Adventure is out there!

I just arrived home from a much needed vacation. It took me a few days to settle into my zen-like need for relaxation and rest. Once I was feeling the relaxed vibe of vacationers everywhere I was able to see things in a different light.

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Canada Place at Burrard Landing

It has taken me a very long time to learn this lesson but I think I have finally understood it completely.

Lesson: Appreciate things as they are without comparing them to what they are not.

So what does this mean? Vancouver is without question an amazing city. Vancouver is not Edmonton. Nor is it trying to be. Just like Edmonton is not Vancouver, nor does it need to be. I love both cities as they are. Each offer a perspective and views that vastly different from each other. I can appreciate eat city for its virtues and be disappointed in them for what they lack without comparison. I have been to Vancouver many times but this time, I could see it for what it is, rather than what it is not. I love Vancouver and all it has to offer.

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Seawall at Coal Harbour

The beauty of Vancouver took my breath away while at the same time frightened me with its ugliness. The juxtaposition of the art, shiny and clean city with the dirty tent cities and homelessness was a lot to take in. Vancouver has done a great job promoting the arts and sculptures on many corners throughout the city add to its vibrancy. The views from various locations were stunning and the amount of filming for TV and Movies made perfect sense. Vancouver is without question a city diverse in its beauty.

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Set front for Once Upon a Time in Steveston (Storybrooke)

People are kind and friendly, at least the ones I encountered are. Dogs are a huge part of the lifestyle of people who live here. I spent my days greeting people with pleasant salutations and admiring their pets while I was taking in many of the sites.

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I spent time downtown, exploring the city, dipping my feet into the sea water, checking out filming locations and stumbling upon open sets and actors – famous and not so famous. I was giddy with excitement when I saw a spoiler for one of my favourite superhero shows and was overwhelmed with emotion when I saw such beauty in the landscape for which I had no words.

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Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver

I saw Orcas, Otters, Harbour Seals, Raccoons and Bald Eagles. I experienced rain, wind and sunshine. I sampled craft beers and local wines. But mostly, I enjoyed my vacation with my family because there were zero expectations and no deadlines to meet other than be sure to catch the ferry back from the Island.

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Cute little critters at Stanley Park

This was without a doubt one of my most favourite vacations. Exploring Canada in a way I had not done it before. I am happy to be home but look forward to visiting again.

 

 

Edmonton Tourist: Louise McKinney Park


It was an effort finding a park that had parking space today. Anything in close proximity to the Heritage Days Festival was filled to the brim. After trying my luck at 3 different parks, Captain and I found ourselves over at Louise McKinney, another Famous 5 park.

We ran into some friends just as we climbed out of the car. They also tried to find space in other parks. It seemed everyone was wanting some green onion cakes and gelato found down at Hawrelak Park. We bid them well and made our way along the river front path.


The first thing we noticed was lovely poetry on the light posts. 


We stopped to see some rock piles and over grown grass.


It was Turtle Rock Effigy, an old Art Works festival creation from 2010. Not much to see anymore but the Pokéstop had a great photo of it.

We met several displaced men sitting on benches, all wanting to pet Cap and tell me how handsome he was. We had a lovely visit with them and wished everyone a great day. 

The trails surrounding the park were closed while LRT construction begins over at the bridge. I had visited that area earlier this year when we went to Henrietta Muirs park.

We climbed up to the Chinese Garden. Such a lovely oasis downtown. 


The park was used as a bike corridor for so many cyclists populated the park today.

I made my way to the Shumka Stage. An odd mix of Chinese and Ukrainian culture. 


And called it a day. Next week I’ll been in Calgary’s Glenmore park so perhaps I’ll explore a yyc park inset was.

Edmonton Tourist: Irene Parlby Park


I have decided to avoid the rest of the south river parks until the big festivals and events are over for the summer. The crush of people is more than I am looking for. I am enjoying peace and solitude with my Captain. Work and life has been hectic so quiet walks are what I crave.

The Captain and I headed for one of my favourite neighborhoods, Rossdale. I’m totally open to moving there because one of the city’s best kept secrets is Irene Parlby Park. She was one of the Famous 5. The group of women who fought to make women people under the law 100 years ago. 

I have run through this park many times, driving and parking was complicated. There was a ball game at Telus field so restricted parking was in effect. I found a 2 hour spot over by Diamond Park.


We walked about 500 meters south to reach the park.


We walked under James MacDonald Bridge to reach the green space I was looking for. 


It is a non traditional River valley park. There are no picnic spots or fire pits. However, there are lovely small gardens and bench spots for sitting.


Captain and l walked the path not taken along the river first with the intent to double back on the paved multi-use path.

With the river to our left we could see Nellie McClung and Queen Elziabeth Parks across the water.


I was on the lookout for Saskatoon berries but only found Mountain Ash in full berry.


We came to a fallen log that was blocking out path. A makeshift bridge was created to traverse it. It took a while to convince Cap he could make the jump.


We traveled further down the path. It felt like wilderness but homes and the formal path were only yards away.


The main jogging loop has been closed for a few years while the Walterdale replacement bridge goes up. A permanent gate blocks access.


We turned west out of the park to walk the residential block.


This led to the next park entrance and a lovely playground. 


We came to a lovely statue in the middle of a formal garden which turned out to be a Pokéstop. 


We continued north back towards the end of the park and found ourselves sharing the path with other cyclists, skaters and runners.


Such a lovely spot in the middle of the city, yet it was quiet and felt like the middle of nowhere. I’m looking forward to the trails opening up to reach Walterdale. I’ll be back, and often.

Edmonton Tourist: Whitemud Park

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I am fortunate enough to know this city very well. I explore it enough that I should have a pretty good idea what is what when it comes to the River Valley. Ask me about restaurants, bars and shops. I haven’t got a clue. But the valley? I know my way around.

This week was a very difficult week for me. Emily Murphy or Hawrelak Parks were supposed to be next, but the last thing I wanted was to be amongst the throngs of people utilizing the parks. I wanted peace and quiet or at the very least, I did not want to see people I knew and make small talk or chit chat. SO I packed up my pup and we headed towards the Whitemud Reserve located south of Whitemud park. It is a lovely unpaved path that leads to Rainbow Valley, yes it is a pretty as it sounds.

We hit the park in-between rain storms. The park itself was empty and there was a wedding over at the Savage Centre, but other than the odd hardy picnicker, Cap and I were on our own. Exactly what I was looking for.

The grass was wet but fresh. There was the smell of campfire in the air. The last time my family had a picnic here I was just a kid and the park wasn’t developed as nicely as it is now. I remember watching engineering students traverse of the creek, making a bridge for one of their projects. When they fell to the water below, it was knee deep and mostly mud.

We are on the cusp of berry season. The Choke Cherries were hanging in green bunches, the High Bush Cranberries had finished blooming and the Saskatoons were not yet ripe, but the clover was abundant and Cap decided to munch on some on our journey to the path that would lead us to the creek.

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The path took us to the wide open picnic site where one family had strung a tarp and were keeping the campfire lit. It made me think of all the reasons I love camping in the rain, then I quickly remembered all the reasons I don’t like camping in the rain. Walks were enough.

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We worked our way to Whitemud Creek and walked North towards the bridge.

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This was the spot I remembered sitting as a kid watching the engineering students before the bridge was built.

I love this section of the park. I often map out a great run route that can either be a quick little 5k or as much as a 16k depending on my mood. I avoided the running trails today knowing everyone was training for the upcoming Edmonton Marathon and they were all out for their 16k or 32k long runs today. So after I said hello to the North Saskatchewan River, I turned south and headed towards the Whitemud Nature Reserve.

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The south path takes you up the the major corner of Fox Drive (Hi Charlotte!) and Whitemud Freeway. This by no means is a peacefully quiet park. There is a lot of noise from the freeway, but visually you would think you were in the middle of nowhere.

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Before I went onto the path to the reserve, I looked at the flags that were celebrating the Canadian Olympic Trials happening this weekend at Foote Field. Most of Edmonton was there for that event. Pretty exiting seeing Olympic Champions in the making.

IMG_3637Down the path I went and noticed it might be fun to do a bit of bridge climbing but I think I was not the only one who thought of that.

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Now I was on reserve land, it boarders the Fox Farm to the west.

All along the path were naturalist signs highlighting berries and other plants that grow here in the valley. Information I already knew from my Grandfather years before, only if he forgot the name he would make one up, so my information was sketchy at best until I took my Anthropology: Comparative Medicine classes in University.

We came to a fork in the road that suggested the path was unsafe from all the water we had this year.

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So we crossed the creek again, this time heading East.

We walked past Fox Stairs and the Savage Centre heading back towards Whitemud Park. A storm was on its way and by the humidity in the air and how quickly my hair was curling, I knew a lot of water was going to drop from the sky.

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We made it back to the car just in time. I watered Cap in the car instead of outside as usual.

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I got in myself and the sky opened up.

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The quiet oneness with my pup was just what I needed. This is one of the best reasons to live here in Edmonton. A major urban centre and in 20 minutes from my home I can be in the middle of the wilderness.

 

Edmonton Tourist: Kinsmen Park

Hot day in the city and everyone thought it was a great idea to head to the valley. My first thought was to head to Emily Murphy and walk back along the river to Kinsmen but there was no parking to be found. In fact there was huge lines of traffic trying to enter the 3 major parks that surround groat bridge. So Cap and I headed east to Kinsmen to try our luck.

  
Parking was not much better but I did find a space in front of the John Walter Museum. Walter owned a brick manufacturing company and the ferry that transported people a horses across the river from Strathcona to Edmonton. Today was the 160- something birthday of Ann Walter so the museum was serving up tea and scones to celebrate!
   
   
Cap and I passed. He was more interested in finding chickens. We could hear them in the coop but I kept him away because his hunting instincts kick in and I was not up for a wrestling match against my pup and his favourite meal. So we walked along the path looking at the homestead of Walter and his two homes there after.

   
   
   
    
 
We past many actors who were polite and friendly. Many people were drinking tea on this hot day.

We made our way towards the Highlevel Bridge and walked around Husky House (the Husky Football Club) and the ball diamonds. The last time I was here was for the Run for Pie which was delicious. 

   
 
My kids always called this the Blue Park. Apparently this was because of a big blue slide. We used to come here for Friday Night Picnics, play at the “Blue Park” then head to the castle to swim before bed. 

The park has been completely refurbished since my adult children were young. I had a fleeting wish I had grandchildren to bring here. It’s now Kinpark and is bear themed. It’s reminiscent of Goldbar’s Moose Meadow complete with No Moose Allowed signs.

   
    
    
    
    

Cap pulled me along to Queen Elizabeth Pool. It used to be up the hill at Queen E Park but this is a perfect location for an outdoor pool.

   
    
   
It is located across from the Kinsmen Recreation Centre that holds a special place in heart. Lots of amazing swim memories here. 

  
As Cap and I walked  away, we saw the Street Car glide across the Highlevel Bridge. Apparently it is the highest crossing in western Canada but I didn’t fact check. 

   
    
 We also found the Alberta Legislative Building or Castle as my kids liked to call it, peeking out from across the river. 

 
As Cap and I made our way back to the Car, we noticed how the new Walterdale Bridge will dominate the skyline in the valley. I quite like it.  

 
This is still one of the best multi-use parks in the city. Come give it a visit! Next week is Canada Day, so I think I’ll cross the river and head to the ledge for the festivities and check out that park.