North of the border there’s a
party going on.  And what better way to celebrate Canada’s 150th
anniversary year than by experiencing Canadian charm from the Atlantic to the
Pacific.  You can cruise from the Maritimes to Montreal, ride the rails
from Vancouver to Lake Louise, or fly and drive to the city of your choice.
So, hop on my magic travel carpet and let’s party…from the Maritimes in
the Atlantic, to a paradisiacal Island in the North Pacific.
is the cosmopolitan capital city of Nova Scotia,.  It is Canada’s 13th largest city
and its residents, called Haligonians, make up 40% of Nova Scotia’s population.
In Halifax, a city that embraces the sea, all roads lead to the shore. The
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic will take you on a voyage of discovery
through Nova Scotia’s rich maritime heritage.  Perhaps the most popular
exhibit in the Maritime Museum is the one that depicts the tragic history of
the ill-fated Titanic that sank some 700 miles east of Halifax on April 15,
1912.   While the Cunard liner Carpathia was taking survivors
to New York, 209 of the dead were brought to Halifax.   59 bodies
were shipped home to relatives, but 150 were buried in Halifax
cemeteries.  One of the first victims to be carried to his grave at
Fairview Lawn was a small, unidentified baby boy.  A haunting tombstone
marks his grave.


SAINT JOHN, NEW BRUNSWICK: If you ever plan to enter a spelling
bee, take note: Canada’s first incorporated city (1785) is spelled Saint John,
not the abbreviated St. John as it is spelled in neighboring
Newfoundland.  To add to your confusion, the proper way to spell its
mighty river is the St. John River.  That very St. John River is one-half
of a natural phenomenon known as Reversing Falls that takes place twice a day
in Mother Nature’s own theater.  It occurs when there is a
head-on collision between two mighty bodies of water…the St. John River
and the Bay of Fundy.  

QUEBEC CITY:  Québec City is love at first
site.   Quebec, where French is the main language, transports us to
Europe without ever crossing an ocean. Vieux-Québec (Old Québec) is
a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Treasure that is alive with history and charm.
In Vieux- Québec, the world-renowned Le Château Frontenac Hotel
reigns supreme.   Precipitously perched on a bluff overlooking the
mighty St. Lawrence River, Le Château Frontenac, with its castle-like
architecture and turrets, is the heart of the Old City.


MONTREAL: Montreal, in the Canadian Province of
Quebec, is claimed to be the second largest French-speaking city in the
world.  Anglophile meets Francophile and the past meets the future in this
vibrant city where stop signs command “arret”, a horse-drawn calèche clip- clops along 300-year old cobblestone streets, and
jets whisper into the international airport.     Montreal, at
the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, derived its name from
Mount Royal, the imposing hill at the heart of the city.  In English we
call it “Mount Royal”, but in French they say “Montréal”.  Vieux
(Old Montreal) is a step back in time.  The crowning jewel of
Old Montreal is Notre Dame de Montreal, the most magnificent of French
Canadian churches


 LAKE LOUISE, ALBERTA: Picture-perfect Lake Louise, the
ultimate escape from the hustle and bustle of reality, is a romantic, relaxing
village that has attracted royalty, Hollywood stars, and heads of states for
over a century.   The lake was named Lake Louise in honor of Princess
Louise Caroline Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria.  Directly in back of
Lake Louise is Victoria Glacier on Mt. Victoria.  Both were named for
Louise’s mother, Queen Victoria.  I simply could not take my eyes off the
awesome beauty of the striking turquoise Lake Louise…at dawn and dusk…at
sunrise and sunset…in foggy rain or in clear moonlight.  Little wonder
that this matchless sight is the most photographed lake in all of North America
and one of the most photographed places in the whole world. 


VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA: Vancouver, Canada’s third largest
metropolitan area, is one of North America’s most beautiful cities.  Its
natural harbor is reminiscent of that in Hong Kong; its cosmopolitan atmosphere
comes from its unique mixture of people that came from Europe and Asia.
In addition to the 1000-acre Stanley Park, one of the largest city parks in the
world, and the stunning waterfront ringed by rugged snow-capped
mountains, Vancouver’s bustling Chinatown is the second largest outside of
the Far East. In Chinatown, at the corner of Carrall and Pender Streets, is the
narrowest building in the world.  This ‘Believe It or Not’ building is
only six-feet wide.  Gastown, the once-lively birthplace of Vancouver, has
been rescued and restored to preserve the city’s heritage.  The Gastown
Steam Clock, the world’s first steam powered clock, uses live steam to wind the
weights and blow the whistles. 
jewel in Vancouver Island’s crown, is the capital city of the Province of
British Columbia.  Known as “The Sunshine City of Gardens”,
Victoria has the mildest climate in Canada.  Little wonder that Victoria
is always in season.  During summer months, a blaze of blossoms in front
of the magnificently domed B.C. Legislative Building, spell out the words:
“WELCOME TO VICTORIA”.  Roses bloom at Christmas and, in early
March, tulips and daffodils are shipped all over Canada from this area.  Butchart
Gardens, an explosion of blossoms and manicured lawns, was once an abandoned
limestone quarry. These incredible gardens are rated among the most beautiful
in the world.  The elegant vine-covered Empress Hotel is famous for her
elegant furnishings, colorful rose gardens and age-old traditions that have
made her a Victoria landmark.


JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning
Travel Writer/Editor and International Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL
AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio