Reflections of Travel to Canada

As a four-decade Certified Travel Agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher, and photographer, travel, whether for pleasure or business purposes, has always been a significant and an integral part of my life. Some 400 trips to every portion of the globe, by means of road, rail, sea, and air, entailed destinations both mundane and exotic. This article focuses on those to Canada, whose coverage encompassed all 14 provinces and territories.


Encompassing 500,000 square miles between the Atlantic Ocean and Hudson Bay in northeastern Canada, Labrador extended further east than any other part of the North American continent. Its geological base, formed by the ancient Laurentian Shield, was created by internal upheaval, glaciation, and erosion, and is believed to resemble the surface before life on the planet began. Considered both Canada’s and the world’s last Frontier, it was sparsely populated and virtually unexplored.

Although a few venues could be considered “sights” in the traditional travel sense of the word, such as the Labrador Heritage Museum, the Labrador Military Museum, and 5 Wing Goose Bay, “attractions” consisted of those that facilitated life in this far north location, specifically the Float Plane Base and the natural topography, such as Grand Lake and the Mealy Mountains, which were observed from a high view in North West River.

Road access was provided by the 530-kiometer, gravel surface Trans Labrador Highway that stretched between Goose Bay and Labrador City. The former’s First Nation population and rustic atmosphere were respectively reflected by shops, such as Drumdance Art and Crafts, and restaurants like the Trappers Cabin, in which diners grilled their own steaks.


Newfoundland, part of the Labrador province, was crossed from end to end in a westerly direction with a rental car, from St. John’s to Clarenville, Gander, and Rocky Harbor, exceeding 700 kilometers and was followed several days later with a return.

Its several sights included Terra Nova National Park, the North Atlantic Aviation Museum, the Silent Witness Memorial, a tranquil park dedicated to the memory of the 256 who lost their lives on December 12, 1985 in an Arrow Air Super DC-8 accident, and Gros Morne National Park, where a long hike preceded a boat cruise on 15-kilometer-long Western Brook Pond and Fjord.

Gander International Airport played a significant role in the early piston airliner days as a refueling stop, since these aircraft lacked sufficient range to fly between North America and Europe, and its in-situ Hotel Gander, where countless passengers regularly stayed, reflected an even earlier aviation era with its Alcock and Brown Restaurant, named after the two British pilots who made their transatlantic crossing in 1919

Cape Spear National Historic Site marked the most easterly point in North America.

Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia, accessed through Halifax, was characterized by the city’s shop-, restaurant-, and museum-lined waterfront, beginning at the Halifax Casino, and the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.

Old Lunenburg was one of only two urban communities in North America designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Peggy’s Cove, on a rocky outcrop on the eastern shore of St. Margarets Bay, was the location of Peggys Point Lighthouse and offered a wonderful lunch of fresh fried shrimp in its restaurant.

Significant sightseeing occurred on Cape Bretton Island. A drive of the 185-mile Cabot Trail, located in northern Victoria and Inverness counties and forming a loop around the island’s tip, afforded magnificent views of the Cape Breton Highlands and the Atlantic, beginning in Baddeck, which itself was the location of the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site.

The Fortress of Louisbourg, another National Historic Site of Canada, was the location of a quarter reconstruction of an 18th-century French fortress.

Prince Edward Island:

Prince Edward Island, accessed through Charlottetown, was synonymous with the Anne of Green Cables House in Cavendish.

Green forested New Brunswick, on the Bay of Fundy, offered an opportunity to sample local life in St. John through its Kings Square and Prince William Street, another National Historic site.


Quebec represented French-speaking Canada. Historic sights, dinners, and pastries were enjoyed in Vieux-Montreal (Old Montreal), preceded by a pass of Olympic Park.

Quebec City, whose very symbol seemed to be the Chateau Frontenac, was North America’s only walled city.

Several meals enjoyed in its European-reminiscent bistros. An autumn-ablaze ascent of its Mount-Ste Annie ski lift was a highlight.


Ontario, a skyscraper metropolis, offered attractions such as the CN Tower. A drive around Lake Ontario, for an overnight stay in St. Catharines, preluded views of Niagara Falls and the partaking of its numerous related rides and sights. A ferry ride to Toronto Island was followed by a quadricycle negotiation of its pedestrian- and bicycle-only paths. A research trip on another occasion entailed an overnight stay in Sault Ste. Marie.

Ottawa, the seat of the Canadian government, included tours of Parliament Hill on the southern banks of the Ottawa River, and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Canada’s equivalent of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington.


Although Manitoba was accessed through Winnipeg and it afforded sightseeing opportunities at its Forks National Historic Site, it offered both natural and exotic venues, over and above the Hudson Bay Company’s stone fur trade fort in Lower Fort Garry. Riding Mountain National Park, for example, was explored with a self-drive tour through its narrow dirt roads that served as arteries through the ubiquitous tall, thin, white barked birch and poplar trees, opening up to grasslands and the Bison Range, and a boat cruise on Clear Lake was like gliding atop a sheer blue mirror.

Churchill, considered the Polar Bear Capital of the World and located on the province’s northern tip, was a deposit into subarctic Canada. A tundra buggy expedition, in a specially built vehicle internally provisioned with a furnace and externally offering an observation platform for wildlife viewing, negotiated the treeless tundra to the banks of the Hudson Bay, encountering woodland caribou, snow geese, and the polar bears themselves, which ironically viewed the tundra buggy with the same curiosity as its inhabitants viewed them.

A subsequent zodiac tour on the Churchill River afforded beluga whale watching opportunities.

Other sights included the Visitor Center in the Churchill Railroad Station, literally the end of the line for VIA Rail Canada’s Manitoba boreal forest and tundra traversing track. Shopping in this almost top-of-the-world outpost was in venues such as the Arctic Trading Company, and dinner entrees appropriately featured arctic char.


Neighboring Saskatchewan, with its Regina and Saskatoon major gateways, offered sighting similarities and one notable difference. A drive on the dirt road penetrating Prince Albert National Park, for instance, revealed pristine vistas, while the area’s access and infrastructure could be studied at the Western Development Museum. But a stay in Moose Jaw’s Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort provided peace for the soul and elegant cuisine for the body, and an escorted tour through its Tunnels of Moose Jaw, an extensive system dug in 1908 and used by Chinese immigrants and during prohibition, revealed the town’s “underground” purpose.


Calgary and Edmonton served as the thresholds to the Canadian Rockies, which offered infinite views of the imposing, snow-streaked mountains, a visit to Banff National Park, a tram ascent of Mount Sulphur on the Banff Gondola, and the glittering blue jewel of Lake Louise. The cursory study of paleontology, as evidenced by the dinosaur skeleton outside of the Royal Tyrrell Museum, was introduced in Drumheller.

British Columbia:

Several stays at Vancouver’s Pan Pacific Hotel, part of the cruise ship terminal from which Alaska Inside Passage itineraries were launched, became the base for sightseeing in British Columbia that included Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, the Grouse Mountain and Skyride, and a ferry to and helicopter return from Victoria on Vancouver Island. The latter, showcasing its British colonial past, included such attractions as Butchart Gardens and its Victorian architecture, and high afternoon teas were still in practice.

A side trip to Whistler, one of the largest ski resorts in North America, not only offered the expected skiing, but snowshoeing, tobogganing, and ski jumping were available at its Olympic Park, a venue for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Its pedestrian, chalet-style village at the base of the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains provided modern, overnight accommodation, and lunch was enjoyed after an aerial tramway ride up to the summit.

Arctic and subarctic Canada was experienced in three territories, which, spanning the country from east to west, included Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon.


The first, located on Baffin Island and served by Iqaluit, reeked of remote outpost life. Located above the tree line, it offered few roads and they led neither in nor out. Its community center appeared like a self-contained module from Moon Base Alpha. And it was one of the few “cities” with regularly scheduled airline service to Greenland.

Northwest Territories:

Yellowknife, the largest population center of the Northwest Territories on the Mackenzie River and itself above the 60th parallel, was marked by floatplanes serving as aerial arteries to its remote communities and caribou served in the log cabined Wildcat Café, although more traditional fare was available in more modern hotels and restaurants.

Buffalo Airways, with its fleet of antiquated Douglas DC-3s, Curtiss C-46 Commandos, Douglas DC-4s, and Lockheed Electras, was the supply lifeline to the area’s other communities.

Norman Wells rapidly expanded because of its oil deposits.

And Inuvik, above the Arctic Circle, was accessed by the gravel Dempster Highway, which connected the area with Dawson City in the Yukon and facilitated a day trip, in a rental truck, to Detah, itself requiring a brief ferry crossing of Arctic Red River to reach.


The Yukon afforded an extensive, multi-faceted travel experience. In Whitehorse, its largest city, it included a stay in a hotel featuring Klondike gold rush décor; visits to the Old Church Museum, the now-stationary S. S. Klondike, the largest of the 250 sternwheelers to have plied the Yukon River and a National Historic Site of Canada. Other attractions included the Yukon Transportation Museum, the Yukon Beringia Interpretative Center (Beringia having been the subcontinent of the last Ice Age), and the Whitehorse Fish Ladder. A ride on the Copper Belt Mining Railroad, the Whitehorse Waterfront Trolley, and a boat cruise to Miles Canyon on the Yukon River served as both attractions and transportation modes, and a performance of the Frantic Follies Vaudeville Revue cemented the gold rush experience.

Northeast Georgia Mountains

Family adventure, natural enchantment, lush green forests, sparkling rivers, thundering waterfalls, and blue mountains awaits visitors here in the Northeast Georgia mountains. Visitors can connect with nature with the 1,000’s of acres of forest land, mostly in the Chattahoochee National Forest and numerous state parks found throughout the area. Here in The East Georgia Mountains there is no shortage of the spectacular sight of waterfalls, where some are big and bold, others are more delicate; however, only a few can be viewed from the highway with most falls requiring some degree of a short walk or a hike deep into the forest.

Diverse trails, 829 acres of pristine wilderness and wildlife, and the tallest cascading water fall in the Southeast makes Amicalola Falls State Park one of Georgia’s most popular parks and a true wonderland for the nature lover. There are several choices for visitors to best view the tumbling waters from an accessible walkway to view the falls from afar, a short drive to the overlook parking lot, to a challenging trail with staircases. Starting at the visitor center a short distance from the base of the falls are two trails, the East Ridge and West Ridge Trails where both end at the Amicalola Falls overlook and can be combined to make an incredible challenging loop.

The 1.1-mile East Ridge Trail starts behind the visitor center where it traverses through the woods on a rugged trail of roots and boulders gaining 800-feet in elevation in its quest to reach the summit of the falls. Near the top are several overlooks where the views of the valley and surrounding mountains are beyond spectacular. Descending down the West Ridge Trail leads one down through the gorge with spectacular views of the cascading falls. The trail starts on a staircase where 425 steeps leads to an asphalt walkway on the cliffs edge to a bridge which crosses over the gorge, providing dazzling views of the cascading water. The staircase continues down for another 175 steps with some impressive views of the cascading water tumbling its way deeper into the gorge. Near the base of Amicalola Falls the trail returns to asphalt passing by the reflection pond where it gives way to a more rugged trail ending at the parking lot in front of the visitor center.

Vogel State Park, the second oldest state park in Georgia sits at the base of Blood Mountain, which has the highest summit on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and is surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest. This park has a rich history where many of the facilities were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression and the surrounding mountains were linked to Native American people before European settlement. The park’s popularity comes from the range of accommodations and outdoor activities including a 22-acre lake and a variety of trails from which to choose.

The best hike for the thrill seeker is the rugged 4.1-mile partial loop Bear Hair Gap Trail that winds its way up and over the lower ridges of Blood Mountain gaining over 1,000- feet in elevation. As the trail traverses through the woods, the only sounds to be heard is the rushing waters from the mountain streams and the sight of the many colors of fall leaves falling to the forest floor are unbelievable. At the summit of the trail, a short winding side trail leads to the outer edge where the view of the valley and Trahlyta Lake is pure breath taking. For a short leisurely walk, the 1-mile loop Trahlyta Lake Trail winds its way along the wooded banks of the parks 22-acre lake. Crossing the earthen dam provides a photographic opportunity of Blood and Slaughter Mountains which provide a spectacular back drop to the lake.

Right in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest near Helen Georgia lies a short half-mile path that leads to Anna Ruby Falls, a rare double waterfall flowing over a towering rugged cliff face below the summit of Tray Mountain. The sights and sounds of the twin falls spilling in wispy white tendrils and splashing over mossy boulders are beyond spectacular. The falls are created from two creeks, with Curtis Creek on the left tumbling over 150-feet into the boulder filled basin and York Creek spills 50-feet merging the creeks to form Smith Creek. Although the falls are the main attraction, the short hike is one to be noticed. Along the left side of the trail are angled rock outcrops where the sounds of the tumbling creek fill the forest on the right side. Just a short distance from the trailhead, the trail traverses over a bridge creating an opportunity for an up-close view of the creeks tumbling waters over boulders creating multiple tiers of small cascading waterfalls.

Covering only 2.1 square miles and the state’s third most visited city, Helen Georgia is well known for its Bavarian-style buildings providing a glimpse of Germany right here in Georgia. Although Helen is a small town, its Blue Ridge Mountain setting, Alpine charm, cobblestone walkways, and natural beauty draws visitors from all over the country.

Tallulah Falls is home to the 2-mile long and nearly 1,000-feet-deep gorge, where the Tallulah River has carved out a geologic formation with five waterfalls, creating one of the most spectacular canyons in the Eastern U.S. At the Tallulah Gorge State Park visitors can hike rim trails to overlooks displaying this spectacular landscape. The North and South rim trails are.75-miles each one way with modest elevation gains and a few stairs with five overlooks on each trail. For the thrill seekers, one can descend from the North rim down 310 steps into the gorge where a swaying suspension bridge crosses the gorge 80-feet above the rocky bottom with some spectacular views of the river and a waterfall. A staircase with 347 steps leads back up to the South rim.

Operated by the National Forest Service, Minnehaha Falls is considered to be the most spectacular waterfall in Rabun County. However, the drive to get there can be a little heart pounding., for eight miles the narrow two-lane highway with hair pin curves winds its way along the banks of Rabun Lake before crossing a bridge where the last two miles is a one lane dirt path which hugs the cliff wall overlooking the lake. Reaching the falls from the trail head is a short.2-mile hike up a short set of stairs before turning into the forest along the steep sided cliff wall. The trail ends in a wide, steep sided cove packed with rhododendron where the falls drops 60-feet widening quickly as it cascades over the boulders in 3 to 5-foot increments landing in a pool of boulders where a peninsular jutting out into the creek bed allows for one to actually stand right next to the base of the falls.

Just South of Hiawassee is the highest point in Georgia, Brasstown Bald Mountain, where the visitor center sits on the summit at 4,784 feet above sea level. The visitor center is a unique circular building housing an 8,000 sq. foot museum with a circular observation deck above it providing stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. To reach the summit from the parking lot, visitors have two options, a shuttle bus which runs throughout the day or the.6-mile hike through the forest on a paved trail gaining 358-feet in elevation.

Along the Eastern Continental Divide where mountain top vistas reaching altitudes of 3,640 feet overlook the pristine Appalachian Forest is Georgia’s highest state park, Black Rock Mountain State Park. The roadside overlooks showcase some outstanding scenery in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains with vistas up to 80-miles. The park’s hiking trails rated easy to difficult, leads hikers’ past wildflowers, small waterfalls, streams, and lush forest.

The ever so popular Tennessee Rock Trails rugged 2.2-mile loop traverses through the lush Black Mountain forest gaining over 600-feet in elevation in its quest to reach the mountains peak. Reaching the narrow summit covered with huge rock outcrops provides some stunning views of the mountain ranges in the distance and the valleys in-between. The difficult ADA Hi Falls Trail is a delightful walk through a moist cove where the trail features mature hardwoods, rhododendron, ferns, and lichen-covered rocks. The trails last quarter mile descends down the cliff wall 190-feet ending at an observation platform at the base of a small cascading waterfall.

Donated to Towns County in Hiawassee, the 18-acre Bell Mountain Summit is now known as the Hal Herrin Scenic Overlook. The 2.3-mile paved road takes one right to the top with the last mile being very steep and, in most places, just wide enough for one vehicle. They are two parking lots to accommodate visitors, the lower lot for the weak at heart and the summit lot which is 300-feet higher up an extremely steep grade which is a challenge to even walk. The overlook sits at the top of a 100-step staircase at an elevation of 3,424 feet offering 360-degree views. Bell Mountain provides one of the prettiest views in Georgia of the rolling North Georgia Appalachian Mountains with Lake Chatuge sprawling far into the distance along the valley floor. For the nature lover, this mountain summit may be the saddest one you’ll ever see, to see such a beautiful place with all the childish scribblings of graffiti is heart breaking. Today signs warn visitors of cameras overlooking the summit and in time, nature will heal these scars.

Tips to Visit the Maldives on a Budget

The Maldives is a tourist destination that is full of pristine waters, beautiful Bungalows, and pure sand. It consists of several Islands that attract the attention of millions of tourists from across the globe. If you are a budget traveler, you may think that you cannot go there because of your limited financial resources. The good news is that the Maldives can be visited on a strict budget as well provided you follow a few simple tips. Given below are some of them.

How to Save on Flights to the Maldives

If you are from the United States, a flight ticket can cost you a minimum of 1000 dollars. If you want to save money on your flight ticket, we suggest that you have a 7-day travel plan. You can use a budget carrier like Condor in Europe or Asia. This can help you save a lot of money. However, you will be ready to spend more time before you reach the Maldives.

How to Find Affordable Maldives Hotels

The bungalows in the Maldives offer much more than just amazing views. In other words, staying in these Bungalows can cost you a lot of money. However, if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for a night stay, you can check out some budget-friendly options.

Although most of the Islands are under the ownership of resorts, many of them are local that offer affordable guesthouses. They can cost you around $100 a night. So, they can save you a lot of money on your stay in the Maldives.

How to Save Money on Maldives Transportation

On a private Island, you may not have a lot of choices when it comes to transportation options. However, you can still use the ferry system to travel from one point to another. This ferry system is quite affordable yet extensive. The ticket prices are not more than a few dollars as long as you don’t mind waiting for the fairy.

How to Save Money on Food

You can save a lot of money on food provided you follow a few simple tips. At many of the affordable guesthouses, you can have a meal for $10 or less. If you go for the traditional Maldivian food, you can save even more money. Typically, these meals consist of rice, coconut, curry, and fish, just to name a few.

According to many tourists, there are many ways to save money on your daily meals. For example, you can bring homemade protein and protein bars and snacks. If your budget is quite slow, you can have a protein bar in the morning as breakfast. Again, you can skip lunch or have a protein bar once again. This way you will have to pay for dinner only.

Long story short, if you are on a tight budget and still want to visit the Maldives, we suggest that you follow the tips given in this article. With these tips in your mind, your trip will be a lot more cost-effective and you won’t have to break the bank. Hopefully, these tips will help you get the most out of your trip on a budget.