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Janis and I had the pleasure of spending a week in Paris in 2011 to mark our thirtieth anniversary and we loved it. One of the truly fabulous cities in the world. I’ve written about a number of our experiences there but never got around to writing about Notre Dame. We visited that grand piece of history on our fourth day.
Construction on the cathedral started in 1160 and was completed one hundred years later. Although many of its religious icons were destroyed by the anti-clerical French Revolution, the interest sparked by Hugo’s great novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, led to a major restoration project in 1844. It has undergone various renovations ever since and was undergoing one when it caught fire on April 15th, 2019.
The front facade shows its two bell towers, perhaps its most iconic feature which featured significantly in Victor Hugo’s novel. But before ascending the towers, we took a look inside with its vaulted ceilings and magnificent stained glass windows. Regrettably, I had a piece of crap camera back in the day which doesn’t really do it justice.
The stained glass features were made possible through the use of flying buttresses. These graceful arches on the outside of the building support the outward pressure of the walls, permitting the walls to be thinner and higher because of the reduction in mass.
But the pièce de resistance for us was the bell towers. There was a bit of a line-up as they can only be accessed by a long narrow staircase. But it was worth the wait. Only one tower, the South one, was open to the public at the time. A narrow walkway surrounds the tower.
The towers are sixty-nine meters high (226 feet) and were the tallest structures in Paris until the construction of the Eiffel Tower. The view is panoramic. The photo below shows the Pantheon to the South.
One of the interesting features of Notre Dame are its gargoyles, chimeras and Strixes. Gargoyles are the many rain spouts sticking out from the walls at intervals. Chimeras are statues of mythical creatures with the body of a lion and the head of a goat. And Strixes are flesh-eating creatures resembling an owl or bat.
We entered the bell tower and checked out the massive bells. The largest bell, known as the bourdon, survived the French Revolution intact. Many of the other bells were melted down by the revolutionaries. All the bells have names.
Looking up towards the skylight at the top, you can see that much of the superstructure is made of wood. Wooden construction makes it vulnerable to fire like the one that destroyed the Eastern part of the cathedral.
After visiting the bells we took a stroll around the outer walkway which gives you some excellent vantage pints for seeing the rest of the cathedral. The picture below is a composite of two mismatched photos which I fixed up a bit with Photoshop, but the bottom left and upper right were created by autofill and are a bit distorted. But it captures mot of the back end of the church which was destroyed in the fire.
Below is a view of some of the flying buttresses as seen from the tower.
Walking around the parapet we enjoyed spectacular views of the entire city. We also could see the North Bell Tower. Each tower also has a small turret off to the side and is covered by a skylight.
The plaza below the front facade of the church is a popular spot for Parisians to have lunch or just sit and enjoy the sunshine. The photo below shows a riverboat going by as well as many visitors to the plaza.
We leave our tour with a view of the spire or flèche which collapsed in the fire. After the picture you’ll find a link to an additional photo gallery.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Notre Dame and are much saddened by the fire that destroyed so much of it. It was an important piece of history and a fabulous work of art. We are grateful that we had an opportunity to visit it eight years ago. Below is a link to a photo gallery.
Besides being the capital of the province of Saskatchewan, Regina is also the home of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Academy, also known as Depot Division. Every Mountie in Canada is trained at this facility which covers several acres. Mounties have been trained there since 1885 and the place is steeped in history.
In 2007, the RCMP Heritage Centre was opened (shown at top). This 70,000 square foot building which sits on the front lawn of Depot Division was designed by noted architect Arthur Erickson. It is a museum featuring many artifacts relating to the history of the RCMP and the Canadian West.
We visited the Centre, located on Dewdney Avenue on Regina’s west side, in June 2018. We were in town to visit our son who had just moved there. The three of us arrived around 11:30 AM and discovered we were in time to take in the Sergeant-Major’s Parade. The tram left at 12:15 so we registered and spent a half hour checking out the museum before departure.
The tram does a complete circuit of the training facility, giving you good idea of the size and scope of the place. We first passed the Dufferin Building where new Mountie recruits live during their six months sojourn at the academy. Later in the museum, we would see a mock-up of some of the barracks to see how these new recruits lived.
After a short while, the tram pulled up beside a very large drill ground. We all clambered out to wait for the Sergeant-Major’s Parade. This takes place five days a week from Monday through Friday at 12:30 PM.
While waiting we checked out a Beechcraft dating from 1946 on display. The RCMP has used aircraft since 1937 as its mandate includes patrolling some of the more remote areas of Canada.
Then from our left, the parade started. This drill has the troops marching onto the parade ground and lining up for roll call and inspection. New recruits have to earn the right to wear the uniform and this right is granted in stages as they progress through training. New recruits, for example, wear running shoes instead of the dress black shoes of the uniform and they have to run rather than walk while on parade. Even the stripes on the Mounties pants have to be earned. The parade is led by a marching band made up of volunteers. The newer recruits bring up the rear. The video below shows the troops marching off the field after inspection.
After the parade we checked out the chapel nearby. This is the oldest remaining building in Regina, built as a mess hall in 1883. It was converted into a canteen and reading room in 1889. It was partially damaged by fire in March 1895 and reopened as a chapel in December that year. It was extended and had a steeple added in 1939.
The interior is amazing – lush woodwork all around with stained glass windows along the sides and in the back. The windows in the back show two Mounties, one with head bowed mourning a fallen comrade, and the other playing reveille on a bugle.
Our guide told us that much of the work on extending the chapel was financed by a $30 million bequest from a wealthy British woman. She had never been to Canada and never actually met a Mountie. But she became enamored of the Mounties after seeing a Hollywood movie about them.
We got back in the tram which toured us around the facility. We were asked not to take pictures of Mounties actually training. We did see one group practicing a take-down.
One of the classic old buildings is the Drill Hall. Built in 1929, it first served as a riding school. But horses were replaced by cars eventually and today the hall is used for foot drill and crowd control training. It also hosts the Mountie Graduation ceremonies and the occasional Regimental Ball.
We passed a shooting range and a driver training track as well.
Our trip brought us back to the Heritage Centre where we continued our tour. Saskatchewan became a province in 1905. Before that it was part of the Northwest Territories. The Mounties originated as the Royal Northwest Mounted Police.
Recently the rather left-wing mayor of Victoria, British Columbia decided to remove a statue of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, from in front of city hall. She argued that Macdonald was the architect of Canada’s residential school system for indigenous children, a system that continued until 1996. The residential schools have been widely condemned for separating native children from their parents and for abuses.
There are, however, two sides to Macdonald. The museum notes that the Royal Northwest Mounted Police was established by Macdonald as a response to a massacre of native Indians by white hunters.
The Mounties were patterned after the Royal Irish Constabulary and one of its mandates was to foster friendly relations with indigenous peoples. After the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, Chief Sitting Bull and 5000 of his Lakota tribesmen fled to Canada seeking the protection of the British crown.
Sitting Bull became good friends with NWMP Superintendent James Walsh. Walsh established a fort at Cypress Hills and was instrumental in developing some of the first treaties with native peoples.
However, Walsh’s replacement Lief Crozier was not as friendly, cutting off the Lakota’s food supply and forcing them to return to the United States.
Taming the wild frontier included keeping peace and order as the Canadian Pacific Railway was built and ensuring order in the gold rush days in Dawson City. One of the legendary Mounties of the day was Sam Steele who oversaw law and order among the 4000 workers on the railway and kept peace in Dawson.
Other displays include a machine gun brought in to help control the border between the Yukon and Alaska.
And there is a display of vehicles used over the history of the Mounties. These range from dogsled to snowmobile to the automobile. One classic car, a 1957 Meteor Rideau 500 is among the displayed vehicles.
And, of course, there is a section on the famous RCMP Musical Ride. I was surprised to learn how old the ride is. One display notes that the ride was a staple of agricultural fairs across the prairies by 1904. Discontinued during WWI, it was re-established after the war. Below is a picture of the ride in 1921.
One of the side displays is a virtual Musical Ride. You mount a saddle wearing a pair of virtual reality goggles and you find yourself jogging along with Mounties ahead of you and behind you. Lots of fun!
The Mounties are a storied part of Canadian history, a history that is well-told in this museum. There are historical artifacts galore accompanied by information boards. For gun buffs, you’ll find lots of antique weapons and what every gun enthusiast will love, a handgun lamp given to a Mountie who was a WWI veteran as a wedding gift!
You’ll find a display detailing the solving of a murder from beginning to end. There’s information on the St. Roch, the RCMP vessel that was the first ship to circumnavigate North America. The actual St. Roch is on permanent display at Vancouver’s Maritime Museum.
We spent several hours on our visit and enjoyed every minute of it. Below are some additional links including a Photo Gallery with additional pictures.
The life cycle of the Pacific sockeye salmon is a fascinating one. Although salmon are a salt water fish, they start life in fresh water. Every year in October thousands of salmon migrate back to the river of their origin to lay eggs. The eggs are fertilized by the males and stay buried in a gravel nest until they hatch in the spring. The eggs turn into alevin, a small fish with a yolk sac under its belly to provide nutrition. They remain buried in the gravel as they grow. When the yolk sac is used up, they emerge from the gravel as fry.
Sockeye differ in their life cycle at this point as the fry swim to a fresh water lake where they stay for a year growing into smolts. These smolts then migrate back to the ocean where they mature into adults. Near the end of their four year cycle they instinctively return to the creek they were hatched as spawners. Both male and female fish return. The female digs a nest about twenty centimetres deep and lays her eggs. The male deposits his milt to fertilize the eggs. After both are spent, they die, the salmon life cycle complete.
Other species of salmon follow a similar pattern but return to the sea as fry, not as smolts.
Salmon fishing is a major industry in British Columbia and, not surprisingly, people have made efforts to conserve and enhance the salmon stock. Weaver Creek, about 45 minutes from Abbotsford and two hours from Vancouver was the site of the first efforts at salmon enhancement in 1885.
In 1965, after several years of a declining salmon run (from an average of 20,000 sockeye salmon to just 12,000), a spawning channel was built about thirteen kilometres from Harrison Mills. Every year from October 8th to November 1st, the sockeye return to Weaver Creek to spawn. The facility is open to the public daily from October 6th to November 5th from 8 AM to 4 PM.
The tour is self-guided and works its way from the end of the channel to the beginning. There are many large signs along the way explaining the process. I am reversing the order here and starting at the beginning of the channel.
At the head end is weir to keep the salmon from heading upstream and diverting them to the spawning channel (on the left in the picture above).
The first part of their journey is a fishway, a series of four cascades which the fish have to navigate to get to the spawning channel.
These are the highest jumps the salmon must breach to head upstream. From there the fish move into a holding area. The picture at the beginning of this article shows a salmon leaping from the lower to the higher level of the holding pond.
Before they can get into the spawning channel itself, they are sorted and counted. Fisheries staff allow 30,000 sockeye, 2000 pink and 2000 chum salmon to enter the channel at a ratio of three females to every two males each fall. Surplus fish are directed back to Weaver Creek to spawn naturally.
Once past the gateway, the salmon enter the spawning channel itself, a winding stream almost four kilometres long. The channel is specially designed with a gravel bed where spawning occurs. The female fish digs tail down into the gravel create a hole about twenty centimetres deep. She lays her eggs and a male comes along and sprays his milt over the eggs. Then they are covered up and the fish continue along the channel.
A female salmon may build several nests before her supply of eggs are used up. Shortly after the salmon, both male and female, are spent, they die. In the wild, the carcasses wash downstream but in the channel, they are collected daily and buried elsewhere on site.
The fish go through a sort of dance or ritual in this whole process. You will see them milling about, sometimes one female chasing another away from a chosen nesting place. A male and female will pair up as a female will not deposit her eggs unless a male is nearby. The male are the larger of the salmon though they look quite similar.
The most fun to watch, of course, is salmon leaping over the waterfalls along the way. The earlier cascades in the stream are higher and take more effort to navigate. The ones in the actual channel are aluminum and are designed to aerate and oxygenate the water. Oxygen-enriched water helps the salmon. These aluminum barriers have a notch or hole in the middle and the salmon swim up through these notches though occasionally one will just jump over the barrier.
Below is a video I shot that shows first the fishway, second the holding area before the counting station, third fish milling about the stream, and lastly, fish swimming through the notch in an aluminum barrier.
The Weaver Creek Spawning Channel is open daily from 8 AM to 4 PM until November 5th. It is an almost park-like setting with walking paths and trees lining the banks. There is ample parking across the street from the hatchery. My wife and I enjoyed our visit a lot and highly recommend it.
There were two busloads of Asian tourists visiting while we were there, as well as couples with kids in tow. This is an excellent educational experience for school age children.
The peak of the salmon run is from October 15 to 25 so now is an opportune time to visit.
I should note that downstream is the Sandpiper Golf Course which has an excellent restaurant called the Clubhouse. We dropped by for dinner after our visit to Weaver Creek. If you’re a golfer you could make a day of it, doing some golfing a well as visiting the fishery. And Harrison Hot Springs is not far away as well.
And I should also note that, while the Weaver Creek spawners are collected and buried after they die, the many other salmon traveling up other creeks and rivers float back down the river naturally after they pass away. These fish are a favorite food source for bald eagles and the Sandpiper Golf Course is also the site of the annual Bald Eagle Festival. There you’ll see the “world’s largest concentrated gathering of bald eagles” in November. I’m told November 5th is the best date for eagle watching.
Since the salmon enhancement centre is open until November 5th, you might want to combine both if you visit in early November. There were no eagles to be seen when we went on Oct. 10th – too early in the season. And there may be fewer fish still making the run by November, so it’s a trade-off. We will be going back for the eagle festival.
Below are some links of interest followed by some more photos.
One of the highlights of the Margaret River Region about 300 kilometres south of Perth, Australia is a series of caves stretching from Dunsborough to Augusta. There are over a hundred of them and four have been developed as tourist attractions. These are the Ngilgi Cave near Yallingup, the Mammoth and Lake Caves not far from the town of Margaret River, and the Jewel Cave down towards Augusta.
On our recent visit to Margaret River we visited the Mammoth Cave. The name is ironic because, as caves go, it is on the small side. It runs 500 meters with a depth of 30 meters, although there is a side passage to explore as well. The Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, by contrast, has the longest network of surveyed passageways in the world – 640 kilometers of them!
But despite its compact size, this is an interesting cave to visit. It is the most easily accessible of the four public caves in the Margaret River region and we had no trouble trekking our two year old grand daughter with us. The trail through the cave consists of wooden boardwalks with steel handrails. The first chamber is accessible by wheelchair, though subsequent chambers and passages require the navigation of stairs.
The four public caves are all connected by the aptly named Caves Road. You can get tickets for a single cave or for two or more of them. The distance between the two farthest apart, the Ngilgi Cave and the Jewel Cave, is 83.8 kilometers so all are easily accessible in one day. And Caves Road is one of the nicest drives in the region passing by rolling meadows and sheep and cattle farms in the North to magnificent marri and karri forests in the south.
The Mammoth Cave is one of the few in the region to have fossils and was an active paleontological dig in the early 1900s for its record of the Pleistocene era. This includes the Zygomaturus, a pre-historic marsupial that looked like a pygmy hippopotamus. There is a fossil of a jawbone of the creature in the cave but I had a hard time distinguishing it from the surrounding rock.
Inside the cave, on the other side of the first chamber, you’ll find a set of stairs leading to an upper chamber.
All along the cave walls beautiful stalactites hang down like icicles.
The cave is interesting in that its stalactites and stalagmites do not all point straight up and down. This is because parts of the cave ceiling have broken off and fallen to the floor below over the years and, of course, they didn’t land straight.
One interesting formation in the cave is a yellow-orange flowstone. You can only see it from a distance but such sheet formations are not uncommon. The colours derive from tannins in the water flowing over the rock.
I was at a bit of a quandary taking pictures in the cave as the cave is fairly well lit and you can take pictures with flash off. But pictures using flash show up quite differently. Most of the pictures I took with flash off. This is what you actually see when visiting. But using a flash removes the effects of the artificial lighting and shows the rock formations in their actual colour – a whitish-grey. Note the difference between the picture above, taken without flash, and the one below of the same flowstone with flash.
The Mammoth Cave is a bit different from the other three publicly accessible caves in that the others are all single access – you go into the cave, explore it, and come back out. The Mammoth Cave is a through cave. You go in one end and come out at a different location.
It used to be a single access cave but a collapsing sinkhole created an egress about a half a kilometer from the entrance.
The sinkhole is a deep one and a series of stairs go up 160 steps to the top.
The sinkhole covers a large area and you can see the limestone formations surrounding the hole.
Emerging from the cave we arrived at an exit gate and found out we had come out on the other side of Caves Road. We crossed and had a choice of two walks back to the visitor center, a long one – 600 meters, and a short one – 200 meters. With a toddler in tow we opted for the shorter one. Both take you through a beautiful expanse of marri forest, a lovely walk to end an interesting visit.
We enjoyed our tour and on a return visit, I’d like to explore the other caves as well. This was the first cave I had seen since 1980 when my wife and I visited the Oregon Caves. Some day I’d like to see some of the really big ones, like the Carlsbad Caverns or Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave.
Be sure to check out the Photo Gallery for more pics.
Back in 1984, Perth businessman Dallas Dempster had a smart idea. Let’s get rid of this dump! Burswood Island, an island in the Swan River just a couple of kilometres from Perth’s city center, was the site of a large landfill. Dempster suggested to the Western Australian government that the site could be better used for a resort casino. The government agreed and Dempster and a Malaysian business partner were granted a casino license in 1985. The plans called for a casino, a 400 room hotel, a golf course, a convention and exhibition centre, an amphitheatre and more.
The casino, of course, was finished first and opened in December 1985. The third largest casino in the world at the time, it was an immediate success, so popular it netted $1 million a day in gross profit in its first two months of operation! The rest of the complex was finished over the next two years. This included the ultra-modern Burswood Island Hotel.
The casino was expanded and the theatre renovated in the 1990s. Further expansion in the 2000s saw another hotel added (a Holiday Inn, now the Crown Promenade) as well as some residential apartment complexes nearby. The complex underwent various ownership changes as well, ending up in the hands of Crown Limited in 2007. In 2011 the resort was rebranded as Crown Perth to coincide with the building of the Crown Melbourne resort. $750 million was pumped in to refurbish the resort. And in 2012 a third hotel was announced, the Crown Towers, which opened in December 2016. (The photo heading this article is of the Crown Towers and Crown Metrepol as seen from across the Swan River.)
Crown Perth is the jewel in Perth’s entertainment business and Janis and I had the pleasure of staying a couple of nights there recently to celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary. The place is world class with over thirty restaurants, several convention centres and ballrooms, a first-class theatre, spas and swimming pools, several upscale shops (including Paspaley Pearls and Rolex Watches), a night club and, of course, the casino. We had dined at three of the restaurants on previous trips, the top-notch Silks Japanese restaurant, the Merrywell and the fabulous Epicurean which serves a buffet on par with the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, maybe even better. During our stay we dined at three more including the Modo Mio Italian Restaurant and a couple of moderately priced restaurants. For an inexpensive but superb meal, I recommend the 88 Noodles oriental restaurant which is inside the casino. We also had drinks a few times at the Lobby Lounge in front of the Crown Metrepol.
We’re not much into gambling but we did spend an hour at the slots coming away ahead by $30. Not bad since we only played two cent slots.
The best part of our stay was the production of Disney’s Aladdin at the Crown Theatre. In its previous incarnation as the Burswood Theatre, it has featured a wide array of entertainers as well as major productions like Cats. Aladdin was a Broadway touring company production and was amazing. The staging and choreography were excellent.
The theatre itself is on par with Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre and similar venues. I liked it a bit better, actually, because each seat has a generous amount of legroom.
Not far from the Crown Perth complex there used to be a domed stadium known as the Dome at Crown Perth, formerly the Burswood Dome. This venue had a long history of performances by such stars as AC/DC, Kiss, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Pink, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Elton John, Iron Maiden, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, The Black Eyed Peas, Guns N’ Roses, Christina Aguilera, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Roger Waters. It also hosted major sporting events. The Dome was demolished in 2013 to make room for a parking lot for the new Optus Stadium which opened on January 21, 2018.
The stadium was built on part of the old golf course. The remaining part of the golf course now forms a park between the stadium and Crown Perth. It is about a twenty minute walk to the stadium.
Part of the stadium project included the building of a pedestrian bridge across the Swan River connecting the Burswood Peninsula to East Perth. The bridge is a beautiful piece of architecture. Three interlacing arches of white and black form the bridge. The Matagarup Bridge, after an indigenous name for the area, was opened to the public on July 14, 2018 so we were fortunate to have arrived back in Australia just after its opening.
Some have said the arches resemble swans. In any event, each arch has a staircase going up it and plans call for the stairs to be open to the public. The center span soars 72 metres (256 feet) high and is about half a kilometre in length. Scaling bridges must be an Aussie thing as the Sydney Harbor Bridge is famous for its accessibility by visitors. (See my earlier article on Sydney for pics) There will likely be a charge to scale the bridge but I’d certainly do it. Maybe on my next visit it will be open for climbing! Oh…I should mention that they are also considering adding a zipline from the top of the bridge to the ground! Wouldn’t that be cool!
Perth’s downtown business district is served by several free bus services known as CAT (Central Area Transit). There are two lines that run along Waterloo Crescent just up Nile Street on the other side of Gloucester Trotting Park. About a ten minute walk from the stadium, a half hour from Crown Perth. Crown Perth and the Stadium are both also accessible by train on the Perth-Townslie line though the Stadium Station is only open when events are on at the stadium. If the weather is nice, it is a great walk and free. The train will set you back $3.20.
Here are a few more photos of Crown Perth and the bridge.
There is a certain charm about small towns and small town festivals. If they are an agricultural community, the celebration will often center on the predominant crop. Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, where I used to live, has its annual Blueberry Festival. Others may celebrate their heritage with Pioneer Days. Many tie their festivities in with the national holiday – Canada Day or the Fourth of July in the United States. A parade is almost always part of these events.
As you drive in to the small village of Wabamun, Alberta (population 682) you encounter a giant dragonfly – a ten metre long sculpture atop a six metre pole. Made of scraps, including parts of an old airplane, it is the largest dragonfly in Canada.
The town sits on the edge of Wabamun Lake, a popular destination for Edmontonians and others in the summer. Every year towards the end of June the town celebrates the Dragonfly Festival. This three day event brings in as many as 10,000 visitors. This year it ran from June 23-25.
Janis and I were visiting her brother and family in Drayton Valley for a couple of days and we drove out to take in the second day’s events.
We arrived about forty-five minutes before the start of the parade and so we took in a bit of the Art Walk before and after. Like many small-town parades, this one started off with a marching band, a group of Air Cadets.
This was followed by politicians in cars waving at the crowd and tossing candy to the children. Getting the kiddies ready for when they’re grown up and start clamoring in earnest for free goodies. There weren’t just politicians. One was a wannabe – a candidate for the nomination to represent the Conservative Party in the next election.
This was followed by another staple of parades everywhere – vintage cars! There were quite a few of them and there were even more on display after the parade. There were some modern cars as well – souped up truck and some expensive roadsters, including a green Lamborghini.
Local businesses were there, some with simple makeshift floats. I rather liked Home Hardware’s giant hammer.
But floats were few and far between. The best effort was Al’s Affordabago – a converted 1934 Chevy Truck. Your rustic camper on wheels. It was also towing a small trailer.
One got the impression Al was a no-nonsense sort of guy. The front of the truck had a massive chainsaw blade overhanging the engine. There was also a noose hanging from a wash line pole with a sign that read “Some people just need a hug… around the neck… with a rope!”
The truck was festooned with bric-a-brac including a number of antlers, the skull of a steer, a beer keg, an old water pump and a slew of old license plates. I wonder if Al actually goes camping in that contraption!
As parades go, it wasn’t the greatest, but everyone loved it. And almost everyone was tossing out treats for the kids.
The Art Walk and Vendor’s Market were quite well done. Many Albertan artists had booths displaying their art – mostly paintings but also sculpture. There were 38 artists on display this year, the fourth Dragonfly Festival to feature the walk. I was quite enchanted by the work of Josh Harnack who painted people with animal heads. Mounties were a favorite subject.
Another artist, Kevin Wilson, does air-brushed art over metal and featured a Canadian flag with late Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie in place of the maple leaf.
Not surprisingly, since this is Alberta, Wilson also had colorful ammunition boxes on display.
The local interest in art stems from the sponsorship of a local art gallery, the Gossamer Treasures Gallery. We went in and it featured a couple of Alberta artists work for the festival. The theme was indigenous people and artists Reg Faulkner and Henri de Groot both capture native culture well.
But I was particularly taken by a book and art work on the lives of emergency first responders by artist Daniel Sundahl who signs his work as DanSun. The artist is himself a paramedic and firefighter in the City of Leduc, Alberta. These were very evocative and emotional works capturing both the dedication and the agony of doing such work.
Wandering around the Vendors Market, we came across Signature Silk where you could silk-screen your own silk scarf. My wife decided to have a go and her sister-in-law sponsored her granddaughter’s effort.
Colours are added to a bath of special solution. The colours can then be swirled with a rod to create patterns. More drops of colour can be added. When the artiste is satisfied, the silk is dropped over the solution where the colours then adhere. It is removed and voila – a silkscreened scarf.
After that we went to check out the vintage car display when it started to rain. We escaped under the tent of The Green Lambo Guy who is actually a professional motivator and personal life coach. His Lambo is a symbol of what a determined person can achieve.
After the rain let up we called it a day. My wife and I were on the road again the next day, but the closing day of the festival featured an all day (3:00 PM to 9:00 PM) event called Up!Fest at the waterfront park. This was largely a music festival featuring local artists and culminating with a show by iconic Canadian rock band Loverboy (The Kid is Hot Tonite, Working for the Weekend).