Canada is part of the British Commonwealth and stretches from the USA in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north. The country is bi-lingual (English and French). Major cities include massive Toronto, west coast film centre Vancouver, French-speaking Montréal and Québec City, and capital city Ottawa. Canada's vast swaths of wilderness include lake-filled Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains. It's also home to the famous Niagara Falls, visited by us from the American side.
In 1921 King George V proclaimed the colors red and white to represent Canada; the former came from Saint George's Cross as used in England's flag and the latter from the French royal emblem since King Charles VII. Already since 1700 the maple leave was considered the symbol of Canadian wilderness. The flag's maple leave could be interpreted as two opposite angry faces.
In the fifties and sixties of the previous century about 128,000 Dutch people immigrated to Canada. Even nowadays people think you will be visiting relatives when your travels take you to Canada. But my connection to Canada is of a different nature.
In May 1972 I was looking for a native English speaking pen-pal to improve my command of the language. A classmate had a cousin in New Zealand and a friend of hers was interested in writing. And my first letter made it's way to NZ. On May 30, 1972 I received Jennifer Brunt's first letter using the - then obligatory - airmail stationary. On one of her European trips Jenny met Michael and she followed her love to his native country Canada.
In the meantime Jenny and me exchanged numerous mails, presents, phone calls, photos, whatsapps and emails. Luckily we are able to meet regularly. Hence, my trips to Canada are not to visit Dutch relatives but to visit my Canadian family.
Jenny and Michael live in St. Albert, a city located between Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta - an area about 50 miles east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. With both prairies and mountains being part of the landscape travelling through this province is surely a treat to a person living on the flats of the Netherlands. The trip through Banff National Park was a marvellous experience.
In 2017 we have travelled from Calgary through the Canadian Rocky Mountains to Revelstoke, British Columbia. Short trips have been made to Giant Cedars Boardwalk and Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk. Revelstoke itself treated us to a Vintage Cars show and a Roller Derby match - photos of both can be found in their respective Special.
A vintage car is, in the most general sense, an old automobile, and in the narrower senses of car enthusiasts and collectors, it is a car from the period of 1919 to 1930. All beautiful old cars on display during the Revelstoke Vintage Car Show surely qualify for the label 'vintage' in the eyes of this ignorant visitor.
Roller derby is an awesome full contact and aggressive sport played on quad roller skates on a flat oval track. Roller derby players are known to be unique and creative individuals. They create an alter ego and chose their own roller derby name. There is only one limitation: Wimps are not allowed.