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Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

Oh, the People You’ll Meet

In At home, Canada, U.S. on August 25, 2012 at 9:51 am

Earth, Wind & Fire on stage. They may be old but they still know how to put on a show.

This past July my brother and I headed to Chateau Ste Michelle in Woodinville, Washington to catch the Earth, Wind & Fire concert.  They’ve been around for more than 40 years and still rock it out.  Overall it was an older crowd but our age demographic was nicely represented.  Good friends, good food, great music.  At the end of it all, Andrew and I decided to hang out in the parking lot and wait til everyone else had left.  It was still a nice evening in spite of the earlier rain and there’s no point in idling in a car for 45 minutes going nowhere.

As we sat talking and watching the cars, another couple came round to talk.  The funniest people I’ve met in ages.  BC is from Colorado but is a raging Tragically Hip fan and couldn’t get over that we were Canadian.  His wife, Tricia, was a little more subdued but still hilarious.  We probably talked for about half an hour before security came to tell us to leave as we were the last cars there.  Only problem was Tricia’s car keys were in her jacket which was still inside on the field somewhere.  The jacket couldn’t be found so they jumped in our car and we drove them home, 45 minutes south of the venue and very much south of Canada.  Still, it was the most entertainment of the evening and by the end of it I wanted to be BFFs (consider this a formal request…)

Cover art for Kai and the Magic Jacket

Fast forward to now when the children’s book Tricia wrote is about to hit the stands.  It’s called Kai and the Magic Jacket and has already been receiving great reviews.  It’d have been nice if the magic jacket had some car keys in it, but if it had we would never have met them.  You can buy the book here.  Congrats Tricia!

Our new BFFs, BC and Tricia, hanging in the parking lot.

Opening Ceremonies

In At home, Canada on February 12, 2010 at 9:29 pm

The energy and excitement in the city has been steadily growing over the last weeks as athletes, journalists, and tourists have descended.  Judging by how many people were walking home at 3pm it would seem the entire business district was shutting down for the opening ceremonies.  Dawit came over to watch on my TV and we enjoyed the entire show, even the phallic totem poles rising majestically from the floor of B.C. Place.  As Wayne Gretzky jumped in the truck to light the hidden torch everyone started guessing the secret location.  It turned out to be at the foot of Thurlow Street in Coal Harbour which is not too far from my apartment.  We grabbed our coats and ran outside to head down and check it out.  As I turned around to look back the scene was a zombie movie – everyone leaving their apartments at the same time, turning onto the street at the same time, and walking determinedly towards their target.  It’d be creepy if it wasn’t so funny.  We got there just after Wayne left and people started singing the national anthem.

Our first view of the outside torch just after Wayne lit it.

The torch up close.

Spontaneous bursts of “Oh Canada” everywhere.

The party continued well into the night and all over the city.  We cruised up Granville Street and it was an absolute rocking environment.  Two more weeks of this?  I think it’s going to be better than we ever thought…

Crowds gather on Granville Street at the end of the night.

Mom and Dad Forever

In At home, Canada, Family, U.S. on July 6, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Mom and Dad on a date in 1958

This past June we celebrated my mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary.  Although they don’t like big celebrations in their honour, at our prompting they hosted a small reception for family and close friends to mark the occasion.

Can’t find a shot of the parents together but here’s a nice one of me ‘n my hot mama 🙂

A few weeks later we celebrated just as a family when they took all of us on an Alaskan cruise.  We boarded the ship at Canada Place on a sunny Sunday afternoon and slowly headed out under the Lions Gate bridge for a week heading north.  What a nice way to hang out together, no meals to plan, we’re all in the same place, and some excellent sight-seeing opportunities.  A very different experience from India, it’s a bit of a culture shock really…

Andrew. Ketchikan

What Andrew saw.

Old Juneau

Ice flows on the way to the Sawyer Glacier

People crowding on deck to check out the glacier

Up close and personal with the Sawyer Glacier

Turquoise water at the Sawyer Glacier

The port in Skagway.

My sister and three nephews on the train in Skagway

1000 Islands, No Dressing

In At home, Canada, U.S. on August 25, 2005 at 5:50 pm

Boldt Castle

My roommate and I decided to take in some sightseeing of lovely Ontario before she moved back West.  We headed to Gananoque and then to the 1000 Islands region of the St. Lawrence River to check out the cottages on the water.  This has to be one of my favourite places outside of Toronto, absolutely beautiful and serene.  We took our passports so we could tour around Boldt Castle which is officially U.S. territory.  A day in the sun on the water and cold beer at the end.  Pretty much perfect.

Lovely little church on the river.

Wish this was my summer cottage.

Even the boat houses are bigger than my apartment.

First view of the castle from our boat.

Coming around to dock.

Alster Tower, aka “The Playhouse”

Lampstand. We didn’t get to see the castle lit up at night but I’ll bet it is stunning.

CBS with a Bonafide Fisherman

In At home, Canada, Newfoundland on December 6, 2004 at 7:30 pm

On the Friday of the Fisheries show in St. John’s, my producer told me to go find a big boat and do an interview with the owner.  I found Dwight Petton who had brought his new fishing trawler to the harbour.  He said to come on down and take a look and I soon found myself on the deck of the Joyful Noise.  It was shiny and clean and I had to remove my shoes before heading inside.  The whole boat was impressive from my point of view but really, what do I know about fishing vessels?  I decided to stick to what I know and so in the interview I mentioned the bit about taking off my shoes.  The rest was mostly about the instruments he had to locate the fish, what he fished for, and how far he headed out to get his catch.  The piece aired on the Fisheries Broadcast that night and when I talked to him the next evening he said that when he got to his boat that afternoon there was a long line of people waiting to check out this boat that is so clean you can’t wear your shoes on board.  How’s that for audience’s paying attention?  That was my first introduction to the power of radio, when you can actually make people “see” what they’re hearing, they want more of it.

After the weekend finished up, in which I also got to co-host a live fisheries broadcast, Dwight extended an open invitation to visit him and his family in Port de Grave on Conception Bay South.  So after my trip around the Irish Loop I decided to head out and take him up on his offer.  First, though, I stopped in a small town en route.  I’ve been staying with Andrea, a cousin of John Crosbie, the infamous politician, and the entire Crosbie family has welcomed me into their fold.  David is another cousin who’s invited me to dinners with his friends so I would get to know other locals, and he had also offered an invitation to visit him in CBS.  We sat around his log house sipping tea and talking Newfoundland history.  I ended up staying longer than intended and when I finally got to Port de Grave, Dwight was waiting and had phoned the local constabulary to find out if I had crashed on my way.  We jumped in his truck for a tour, I thought it would just be a tour of the town, but the rest of the day was spent 4x4ing around the bay and heading up to crab plants on the north end.  He parked on the causeway and ran into the factory to grab some fresh crab cakes and I was fairly certain I would be blown away before he returned as the wind was so strong it almost tipped the truck over.  We stopped at a boatyard and got to check out a boat in production.  We ended with Chinese food at a local restaurant before heading back to his town to meet his wife and kids.  Since it’s the Christmas season the homes all glowed with coloured lights and the inside of his house was no different with a giant Christmas tree in the living room.  Judging by the size and quality of the homes the fishermen must be doing pretty well.

I drove back to St. John’s after 9pm and by that point the first storm of the season was settling in.  Visibility on the highway was almost zero and I had to slow to a crawl to avoid ending up in the ditch like the other 10 vehicles I passed on the way.  Fortunately I got back safely again, dropped off the car and made my way back to the house for one more week with Andrea before heading back to Toronto.  Really, this province is so beautiful if you ever get a chance to visit you really must do it.

A boat yard in Conception Bay South.

A view of the massive scaffolding up the side of a boat in repair.

One of the bluffs we drove on during the tour.

On the northern end of Conception Bay.

Driving the Irish Loop

In At home, Canada, Newfoundland on December 4, 2004 at 7:04 pm

Mathieu, the French CBC camerman, and I decided to check out the Irish Loop on one of my last weekends in St. John’s.  It follows the outline of the Avalon Peninsula after leaving St. John’s and goes through Ferryland, Trepassy Bay, and St. Mary’s Bay before heading back to tie the loop off back in St. John’s.  We spent a leisurely day driving south and landing in Trepassy for lunch at a restaurant situated in an Acco trailer on the main street of the town. I couldn’t understand a word the waitress said to us and after asking her to repeat her question it came out in a tumble of an Irish accent, “Oh ye poor dears.  Why don’t you warm yer feet while I git you a nice cup of Tetley’s?”

Afterwards we continued to St. Mary’s Bay where Mathieu endured my obsession with taking photos of dilapidated boats.  Soon afterwards the beautiful rugged scenery was clouded in and snow began to slowly fall.  We managed to get back into the city before the worst of it and I was soon snuggled safe and warm in my bed dreaming of the scenery and wonderful Newfoundland hospitality.

On the Eastern Edge of the World

In At home, Canada, Newfoundland on November 15, 2004 at 7:21 pm

I spent a great afternoon toodling around outside St. John’s with some friends from church.  They offered to take me along on their tour as they had the vehicle and so I gladly tagged along.  We headed to Cape Spear, the most easterly point in Canada.  We were able to go right up to the lighthouse and enjoy the view from south of the city.  Once again another spectacular day in beautiful country.

A Walk Up to Signal Hill

In At home, Canada, Newfoundland on October 16, 2004 at 6:35 pm

I’ve come to St. John’s, Newfoundland, for my two-month broadcast internship at the CBC.  I had originally wanted to go to Israel but CBC said “no” faster than I could ask.  I almost made it with CTV, the Middle East bureau chief said sure, it was fine, but the national office kaiboshed that as well.  I then decided if I couldn’t see that part of the world I should at least see my own country.  It was a choice between the Yukon, NWT, and Newfoundland.  St. John’s responded first so here I am.

My parents were telling friends I was heading out there so they passed along the name of a couple they knew there.  I got in touch and when I landed in St. John’s they were waiting for me.  Melanie took me back to their home where I would stay until I found other accommodation.  While we were talking over dinner it turned out she knew my brother from Waterloo days and I knew her best friend who had been a roommate of mine in Amsterdam 7 years earlier.  Every time I try to make my world bigger it closes in around me.  Anyhoo, intros over I set about finding a place to live.  Mel and her husband, Scott, had put my request in their church bulletin and within four days I was settled in a lovely home with an older woman.  I had the whole second floor of the house to myself and was only a 20 minute walk to the television studios.  Talk about an easy entry.

After about two weeks I finally had some time to explore so I decided to go for my first walk/hike and head towards Signal Hill.  The Saturday afternoon was a perfect autumn day, clear blue skies, crisp air and a strong wind.  I ran into one of the cameramen about 5 minutes into the walk and he pointed me in the direction of The Battery.  After that I headed around the bluff up to the top and Cabot Tower, and then along the ridge and down into Quidi Vidi.

What struck me more than anything about this walk was the ocean.  At home the Pacific is a beautiful, idyllic and summertime playground.  The Atlantic, on the other hand, looks like it wants to destroy you.  Standing and letting the sea air blow over me I couldn’t help but imagine how easy it would be to give in to the call of the sea.  It’s the wildness and unpredictability that draws a person in, it’s scary and magnificent.

St. John’s is beautiful and I’m so glad this ended up being my destination.  I’m going to make the most of my time here and explore whatever I can.