Sunday, October 31, 2010

Window on Canada: Halloween in Quebec's Eastern Townships



I spotted this couple in Dunham, Quebec several autumns ago while visiting La Belle Province's Eastern Townships. I'm not sure who or what they were representing, but to me, they're Mr. & Mrs. Halloween!

Also in Dunham is Quebec's oldest vineyard, Domaine des Cotes d’Ardoise. It's located along Quebec's Wine Route (La Route des Vins), created in 2003.

If you're a dog lover, and Fifi or Fido goes with you everywhere, here's a list of dog friendly motels in the Eastern Townships.

Photo by Sue Frause

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halifax's Old Burying Ground and other Canadian cemeteries

Photos of Old Burying Ground in Halifax by Sue Frause.
Last year, during my cross-country VIA Rail Canada train trip that started in Halifax, I visited the Old Burying Ground. Located in downtown Halifax at the corner of Barrington Street and Spring Garden Road, it was created in 1749 as the first burial ground in the city.

It closed in 1843, but today is open to the public, where you'll see more than 1,000 headstones. According to the University of Calgary, it may be the oldest cemetery in the Maritime Provinces.

In British Columbia, one of my favorite cemeteries is Ross Bay Cemetery, where artist Emily Carr is buried. Here's a documentary video produced by the British Columbia Provincial Capital Commission.

For more cemetery tales, click on Canadian Roadstories (Glenn and Judy's Excellent Adventures in Canada).




Thursday, October 28, 2010

Top Ten Best New Restaurants in Canada 2010

Charcut Roast Huse in Calgary. Sue Frause photo.
I have some serious eating and drinking to do. Air Canada's enRoute magazine has announced the winner of Canada's Best New Restaurant 2010. As Canada's most respected restaurant honor, it includes the Top Ten Best New Restaurants in Canada.

enRoute magazine and contributing food writer, Sarah Musgrave, toured the nation for its ninth annual survey. To qualify, the winning restaurants had to have opened between the summers of 2009 and 2010.

The number one resto? Haisai in Singhampton, Ontario. "Dinner here is a fairy tale, the kind with a very happy ending." (Sarah Musgrave)

Sad to say I've only been to one of the top ten, and it was a highlight during a summer culinary road trip in Alberta with Chef Ned BellCharcut Roast House in Calgary. I'm hoping to experience the three restos in BC during the coming year, since they're just up the road (as the seagull flies). BonAppetit!

enRoute's Top Ten Best New Restaurants in Canada 




Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Canadian Word of the Day: Process (how do you pronounce it?)

Embassy of Canada in Washington, DC. Photo by Sue Frause.

I just watched a Canadian politician on CBC say the word process at least a dozen times. Each and every time he pronounced it pro-cess. Not prah-cess, as most Americans pronounce it.

Since I spend a fair amount of time in Canada, once in awhile I'll slip and pronounce it pro-cess. But some Canadians I know don't go that route, especially those in BC, they're more apt to say prah-cess like their neighbors south of the 49th Parallel.

Dictionary.com goes with the prah-cess pronunciation. According to Wikipedia, there's such a thing as Canadian English. Here's the introduction to the entry:
"Canadian English is the variety of English spoken in Canada. English is the first language, or "mother tongue", of approximately 18 million Canadians (57%), and more than 28 million (86%) are fluent in the language.[2] 76% of Canadians outside Quebec speak English natively, but within Quebec the figure drops to just 8%. Canadian English contains elements of British English and American English in its vocabulary, as well as several distinctive "Canadianisms." In many areas, speech is influenced by French, and there are notable local variations. Canada has very little dialect diversity compared to the United States. The phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon for most of Canada are similar to that of the Western and Midland regions of the United States. The Canadian Great Lakes region has similarities to that of the Upper Midwest & Great Lakes region and/or Yooper dialect (in particular Michigan which has extensive business ties with Ontario), while the phonological system of western Canadian English is virtually identical to that of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and the phonetics are similar.[4] As such, Canadian English and American English are sometimes classified together as North American English. Canadian English spelling is largely a blend of British and American conventions."
And there's even an online Canadian Slang Dictionary.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Manoir Hovey in Quebec's Eastern Townships: 3 nights for 2



I wrote about Quebec's Manoir Hovey in a previous post after visiting Quebec's Eastern Townships in the early autumn.

Last year, they offered three nights for the price of two, and it was so popular they're repeating it again in 2010-11.

For any two-night stay from now until Feb. 27, 2011*, the third night is free at this romantic lakeside inn. Included are four-course dinners, full breakfasts and gratuities (except on the 3rd night).

Rates start at $290 CAD per person, double occupancy for the three nights, including two gourmet dinners, two full breakfasts and services for two people.

*Not applicable from 12/24/2010 to 01/03/2011 and 02/11-14, 2011. Third night is valid from Sunday to Friday only.



Photos by Sue Frause

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Inuit prints on display at Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC



The Embassy of Canada in Washington, DC is located on one of the prime pieces of real estate in the nation's capital. Situated at 501 Pennsylvania Avenue, it's adjacent to the Newseum and north of the National Gallery of Art.

Canada's embassy, designed by BC architect Arthur Erickson, opened in 1989. According to Wikipedia, "Canada is the first, and so far only nation, to build an embassy so close to the Capitol."

A gallery is open to the public. Currently on exhibit is Nipirasait: Many Voices. The collection of 36 Inuit prints celebrates the 50th anniversary of Kinngait Studios of Cape Dorset in Nunavut. It's being presented in partnership with St. Lawrence University, and showcases a portrait of Inuit life and culture in the Canadian Arctic.

The exhibition runs through Dec. 30, 2010. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday from 9-5.

Embassy of Canada in Washington, DC
Photo by Sue Frause

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hunter S. Thompson's job application to the Vancouver Sun


The classic letter below has been making the rounds on the internet since the Ottawa Citizen published it on Oct. 1, 2010.

It's from gonzo writer Hunter S. Thompson to the Vancouver Sun. Thompson, living in New York York's Greenwich Village at the time, is looking for a job. The letter is dated Oct. 1, 1958.
Sir,

I got a hell of a kick reading the piece Time magazine did this week on The Sun. In addition to wishing you the best of luck, I'd also like to offer my services.

Since I haven't seen a copy of the "new" Sun yet, I'll have to make this a tentative offer. I stepped into a dung-hole the last time I took a job with a paper I didn't know anything about (see enclosed clippings) and I'm not quite ready to go charging up another blind alley.

By the time you get this letter, I'll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I'll let my offer stand. And don't think that my arrogance is unintentional: it's just that I'd rather offend you now than after I started working for you.

I didn't make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he'd tell you that I'm "not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person." (That's a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.)

Nothing beats having good references.

Of course if you asked some of the other people I've worked for, you'd get a different set of answers.

If you're interested enough to answer this letter, I'll be glad to furnish you with a list of references — including the lad I work for now.

The enclosed clippings should give you a rough idea of who I am. It's a year old, however, and I've changed a bit since it was written. I've taken some writing courses from Columbia in my spare time, learned a hell of a lot about the newspaper business, and developed a healthy contempt for journalism as a profession.

As far as I'm concerned, it's a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you're trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I'd like to work for you.

Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews.

I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don't give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations.

I would rather be on the dole than work for a paper I was ashamed of.

It's a long way from here to British Columbia, but I think I'd enjoy the trip.

If you think you can use me, drop me a line.

If not, good luck anyway.

Sincerely, Hunter S. Thompson

MeidaJobs Daily has a fun piece titled, Would Hunter Have Gotten Hired Today With That Letter?

The Vancouver skyline looked quite a bit different when Hunter S. Thompson wrote his letter 52 years ago. This shot is taken from Pacific Coastal Airlines on Oct. 15, 2010. Photo by Sue Frause.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Justin BIeber fever hits Vancouver tweens, teens and moms


I'm admittedly not in the Justin Bieber loop. Oh sure, I've heard of the pop singer; I know he's Canadian; and I even blogged about him back in March. Plus those Justin Bieber do's (don'ts?) have taken over the heads of many a young lad.

Last week while boarding Pacific Coastal Airlines in BC's Powell River on the Sunshine Coast for my flight to Vancouver, I grabbed The Province for some quick reading on the 25-minute flight.

Much to my surprise, JB was on the cover! Inside, there were a myriad of stories about the super star's descent upon Vancouver. Bieber arrived from Tokyo on Oct. 14 at YVR (Vancouver International Airport), where a local paparazzi spotted him and undoubtedly sold his/her pics to the media.

Justin Bieber is in concert Tuesday night, Oct 18 at Rogers Arena (formerly General Motors Place or GM Place). It looks like there are still tickets available, ranging from $127-$670 (US).

A previous story in The Province is the one that really made my eyes roll: Justin Bieber Launching Line of Nail Polish ... no, really.

Justin hair on the guys is one thing, but Justin nails? The OPI line is called One Less Lonely Girl, available exclusively at Walmart in December.

OK, every generation has its teen idols. Mine just happened to be The Beatles.

Justin Bieber on the cover of The Province
Photo by Sue Frause

Monday, October 11, 2010

An American in Canada for Canadian Thanksgiving, Eh?


I think this is the third or fourth time I've been in Canada for Canadian Thanksgiving. The first was pre-internet, back in the late '70s, when some Canucks invited us up to celebrate their October feast in Egmont. All I remember is it took us a bazillion hours to get there from Whidbey Island, the food and wine were both plentiful, but it was a wee bit strange to be celebrating it a month early.

Then there was 2008, which I blogged about in the Seattle P-I. And the following year, in 2009, I waxed on about it in my Closet Canuck blog.

So here it is, 2010, and once again I'm in British Columbia for Canadian Thanksgiving. But I still can't figure out when they actually celebrate it with the full meal deal. Since their holiday is on a Monday, they most likely have their big turkey dinner on a Saturday or Sunday. If they had it on a Monday, then they'd have to go to work the following Tuesday, which wouldn't be good.

The best part about American Thanksgiving is that it's on a Thursday, which means turkey and all the trimmings on day one, leftovers on days two, three and four. A Canadian I met tonight said he was going to talk to Stephen Harper about changing the dates of Canada's Thanksgiving, as he thought ours made more sense. For once, the US does something right!

So what did I do on this national holiday in Canada? I spent the day and evening in Vancouver's North Shore, where I had a sublime facial at the Absolute Spa at Park Royal in West Vancouver, followed by the delicious Signature Afternoon Tea Service at The Urban Tea Merchant.

Later that evening, back at the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier, I enjoyed several glasses of Mission Hill Cabernet-Merlot along with some vegetarian spring rolls, even though there was turkey on the hotel's menu.

I'll save my real Thanksgiving dinner for Thursday, Nov. 25, back at home with Farmer Bob. That's when about 16 friends and relatives will gather round our custom-built holiday table and feast on turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberries and pumpkin and pecan pies.

As much as I love Canada, we Americans do Thanksgiving right!

Signature Afternoon Tea Service at Urban Tea Merchant
Photo by Sue Frause

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Northern BC's Prince George to host 2015 Canada Winter Games


Prince George, British Columbia has been named the host of the 2015 Canada Winter Games. It was announced last month by the Canada Games Council in front of the Olympic flame cauldron on Vancouver's Coal Harbour. This was only the second time the cauldron was lit since being extinguished during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games closing ceremonies.

In just over four years, Prince George will welcome Canada's best young, developing athletes to compete in 20 selected sports representing the best in their province or territory.

Other British Columbia cities vying for the venue included Kamloops and Kelowna. The selection process took 15 months.

Planning and preparations for the 2015 Canada Winter Games has already begun. Having hosted the 1973 Canada Summer Games in New Westminster and Burnaby and the 1993 Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, the 2015 Canada Games will mark the third time the Games are hosted in BC and the first time for British Columbia to host a Winter Games.

Key representatives from Prince George will attend the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halfax, Feb. 11-27.

In other chilly news, the 24th Annual Iceman Prince George is set for Feb. 13, 2010. It's part of Prince George's Snow Daze Winter Festival that runs Feb. 4-20, 2011.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Calgary and Spokane: No direct flights between the two cities


I recently spent a very fun 24 hours in Spokane, Washington. It was one of those perfect autumn days, with sunshine and blue skies, and lunch on the patio at the Red Lion River Inn overlooking the Spokane River. Not bad for an October afternoon!

After touring nearby Gonzaga University, an easy walk along Spokane's Centennial Trail, my friends and I indulged in some wine tasting at Caterina Winery, topped off by an opening night performance of South Pacific at INB Performing Arts Center. What a fantastic production!

I've always send a similarity between Spokane and Calgary; even their website addresses are similar. They're both inland cities located on rivers, and although mid-city cool with fine dining and an abundance of arts and culture, the friendly and folksy feel makes them pleasantly small-town. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that there are no direct flights between Spokane and Calgary. Really?

One Spokane local said Spokane is a popular destination for Calgarians and Albertans. And even though it's 691 KM between the two cities, the majority of them drive. After all, if you want to fly, you have to switch planes in either Vancouver (Air Canada) or Seattle (Alaska/Horizon).

I suggest that Alaska/Horizon put the Spokane-Calgary route on their future fly list.


The Great Northern Railroad Depot Tower looms over the Spokane River
Photo by Sue Frause

Monday, October 04, 2010

Bachman-Turner Overdrive returns as Bachman & Turner with album/tour


I was a big fan of Bachman-Turner Overdrive back in that other century. The Winnipeg-based band (also known as BTO), sold more than seven million records back in the 1970s, and the gearheads are still listening to such tunes as Takin' Care of Business.

After 20 years, Randy Bachman and Fred Turner have reunited as Bachman & Turner, with both a new album and a tour. The self-titled studio album, Bachman & Turner (B&T), includes new rock tracks that fit alongside such classic hits as You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet.

October 2010 tour dates include the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, CA on Oct. 14; Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella, CA on Oct. 16; and the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA on Oct. 17.