Friday, February 27, 2009

End of the Rails - SkyWatch Friday

This is part of a series of posts of a trip across Canada by rail that began in Vancouver, BC. As the trip comes to an end the sun finally struggles to make an appearance just north of Toronto.
Our last day of travel is Ontario's near north and cottage country, this is south of McTier near Georgian Bay.
Not looking too much like summer near Washago, Ontario!

I dosed off through the suburbs but got the Bloor Street Viaduct over the Don Valley.

And finally downtown Toronto with it's landmark CN Tower, the world's tallest free standing structure from it's completion in 1975 until 2007 at 1815 ft. The sun was finally making it's appearance and it was spring-like out!

For more great skies from around the world go to SkyWatch Friday.

Wednesday's Travails

Today we travelled through the Ontario northland all day and saw trees and telegraph poles...

and telegraph poles and trees....

the occassional dwelling in the middle of nowhere...

and more trees and snow but still no sun.

We lost our dome car last night to a chipped wheel which occurred near Edmonton, Alberta. Apparently we were in no danger but they thought it better to be safe rather than sorry and tell us after the fact! As a result we were held captive for the 36 hours to Toronto while we made up time stopping only to pick up and let off passengers and to check our wheels!
Does that rear one look flat to you?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Continuing...without WiFi

We entered Winnipeg, Manitoba an hour ahead of schedule and to freezing temperatures. This is an area called The Forks, located where the Assiniboine River joins the Red River just before we enter the station. An historical gathering place but tonight the temperature was -40*C one was gathering! Winnipeg is Canada's coldest city!

We had a four hour layover and it had been hot and stuffy on the train so I went for a walk....brrrr. As I headed down to The Forks I encountered this beautiful ice sculpture of a castle, there was also an ice maze and ice frame where you could get photo taken in. These are part of the winter long activities at the Forks. Another piece of beautiful sculpture is Union Station, steeped in history and beautifully restored. Travelling this route I realized many of the old stations have been sold as railways divest themselves of passenger service and focus on freight. It was really sad to see the number of abandoned and derelict old stations along the route.
The ceiling inside the station. (Click on photo more detail).

Winnipeg, Manitoba is Mile "0" of the Yellowhead Highway which traverses the four western provinces of Canada ending at Mile"1845" (Km. 2960) at Masset BC on the north end of Haida Gwaii. It derives it name from the pass that it crosses going through the Canadian Rockies. The solid red line on this map is our train's route, the dotted line shows the western route of the Yellowhead Highway. VIA RAIL's train the Skeena covers this part of the highway and was the original route of the first railroad across Canada to the coast.

From Vancouver to Winnipeg across four provinces we have travelled 2457 km. We will travel 2217 km. through Ontario to Toronto!
For those asking about VIA RAIL rates please click the hyperlink. The rates are open to all travellers, Canadians or others!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Journey continues....

Mother Nature was having her way with us and shrouded the most majestic Mt. Robson, tallest peak in Canada. We are crossing the continental divide at Yellowhead Pass.
The clouds started to lift as we entered Jasper. Of all things this is a Haida totem pole in downtown Jasper with Marmot Mountain in the background. The building on top is the upper terminus of the tramway with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains on a good day.
Our trusty chariot, VIARAIL'S Canadian 2. If you ever have a chance take this trip. If you are 60 or older you are considered a senior(I prefer "senior-in-training") and you can travel from Vancouver to Toronto for as little as $306.00 (birth extra) AND you can take a friend with you for free!!!! There are lots of other great deals too.
Jasper is a National Park so you can not knowing kill any animals, so these elk have right of way even with the likes of a diesel locomotive!
Leaving Jasper National Park. Cold temperatures and minimal snow makes for great skating ponds.
Monday morning we woke east of Edmonton and in whiteout conditions which lasted until dusk for the most part.
Hopefully some sun tomorrow! We are in Winnipeg, Manitoba on a four hour layover and it is living up to it's nickname of WINTERPEG! More pictures tomorrow!

Monday, February 23, 2009

On the rails....

Island woman meets big city....learning some lessons on reflections

Starting point of the Via Rail's Canadian on a rainy night in Vancouver from the Sky Train platform.

This morning there was snow
Frozen Bridal Vail Falls, just before the Great Divide.....

See you soon we are stopped in Jasper Alberta

Friday, February 20, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane.....

I'm leaving on a jet plane today and a cross Canada train tomorrow to visit family and friends and house sit for a couple of months.....

Queen Charlotte Harbour with Sleeping Beauty Mountain this morning at 10:30 a.m.

I'll be back!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

SkyWatch Friday #32

These were taken when I got my first digital camera. It was a simple point and shot. I had also just moved into this wonderful place overlooking the inlet and was just having fun taking pictures.

Happy Skywatch Friday everyone!

For more beautiful skies from around the world go to SkyWatch Friday

Oh happy day!
President Barack Obama and Governor General Michaelle Jean
Ottawa Canada

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spring is definitely in the air....

There is so much joy in the rebirth of the earth.

Friday, February 13, 2009

SkyWatch Friday #31

The tides are low and the sun is warm....
it is a day to walk on the beach....
and appreciate everything she has to offer...large and small... Happy SkyWatch Friday
For more beautiful skies from around the world go to SkyWatch Friday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Is he holding it up or is he pushing it over?
It's all about perspective.

Visit Wordless Wednesday to see what other people aren't saying this week..

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My World - Is this COOL or what?

If you haven't heard about the "Best Job in the World" you have been dwelling far too long on the state of our economy. Australia is looking for a "caretaker" for Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef. If interested you have eleven days left to apply but if you decide this isn't up your alley why not support Micheal of the Yukon? This guy is leaving nothing to chance! Good Luck Michael!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A morning walk

I walk everywhere. I have always walked. I have a drivers licence but I don't own a car and find if I really need one one is available. I think it's that need for connection to the earth that keeps me on my feet.

This morning as I went about my business a fog lay over the inlet. There was a feeling of spring in the air, new bird song and the warmth of the morning sun burning off the fog. I stopped and had coffee on the deck of Queen B's Cafe and watched the fog pull back from the harbour. Bonnie's deck is usually a hive of activity but this morning it was just me and the boats...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

SkyWatch Friday #30

I am always amazed at how the land, sea and sky can become one. This scanned photo was taken the first day I came to the Islands in 1999. I had arrived by seaplane from the mainland and my introduction to the islands began with a drive out and on to North Beach. I remember asking my host to stop so I could get out and take a first on the islands! I was amazed at how a beach could give up a reflection and how everything became one!

For more great sky pictures from around the world go to SkyWatch Friday.

Monday, February 02, 2009

A Bloggers (Silent) Poetry Reading

This is one of my all time favourite poems. I had to memorize it in school when I was ten and I have never forgotten it. I often repeat it before I sleep. Soaring(gliding) is on my Bucket List!


High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No. 412 Squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941


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