After recently visiting British Columbia, I have to say Canada would have to be the most beautiful country I have visited and one of the world’s most picturesque.
We toured British Columbia on the west coast which is bordered by the American state of Alaska on the northwest, the Yukon in the north, the province of Alberta on the east and on the south by the states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana. With huge snow capped mountains, glaciers and waterfalls, you think it can’t get any better than this, and you turn the corner and it does. The pristine countryside is breathtakingly beautiful and the lovely Canadian people are so in touch with nature, conservation, land management, natural resources and wild life.
One of our first stops was at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria on Vancouver Island. These gardens are an incredible floral display, covering more than 22 ha (55 acres). Established in the early 1920s by Jennie Butchart, who loved gardening and had an idea to beautify the old worked-out quarry which had supplied her husband Robert’s nearby cement plant.
Each year over a million bedding plants in 900 varieties provide uninterrupted bloom from March through to October. While we only had about three hours there, you could quite easily spend the whole day there.
When in Jasper, we went on safari up the river where we powered along, on the look out for Canadian wildlife. When in Canada, everyone’s eyes are peeled for local animals such as bears, moose, elk and eagles. As we approached the river bank in the boat, John, the skipper, cut the motor, advising us to be quiet so as not to disturb the bears in their natural habitat. John had grown up on the land and he was so knowledgeable and passionate about nature. He told us he was about seventeen before he actually tasted a piece of meat from a butcher shop or supermarket as he and his family had always lived off the land. With enormous respect for the land, the animals and the whole environment, he said he often visited the forest, simply to enjoy the peace and tranquillity there. Someone asked him if he took a gun with him when he visits the woods and he said “No I don’t take a gun. I usually don’t even take a camera. It is just so peaceful in there, I wish more people would appreciate the beauty and peace and stillness in there”, he said.
As we say in our techno charged world – There is no wifi in the forest but you are guaranteed a much better connection.
On this particular morning we spotted a grizzly bear on the river bank just going about his business. (See photo)
The holiday was truly awesome with so much packed in to three weeks. The first two weeks, we toured on a coach through British Columbia, including Victoria, Jasper, Whistler, Lake Louise and Banff. While travelling though British Columbia, we met many young Australians working throughout Canada. They all love being there and with Canada being part of the Commonwealth, it’s very easy to get a Visa and renew it.
After the coach tour, we travelled by train on the Rocky Mountaineer, through the Rocky Mountains for two days from Banff to Vancouver. With glass picture windows and dome glass ceilings, you could take in every bit of magnificent scenery along the way. Following an overnight stay in Vancouver, we joined the Holland America line for a seven day cruise along the inside passage through Alaska, stopping at Juneau, Skagway and Ketchican. Visiting those towns was like walking into a town in the old Wild West, fully expecting to see cowboys on horses come riding through.