Canada

July 1999

After a mad dash by Steve to finish decorating the house after the builders had moved out in the Spring (Phil had been working in Blackpool at the time), the three week holiday in Canada was very well-deserved.  While the country's winter wonderland reputation may appeal to many, we prefer sunshine to snow and so chose to visit in July.

 

Montréal

Our good friend Martin who had moved to Montreal a year or two previously was there to meet us at the airport.  He took us to his magnificent wood-panelled house not far from the centre of the city which was to be our base for the first few days of our holiday.

Being at the same latitude as Rome the mid-summer weather in Montreal was scorching, but we managed to cool ourselves off one afternoon riding the rapids on the St. Lawrence river.  Other highlights of the stay were visits to 'Vieux Montréal', the Tour de Montréal in the Parc Olympique and the Botanical Gardens.

  Martin's House Martin's House Martin's House
By Montreal's Riverside About to Board the Boat Shooting the Rapids on the St Lawrence River
Vieux Montreal Martin and Phil at the Parc Olympique Looking Up the Tour de Montreal
Looking Down from the Tour de Montreal View from the Tour de Montreal Us in the Tour de Montreal

 

Toronto

At less than five hours, our first train journey west across this vast country was relatively short.  Toronto, Canada's commercial capital, proved to be a relaxed city by the side of Lake Ontario.  We got a spectacular view from the CN Tower which boasted what at the time was the world's highest observation tower.  We also tried to locate where Phil's mum had lived for a few years as a small girl.   The CN Tower Steve in the CN Tower Glass Floor in the CN Tower
Looking Down from the CN Tower Toronto Cityscape House in the Street Where Phil's Mum Used to Live
School on the Site of Where Phil's Mum Used to Live    

 

Niagara Falls

Being only a couple of hours south of Toronto (by train again) Niagara Falls made an easy day trip.  Not content with seeing the falls first from underneath (thanks to the famous 'Maid of the Mist' boat) and from behind (via a tunnel), we decided to splash out on a spectacular 10 minute helicopter ride to see them from above.

 

  Phil and Steve Posing in Front of Niagara Falls Phil in Front of Niagara Falls Steve on the Maid of the Mist
Phil on the Maid of the Mist Phil After Our Trip on the Maid of the Mist Steve in the Tunnel behind the Falls
Phil in the Tunnel behind the Falls The Helicopter Which Took Us Over the Falls View Over Niagara, with the Falls in the Background
View of the Falls from Above    

 

Moose Lake

We first took an internal flight from Toronto to Edmonton in Alberta where we picked up a hire car.  After an overnight stay in an out of town motel, we drove for several hours north-east along virtually deserted roads towards the small town of Bonnyville.  Phil's friends Greg and Siara - who he had met on his trip across Africa over ten years previously - looked after us for a few days in their lovely home a short walk from Moose Lake.   Greg, Siara and the Boys in Front of their House Phil on the Trampoline in the Garden Steve on the Garden Trampoline
Greg, Siara and Phil by Moose Lake Steve, Siara and Greg by Moose Lake Group Shot in the Garden
Garden Bonfire    

 

Jasper

A full day's drive across Alberta took us to the town of Jasper, situated in one of several national parks covering the Canadian Rockies.  The town was surrounded by picture postcard perfect mountains and lakes.  Especially beautiful was Lake Maligne where we took a boat trip to Spirit Island.  Also memorable was a trip up the Jasper Tramway cable car which afforded us spectacular views Jasper and the area all around.

 

  By Lake Maligne, with Spirit Island Behind Steve by Lake Maligne Phil at Lake Maligne
Classic View of Lake Maligne Lake Maligne from the Boat The Boat on Lake Maligne
Steve by Lake Maligne Phil Feeling a Bit Horny! In a Bar in Jasper With a Family We Met
View from Our Hotel in Jasper Moose Grazing Near Our Hotel Steve Relaxing at Our Hotel
River Near Our Hotel View Over Jasper from Neighbouring Mountain Phil Contemplating the View
View from the Top of the Jasper Tramway (Cable Car) Steve by a Lake Near Jasper Bear (the Black Shape in the Centre of the Picture)

 

The Icefields Parkway

Leaving Jasper towards the south is a road which is known as one of the most beautiful in the world, the Icefields Parkway.  The reputation was well deserved, with hours of one stunning vista following another.  Lake Louise was the stuff of a million photos, while at one point a glacier came right up to the road.

The Icefields Parkway ended in Banff which, like Jasper, is a popular gateway to the Rockies for tourists.  For us, it was to be the starting point for the next stage in our journey.

  Lake Louise View Posing By Lake Louise Steve by a Lake in the Rockies
Phil by a Lake in the Rockies Steve Above the Snow Line (in July!) Our Hire Car
A Glacier by the Road The Glacier Close Up A Waterfall by the Road
River in the Rockies Another River in the Rockies  

 

The Rocky Mountain Railroad

We left our hire car in Banff and, after a night in a hotel, made our way to the station where our seats on the Rocky Mountain Railroad train awaited us.  It was to prove a fabulous way of spending two days (including an overnight stop in the town of Kamloops) sitting back in comfort enjoying the mountain scenery.   All Aboard! Steve and Phil in the Carriage A Goods Train on a Different Line
A Mountain River from the Train Steve Looking at the Scenery Mountain River with Bridge
Phil on the Train View of the Train on a Curve  

 

Vancouver

Arriving at the train's terminus in Vancouver on the Pacific coast of Canada, we stayed with Steve's brother and sister-in-law Mick and Wendy and their four kids.  One afternoon was spent at a funfair where Steve and Mick did a sort of double bungee jump.  For another afternoon, they took us to to downtown Vancouver.  Here we explored the city's beaches, and then took a ferry to Granville Island with it's markets and cafes.   Funfair near Vancouver Funfair near Vancouver Funfair near Vancouver
Steve and Brother Mick About to Go Up in the World But What Goes Up... ...must come down!
and down ... and down! Town Beach in Vancouver
On a River Ferry    

 

Tofino, Vancouver Island

We hired another car in Vancouver, and immediately drove it onto the ferry to Vancouver Island.  The last few days of our Canadian adventure was spent around the small coastal town of Tofino.  The place had a reputation of being laid back, and we were certainly in a relaxed state of mind when we boarded our return flight to London.   Another Hire Car Netty's B&B Phil on the Beach at Tofino
Phil on the Beach at Tofino Steve on the Beach at Tofino Steve at Tofino Harbourside

 

Return to Holiday Index