Category Archives: Canada

USA, Buffalo and Canada, Niagara on the Lake

Have spent three days back in Buffalo staying with friends Paulette and Michael (perfect hosts). We met up with another ex colleague and friend LuAnne who kindly drove us around for the perfect tour of Buffalo. First stop was the amazing Darwin Martin House which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and has been beautifully and painstakingly restored (only the garden left to do). I am a major FLW fan so am sharing a few photos for others who like this kind of thing. Extra special was that we have a private tour:)

Next stop was the Richardson Complex – formerly the Buffalo Psyhiatric home. It is huge and is also being repurposed/restored as a hotel and event location. We got another private tour thanks to my friend Betsy. Some great artefacts like the beams holding up the roof.

Then we headed to the Canalside area. Formerly grain silos and now being repurposed as a place to dine, skate, roller derby and generally have a good time.

And finally a quick day trip back across the border to Niagara on the Lake, Ontario where the Shaw Festival is on – we saw Henry V – but it was set in WW1 trenches and hospital beds. Sounds weird but it was really cleverly done and very moving. The town is gorgeous and decorated with flowers in abundance so a nice place to stroll and indulge in all things maple!


Lovely 5 days in Toronto visiting with old friends and meeting new ones too. This is a very cool and laid back city with lots going on – including at the moment TIFF (the international film festival – saw a couple of movies).

Museums of choice were the fabulous BATA shoe museum which provides a history of shoes – and as you can see bling and shoes have been around for a long long time. And then a whole floor of Manolos – works of art and impossible to actually wear.

At the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) – a place that has everything in it and it build like museums used to be (although has a very modern exterior) I especially enjoyed the Iris Van Hepern clothes design exhibit.

Back on the open decked bus I enjoyed blue sky and sunshine as we swanned around Toronto taking in the striking CN Tower plus a stop at the newly developed Distillery District – which is quite funky and I had never heard of before.

And best of all time to catch up with my friends – gin cocktails with Paul and Murray and flaming saganaki in Greektown with my friends Jim and Arlene (who kindly hosted my stay) and Gary and Ronalda who I haven’t seen for 20+ years. We all talked and reminisced a lot:)

Canada, Nova Scotia – Lunenberg

Last stop on the cruise in the Maritimes and this time it was Halifax Nova Scotia. I had been there a couple of times so took a tour to the gorgeous town of Lunenburg about 90 minutes away – great views all the way there too.

En route we stopped at Mahone Bay

Lunenburg is the home of the Bluenose 2 ship – it wasn’t in dock on this day. It was (well the original one anyway) the fastest sailing ship ever for many consecutive years. It was named after one of the nicknames for people living in Nova Scotia. Apparently, back in the day, they all used to wear blue mittens in Winter and when it got cold and their noses ran they wiped them with their mittens and the blue dye came off on their noses. Great story:)

The first pic below shows three churches next to each other- although the third is a bit hard to see – and then some close ups.

Every road you turn into the buildings are traditional, well maintained and colourful. No wonder the whole old part of town has UNESCO heritage status

Finally in the land of the lobster I’m on a mission to taste, compare and contrast lobster rolls at various ports.

Canada, Prince Edward Island – oysters and almost last day of the cruise

For my second ever visit to PEI (home to Anne of Green Gables) I decided to bypass Charlottetown and do something different so I went to a private home in front of the Pinette River river run by a lovely couple who harvest wild oysters to supply three local restaurants.

A quick departure from Charlottetown.

Then onward to learn how oysters are farmed and shucked and then we ate loads of them – plus those fantastic steamed clams. Apparently 16 of us got through 300 oysters!!

Then they opened the Galley on the ship for their food extravaganza – lobster, cake, chocolate dragons and sea horse bread.

As we sailed away Charlottetown treated us to a beautiful sunset too.

Canada, Quebec – Saguernay and Gaspé (and an unexpected Channel Islands connection)

A visit to the quite remote area of Saguernay and Gaspé in Quebec City. As both places are quite small I chose to walk in their respective national parks to try and make amends for all the good food I’ve been eating on the ship. It was great to get some fresh air and enjoy the scenery.

Parc du Saguernay

Florillon National Park – Gaspé

I was surprised to learn that many of the original settlers in Gaspé came from Jersey and Guernsey – where I lived and worked for a few years back in the 1990s. As a result I saw many Jersey surnames I recognised. They fished cod and then salted it and shipped it to Portugal and Spain (I ate a fair bit of salted cod in Portugal as it is still popular there). There is even a cemetery specifically for those who came from the Channel Islands. Who knew?

Canada, Quebec City – still as charming as ever

We had an overnight stop in Quebec City which meant lots of time to enjoy this wonderful city that feels way more French than Canadian.

The area around the docks is full of antiques shops, cafes and 3D murals.

Then I headed to the upper part of town – good for accumulation of floors on your iPhone- and went to see the changing of the guard at the Citadel. Quite reminiscent of the UK version but with a regimental goat – an idea from Wales

While at the citadel I also opted for the tour of the Governor General’s residence – her second one as her first is in Ottawa. Btw – a very impressive Gov Gen who has been to space and speaks six languages plus lots more. Note chandeliers meant to look like icicles.

Then on to the lovely Chateau Frontenac Hotel – am old Canadian Pacific Railway Hotel now owned by Fairmont. I stayed here over 20 years ago and this time I did the one hour tour which was fun.

Canada, Quebec – a day in Baie St Paul, Montmorency Falls and a visit to the market

A train trip from Quebec City to Baie St Paul – the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil. The train runs along the St Lawrence River although as the tide was out there was a lot of mud – but still it was a very nice two hour journey.

En route we travelled past the famous and very high Montmorency Falls (1.5 times the height of Niagara).

And then a quick visit to the Quebec City old fruit and veg market. Love the way they displayed their produce. And the pretty building is the train station in Quebec City with the cool fountain in front of it.