Thursday, January 28, 2010

Visit to Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria - British Columbia

The Gem of the Pacific North-West, the Garden City of Canada, is the preferred destination of millions of international visitors each year. Many British Columbians also call Victoria home. One little known fact is that Victoria receives 65% more sunshine than Vancouver. Said another way, Vancouver receives 65% more rain than Victoria.

Victoria offers a unique blend of old-world British charm and 21st Century comfort. In 1862 Victoria was described as: "The largest town north of San Francisco; population 4,000 to 5,000, or about four-fifths of the entire population of the colony. Four years ago it was a trading post of the Hudson Bay Company, and contained about 250 people."

Whether you wander the vibrant gardens and parks, stroll the lively Harbour or break-water, visit the museums and stately homes, go to a spa or rest in the sun as you watch the world go by, Victoria has something for everyone.

For exciting shopping, visit the quaint shops on Government Street, the open-air craft market in Bastion Square, Antique Row, Murchies the Tea merchant, the many art galleries or the excellent specialty stores in the downtown.

Discover fine dining at one of the many local restaurants offering everything from North West Cuisine to exotic ethnic fare. And consider doing Victoria in Victorian style by staying at one of Victoria's fine Bed and Breakfast Inns where your hosts can point you in all the right directions.

With its mild weather and temperate climate there is always a flower in bloom from the cherry blossoms in January, through daffodils and tulips in March, lilacs in May, to the abundance of roses and rhododendrons in the Summer and Fall. The air reflects the aroma from the blossoms, especially during the long summer nights.

The sun shines on Victoria year round and, when it rains, the rose petals glisten, the rich greens deepen and the fragrance in the air sweetens - encouraging the abundant bird life to sing out.

This is the city that breaths in an abundance of fresh sea air and soaks up more hours of sunshine than anywhere else in Canada. It’s the perfect place to hold hands with nature and witness marine wildlife in its natural habitat; and to feel safe, free, and refreshed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Parliament Hill - Ottawa - Capital of Canada

Following on Dave's visit last winter, here is some information about the summer in Ottawa

Parliament Hill is the seat of Canada’s government, home to both the House of Commons and the Senate. Free tours are offered every day, but are occasionally rescheduled due to the business of the House. You must pass through security similar to an airport.

In the summer, there is a free Changing the Guard ceremony on Parliament Hill each day at 10:00 a.m. Modelled on the version performed in London, the ceremony runs from late June to late August 25 annually. Pure pomp and ceremony.

There’s also a free Sound and Light Show, entitled Canada: The Spirit of a Country, on Parliament Hill every night after dark between early July and early September. Images are projected onto the Parliament Buildings.

Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill are spectacular—the only place to be on July 1 if you’re Canadian, or even if you’re not. Free concerts, short speeches by politicians, the Snowbirds, the Musical Ride, maple leaf “tattoos,” face painting, fabulous fireworks, and everyone in a patriotic mood.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bear watching on Vancouver Island

This amazing picture was taken from Hidden Cove Lodge near Port McNeill on Vancouver island.
The northern part of Vancouver island is one of the many hidden gems of British Columbia. It is one of the best places to see whales, sea otters and both grizzly and black bears.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Newfoundland - good news

Air Canada have resumed direct flights from Heathrow to St. John's in Newfoundland - the closest bit of Canada to England. This is splendid as it now only takes a few hours to get to this wonderful province.

The Artisan Inn has operated since 1997 and, by Canada Select, is Trinity’s highest rated inn. In addition to the main building of the Artisan Inn there is a fishing “store” at the shoreline. Originally used to store and maintain nets and gear, it is now home to the Twine Loft dining room, recommended in Where to Eat in Canada. We also offer Vacation Homes and operate the Campbell House B&B.

The Inn provide full breakfasts, soup and a sandwich lunches and, in the evening, affordable fine dining. Our evening menus are table d'hote using local produce and products and employing eco-friendly practices.

There is an in-house sommelier and careful attention is given to our wine list and to food and wine pairing.

Twine Loft dining is open to the general public and we encourage visitors to Trinity to drop by, visit us and view the menus. The Twine Loft is also a venue for artisan workshops and artistic presentations.

The accommodations are in several buildings, each with only a few bedrooms within minutes walking distance of Trinity’s major attractions. Trinity itself is centrally located on the Bonavista Peninsula and within an hour’s drive of other popular area attractions. Trinity is about a 3 hour drive from St. John’s.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Historical Trains in Saint Constant, near Montreal Quebec

Exporail - Canadian Railway Museum - Saint-Constant, Qu├ębec

Exporail's new exhibit pavilion showcases 44 historic pieces of rolling stock in a spectacular climate-controlled 90,000-square-foot building. With a total of over 160 streetcars, interurban railway cars and locomotives, Exporail is recognized as one of the world's most important railway museums – and is, bar none, the largest such collection in Canada.

MTC streetcar 1959 runs every day from 10 AM to 4 pm.

The "John Molson" locomotive, a replica of an 1849 steam engine locomotive, is used for demonstrations on occasion throughout the summer. Check our schedule for details.

Barrington Station, an example of a rural flag stop station from southwestern Quebec, brings visitors back to the nineteenth century.

Other vehicles from the collection are on view in the railway yard; Visitors will frequently see railway cars and locomotives in motion. You will feel the sensation of being in a real operating rail yard.