“You’re from Canada? Toronto? Montreal? Vancouver?”
Shakes his head.
“It’s an island off the east coast.”
Shakes his head.
“Ummm…do you know where the Titanic went down? Pretty close to there.”
“Ahhhhh…TITANIC!!! Celine Dion!! My Heart Will Go On!!”
This is what Canadians are up against – a falafel vendor in Syria whose concept of Canada involves three big cities, an aging diva, and a sunken ship. Is that what people think of us? The truth is, Canada is so much more — we’ve got Justin Bieber now too.
Although that exchange happened years ago, it instantly popped into my noggin the moment Pamela MacNaughtan from Spunky Girl Monologues suggested a This is My Canada series for Canadian bloggers to write about sites we believe visitors to Canada should see. And while the three big cities are great in their own right, there’s a heckuva lot more.
And since my tastes lean towards the quirky, of course I’m going to suggest those…
This is My Canada
A Corner of the Flat Earth
A video from Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism says that according to the Flat Earth Society, Fogo Island is one of the Four Corners of the Flat Earth—the others are Hydra in Greece, the Bermuda Triangle, and Papua, New Guinea. The Flat Earth Society of course says no such thing (you can read that story here in a post I called The World is Flat and You Can be too.) In any case, it’s still a sweet spot to spend some time, and probably the easiest of the Big Four to visit.
The Most Easterly Point in North America
With no living soul between you and Europe (unless you count boat people) there’s something magical about Cape Spear, Newfoundland. It just puts you in a good mood. If the wind doesn’t blow the head off you that is. You can get your hike on in the surrounding trails, or if you’re up for a real trek, a short distance away is the beginning of the East Coast Trail. Ahhhh…life on the edge.
The World’s Largest Indoor Wave Pool
It’s always summer in Edmonton – a chlorinated, dome-covered one in the form of the World Waterpark at the West Edmonton Mall. One time holder of The Largest Mall in the World title (that honour goes to the Dubai Mall now), WEM as it’s affectionately known is still a grand experience, especially when the mercury takes a dip.
The World Famous Gopher Hole Museum & Gift Shop
This is my Canada — a redneck’s dollhouse. Forty-four of ‘em to be exact.
I lived in Calgary for 20 years, but it was only last year I heard about this piece of insanity just over an hour’s drive away. Torrington, Alberta’s World Famous Gopher Hole Museum & Gift Shop may not be for everyone, but if you happen to be along the highway from Calgary to Edmonton, it’s well worth the detour, and the two dollar admission. I mean, it’s a bunch of dead gophers – stuffed, clothed, and lovingly staged in a variety of poses. What’s not to love? And you’ll never forget classics such as…
and Old Tyme Music Jamboree
…plus 42 other delightfully macabre dioramas to titillate your senses.
Bata Shoe Museum
Because Canada is so big, there’s plenty I haven’t yet seen. One of those things on my radar is the Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum. Not because I have a shoe fetish (I’m more of plain old foot guy), but because it’s just one of those quirky must-do experiences. Besides, where else are you going to see shoes like this…
There’s even a pair of used ones from good old Celine herself on display.
As part of the This is My Canada series, I need to tag three other Canadian travel bloggers. So Matt Bailey from A World of Inspiration, Lisa Goodmurphy from Gone With The Family and Mariellen Ward from BreatheDreamGo, make us all proud…eh?