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Canada - Page Text Content

S: OOOoO O Canada 2008

FC: O Canada | 2008

1: 2008 Teaching exchange to BC, Canada, Leanne participated in a teaching exchange with Ryley Shaw to Highland Park Elementary in Armstrong. We lived in a town called Vernon. Vernon is in the beautiful Okanagan valley. There are lakes north and south of Vernon and picturesque mountains rising from the valley floor. Armstrong is approx 26km north of Vernon. We lived in the Shaw's beautiful heritage two story house which also had a basement for our guests. Their garden was pretty all year round, no matter the season. A fantastic year was had by all as you will see!

2: Our 2008 year of adventure begins with meeting our exchange partners Ryley, Murray and Maddy. A white Christmas in 2007 at Tim's place with his flatmate Edwin and Rhonda. Santa found us and the snow began to fall!

3: Sea bus ride with the Vancouver North Shore in the background. | An afternoon stroll over the Capilano Suspension Bridge with thousands of twinkling lights throughout the trees. | Amber the garden gnome in front of a Christmas tree. | Ryan making friends with some of the local dignitaries!

4: Our beautiful home for 12 months at 2304 25th Avenue, Vernon. A heritage 2 story home with basement for guests, mud room at the back, lounge room at the front, cosy library at the side and bedrooms upstairs. The garden brought surprises and fun all year round with snow forts to be built and toboggan jumps to fly over in winter. Millions of leaves to hide in, throw around and rake up in Fall and colourful flowers during Spring and Summer. Shoveling the snow from the pathways and driveway was a daily occurrence which we never tired of as this meant more powder for skiing!

6: You name it we did it in the snow! Cross country skiing through the majestic forests of Sovereign Lake both day and night as we took part in a lantern ski where the only light source was a lantern on the side of the track every 100 metres. A dark, silent, spooky ski! We enjoyed the hot chocolate beside a bonfire in the snow at the end! Hiking along special snow shoeing tracks, digging in the snow and building a snow koala at the front of our house with Rod for neighbours to admire! Riding a snow mobile with George around his property at Armstrong then riding our own snow mobiles around a track through a forest at Silver Star! We also skated on frozen lakes, played ice hockey, the kids did figure skating lessons and of course plenty of downhill powder skiing!

8: The Winter Festival at Vernon included a hot air balloon contest over frozen lakes where balloonists tried to maneuver their balloon and grab a flag plus a night time balloon glow exhibition. Ryan drilled a hole through the ice to go fishing and we saw magnificent ice and snow sculptures. Also had a visit from Chris and Sarah.

9: Amber always looking for a place to relax!

10: The magic of Silver Star will always be remembered! Skiing to the max for a whole season! Amber zipping through the trees, Ryan jumping every mound and mogul on the mountain, Derek the "Peanut Monster" crashing through deep powder and Leanne cruising the slopes with grace and style! The colourful wild west architecture, the friendliness of locals, the peacefulness of the environment, the exhilaration and fear factor of double black diamonds, the joy of sharing this experience with our family and friends has made Silver Star our favourite place to ski. The icing on the cake for this adventure was our daily lunch break at Bugaboos Bakery. Amber would ski that extra run just for the thought of a delicious CREAM HORN!

12: Spring skiing arrived, the barbie was fired up and on March 5th the Howdy Doody's arrived for a 6 week holiday! This included a 2 week ski tour around the Canadian Rockies. Starting with a perfect powder day at Revelstoke with 25cm of fresh "Hero's Powder" to play in! Revelstoke, a newly opened mountain once only accessed by heli skiers has a 6000 feet vertical drop, is steep, powder filled and many slopes are for experts only (luckily Amber was too young to read the warning signs)!

15: We toured through the Rockies, over Rogers Pass where there was an interesting display at the Rangers station. Took in many beautiful vistas, hiked through snow covered forests and the icy Johnson Canyon which Janine loved as she often slipped flat on her back holding onto railings fearful of sliding into the icy river below! Saw our first moose at Moose Meadow, a huge animal who could gallop with great speed and agility through the snow.

16: Stood on the frozen Lake Louise with the châateaux behind. Skied at Rod,s old mountain, Kimberley. Stopped off at the railway siding named Ryan. Spent a relaxing afternoon bathing our aches and pains away in the warm waters of Radium Hot Springs. The air temperature was still below 0C but water hot and soothing.

17: The luxury part of our Spring Break ski tour - Our Big White Condo! Ski in/out, spa, luxury bedrooms, deluxe kitchen, comfy lounge, games room, plenty of booze and bucket loads of powder! It just doesn't get any better than that!

18: Powder Powder Everywhere! Snow angels appeared where ever we went. Super fast toboggans downhill but an energetic walk back up! Skiing through the snow ghosts and over any small ledge we could find! A ski season to remember forever!

19: As spring arrives, the days become longer, the snow melts, the landscape changes and it's time to explore BC further and find what else it has to offer!

20: A long weekend at "Wells Gray". Stayed in a rustic wood cabin. Raging waterfalls, rapids and rivers. Roaming bison and many black bears were spotted. The humming birds were exquisite and the kids went horse riding.Canoing the calm waters and freezing skinny dipping by Amber!

22: School was fun too in BC! From decorating hats, to creating vegetable creatures, (Tweety Bird), a cross country ski race, Ryan and Derek's first Triathlon and Canadian favourite, the Weiner Roast! Ryan had a day at a pioneer settlement,while Leanne taught her class the old fashion way! We helped populate the rivers with baby salmon and surveyed the achievements of a beaver!

25: Another weekend was spent cycling other parts of the Kettle Valley bike track near Kelowna. We rode over giant trestle bridges and through tunnels once used by the trains. | Father's Day was celebrated by a peaceful ride on the old Kettle Valley steam train until we were stopped and robbed at gun point by wild cowboys! Amber hid the flower clip in her hair in case they stole that too!

26: Summer days were often spent lakeside, throwing driftwood into lakes or building structures. We spent 4 days with the Sages at their lake side cabin at Shuswap, swimming in the warm water, fishing, chatting and generally relaxing. Derek the big game fisherman went trout fishing one day with a friend Paul and showed all the skills of an aussie angler!

28: Horse riding through the mountains was a great past time enjoyed by most of us! Leanne often enjoyed reliving her "Man form Snowy River Adventures"! Ryan practiced his horse riding at O'keefe Ranch and we toured through their historic family homestead. We spent a day at the Falklands Stampede which was full of rough rides and excitement admist the back drop of beautiful BC scenery. Ryan's birthday included Monster Truck madness!

30: Greg and Judy arrived in Vancouver on 6th July for a Summer BC road trip with us. We met up with Rhonda and did a days cycle around the sea wall, English Bay, False Creek to Granville Island markets for afternoon tea. Another day was spent traveling to Whistler catching the gondola and then the Peak Chair to the top of Whistler then hiking back down to the gondola. We wandered the picturesque Whistler village and had a delicious dinner in the pleasant and cosmopolitan surrounds of Whistler village.

32: Raced to catch the Ferry to Vancouver Island and then set sail on a scenic 1 1/2 hour ferry trip amongst charming islands. First stop was the magnificent Butchart Gardens built in an old quarry setting. We drove north towards Nanaimo stopping at a quaint fishing village where we built our own model boats. Later at Qualicum Beach we went caving with some of us struggling to get through tight squeezes!

34: Stayed at Telegraph Cove in an old fishing house on stilts in the harbor above the water. We could watch otters frolicking below our house and the fishing boats coming to and fro. We did a whale watching tour from here and were able to see killer whales in the distance rubbing their bellies on the pebbly foreshore then bouncing back into the sea!

35: The ferry trip from Pt Hardy to Prince Rupert was a symphony of non stop scenic wonders! Many Humpback whales breaching, kayakers, steep valleys, waterfalls, old fishing villages plus a beer and barbie on the deck!

36: Wonderful picnic spots abounded. It was always interesting to see logs being floated down rivers and inlets to the saw mills, watching fishermen unload their catches and hiking through lava fields. A highlight was a tour around the old North Pacific Cannery. We traveled on and saw Bear Glacier in BC near Stewart then crossed into Alaska and viewed Salmon Glacier high up in the mountains near Hyder.

38: The towns of Hyder and Stewart oozed tradition and outback rustic charm. This was the spot for bear spotting and we spent many hours on a boardwalk above Salmon River hoping to catch a glimpse of grizzly bears fishing for salmon, alas the salmon run was not in full swing and we missed this experience. We spotted a beaver and then we did see a huge grizzly feasting on plants like a massive mulching machine!

41: With Summer in full swing we drove past Mt Robson the highest mountain in BC and had a perfect cloud free view. We then headed to Jasper where the "muscle men" and Amber enjoyed a chilly dip in the local lake! We canoed on Maligne lake to an island for a picnic the water was quite rough which led to some heart stopping moments as we paddled through waves hoping to stay afloat! We stopped for a hike along the rim of Maligne Canyon and saw numerous waterfalls step their way down the canyon.

42: One evening we took a ride on the Ariel Tramway at Jasper, three quarters of the way up Whistlers Mountain, so called due to the type of marmots that live there and the fact they make a whistling sound. We hiked further up the mountain in windy conditions to take in the spectacular valley and mountain views. Hiked along a narrow pathway to the Cavell Pond at the base of Angel Glacier and Cavell Glacier. Here we built "Inukshuks", had a competition to see who could hold their hand in the freezing water the longest and drank water from icebergs! This proved to be one of Leanne's favourite hikes.

44: We traveled the Icefields Parkway which goes straight down the centre of enormous glacier carved valleys. We stopped off at Lake Louise for a summer photo and a strenuous hike up to the "Tea House".

45: Visited the Icefield Information Centre which overlooked the Athabasca Glacier. Hiked to the Bee Hives near Lake Louise and the Johnson Canyon. We stayed in a homely cabin near castle Mountain and watched the mischievous squirrels. Ryan and Amber also made friends with a moose!

46: The majestic Castle Mountain near Lake Louise. Next we head into Alberta to the Badlands near Drumheller

49: The Badlands is dinosaur country! Spent a morning wandering through the Royal Tyrell Museum tracing the history of dinosaurs. We participated in a couple of guided tours into the Badlands where we could view archaeological digs and find our own dinosaur remains on a fossil safari hike. The main fossils we found were from the Duckbill dinosaur. Ryan measured a dinosaur tooth against his own tooth. This was quite exciting to be amongst so many dinosaur fossils, trying to work out which body part they were and from which dinosaur they came from.

50: A glimpse of Canada's colonial past and first nation culture was had at the old "Mountie Barracks" at Fort McLeod. "Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump" is a world heritage site where the first nation people used to herd buffaloes by the thousands over the edge of the cliff to their death and then butcher the buffalo for food, clothing and tools. This was an eerie and intriguing place to visit.

52: Ryan checked out the tyre on this enormous mining truck. We stopped at this weird house at Radium Hot Springs where the owner a Swiss man has carved amazing sculptures and then booby trapped them with hoses so that as you explore his sculptures you get squirted by jets of water from all over the place!

53: Summer at Silver Star. Greg and Derek get decked out in armour for a hectic and thrill seeking day of dangerous downhill mountain biking, (we were glad to survive the day in one piece)! Judy and Ryan had a ride up the summit chair to check out the wild flowers and search for bears!

54: Another beautiful day for a swim in our local lake, Kal Lake. Fresh crystal clear water and very warm, just perfect during those hot Okanagan summer days. Team photo in our backyard before Judy and Greg set off home for Australia on August 5th. A great summer holiday adventure that we will always remember.

55: Wild flower hike at Mt Revelstoke.

56: White water rafting on the Illecillewaet River,near Revelstoke. The water temperature was four degrees celcius this made the rapids even more scary! Only Leanne was brave or silly enough to go for a swim! Amber and Ryan were very nervous at the beginning but crying out for more rapids by the end! This was Adventure with a capital"A"!

58: Not a moment of summer was spent idle! Next was the high ropes course through the tree tops of a massive forest. Swinging bridges,wobbly cables, wavy nets, wriggly ropes and speedy zip lines. Ryan and Amber had no fear! Derek found himself to be very tentative and terrified as well as being physically and mentally challenged!

59: Thanks Giving weekend was spent at the "Crowson's", Mt Baldy cabin. Great fun was had with Sebastian, Nathaniel,Sage, Rhonda, Virginia and Michael. We helped with a clean up, made fires, hiked, generally explored and had fun! Thanks Giving turkey dinner with all the trimmings was massive!

61: Early October the leaves changed colour then suddenly they all began to fall. Amber and Derek loved raking huge piles of leaves up then we would jump in them and bury ourselves! Placing a pile of leaves on the trampoline then bouncing was a game the kids loved! Every season had its wonders, beauty and fun!

62: Ryan, Amber and Leanne's Highland Park classes.

63: Special Friends Krishna was Amber's best friend, the two girls loved playing and especially building fairy villages. Krishna's family: Dave, Michelle,Jesus, John and Luke. Jesus loved playing with Ryan. Amber also made friends with Maddi and developed a special relationship with Annie. Ryan enjoyed playing with Matthew and Hunter and skiing with Alex.

64: Others who helped make our time fun included Chris and Sarah, Steve, the Howdy Doody's, Al and Avis, Mike, George and Karen, Rhonda and family, Mickey,Tim, Heather and Bill and Greg and Judy. Rod was great to have around to be a ski buddy and help teach the kids ski tips! Pat our next door neighbour was a wonderful friend to all of us but like a Canadian grandma to Amber and Ryan.

65: Halloween was amazing! Pumpkin carving, ghost making, dress ups, parades, fireworks but above all Trick or Treating! The amount of candy the kids received as they walked around the neighborhood was unbelievable!

66: We watched a play by the Caravan Theatre company called "The Secret Sorrow of Hatchet Jack", a wild west comedy. We were pulled around the forest in the dark to various stage areas where each act was played out. Christmas 2008 saw the return of the Thompsons!

67: A final week at Whistler! The Thompsons, Heather and Bill, Rhonda then Tim all joined us for one last Hurrah between Christmas and New Year. Adventure dare devil tobogganing was the go out the back of our chalet!

68: Disneyland and California Adventure Land Every ride, Every show, Every character, Every minute was the best!

70: Who says Lego Land is only for kids!

71: Santiago Zoo and Sea World were awesome!

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  • By: Leanne M.
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  • Title: Canada
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  • Started: over 6 years ago
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