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“My Canada” is the final chapter of the journey all across Canada; however, it is not the end. During this marvelous journey we had a chance to see so many places from the west to the east, from Vancouver to Toronto. Obviously, there are so many cities, towns and villages worth visiting in Canada and they are to be covered in the future.
What: “Travel Smart” series
Let us take a look at how it all began. We had our start in the city of Vancouver, very beautiful and green, inspirational and dreamy. My experience was lovely; I tried to enjoy everything, since I had seen it on TV only (and the Internet) and then I got there and could see it all and feel the spirit of the west coast. Yes, Vancouver is expensive, but it is worth it. You have so many opportunities, so many directions to go, very picturesque nature, and even understanding that this part of Canada is almost the edge of the country, and the sun sets in Vancouver… wouldn’t It be great to see it? Definitely, it would!
Speaking about directions to go, I had so many places I wanted to go but could not due to my schedule. However, I was told (and had heard that before) about Whistler, a lovely place for people to have rest. It is like Aspin in the United States, but Whistler is a Canadian wonder. It is 1.5 hour-drive from Vancouver; however, time may vary due to a slippery road in winter and any/or any other circumstances. But Whistler is for sure on my “to visit and to see list”; therefore, the journey will have a way to continue.
Another place in Vancouver I wanted to visit, but I decided to leave it for the next time, it is Vancouver Film Studios. That studio is located 3500 Cornett Road. The studio has filmed such TV-series and movies as Fantastic Four, Fringe, I Robot, and many many many more. I am sure most of us would love to see it and feel the spirit of action.
If you Google different filming studios in Vancouver, you are going to discover a lot more. There are plenty of them in the city and outside with many world famous TV-series being shot, for example, Supernatural, or those which were shot some time ago, for instance, Smallville, the X-Files.
If you travel on your own and quite flexible with your own time, you can manage to see a lot. There are far more places to visit than guides might recommend you.
When you take subway, do not be surprised that trains have no drivers. It is fully automatic, but except the IT, surveillance, and other required services. All subway trains in Canada have no drivers in them. However, I heard a rumor of considering a possibility to get back to people again rather than relying solely on machines. Well, let us see how far it might develop.
And before we move on, I would like to share something special and valuable to me. A friend and colleague of mine from Renshaw Travel has told me about that very memorable moment in Vancouver, i.e. the final day of the Olympics 2010, when there was a final goal scored by Sidney Crosby and the whole city screamed at once YEAH! It was the moment which changed a lot; Canada has become the champion not only in hockey but in the Olympics taking most of golden medals. I remember this because it had and has a great importance for Canada.
Another chapter of the journey was in the city of Victoria, the most English city of Canada, so charming and glorious, gorgeous and intriguing. The city has so many different looks, it makes you think of truly important things, especially standing by the ocean and looking at the horizon. Yes, it is worth going there and better if you have a couple more days to be able to explore more places on Vancouver Island. It is very beautiful and breath-taking. There is something special about the city of Victoria; it is really hard to explain that. You just need to feel it yourself. Victoria is a very different city, very distant from most of the business centers, but, maybe, it is why the city is so special. Believe me you will fall in love with the city. Try to get to all places of your own interest, enjoy it.
Canada is a very interesting, beautiful, large and gorgeous country. It has a perfect mix of old classics and modern looks, crazy extremes and calm, quiet life. The country is spectacular in all its variety. Canadians love to have fun making life easier and simpler. I think it is truly great. You can see it on the way people express themselves by decorating their homes before Christmas, by creating a small paradise on the front and backyards. They also paint their cars in different colors, creating pictures on them, or simply getting funny names on their license plates. They cost a little more but definitely worth it. Besides, on each license plate in Canada you can see the slogan of the province, for instance, Quebec has “Je Me Souviens”, Ontario has “Yours To Discover”, Manitoba has “Friendly Manitoba”, British Columbia has “Beautiful British Columbia”, and so on.
Another chapter of the journey brought us to Winnipeg, so different and so interesting. The city of Winnipeg has its own unique “face”, keeping it history and secrets, showing the rest of Canada new stuff and being one of the oldest (among large) cities of Canada. In some part of downtown area you might feel “deja-vu” as if you are in Chicago with all mafia actions going on. Some building do remind of it. I think it is very unique because of many reason, but this is definitely one of them. Winnipeg has a lot to offer even not being very popular among tourists yet. But the city is developing rapidly and someday there might be plenty of new things appearing. Being in the middle of the country, it has a lot of ways both through and around the city. Winnipeg is really different from many other Canadian cities. You just need to explore it and be pleasantly surprised of how wide in its diversity the city is.
Earlier I mentioned my trip from Winnipeg to Toronto. I traveled by train and it was a long journey with lots of emotions. It was my second trip to Toronto. The first one was back in 2007. This one took place in 2012. Well, the company called Via Rail is operating all across Canada and trains come all the way from Vancouver to Toronto through Winnipeg. So, I took my train in Winnipeg in the evening (it was a little delay) but the train seemed pretty comfortable. Since trains are not popular any longer, they have more than half of sits vacant. So, a passenger is able to use two sits to sleep (if it is an economy class). The trip has its way to the north covering some important villages and towns and going through the wild forest. You can see many beautiful lakes, different landscapes, wild animals, dawns and sunsets, changing weather and many more. Such kind of a trip gives you a lot of thinking, a lot of new perception of the world.
After Winnipeg we had a great trip to the resort called Clear Lake and a town of Boissevain. There we could see small towns in the middle of Canada with their own look and history. Clear Lake is popular among students and families. People like the place for its location, nature and convenience. There are plenty of resorts all across Canada and Clear Lake is one of them. I guess it is mainly popular among Winnipeggers.
In contrast to Clear Lake, Boissevain is different. It has more of historic meaning and traditional look. It is a nice place for families, very safe and clean. I would recommend it as one of your stops on your way. My favorite place in Boissevain is that old railroad station. It is not in use anymore, just a painting on the wall as a reminder of its initial purpose. There is a warehouse or a shop inside of that building now, but the station itself does not exist. When I was there I wondered if trains were still going on the rail, and I was told that they were going there but not passenger trains, just with the harvest and other stuff inside. There is also a good bar in front of the church; there you can find a picture on the wall of old Boissevain. It is very amazing. As for the church, it has unusual colors and style, thus making it more attractive. I think Boissevain has a lot to offer if you are open to new things.
Being in Boissevain I had a chance to visit a small town nearby, it is called Killarney. It is a small town, also beautiful and unusual. I was there when it was a Christmas season coming, so there was a Santa Claus Parade even there. Killarney is closer to the U.S. border than Boissevain. If you are in Boissevain, take your time to visit Killarney as well.
Describing Canada is not always an easy thing to do. Canada is very different and sometimes you just have to see it to feel it. It is like a sense of a place, i.e. when it is impossible to describe or to take a picture of the place and keep the same feeling. And when it comes to some small issues typical for Canada, sometimes it is a matter of perception. I liked what I saw in Canada. All the roads are good; everything is equipped in a proper way, for instance, all buses have special platform for the wheelchairs and baby carriages. Also, all buses in North America have special holders for bicycles in front of the wheel shield. All school buses have special signs STOP on the left side, so that drivers could see that the bus has stopped to let kids in. Moreover, there is a special light on the roof, like a lighthouse in case of emergency (so that it could be seen from a helicopter).
Another chapter of the journey was in a world famous place, Niagara Falls. We discovered it as a town with lots of casinos, hotels, restaurants, shops, and many more. It is also a great family place for people of all ages, so that kids are never bored and adults are never tired of constant fun. Niagara Falls is a magic place, being near one of the world`s wonders is really special. Being in such place is really making people appreciate what we all have in this world. It is the beauty of the falls in its natural purity and splendor.
This is truly unbelievable how different and beautiful Canada is with all of its wonders of the world, with its unique society, lifestyle and spirit. Canadians are proud to be Canadians with no exceptions. They make better service for themselves, trying to simplify everything that is possible. For instance, self-checkout system is widely implemented in Canada nowadays, especially in large supermarkets. Not many people still know how to use it properly, but it does save time for those who do know how to do that. Self-checkouts are meant to reduce the waiting time in a line. There is a constant surveillance and all customers are monitored. There are many pros and cons concerning this service; however, it is used in most of large supermarkets even not only in Canada.
Before moving on to the final for now chapter of the journey, I would like to say a few words about my first trip to Canada, i.e. to Toronto in 2007. My flight was through Frankfurt, Germany, and (logically) it was Lufthansa operating in Europe and AirCanada flying to Toronto. I liked the trip and everything was very comfortable. Unlike Pulkovo II airport in St. Petersburg, Russia where my flight was from, the airport in Frankfurt was huge and very comfortable. Pulkovo II is very small and old airport. You have to wait in the line for long (sometimes not knowing where this line goes to). Also, when you finally get to the required Gate, passengers go through the check and once you get through, you cannot go out even to the toilet; otherwise, you will have to go through the security check once again. Besides, the place where you wait for your flight is very small and there is too little air in it. That is what travelers might want to know when considering their trips to St. Petersburg. The opening of a new terminal is expected (late 2013) and the situation might change due to such development.
The airport in Frankfurt is very big and comfortable; you can wait and relax while reading, drinking something or simply checking you e-mail. I can definitely say that all Lufthansa planes as well as AirCanada planes are very comfortable and safe. I had most enjoyable trip due to a perfect operation of both companies.
So, now it is time to take a look at our final (for now) chapter of the great and long journey in Canada, i.e. the city of Toronto. As shown in the chapter, Toronto is the largest city of Canada and the most important one (beside its capital, Ottawa). My first impression of Toronto was back in 2007 at the airport, it was very huge and unexplored to me. But my first real impression of the city, to be more precise, downtown, was very amazing. I got off the subway train on Union Station and got out on the street, Front St. W., and saw those skyscrapers. I could never forget that feeling. It is unbelievable.
I suppose that many people would feel the same seeing it for the first time, even seeing it many times still makes you marvel and admire it. Toronto is one of my favorite places in the world, very unique with its own culture, history and spirit. Near Toronto City Hall and Old City Hall, which are both very beautiful, you can see the ice skating place for people in winter and lovely fountain in summer.
There you can probably think of the U.S. Rockefeller Center, where people skate every winter and gather to see many celebrations. I would say this is one of such place in Toronto (near the Old City Hall), where you can link it with the “southern neighbor”.
There are plenty of places in Toronto for citizens, tourists and visitors. Any season is good for this city, either you are in summer or in winter. In summer you have all attractions you like, starting from water attractions and simple walk, finishing with helicopter flights. In winter you can find yourself skating in the city center and enjoying all Christmas preparation. During late October – November you can see most of the shop windows are like screens showing Christmas stories. There are toys and toy villages behind the windows. People do not just pass them by; they stop to look at them. This is popular especially in downtown Toronto. You can receive a little bit of Christmas spirit and great emotions. I believe that it is very important for Canada and people living in this marvelous country.
To conclude this chapter of the journey, I would like to add one more thing, but, perhaps, you already know it. There is a typical Canadian “EH” in everything and Can-EH-dians are proud of that. You can often hear it from citizens and see it as part of signs on souvenirs and T-shorts, and even famous maple syrup is pronounced as m-EH-ple. Usually, it is used to ask “isn’t it?” or in some other cases as well. There are so many interesting typically CanEHdian things yet to be discovered. Therefore, travel, dream, enjoy and explore, and our journey is to be continued… EH?
Kirill “Traveler” Malyutin
About Travel Smart series:
“Travel Smart” is a section, narrating about different countries and good travel tips, advised by the author, Kirill Malyutin. The series contains recommendations, including selected places to visit, character accommodation, and reasonable shopping. Simply get inspiration!All stories of the series →
О серии «Travel Smart»:
«Travel Smart» – раздел, в котором автор Кирилл Малютин рассказывает о разных странах и дает необходимые в путешествии советы. Серия включает в себя рекомендации по посещенным автором местам, характерным средствам размещения, а также разумному шопингу. Вдохновитесь приключением!Все выпуски серии →