Celebrating Canada 150!

Have you heard?  Canada is turning 150 this year! To celebrate Canada 150, they are opening up their National Parks for free!  Order your free pass here.  Pretty sweet, eh?

“The 150th anniversary of Canada, also known as the 150th anniversary of Confederation and promoted by the Canadian government as Canada 150, occurs in 2017 as Canada marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canadian Confederation.”

I have been fortunate enough to make several trips to Canada in my lifetime, and I’ve never had a bad time.  There are still lots of places I want to visit, like Quebec, Churchill and Novia Scotia.  Here are some of my favorite places that I’ve visited in Canada. (Some trips happened before digital photography, so these are scans of printed photos – yes, that used to be a thing!)

Banff & Canadian Rockies

I love ski towns, and Banff was no exception.  In 2005, my aunt Donna and I road-tripped from Seattle to the Canadian Rockies and spent 3 days on a horseback trip with Holidays on Horseback, now Banff Trail Riders.  We did the Mystic Valley trip and it was so much fun!  I would love to go back and do a longer trip with them.  The scenery was splendid!

2004 - Canadian Rockies

On our way back to Seattle, we also stopped off at Lake Louise, which is Insta-famous due to it’s turqouise blue waters.  We took a short canoe trip around the lake.  Another place I would love to return, and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise would be a great place to stay!

2004 - Lake Louise

Vancouver

I have made a few trips to Vancouver over the years, most recently to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday. Vancouver might be my favorite city ever – it’s big enough that it has a lot going on, but it’s incredibly clean, green, and easy to navigate.  The mountain/ocean/culture trifecta can’t be beat! It is also super pricy, so beware!

Stanley Park, Vancouver

Whistler

I first visited Whistler in 2003 when I was contemplating a move out West.  My sister and I drove up for the day (from Vancouver) and I loved it!  I love car-free zones, and it seems to be a common feature in Canadian ski towns.  Super cute.  My ski skills are Midwest Level, so I haven’t sampled the snow here, but it’s supposed to be killer. People were still skiing mid-May on my last visit!

Mont Tremblant

Another ski town!  I’m sensing a theme….they’re just so cute!  I came here in the fall as a side trip from Montreal. I’ve heard it can get brutally cold here in the winter, but it’s a great add-on to a Montreal visit.

The ski village, from our hotel window (with screen)

Montreal

Montreal is a great place for a weekend getaway, just a short flight from Chicago.  You can stroll the cobblestone streets of “Old Montreal” and practice your French in the shops and cafes. The botanical garden had a cool exhibit of Japanese lanterns at the time, so we visited at night when everything was lit up. Of course, the fall colors were on full display as well.

Vieux Montreal

Toronto

Toronto feels like a Candian version of Chicago, so of course I loved it.  My BFF and I took a road trip here a week before 9/11 happened.  We took our bikes and just roamed around the city.  It’s been a while, and I’m much more travel-savvy now, so I’d love to visit again and hit the highlights. (And take photos – I don’t have any from our trip!)

Quetico Provincial Park

Ok, technically I haven’t been to Quetico, but I have paddled the US side, the Boundary Waters, and we did stop off in Canada for a potty break, so it counts.  Based on what I saw in the Boundary Waters, I can safely bet that a trip to Quetico would not disappoint!

Day 5 (Leigh - iPhone photo)

How will you celebrate Canada 150?

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US National Parks Photos

The National Park Service celebrated its 100-year anniversary last year and has garnered a lot of attention recently as the Alt National Park Service sprang up in response to the recent Presidential administration. All politics aside, these parks are a legacy that we must cherish and preserve at all costs.

Me at Denali (with Tee's skinny legs)

The National Park system includes 417 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.

9/12 - Amy, Lisa, Olivia, Jenny and I

Some of my earliest travel memories include trips to National Parks such as Badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Teton.  Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to visit over half of the 58 National Parks, which I keep track of here.  I plan to add another half-dozen to my list this year!  These are some of my favorite National Parks photos.

Double Arch

Arches National Park

Big Bend National Park

1997 - Me, Dono, Donna at black Canyon

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

9/12 - Jenny, me and Lisa at Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park

Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers - This is the point on the river where we had to stop and put PFD's on

Canyonlands National Park

Everglades National Park

Glacier National Park

Sunday 9/6

Grand Canyon National Park

Leigh Lake!

Grand Teton National Park

Glaciers on the Resurrection Bay cruise

Kenai Fjords National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

3.2.09 - Trail brushing in Saguaro National Park - Thunderbird Trail

Saguaro National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

West Thumb Geyser Basin (YNP)

Yellowstone National Park

Zion National Park

I have favorite National Park photos, but I could never choose a favorite National Park. Zion, Grand Canyon and Big Bend are pretty high up there, though! There are still so many more to explore!

Wondering how you can help our National Parks?

  • Visit!
    • Plan your trip at NPS.gov.  Buy an annual pass for $80.  A great deal if you visit more than 3 parks in a year.
    • Have a 4th grader?  You can get a free pass through the Every Kid in a Park program.
    • Senior Citizens can get a reduced-fee lifetime pass
  • Volunteer!
  • Donate!
  • Vote and be heard!  Let your representatives know what is important to you.
  • Share this post!  🙂

Have you spent time in the US National Parks?  What was your favorite?

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