Canada. What a Country. PT 2

Welcome back if you managed to get to the end of Part 1.

Day 3 was our first big driving day north to Edmonton. About three hours, so just up the road for Canada lol. In the morning we went for a fantastic breakfast with our friends at a local place called Saskatoon Farm. An eclectic place. Part farm shop, part garden centre, part zoo, part theme park but a great breakfast and a lovely place to walk it off afterwards. The views out the back were fab.

In the afternoon we left our friends for the next stage of the holiday, a couple of nights in Edmonton, the capital of Alberta. Getting there was easy. Get on the highway, keep heading north and the highway runs right into the centre of the city. Seven lanes, become six, then five and it goes on like this until you reach Queen Elizabeth II Park. You drive through that, cross the river, up a hill and we were outside our hotel. Easy. Parking was in the basement or the Parkade as they are called.

About a 3hr drive

We settled in and went for a walk. I thought the city was really quiet. Clean and safe though. Literally just a few cars and people around. Quite odd really but when we went for some food, the pubs and restaurants seemed busy enough. Couldn’t work it out. Was it always that way or was something going on? We had food in a rooftop bar of a tap house which Sally had researched and picked out for us. Good choice. It was great.

Day 4 we got up and had coffee and a cinammon swirl in a local gaff before we took a trip on a vintage tram south, back over the river to the Strathcona district to visit a farm market and walk around the area. It was a lot busier over this side of town. We walked back over the river and stumbled on an MTB festival in the QE II park. I had a quick peek then we crossed back over the river and hit a pub before dinner in another tap house. Alcohol is expensive in Canada. Probably £6-£7 a pint, £15-£20 a bottle of wine. It didn’t stop me though lol.

Day 5 was another long drive but there was some uncertainty about where we would end up. We were due to drive 3-4hrs to Jasper but wildfires there had cut their electric off in the previous days, Sally was all over it but the messages weren’t really that clear. Some holidays (Rocky Mountaineer Train) had been moved, some were saying go it’s ok, some were saying stay away. We were a little unsure what to do. We didn’t want to go somewhere and be the ones to turn up somewhere we shouldn’t be or not welcome. Sally contacted our holiday company but they didn’t get back to us in time. We thought a night in Hinton (on the way) would be ok so we could give it another 24hrs to see what happens but as we hadn’t heard I just said fuck it lets just go and deal with it. If the electric is off or goes off we’ll deal with it.

About a 4 drive

In the morning we dropped into the West Edmonton Shopping Mall just to say we had because it’s the biggest in Canada. We only walked around one part which itself was as big as any in the UK and there was five times more to see but we didn’t have time. We saw the ice rink and massive water park in there, did coffee and breakfast and got back on the road heading arrow straight west to Jasper and finally into the mountains and hot springs!

As the mountains loomed the smoke created a hazy landscape but before we got to Jasper, we took a left and headed of into the mountains for an hour at the Miette Hots Springs where naturally heated water is pumped into a pool for you to enjoy at a balmy 40 degs. Fantastic.

Springs done, we now headed into Jasper from the North West and you could see the wildfires on the mountain in the distance and helicopters scooping up water from the lake beside the road.

When we got there it was quieter than normal but we were warmly welcomed and had dinner in the hotel bar as the restaurant was shut. Generators were keeping the essentials running but the word was there was no risk to the town and the electricity supply was improving all the time, so I think we made the right decision to go.

The next day we awoke to a smoky haze again which took away some of the beauty of the landscape but gave it a different, eery look. We did breakfast in our favourite Bears Paw bakery and then tootled off to Maligne Lake for a boat cruise which was absolutely stunning just driving there, doing the cruise and coming back. We got in a couple more lakes and some more scenery en-route too. You never stop being amazed by it.

The hotel had opened the restaurant on the night, so we had an Italian meal and then found a random wildlife museum full of stuffed animals in the basement. The dates on them put them at over 50 years old. Taxidermy is a controversial thing. Personally I find it quite fascinating.

Our last day in Jasper was free with no plans so we decided to pop over into British Columbia, the neighbouring province and go to Mount Robson for a picnic. When you cross the border you actually change timezone too, -1hr.

We wanted to get a sandwich to take and found a Deli on the high street. What a welcome. We were their first customers, three minutes after opening since the electricity had gone off earlier in the week. We spunked $30 dollars on the sandwiches but wow, they were delicious and we made their social media lol


Patricia and Pyramid Lakes were ticked off before we headed east to Mt Robson. Lunch done there, we headed back and went exploring locally and spent a while watching a family of Elk we found by pure chance.

Part 2 done and thank you if you got this far.

Part 3 sees us driving south along the Icefields Parkway which is described as one of the 10 best drives in the world, so stay tuned

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