown, pierced here and there by church spires. The French followed in but were eventually burned out by the British, who brought in Loyalists fleeing the United States after the American Revolution. Fredericton really came into its own the next year when the British government decided to form a new province by splitting New Brunswick away from Nova Scotia.

The Westmorland St Bridge connects the downtown area with the north shore residential areas. Further east, Hwy 8 crosses the river on the Princess Margaret Bridge. Visitors Centre , ; www. Westminster Books ; King St Stocks regional authors.

Also in summer the Calithumpians Outdoor Summer Theatre performs daily at pm weekdays and 2pm weekends. The free historical skits are laced with humor. Threaten your kids! The lower section of the barracks is now used as artisan studios. Beaverbrook Art Gallery This relatively small but excellent gallery ; www.

The exceptional collection includes works by international heavyweights and is well worth an hour or so. When the Legislative Assembly is not in session, guides can show you around.

When the assembly is in session, visitors are welcome to observe. The representative of the queen moved out in after the province refused to continue paying his expenses, and during most of the 20th century the complex was a Royal Canadian Mounted Police RCMP headquarters.

It now evocatively captures a moment in time with tours led by staff in period costume. Oh what the hell, you know you always wanted a mullet! Old Burial Ground The Loyalist cemetery Brunswick St, at Carleton St; 8am-9pm , dating back to , is an atmospheric, thought-provoking history lesson of its own, revealing large families and kids dying tragically young. The Loyalists arrived from the 13 colonies after the American Revolution of On offer are weekly passes, guided canoe and kayak tours, one-hour to three-day river ecology trips, and instruction in either canoeing or kayaking.

They range from m to Pick up a map at City Hall. For bike rentals, Click here. Tours depart from City Hall at 10am, pm and 5pm daily. Silver Wave Film Festival ; www.

Often travelers luxuriate in their own room. Wind down on the front porch swing. Carriage House Inn , ; www.

The grand common room is furnished with polished hardwood floors, antiques, comfy sofas, fireplaces and grand piano. The 10 high-ceilinged guest rooms upstairs feature four-poster beds, period wallpapers and original artwork. There is a deep verandah for lounging. Delta Fredericton , ; www. All the amenities of the upscale hotel chain plus a secluded patio bar with a fabulous view of the river and nearby islands.

Return to beginning of chapter EATING For a small city, Fredericton offers a wide, cosmopolitan cross-section of restaurants and most are in the walkable core. Mixed in among the or so stands are some selling handicrafts, homemade desserts and flowers. There is also a restaurant where Frederictonians queue to catch up and people-watch. Enjoy your meal on the rooftop patio. Daily lunch specials include Jambalaya with cornbread, quiche and salad and a range of wholesome, hefty sandwiches.

The largely authentic, south-of-the-border food, including tamales and enormous burritos, is savory, plentiful and never greasy. The Mexican drinks go down well with the Latin music, too. Great for a casual, flavorful meal. No alcohol. Have a freshly-made pastry and iced coffee under the trees or a hearty German meal in the homey schnitzel parlor. Open for dinner by reservation only. Dishes range from coconut curry with mussels and maple baked salmon to pasta incorporating local sausage and mushrooms.

The Atlantic salmon is superb. Among other things, he gave it an art gallery in It includes an impressive collection of European masters.

They thought the time had come for them to be sent across the pond. The art gallery board said to forget it. Then things got ugly and litigious. In , an independent arbitrator ruled that of the artworks in dispute, 85 were gifts from Lord Beaverbrook to the gallery.

Forty-eight other mainly minor works had to go back. The current Lord Beaverbrook has appealed the decision. Pub meals are served daily, too.

Lunar Rogue Pub ; King St; am Lunar Rogue has a good beer selection and a fine assortment of single malts. Try Picaroons, the local microbrew and enjoy summer on the patio.

For the scoop on concerts, art gallery openings and other happenings around town, pick up a copy of [here] www. They were covered to protect their load-bearing timbers from rot and to keep the snow off and are generally high and wide because cartloads of hay pulled by horses had to pass over them.

As recently as , there were bridges in New Brunswick. Today, 64 bridges remain, more than anywhere else in Canada. Though age, fire and flooding have taken their toll, most of the bridges are still part of the secondary road network, not idle relics. Click here for flight details. In-province visitors can get a one-day pass. Avis, Budget, Hertz and National car rental agencies Click here all have desks at the airport and downtown.

Service is halved on weekends. Two automobile routes carve through the valley: the quicker Trans-Canada Hwy Hwy 2 , mostly on the west side of the river, and the more scenic old Hwy on the east side, which meanders through many villages.

A community of costumed staff create a living museum by role-playing in 11 houses, a school, church, store and sawmill typical of those used a century ago, providing a glimpse and taste of pioneer life in the Maritimes. Demonstrations and events are staged throughout the day and horse-drawn carts shunt visitors around. The prosperous Loyalist life reflected here can be tellingly compared to that at the Acadian Historic Village in Caraquet. Situated where the Meduxnekeag River flows into the St John River, it has a historical core of lovingly preserved Victorian homes and public buildings.

It serves colorful, healthful fare like quiche, soups, salads, sandwiches, luscious desserts, coffee, a local microbrew and martinis to world beat music. Acadian Lines bus stops at the Irving convenience store ; Connell St.

The photogenic m-long Hartland covered bridge over the St John River was erected in and is a national historic site. The picnic tables overlooking the river and the bridge at the tourist information center are five-star lunch spots fixings at the grocery store across the road.

Otherwise, the village has a rather forlorn atmosphere. Check-in is after 5pm. A far more scenic route albeit about twice as long follows the gentle, meandering St John River through rolling farmland and a couple of historic villages down to the Fundy coast. Start on the north side of the river in Fredericton, and follow Rte south through Maugerville to Jemseg. At Exit , pick up Rte South which will take you to the Gagetown ferry landing admission free; 24hr, year-round. This is the first of a system of eight free cable ferries that crisscross the majestic St John River en route to the city of Saint John.

You will never have to wait more that a few minutes for the crossing, which generally takes five to 10 minutes. The top-notch staff will show you through the exhibits spanning pre-colonial aboriginal history in the area, 18th-century settler life, and up to WWII.

Gagetown Cider Company ; Fox Rd; pm offers tours by appointment. Explore scenic Gagetown Creek by boat. Gagetown Camping ; www. The grand old farmhouses and weathered hay barns dotted at hundred acre intervals along the valley belong to that earlier age. The hilly 42km piece of road between Gagetown and the ferry landing at Evandale admission free; 24hr, year-round is especially picturesque, with glorious panoramic views of fields full of wildflowers, white farm houses and clots of green and gold islands set in the intensely blue water of the river.

A hundred years ago, Evandale was a bustling little place, where a dance band would entertain riverboat passengers stopping off for the night at the now abandoned Everleigh Hotel the big Victorian mansion up from the ferry landing. On the other side of the water, Rte takes you the short distance to the Belleisle ferry admission free; 24hr, year-round.

The ferry deposits you on the rural Kingston Peninsula, where you can cross the peninsula to catch the Gondola Point Ferry admission free; 24hr, year-round and head directly into Saint John. In this area, school kids are still given two weeks off in the autumn to help bring in the harvest. Especially engaging are the archival photographs and recorded oral histories of local elders recounting a hardscrabble life growing up in the New Brunswick potato belt.

The museum is 2km off Hwy 2 at Exit toward Centreville on Rte If you are cycling up the valley on the Trans Canada Trail Click here or looking for a bed for the night, there are two appealing options in the area.

Besides the Harvest Cafe see opposite , Florenceville has a half-dozen middle-of-the-road restaurants serving three meals a day. Mt Carleton is little known and relatively unvisited, even in midsummer. Hunting and logging are prohibited in the park, and all roads are gravel-surfaced. The nearest town is Riley Brook, 30km away, so bring all food and a full tank of gas.

At the entrance to the park is a visitors centre ; www. There is also another office ; dnr. In the park itself, the Nictau and Nipisiguit chains of lakes offer easy day-tripping through a landscape of tree-clad mountains.

For experienced canoeists, the shallow and swift Little Tobique River rises at Big Nictau Lake, winding in tight curls through dense woods until it joins the Tobique itself at Nictau.

The more remote Nepisiguit River flows out of the Nepisiguit Lakes through the wilderness until it empties into the Bay of Chaleur at Bathurst, over kilometers away. The lower reaches of the Tobique, from Nictau, through minute Riley Brook and down to Plaster Rock is a straight, easy paddle through forest and meadow that gives way to farmland as the valley broadens, with a couple of waterfront campgrounds along the way.

Fiddles on the Tobique ; late Jun is a weekend festival held annually in Nictau and Riley Brook. It is a magical idea: a round of community hall suppers, jam sessions and concerts culminating in a Sunday afternoon floating concert down the Tobique River from Nictau to Riley Brook.

By some accounts, the event has been damaged by its own popularity, devolving into a boisterous booze cruise. Others call it a grand party and good fun. On land, Bill Miller ; www.

Also worth a stop is the Tobique Salmon Barrier admission free; 9am-5pm , signposted from the road at Nictau, located at the confluence of the Little Tobique and Campbell Rivers. There is a spectacular view from the Department of Fisheries office situated on a bluff overlooking the water. From here, officers keep a hour watch on the Atlantic salmon, which are trucked up by road from below the Mactaquac Dam at Fredericton and held here until spawning time, in order to protect their dwindling numbers from poachers.

The knowledgeable staff oversee demonstration projects devoted to organic agriculture, wind and solar power, biodiesel production and straw-bale construction. You can tour the site, hike 10km of forest trails and enjoy the view atop Skedaddle Ridge named for the American Civil War draft-dodgers who settled here , or sign up for a weekend workshop a calendar of events is on the website.

The center is a half-hour drive from Hartland. Call or check the website for directions, pack a picnic and enjoy the scenery along the way. The park has a 62km network of trails, most of them are loops winding to the handful of rocky knobs that are the peaks. The easiest peak to climb is Mt Bailey; a 7. Most hikers can walk this route in three hours. Plan on three to four hours for the trek and pack your parka; the wind above the tree line can be brutal.

The most scenic hike is the Sagamook Trail, a 6km loop to a m peak with superlative vistas of Nictau Lake and the highlands area to the north of it; allow three hours for this trek.

All hikers intending to follow any long trails must register at the visitors center or park headquarters before hitting the trail. Outside the camping season mid-May to mid-September , you should call ahead to make sure the main gate will be open, as the Mt Carleton trailhead is With so few sites available, the park campground can occasionally fill up.

Reservations are suggested, by sending an email to the park office Click here in St Quentin. Williams Brook and Franquelin Campgrounds and the backcountry Headwaters campsite in the park were all closed at the time of research due to government budget cuts. It has toilets, showers and a kitchen shelter, but no sites with hookups. RV drivers often have their noisy generators running, so tenters should check out the eight tent-only sites along Armstrong Brook on the north side of the campground.

A grand log hunting lodge set on the banks on the Tobique River, it is busiest during fall hunting season, but is also a supremely relaxing base for hikers, canoeists and wildlife enthusiasts.

There is also a pool table, big screen TV, floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, a few dining tables and huge picture windows framing a serene view of the river slipping by just a few meters away. The cozy log-walled guest rooms are spick and span and nicely accented with plaid fabrics. A long, deep verandah invites lounging after dinner.

The town of Plaster Rock, situated 54km downriver toward the Trans-Canada Hwy Rye , also has several serviceable motels and a couple of casual restaurants.

The Grand Falls are best in spring or after heavy rain. In summer, much of the water is diverted for generating hydroelectricity, yet the gorge appeals any time. Among the displays is a scale model of the gorge showing its extensive trail system.

Buy the boat ticket at La Rochelle first, as it includes the stairway to the base of the gorge. Maple Tourist Home , ; www. The Acadian Lines bus stops at the Irving gas station ; Broadway , right in the center of town. Hwy known locally as the Renous Hwy cuts across the province through Plaster Rock to the east coast, slicing through forest for nearly its entirety. It is most tedious, but fast. Watch out for deer and moose. For many, this affection obsession? Twenty rinks are plowed on Roulston Lake, which is ringed by tall evergreens, hot chocolate stands and straw-bale seating for the odd spectators drawn to the four-day event.

The tournament is wildly popular, with amateur four-person teams traveling in from all 13 Canadian provinces and territories, 35 American states to date, and 15 countries as far flung as England, Egypt and the Cayman Islands. Anyone can register to play, but they will have to defeat the Boston Danglers, who scrambled over squads like the Skateful Dead, the Raggedy Ass River Boys and the Boiled Owls to put a lock on the championship trophy several years running.

If you want to play, register early. If you want to watch, pack your long johns and a toque wool hat and book your accommodation asap. If the motels are full, the organizers keep a list of local folks willing to billet out-of-towners in their homes for the weekend.

Nevertheless, it makes a convenient stopover for those traveling east from Quebec. Here there are 80, plants to brighten your day, all accompanied by classical music! Kids might prefer the insectarium. In summer, simple institutional rooms are available at University of Moncton ; www. Several motels line the Hwy and old Hwy 2 Boul Acadie. A city landmark since the s, this is a total classic right down to the seasoned, uniformed waitresses.

The you-name-it menu includes more-than- acceptable Italian, Chinese, seafood and basic Canadian fare. The bus terminal ; Victoria is across the street from the Bel Air restaurant. The resort town of St Andrews, the serene Fundy Isles, fine seaside scenery and rich history make this easily one of the most appealing regions of the province.

Whale-watching is a thrilling area activity. Most commonly seen are the fin, humpback and minke, and less so, the increasingly rare right whale. Porpoises and dolphins are plentiful. It is home to Ganong, a family-run chocolate business operating since , whose products are known around eastern Canada. Once a year, during Chocolate Fest ; www. You can walk the main street easily from here. There are also a few run-down motels on the outskirts of town if you are desperate.

In Bangor, immediate connections are available to Boston and New York. They leave from the Angelhom restaurant, but call to confirm the location as this changes.

In Bangor, buses use the Greyhound terminal and connect to Bangor airport. Greyhound passes cannot be used from Calais. Blessed with a fine climate and picturesque beauty, it also has a colorful history.

Busy with holidaymakers and summer residents in July and August, the rest of the year there are more seagulls than people. King St is its main cross street. The main tourist office ; www.

Sights Huntsman Aquarium Museum ; www. The aquarium features most specimens found in local waters, including seals feedings at 11am and 4pm and sharks. Kids love the touch pool. The research center also offers week-long summer field courses for amateur enthusiasts both students and adults. His former cottage of 50 rooms and the unusual bathhouse with its tidal swimming pool can be visited at low tide when you can drive on the hard-packed sea floor.

Be careful! Two-hour visits, by tour only, run once or twice a day, depending on the tides. You must use your own vehicle. Various changing exhibits run through summer. Stretching for km along the international border, the forest-ringed Chiputneticook Lakes offer canoeing enthusiasts the chance to slip away into the wild for a few weeks.

It includes the St Croix River, a popular three- to four-day paddling route beginning south of the lakes. There are a couple of fishing lodges on Palfrey Lake accessible via Rte Day-trippers can use the scenic lake-shore campsites at Spednik Lake Provincial Park free; maintained by volunteers where there is a hiking trail through the woods, primitive toilets and fire rings. Bring your own water. Take Rte 3 north from St Stephen then bear left on Rte to reach the park gate.

Canoe rentals are available in Saint John and Fredericton. Note: the lakes are not patrolled by the park service, and paddlers should be experienced and well-equipped. The park is at the northwest end of Water St. Centennial Park, opposite the blockhouse, has a picnic pavilion. Atlantic Salmon Interpretive Centre ; www. Activities Eastern Outdoors ; www.

Tours Several companies offering boat trips and whale-watching cruises have offices at the Adventure Destinations complex by the wharf at the foot of King St. Sleeping Kiwanis Oceanfront Camping ; www. Picket Fence Motel ; www. There are ocean views from the garden. No tax, check or cash only. Treadwell Inn , ; www. Fairmont Algonquin Hotel , ; www. Note the doormen dressed in kilts. There are a couple of places for a drink, be it high tea or gin. Sadly, these days, there is nowhere in town to hear live music.

Cocktails are available at the Fairmont Algonquin Hotel. Food-wise, there are several nice choices. Pesto pizza, smoked meat sandwiches and crepes for lunch; crab cakes, salmon and steak for dinner. With grand scenery, colorful fishing wharves tucked into coves, supreme whale-watching, uncluttered walking trails and steaming dishes of seafood, everyday stresses fade away and blood pressure eases. The three main islands each have a distinct personality.

They offer a memorable, gradually absorbed peace. Out of the summer season, all are nearly devoid of visitors and most services are shut. The 16km-by-5km island has been inhabited since , and people live here year-round. Lobster is the main catch and there are half a dozen wharves around the island. Narrow, winding roads run south down each side toward Campobello Island and the ferry drive defensively.

Another massive pound squirms at Northern Harbor. Whales pass occasionally. At the end of Cranberry Head Rd is a deserted beach. Most land on the island is privately owned, so there are no hiking trails. Tours Whales usually arrive in mid-June and stay until October. Multiday island-jumping camping trips also available. Cash or cheque only and reservations are required. Ask to see Herman, the monster lobster.

Deer Island Point Park ; www. The campground is directly above the Campobello ferry landing. The ferries run year-round every half hour from 7am to 7pm, and hourly from 7pm to 10pm. Get in line early on a busy day. For service to Campobello, Click here. The wealthy have long been enjoying Campobello as a summer retreat. Due to its accessibility and proximity to New England, it feels as much a part of the USA as of Canada, and most of the tourists here are Americans.

Like many moneyed families, the Roosevelts bought property in this peaceful coastal area at the end of the s and it is for this that the island is best known. The southern half of Campobello is almost all park and a golf course occupies still more. They generally use the same bridge to go elsewhere in New Brunswick, as the Deer Island ferry only runs in summer.

For further information try the tourist office ; www. Adjacent Hubbard House admission free , built in , is open to visitors. The grounds around all of these buildings are open all the time, and you can peek through the windows when the doors are closed. The park is just 2. Unlike the manicured museum area, most of the international park has been left in its natural state to preserve the flora and fauna that Roosevelt appreciated so much.

A couple of gravel roads meander through it, leading to beaches and 7. Deer, moose and coyote call it home and seals can sometimes be seen offshore on the ledges near Lower Duck Pond, 6km from the visitors center. Look for eagles, ospreys and loons. This park has another 10km of walking trails as well as a campground and a picnic area on an arching 1.

It makes a fine, picturesque place for lunch. Whales browse offshore and many people sit along the rocky shoreline with a pair of binoculars enjoying the sea breezes. Lupine Lodge ; www. This very casual spot also has sandwiches and burgers. The ferry departs every half hour between am and pm 6pm in June and September.

As the ferry from the mainland rounds the northern tip of Grand Manan Island pop , Swallowtail Lighthouse looms into view, poised atop a rocky, moss-covered cliff. Brightly painted fishing boats bob in the harbor. Up from the ferry dock, the tidy village of North Head spreads out along the shore; a scattering of clapboard houses and shops surrounded by well-tended flower gardens and tall leafy trees.

Grand Manan is a peaceful, unspoiled place. There are no fast-food restaurants, no trendy coffee houses or nightclubs, no traffic lights and no traffic. Just a ruggedly beautiful coastline of high cliffs and sandy coves interspersed with spruce forest and fields of tall grass. Along the eastern shore and joined by a meandering coastal road sit a string of pretty and prosperous fishing villages. There is plenty of fresh sea air and that rare and precious commodity in the modern world: silence, broken only by the rhythmic ocean surf.

Some people make it a day trip, but lingering is recommended. The main road, Rte , runs You can drive from end to end in about 45 minutes. A hiking trail provides access to this wilderness.

For further information on the area try the tourist information office , ; www. Access is via steep stairs and a slightly swaying suspension bridge. Since the light was automated in , the site has been left to the elements. Nevertheless, the grassy bluff is a stupendous setting for a picnic.

It has a wrap-around view of the horizon and seals raiding the heart-shaped fishing weirs below. All of the approximately 30 weirs dotting the waters around Grand Manan are named, some dating back to the 19th century. A tear made by a marauding seal in a net can free an entire catch of herring in a single night.

Grand Manan Historical Museum ; www. Its diverse collection of local artifacts provides a quick primer on island history. Here you can see a display on shipwreck lore and the original kerosene lamp from nearby Gannet Rock lighthouse There is also a room stuffed with plus taxidermied birds including the now extinct passenger pigeon.

Much of its charm comes from the fishing boats, wharves and herring smoking sheds clustered around the tidal creek mouth. For a century, smoked herring was king on Grand Manan.

A thousand men and women worked splitting, stringing and drying fish in smokehouses up and down the island. The last smokehouse shut down in Although herring is still big business around here, it is now processed at a modern cannery. Activities Sea Watch Tours , ; www. Reservations are essential.

With species of birds, Grand Manan also attracts hard-core birders. Atlantic puffins return in their thousands each year to hatch their young on this isolated slab of rock. Reservations essential. Seventy kilometers of hiking trails crisscross and circle the island. Stay well away from the cliff edges! Unstable, undercut ground can give away beneath your feet. For an easy hike, try the shoreline path from Long Pond to Red Point 1.

The Flock of Sheep trail to Southern Head 2. Alternatively, Adventure High ; www. The Grand Manan Historical Museum presents weekly lectures on local history and culture and runs art courses some weekends. Notices for church dinners and blueberry teas are posted on bulletin boards in local shops. Get down by the trees to block the wind. Anchorage adjoins some marshes, which comprise a migratory bird sanctuary, and there are several short hiking trails.

Hole-in-the-Wall Campground , ; www. These spectacular cliff-top campsites are secluded among the rocks and trees, with fire pits, picnic tables and breathtaking views.

Choose an inland site if you sleepwalk or suffer from vertigo. Showers and laundry facilities are available, as well as a couple of spotless simple cabins, furnished with bunk beds and a microwave. Housed in the old general store, there are bright, airy and clean modern rooms above the restaurant built right on the wharf. Great meals and very convenient for early morning puffin-watching departures.

Compass Rose , off-season ; www. Inn at Whale Cove ; www. The main lodge built in and half a dozen vine-covered and shingled cottages retain the charm of that earlier era. They are fitted with polished pine floors and stone fireplaces, antiques, chintz curtains and well-stocked bookshelves.

Some have kitchens. Eating The never abundant options are nearly nonexistent in the off-season from October to early June. That said, there is some fine eating on Grand Manan. Reservations are essential for dinner due to limited table-space island-wide. Tea on the verandah facing the water is a cherished afternoon tradition. Oven-warm scones are served with homemade rosehip, gooseberry and raspberry jam and pots of hot tea and or rhubarb punch.

Credit cards not accepted. Sit at the lunch counter with a coffee and sandwich and watch the parade. Nevertheless, it is one of the few spots open for lunch and year-round, serving filling burgers, sandwiches, fish and chips, lifeless salads and ice cream, with a couple of pool tables and televised sports.

The menu changes daily, but includes mouth-watering meals such as curried squash soup or crab cakes followed by salmon crusted with walnut arugula pesto or lobster and spinach risotto with hazelnut creme caramel to-die-for for dessert. Come early and have a cocktail by the fire in the cozy old-fashioned parlor. The international boundary has never been determined in these waters, and sovereignty over the island is claimed by both the USA and Canada. Canada has maintained a lighthouse on the rocky, isolated outcropping since The island is also claimed by pairs of Atlantic puffins mated for life and pairs of terns who return each summer to hatch and raise their young.

What do you do all day out there in the middle of the Bay of Fundy? A lot of people need to be distracted. Our mandate is to ensure the proper operation of the marine aids. We file weather reports, fix what needs to be fixed. You are getting ready to leave the day you arrive. In recent years, he has witnessed the dramatic decline in the tern breeding colony on the island. A couple of years ago, the terns abandoned their nests just as the eggs were hatching. The following year, only a handful of pairs returned to nest.

Their absence leaves the tiny puffins vulnerable to the predatory black-backed gulls. In July and August especially there can be long queues for vehicles to board, but cyclists and pedestrians can walk on at any time. No ticket is required for the trip over; book and pay for your return trip in North Head the day before you plan to leave for the mainland. The crossing takes an hour and a half.

Watch for harbor porpoises and whales en route. Perhaps just to unite us. We may not have the sense of history of the UK, or the bravado and self-assuredness of the Aussies, but we do have our own quiet style that is the key to the miracle that has kept this complex, open society from falling apart or crashing into warring tribal factions.

We have learned that flexibility, compromise, tolerance, dialogue, a sense of humor and being nice just might be the glue that keeps this unlikely country together. While the present is rosy, Canadians are nervous about a graying future; one in every seven Canadians is a senior over 65 , and the number of children under 14 years is at an all-time low. By there will no longer be enough new workers to replace retiring baby boomers, the fastest-growing demographic.

At the same time, many provinces have abolished mandatory retirement at What does a typical Canadian family look like? Mum and dad are raising 1. The gap between rich and poor in Canada is increasing and income growth for the working classes has slowed.

Canadians are borrowing more, especially to buy homes that have reached record prices in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Kids will attend postsecondary education in numbers unrivaled in any other country with female students vastly outnumbering males , creating the most highly educated population per capita in the world.

Inside an average Canadian home all the latest electronic gadgets are present along with a car or two in the garage. One in 50 Quebecers is a Tremblay. Nationally, twice as many Canadians live in common-law relationships as Americans. In Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage; so far same-sex divorce has not yet been sanctioned. Same-sex couples comprise only 0. But a federal bill to legalize possession of marijuana for personal use remains stalled.

Leisure-loving Canadians work about three weeks fewer per year than Americans, and fewer than Australians, too. During the July and August school break, many kids spend a week or two in camp learning outdoor skills, languages and sports.

Canadians are known for winter sports like skiing and especially hockey, the national pastime, which is played by 1. But Canadians are much more likely to watch hockey than to play it.

Crime remains higher in western Canada than in the east. Since the mids the government has steadily paid down the federal debt and now regularly posts budgetary surpluses. The Canadian dollar is at a year high against the US buck, and unemployment rates are at a year low. While the economy is dominated by the service industry, Canada is unusual among developed nations in the importance of natural resources such as logging, mining, wheat and oil.

Oil in particular is a major factor in the current economic climate. Balmy weather in lower British Columbia attracts winter-weary Canadians from further east. In recent years the oil boom in northern Alberta has drawn workers from across the country, particularly Atlantic Canada, where it is almost a tradition for young people to leave their unemployment-plagued home provinces to find work in other parts of Canada see boxed text.

After all, it was the first country in the world to establish a federal department of multiculturalism. Chinese immigrants were brought to the west to build the transcontinental railway in the s, and by the time of the most recent census , the country had become home to different ethnic groups speaking languages. Canada has one of the highest rates of immigration per capita in the world and accepts large numbers of refugees. With a growth rate of only 1.

These 1. Among the Aboriginal population the average age is As in other nations such as Australia, the Aboriginal suicide rate, which is six times higher than for the rest of the population, is an alarming indicator of social crisis.

But the colonists saw treaties as a trade of land for compensation. More than 50 treaties were signed, first with the British and then the Canadian governments. Among those who did, many did not receive the land, money, food, medicine or housing they were promised. Since the s Aboriginal people have made land claims against the federal and provincial governments, an issue that gained urgency as plans were made to develop northern resources.

Where no treaties were signed, land claims now involve roughly half the total area of Canada. Resolution of land claims is complicated, as two levels of government are involved with all the ensuing debates surrounding land ownership and how treaties should be interpreted. Some cases remain unresolved after half a century and frustration has mounted. A blockade by the Haida of British Columbia against logging an old-growth forest finally resolved a year land claims battle.

There have been armed standoffs between Aboriginals and police like that at an Ontario reserve called Camp Ipperwash in , where police shot and killed Chippewa protestor Anthony Dudley George. It was the first modern-day land-claim settlement.

Settling land claims is an important step for Aboriginals to become stewards of their own future. Since the creation of Nunavut there has been widespread mineral exploration that gives a territory the potential for much-needed revenue. Aboriginal land claims continue to capture the front page of Canadian newspapers. For the latest in aboriginal news, visit www.

Dotted throughout are the remaining areas of Allophones, representing languages from Icelandic to Urdu. Immigration patterns vary in different regions of the country. BC has a long history of welcoming Japanese, Chinese and South Asian immigrants, and more recently large numbers of people from Eastern Europe and Iran.

Living conditions on reserves are often far below the rest of the country. In March Statistics Canada projected that the number of visible minorities in Canada will double by , and that by the majority of the populations of Toronto and Vancouver would be comprised of visible minorities.

Equally important, the cultural revival and sense of pride that an outside interest in aboriginal culture has generated gives young people a purpose to learn about their heritage. The further north in Canada you head, the more your travel dollars benefit Aboriginals.

Increasingly, Aboriginals are opening their lives to visitors. Dine on maktaaq, smoked whitefish and caribou stew in the Tuktoyaktuk home of a traditional hunter or try a homestay with an Iqaluit family. Many Canadians feel the system is too lenient on visitors who arrive in Canada and declare themselves refugees, which grants them a government-subsidized existence while they await a hearing on their status, which can take months or sometimes even years.

Some refugees disappear into the system or illegally skip to the USA. International people-smuggling rackets often target Canada because the coastline is vast and penalties are less severe than in the USA. The racketeers coach their human cargo on how to declare refugee status, but often their ultimate destination is the USA, a quick but illegal trip over the border. Return to beginning of chapter MEDIA Although often overshadowed by US airwaves and publications, Canada has a healthy media sector, with television and radio stations in both English and French.

There is a free press with very little censorship of editorial content apart from that which might discourage advertising or attract libel suits, both simmering issues. Most Canadian newspapers are owned by large chains, which have been known to gobble up city-based alternative weeklies that might threaten competition.

In Canada, two-thirds of Muslims actively practice their faith, while only one-fifth of Christians regularly attend religious services. Teeth are optional. Until very recently lacrosse was in danger of disappearing from the public consciousness, but the sport seems to be experiencing a renaissance with a new pro league. As such, the city is digging up every second road and making plans to hustle its street people off to Seattle when the world visits in February of that year.

Tickets are distributed by lottery, and then you have to take whatever event they give you. Holy biathlon, Batman! Unless you know someone. With so many different cultures settling in Canada in the past generation, these sports are quickly emerging as alternatives to hockey for new communities. The origins of so many players on Canadian national and Olympic teams give a picture of the diversity and the challenges facing the country as it searches for its identity in the 21st century. Finally, lest we forget curling, that unique brand of frozen shuffleboard that captivates large segments of the Canadian population each winter.

A Canadian sport that actually eschews fighting, curling requires players to slide polished granite stones to a painted target at the other end of a long sheet of ice. Closest to the center wins a point in this sport that originated in Scotland. Players use a broom to affect how much curl a stone will get. Today, literature is the creative endeavor by which Canada has most effectively defined and distinguished itself, and revealed its multicultural diversity of voices.

And Canadian readers are darn proud of them. The festival website www. Translation is considered an art in Canada. The finest French-Canadian literature can be read in English.

Corner Gas and Little Mosque on the Prairie, the top two Canadian sitcoms, are both set in small-town Saskatchewan although only the former is filmed there. Music Canadian fans are as loyal and adventurous as they come. Major galleries exhibit the strengths of their permanent collections and host traveling exhibitions from home and abroad.

Travelers taking the back roads will discover plenty of local creativity, too. In the midth century, Paul Kane and Cornelius Krieghoff both painted aboriginal subjects; works by them can be seen at the Royal Ontario Museum and the National Gallery. Since the midth century there has been strong appreciation of and a market for aboriginal art, in particular Inuit sculpture. Check out www.

By the s, professional theaters existed in most cities, but Canadian talent remained under-utilized. The increasingly adventurous Canadian Opera Company moved to new Toronto digs in Traditions brought to Canada by early settlers Scots, French etc and dance styles of more recent immigrant groups eg Ukrainian, Afro-Caribbean and Indian , are represented by amateur and professional ensembles, many of whom perform during cultural festivals. Landscape-altering architecture for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver created much local controversy, including protests about the environmental footprint and the loss of low-income housing downtown.

But in recent years, the country that used to treat food as a way of fueling up for a hard winter of polar bear wrestling has undergone a two-course culinary renaissance. For travelers, this means that eating and drinking in Canada can now be a highlight of a visit here, rather than a disappointing pit-stop necessity. With the Irish bringing potatoes to the table, the Germans rolling in with smoked sausages and the Chinese dropping by with dim sums, Canada has always been a finger-licking smorgasbord of food styles, making it the original home of fusion cooking.

This approach is still the cornerstone of dining here today: contemporary restaurants often add a dash of Japanese influence to their French cuisine or a pinch of East Indian Flair to their west coast seafood menu.

But while tweaking traditional recipes is common in Canada, some dishes continue to define specific regions. These provincial soul foods directly reflect available local ingredients and the diverse influences of their cooks. Next door, Nova Scotia visitors should save their appetites for butter-soft Digby scallops and rustic Lunenberg sausage, while the favored food of nearby Newfoundland and Labrador is cod: cod cheeks, cod tongues and cod-and-potato-blended fishcakes.

Head next door to Saskatchewan for dessert, though. Backcountry foraging is also a big tradition in Canada: BC is a popular spot for mushroom pickers, New Brunswick is ideal for fiddleheads and almost everywhere else offers some kind of wild-growing seasonal fruit, including blackberries or blueberries. Here you should hunt around for the dark, chocolaty or downright earthy tastes of beer from local producers such as Storm, Phillips, Dead Frog or Russell Brewing.

If you time your visit well, you might catch a regional wine festival, enabling you to sample a few unfamiliar tipples as you rub shoulders with bleary-eyed local imbibers. Wine lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to festivals. There are also many family-oriented, midpriced eateries for those traveling with kids, and bars are usually just as interested in serving food as they are beer.

While there are many variations, breakfast spots often open from 8am to 11am, lunch is usually offered between am and pm on weekdays and dinner is frequently on the menu from 5pm to pm daily. Midrange and family restaurants usually stay open all day. Closing times vary greatly and often depend on how busy the restaurant is on the day: hours are especially liquid in larger, tourist-friendly towns. Service is generally excellent at Canadian restaurants and bars. Solo travelers are welcomed at most eateries, although family-oriented restaurants may baulk at sacrificing a large table to a lone nosher.

See opposite for information on tipping. Expect similar responses in the Maritimes and on the prairies, where the carnivorous approach is a way of life. Not surprisingly, vegans can expect an even rougher ride. The handy VegeDining website www. Check locations in BC www. Kids menus often rely heavily on breaded chicken and brightly colored mini pizzas. As an alternative, ask for a half-order of something more nutritious from the adult menu.

Servers often work extra hard to keep kids happy, so consider adding a few dollars to your tip to reward exemplary service in the face of adversity. On weekends, many restaurants serve brunch from as early as 8am, sometimes until as late as 4pm. BC and Ontario are the main regional producers. Table service is common in most pubs, although you can still order at the bar. A small number of areas still allow separate smoking rooms and patio smoking but this is also being slowly stubbed out.

Twinkle-eyed Bernard leads gumbooted groups across the muddy beach at Whiffen Spit, extolling enthusiastically on the culinary properties of the many seaweed varieties growing in the ocean garden around her.

Running for a couple of hours, the Outer Coast Seaweeds tours , ; www. Call ahead for reservations. Get behind the cuisine of French Canada by getting to know the language. For pronunciation guidelines, Click here. Diamonds, oil, gold and timber? Later generations, moving westward, found fertile soil in the prairies and gold in the Klondike.

Much of this water fills the dips and dents of the massive Canadian Shield, a vast horseshoe-shaped region of Precambrian rock chiseled and gouged by glaciers and erosion over hundreds of millions of years. In addition to Aboriginals, many of those living here are miners and loggers who exploit the enormous wealth of natural treasures, including nickel, copper, silver, gold and diamonds. Ottawa is the second-chilliest national capital, after Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

In the Pacific region, coastal British Columbia has the most temperate climate, but is often drenched by rains. Along with Alberta, the Yukon is part of the Cordillera region, which is also defined by other mountain ranges, most famously the Canadian Rockies.

Dinosaur Provincial Park Alberta, ; Click here A fossil site with bones from 35 species of dinosaurs, some 75 million years old. Gros Morne National Park Newfoundland, ; Click here Superb mosaic of coastal lowland, alpine plateau, fjords, glacial valleys, sheer cliffs, waterfalls and pristine lakes.

Waterton Lakes National Park Alberta, ; Click here An exceptional variety of plants and mammals in prairies and forests, and alpine and glacial features. That baby measured 7. Scientists say every to years the region gets hit by a major quake, ie one measuring 8. The last one occurred in , which means Canada is due for another spanking, oh, any day now?

Whales, polar bear and the goofy, twig-eating moose are wildlife-watching favorites. They live in forests throughout the country and are most active between dusk and dawn. If you see the legendary fur-ball, submit a report to the Sasquatch Research Initiative www. This curious, slow-moving animal is covered in up to 30, quills, which form a formidable defense mechanism. When under threat, the porcupine vigorously lashes its tail, thereby dislodging loose quills as if throwing them. It feeds mainly on bark and tree buds, and used to be a staple of the Aboriginal diet.

The quills are sometimes used in aboriginal decorative work. Its bigger relative, the caribou, is unusual in that both males and females sport enormous antlers. Barren-ground caribou, which feed on lichen and spend most of the year on the tundra from Baffin Island to Alaska, are the most common.

Still more humungous is the moose, whose skinny, ballerina-like legs support a hulking body with a distinctive shovel-like snout. Males grow a spectacular rack of antlers every summer, only to discard it in November. Newfoundland has grown a huge moose population since they were first introduced there in the early s Click here.

Neither moose nor elk are generally aggressive, and they will often generously pose for photographs. During mating season September , the males can become belligerent, so stay in your car.

The huge, heavy-shouldered, shaggy bison buffalo that once roamed the prairies in vast herds now exists only in parks. It is said that there were once as many as 70 million bison in North America. Their herds would often take days to pass by a single point. Keep your distance, though; for more, see the boxed text below. About half a million of these furry critters patrol the forests and bushland just about everywhere except Prince Edward Island, southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan.

But it never hurts to be prepared, as the old boy scout saying goes. The endangered grizzly bear and the smaller black bear both hang out in Canada, mostly in the Canadian Rockies. Just to confuse you, black bear are sometimes brown and some grizzlies are almost black. The way to tell them apart is to look for certain distinguishing characteristics: the grizzly has a dish-shaped face, small and rounded ears and a prominent shoulder hump.

Both grizzlies and black bear are intelligent opportunists who quickly learn that humans come equipped with tasty packages of food.

Never feed these majestic animals. Always use bear-proof bins provided at campgrounds to store your food properly, and keep your campground tidy by picking up all scraps. Bear basically only attack if their cubs are around or if they feel surprised or threatened. Your best defenses against surprising a bear are to remain alert, avoid hiking at night when bear feed and be careful traveling in places where visibility is obscured. If the bear sees you, slowly back out of its path, avoid eye contact, speak softly and wave your hands above your head slowly.

Never turn your back to the bear and never kneel down. If a bear charges, do not run or scream which may frighten the bear and make it more aggressive , because the bear may only be charging as a bluff. Drop to the ground, crouch face down in a ball and play dead, covering the back of your neck with your hands and your chest and stomach with your knees.

As we said before, bear attacks are really quite rare. Give the bear, and other animals, the respect they deserve and the space they need. If you see one on the side of the road, consider not stopping. If you do decide to pull over, move on after a few minutes. If simple steps are taken to minimize human encounters, it will help ensure future generations of visitors have the chance to see wildlife that is still truly wild.

It stands up to a fearsome 3m tall and has a distinctive hump between its shoulders. Grizzlies are solitary animals with no natural enemies except humans. Although they enjoy an occasional snack of elk, moose or caribou, they usually fill their bellies with berries and other vegetation.

Pretty much the only place to observe them is from late September to early November in Churchill, Manitoba, one of their major maternity denning grounds.

For more information about these fascinating creatures, Click here. Another formidable predator is the wolf, which can be every bit as fierce and cunning as is portrayed in fairy tales, although it rarely attack humans.

Belugas are the smallest, typically measuring no more than 4. They are chatty fellows who squeak, groan and peep while traveling in closely knit family pods. Each one chows down about 40 tons of krill per day.

Minkes can grow to 10m and are likely to approach boats, delighting passengers with acrobatics as they, too, hurl themselves out of the water a bit more easily than the lumbering humpback. Everyone loves these cute little guys, a sort of waddling penguin-meets-parrot cross, with black-and-white feathers and an orange beak. They hang out in the Atlantic provinces, especially Newfoundland. The true ruler of the sky, though, is the bald eagle, whose wingspan can reach more than 2m.

It was Canadian banker Charles Broley who first connected the dots between DDT and the plummeting population of these regal birds. That was in the late s, and things have been looking way up since then. Trees cover nearly half of the country, providing living space to roughly two-thirds of the estimated , species of plants, animals and micro-organisms living in Canada.

Stretching from coast to coast and from the US border to the Arctic tree line, they are highly diversified and have adapted to the soil, climate and weather conditions.

Further south, tundra transitions to taiga, better known as boreal forest, named after Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind. Cold-tolerant conifers such as pine, fir and spruce thrive in this harsh climate of long winters and short but warm summers. Ontario hosts the parkland zone, which marks the transition between the eastern forests and the prairies.

Trembling aspen is the dominant tree. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are best known for their flat prairie grasslands, now mostly covered in cultivated grains. Short, mixed and tall grasses once blanketed this region but, except for a few protected pockets, these are a thing of the past.

BC has the most diverse vegetation in the country. The Rocky Mountain forests consist of sub-alpine species such as Engelmann spruce, alpine fir and larches, with lodgepole pine and aspen at higher elevations.

In the rainforest-like climate of the Pacific coast, the trees soar skyward. There are ancient, gigantic western red cedar, Douglas fir, western hemlock and Sitka spruce species.

Some are more than years old, making them veritable Methuselahs of the tree world. Actually, the pitcher plant chows down mostly on insects, captured via its water-filled trap. Keep an eye out next time you walk through a bog.

Flip to it for the lowdown on activities, itineraries, costs and history. Each province also runs its own system of parks and reserves. There are literally hundreds of them, mostly used for recreation but also, to a certain extent, to protect wildlife and historic sites.

Many are just as spectacular as the national parks. The best-organized provincial parks offer similar infrastructure to their national cousins, including interpretive centers, equipment rental and campgrounds.

Parks in the territories tend to be small, simple and inexpensive to visit; they are often used for overnight camping, although facilities may be basic. It birthed Greenpeace, for crissake! The group launched from a Vancouver living room in Vancouver is also the home of environmental pioneer David Suzuki, a retired professor from the University of British Columbia UBC who has been writing about sustainable ecology for more than 30 years. The Green Party www. Alberta and British Columbia offered the strongest support, Manitoba the least.

Apparently not. Meanwhile, the clock ticks. The average annual temperature has increased by 0. Take the Yukon. Shorter winters have dissolved their ice-based seal-hunting habitat, and all of a sudden, nearby humans are starting to look like juicy T-bones Click here for more. Climate change also has bizarre economic ramifications. And the Olympics are headed to Vancouver in , but will there be enough snow for the slopes and bobsleigh runs? Take as much as you want! In the early s, Atlantic Canada faced the horrifying fact that the cod were fished out.

The greatest fishery in the world, in business for more than years, was now kaput. Cod were even listed as endangered in For additional information, Click here. Polar Bear, meet Walrus. They used to be strangers, until global warming brought their habitats together. Most hiking and camping advice is common sense.

First, know what you are getting into. Get trail maps and take a few minutes to talk to a ranger about trail conditions, dangers and closures. Rangers can also confirm if your abilities and equipment match the needs of your trip. Once in the wild, do everything possible to minimize your impact. Stick to established trails and campgrounds. Use a gas stove for cooking or make fires in established fire pits only. When you leave, take out everything you brought in and remove every trace of your visit.

Try to learn about local conservation, environmental and cultural issues before your trip and during your visit. Ask questions and listen to what locals have to say. And finally, support tourism companies and environmental groups that promote conservation initiatives and long-term management plans.

Along the same lines, companies strip huge areas of forest and soil cover to access coal, iron, nickel and other mineral resources. These ore deposits are developed all the time, particularly in seldom-visited northern regions such as Labrador and the Northwest Territories, where there is little public scrutiny or attention. Recently there has been a spate of oil and natural gas development in the Atlantic provinces, much of it on the ocean floor, with untold consequences for marine life for an example of such actions, Click here.

In northern Alberta, oil is coaxed from oil sands, a messy process that requires huge amounts of energy and poisons the atmosphere with greenhouse gases Click here for more. Nearby, plans are underway for a controversial km-long pipeline, the Mackenzie Gas Project, to be tunneled beneath the wilderness of the Northwest Territories.

Their website www. Is that good enough? Stay tuned. Not even close. And I can explain it all in two simple words: endless and staggering. No matter what your ability, no matter what your taste, there is something here for you. Adventures for the rank beginner or the seasoned veteran are all over the place, even just on the edge of, and sometimes within, city limits.

Whatever outdoor activity you can imagine, it exists in the highest of quality, right here in Canada. But, for nearly half the year, much of Canada really is snow-covered, and hockey and beer-drinking really are favorite pastimes. But there is so much more here than that oversimplified pictorial and those stereotypical flannels. Welcome to the most abundant, most breathtaking, least busy playground on the planet.

Welcome to half the world. Hills in the flatlands, like Saskatchewan and southern Ontario, are built on available or creatively used geography river hills or garbage dumps. Damn cold. But instead of complaining about it, Canadians are apt to do something in it. Find a snow-covered hill not too big and slide uncontrollably downhill. Combine this motorized activity with backcountry skiing to access tons of powder. Canadians have a chronic fishing problem. Fish from inside an ice shack, drill into the ice, turn on the space heater and drop your line.

Snowpack ranges from 2m to 6m-plus, depending on how close the resort is to the Pacific Ocean. Medicine Hat, Alberta, with days sans rain. Cross-Country Nordic Skiing Instead of swishing through the snow, go straight on a set of Nordic skis. Most ski resorts in Canada offer a groomed network of cross-country ski trails which are much cheaper than a downhill lift ticket. Compare lung capacity with Canadian national team members at the Olympic site in Canmore, Alberta.

Ski Touring Ski touring, downhill skiing with a backpack instead of a lift, is the cheapest way to tap into the deep and dry snow that is world-renowned in BC. Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park has the most beautiful glacier tours and tree skiing within a single-day tour. Or fly into a backcountry lodge like Blanket Glacier Chalet www. BC towns like Revelstoke, Nelson and Golden are touring hubs and have a number of shops that can provide gear, maps and information on snow conditions, where to park etc.

That said, Canada has revolutionized mountain biking and provides an expansive landscape for two-wheeled exploration. The entire 18,km trail some of it river routes will link communities from coast to coast to coast and provide for multi-use access to cyclists, snowmobilers, horseback riders and hikers.

Check www. Most popular ski areas like Panorama www. Or you could choose shorter regional rides. The east coast, with more small towns and less emptiness, is a fantastic place to pedal, either as a single-day road ride or a multi-day trip.

Sure, we use plastic and fiberglass today, but boat design and techniques have hardly changed. No longer used for hunting, this double-bladed, covered-deck paddlesport is still the most efficient human-powered way to move across lakes and along coastlines. Make sure you have a solid Eskimo Roll for righting yourself when you flip. Luckily www. As old as kayaking, and equally Canadian, is the canoe.

Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature. Here are some of our favorites, to help you decide which way to turn your toes. Also, k. Also visit the Parks Canada site www. Watch wild animals, cross unbridged rivers and see not a soul. Access is via Whitehorse. Take a compass and GPS; the alpine plateau is crisscrossed by a web of caribou trails.

An offshoot will head northwards from Calgary through the Yukon to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories, with a branch extending east through Nunavut to Chesterfield Inlet on Hudson Bay. The TCT will be the longest such trail in the world, linking millions of travelers, hundreds of communities and dozens of landscapes. Its entire length will take about days to cycle, days to ride on horseback or days to walk. The now-disbanded organization in charge of the celebrations wanted to leave a lasting legacy, and provided enough seed money to launch the project in This entitles them to have their name inscribed on one of dozens of Trail Pavilions along the route.

So far approximately , people have immortalized themselves in this fashion. The TCT is knitted together from existing and new trails. Much of it, including all of the Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island sections, will run along former railway tracks. For now, the TCT remains a work in progress. More than half of it is currently unstable; it is scheduled for completion in the fall of From here you can march through dense spruce and pine forests that burst into a stunning bright-yellow canopy in the fall.

Then ascend into alpine meadows that are carpeted with wildflowers and surrounded by crumbling glaciers and azure lakes. This trail network weaves together pristine lakes with some of the largest peaks in the Rockies. And the BC Parks system www. There are sizable mountains out east, too.

For the serious backpacker looking for the least beaten path and the biggest mountains east of the Canadian Rockies, plan on visiting Torngat Mountain National Park in Labrador. Though portions are near cities like Hamilton and Toronto, it is surprisingly serene. Backroad Mapbooks will show you the way. Outdoor recreation and camping overviews accompany each book, but make sure you cross-reference with the locals.

Canmore, just outside Banff, is the ideal place for beginners and beyond. Climbing shops, a climbing school www. All levels of climbers bask in the spring sun while climbing the plus gneiss and nice, too! It features hundreds of tours, from day trips to summit missions to epic traverses.

While Canadians are practically born on skates, it might take you a couple of hours to get the hang of it. Skating has spawned many a Canadian pastime and takes regional forms. Grassroots hockey, aka pond hockey, takes place in communities across Canada every night on a frozen surface. All you need is a puck, a hockey stick and a few friends to live the hockey dream.

Winnipeg, Manitoba, notorious for chilly winters, has 3km of cleared ice on the Assiniboine and Red rivers. In Alberta, you can race in the Sylvan Lake 50km Marathon on a 10km track, the longest in the world. They just don a pair of warm mitts, a down jacket, crampons and an ice axe, and are pretty well ready to take on the most abundant and consistent ice climbing in the world. Banff, Kootenay, Yoho and Jasper national parks remain frozen for six months a year, and by early November notorious routes like Polar Circus and Curtain Call are in full form.

As in summer, Canmore is the place to get started and take a lesson. With www. Great for climbers, hikers and sightseers. Give yourself a couple of weeks to work your way up ft or m this ice-riddled Kluane National Park massif. For better odds all around, watch out for the more common and visible Canadian critters. The Arctic has tusked narwhals and belugas, while Nova Scotia has humpbacks, minkes and the rare North Atlantic right whale.

Polar bear can be spotted in Churchill, Manitoba on the shores of Hudson Bay. Operators will tour you around the Polar Bear Capital of the World in elevated tundra buggies. At one time 60 million bison roamed the North American plains. Over 50 grizzlies live on this 45,hectare refuge. A few eco-tour operators have permits for viewing this at-risk species. The mountain national parks Banff, Jasper, Kooteany, Yoho also offer a chance to see these rare omnivores.

But driving, hiking or cycling in Algonquin Provincial Park is a golden opportunity to see each and every one. Return to beginning of chapter FISHING It should probably come as no surprise that some of the best fishing in the world can be found in a country that harbors more freshwater than any other. Elaborate native societies based their entire nutritional structure around fish, and fishing has since become a sacred recreation.

Calgary Stampede www. Logger Sports www. See pros carve chairs, hand-saw at lightning speeds and cut trees with pinpoint precision in this heritage event held in Squamish, BC, in the first week of August. Yukon Quest www. Survivor Kananaskis www.

Last one standing wins. Held the last weekend in May on the Kananaskis River, one hour west of Calgary. Less controversial than a hockey scrum, fights at the end of a fishing line are equally exciting. The fiercer, the longer and the more unpredictable the fish fight, the better. And on just about any Canadian freshwater lake, you could get yourself into a serious brouhaha.

Northern Saskatchewan contains some of the most productive lakes, and many are serviced by fishing lodges. Check local, provincial and federal fishing regulations wherever you are; most hardware or fishing shops can tell you everything there is to know. Scuba divers can become one with one of the most abundant and diverse marine areas on earth from the perfectly-placed ocean cities of Vancouver and Victoria.

Ocean life here also benefits from the cold, nutrient-rich water. June and September are best for mere mortals, but if you want to test some of the fiercest storms the Pacific can dish out, try surfing in winter.

First-timers will enjoy the challenge with many great surf schools both east and west. Tofino, outside Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, has a superb choice of surf schools and offers the most variety for learning. Squamish, BC Click here, benefits greatly from a wind-funneling venturi effect, which gets wild in Howe Sound.

No trees hold back the wind; only power-generating wind farms compete for a chunk of the gust. Sheltered lagoons offer safe learning locations for testing kiteboards or seeking shelter during heavy days. Today, horses help all kinds of people, from couch potatoes to the uberactive, get out to enjoy the landscape. Be ready to get down and dirty. Most Ontarians live in the south within a few hundred kilometers of the US border, where winters are bearable and steamy summers lure folks outside.

No longer a steadfast political filing cabinet, contemporary Ottawa is as hip as you want it to be. Year-round, Ontario celebrates its diversity with a cavalcade of festivals. And if you must seek out wildlife, there are some excellent national parks here too. The first Europeans on the scene were 17th-century French fur traders, who established basic forts to facilitate trade links with the Mississippi River. With the arrival of the British Loyalists around , large-scale settlement began.

The northern continental climate sees bitterly cold winters and mild summers. This creates steady precipitation throughout the year, heavy summer humidity and much milder winters than in the north.

That said, the entire province is blanketed with heavy snowfalls during winter. In the south, where most of the population lives, winter snow melts rapidly in spring.

As summer draws closer, the strip of land bordering the USA gets increasingly hot and sticky, particularly the Niagara Peninsula. There are also provincial parks here, offering hiking and camping facilities. Make reservations with Ontario Parks ; www. Charismatic megafauna has largely been evicted from southern Ontario due to development and agriculture, but the further north you travel, the more likely you are to spot hairy roadside individuals no, not lumberjacks.

Two Weeks Feel like a road trip? Heading northwest, take a paddle through the expansive Algonquin Provincial Park, visit Manitoulin Island for a dose of aboriginal culture, and try Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie for a history lesson on shipping and mining in northern Ontario.

Continue westward and base yourself in Wawa for a few days. Greater expanses of unexplored nature lie ahead as you roll on toward Thunder Bay and beyond.

Air Canada www. CanJet www. First Air www. BUS Greyhound Canada www. Booking bus tickets at least seven days in advance can sometimes halve the fare. The big car-hire companies have offices in larger towns. Click here for key highways. Ontario Northland www. Its Northlander service connects Toronto with Cochrane, from where buses go to Hearst and Kapuskasing.

Dramatic shifts in weather elicit almost schizophrenic behavior from the locals. Humidity clogs the avenues and the streetlife hum approaches a roar. Spanked across the face by bitter February, locals head underground into the PATH network of subterranean walkways. And of course, winter is hockey season! Overlayed by typically laconic Canadian attitude, Toronto is as unpretentious and tolerant as it is complex. Tommy Thompson Park, an artificial wildlife oasis, juts abstractly into Lake Ontario; the Toronto Islands rustle their leafy boughs at the city skyline.

In the British took over and John Simcoe, lieutenant governor of the new Upper Canada, chose the site as the capital formerly at Niagara-on-the-Lake and founded the town of York. The Americans looted and razed York, but held sway for only six days before Canadian troops booted them out and hounded them back to Washington.

Like many big cities, Toronto had a great fire; in about five hectares of the inner city burned, leveling buildings.

Amazingly, no one was killed. Well over one million immigrants have arrived since: Italian, Portuguese, Chilean, Greek, Southeast Asian, Chinese and West Indian immigrants have rolled into the city in waves. Just offshore are the Toronto Islands. The Church-Wellesley Village is a gay parallel universe a few blocks to the east.

Lester B Pearson International Airport is 27km west of downtown. MapArt www. Shuffle over to St Lawrence Market for lunch then head up to Bloor-Yorkville to splash some cash in the shops. Compensate with a thrifty dinner in Chinatown.

Afterwards, ride the ferry to the Toronto Islands; hire a bike and wheel away the afternoon. Back on the mainland, nibble on late-night mezes Greek tapas and drinks in Greektown. A trashy night club-hopping through the Entertainment District is a mandatory T.

TheatreBooks Map; ; www. Metro www. Now Toronto www. Toronto Life www. Toronto Star www. Toronto Sun www. Where Toronto www. CIUT Edge Hospital for Sick Children Map; ; www.

Money American Express , ; www. Instead, tackle the banks, or try Money Mart Map; ; www. Thomas Cook www. Tourism Toronto Map; , ; www. Most homeless people are more likely to be assaulted or harassed than to do so to you.

The Toronto Islands are where locals retreat for a bit of peace and quiet. North from the lake, modernity and history collide at Dundas Sq: shopping centers, office blocks, museums and majestic theatres all stake their claim. Suburban East Toronto and The Beaches are less edgy but are still interesting to explore. Car-parking in Toronto is expensive and traffic congestion is an issue; public transportation is usually the best option. Ferries for the Toronto Islands dock here. Its primary function is as a radio and TV communications tower, but relieving tourists of as much cash as possible seems to be the second order of business.

Tours include a brain-scrambling video wall screening footage of past sporting glories, concerts and events, a sprint through a box suite, a locker-room detour sans athletes and a memorabilia museum. In between times the facility hosts everything from wedding expos to Wiggles concerts. Rooms overlooking the field can also be rented at the Renaissance Toronto. Performances sometimes take place on the covered outdoor concert stage by the lake.

Today, a handful of the original log, stone and brick buildings have been restored. In summer, men decked out in 19th-century British military uniforms carry out preposterous marches and drills, firing musket volleys into the sky. Tours run hourly from May to September. When lakeside fishers noticed that northern pike were spawning here each spring, the city took it upon itself to create this new habitat.

Aside from the pike, look for monarch butterflies, mallard ducks, goldfinches, dragonflies and red-winged blackbirds. Contact the Harbourfront Centre box office left for performance schedules and guided tour details. Additional attractions like the human-sized MegaMaze and House of Blues concerts at the Molson Amphitheatre ; www.

Discounted passes may be available after 5pm and for grounds-only admission. On rainy days, many of the rides, activities and restaurants close. The shuttle runs daily from June to August, and on weekends in May and September, departing every half-hour between 9am and 7pm.

Other events held at Exhibition Place throughout the year include the Grand Prix of Toronto and a slew of spectator sports and indie design shows. At other times the grounds are often spookily bereft of visitors. Financial District The area around Union Station is busy night and day with hot-dog vendors, shivering office workers smoking in doorways and fans heading to hockey games at the Air Canada Centre.

Even visitors unfamiliar with this super-fast, ultraviolent sport will be impressed with the interactive multimedia exhibits and hockey nostalgia. A succession of glass cases displays otter, bear, eagles and carved Inuit figures in day-to-day scenes. Old York Historically speaking, the old town of York comprises just 10 square blocks.

But today the neighborhood extends east of Yonge St all the way to the Don River, and from Queen St south to the waterfront esplanade. The restored, high-trussed South Market houses more than 50 specialty food stalls: cheese vendors, fishmongers, butchers, bakers and pasta makers. Inside the old council chambers upstairs, the St Lawrence Market Gallery ; admission free; 10am-4pm Wed-Fri, 9am-4pm Sat, noon-4pm Sun has rotating displays of paintings, photographs, documents and historical relics.

A few steps further north, the glorious St Lawrence Hall is topped by a mansard roof and a copper-clad clock tower that can be seen for blocks. Chemicals, sewage and fertilizer runoff have traditionally fouled the waters, and, although the situation is improving, only the brave and stupid dare to swim at city beaches.

For most citizens, Lake Ontario is simply a big, gray, cold thing that stops the Americans from driving up Yonge St. For the record, Lake Ontario is the 14th largest lake in the world and the smallest and most easterly of the five Great Lakes: km long, 85km wide and m deep.

Be sure to tell the locals all about it. Wedding parties shoot photos against a backdrop of redbrick and cobblestone; clean-cut couples shop for leather lounge suites beneath charmingly decrepit gables and gantries. In summer expect live jazz, exhibitions and food-focused events. You can peek at the radio newsrooms anytime or attend a free noontime concert in the world-class Glenn Gould Studio. Both are east of the Queen St shopping district. Out the front is Nathan Phillips Square, a meeting place for skaters, demonstrators and office workers on their lunch breaks.

The fountain pool becomes an ice-skating rink in winter Click here. Now housing legal courtrooms, the hall has an off-center bell tower, interesting murals and grimacing gargoyles.

Constructed in , the stunning Winter Garden was built as the flagship for a vaudeville chain that never really took off, while the downstairs Elgin theater was converted into a movie house in the s. Public tours are worth every cent. Click here. When it opened in , it was the first church in Toronto not to charge parishioners for pews.

Workshops teach batik making, weaving, knitting and all manner of needle-stuff. Prices will rise once renovations are complete and opening hours are subject to change; check the website for updates. The Leafs lost their first game to the Chicago Blackhawks in , but went on to win 13 Stanley Cups before relocating to the Air Canada Centre in Over the years, Elvis, Sinatra and the Beatles have all belted out tunes at the Gardens.

Rumors that this much-loved piece of city history was going to be demolished were only partly true. The Gardens were bought by grocery chain Loblaws in , with a shopping complex redevelopment slated to begin in early we hope the chunky art-deco facade survives. The new work involves a magnificent explosion of architectural crystals on Bloor St, housing an array of new galleries. The Chinese temple sculptures, Gallery of Korean Art and costumery and textile collections are some of the best in the world.

Kids file out of yellow school buses chugging by the sidewalk and rush to the dinosaur rooms, Egyptian mummies and Jamaican bat-cave replica. The on-site Institute of Contemporary Culture explores current issues through art, architecture, lectures and moving image. Peruse some 19th-century French chestnut-crushing clogs, aboriginal Canadian polar boots or famous modern pairs worn by Elton John, Indira Gandhi and Pablo Picasso.

Permanent and rotating exhibits cover the evolution of shoemaking, with a focus on how shoes have signified social status throughout human history. Spread over three floors, collections cover several millennia; various rooms focus on 17th- and 18th-century English tavern ware, Italian Renaissance majolica, ancient American earthenware and blue-and-white Chinese porcelain.

The central St George campus is venerable indeed. West and north of U of T lies The Annex, a residential neighborhood populated primarily by students and professors. It overflows with pubs, organic grocery stores, global-minded eateries and spiritual venues. He later lost everything in land speculation, the resultant foreclosure forcing Hank and his wife to move out.

The castle briefly reopened as a luxury hotel, but its big-band nightclub attracted more patrons than the hotel ever did, and it too failed. Lit by Victorian gaslights, the interior contains three generations of furnishings, art and fabrics.

Viewing is free, but security regulations are in full force. Dating from , sociable Hart House ; www. Eating here is an absolute joy, and shopping is a blast. The streets are full of artists, dreadlocked urban hippies, tattooed punks, potheads, junkies, dealers, bikers, goths, musicians and anarchists. Shady characters on bicycles whisper their drug menus as they glide by; hooch and Hendrix tinge the air.

The further west you go, the more traditional things become, with aromatic bakeries, sidewalk gelaterias and rootsy ristoranti. Permanent holdings only number about works, curated since , but award-winning temporary exhibitions promote new artists from Nova Scotia to BC.

Completed in , the m bridge arcs 40m above the Don River, linking east and west Toronto. Structural engineer Edmund Burke cunningly included a lower deck for future rail transport in his design.

At a peak rate of one every 22 days, around folks decided to call it quits here.

 
 

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To encourage settlement, the British divided the island into 67 lots and held a vrug to give away the land. Humidity clogs the avenues and the streetlife hum approaches a roar. They range from m to

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