kids + travel = learning .. no matter how short or far the distance

I think the past year we’ve been here we’ve run out of places to go within driving distances of coming back home within a reasonable amount of time for school/work.  Which is really hard for a family that likes to travel and view the world … as much as they can on a very limited limited non-existent budget 🙂 I think that’s the biggest culture shock living in the middle of the country.  Before we had an abundance of places to go and people to see.  Here…well here not so much.

I remember last year a couple kids told me they hadn’t been out of Saskatchewan…ever.  While socio-economic and life factors may play a part for some – it still bowled me over.  Manitoba is literally an hour away.  Trust me – the sidekick and I do not have money.  However, the sidekick and I have always believed that the kid is learning things about life when we travel.  It took years and years to come up with the money to go to Australia, but the perspectives she gained from being in a new culture – priceless.  And I got to hold a koala – AWESOMENESS FOR ME!!!  Walking downtown Toronto and watching her give her own coins to a homeless man – priceless.  (Hopefully she continues to know she isn’t the center of the universe).  Even going through different neighbourhoods in different provinces she is learning about different standards of living.  We went to the Buffalo Zoo for $34 .. for the three of us .. and that included parking.  So many opportunities to learn.  Traveling is an education in itself. I think my dream would be if someone bankrolled me to travel for a year with the kid documenting everything.  We would both be in heaven … though the kid might not pass school if I home-schooled her.  …..  That could be a problem.

After staying near to the house since we’ve been back, the need to view the world was intense.  So we had an adventure, the kid and I.  The sidekick was not able to come.  We decided to head back to Minot, North Dakota.  We haven’t been there since last October.  Both of us love love love finding those cool items we don’t have in Canada.

The following pictures are not good for your health at all – but I imagine when it’s time for a treat I’m going to be very happy 🙂  Though walking the stuff off is gonna be a drag 😉

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I think I drooled in the aisle.

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The kid asked for a treat for dinner. We picked up Nacho Cheese and Cheese Pizza Gold fish Mac and Cheese.

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Drooling … We have healthy stuff too as you can tell by the walnut cranberry salad topper next to it 🙂

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Because who doesn’t want their mouth popping in the morning?

 

We window shopped.

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Wishing for cool expensive toys 😦 One day I told her – when she becomes a doctor or something 🙂

 

We went to an amazing restaurant called Mi Mexicana.

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I wanted to steal the chairs. How totally cute?

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Even the table was cool. I had my first chimichanga.  It was DELICIOUS!!  From the service to the decor – go.  It was superb.

 

We took a drive through the city, exploring places we hadn’t been.  We relaxed at the hotel.  A waterpark was attached to the hotel.  The waterpark was a little worn in.   No life guard was present, (a fact written on the wall), so it was a little chaotic with all the people not following my rules for safety.  But deep breaths to keep the anxiety down helped to make it a great time for us.

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And when it was time to leave …. we got lost.  I thought it was a straight road from the border to Minot as I remembered going there.  Apparently not – there’s a road that breaks off somewhere to go back to the border.  I had no clue where we were.  A fact which had the kid laughing and taking out the GPS.  I am amused it didn’t rate highly on her take of the weekend.

A 4 hour drive enabled us to talk about things we hadn’t been able to in the rush of life.

We made it home.  The sidekick was waiting.

Travel – even if it’s to a new town by you.  Travel with your kids.  The time together is amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

Past Canadian Nudist Pacifists

Is my tittle alliteration? How many P’s do you need to have alliteration?  🙂

You ever have one of those weeks where you look at the world and think wth?!?!?  That was my week.  This weekend I knew we had to get out of the house and far away from where we live.

So today’s adventure saw us viewing the Doukhobor world of the early 20th century in Canada.  Long version – click the link to find out who they are.  Short version – they were hardcore Russian pacifists. Living under the Russian government at the time probably wasn’t the most ideal situation for them.  They immigrated to Canada.  In 1903 the group actually marched nude in protest against the government.  Pretty  shocking for that time period.  Because of their beliefs and protests, children were taken away from them.

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Their motto

The Doukhobor village was actually pretty interesting.

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The Prayer house.

They had a Tolstoy exhibit.

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The bricks are not laying the ‘normal’ way. They are on the side.

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The outside oven.

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Ring around the rosey – Tolstoy statue 🙂

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Dirt floor – for real. The bed goes from one wall to the other which must have made for interesting sleeping.

Though not exactly what I was hoping for a get away from reality, it was a really neat little historical village.  We were the only ones in the compound and had every building to ourselves.  Speaking with the employee who let us in, sometimes not a lot of people come and visit this area.  I guess because the proximity to other towns is not near.  Veregin once a town of 500, now has a population of 42.

I hope this week is better. I’m running out of close by attractions to flee to.

Even in captivity only the strong survive #lifelessons

I wasn’t going to write about mother’s day.  I figured there are so many bloggers posting about it, the world didn’t need another one.  Plus the fact, the bloggers I follow have said it all more eloquently then I ever could.  But then today happened.  And it was good.

I did not receive any material goods today.  Best present EVER!!  (Diamond store trying to market to me on my tv – we don’t have the money for it anyway 😉 )   The morning saw homemade cards from both the sidekick and kid.  We then drove over to my parents.  My mom has lived in Saskatchewan since 2007.  She hasn’t had any of her 7 (yes, that’s right I typed 7!! not a typo!!) children with her here to celebrate in that time.  She was beyond happy that she was able to spend time with us.

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That was what today was about.  Just spending time with each other.  We drove to Fort Qu’appelle to explore more of what Saskatchewan has to offer.

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Our adventure begins.

We found a ‘fort’ of sorts to pose in front of.

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Actually the entrance to a camp ground which is pretty cool.

I realized the kid will be driving in 2 1/2 years.  #mindnumbing

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Where does the time go?

We found hills!!  There are hills in Saskatchewan.  You just have to look for them!!
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I was able to watch my family and give thanks for what I have.

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And come on??? WHO doesn’t want to visit a fish hatchery?

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Fort Qu’Appelle Fish Culture Station. Opened for 100 years this year !!!

We had a lovely tour guide whose name was Ben.  He was 12, and was extremely knowledgeable about the whole process.  I was quite impressed by him.

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Feeding the big fish

I honestly had no idea who much work went into making sure that fisher's have enough stock in our lakes.  Even though it was disgusting  at some points, it was actually a really good stop.  And best - FREE!!!

I honestly had no idea who much work went into making sure that fisher’s have enough stock in our lakes. Even though it was disgusting at some points, it was actually a really good stop. And best – FREE!!!

The other fishies bit off his tail.  Bad fishies :(He went down the drain :(

The other fishies bit off his tail. He went down the drain 😦

This one actually had me thinking.  Even in captivity, only the strong survive.  Which today sadly is also the human race today.  We have everything we could desire, but it’s starting to look like only the powerful have the resources to survive.  That revelation I had made me a little sad.

The day ended with ice cream.

Be Jealous.  This stuff is good.

Be Jealous. This stuff is good.

For me it was a reiteration of how much you don’t need gifts to show a person how much you love them.  The time my family and my parents spent together – that’s something I will treasure more then any flowers, diamonds, or massages….well maybe not the massage.  I’ll save up some more money for that one myself though 🙂

Sex Cereal and Bacon Toffee

This weekend saw our travels take us to Saskatoon for the night.  No special reason.  I’m finding when you live in such a small town, sometimes the need to get out and explore the world is intense.  The weather was right, the price of the hotel not bad, and off we went.

Driving Saskatchewan is like driving through the last of the truly isolated and open lands left.  It’s a little over three hours to travel from our house to Saskatoon alone. At one point we didn’t see a car for about 1 hour.  When the residents say make sure you have a winter emergency kit in your car when traveling, you should listen.  It’s unnerving sometimes to feel so alone in your tiny little car in the midst of such vastness.  In the winter, your eyes hurt with the brilliance of the sky and ground shining back at you. (New tip I learned – don’t forget your sunglasses.  How fast do wrinkles happen by the way?)   Sometimes you don’t know where one ends and the next begins when looking off into the distance.

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Our first stop was to the Western Development Museum.  The museum is one museum split up four ways around the province.  Much like their college.  There is only one college split up into different campuses around the province.  I guess it’s because the population isn’t a lot here.  After having 5 million choices in Ontario for college it was a little different to find out there was only one here.

This museum if pretty cool though.  It actually has an indoor road with buildings for you to go in and and out.  Like Black Creek Pioneer Village, but on a much much smaller scale … and inside.

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A house full of mirrors that was a blast to go through. One mirror I was the 1000 lb woman … I quickly left that mirror 🙂

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And I have never seen one of the these in real life before.  The textbooks don’t do it justice.  This was something that was amazing to see out of history.

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The true attraction we went for however, was the University of Saskatchewan’s observatory.  This is free!!!  FREE!!!  How can I say no to FREE!!  Every Saturday the public gets to go and look up at the stars.

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HOW FRICKIN COOL IS THIS???

The sky was cloudy, but it was still an amazing experience.  You know next time we are back in Saskatoon, I’m headed there to see the stars and moon.

We were in 1910.  We had an awesome hotel.  We saw the moon.  We saw sex cereal and bacon toffee.  What weekend trip is awesome without seeing awesome food like that?

I still miss Ontario, its attractions and its conveniences (driving 3 hours to go do something .. yeah it sucks if you’re not used to it).  However, Saskatchewan does have some neat things to keep us amused.  I hope you come and visit us this summer 🙂

Disclaimer: I did not receive anything for this post.  It is my own opinions to tempt family and friends back home to come and visit us.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to follow me on this blog, instagram, and twitter for more stories and pictures from our travels and learning to live in the prairies!!

A Hair-rising Experience

Being a winter newbie in the prairies, I’m little hesitant in highway driving.  We’ve all seen the news segment how a freak prairie blizzard makes a family huddle under their silver thermal car emergency blanket waiting for 3 days before the professionals can come and get them and they lost 10 pounds each because they had no food.  I like living, so we haven’t really been exploring this winter season.

The kid had this week off.  Not an illness/family imposed week off.  Here, we don’t get March break.  We get a February and and April break.  The February break is kinda cool as it’s around Family Day.  We didn’t go anywhere for Christmas, and I really wanted to do something special for our first year here.  The kid asked to go to the Science Centre in Regina.  How could I say no to wanted learning?  Just the week before I got an email from the Delta with a promotion for great winter rates. Sometimes it comes when you need it!! 🙂

Wednesday night saw snow fall.  I’ll be honest with you, a little anxiety was sitting in.  All I could see was us huddle together in our tiny Yaris shivering.  And you know being the one with more meat on my bones, they’d sacrifice me to whatever Saskatchewan abominable snowman that came around.  Give them more time to run into the white abyss and get lost.  Thursday afternoon hit though, and the sun was shining!!  Off we went on our 2 hour drive to Regina.  The highways were amazing!!!

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Meditating in the tranquil ambiance

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Old meets new. We headed to the mall – attached to the hotel 🙂 Cornwall Centre.

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After the mall, which was free, was our outing to the hotel pool!!  Which was free.  The pool at the hotel 🙂 The water slide was amazing. The pool was also warm. Just my type of temperature!!! We had the whole place to ourselves, and the kid absolutely loved it!!

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Morning comes way to soon!! The city of Regina. It was neat to see all the smoke from the houses.

The kid actually had heard that there was a butterfly exhibit at the Science Centre and wanted to go see it. We set off early in the morning to make the most of the day. The admissions rate are actually very good.  $9.00 for adults.  We added the IMAX movie and it came to $16.  I have to admit, we did compare between here in Saskatchewan and back home.  Ontario Science Centre it’s $22 for an adult and $28 if you include the IMAX movie.  It’s still a fantastic deal here.  2 1/2 stories of interaction.  I think there are 6 levels in Ontario.

The one thing we did not like was that there was no where to eat.  They had a concession stand near the IMAX theatre.  We asked for a hotdog, but they did not serve hot dogs on weekdays.  We then asked for the pizza, but it wasn’t there yet and they weren’t sure when it would be.  A bit of a pain especially because to go out for lunch you have to drive.  You can’t just cross a street to a fast food joint.  And it’s cold here.  I was willing to starve then go back out into the cold to eat.   Remembering the huge fast food court at the Ontario Science Centre we were a little taken a back.   It’s times like these I get extremely home sick for the conveniences.

Nonetheless, we had a fantastic time wandering the Science Centre for another twenty minutes before the pizza arrived.    We saw Kenya: Animal Kingdom.  Breathtaking and made me want to travel even more.

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She enjoyed the show and said it felt funny feeling her hair up!

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I found the AWESOME mirror!!

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Then I found the not awesome mirror!!

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You know, the normal mirror wasn’t so bad 🙂

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Who in God’s green earth would buy a pimple???? The sidekick and the kid totally enjoyed saying not so witty lines about all the micro-organisms. For example, the kid found the red blood cell plush and laughed in delight “Look, my red blood cell count is falling” as she zoomed it to the floor :/

For a not exxpensive couple of days away from home, it was just what we needed.  Make no mistake, it’s not like home.  But there are fun things to do here.  And when you have a whole post of micro-organisms you can make up even more fun 🙂

Should be interesting to see where we can go once the weather is better.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated at all for anything in this post.  These are just my opinions.  I blog for family and friends, letting them know how much fun it is here so they will come and visit me 🙂

Saskatchewanderer = ME

I’m nothing if not optimistic about life 🙂  I look at opportunities, apply and hope for the best.

I found out about an opportunity that I thought would be awesome for me.  Problem being, about 500 000 people in Saskatchewan probably feel the same way LOL.

Saskatchewanderer is asking for applications to become the next wanderer .. not for just a summer but for a full year!!!  You go around the province exploring. I would love this opportunity.  Sadly, they are asking for film degrees, English degrees, marketing degrees, and communication degrees.  My friend on facebook posted, “There are some things that formal education can’t provide & you’ve got it my dear”.  Hopefully the hiring committee sees the same thing.

I did mess up though, so it is a big scratch against my name.  I had two files named the same thing with only one character difference.  One was a 2 page resume.  One was a 1 page resume.  Saskatchewanderer asked for a one page resume.  Guess which one I sent?  But of course – what would life be like without the glitches ? 🙂

Whoever wins, have fun.  Enjoy what is obviously a great wonderful opportunity.

In the meantime, take a look at what I submitted.  I think I sum up quite nicely what I could offer.  Hopefully they see the potential!!

Mommy won’t find me – in North Dakota

Our adventures continue south of the border today. We drove about 4 1/2 hours to Minot, North Dakota. I saw a gorgeous scene of cows in a field during the morning drive. The shadows from the morning sun was just breathtaking. I had excitedly told the imp to look out the window to which she deadpanned “it’s not like I’ve seen my last cow here”. Prairie living hasn’t totally agreed with her yet.

The border crossing was a small building and there was one car in front of us…my parents. Quite different from crossing in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The scenery in North Dakota was alright….kinda flat like Saskatchewan. The imp from the back seat took some lovely photos. With our sightseeing I would love to have an amazing camera. One day maybe :). It would be so cool to show you the beauty in what we see on our adventures.

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We used to go to Buffalo all the time when we lived in Ontario. We are a family that likes to travel and experience new things. We have seen a lot of Saskatchewan, so it was brilliant to be able to go to somewhere we’ve never been.

We got to do some shopping, but I’ll be honest – it’s nothing at all like Buffalo. There was no Ollie’s or Big Lots. We found a couple of stores that had some good deals. Sadly with no cell phone coverage I didn’t take my mobile with me so no funny pics of the things we saw. Like the sign that said ‘scream until daddy stops for ice cream DQ’ . Thank gosh mom was driving cuz that didn’t happen.

Saw some fun things I would have loved to share with that phone. Like Pizza Ranch. A buffet of pizza. There was also chicken, potatoes, and salad – so you feel better about putting yourself into a carb induced euphoria. Definitely a different kind of experience. Dessert pizza for dessert.

We did find a cool place called Cherry Blossom where you make your own frozen yogurt. They had different kinds and then you put all your fixings on. Both the imp and I were in heaven.

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We then went back to our hotel. Where the imp told the sidekick “I bet mommy can’t find me.” And for a couple of seconds when I walked into the room I didn’t.

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We then went to the hotels pool and water slide. Where we had a lovely time. I don’t get paid anything for my blogs when I write about stuff. These are just places we’ve been that we’ve had lovely times at. I highly recommend Sleep Inn in Minot. The water was a little to cold for me in one pool – but look at this!!! When’s the last time you were at a hotel with slides like this?

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And then I caught the imp photo bombing us …. Sigh….Tweens….lol

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I watched oxygen. I know I don’t have this channel in Canada.

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Afterwards the imp watched nick and Disney. She likes American tv 🙂

Tomorrow is a continental breakfast and a stop over to walmart. Weekends like this are what life is all about. Family and enjoying this earth we all occupy. I can’t wait to save money for our next far away adventure 🙂

 

A fake Esterhazy

Wikepedia states Johannes Packh of Hungary in the 1800’s claimed he was a Hungarian aristocrat of the Easterhazy family.  The family never acknowledged him as part of the clan…poor chap.  I totally get how he might have wanted to be viewed as little bit special.  My quest to become a reality tv family isn’t going to well either.

Count Paul Otto d’Esterhazy, (he changed his name…I guess back then it was easier to become a fake celebrity and have people believe),did do something kinda cool.  He established the small town of Esterhazy, Saskatchewan.  The sidekick, imp and I decided to take a trip down there back at the beginning of August.  We were again pleasantly surprised at what Saskatchewan has to offer.

I have to admit…I think we’re running out of cheap, close by (aka..less then an hour and half), fun attractions to do.  Any ideas?

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Potash Pete.

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The community museum is free. This is about a hundred year old communion dress. The amount of history you see is definitely a reason to go to small community museums. It’s unreal.

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Room of Wheels – I believe Esterhazy has the last all wood mill in all of Canada. It was a beautiful tour. Our guide was funny and very informative. Again – cost free.

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This wasn’t because they were health conscious back then. If you smoked, you could light the whole mill on fire.

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The mill.

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Looking downtown. Most streets I find are huge. I’ve asked around and the most popular answer I get is because of the horse and buggy from yesteryear.

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Just fun posing 🙂

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The one thing I find is that you step back in time when you visit the west. This building just appealed to me.

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We went to the Esterhazy museum for potash as well. It was a great trip in understanding the industry and how much Canada is reliant on it – both the population and the employees.

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This made us giggle 🙂

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Right down the street from the museums was a little tiny, and I mean tiny, ice cream diner. Go visit and say hi 🙂

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

One of the pros about about moving to a new province is being able to explore more of Canada.  Middle of August saw us check out Saskatoon.  I don’t remember at all if I’ve ever visited Saskatoon.  When our family came out to Saskatchewan to visit family when I was five, I know we went a few places.  We have pictures of visiting Alberta and the huge Easter Egg.  But I can’t find anything about Saskatoon.  Which was lovely as this trip felt like a ‘first’ for all three of us.

I have to admit – I could have down without the three hour drive that looked like this.

20130826_0930061 Having to drive this both to and from the Paris of the Prairies was in one word ‘mindnumbing’.

Usually you have to yell at the kids in the back to look up from the gadget and see the beauty of our country.  Having driven a lot now here, I let her continue playing while I begged the sidekick to talk to me so my eyes wouldn’t glaze over.

But once we got there – wow.  I can see why Saskatoon is considered the Paris of the Prairies.

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One of the magnificent views on the Saskatchewan River

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Eating dessert a lovely awesome Greek restuarant – Mediterraneo. The food was fantastic and the staff amazing. I would totally recommend here. The pastry chef is there every day and the desserts were out. of. this. world.

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We’ve been spoiled by having had the opportunity to go to the Toronto Zoo. That being said, for northern Canada and the price – this was a great little trip to enjoy.

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My mother kept saying “It’s like Toronto traffic!! Be careful”. um hmm…. this would be the equivalent of the 401 on top of the city. The sidekick and I laughed when we saw this. Hey – the sidekick took this picture 🙂 Pretty good huh?

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The streets are huge. Really lovely architecture.

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On the Prairie Lily – River boat. And no she has not seen the movie yet thinks particular scene is hysterical.

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The sidekick and I seeing all the sights on the river. Take the tour – breathtaking and peaceful.

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The backyard of where the rich people go to stay. This possibly could make my bucket list. Looks beautiful.

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Radisson hotel downtown Saskatchewan. This slide made all the difference in our stay. Awesome hotel, awesome staff!!

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The imp reading the paper before breakfast at the the only Cora’s in Saskatchewan.

A really fantastic trip.  If you ever get the chance to go, explore Saskatoon.

Snow Sculptures and Perry Ellis

The past week, the imp has been in camp.  She is loving it.  Thank you Big Brothers Big Sisters for helping her enjoy Saskatchewan a little bit more!!  The night before she had a slumber party with RCMP officers in Regina … I mean how much safer can you get?!? 🙂

We had been to Canora before, but just to take our picture with the big Ukrainian lady.

Beginning of July when we passed through going to visit family friends.

Beginning of July when we passed through going to visit family friends.

With the imp yucking it up in Regina, the sidekick and I decided to go ‘downtown’ Canora and explore a little bit of even smaller-then-where-we-live-town Saskatchewan.  We were pleasantly surprised.

Our first stop was the ice cream store.  I didn’t take any pictures so I stole one off my dad’s camera from when he was there.  🙂 He loves me and won’t sue me for copyright privileges.

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All the different flavours of soft serve!!! It took me 20 minutes to figure out what I wanted to buy.

We then walked the main strip……………………………..In small town Saskatchewan that means walking 3 blocks….if you’re lucky.  However this was totally worth it.  Although I should clarify in the summer, not in the winter.

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Stepping back in time. You expect a cowboy to come walking around the corner.

We saw a multicultural menu.  Never assume that rural Saskatchewan is behind the times LOL.

We saw a multicultural menu. Never assume that rural Saskatchewan is behind the times LOL.

Then again this sign is probably circa 1985..so Saskathewan in other aspects is a little behind.

Then again this sign is probably circa 1985..so Saskatchewan in other aspects is a little behind.

The sidekick was surprised to see this Coke slogan.  He’s a big Diet Coke drinker and this amused him for a few moments.  I looked it up, and we think this sign is probably about 28 years old.

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We then headed over to the Ukrainian Museum and The Flower Mill. Both must sees.

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Ukrainian artifacts from Saskatchewan days of long ago.

The admission fee for this small museum is $2.  How can you go wrong for that price?  Admittedly being of Ukrainian descent, I found this museum a little more fascinating then the sidekick did.  However he did enjoy it he said.  The museum use to be a meat store.  The owner sold it to the museum people for $1.  I’m still shaking my head…$1.

Prince Volodymyr  - ruler of Ukraine 980 - 1015.

Prince Volodymyr – ruler of Ukraine 980 – 1015.

Prince Volodymyr brought Christianity to Ukraine.  I was surprised to find out he was female….ok haha … this means you really need to go and support this museum. Their budget for props isn’t the greatest.  It was a really good side trip though.

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How much more Ukrainian can you get??? LOL!! I’m sure every Baba (grandmother) has one of these babies in their living room.

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91 years old. Makes these every winter. Almost makes me think about venturing out in the winter here to see what he’ll come up with….almost I said.

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Nixon – The Flower Mills greeter. Best, friendliest greeter I have ever met. Totally made us laugh as he came with his leash in his mouth. Every patron he greeted the same way.

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The Flower Mill was a really cool, hip store. It had a blend of rural (the cowboy boot light set – how adorable??) to urban Toronto (a lovely huge Perry Ellis mirror. If only I could have fit it in my Toyato Yaris. I really need to have another car for these road trips we are taking. Maybe next year I can afford another car.)

Canora – I hope if you ever come visit me you take a day trip out there.  It was a great cheap way to spend an afternoon!!

Not this upcoming week, but the next we are headed for an overnight in Saskatoon.  I can’t wait 🙂 A city… I’m drooling with anticipation.