Category Archives: North America

Places I’ve visited in North America

Driving along the Gaspé Peninsula

After driving through New Brunswick and spending the night in a lighthouse in Campbellton  (nice!!!), we headed to the Gaspé Peninsula for a drive along the St. Lawrence coast. Once we crossed into Quebec, we started to see covered bridges — something I’d never seen before, even after living in New England!

Then, we headed up the coast road with sights of waterfalls, waves, big rocks, little villages and lots of lighthouses. Parts of the trip reminded me of the Pacific Coast Highway between Half Moon Bay and San Francisco. We finally coasted down into Gaspé and then headed to our final destination – Percé.

Here are some of the pictures of the day.

NOTE: Updated information! After I posted this blog, there was an article in the Globe and Mail about traveling the same route we took along the St. Lawrence.  That it would be nice  to share this article (and it includes a nice map!)









Much of the Acadian story would have been lost, if it weren’t for Henry Wadsworth  Longfellow and his poem Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie. At Grand-Pré in Nova Scotia, there is a Canadian National Park set aside to tell the tale of the Acadians and honour the mythic tale of Evangeline. We got there on Canada Day, so the park fee was waived. There is a very interesting multimedia film presentation. The park is very peaceful and feels more like a garden. There is a group of four statues that represent the people who were removed from this land.  It reminded me of the famine statues in Dublin. Then, there is the statue of Evangeline that leads to a reconstruction of a church that stood in the same spot. The church tells more of the same story. It also has a resident calico cat (you can probably guess what her name is)! I would highly recommend a visit to this site if you are ever in Nova Scotia.








Overwhelmed by Cape Breton Island

After a day travelling the Cabot Trail and lunching at the Keltic Lodge, I visited to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Fortress Louisburg, and sailed on Bras d’Or. I’m very overwhelmed. I have so many pictures to share, however here are a few of the best. Needless to say, I love Cape Breton Island!








Alexander Graham Bell Museum
Alexander Graham Bell Museum
Alexander Graham Bell Museum
Alexander Graham Bell Museum








Acadian Life in the Maritimes

Travelling through Prince Edward Island and then heading to Cheticamp on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, I learned a lot about the lives of the Acadians – French-speaking settlers. In the 1750s, the Acadians were forced to leave this area, many of them moving to Louisiana and became known as Cajuns. The culture of these two areas share a love of music and many times of arts and crafts. On PEI, we stopped at a re-created village that is next to a church and the Farmers Bank of Rustico that was setup to try to help those who found a way to stay on PEI.




On the way to Cheticamp, we learned about the customs of Mi-carème. The is a time celebrated half-way through Lent where people dressed in masks and costumes and did the things they had “given up for Lent.” We were greeted by people in masks and costumes and got to see some of the makes made for this festival.





Cheticamp is an Accadian fishing village. It is also the centre of “hookers” – women who created hooked rugs that are truly works of art. We went to les Trois Pignons Musee to see their work. Elizabeth LeFort is considered the best and her works are in the Vatican, White House and Buckingham Palace. Her works include portraits and religious subjects.









PEI & Anne of Green Gables

Ninety percent of the visitors who come to Prince Edward Island make a pilgrimage to the site of Anne of Green Gables and pay homage to the author Lucy Maude Montgomery. Much of the setting and the people were based around her own images of PEI its people. A Canadian national park now takes care of this site.

I remember reading the book when I was young, but the details do escape me. But there is a magic to the book and today, wandering through the house and walking along Lover’s Lane, the Haunted Woods and the Canvendish beach. Here are some of my favourite pictures of my own magical visit to this treasure of PEI.







Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is one of the natural wonders of the world. The Fundy Tides are the highest on earth, changing 6 to 8 feet an hour and can rise and fall 50 feet – once every 12 and a half hours. Twice a day, one-hundred-billion tons of water flow into the Bay of Fundy, creating the Fundy Tides that overwhelm rivers that will reverse their direction. This is called the Tidal Bore.

Near the top of the Fundy Bay is Hopewell Cape and a collection of rock formations that have been carved from the sea that produces these intense tidal phenonom. Here are some of my favourite pictures of the Flowerpot Rocks at Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick.









Embracing Winter

When winter is long, you need to find a way to enjoy it.  When winter is as long and hard as this one has been, you need to find ways to embrace it. I’ve never been much into any of the winter sports — skiing, snowboarding, or skating, etc. — but I usually like winter.  I have to say that this one has been a real test to my (mostly) positive attitude about winter. For me, it is mostly the lack of daylight and not the cold — this year the cold, the ice and the snow were more than enough.

In Canada, we do a lot of things to celebrate winter, such as a number of winter festivals.  A few years ago, I even did a tour with a friend of mine to winter festivals in Ontario and Quebec.  We went to Niagara, Ottawa, Montreal and, of course, the 300th anniversary of the Winter Carnival in Quebec City.  It was really cold and snowy — but a lot of fun.

This year, I was invited to go with some students from the University of Toronto to visit the Hart House Farm and go for a walk in the woods — talking about the care of trees and winter spirituality and folk traditions.  Our first venture was to be in January but was cancelled when the bus did not arrive.  So, we rescheduled to the first weekend in March.

One of the things about walking through a forest in winter are the sounds. When we first ventured outside, we were greeted with the songs of birds — almost as if they were calling to spring. Once we were on the trail, though, the silence is amazing.  Then the wind would pick up and the dry tree branches would tremble, sound like the Hag of Winter rattling her bones.

Here are some of the pictures of this outing into the woods to embrace the beauty that is winter in Ontario.

winter hike
We begin our trek to the trails.
Pine tree
Pine tree
Tree branches
The wind blew through the dry branches
sun peaking through the branches
The sun peaking through the branches
Trees forming a gateway
A gateway
Curved tree
I loved the curve of this tree and the blue sky


A hope of life — in the form of of a nightshade


Walking through the trees
Walking through the trees