My Swimming Lesson at Shuswap Falls RV Park

On our third day at Shuswap Falls RV Park, I wanted to drive the golf cart to the pool, but my feet couldn’t reach the pedals, darn it.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

So I had to let a taller person do the driving while I hung out the back.

Buddy Canuck and Annie Zed | Photo credit: canadianonly.ca

I was so excited to be going to the pool!

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

First thing, I got a safety lesson and was told about the pool rules.

Buddy Canuck and Annie Zed | Photo credit: canadianonly.ca

I tested the water temperature with my hand.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

Then, with my foot.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

Brrrr! That water was cold! I almost changed my mind about the whole thing!

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

But Annie coaxed me back.

Buddy Canuck and Annie Zed | Photo credit: canadianonly.ca

She said it might be easier if I eased myself in on the steps at the shallow end. I took my water gun with me as a security measure.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

The shallow end is for sissies, so I decided to go to the deep end, where I spotted a rather large wave.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

This was rather disconcerting, so I asked Leslie, the CEO of Canadian Only, for some encouragement.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

At one point, I thought she was going to push me in!

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

I planted myself at the water’s edge and aimed my water gun at anyone tryin’ to fool with me. (My right foot got wet!)

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

By that time, Annie was already in the pool. She came over to have a photo taken with me.

Buddy Canuck and Annie Zed | Photo credit: canadianonly.ca

She tried to get me into the pool, too. It took a while to convince me.

Buddy Canuck and Annie Zed | Photo credit: canadianonly.ca

She became quite persuasive.

Buddy Canuck and Annie Zed | Photo credit: canadianonly.ca

I gotta admit, she did try to gently ease me in.

Buddy Canuck and Annie Zed | Photo credit: canadianonly.ca

We actually ended up having quite a lot of fun!

Buddy Canuck and Annie Zed | Photo credit: canadianonly.ca

I don’t know why, but swimming makes me thirsty.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

The best part was chillin’ on the deck chairs afterwards.

Buddy Canuck and Annie Zed | Photo credit: canadianonly.ca

I loved my vacation at Shuswap Falls RV Park!

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

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Mexican Lasagna on the BBQ

We ate very well at Shuswap Falls RV Park. Leslie, the CEO of Canadian Only showed us how to make a Mexican Lasagna on the BBQ!

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

First, she got the ground beef ready.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

Then she chopped up some onions (and other stuff).

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

After frying it all up on the stove top, we took it out to the BBQ. Leslie put some tortilla wraps on the bottom of a lasagna pan, then put the spicy beef mixture on top.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

She added some more tomato sauce.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

Then she put some shredded cheese on it… mmmm! And made another layer.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

Yet another layer and even more cheese.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

Then she baked it in the BBQ. The hardest part was waiting for it to be done. Waiting and waiting.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

Finally, it was done! Leslie served it up.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

Dinner on the deck. It was soooo delish!

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

I didn’t even mind helping with the dishes afterward!

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

Vacation at Shuswap Falls RV Resort

I’m Buddy Canuck. I’m a proud Canadian and an employee at the Canadian Only website. Me, Annie Zed and Leslie (the CEO) went on a team building vacation weekend at the Shuswap Falls RV Resort.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

I been wanting to come here fer ages! It got a rave review on the Canadian Only website and we had such a fun time here. Business as usual!

We were well-armed with mosquito stuff and a fly swatter.

Buddy Canuck and Annie Zalezsak

I climbed a few trees.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

Sat on the deck for a while. It got sweltering hot!

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

We had to go inside to cool down sometimes.

Buddy Canuck | Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

Which was okay by me, cuz I was well armed with some good ol’ fashioned Canadian refreshments! 😉

Autumn Hours in Banff

Last week, I spent a few hours in Banff. It’s been a few years since I travelled through there. Despite the greyish skies, cool air and slower autumn pace, the outstanding beauty is always captivating.

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak, road to Banff

You cannot visit Banff without noticing it’s most famous landmark: the Banff Springs Hotel. The hotel was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway and opened to the public on June 1, 1888. However, construction of the stone building that stands today was built in stages between 1911 and 1914, expanding the hotel from 100 rooms to 300 rooms.

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak, Banff Springs Hotel

To give you an idea of the cost to stay, it ranges from $300 to $500 per night, depending on the season. Be careful when they tell you you’re getting a room with a “partial mountain view”, though. I stayed at the hotel one night as a treat back in the mid-90s. The room was tiny and cramped, and it was more like a roof view with a tiny glimpse of a speck of mountain (if you craned your neck out the window and twisted it to one side). But it is worth a walk up to the building to see the architectural detail and poke your nose inside for a look.

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak, Banff Springs Hotel

It’s fascinating to have a close look at the rock of the Rockies.

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak, Banff

All these years I’ve been going to Banff, and this was the first time I knew of, and saw, Bow Falls, situated a short way down a road from the hotel.

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak, Bow Falls, Banff

The beauty of the area is spectacular, every which way you turn.

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak, near Bow Falls, Banff

Not all of the Rocky Mountains are “rocky”. This peculiar one is unusually rounded.

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak, Banff

Back in the town, looking for a place to have lunch, this car caught my eye.

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak, Eddie's burger car, Banff

Finished off the trip with lunch at Coyote’s Deli and Grill with Monika Siebert. You can read more about this trip on Monika’s Banff blog post.

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak, pizzas at Coyote's Deli and Grill, Banff

Labour Day 2011

Photo credit: Ian Muttoo, Wikimedia Commons, CNE 2008

I remember when I was a kid, how Labour Day marked the last true day of freedom before returning to another year of school. It was the last day of the CNE (the Canadian National Exhibition) in Toronto: a squealing dose of fun and amusements at the biggest fair ever (at least to a young Toronto girl)!

Photo credit: Andrew Rivett, Wikimedia Commons, Snowbirds, CNE Labour Day 2007The big annual airshow was always on the Labour Day long weekend. No matter how many times you’d already visited “The Ex” (short for Exhibition), you’d have to go that one last time during the Labour Day Weekend just to see the air show. The Canadian Forces’ Snowbirds Demonstration Team always put on a spectacular aerobatics display.

When I got older, my dad explained another view. He worked at the post office, which had a strong union. He told me that groups of people fought for rights in their jobs, and demonstrated this by marching in a parade on Labour Day. Something like this picture, below.

Photo credit: Lance Dutchak, Wikimedia Commons, Labour Day Parade, Ironworkers, Toronto, 2008

There’s a Labour Day parade in Toronto this year starting at Queen Street and University Avenue at 9:30am. It proceeds along Queen Street to Dufferin Street, then south to Dufferin Gate at the CNE (shown below). It takes about an hour and a half.

Photo credit: Captmondo, Wikimedia Commons, CNE Dufferin Gate, Toronto 2005

History of Labour Day in Canada

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, Labour Day Parade, Toronto c1900s

The paragraphs below are quoted from:
http://www.calendar-updates.com/info/holidays/canada/labour.aspx

“Earliest records show that the Toronto Trades Assembly, perhaps the original central labour body in Canada, organized the first North American ‘workingman’s demonstration’ of any significance for April 15,1872. The beribboned parade marched smartly in martial tread accompanied by four bands. About 10,000 Torontonians turned out to see the parade and listen to the speeches calling for abolition of the law which decreed that trade unions were criminal conspiracies in restraint of trade.

“… It was still a crime to be a member of a union in Canada although the law of criminal conspiracy in restraint of trade had been repealed by the United Kingdom parliament in 1871.

“Toronto was not the only city to witness a labour parade in 1872. On September 3, members of seven unions in Ottawa organized a parade more than a mile long, headed by the Garrison Artillery band and flanked by city fireman carrying torches.

“The Ottawa parade wound its way to the home of Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald where the marchers hoisted him into a carriage and drew him to Ottawa City Hall by torchlight. ‘The Old Chieftain’, aware of the discontent of workers with the laws which made unions illegal, in a ringing declaration from the steps of the City Hall, promised the marchers that his party would “sweep away all such barbarous laws from the statute books”.

“The offending conspiracy laws were repealed by the Canadian government in 1872. The tradition established by the Toronto Trades Assembly was continued through the seventies and into the early 1880s.

“Soon pressure for legislation to declare a national holiday for Labour Day was exerted in both Canada and the United States. In 1894 the government of Sir John Thompson enacted such legislation on July 23, with the Prime Minister piloting the bill through Parliament against the opposition of some of his Conservative followers.

“Canadian trade unionists have celebrated this day set aside to honor those who labour from the 1870’s on. The first Labour Day parade in Winnipeg, in 1894, was two miles long.

So. How will you be spending this Labour Day 2011?

Autumn in Canada

As August draws to a close, my thoughts turn to my most favourite season in Canada: Autumn. The astounding colours of the maple tree make me particularly nostalgic for Ontario. Look at these vivid, fiery colours reflecting on a Muskoka lake.

Photo credit: Bruce Amos, Dreamstime.com

When I was a young girl, starting school in September meant all kinds of science and art projects involving maple leaves. We’d go on class excursions to parks, collecting whatever grabbed our attention.

Photo credit: Melinda Nagy, Dreamstime.com

We’d all be trying to find THE perfect autumn maple leaf. It wasn’t easy. It would have to be in its peak form of shape, texture and colour. Often, the chances of finding the best one, would be catching one just as it fell off the tree.

Photo credit: Jun Li, Dreamstime.com

Sometimes, there would be just so many to choose from! And if you were too late in the season, they might have been trampled on.

Photo credit: Natalia Melnikova, Dreamstime.com

And then, there it would be: perhaps not symmetrical, perhaps with flaws, and yet even still, the most stunning maple leaf you ever did see!

Photo credit: Only Alone, Dreamstime.com

It’s a good thing you found it, because pretty soon, all you’ll find is frost on sumac leaves!

Photo credit: Bruce Amos, Dreamstime.com

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