In 2005 we decided on a trip to Canada, starting with a flight to Toronto, a train to Vancouver and a ferry over to the Island where we hired a car to get around to some amazing places. So join me on my Canadian trip of a lifetime.
Air: The following images are taken on coming in to land at Toronto as we circled right over the city. Sometimes even having a seat with a wing view can be interesting too.
Sunlight on Wing
Toronto’s CN Tower from the air
Tommy Thompson Park
Train: After a few days exploring Toronto and a quick trip down to Niagara Falls we joined the Canadian train departing from Union Station in the country’s largest city to cross through some of Canada’s most sparsely populated regions. On the first day the panorama changes from the glass skyscrapers of Toronto to the pine trees of Sioux Lookout. Day two took us to Edmonton, crossing Winnipeg River, the Prairies and the lakes of Whiteshell Provincial Park. On the third day the train steadily climbs through the foothills of the Rockies, crossing several rivers and glacial lakes of the most stunning colours. After Jasper the train winds its way through the Yellowhead Pass, the crest of which marks the border of Alberta and British Columbia. The Canadian is in sight of Mount Robson for 16 km before turning sharply south and descending. In the early hours of the morning the mountains suddenly fall away and the Canadian follows the flat green fields along the Fraser River. It arrives at the Pacific Railway Station in Vancouver after a long and astonishing journey.
A Sunset on the move
Grain silos in the Prairies
Boat: On reaching Vancouver the next step of our journey was to travel on the wonderful BC Ferries up and along the Sunshine Coast then over to Vancouver Island. I’m not a very good sailor, but would go on these ferries any time, and if you are lucky, as we were, you might catch a glimpse of a pod or two of Orcas.
Crossing to the Island
Just in Case…
Of course there are many other types of boats on Vancouver Island, so here are a few of the smaller ones.
Comox Harbour at sunset
Ferry Boat Victoria
Houseboat – Fisherman’s Wharf
Road: Of course the journey would not be complete without the use of our lovely Lincoln hire car. She enabled us to get off the highways and to more remote places that were not easily accessible by public transport. On and off ferries to explore the smaller islands of Hornby and Denman, over a logging route to visit Telegraph Cove, along the Pacific Rim coastline to Port Renfrew, Ucluelet and Tofino, and north to Alert Bay. But my first journeys in the car were in the environs of Vancouver – to the fabulous UBC Anthropology Museum, Van Dusen Gardens and over the Lions Gate Bridge to Grouse Mountain.
Lions Gate Bridge
Arriving at the B&B
And of course there are many other methods of transport available in Canada. I hope you have enjoyed the ride 🙂
Over the Bank Holiday weekend I spent a couple of days visiting my daughter in Surrey. After a morning of gardening we decided to skip a visit to Wisley and instead head off to Richmond Park, one of the Royal Parks in London. It’s a place we’ve been to before when the grandchildren were small, but not for many years for me.
Isabella’s Plantation was a favourite spot with a pretty stream leading to a pond and stepping stones and tiny bridges for youngsters to enjoy, but it was rather disappointing to find it very overgrown with reeds, Greater Willow herb and Joe Pye Weed in particular. So much so that we couldn’t even see the stream and most of the ponds were hidden from view. I’m all for rewilding places, but they still require management and maintenance. However, it is still a popular place for families to find some peace and enjoy a picnic (relatively speaking as huge planes pass overhead constantly and the non-native ring-necked green parakeets screech above your head).
Erica / Heather Garden
Lythrum salicaria / Purple Loosestrife
Reed / Grass
Lythrum salicaria / Purple Loosestrife
Pickerel Weed (Pontederia cordata)
The Isabella Plantation is a 40 acre woodland garden set within a Victorian woodland plantation planted in the 1830’s. First opened to the public in 1953, it is best known for its evergreen azaleas, which line the ponds and streams and at their peak of flower in late April and early May. The site is managed very much with nature in mind and the gardens are run on organic principles. Native plants commonly grow alongside exotics throughout the Plantation. [source: Isabella Plantation]
I think spring time is probably the best season to visit this garden as there are many camellias and rhododendrons and azaleas planted and the native stuff would have died down over the winter.
We exited through Peg’s Pond Gate and walked around the perimeter of the garden under the large trees – oaks, beech, horse chestnuts – enjoying the filtered light and listening to the parakeets. It must have been a welcome shady place to be during the heatwave.
On arriving back at the car park we decided to walk up to Pen Ponds in the centre of the park so the dog could have a run off the lead. You still need to be careful with your dog as there are deer roaming freely in the park and during May – August dogs must be kept on leads throughout the park.
By the time we reached the ponds the sky had turned very black to the south, though still blue towards London. Despite the look of those clouds it didn’t rain a single drop.
And we were lucky enough to see a few of the deer.
A few years ago I wrote my first post about post boxes – the ones you post letters in, not the mailboxes that belong to a house – and how many different ones there are. Recently I tracked down a couple of Queen Victoria post boxes in my area and even more exciting (I know, it’s the nerd in me) I found a rare Edward VIII post box in the village where my daughter lives, so I got her to go and photograph it for me.
Britain got her first post boxes during the 1850s and shortly after the Post Office quickly settled on using the cipher of the reigning monarch on all letter boxes.
Cast Iron Queen Victoria Wall Mounted Post Box (1837 – 1901)
VR stands for Victoria Regina, Regina being Latin for queen, denoting that Queen Victoria was monarch when the box was installed.
Below is the VR cipher that is found on Victorian pillar boxes – this one is located in Penzance. And if you look at my original post you will see the more elaborate VR cipher on the Penfold boxes.
Below is an example of the short-lived King Edward VIII – EVIIIR – cipher. King for less than a year, (Jan – Dec 1936) these are the rarest of the royal ciphers to locate.
So the only monarch I am missing from my collection is one from the reign of Edward VII (1901 – 1910). There are several in London and also Norfolk and Merseyside, but only one in Cornwall. Looks like I am going to have to track that one down!
There are over 800 different types of post boxes in the UK alone. Perhaps you have an unusual one to share? If you do then please post it and link to this one in the comments or via a pingback. I’d love to see it.