We’ve got the wheels, now help us decide where to go and what to see?

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Failing to plan

Or is it?

I know how the saying goes. I’ve been not planned, and I’ve felt the chaos. On the other hand, I’ve also been incredibly well planned, only to have one minor detail derail the whole scheme, and then been left to ‘wing it’. After a year of training, 3 full years of my own classroom, and then an extra term as a full time teacher, I’ve done my fair share of planning. And you know what, by the time I finished at the end of April I was over it.

For a while, at least. Me and my career are currently in the situation that Ross and Rachel from Friends made classically  famous ” we are on a break!” A much needed break. One of the things about this trip that I was most looking forward to, was not needing to have an itinerary, and feel rushed to stick to it.

We’ve been in Canada for two weeks now. Since we began ‘planning’ our trip back in October, we’ve had lots of questions regarding our itinerary, when we’ll arrive and what we’ll do. I’ve been ambiguous at best, since then, and not much has changed.

I was lucky enough to have my momma’s childhood best friend in the suburbs of Vancouver, and she so kindly picked Thom and I up from the airport upon our arrival. Aunt Shu took us into her home and quickly made us one of the family. She helped us with our search for a used car, took us on tiki tours around beautiful Fort Langley and was generally an overall help and friend.

With our new wheels, we’ve made it to Vancouver Island and have already got to catch up with some of my old friends. Steph, a friend from my first year at Brock U, and my very first international travel buddy on our trip to Honduras, met up with us for dinner at Prima Strada Pizzeria in Cook Village, Victoria.

Shortly after that, we found my favourite high school co-worker, Diana. She wasn’t too hard to find, as she’d just delivered her beautiful baby boy. So we went to the hospital for a catch up and cuddles.

Tofino was our next destination and well, this is a whole other blog post on its own of why I love this little area tucked in the corner of the world.

The last thing that I want to do, is put a time limit on this process, because I only seeing that ending badly.

We’re looking for your input, suggestions and favourite experiences!

So, friends, please bear with me and my ambiguity as we sort ourselves out as we go. I do promise to keep you all updated as we make our way towards your city. Bearing that in mind, though, I need your help! To make accurate estimations of time required in each of our stops – as well as places to stop, I need to know where to go, who to see and what not to miss doing! This is where I’m recruiting your trusted advice!

Below, I thought I might include what I/we have already got in mind of who to see and what to do. If you’re not on the list, please don’t take it personally – my mind racing, and I’m procrastinating dealing with that huge pile of crap in my kitchen. Just make sure you leave a comment and let me know. Or, if you know of something fabulous you think we’d be interested

British Columbia

Vancouver
Our primary “home base” to start us off. We’ll be staying with Aunt Shu and her family. People that I know include, but are not limited to:
Karen and Dave and Julia from Teacher’s College in New Zealand;

Victoria
We’ve caught up with Diana and her soon to be born, if not already, son and co. and Steph.
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Revelstoke
Potentially camping/hiking/biking with my cousins on the May long weekend with my cousin Scott and his wife Kelsey, although obviously not yet confirmed.

Kelowna
Thom’s decided we must visit the jerky factory, to support his jerky addiction. My uncle Bruce is potentially also in the area working, if he’s not back on the island by the time we get there.

Alberta

Calgary
I’ve wanted to visit for as long as I can remember! My cousins live here, the Rocky Mountains, and now I’ve got some more Teachers College friends to visit (and Melissa’s Mother has been reminding me to visit, since she left NZ!)

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Edmonton
One of my childhood friends from Bridgewater, Johanne, is now out in Edmonton, and I know that Justin and Lena live not far there too. We definitely plan to spend time at Banff and Jasper. Me and my camera have been waiting for this particular eye-candy.

Northwest Territories

If we can time it right with Heather’s plans to head to Toronto, we may make the 18 hour drive north of Edmonton, to Yellowknife. While I am gutted that we’ve missed the Northern Lights, I will settle for seeing the midnight sun.

Saskatchewan

This is one of the few provinces that no one’s name comes to mind of who we’ll visit. I’m not sure how long we’ll stay, but if you’ve got something we must do or see, I’d love to hear it!

Manitoba

When I traveled with Gram in January, one of our first stops was to visit her cousins from Winnipeg in Taupo. After catching up with them, I promised that we’d stop in and say hi along our way. I’m not sure that I know anyone else in Winnipeg or Manitoba.

Ontario

One of the first things I learned when I moved to St Catharines for university, was that it takes as long to drive from the Manitoba/Ontario boarder, as it does to drive from Nova Scotia (about 22 hours). So we have a lot of northwestern Ontario to enjoy before we get to the big smoke. I plan to stop in London along the way, to visit Sarah, one of my university mates who took excellent care of watching out for me on days when the world was just too much (which happened to be every Tuesday in my second year).

Our Southern Ontario plans kick off with Matt and Caitlin tying the knot in Niagara on June 30th. From there, we’ll head into Toronto – Scarborough more specifically, where we’ll begin our very first housesitting assignment. From the 4th-21st of July, we’ve got our own space and a dog named Toomba to walk. I’m loving the idea of not having to bother anyone while we’re there, but being able to make plans and catch up with all the people we know in the GTA.

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There  will be lots of pre-wedding action going on, as I am a bridesmaid for my former-roommate, Mel (I have a large collection of Mel/Melissa friends from across the globe). Also Mel from The Mellyboo Project will be having a leaving BBQ on the 6th before she takes off to Africa again and I’m thrilled to be able to attend that.

The Toronto Fringe Festival is also happening until the 14th, and I am quite keen to check that out. I have no idea what it’ll be like, but it looks like something different, so I am in.

After everyone has tied the knot, we’ll be continuing east towards the nation’s capital, Ottawa. Rob supposedly has a place there, although from the sounds of it, he’s all over Canada with work. My grandad’s brother also lives in the Ottawa area, and it’ll be nice to catch up with him too.

Quebec

I can’t wait to get my camera to Old Quebec city and be amongst all that old architecture. Montreal has lots on offer too, especially showing Thom REAL POUTINE. I haven’t been since I was 16 – my first solo travel experience over 10 years ago!

New Brunswick

I’ve got a nearly two year old beautiful Scousin (what we’ve now nicknamed second cousins, in my family since my cousins have started reproducing) whom I’ve only seen via photos. I can’t wait to meet wee Emma in Fredricton!

Prince Edward Island

Growing up a childhood fan of Anne of Green Gables, I’m not so sure that Thom will quite appreciate re-visiting her house. But I do know that he will love Cows ice cream and finding areas to camp along the beach. I don’t know how long we’ll spend on the island, but I know it will be amazing.

Nova Scotia

My home! I am so looking forward to rediscovering all my favourite places along the South Shore and Annapolis Valley, where I grew up. I haven’t spent much time in and around Halifax, especially the social scene, so that will definitely be a must. And believe it or not, I have never be up to Cape Breton, and driven the Cabot Trail – so that is definitely on the books for my favourite time of year, autumn. I’m looking forward to my nan’s home cookin’, to showing Thom the local seafood I grew up on, and so much more.

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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Shirley Stewart May 14, 2013, 7:43 pm

    Food for thought – not planning – if you’re thinking of being in Revelstoke for this weekend.

    Surrey to Kelowna by way of Coquahalla Highway (mountains) – 4 hours
    Surrey to Kelowna by way of Hope-Princeton Highway (not so many mountain views) – 4.5 hours but you go thru some really great little towns (and can stop in Penticton to look for Ogopogo, then go get Thom’s jerky!)

    Either way is great and so much to see.

    Kelowna to Revelstoke – 2 hours via Vernon & Armstrong
    Kelowna to Revelstoke via Merrit – 4 hours (longer but would be my choice)

    Reply
  • Mel May 14, 2013, 10:20 pm

    ONTARIO

    Rachel and Thanos live in Sudbury and Killarney Provincial Park (just south of Sudbury) is a beautiful sight.

    Algonquin Park is also a lot of fun.

    Rob L lives in London as well.

    Ben lives in Stratford, home of the Stratford Festival. It’s a cute little town.

    If you get a chance, you should head down to Leamington, which is the most southern point in Canada, and maybe even to Pelee Island (whether I’m there or not). My parents would be happy to put you up for a bit. Then Thom can touch the most western, southern and eastern coasts of Canada. 3 out of 4 cardinal directions isn’t too bad.

    That’s all for now, I suggest in ALBERTA to check out Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper.

    SASKATCHEWAN has beautiful grain elevators, and that’s about it. haha.

    Everything else, you’ve taken care of. Can’t wait to read about all your ‘plans’ and see you in June!

    Reply
    • Kate May 16, 2013, 8:21 am

      Ah, I forgot about a few of those guys! Thanks Mel, that’s exactly what I was looking for!

      Reply
  • Sarah W May 15, 2013, 11:42 pm

    - Mount Robson Provincial Park in BC (just west of Jasper) has a great hiking trail up the mountain.
    - Justin and Lena are in Hinton which is a bit north of Jasper.
    - Lake Louise is beautiful and has some great views if you’re willing to hike (I suggest the little beehive trail which is right by the Lake Agnes tea house *bring cash*), it will give you awesome views of the entire valley.
    -you can also go up the ski hill on the other side of the valley from Lake Louise (called ski lake Louise) which turns into a nature preserve as of May 17th and you can see some awesome views and hopefully a critter or two.
    - sulphur mountain in Banff.
    - explore the whole town of Banff. There was an amazing little bookstore when I was there at the far end of the main street.
    - Tobermory and the provincial parks around there. Glass bottom cruise was neat. Lots of orchids and other neat fauna there

    Reply
    • Kate May 16, 2013, 8:23 am

      Awesome, Sarah! I’m going to get us a “Discovery Pass” for all the National Parks so that we can do as many as possible, and multiple days in Banff/Jasper! (For $67, valid for a year and everywhere across Canada!)

      Reply
      • Sarah W May 16, 2013, 11:52 am

        Wow! That’s an awesome deal! Definitely do that! I forgot to mention Moraine Lake (just a bit down the road from Lake Louise). It’s stunning and I would say even nicer than Lake Louise. Lol and I forgot to say that Tobermory is in Ontario, as are we!

        Reply
        • Sarah W May 17, 2013, 2:48 am

          OMG! I can’t believe I forgot Drumheller on my list! Who doesn’t like dinosaurs?! That’s in Alberta. Also good is Maligne Canyon near Jasper (if you have time, lots of waterfalls). Kootenay National park has the Paint Pots which are cool.

          Will has done the drive from Edmonton to Toronto twice and hasn’t had a good experience in Winnepeg either time. To the point he really hates that city. I would suggest booking a hotel ahead of time for there. The only good thing he has to say about it is that the Manitoba legislature building is amazing.

          The Terry Fox Memorial is just outside of Thunder Bay and the sleeping giant is there too. Between Thunder Bay and Sault St Marie is Lake Superior Provincial Park that Will says is worth spending some time in, rather than just driving through.

          You could highway 6 down from Espanola (near Killarney Park) and take the ferry from Manatoulin Islands to Tobermory.

          Petroglyphs provincial park is north of Peterborough is pretty neat.

          In Ottawa the War Museum is amazing and is totally worth a visit. As are the parliament buildings (they have a tour which is pretty good).

          Reply
          • Kate May 19, 2013, 12:30 am

            Awesome suggestions, Mrs McWalton! definitely will try to make our way to as many of these as possible!

  • Brenda Clarke May 21, 2013, 12:16 am

    We know how plans went in our household. If momma was planning, things could change; if Daddio planning we stuck to his plan.

    Don’t forget: Calgary Uncle Mark; Beverly Arnburg.
    Hamilton – Derek and Katherine Anderson, London Ryan and Margaret Clarke; Toronto Aunt Marilyn and Beth Anderson.

    NS YARMOUTH. lol
    Brenda Clarke recently posted..Tofino is easy to loveMy Profile

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