My perspective on Canada.
Having lived in three provinces (Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario) and travelled to all but one of the provinces has given me a great appreciation of Canada’s uniqueness.
Recently I had a conversation with some friends about the Canada Day celebrations and we got to talking about the diversity and dynamics we enjoy living here. For me I’ve grown up with the appreciation of the majestic landscapes, great foods, our worldly recognized wines, beers and spirits, a naturally caring society and endless opportunities and freedoms here in Canada.
Through my posts here at tastetravels.ca I look back and realize that this theme comes through each time.
The following are some fun facts about Canada:
- Canada is HUGE! It’s 9 984 670 sq km and comprised of 6 time zones.
- Canada is also home to the longest street in the world. Yonge Street in Ontario starts at Lake Ontario, and runs north through Ontario to the Minnesota border, a distance of almost 2000 kilometres.
- Canada has the world’s longest coastline at 202 080 km.
- The largest Sony big screen in the world, measuring 10 m x 33.6 m is in Toronto Ontario.
- Canada’s only desert in British Columbia is only 15 miles long and is the only desert in the world with a long boardwalk for visitors to walk on.
Some Canadian inventions:
- The IMAX movie system
- McIntosh Red apple, Canola and Pablum
- The Walkie-Talkie, Amplitude modulation (used in AM radio) and Standard time
- Go figure that the snow blower was invented here
- Table hockey game
- The hockey goalie mask
- Five pin bowling
- Basketball was invented by a Canadian living in the USA
- The first wheelchair accessible bus
- The hydrofoil boat
- The Canadarm
- The snowmobile
- The Electric wheelchair
- Prosthetic hand
- Instant Replay for sports
- Trivial Pursuit
- Cardiac pacemaker
- Alkaline battery
- Caulking gun and the list can go on and on …
I’d love to hear about your great stories of Canada.
Have you ever had a goal that you just never got around to planning on how you’d achieve it? I’ve recently tackled one of those to cycle through Niagara-on-the-Lake. Next will be the Twenty Valley area along the escarpment, www.20valley.ca.
All ready to go
www.niagaraparks.com has lots of details on the area.
My wife & I took up the challenge a few weeks ago, strapped the bikes on the car and took off down to NOTL. Here’s a rundown of what we did and some recommendations along the way.
A place we’ve found to be quite enjoyable is the Niagara On The Lake Golf Club. This is where we started our day with a view of Lake Ontario while we enjoyed breakfast. It’s also a great spot to have lunch out on the patio. There’s not many parking spots at the course itself but along Front Street there’s plenty of free parking. We left the car there, got on our bikes and headed towards Fort George at the end of Byron Street. The park around the fort is good for picnics and it’s the start of the Niagara Parkway Recreational Trail. On a side note, during the war of 1812 Fort George served as the headquarters for the British Army so there’s plenty of history to absorb here. If you’re interested www.friendsoffortgeorge.ca/fort-george/index.html.
After cycling past Fort George and the Paradise Grove Park you come out right beside the Parkway. We decided to stop at Lailey Vineyard, which is one of those good stories of a family run businesses that has grown through a few generations. This is where we realized that the next time we cycle along the parkway we need to have baskets or a trailer so that we can carry some wines back with us after some taste travels. Across the street there’s also a great picnic area at McFarland Park. About three kilometers up the Parkway we crossed the street again to taste some wines at Riverview Cellars Winery.
At this point we thought we’d travel back towards Inniskillin Wines. The weather was amazing with lots of sun and a bit of a strong wind (which added to exercise benefits of the day). We took some extra time here as we had brought along some cheeses, crackers and fruit since it was getting close to lunch time. We tasted some great wines at Inniskillin but bought a glass to take outside and sat at the picnic tables set out in the courtyard to enjoy. What a view of the vines, the Parkway and rich colours. We left and cycled back along the Niagara Parkway past Reif Estates (which I highly recommend to stop and enjoy some great tasting wines) and turned left along Line 2. Here’s where we headed straight into the wind. Now we were earning our wine tastings. Staying on Line 2 until we passed Concession 3 Road we came up to Pondview Estate Winery on the left. This is a good place with a fresh natural wood setting inside with unique tasting tables. With the music playing softly we had a good conversation with the friendly staff. I’m always encouraging my friends to make sure they engage with the winery staff as it’s a great way to learn plus you meet some very interesting people along the way.
My cycling companion
Now it was time to head back towards the town so we took Line 2 across to Concession 4 Road where we turned right to go north to Niagara Stone Road which is approximately 2.5 kilometers. The cycling path continues along Niagara Stone Road . Although we didn’t stop in this time we cycled passed Joseph’s Estate Winery, Stratus Vineyards and Jackson Triggs. Niagara Stone Road turns into Mississauga Street once you get into the town of NOTL. If you’re not able to bring your own bikes along you’ll see Zoom Leisure Bike Rentals here which is one of the local rental shops. A right hand turn onto Queen Street (the main road through town) and a quick left on Simcoe Street gets us back to the golf course and our car. A 20kms ride with great stops along the way!
There’s a number of B&B’s in this area and in particular the Oban Inn has a good restaurant if you like to try something nice. Lunches have a good selection for under $20 and most of the dinner plates are $30+.
We’ll definitely be doing this again and most likely staying overnight to get even more enjoying for our TasteTravels.