From Ketchikan,Alaska we flew to Vancouver,BC (via Seattle,WA) by Alaska Airlines.
Most of our time (and money!) had been spent in Alaska but my tickets, kindly offered by Martinair in celebration of my employment's 25th anniversary, indicated travel between Canada (many Dutch people immigrated to Canada, hence the Martinair flights) and Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
We spent 2 days in the Vancouver area before driving (hugging the US border) to Calgary.
Someone I met described Canada as "America for the Europeans". And you know what Sean, you hit it right on the nail: we felt right at home!


What is more canadian than this! To me this is quintessential Canada...!
We had decided to drive the scenic road to Whistler and when we stopped near a small lake (Brohm Lake), this canoo came around the corner. All around us was quietness and tranquility. So good.


Brandywine Falls; another stop to take advantage of some fine scenery and the brilliant summer weather.

I don't take kindly to these heights, always afraid I might drop something (e.g. something expensive from the camerabag) but this went well.
This photo was taken with a shutterspeed of 1/10th of a second (f.22) in order to get the water "flowing" as it does.

Taking a nap... Others seem to enjoy their "break" and the lovely sunny weather quite differently...


The drive from (traffic congested) Vancouver to Whistler took a bit longer than the published 2 hours, because there was a lot of road onstruction going on; this has largely to do with Whistler co-hosting with Vancouver the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Center of Whistler town British Naval Officers surveyed this area in the 1860s and gave (what is now) Whistler Mountain the name London Mountain. The name Whistler was used by these early settlers because of the shrill whistling sound made by the western hoary marmots that live among the rocks.
Construction began in 1914 on what was to become the famous Rainbow Lodge on Alta Lake, catering to fishermen and outdoors people. The highway eventually pushed through from Vancouver in 1965, with Whistler Mountain opening for skiing during the same year.

Skislopes in the summer Nestled at the base of Whistler- and Blackcomb Mountains, there is plenty to do in this pedestrian village during the summer: golf, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and even glacier skiing.
We restricted ourselves to a little sightseeing and a meal with one of the many restaurants.

Tourism at Whistler.

Desert in Canada ! Canada is brimming with scenic beauty and one can even find desert-type landscape one would only expect in southern US states such as Arizona and New Mexico…


MANNING National Park

Manning Park is located on Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton, about 3 hours east of Vancouver and about 30 km (19 mi) east of Hope. These photos were taken near the town of Osoyoos.

Destroyed gasstation
I have a somewhat morbid fascination for abandoned structures; this gasstation was abandoned with good reason: it was destroyed by fire!

A deer suddenly appeared beside the road!
A Deer beside the road I was afraid it would try to cross the road in front of my car to get to the river, so I hit the brakes.
Fortunately there was no one driving directly behind me and we waited for a few seconds to see what it would do. As is often the case, I had my camera close at hand and took a photo through the windshield.
The deer abandoned all urgency to make it to the river and vanished in the undergrowth.
We continued on, probably only 30 seconds had passed. One of the driving hazards I don't have at home.

In Greenwood,BC we a had large cappucino in the Copper Eagle Cappuccino and Bakery.
I saw the "saloon" sign and the main street was empty under the hot midday sun: it reminded me of the Western-style small towns in the US.
Canada had to conquer its West much as the Americans did, but never had the same degree of lawlessness; though the Sundance Kid seems to have crossed the border into Alberta and worked on a farm.

cabin for sale Well, how is that for a retirement plan..?



Ancient flatbed truck Saw a glimmer of this car among the trees and made a quick u-turn. When I got up closer, I found a few other cars stored there (not as photogenic as this one), so I may have been tresspassing.
But I just had to get it on camera.
I would welcome a make on this car plus the year of manufacturing!

Wildlife on the road A few (Rocky Mountain) Bighorn Sheep were grazing by the roadside and were very relaxed in spite of the audience. They did not even look up at cars going past without stopping or even slowing down.
Mountain goat Perfectly at ease

How big do you need ? This is a truck. A very big truck. In fact, it is HUGE!
Note the person standing at the rear tyre. Here in Sparwood they claim it is the biggest truck in the world and I tend to believe them; they call it the Titan…

British Columbia has a large selection of roadside attractions, it seems.

the longest trains... This is so Canada: an endless train slowly finding its way through the beautiful Canadian landscape…
Trainspotters click here...

We now find ourselves on the other side of the Rockies, in Alberta.

Across the mountains

Cowboy fighting off wolves Bar-U Ranch We took Hwy 22 North, heading for Calgary. We stopped at the Bar-U Ranch, a National Historic Site, dedicated to commemorating the history and importance of ranching in Canada. The site has 35 buildings and structures and this proved to be a fascinating visit.
Artists, princes and outlaws... All have called the Bar U Ranch home at various times in the ranch’s colourful history. Famed western artist Charlie Russell; the Prince of Wales, who later as Edward the VIII, abdicated the English throne to marry commoner Wallace Warfield Simpson; and Harry Longabaugh (better known as the Sundance Kid) were among the famous–and sometimes infamous–characters who graced the ranch’s formidable space at various times.
Modern cowboy
Read about Alberta Rural Life.
A good control...

We arrived while some youngsters were doing a test to prove their horsemanship. And they had their horses very well under control.

Huge ranches sprang up in the foothills of the Rockies and the biggest was the Bar U Ranch. In its heyday between 1882 and 1925, the Bar U was really a self-contained town - the largest community in the region. More than 35 different buildings made up the ranch “village”. And a small army of cowboys were needed to ride herd on more than 10,000 head of cattle. One of these cowhands in 1891 was a 25-year-old horse wrangler named Harry Longabaugh. Later he became a legend as the Sundance Kid. The cowboys' life was a hard one. Long hours werespent in the saddle often in the worst possible weather. Wages were low... but so were expenses. The cowhands lived on the ranch in bunkhouses and meals were provided. Payday came just once a year.
More on

Reward; The Sundance Kid REWARD 6,500 Dollars
-Dead or Alive-
Harry Longbaugh alias
The Sundance Kid

Reynolds Museum The Reynolds-Alberta Museum is located between Edmonton and Red Deer in Alberta, 65 kilometres south of Edmonton. It is located off Highway 2 or 2A, one kilometre west of the city of Wetaskiwin on Highway 13, or east from Highway 2, near the Wetaskiwin airport.
A large selection of vehicles (an dmuch more) can be admired here; the photo on the right shows their restoration center.
I came here for their aeroplanes: aviation history at Reynolds-Alberta Transportation Museum

Funny trailer Someone is taking the term “little house on wheels” very seriously here!

Canola fields in bloom, very postcard-like and a good reason to switch off the airco and open the windows….
Canola Fields Wikipedia writes:… Once considered a specialty crop in Canada, canola has evolved into a major North American cash crop. Canada and the United States produce between 7 and 10 million metric tons (tonnes) of canola seed per year. Annual Canadian exports total 3 to 4 million metric tons of the seed, 700,000 metric tons of canola oil and 1 million metric tons of canola meal. The United States is a net consumer of canola oil.
The major customers of canola seed are Japan, Mexico, China and Pakistan, while the bulk of canola oil and meal goes to the United States, with smaller amounts shipped to Mexico, China and Europe.
From the air...

Canola fields seen from the Canadian North flight, taking me to Yellowknife.


Air Tindi floatplane base Impressive take off goes unnoticed
In Yellowknife I stayed with the Bayside B&B, which is located in the Old Town. It came recommended to me by my good friend Michael Prophet; the recommendation was largely due to Air Tindi’s floatplane base in their backyard!
The large grey house is the Bayside B&B and Mary Bryant also runs a very nice tearoom here. The place is for sale: Mary and Wayne will retire to the East.
It is fascinating to see these floatplanes come and go; several of the guests staying at this B&B continued their travels up north with Air Tindi.
Map YELLOWKNIFE (external link, in Acrobat Reader format)

Info on Pacific Air

Hudson's Bay Company was the oldest and historically most important commercial operation in northern Canada. The company's association with Yellowknife began with the City's founding and the opening of the original Old Town store in 1938.
Fire destroyed the first building on this site in 1944 and it was replaced in August 1945 with the current larger store and warehouse building.
Eventually, the Hudson's Bay Company closed the Old Town store and moved all retail operations to the New Town store. This structure was designated a Heritage site in 1993.

The wild cat cafeThe Wildcat Café.
It is a vintage log cabin structure and represents the mining camp style of early year Yellowknife. The structure is a City of Yellowknife Heritage Building, designated in 1992. The cafe first opened in 1937 by owners Willie Wylie and Smokey Stout. Subsequent owners were Carl Jensen and Mah Gow, Yellowknife's first recorded Chinese resident.

During dinnertime the place can be crowded and guests will share the tables: a good place to meet fellow travellers and swap stories.

Historic info
Built in 1937, the Wildcat Cafe in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, was a popular gathering spot which served at various times as an eatery, Chinese restaurant and ice cream and soda stand. At one time it even featured steam baths in an adjacent building – a useful service in a frontier town with limited water services. It also became a symbol of community and identity in a region where distance, a scattered population, and climatic extremes posed tremendous challenges.
In the 1970s a volunteer group, the Old Stope Association, undertook to save the Wildcat Cafe from demolition after many years of disuse. It was one of the last remaining buildings in what had been the thriving commercial centre of Yellowknife in the 1940s. The Association would eventually renovate and reopen the building in 1979 as a restaurant featuring Northern fare such as caribou and fish.

Art Yellowknife Cultural Crossroads.
"This site is a testament to the close collaboration among Metis, Dene, Inuvialuit, English- & French Canadian and Quebec cultures and is dedicated to all peoples of the North.
Work on this project began in the summer of 1999, when artists Sonny MacDonald, a Metis from Fort Smith, John Sabourin, a Dene from Fort Simpson, and Eli Nasogaluak, a Inuvialuit from Toktoyaktuk fashioned a sculpture (not in the photo) from a block of marble formed on the shore of Great Slave Lake 2.5 - 4 billion years ago.
The rock face was carved by Armand Vaillantcourt of Montreal, assisted by Chris Ishoj of Mansonville, Quebec and the symbols were painted by John Sabourin. The intial components were created by the French Franco-TéNOise."

Ragged Ass Road... what can I say except: my kind of scenic road !
Ragged Ass Road
Ragged Ass Road
Ragged Ass Road

Skyline of Yellowknife The "skyline" of Yellowknife.... The semi-collapsed cabin and the modern buildings of New Town really says it all.
The cabin is on 3524 Ingraham Drive and used to be called House of Horrors or the Snake House... because of the card parties held during the 1940s.
It was built in 1938 by Alphonse "Frenchy" Cyr as a rooming house, the building has also been used as a barber shop and a privat residence.

The mad tourist My ignorant tourist act...
I had been advised to visit to Legislative Building, but found myself done in a matter of minutes. I was at a large lake (Frame Lake) which has a walking trail around it. I decided to go and do some hiking. Except... I had not brought my bug repellent spray; since I had not had any trouble sofar, I decided to go anyway. STUPID! MISTAKE!!
The mosquitoes had me for lunch and dinner... I put my jacket around my head and waved my hands in front of my face all the time... The few other hikers I met, must have thought: "another dumb tourist!" And right they were.

At some point I saw a road through the trees and I hailed a cab: I surrendered!

The lake and Legislative Building
The part around the lake I did walk
The lake and the city
The part (back to the city) I did not

The floating houses...
There are probably 30 or so houseboats in Yellowknife.

No dumping “No Dumping”… I noticed all the drainages had this stamped, never seen it anywhere else.

A house, a car, a plane.. Very colourful houses but also some original woodstructures; cars are almost as commonplace as floatplanes.
Some intra-island transport by pushboat.
I took this photo from the varanda of the B&B late one evening; with the sun hardly setting (I never saw it fully dark) I found myself truly in the Arctic North.
Transport over water Great Slave Lake:
It is at least partially frozen during an average of 8 months of the year. During winter Great Slave Lake is frozen enough for semitrucks to pass over. Until 1967, when an all-season highway was built around the lake, goods were shipped across the ice to Yellowknife, located on the north shore. Goods and fuel are still shipped across frozen lakes up the winter road to the diamond mines located near the headwaters of the Coppermine River, Northwest Territories.
Air Tindi's yard A closer look at Air Tindi’s yard: all kind of stores are waiting to be shipped, including canoos. Some of the people staying at the Bayside B&B took a canoo and were flown to a drop off point, to travel the rivers and lakes in this way. I quite admire their sense of adventure.

Bush Pilot's Monument Monument dedicated to the: BUSH PILOTS OF CANADA.
In the 1920 and 1930s a small number of daring aviators broke the silence of the North.
Often flying in extreme cold and facing dangerous take-off and landing conditions, these bush pilots ferried passengers, mail and freight in and out of remote frontier regions and played a crucial role in the development of the Northern economy and the delivery of public services.
Blazing air trails over immense areas, these intrepid pioneers helped map the Canadian Shield and the Arctic barrenlands, and pilots transformed Northern life by bringing this unique region into the Canadian mainstream.
(Text as stated on the monument).

One more look over Bayside... One last look at my place of stay here in Yellowknife. While I don’t think I will ever volunteer for a canoo trip in the Arctic North, but I may consider a cruise on the Mackenzie River: I hope to return here one day.

The main purpose of may visit was vintage aeroplanes, have a look at my report here.

Some other helpful links:
Parks Canada
The Atlas of Canada
Online Atlas of Canada
Travel British Columbia (B.C.)
Travel Alberta
BC Ferries
Canada, a Dutch page but with many international links
A Guide to Bed and Breakfast places in Canada

Northern Frontier a.k.a. Discover the North