Category Archives: Photography

Definitely Not Lost In Translation

This article was originally published in October 15, 2004 on the website Some gramatical errors and typos were corrected in the version.

Definitely Not Lost In Translation

Robert Dall and Martin E. Garcia at El Tiempo Newspaper in Bogota
Robert Dall and Martin E. Garcia at El Tiempo Newspaper in Bogota

I had one special assignment this September, One I almost missed deadline for, One I barely took a photo during and one that was the closest to my heart.

Of all the places in the world to travel my first international exhibition would be Colombia and it chose me. I say that because as many great assignments happen it came out of left field, but proved to be the most rewarding trip I have taken.

Telling friends and family I asked to show my photography to Bogotá, Colombia, the usual jokes about kidnapping, drugs, and civil war came up, and to boot, I didn’t know a word of Spanish before I arrived.

As Bill Murray can a test to, I could have been lost in a society completely different in a language and custom I didn’t understand, But, I can say with a resounding furor, that my trip couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

It was almost the trip that started in disaster as I decided to use a travel agent instead of booking online and it almost put a death nail in my official opening.

I only had 23 minutes between terminals at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to catch my flight. I begged and pleaded with any Air Canada employee that I needed on that flight and how my show opening was the next day.

Running through the terminal as fast as my feet and a bag full of gear could carry me I raced from one end to the other, and panic was setting in. 511, 512, 513, 514 where is my gate. . . . “Final boarding call, paging Mr.” . . . “Dall” I almost yelled and presented my ticket.

At that moment I knew the photo gods were looking at me kindly and wanted me to have a good trip.

Building on a Hill in Bogota, Colombia
Bogota, Colombia

I awoke in Bogotá, the next morning to find myself breathless, with the beauty of the mountains behind my hotel room and with the altitude of 2, 600 meters (approximately 8,500 feet) that would take me a few days to get used to.

The opening of my show was warmly received by a collection of ex-pats and Colombians. To fully capture the attention of the audience while talking about my experience of the north, and how to live in an igloo was an event full of bliss.

Colombian people, rich and poor, enjoy the arts like no other society I have seen yet. The National University where I was displaying my work stopped teaching classes for a week just to celebrate arts and culture.

Colombia doesn’t have a huge tourist trade and few people think of it as a place to visit due to the stereotypes mentioned above. It is still a dangerous place but I also had many people who helped me out, whether it was embassy staff, friends from the University or the girl who gave me a private tour at the Botero Museum to help get me home in one piece.

The welcoming nature of most of the people I met was amazing, many were surprised that I was chosen to come to their country to put on my first international show.

Most Colombian people will bend over backwards to show you their country is much more than drugs and civil war and regardless of whether I was walking around town as just another foreigner or as a visiting international artist, the people were just as friendly.

Robert Dall and the students of
Robert Dall with students from the Semillas School outside his photography show at the University of Colombia

As I was touring the University with the co-coordinator of my show Diane Beltran I ran into a group of 40 children who were touring the museum. I stopped and gave them a tour full of actions and with the help of my friends at the museum who was translating.

Seeing those captive children asking so many questions, like what does snow taste like? I really knew why I came down. It wasn’t for me, nor to showcase Canada, but to captive people young and old, and to reach out to another and see that even without language you really can communicate without saying anything at all.

My second week was no less entertaining, I spend Monday and Tuesday at El Tiempo, Colombia’s National Newspaper, I heard rumours of Canon’s 1DS Mark II, but never did I think while in South America would I see one of Canon’s new line so shortly after its release in Photokina.

Canon Latin American was there showcasing their product to the Canadian-born Photo Editor Richard Emblin (and Black Star photographer) and his staff of a dozen locally based photographers who still use those black-lensed cameras.

The next day I was invited out by one of their photographers Martin E. Garcia. Where we travelled to La Vega, one hour south of Bogotá, to an ecological park and operating fish farm. We were treated to a trout even if it was moving day at the operator’s home. El Tiempo has some great photographers, they have a real passion for capturing the image and they are able to get into and out of some of the more conflict-riddled regions of the country with amazing ability. I hope Martin will join in my opinion he would be a welcomed addition.

I can also say that to all you Canucks out there we are well served by our Embassy staff and Foreign Affairs Canada who work long hours showcasing our country aboard and being more than helpful to this Canadian photographer.

If it wasn’t for this show would have also been a lot harder, the private galleries, made the construction of the show so easy for the likes of me. It made the visual communication with organizers half a world away simple. The message boards were full of advice about the city etc. But has been more than a place to store some images and get some quick information. I feel it has helped refine my style and made me search more for that one image. I truly couldn’t have done the show without this website.

I’d like to return to Colombia, with Spanish, and do a lot more photography with local NGOs there. It was great to see an amazingly diverse and culturally rich society. I also had a social network of enough friends and other photographers that my trip was never lost in translation.

This article was originally published in October 15, 2004 on the website Some gramatical errors and typos were corrected in the version.

Men with Brooms: Manitoban’s love their curling

This article was originally published in March 3, 2003 on the website

Men with Brooms: Manitoban’s love their curling

Dave Hamblin, current World Junior Champion yells directions down the ice while the other team looks on.
Dave Hamblin, current World Junior Champion yells directions down the ice while the other team looks on.
Photo by Robert Dall/Portage la Prairie Daily Graphic

What involves lots of moving around, sweating and yelling hard at the top of your lungs?

Get your mind out of the gutter I was referring to curling . . . Just as rural Texans love their football, Manitoban’s love their curling.

The recent Safeway Select Manitoba Curling Championships were in my fair city last month. They took over the twin pad arena that’s home to our AAA hockey team. In one arena they converted the NHL sized hockey rink into 5 sheets of curling ice made by one of the best ice makers in North America, Hans Wuthrich. The host committee then converted the other rink in a bar of equal size.

Yes, a bar, which is one, reason I like the sport so much, The social side of curling is equally as large as the competition itself. The organizers rarely hold the championship in a major centre because the competition gets lost with in the city. They take it to small town support the local economy and take over the town for the week.

Curling is so beloved because the prairies are cold and ruthless in the winters; the farmers and rural folk need something to do through the cold.

During this years five days curling event it was -25C to -30C outside and yet some one had the bright idea for all 300 staff and volunteers to wear the sportsshooter famed Hawaiian T-shits and lays. They also never dropped a smile from there over worked faces.

Brent Scales of Swan River, yells down the ice. Photo by Robert Dall/Portage la Prairie Daily Graphic

The curling lingo creates barely legible cutlines that can read. “Skip James Kirkness throwing the hammer drew the button and won the end” Why are you using hammers? What are buttons doing on the ice? And why is everyone called Skip?

Curling is about as confusing to understand as cricket, two extremely simple games completely confused by people trying to cover them.

Yet, this is a polite sport where everyone is yelling at each other. When you not yelling your leaning on your broom used for sweeping and everyone sweeps except for the skip who yells and leans and generally freezes their but off because they rarely move. Yes, this is one confusing sport.

Shooting positions weren’t bad with organizer’s giving you full run of the place. When you arrived they give you a chunk of carpet and you find a nice spot and realize why you need the carpet. Your sitting on the hockey ice they didn’t use. Good news, those free liquor tickets you also received can be used while shooting and your drink never gets warm. Bad news, the carpet only minority helps from getting a frozen bottom.

The week ended with well over 1000 people pilling into the bar on the Saturday night to listen to the reunion of the band Double Eagle a once huge country band that got it’s started in Portage la Prairie, MB. While I was learning the social side of curling I saw mid-aged western wearing couples dancing right beside 20-something skater clad boys and their Halter-top clothed girlfriends, dancing in prefect co-habitation. Maybe the world needs more curling. . . With the world curling championships happening a short drive away in Winnipeg, MB this year it should be easy to see the best in the world. All I need to do is find a client and some credentials, any takers . . .

This article was originally published in March 3, 2003 on the website

Dealing with Firsts

This article was originally published in April 2, 2002 on the website

Dealing with Firsts:
Covering The Arctic Winter Games

By Robert Dall, Northern News Service

Robert Dall in Nuuk Greenland with a mountain in the background
Robert Dall in Nuuk, Greenland

I thought lack of sleep would be my biggest problem when I landed in Nuuk, Greenland to shoot the 2002 Arctic Winter Games for my employer, News North, a Canadian paper based in Yellowknife, NWT. I’d been up for 24 hours when I arrived. The opening ceremonies were only a couple of hours away.

At that moment, I was thankful for the local coffee. It was rocket fuel — imagine a free-based version of Starbucks — and I was counting on it to get me through the ceremonies and my first attempts to file digital images back to my editors apx 4800 km (2858 miles) away.

The pressure was on. News North had never sent a dedicated photographer to The Games before. In the past, it had relied on the writing staff to supply images. My assignment represented an expensive first for the company. It was first for me, too. I had never been The Games before and this trip was to be my baptism in the world of digital photography.

With the clock ticking down to the start of the opening ceremony, I made way to the media centre to set up my stuff and get ready to file my first photos. Or so I thought. I barely survived the journey myself. My laptop had expired somewhere en route. My editors were back at home waiting for something that looked like it wasn’t going to arrive.

No matter how much I poked and prodded, the thing wouldn’t come back to life. I was beginning to wonder if pouring the coffee that was keeping me going into the hard drive might help when the loud voice of a local volunteer broke my train of thought. “The media room is now closed,” She announced. “Please make your way to the opening ceremonies.”

I had no choice but to go and shoot — and hope that my computer might fix itself while I was away. I returned 3 hours later and found nothing had changed. It was at that moment I noticed my salvation: a computer had been set up behind me . I wrestled my way on to the machine and discovered that it not only worked, but also had a T1 connection to the Internet. My editors rejoiced as reams of images began to make their way through the system.

Mission accomplished. I took off to a good meal and my B&B from some R&R.


Wes Busby sihouetted Quassussuaq ski hill in Nuuk, Greenland
Wes Busby sihouetted Quassussuaq ski hill in Nuuk, Greenland, Copyright Robert Dall / NNSL

Those early hours in Greenland represented several firsts for me and my employers. But, as I would discover over the next few days, dealing with firsts – and a willingness to improvise, as I was forced to do with my first photos — pretty much captures the spirit of the Arctic Winter Games.

Founded about 30 years ago to promote sports among young people in the northern regions of Russian, Alaska, Arctic Canada and Greenland, the 2002 Games achieved a first of their own: until Nuuk, the Games had never been hosted outside of continental North America. The reason is simple. Most communities in the far north are too small to handle the thousand athletes, coaches and cultural performers who gather for the Games.

Nuuk certainly fell into that category. Although the capital of Greenland and a centre for transportation and administration, this community of 13,500 couldn’t have handled everything on its own. So it shared the responsibilities of hosting the 2002 Games with Iqaluit, a Baffin Island community of 5,000 and the captial of the new Inuit Territory of Nunavut in Canada’s eastern Arctic.

This unusal arrangement – Iqaluit lies several hundred kilometres across the Davis Straight from Nuuk – is typical of the northern tradition of making due under difficult circumstances. And it is part of tradition, I soon discovered, that is alive and well in the Arctic Winter Games.

For example, take the method for getting reporters and photographers up and down the runs during the snowboarding competitions. We were ferried on snowmobiles. The ride up felt like the gentle climb of a roller coaster as it first leaves the platform. I can only compare the ride down to the terrifying drop that comes right after you reach the peak.

I had spent the morning shooting at the top of the snowboard hill when I was ready to make my descent. Jillian Rogers of the Yukon News helped me flagged down a machine. A young driver, who spoke very little English, happily picked us up. Then he pointed his machine downhill and hit the gas. It was one of the wildest rides of my life! We passed competing snowboarders as we accelerated to rocket speeds, and even got some airtime after hitting one particular bump. I can only describe the ride in terms of what I call ‘Robert’s 10-Point Scale of Adrenalin’ Swimming in Arctic Ocean: 3 Riding the Corkscrew rollercoaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain, California: 4 Riding with Canadian Snowbirds acrobatic team flight: 5 Skydiving Chillwack, B.C. : 7 Downhill snowmobiling in Greenland:10

But even if the ride was rough for me, my heart went out to the Nunavut snowboarding team. Every sporting event has its own version of Eddie the Eagle, the Jamaican bobsled team or the Cambodian cross-country skier. In Nuuk, the honour belonged to Nunavut’s boarders. The team came from Canada’s eastern Arctic, which, for the most part consists, to the unaccustomed eye, most of a flat, lunar expanse. Rugged mountains rise up along the coast of Baffin Island, the most easterly portion of the territory. But they are remote and, for the most part, hostile to sports like skiing and snowboarding.

So, the Nunavut snowboard team arrived in Nuuk never having had a real practice, except for one day on the ski hill where their event would take place the day before the Games began. Competing against teams from mountainous regions like Yukon and Alaska, they had no hope of finishing in the medals. Predictably, they came last in every event. But no one cared. They had a great time and are planning to compete again in the 2004 Games at Wood Buffalo National Park. They might even get to Whistler or Banff a couple times before the event.

While I was shooting the snowboarding, another branch of Team Nunavut was taking its first stab at another event: Dene Hand Games. Hand games are a traditional gambling pastime among the aboriginal communities of the Northwest Territories and Yukon. Essentially, they are an elaborate version of ‘Button. Button.Who’s Got the Button.’

Opposing teams sit down in lines facing each other with some kind of blanket between them. The members of one team hold small objects in their hands, typically a twig or stick. Then, they hide their hands under the blanket and pass the sticks back and forth. When they are done, a guesser from the other team tries to figure out in which hand each of the opposing players in is holding their stick. The guesser signals his choices with an elaborate series of gestures.

The Inuit don’t play hand games as a matter of tradition, so the head of the Yukon team stayed up until 4 a.m. the night before the event teaching Team Nunavut the rules of the game. Team Nunavut learned quickly — and learned well. It upset the NWT, home to the most Dene in the semis. The faced down their mentor in the finals and prevailed again.

* * *

Two people looking at Fireworks at the Arctic Winter Games closing ceremonies
Fireworks at the closing ceremonies of the arctic winter games

My week in Nuuk wound down at a media party hosted by the Greenlandic television network KNR, which produced record-breaking amounts of live coverage during the 2002 Games.

I arrived late – having filed late – and was greeted to the sounds of all-native band belting out tunes from the southern United States. I grabbed a Danish beer and joined the Kari Herbert from the Independent London, England and for a night of swapping stories and to ponder the scene.

Listening to “Born on Bayou” in the middle of the Arctic with a European brew in hand seemed incongruous. But then, so did the Nunavut snowboarding, at least it did at first. I put all down to the spirit of the Games and relaxed.

We left Nuuk – along with its strong coffee and other amenities – the follow day for the first leg of the flight home. We laid over in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, a former American Airforce base that is now one of two international airports for the country.

There weren’t enough hotels to accommodate everyone so they opened up the old barracks of the airforce base for the night. while lying on a cot playing crazy eight’s against the NWT snowboarding coach with miniature cards I had purchased for the plastic case (perfect flash card holder) I wonder if I would cover the next games in 2004. You better believe it, I just hope I can get some of that Greenlandic coffee to keep me going.

This article was originally published in April 2, 2002 on the website

Four women and a photographer in an Igloo

This article was originally published in March 3, 2004 on the website

Four women and a photographer in an Igloo

Robert Dall coming out the igloo he spent a night in.
Robert Dall coming out the igloo he helped build and spent the night in.

Six weeks ago I with camera in hand, sleeping bag draped over my shoulder and a caribou skin under one arm slept in a igloo with four other hearty Canadians after a night of feasting on wild beaver and listening to Inuit tales.

The journey that brought me to my snowy home began when I met instructors Rick Riewe and Jill Oakes while covering last year’s course. I was invited to sleep in the igloo, but deadlines etc forced to leave.

Heading out along the rural access road to the station I realized we were in for quite a night when blowing snow created drifts of 1 to 2 feet deep. I met with a Global TV crew who said the road was impassable and we sat and waited for the staff to plow the road.

Temperatures for the day were in the -20 C with wind-chill of -35 C (-31 F). A large dump of snow left well over 30 cm (one foot) on the ground and with the help of snow fences (like those seen at World Cup Skiing Events) there was more than enough snow.

Carley Basler, Karin Johansson, Corinna Gascho and Paula Hughson were just names of strangers, but now they were fellow igloo builders and my bunkmates for the night. I was using F90X (N90s) for couple hours before it needed to be warmed up a bit, so I shoved the batteries down my pants and got to work on building my future home.

Attendees of the igloo builing workshop at the Delta Marsh Field Station

We had to dig down a couple of feet to find so hard pack snow, the perfect density need for cutting the building blocks.

The blocks can be 2.5 feet across and weight up to 20 pounds. Just carrying the blocks 10-20 feet provided a massive undertaking, making you sweat through the day.

As we were putting our final blocks in place, I was assigned the task of filling all the holes; small little holes can ruin a good nights sleep, so the igloo should be seamless.

After a day of building we sat down to a dinner of wild beaver, Riewe and Oakes had picked up from taxidermist days before.

The kitchen was a very hot and humid place, and the gear suffered, even with a bag I couldn’t warm it up. member and NPS guru Ronal Taniwaki suggested that it would have taken over 2 hours to warm the camera to the conditions of the kitchen.

Later that night we carried out our caribou skins across the snow covered lake as the northern lights danced across the skies. The five of us slowly climbed in. When you get into an igloo you have to gingerly get into your bag without touching any of the walls or ceiling which proved quite difficult for someone who is 6 feet tall.

We sealed up the door and prepared for the night. Sadly I couldn’t take any photos yet due to the camera being fogged from the long wait to get in from the cold. The moisture was the foe of the camera but the friend to us. It was the moisture, which kept us warm, the combined heat of five people makes it amazingly comfortable.

Taniwaki had suggested trying to keep your body heat away from the camera or warming it up in your sleeping bag before using.

As the night passed the overnight low was a -37 C (-34 F) outside and once you crack open the door of an igloo you’ll never get that heat back. This proved quite important, as you had to learn how to go pee inside.

Professor Riewe told us stories about how the top hunter always gets the centre, the warmest spot, and being a white man Riewe found himself on the edge of the igloo quite often and when he needed to go pea to go against the wall.

For myself it wasn’t that easy, any rules of etiquette are through out the window, if we had one. I am in an igloo with four women I didn’t even know six hours ago, I have my pants around my ankles hugging a wall hopping that I am not hitting anything.

It wasn’t much easier for the women who had to pull back the caribou skins and put their bum to the cold wall and squat.

You mind is very active the first time your in an igloo, it is a different environment and at times I felt getting colder and colder, during those times, I got a little closer to companions and though I was warm. I then felt my body getting warmer and warmer, it isn’t something I can explain, other then I was warm and fell asleep.

During my slumber, I had some unusual dreams, as most people do their first time, I still wonder why I was having thanksgiving dinner with Trent Nelson and family, don’t ask, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.

Other then one’s internal clock it is hard to know when morning comes. The blocks are so thick and the seal so tight barely any light leaked through.

News Conference on the lake ice.

I picked up the camera ready to make a group shot us surviving the night and just to touch of my warm body to camera was enough to fog it. Sadly there was little room in my sleeping bag for it or I would have brought it in but keeping warm throughout the night was beyond photography at this point.

We broke the seal on a clear calm Sunday morning at -20 C and left for coffee and a hot breakfast in the kitchen.

Driving home with the new experience, I found a difference in covering an event and being part of one. I just recently got back my slides and they were different then the ones I had shot in the previous year, I don’t believe they were as good.

Sports Shooter’s Bert Hanashiro and others have talked about assignments that have changed their life, getting to close to the subject at hand, and not being totally objective, but for this instances, I decided to take a step back and be part of the experience.

It was a great one to have and I believe helps you focus when you have a job at hand.

The University of Manitoba has been running the program for 30 years at the Delta Marsh Field Station over two weekends in the month of January.

This article was originally published in March 3, 2004 on the website

SportsShooter shutting down

Screenshot of website
The last front page of

This blog post is part of a four part series to archive my blog posts from the site sportsshooter.

The first really “social network” I was part of on the internet was actually called Sportsshooter. It started as a blog/newsletter by USA Today Staff photographer Robert Hanashiro or Bert. I heard about this site via a visit to the Edmonton Journal way back on what ended up to be a very eventful weekend back in September 2001.

The site gave me insight in how real photographer covered huge events across the world.

I was living in Yellowknife at the time and Canada’s Arctic is an exotic far off land. But how do I get it an article in this amazing trade publication.

Enter the Arctic Winter Games stage left:

That summer Sportsshooter envolved into a full featured site with photographer profiles, message board, classified adds, and yearly conferences called a Luau.

To say Sports Shooter had a influence in my photographic career would be an understatement. It was a real benefit to me being in single photographer in a small town get feedback suggestions or inspiration for ideas to use. So I am saving what I wrote there here for posterity.

Articles written for Sportsshooter:

Night Time Lapse from Blake Island

I was able to visit Pudget Sound and Washington State for the first time in 3 years to see my good friend Ben. We also were heading to the Blake Island a state park in the middle of Pudget Sound volunteering with Footloose Disabled Sailing.

I brought my GoPro 9 and attached it this large piece of wood with the Jaws Flex Mount focused at SeaTac Airport and Vashon Island. I wanted to capture a night Time Lapse of the activity at night. I started the time lapse at 10:00pm and let it run until the battery died.

You can see where the  last little bit of twilight fades around the 20 second mark, I even got movement of the stars. While the 1080p could have been high quality. For setting up the camera hitting night time lapse during a vacation. I am pretty happy.

Time Lapse to Bowen Island

Hey Blog, long time no see. It been about two years since I wrote a post. A lot has changed in my life and I didn’t have a whole lot of time for blogging. But I met up with Rebecca Coleman who I hadn’t seen since August of 2020 (The last time I had a social outing outside the Sunshine Coast)

Bex had suggested we go to Bowen Island for the day. While living on the Sunshine Coast and passing Bowen Island via the ferry and flying over Bowen via Float Plane. I have never set foot on Bowen.

I also just got a GOPRO Hero 9 from London Drugs and wanted to try out the time lapse feature! So we boarded the boat and hit the sun deck and I got a pretty nice video.

The Black and White Challenge

I am not much for these challenges that say you must post a photo of your childhood, a favourite movie, no caption etc.…

But when my second cousin Art Wolfe challenged me to the black and white challenge, I felt I couldn’t pass it by. The rules were as follows:
• Photo of my life
• No People are to be in the photo
• No Explanations of the photo

B&W Photography was my first love, as I studied it through high school, college and worked with it for years before the digital revolution.

I really got into this one and going through my archives I realize I love taking photos with a human element. So my first goal was the find a photo in my recent archives that were creative enough and yet didn’t have a human element. I found some decent photos on the first edit, but all had the human element. The second and equally important part was finding a photo that when adjusted would actually have the tonal spectrum, contrast and sharpness to properly visually communicate what I wanted in black and white. I was quite happy with the results of the final selection.. I have decided to include the captions and locations here as it’s not part of the challenge but, the explanation of it. If you want to see the captions just hover over the image.


Portfolio Review by Art Wolfe

I have been lucky enough to attend an Art Wolfe Workshop where we spend two days shooting and then a morning editing what we shot. The stuff Art thinks about when he is shooting will start making you think outside the box and get your creative juices flowing.

Pebbles and Burnt firewood merge to make this contrasting photo of form and texture on Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park.

Sadly not everyone can attend an Art Wolfe Workshop as they start at 2000 dollars, not including travel or accommodation for most of the trips.

But now, for the first time in his career Art is offering portfolio reviews starting at $99. For anyone looking to improve their photography or a Christmas Present for a certain someone I highly suggest this fantastic gift¹.




¹ Full Disclosure: I am related to Art, and he helped direct me in my photographic career. I also now work for Art Wolfe Inc as their website designer/manager. But I would recommend this regardless of my connection with Art Wolfe Inc.

Canada 150

I have always been a patriot Canadian. For my birthday once I asked for a Canadian Flag. While we’re not perfect and we still have some work to do, I say we celebrate what we do have because when you think about it. It’s a lot!

During College, my best friend was and still is a very patriotic Canada naturally so am I. It wasn’t until we had hung out for a couple months and had more than a few beers that I realized just how patriot his was. Because it wasn’t a wear it on your sleeve type of patriotism.

So when I heard Canada was celebrating its 150 birthday. It hough visiting old friends and see some national historic sights would be a good idea.

So I called up my College Friends Amber Rider in Victoria and Scott Crabbe who lives in Jasper and told them to roll out the “red carpet” and expect a visit.

On Victoria Day long weekend… Go to Victoria.

The view from Fisguard Lighthouse from the grounds of Fort Rod Hill National Historic Site.

Seeing Victoria for the first time in 10 years was pretty awesome. I flew in from Vancouver to Victoria on Harbour Air, avoiding those dastardly ferry sailing waits and delays.

Amber, Fin and Robert at Fort Rod Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

We visited Fort Rod Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse, something I had visited often as a child with my parents. With Canada 150 celebrations all National Historic Sites and National Parks had free entry all year. It was the perfect time to reconnect with Amber and to see the park and how it’s changed since I was a kid.

The Fort was originally built before World War one in 1878 to protect Esquimalt Harbour and CFB Esquimalt which is home to the Maritime Forces Pacific.

Fisguard Lighthouse in Victoria, BC

We then drove up the Island and took a stop in the wonderful town and murals of Chemainus. Something I hadn’t seen since childhood as well.

The Island is so close to Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast, but yet so far if you need to travel to it. Luckily I escaped the ferries again and was able to take Harbour Air from Nanaimo to Sechelt.

Stanley Park

Third Beach on a sunny day in Stanley Park. While the Park is a National Historic Site it is under the management of the Vancouver Parks Board and not Parks Canada.

Another college buddy Ernest who lives in Toronto came to Vancouver for a visit and we took a walk through Stanley Park in Vancouver with his family. I haven’t walked through Stanley Park in a number of years. It truly is an urban forest! We came out of Third Beach. While the Stanley Park is a National Historic Site it is under the management of the Vancouver Parks Board and not Parks Canada.

Sometimes all it takes is to be a tourist is in your own backyard.

The Great Canadian Road Trip

A gif of the flowing Athabasca River in Jasper National Park.

Getting to visit Scott would take more doing then it would Amber. But he is much further afield as well. In Jasper National Park. I was able to fly into Vancouver on Harbour Air and along with my flight I was able to get a deal on the car rental through them at Canada Place and I hit the road making stops for second breakfast in Hope. (Hobbit’s aren’t the only ones that know this is very Important for travelling)

A stop in Kamloops for gas and a few snacks for the road. (When did Kamloops get so hot?, oh right… it’s part desert!)

I turned north on the Yellowed Highway named after fur trader and explorer Pierre Bostonais who had streaks of yellow in his hair and was nicknamed Téte Jaune or Yellowhead.

Anyone who grew up in the 80’s knows this old Park Canada branding well. The beer inside was really decent as well. It was a hit with the locals for sure!

The Yellowhead is mostly a two-lane highway that twists and turns through the more northerly of the three main passes through the Rockies.

I made good time getting into to Jasper. My plan was to have a wiggle room day just in case of traffic or car trouble you never know.

I was staying with Scott Crabbe and family and he had some special Jasper Brewing Company Beer in the old school Parks Canada Colours waiting for me.

Next day we took off to the Jasper Skytram to drop off the company truck and do some biking down the hill and back to his house. What I thought was going to be a ride down the road was truly so much more. Scott had a single track route all planned out and we crossing a road and highway a couple times. True to form for Scott he always has an adventure up his sleeve. The scenery on this beautiful day was second to none and the exhilaration of the beauty of Canada’s National Parks kept me going.

I spent Canada 150 birthday in a National Park with an old college friend and his family. I don’t think I could have picked a better place or had better weather.

On the road driving down Highway 93 The Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff, Alberta.

I left Jasper on July 2nd for the Ice Fields Parkway and Calgary. I was told by many, take your time on the parkway Calgary is closer than you think. With The Tragically Hip blasting from the stereo, I hit the road for some true Canadiana.

Thus I did. The race to get from A to B three days earlier was just a memory and taking it all in stopping where you want is all part of this journey.

Last time I did the parkway was the summer of 1985 I was eight years old and it rained and was cloudy the entire time. This time there was barely a cloud in the sky and I set the cruise control to 50km an hour and took it all in.

A panoramic view from the Big Bend Hill Lookout on Highway 93 the Icefields Parkway from Jasper National Park to Banff National Park in Canadian Rockies.

Tourists walk up the path to the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park.

Whenever there was a vehicle behind me I just pulled over let them pass. Don’t let the view pass you by. Take it all in. Your on this route for the journey, not the destination.

Reaching the Columbia Ice Fields I purchased a $7 ham and cheese sandwich. (When will I learn?) I skipped the Glacier Adventure Snow Coach at $85 per person and took a walk up the hill to see the receding Athabasca Glacier.

Sad to see the glacier getting so much smaller than when I remember it some 32 years ago. But that is our changing environment.

After a stop at Saskatchewan River Crossing for a coffee, as I didn’t want to mess with Banff or Lake Louise on Canada Day weekend, I hit the road non-stop to Calgary.

Gord and Gabby on some paddle boats on Bowness Lake in Calgary Alberta.

I visited Gord and Aleta and their 4 kids and they took me to Bowness Park which I had visited in the winter but never in the summer. The Park had been completely flooded in the 2013 flood. But the park was nicely remodelled and we took out the paddle boats and road the train and had a great day of fun.


Gord Chilling on his Pocket Couch in Calgary, Alberta.

Visiting with old friends is great, but getting beaten by a 5-year-old at go fish 4 times in a row is a humbling experience. I can’t wait for a rematch Gabby!

The Road Less Travelled

Aleta and Gord encouraged me to take the Crowsnest Pass home and they were quite the lobbyist…  They told me about a Lancaster Bomber at Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta. About of the beautiful views of Highway 22 the Cowboy Trail as it leads you to the Rockies.

With an extra day of car rental and some Canadian History awaiting me just down the road, I said my goodbyes to Calgary and hit the road south on the road less travelled.

The Lancaster Bomber, impressive in size, small in creature comforts. Natan’s Bomber Command Museum is home to one of only 17 still standing. While it is no longer airworthy the engines still operate and are fired up every year.

Seeing one of the 17 remaining Lancaster Bombers in Nanton was pretty special. Out of the 7377 that was actually built in Canada and the Uk. The one is Nanton engines are still able to fire up but the historic machine is no longer airworthy. According to Wikipedia, there is only two left flying in the entire world.

Turtle Mountain the location of the Frank Slide in Frank, Alberta. The largest landslides in Canadian history. For scale, there is a mini-van for scale in the lower right corner.

I also stopped by the Nanton Candy Store to pick up a few goodies, it’s quite the store to see if you have a moment.

I arrived in the Crownest Pass community and stopped to see the town of Frank and one of the largest landslide in Canadian History. The amount of rock that was moved was impressive and hard to fathom. The Frank Slide Liquor Store is a bit of a hoot if you want to check it out as well.

The Columbia Brewing Company in Creston, British Columbia. Home to Kokanee Beer.

I filled up with the last of the cheap Alberta gas and hit the road for Creston, BC and the home of Kokanee and Columbia Brewery. While the Columbia Brewing Company only survives in name since it was purchased by Labatt’s in 1974, it still makes Kokanee on site and a sailing buddy of mine loves Kokanee so I had to check it out.

Beer vat in the Columbia Brewing Complex in Creston, British Columbia. Home to Kokanee Beer.

Next stop on this roadshow was Osoyoos. I didn’t realize how much further Route 3 was then the Trans-Canada. It’s only 253 kilometres longer. But it winds and wiggles along the US border and is a two-lane highway with a few passing lanes along the way. Road Trips are fun but sometimes you just need to put miles in. I use a combination of Podcasts and upbeat music to let the kilometres melt away.

Even with A/C and cold drink, a car is a hot place in the summer, so I had one goal for a hotel in Osoyoos. clean hotel with a Pool, nothing fancy… just a pool. Super 8 fit the bill and I spent the evening poolside. Last day of my road trip I wanted to leave Osoyoos and it’s 40C degree heat. But with the heat comes the fruit and with that comes fruit stands!

Being a good friend means…

As I left Osoyoos listening to some Dehli to Dublin to keep the upbeat tempo going. I came across some fruit stands in Keremeos and picked up some fresh fruit for my foodie loving cookbook authoring friend Rebecca Coleman.

I also got some cherries myself as they are a great snack food for the road.

I filled up again in Hope the round trip was almost over. I hadn’t seen the Crowness Pass since I was a kid!

Looking back on the epic Canadian Road Trip I was extremely lucky not to be affected by any of the forest fires that have hit a number of community I travelled through and my thoughts are certainly with them as they battle and rebuild.

On BC Day Long Weekend go to the birthplace of BC

National Historic Site Fort Langley modern entrance.

Completely by accident, I went to the Birthplace of the colony British Columbia, Fort Langley on BC Day Long Weekend. I had been wanting to go to Fort Langley for some time, but when my brother asked me to watch his dogs for the long weekend I said sure as long as I can go to Fort Langley in his car! A deal was stuck and off I went.

A re-enactor talks about her camp at the National Historic Site Fort Langley on the BC Day Long weekend.

Fort Langley was the birthplace of British Columbia as a British Colony, although BC Day as a holiday didn’t start until 1974 the colony signed into order on August 2, 1858. This was a pre-emptive move to forestall any drives for annexation of the land to the United States.

I had not been to Fort Langley since childhood and since it was BC Day long weekend there were a number of re-enactors had set up camps and volunteers giving talks about hunting, trapping and trading in 1840 through to its closure in 1886.

Gord a Volunteer gives a talk about rifles used during the period where Fort Langley was in its hay day.

I also checked and yes Fort Langley still takes my Hudson’s Bay Master Card. LOL.


We have a vast and varied and huge country and while we still have work today we should celebrate our achievements. Get out and enjoy our country you don’t need a 150 anniversary to do it, just the need to explore your own backyard.

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