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Wonders of the Canadian West

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S: Wonders of the Canadian West

BC: Marney 2011

FC: Wonders of the Canadian West | Nick Wagner People to People 2010 Student Ambassador

1: You've got to be kidding...arrive at the airport at 4:00 AM... Yep... checking in takes a long time.! You can sleep later. | June 18, 2010 Departed from Greater Cincinnati Airport at 9:00 AM

2: Day 1 Vancouver, British Columbia | 2010 People To People Student Ambassadors to Western Canada | Nick

3: Legislative House of Parliament | Vancouver International Airport

4: Next stop... Stanley Park and a walk along the waterfront, see the Lion's Gate Bridge from Prospect Point, and learn about the intricately carved totem poles made by coastal First Nation tribes.

5: Each carving tells a tale about the tribal history.

6: Day 2 Rise early to catch the ferry to Victoria, in British Columbia

7: First glimpse of the Parliament House | ...followed by lunch in the Parliament dining hall

8: House of Parliament in Victoria

10: Royal British Columbia Museum near Parliament

12: Day 3 Headed out to the Straits of Georgia looking for pods of Orcas.

13: During our time on the boat we learned about the habitat and behaviors of these majestic Killer Whales, and then we saw them in their natural environment.

14: Fun pictures of a cute baby seal by the dock at the restaurant where we ate. | Plaster Man on the pier... REALLY COOL!

15: Next up... a haunting visit to the aristocratic Craigdarroch Castle. We toured a spooky mansion that was built in the 1890's by the richest man in British Columbia.

16: There are rumors that this castle is haunted. The official standing of the workers at the castle was... "the castle is not haunted".” But, one kid on our trip took a picture of the fireplace and we saw a little white floating orb. They say that ghosts are sometimes seen only in photos.

18: Day 4 Onward to the north and the seaside city of Nanaimo. Here we experience Tree-GO... a course that takes about 2 hours and includes Zip lines, suspended bridges, scramble nets, and swinging logs.

19: Petroglyph Park was the next stop. Here we learned about petroglyphs and the early First Nation people who created them. | Site of the Ewok scenes in the Star Wars movies.

20: Site of the Ewok scenes in the Star Wars movies.

22: Day 5 - On our journey to British Columbia we traveled a scenic highway and stopped at MacMillan Park. This was one of my favorites. MacMillan is a really cool waterfall park. It could not be captured entirely by pictures. You had to feel the mist of the water; taste the pure, chilling water; and see the beauty.

23: SLUG

24: Tonight we slept on the campus of the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. We checked-in and enjoyed a BBQ dinner. This was followed by a stone tool demonstration from a renowned archaeologist. During this time we were allowed to hold stone tools that were over 600,000 years old. Then we tried our hand at making our own obsidian arrowhead.

26: Day 6 Destination: Banff, Alberta Our journey into the heart of the Canadian Rockies followed the Trans-Canada Highway and then Glacier National Park.

27: Along the way... we learned how avalanche control kept open the rail and highway routes that traverse this pass, as well as learning about the wildlife that calls this region of 400 glaciers home.

28: Next stop was the Golden Northern Lights Wildlife Centre. Here we learned about Grey Wolves and then practiced howling with them.

29: A short time later we entered Banff National Park and then the alpine town of Banff itself. After settling in, we took the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Totally amazing views. Dinner was in the Summit Restaurant, surrounded by the crest of the Rocky Mountains.

30: Day 7 - Banff, Alberta Columbia Icefields Our journey to the Icefields traveled one of the most scenic roads in the world. Columbia Icefields encompass one of the largest accumulations of

31: ice and snow south of the Arctic Circle - covering nearly 200 square miles. The south end is located in Banff National Park and the north end (including the Athabasca Glacier) is in Jasper National Park.

33: Along this highway was our best chance to see grizzly bears, mountain goats, cougars, lynx, foxes and sheep... and yes... we did see the wildlife. Once we arrived at the Icefields, we loaded up in specialized vehicles for a ride on Athabasca Glacier. We walked on the ice (hundreds of yards thick) and tasted the purest water on the planet.

34: Day 8 Drumheller, Alberta Headed for the Badlands of Drumheller - land of the dinosaurs. First stop was the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology, the largest dinosaur museum in the world... a place totally dedicated to the study of dinosaurs.

36: A few of the awesome museum exhibits. | During the Late Cretaceous, about 72 million years ago, the climate in this region was similar to that of present day North Carolina. It was a humid, coastal plain containing a dense subtropical forest of palms and giant redwoods. Water flowed through marshes draining the rising Rocky Mountains to the west and emptied into a vast inland sea that once submerged much of Alberta.

38: Final stop for today was the East Coulee School Museum, where we experienced first-hand what it was like to be a student in the 1930's during the Great Depression. Way different!!!!!


41: After school... we were treated to a "dino-themed" dinner -- Dinosaur Ribs Pterodactyl Wings Devonian Reef Salad Mud-Flats Jell-O Prehistoric Punch

42: Day 9 Fort Macleod, Alberta Today we headed to the tipi camp. Along the way we stopped to see the massive glacial erratic known as the Okotoks rock. It looks like a giant rock that is split in half.

44: For the next two days we experienced the Native American culture in the Porcupine Hills south of Calgary, surrounded by wildlife and the Blackfoot culture. We arrived at the tipi camps about noon. An elder from the Blackfoot tribe came and told stories about the Blackfoot beliefs, customs and culture. My favorite was the Napi stories because they were funny.

45: Tonight we were kept warm and dry under the canopy of our tipi. Even had a beautiful sunset!! It was a wonderful overnight.

46: Day 10 Today we went to Buffalo Jump. We participated in a ritual that is very sacred to the Blackfoot people called a Sweat Lodge. That night we watched Natives dance and roasted marshmallows.

48: Day 11 Today we left our tipi camp behind and headed for the city of Calgary. Along the way we visited Hutterite Colony to see Old World traditions living on in that community. Then it was a brief drive into the big city life of Calgary... we went to the top of the Calgary tower. It was high and cool !

50: After lunch we visited the Canada Olympic Park where Calgary hosted the XV Olympic Winter Games. Here we played a game kind of like the "Amazing Race". Yes it was fun! Finally... a few last minute memories of new teachers, new friends, and a wonderful... People to People experience!

52: Day 12 Depart for USA Eventually all good things must come to an end. Today we packed up our bags one last time, said our goodbyes to the Delegation Managers, and made the trip to the Calgary Airport and departed for home. We experienced Western Canadian culture and expanded our horizons as Student Ambassadors to include America's closest neighbor and largest trading partner.


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