Monday, July 27, 2015

Fort William Historical Park, Thunder Bay, ON. July,

While in Thunder Bay, we visited the Fort William Historical Park. Check out the Google Story of our visit. This is a reconstruction of the large fur trading post, in operation in the early 19th century. The park is staffed in summer by students acting in various roles -- they are not supposed to be out of character. A bit touristy, but once you got into a serious discussion, quite insightful. To be a clerk (accountant) was to be largely at the top of a very structured society.

The main fur trading post had been south, at Grand Portage. But after the Treaty of Paris, that ended the War of Independence, Grand Portage was in US territory. As a result, tariffs were imposed, so the North West Company had to move the post into Canadian territory -- hence bringing it back to Thunder Bay.

Environmental preservation, Geraldton, ON

This part of Ontario had seen quite a bit of gold mining in the 20th Century. A good example of environmental protection is seen at the entrance to the road into Geraldton. More than 300,00 tonnes of tailings are now covered by new regenerating forest, a visitors centre, and golf course. We took the 8km round trip interpretive walk down to the shores of Kenogamisis Lake. Looked in vain for red tailed hawks.

Add caption

The visitors centre. I guess it is meant to look like a mine?

Boardwalk down to the lake

Little Longlac -- as distinct from Longlac!

Canoeing on Wild Goose Lake, Ontario, July

We are spending three days at Wild Goose Lake, which is just east of Geraldton, ON.  This is a pretty remote part of our trip from Thunder Bay to Ottawa. The campsite and the lake are very pretty. The weather has been fine and hot -- a maximum of 32C on the day I write this. I rented a canoe from the camp and headed out on the first day. An ignominious end to my travel as the wind would just push me back to shore each time. So, the next day I went out again when the wind had died and did a good, long, quintessentially Canadian paddle. There were loons fishing and a variety of sea birds, particularly around the small island you can see in the first photo. A tern (at least, I think it was a tern) flew low overhead several times, to warn me away. 

The hammock set in our campsite

Satay on the BBQ

Wild Goose is quite a good size lake

On the canoe, early morning

On the canoe, early morning

Friday, July 24, 2015

Thunder Bay art gallery, July

When in Thunder Bay, we were fortunate enough to hear First Nations Vancouver artist Sonny Assu talk about his work at a retrospective. He does amazing work.  Check out

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Into Ontario, July

We have passed the midway point on our trip across Canada. With more than 9,000km/6,000m on the truck, we are putting on more miles than I had expected. We now have a long run from Winnipeg to Ontario, with five stops along the way.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

Watersong Farms, July

We spent a night camped in the grounds of Watersong Farms in Warren, MB. Leslie and Rudy Reiner breed free range chickens and, more importantly, farm rainbow trout. The production facility uses water from the aquifer below the farm. Some 99% of the water is recycled and the remaining nutrient rich residue will be used for horticulture. An impressive venture run by a very nice couple. If you see Watersong trout at a restaurant, order it!

The main production facility.

In the front, center are purge tanks that trout ready for sale are placed.

Production facility from the outside.

Wildlife tour, Riding Mountain National Park, July

The Riding Mountain National Park provided an excellent three hour nature and wildlife tour. The tour is limited to seven cars. Tyler, the ranger, took us to a bear pit, not far from park HQ at Wasagaming. The pit was about 500m from the road, but you could never have found it without detailed knowledge. 

Tyler talking about elk antlers found in the open country. The bear pit is int the timbered area behind.

The bear pit occupied in winter by a female bear. The pit is ~15' deep.

Tyler standing in a depression with the opening to the bear pit to his right. The depression was probably dug by foresters in the 1930s and used by bears later.

Wild lilies

Moon Lake at dusk

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bison safari, Riding Mountain National Park, July

Went on a park ranger conducted "safari" in the bison enclosure at Riding Mountain National Park. There are 45 bison in 400+ hectares of fescue grassland. A herd that has been in place for 70+ years. We saw calves born in the last week and much mating activity going on. The bulls only stay with the herd during this season.

Running free

On the safari

Interesting set of restrictions!

About the enclosure

Running free

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Riding Mountain National Park, July

Now in Manitoba at the Riding Mountain National Park. This is the only log cabin movie house in  Canada.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon, Canada Day

We visited the Wanuskewin First Nations Heritage Park, just north of Saskatoon on Canada Day (July 1). The park is on the site of a traditional buffalo jump. There are steep cliffs over which the buffalo would be sent to their deaths. An excellent park where we spent some considerable time, including very much enjoying a pow wow dance by Jason Thunderbird.

The architecture reflects the ti pi.

The steep cliff close to the center.

Add caption

The entrance to the center

Tipi structures on the entrance road

Jason undertaking the pow wow dance.

Eating out in Saskatoon, June

The restaurant scene in Saskatoon is quite extraordinary given that only 300+k people live in the city. We have eaten at several places including the Bliss Fine Food Company and Ayden Kitchen and Bar. I thought the modern take on traditional food at Bliss was very successful. Beef Wellington with 4 hour braised short ribs worked very well indeed.

The River Landing district is being gentrified and we ate at Leyda's, an excellent gluten free restaurant. Unfortunately no pictures. We could have been at Park Slope in Brooklyn.

Ayden Kitchen

Lamb shank at Bliss -- over quinoa

Beef Wellington reimagined at Bliss

Forest fire smoke in Saskatoon, June

On from Meadow Lake to a week in Saskatoon. There have been wild fires in the north of Saskatchewan and the city has been blanketed in smoke. There is a long cycle path that runs beside the South Saskatchewan River. This is a view to the Bessborough Hotel. 

Looking to the Bessborough Hotel

Grieg Lake, June

Our stay at the Meadow Lake Provincial Park was at Grieg Lake. Here is the lake at dawn and dusk.

Hiking the Boreal Trail

From Edmonton we moved to the Meadow Lake Provincial Park in Saskatchewan. This is a very large park with many lakes. The park is at the southern limit of the boreal forests. The Boreal Trail goes for 120km from East to West. I hiked a few kilometers on the trail from First Mustus Lake

Boreal Trail

First Mustus Lake. Not a soul around.