Saskatoon

Two weeks ago we decided to take a trip to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for the long weekend. We took an extra day off to turn it into a four day weekend. During the 7 hour drive to Saskatoon I ended up having quite a few work phone calls, which made for a quicker trip out. For lunch we stopped at A&W in Oyen.

Accommodation was at the Delta Bessborough, a historic grand railway hotel originally built for Canadian National Railway. The ten-story Chateauesque-style building was opened in 1935. The hotel was designed by Archibald and Schofield, who also designed two other hotels for the Canadian National Railway; Hotel Vancouver, and The Nova Scotian. The hotel features 225 guest rooms, three restaurants, a fitness centre, pool, conference rooms, and a massive waterfront gardens. The 8th floor was closed off for renovations, however we managed to sneak up there to check out what the hotel would have looked like before it was renovated in 2003.

After checking in to our hotel it was time to get some dinner. We walked over to Las Palapas, a Mexican place that was recommended to us. On our way to the restaurant we walked through the historic Nutana neighbourhood. Some of the buildings here were built in the very early 1900’s.

At Las Palapas we shared some tortilla chips as an appetizer. For our main meal I had some tacos, and Julie had enchiladas. We both agreed that the food was excellent.

After dinner we walked down the street to Prairie Sun Brewery for some potent potables. I picked up some Pink Himalayan Salt IPA’s, and Julie picked up some ciders. We walked back to our hotel and spent some time in the pool and hot tub, before crawling into bed and watching some Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime.

The next day we woke up around 8:00am and had breakfast at Broadway Cafe. I had eggs benedict with hashbrowns and Julie had a scrambler without eggs. The food was fairly mediocre, however the 1950’s décor was beautiful, and the staff were very friendly.

After breakfast we drove through the neighbourhood of Varsity View to find the few surviving examples of Art Deco homes that were built in the 1930’s. I had heard that Saskatoon had quite a few examples of these homes still around, however many of them were in bad shape.

After driving through Varsity View we parked the car and walked through the University of Saskatchewan campus. The University was founded in 1907. The original building, The College Building, was opened in 1913 (now declared a National Historic Site of Canada). Since then numerous other colleges were established; Arts & Science (1909), Agriculture (1912), Engineering (1912), Law (1913), Pharmacy (1914), Commerce (1917), Medicine (1926), Education (1927), Home Economics (1928), Nursing (1938), Graduate Studies and Research (1946), Physical Education (1958), Veterinary Medicine (1964), Dentistry (1965), and School of Physical Therapy (1976).

Remai Modern Art Museum

After walking through the University of Saskatchewan campus we drove to the Remai Modern Art Museum. The museum was established in 2009, however has only been in its current building since October 2017. The museum has three floors with two different collections distributed amongst them; the two main collections being the Mendel Collection, and the Picasso Collection.

The entrance is beautiful and modern, with nice leather seats, a fire place, and cool light fixtures hanging from the ceiling.

The Mendel Collection is a permanent collection featuring 7700 works by artists including Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, Cornellius Krieghoff, and William Perehudoff.

The Picasso Collection, on the second floor, is also a permanent collection. It features ceramics and linocuts by Pablo Picasso, and features 405 linocuts, many of his beautiful wife Jacqueline. Linocuts, also called linoleum cut, are a print made from a sheet of linoleum into which a design has been cut in a relief. An interesting thing to note is that some of Picasso’s designs included 50 lays of linoleum, and if he made a mistake anywhere along the way, he had to start over again.

After visiting the museum we went and got some ice cream from Homestead Ice Cream. I had Saskatoon Berry and Lemon in a waffle cone, while Julie had Licorice and Saskatoon Berry in a cup. If you’re a lover of ice cream you have to eat here!

Western Development Museum

After getting some ice cream we drove to the Western Development Museum (WDM), which was established in 1949, and has been in its present location since 1972. There are technically four WDM’s, located at Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Yorkton, and Saskatoon, but the area of focus is Saskatoon. The Saskatoon one is called 1910 Boomtown, and focuses on the boomtown era of 1910’s, as well as features vintage automobiles, trains, farm equipment, and other memorabilia. There’s a tremendous amount of content to write about this museum, so I’ll release it in a separate post, and eventually link it here.

After visiting the museum we went back to the hotel for a bit to relax, before heading out to dinner at Bon Temps. Bon Temps is an authentic Louisiana Cajun / Creole style restaurant. I had a delicious brisket served with corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, and a jalapeno corn bread. Julie had scallops served with green beans, mashed potatoes, and a jalapeno corn bread. We also had some adult beverages to go along with our meal.

After our meal we walked to the 9 Mile Legacy brewery, which was unfortunately closing in 10 minutes, so they were no longer serving any pints. I picked up two cans to-go, and we walked back to the hotel and went in the hot tub before going to bed.

On our final day in Saskatoon we went to Hometown Diner for Breakfast. I had a breakfast poutine, and Julie had a delicious chicken bacon club sandwich.

After breakfast we drove to the farmers market, which was extremely underwhelming, so we quickly left. Next up was the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo, which was excellent! The zoo is a National Historic Site of Canada (designated in 1990), and was created in 1966. There were over 30 different types of animals on display including Bald Eagles, Burrowing Owls, Great Horned Owls, Grizzly Bears, Lynx’s, Swift Fox (which escaped!), Dingo’s, Pygmy Goats, Bison, Pronghorns, multiple types of Sheep, Alpaca’s, Meerkats, and Capuchin Monkey’s.

After visiting the zoo it was time to grab some lunch. We drove to Odla, which actually happened to be right next door to the Broadway Cafe that we ate at the other day. Odla is a fine example of farm to table. I had a delicious hamburger, which was the BEST hamburger I’ve ever had in my life, and Julie had a grilled vegetable and quinoa plate.

After having our delicious lunch I drove to Crossmount Cider Company, which was a short 15 minute drive south of the city. The craft cidery is built next to a retirement community and overlooks a man-made wetland area, where you can few all sorts of birds while enjoying some ciders. We decided to both get a flight of sample ciders. The cidery was established in 2014.

After visiting the cidery we drove back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit before going to Thirteen Pies Pizza & Bar for dinner. I had a pizza called The Midnight Meat Train, which included sausage, meatballs, bacon, provolone, mozzarella, jalapenos, and tomato sauce. Julie had a pizza called The White Walker, which included roasted mushrooms, provolone, mozzarella, ricotta, white sauce, prosciutto (added extra), and truffle oil. We barely at half of our pizzas before calling it quits because we were full. We packed up our leftover pizza and started to walk back to the hotel. On our way back we both decided that we would give our leftovers to a homeless man who looked fairly hungry. I also snapped a photo of a very cool brutalism building called the Sturdy Stone Centre. The Sturdy Stone Centre, designed by the architecture firm of Forrester, Scott, Bowers, Cooper and Walls, is a 13 story building that was built in 1977. Floors 3 to 7 are used as a parkade, with the remaining floors used as office space.

The rest of the evening we spent watching more of our Amazon Prime series called The Man in the High Castile, as well as some time in the hot tub, before going to bed.

The following day we had breakfast at OEB before driving back to Calgary. I had my favourite dish there, a breakfast poutine called Soul in a Bowl. Julie had some smoked salmon on gluten-free bread.

On the way home we were supposed to stop at the Saskatchewan Sand Dunes, however due to an immense amount of rain the road to the dunes was inaccessible. I only made it about 100 feet before getting stuck, needing a tow out from a friendly Saskatchewan family.

Well that concludes this series, but be sure to check back soon as I have a trip to Kelowna in a few weeks, as well as plenty of upcoming hikes, including trip to Lake O’Hara in July.

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August 11th 2016 – Outback Tour Day 2 of 10

This morning we woke up early at 5:30. Breakfast was a simple Australian bush style breakfast of toast and basic cereals. I have not had cereal in years, but I had some corn flakes with skim milk, as well as some toast with jam. We set off towards Jim Jim falls at 6:30am. The drive took us down a 1 hour extremely rutted and bumpy gravel and shale road. After about an hour we came to the 4×4 trail where I hopped out and locked the front hubs on the truck to put us into 4×4. We took the 4×4 trail at a reasonable pace in order to not bottom out the truck but still at a reasonable rate of speed. About 15 minutes down the 4×4 trail we then came to the parking spot for Jim Jim falls.

During the fall Jim Jim falls has a very high flow rate, and you are not able to see it from land. The good photos that you see from the internet are from an airplane or helicopter. Luckily we came during winter so we could actually see the area where the waterfall would be, but also swim underneath. After parking the truck we walked about a half hour to a beach below Jim Jim falls. Most of us went in the water, while a few stayed behind because they were scared of crocodiles, or couldn’t swim. We swam a bit out from the beach towards some rocks, which we climbed over, to the other side where we saw a beautiful plunge pool. The water in the plunge pool was a little warmer, but absolutely beautiful. I swam to the other side of the plunge pool and relaxed under the barely trickling waterfall.

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Afterwards we hopped back into our 4×4 and drove back to the same camp that we stayed at the night before. We had leftovers and sandwiches, which were delicious. After lunch I helped hook the trailer back up to the 4×4 (we couldn’t take the trailer with us this morning due to the extremely bumpy road).

We started driving towards Mount Bundy, three hours away, where we are going to stay tonight but made multiple stops along the way. The first stop, an unexpected stop, was to clear a tree that fell right in front of us because of a small bush fire. We had to come to a sudden stop. The tree took five of us to move and two people to watch traffic in either direction. The second stop was a massive cathedral termite mound, which was taller than I was. The cathedral termite mounds grow 1 metre every ten years, so it is a slow process. The cathedral termites build their mounds from dirt, water, grass, and poop.

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The next stop was the Buklukluk Lookout. We learned about the foliage in the area and how the indigenous people made baskets and bracelets out of some of the foliage by weaving the fibres. We made bracelets, which took about 10 minutes, so image how long it would take to make a basket.

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Along the way to our next stop I was nominated to be a trivia quiz master, so I asked a series of ten questions each about World History, Animals, and Australia. The questions and answers were already prepared for me. The best team got 22/30 correct and won a prize of candy at the next stop. The next stop was pine creek, and old mining town, where we got ice cream, beer for camp tonight, and watched some caged snakes eat mice. I also received a bag of candy for being a quiz master, which I shared with the group. Gold mining was, and still is huge in the area, so many little towns along the highway were founded in the mid to late 1800’s. So much gold was found in the area that they were short of workers, so they got Chinese people that were serving time in Chinese jails to come work in the Australian gold mines, in return for freedom after a period of time. They did their time and stole gold by smuggling it back to China in urns of deceased family members, and then became quite wealthy. It is unknown how much gold was stolen, but it was suspected a fair amount.

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We got back on the main highway, called the Stewart Highway, towards Mount Bundy. The Stewart highway received its name from the explorer who was the first person to travel from Southern Australia to Darwin in 1861. The first telegraph in Australia was made in 1871 to England through Asia and Europe, which apparently took six years to complete.

We arrived at Mount Bundy, which is a beautiful farm area that has wild dingos, a bull, some horses, a miniature pony, and an alligator pond. When we arrived I setup my tent, and plugged in all of my equipment to charge (these tents all had electricity, which was nice). I took my camera and went in search of wallabes and the bull to take pictures of. I didn’t have the correct lens to take a picture of the wallabes, but at least I was able to capture some. After that I met up with the rest of the group who were sitting around drinking and talking politics, before we had to start preparing dinner. Dinner was mashed potatoes, buffalo steaks, sausages, and cooked vegetables. After dinner we went in search of toads and crocodiles by flashlight. We were unable to find any crocodiles, but did find some poisonous toads that if you lick them you will get high.

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I went to bed at 11:00pm. Check back tomorrow for more of my adventures!

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