Drumheller

Royal Tyrrell Museum

From Lake Louise, we left the Rockies and drove east: destination Drumheller. The road was flat – very flat – and I was puzzled when we came to the 3km sign for Drumheller: where was it? Surely we should see it by now? Then the road suddenly plunged down into the Red Deer River Valley, and there it was at the bottom. We were in the Badlands! (Badlands are a type of dry terrain where soft sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water.) The next surprise was how small Drumheller is. We were here to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, a world leading institution, which we expected to have rather more sophisticated surroundings (sorry Drumheller).

The third surprise was unpleasant. Our hotel claimed to have no knowledge of us and was “fully booked”. Now, I spent my entire career in public service and I know that the answer to a problem is “Oh, I’m sorry that has happened – let’s see what we can do to fix it.” The two staff here had obviously missed that memo and were truculent and defensive. Apparently, it was all our fault for booking through a third party, despite the fact that we had booked most of our accommodation through the same site months in advance and had no problem anywhere else.  It became my responsibility to call the booking company to sort it out – I was grudgingly allowed to use one of the hotel phones when I pointed out that it would cost me a fortune to use a UK mobile. I have nothing but praise for the young lady I spoke to who then spent half an hour talking to one of the staff, and – surprise again! – it turned out they did have a room, although more expensive than the one we’d booked. I don’t know why they couldn’t have found this in the first place: presumably the booking company was inveigled into paying the extra amount. I shan’t name the hotel, but I definitely won’t be using that chain again.

After my blood pressure had returned to normal, we set out to explore Drumheller. They love their dinosaurs. This T Rex is the largest dinosaur in the world, apparently – the one on the right is much smaller, it’s just the perspective making them look similar.

There were also smaller dinosaurs all around town. We even met one in our (nameless) hotel lobby! He arrived every morning to entertain the children, but didn’t seem to mind being photographed with a couple of slightly older visitors.

Drumheller is a former mining area and, if we’d had time, there is a mining trail we could have followed. We did visit one historic mine (which I’ll include in a later post) and stop for reflection at the memorial in town to all those miners killed in the area. A lot of names.

As for the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, which we visited on our first full day, it blew us away. It has to be one of the best museums I have ever visited. The layout was so clear that you could easily follow a logical path through it, and the signs had just the right amount of information. And if all you wanted to do was look at dinosaurs (there were many young children who were there to do just that), you could still have a ball.

Why have so many fossils, particularly dinosaurs, been found in Alberta? Apparently, it’s because of the high sedimentation rate in the Late Cretaceous Period which meant that dead animals were buried quickly before they started to decompose, preserving the skeletons intact.

The museum also has a Badlands Interpretive Trail (below) which we spent some time exploring before, mid-afternoon, returning to our hotel to freshen up for our next event at 6pm – the Canadian Badlands Passion Play.

We didn’t know until after we’d decided to visit Drumheller that this was on, but we jumped at the chance to get tickets when we found out. The epic representation of the life of Jesus has been produced every summer since 1994 and, if you live nearby or are likely to visit next July, I strongly recommend it. There are a few professional actors involved, but most are amateurs and they are simply amazing. Photography during the play is not allowed – the first picture below was taken by John beforehand and the other two were supplied to me as part of a set sent to ticket holders after the event, hence the attribution.

The Canadian Badlands Passion Play 2017
The set © Canadian Badlands Passion Play
Cast and crew © Canadian Badlands Passion Play

The site for the play was a few miles out of town and there were hundreds of cars parked, yet the volunteers directing us out were so efficient that we hardly had to queue at all before we were back out onto the main road. An excellent and well-organised event.

On our second day in Drumheller we set out to explore the Badlands further and get some hiking in. More next time!

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Lake Louise

Lake Louise

On our previous visit to Lake Louise in 2007 we stayed in Deer Lodge, which is the only hotel actually by the lake apart from the mega-expensive Fairmont Château, but when we tried to book it in December 2016 for July 2017 it was already full! I looked at the Château prices and decided they were having a laugh, so we booked a hotel about 4km away in Lake Louise Village and commuted. There is a regular shuttle bus to the lake which we took the first morning, but only after queueing for ages in full sun. We decided it would be just as easy to walk back, and the second day we spent at the lake we walked both ways. There’s a pretty trail along Louise Creek, which can be extended via the old tramway which took Victorian visitors from the station in the village to the Château. The middle day of our stay we rode the Gondola up Mount Whitehorn.

Lake Louise Village

We were glad we walked back via the old tramway the first day, because it took us out near The Old Station Restaurant which we booked for dinner that night (excellent). Trains still pass through – we are always fascinated by their length in North America. We watched the one below for 5 minutes from beginning to end!

The other nights we ate in our hotel, the Lake Louise Inn, which served reasonable bar food and good pizza. I have no pictures of the Inn, it wasn’t particularly pretty. The red roofs by the river in the gallery above are part of the Post Hotel which was much more picturesque. Maybe we’ll stay there next time…

The Lake

A few highlights from our two days hiking by or near the lake. Considering how crowded the place was, I’m amazed John managed to get pictures with hardly anyone else in them – though the old rule holds good. Walk a few hundred metres from the car parks and most people melt away.

Lake Louise Gondola

The Lake Louise Gondola is a short drive from the village. We booked early morning tickets which included breakfast on the ground before heading up the mountain. At the top of the lift is a Wildlife Interpretive Centre, a couple of (very steep) trails to viewpoints and the fabulous Whitehorn Bistro. We rewarded ourselves after the strenuous hikes with a late lunch on their deck – fondue with great views, though as you can see we were still hampered by haze from all the fires.

After Lake Louise, we left the Rockies – but we weren’t going home just yet. We were heading for the Badlands!

Glasgow Gallivanting: September 2017

Forth Bridge View

Let’s start with the highlight! That has to be our trip to the top of the Forth Bridge, part of a charity event in aid of Barnardo’s. Here we are 361 feet above the Firth of Forth. In case of doubt, we are holding hands romantically, not clinging on to the rail for safety 😉

We had booked the sunset slot, hoping for colourful skies, but it had been a cloudy day so they didn’t materialise. However, we still got great views both on the ground and from the top. There are now three bridges crossing the Forth from South Queensferry to North Queensferry (where the event took place), each from a different century – full history on the Forth Bridges website, but here’s the potted version. Until the Forth Bridge opened to trains in 1890, the only crossing was by ferry. In 1964, a road bridge was added, but by the 21st century it was proving inadequate for the volume of traffic passing over it. This year, the new Queensferry Crossing has opened with the original road bridge now reserved for pedestrians, cyclists and, eventually, public transport. Unlike many public infrastructure projects, the new bridge actually came in under budget (by £245m). Well done Scottish Government!

We arrived early to look round the village of North Queensferry and admire all the bridges.

Then it was time to don our hard-hats before riding the shoogly hoist to the top of the North Cantilever. The hoist was a tight squeeze, but the viewing platform was surprisingly large and we had about 20 minutes to wander about and take photographs. Several trains passed underneath us, each producing another little shoogle.

Then it was back down to earth, and dinner in one of the local hotels before getting the train back to Glasgow – across the Forth Bridge of course!

Doors Open Days

For the week of 11th-17th September, many institutions in Glasgow which would not normally be open to the public threw wide their doors for tours and events. I took part at two venues myself – on Wednesday, I was part of a Glasgow Women’s Library event on the hidden histories of women and how we can uncover them through, for example, heritage walks and a databases of monuments and memorials. On Saturday, I led a canal walk at Maryhill (and totally forgot to take any photographs).

Sunday was our day for exploring, so I booked a back-stage tour of the Citizen’s Theatre for the morning. Our guide, Martin, was fabulous and gave us a bit of history before taking us behind the scenes. Originally opened in 1878, what became “The Citz” is the second oldest operational theatre in the UK (Leeds Grand opened 6 weeks earlier). Once we got out of the 1990 foyer this certainly showed, and I can understand why the theatre is closing next summer for two years of much-needed redevelopment. It’s what I would call a bit of a guddle.

However, the Citz will not dispose of its historical artefacts. It has the most complete working Victorian theatre machinery in the UK, and is the only theatre in Scotland still to have its original machinery under the stage. We got to visit that – and also stand on stage looking out to the auditorium.

Another piece of history is the original Victorian paint frame which is still used today to paint backcloths.

The Christmas production of Cinderella is coming up, and we saw a huge clock in preparation, which presumably will chime midnight at the appropriate time.

Designs for Cinderella were also in evidence in the costume department. I somehow don’t think any of these shoes will be suitable to play the glass slipper!

After lunch, we visited St Columba’s Gaelic Church, and Scottish Opera’s HQ. This was of interest less for its current role than for its origins (1907) as the home of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, as illustrated in the splendid stained glass by Stephen Adam.

I really appreciate the work of the hundreds of volunteers across the city who make these days such a success every year.

Blogging news

A new badge has appeared in my sidebar! I was very pleased to be included in a list of Top 30 International Retirement Blogs 2017 by Maxwell Salo of WeLoveCostaRica.com – thank you so much! I haven’t had time to explore the other 27 yet, but I did spot two friends, Donna of Retirement_Reflections and Debbie of Deb’s World. If you don’t know them too, why not visit?

I also joined in with Ishita of Italophilia and her #ItalophiliaPostcards project. Exchange a postcard with her and share the results on social media. Ishita’s card of Vienna has arrived here, but my card of Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens seems to have got lost somewhere on its way. Maybe it will have arrived by next month’s roundup….

Family news

I’m sad to say that one of my uncles, Ian McKay, died in September, just short of his 89th birthday. Ian was married to Elspeth, one of my Dad’s three younger sisters, and although they settled in Brisbane before I was born I still had opportunities to get to know them on their visits back to Scotland. It was Elspeth who looked after Dad and me when Mum was in hospital having my baby sister and it was Ian who taught me to swim. The last time I saw them in person was on our only visit (so far) to Australia, in 2004 when this picture was taken. Ian will be missed.

On a much happier note, John has been presented with the prestigious Chengdu Jinsha Friendship Award for “foreign experts” in recognition of his role in the development of the relationship between the University of Glasgow and the University of Electronic Science and Technology China in the city of Chengdu. As you usually see him wearing walking gear (and now a hard-hat) you might not recognise him in this smartly turned out gentleman. Doesn’t he scrub up well? More info on the University of Glasgow news page if you are interested.

The last bit

And finally, on to Scottish words of the month! I’ve used three that might not be totally familiar. If you’re puzzling over Firth of Forth, it means the mouth of the River Forth. (Firth is pronounced the same but spelled differently from furth meaning outside, e.g. outside Scotland would be “furth of Scotland”.)

The shoogly lift and bridge were shaking, but I think shoogle is a much more evocative word than shake. The Glasgow Subway makes extensive use of it in its advertising. It is also used in the phrase “yer jaiket’s on a shoogly nail” meaning “your jacket is hanging on a loose peg”, i.e. you could be out on your ear at any time.

Earlier, I described backstage at The Citz as a bit of a guddle, which is my favourite word to describe a mess of impressive proportions. It’s also possible to guddle about, which I quite enjoy doing, or to find yourself in a bit of a guddle, or a confusing situation where you don’t quite know what to do. I enjoy that less.

Of course, guddle rhymes with puddle – plenty of those here at the moment, where the weather is getting colder and wetter and the nights are fair drawing in, as my Grandad used to say. Who can believe we’re into the last quarter of the year already?

Let’s see what October brings.

Jasper National Park

Downtown Jasper

When we visited Jasper ten years ago, we stayed in a cabin outside the town. This time, we were very central and the big bonus of that is we got to appreciate some excellent restaurants right on our doorstep. I can heartily recommend Jasper Pizza Place, Olive Bistro, Raven Bistro and Syrah’s of Jasper – and there were several other places I’d like to have tried if we’d been there longer. So what did we do other than eat?

Jasper Town

Stroll along the main street, Connaught Drive (above), and I defy you not to be transfixed by the mountain views – but  trains and totem poles are available too.

Mina and Riley Lakes Loop

We followed this 9km trail right from downtown on our first morning, no need to even move the car. It was a beautiful, still day as you can see from the reflections – as we feasted on our picnics, the bugs feasted on us…

Jasper Tramway

On our second day we took the tramway more than 1000 vertical metres (3280 feet) up Whistlers Mountain from where we hiked the (very steep) mile to the summit. The views are awesome, and Parks Canada has helpfully placed some beautiful red chairs just where you can admire Mount Edith Cavell. (These chairs are all over the country – the idea is to share them on social media).

Whistlers is named for the hoary marmots which live on the summit. We saw several of them as well as white-tailed ptarmigans and golden-mantled ground squirrels. One of the latter appears to be trying to eat a tissue!

After a reasonable lunch in the tramway’s top station, we headed back down the mountain for another hike on flatter terrain.

Valley of the Five Lakes

There were, indeed, five lakes on this trail! Third Lake had another set of red chairs, just right for enjoying the view. I think I have these lakes labelled right….

Maligne Canyon and Lake

Our final day in Jasper was my birthday, which we celebrated in the worst weather of the whole trip. Our first stop was Maligne Canyon, a steep narrow gorge crossed by several bridges.

On to Maligne Lake, where we did a couple of short trails in a sleet-storm! This made the paths muddy and treacherous – you might spot that from the state of John’s left trouser leg. Yes, it was his turn to slip.

Maybe it was the cooler, wetter conditions that made this a good day for wildlife spotting. Deer in abundance, and twice – bears! Only one bear picture good enough to share though.

From Jasper, we headed back south to Lake Louise, our last stop in the Rockies.

Along the Icefields Parkway

Crowfoot Glacier and Bow Lake

From Glacier, we headed north to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway. A few days later, we drove back down the same road to Lake Louise (there really isn’t any other way). We made several stops each time which I’ve combined into one south to north sequence, starting with the Crowfoot Glacier viewpoint (above).

Peyto Lake and Bow Lake Lookout

This was a day of very poor visibility due to smoke blowing over from the fires in BC. From the parking lot at Bow Summit, a short, steep, paved trail leads to a viewing platform over Peyto Lake (first picture). It was thronged with people so we only got one photograph but, as is often the case, we carried on a bit further and lost most of them. The trail to Bow Lake Lookout goes through forest, moraine and snow, some of which is not terribly solid. Guess who went in to thigh level? Still, to make up for that we met a cute marmot. The view of Bow Lake was pretty enough but nothing like it could have been in other circumstances. The picture near the end of the gallery, slightly enhanced, is the best we have.

Parker’s Ridge

The trail to Parker’s Ridge, overlooking the Saskatchewan Glacier, is about half way between Lake Louise and Jasper. We hiked here in 2007 too – the weather wasn’t great then, but better than it was in 2017 with a squall of hail at the top. The panoramas below are just before the storm and just after.

Bears!

On the drive down from Jasper, we saw a mother with two cubs! Much zoomed and a bit blurry, but still – bears!

Sunwapta Falls

We stopped here on the way down and had lunch at the nearby Sunwapta Falls Resort. It wasn’t amazing, but it was a lot better than the meal we had at the resort at Saskatchewan River Crossing on the way up – although, to be fair, there are three places to eat on site. We chose the Parkway Pub for the views from its deck – I’d recommend you to forego the view and try one of the other options.

Athabasca Falls

We spent about an hour here exploring the various trails round the Falls. Such awesome power in the water – we were reminded of this by the plaques to those who thought it would be fun to hop over the fence and never came back.

Three busy days in Jasper coming up next.

Glacier National Park, BC

Glacier Park Lodge 1994

On our very first Canadian holiday in 1994 we spent a couple of nights in Glacier Park Lodge at the top of Rogers Pass, BC. What fun to stay there again, we thought! Sadly, a cursory search of the internet showed that time has not been kind to the Lodge. The adjacent gas station closed in 2009 and the Lodge in 2012. A series of lawsuits has left them both derelict and unloved and, although the Parks Canada Visitor Centre in between is still open, it’s a depressing place to visit, especially as the Trans Canada to either side is undergoing massive road-works at the moment.

Glacier Park Lodge 2017

So where did we stay? Well, on the eastern edge of the park we found Heather Mountain Lodge – the best accommodation of our entire trip. A beautiful setting with fluffy neighbours:

 

– and fabulous food:

 

And yet – you might have noticed a certain haziness in some of these pictures and in the one of Glacier Park Lodge in 2017. The mountains in 1994 were much clearer. Look at these two, taken a couple of days apart this year, of roughly the same view at Heather Mountain Lodge:

 

This was the effect of fires further west, the smoke from which, depending on wind direction, obscured our views most days and contributed to poor air quality. Now I know that’s trivial compared to the lot of the poor people who were being evacuated from their homes, so I’m not complaining (really). It just added to the melancholy feeling of seeing the old lodge so run down. Add to that the helicopter in one of the galleries above which landed and took off several times from our hotel’s grounds. We thought it was taking water to the fires, but it turned out to be searching for a young Irish tourist who had drowned in a nearby lake.

This was also where I found that my body had developed far more aches and pains than it had in 1994, or even 2007 when we last visited the Rockies. The trails in Glacier weren’t long but some of them were very steep. My knees hurt on the way up and my ankles on the way down. Did I moan? Ask John! On second thoughts – don’t. You might be shocked if he repeats my language.

Marion Lake

A steep, forested hike to a mediocre lake and a viewpoint which would have been lovely without the smoke!

 

Meeting of the Waters

An easy walk past the confluence of Asulkan Brook and the Illecillewaet River. This was pretty, and took in the ruins of the first hotel in the area, Glacier House.

 

Rock Garden, Loop Brook Trail and Bear Creek Falls

Three short trails: Rock Garden over lots of, surprisingly, rocks; Loop Brook along the route of an old railway line; and Bear Creek Falls – the name says it all.

 

Asulkan Valley Trail

When I was looking for the old pictures of Glacier Park Lodge, I also found photos of the hike we did up to the Asulkan Glacier in 1994: clear blue skies and the mountains in all their glory. This was three times as long and twice as high as the Marion Lake trail we did this year, yet I’m smiling (and rocking a fabulous pair of leggings it has to be said).

 

So, a slightly negative post – is the moral never to go back? It can be sad to return somewhere you’ve had a really happy time only to find that it doesn’t live up to expectations. Having said that, I did enjoy our stay: just maybe not as much as some of the other places we visited.

From Glacier, we headed back into Alberta and north to Jasper.

Kananaskis

At Kananaskis Village

Kananaskis Country, south-east of Banff National Park, is an area we had not explored on our previous visit to the Canadian Rockies. This time, we enjoyed a stay at Kananaskis Village – basically, Delta Lodge and a few attached businesses. Originally developed for the 1998 Winter Olympics, it was later chosen to host the G8 Summit in 2002 for its get-away-from-it-all ethos – what world leader could complain at being surrounded by scenery like the above?

The main hike we did here was a lovely trail round Upper Kananaskis Lake, starting at the Upper Lake parking lots at its south-east corner.

Upper Kananaskis Lake near parking lot

From there, we crossed Upper Lake Dam (both Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes are now reservoirs).

Upper Lake Dam

We continued round the lake drinking in the views:

On the north shore, the path began to climb above the trees –

View from north shore

– ending in a huge boulder field, dazzling in the sun.

After picking our way down through this, we encountered rivers and falls as we made our way back along the west shore.

Two final panoramic views – as we neared the parking lot we could see people out on the lake enjoying the boating life.

I admit my feet were sore after this walk – our first of the holiday and yet, as measured by Fitbit, the longest of all at over 30,000 steps (although there wasn’t much climbing: we did much steeper hikes later on).

A last word on Kananaskis Village. There are two routes in and out.  On the way in, we took the long way round – the unsealed Smith-Dorian Road via Spray Lakes.

On the way out, we stuck to Hwy 40. When we woke up that morning it was pouring with rain, but by the time we got out onto the highway this had cleared to leave a pleasing mist over the mountains. I also include what I think is the only picture of our hire car, a Nissan Rogue, which served us well for three weeks.

Where were we headed? Into British Columbia’s Glacier National Park. Nostalgia is involved. In the meantime, I’m linking this visit to Jo’s Monday Walks. She takes us to Northumberland this week.

Glasgow Gallivanting: August 2017

Union Canal, Falkirk

With just coming back from Canada at the end of July, John having two business trips during the month (to Singapore and China) and replacing all the windows in our house, August has not seen us travel very far – at least, not together. Perhaps the most unusual thing we did was going to a play, The Resurrection, which took place on the banks of the Union Canal, including inside the Falkirk Tunnel. Based on the infamous Burke and Hare murders in 1827/8 it was quite scary in parts!

In the 1820s, there was a lucrative trade in selling cadavers to Edinburgh University (for use in the study of anatomy) which produced a spate of grave-robbing leading to the term “resurrection men”. Strictly speaking, the title of the play is a misnomer as Burke and Hare cut out the necessity for “resurrection” by murdering the victims themselves. Four actors met us in turn as we walked along the canal and through the tunnel on which Burke and Hare had been labourers. Below, you can see Margaret Logue, landlady of the lodgings in which the murders took place, and William Burke himself.

It was impossible to take photographs inside the tunnel, but if you are interested, this very short video shows how spooky it was. It was very different to any other event we have been too, and really enjoyable. I’m just glad I wasn’t the person right at the front when Mr Burke suddenly appeared as we exited the tunnel. The first woman out screamed blue murder!

Dinosaurs in the park

Jurassic Kingdom has come to Glasgow! This collection of animated dinosaurs has been touring the country and is currently in our Botanic Gardens. Over a week or so, we watched the models develop from a collection of body parts into rather impressive life-sized models. Once the event opened they were screened off for paying customers only, but we could still hear them ROARRR!

Blogging friendships

Donna at Retirement_Reflections has been hosting guest posts over the summer through which I’ve met some interesting new friends. On August 20th it was my turn. Thanks, Donna, for hosting me. Everyone else – I definitely recommend a visit to Donna’s blog. She and her husband have just finished hiking the Camino Trail which makes my walks look like mere ambles.

Another recommendation is Sarah at The Old Shelter who recently tagged me for the #MyFirstPostRevisited Blog Hop. Thank you Sarah but, honestly, my first post is really not worth the effort! Three lines saying little more than that I’d started a travel blog (though it does have quite a cool picture of me at the Grand Canyon). Nobody visited. Nobody cared. If anyone cares to visit now (here), they’d probably double the page views. Just saying…..

The last bit

In which I occasionally teach you some Scottish words and phrases. Today: reek, meaning smell or smoke. Burke and Hare lived in Edinburgh, the old town of which was so dirty that it was nicknamed Auld Reekie (Old Smoky / Smelly) – but reek can also be used in a phrase wishing someone a long and healthy life. Literally meaning “long may your chimney smoke”, I finish by saying to all my readers:

Lang may yer lum reek!

I hope your August was great too. See you in September!

Banff and the Bow Valley

John is not impressed by tonight’s accommodation

On our previous visit to the Canadian Rockies, ten years ago, our first stop was in Banff which we remembered as being too busy to be really pleasurable. We decided to try somewhere different this time, but we did pop in to Banff to visit the Cave and Basin National Historic Site.

Canada’s National Park System was effectively born at these hot springs. Known to aboriginal peoples for millennia, they were “discovered” by three railway workers in 1883. So many people rushed in to try to make money out of the springs that, to avert an environmental crisis, the government stepped in to create a reserve. Today, what was the bathing pool is decked and, when we were there, was set up to replicate a camp at the time of the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

There were boardwalks to follow (see header image which mocks up the entrance to the first hotel) and we also hiked the Marsh Loop, a circular trail to the Bow River, where we met this impressive stag.

Planning a route in the Rockies isn’t difficult – there isn’t much choice other than East-West on the Trans-Canada Highway and North-South on the Icefields Parkway. The Trans-Canada skirts Banff which means we passed its exits several times. The first day we planned to visit the Cave and Basin, the queues to get off the highway were so long that we kept going east, took a detour onto the Bow Valley Parkway and stopped at Johnston Canyon with its multiple waterfalls.

To the east of Banff, we liked the small town of Canmore. Imagine having this view at the end of your street!

In Canmore, we bought these two hiking books which served us well over the next three weeks. Volume 1 included a loop walk in Bow Valley Provincial Park, an amalgamation of six interpretive trails which took us through moraines, riversides, lakeshores and forest paths. We couldn’t believe how quiet it was – we hardly saw any other hikers and ate our lunch alone in an enormous picnic area.

Coming up in the next instalment: Kananaskis, which was a lot busier.

Calgary

When in Rome…..

The first thing I did in Calgary was buy myself a big hat – yeehaw! I’m not sure it really helped me to blend in with the locals, but it kept the sun off my pale Scottish skin.

Our flight from the UK landed in early afternoon, so despite feeling as though we’d been awake for hours more than was natural (we had) we decided to see a bit of the place. The Stampede was about to begin, so it was buzzing. First, we went up the Calgary Tower for great views and a turn on the scary glass floor.

After that, we took a wee wander round town, enjoying some of its more quirky aspects.

My favourite, which will come as no surprise to those who know of my interest in women’s history, was the “Women are Persons!” or “Famous Five” monument (link has more information about the sculpture).

Wikipedia explains the background thus:

The Famous Five … were five Alberta women who asked the Supreme Court of Canada to answer the question, “Does the word ‘Persons’ in Section 24 of the British North America Act, 1867, include female persons?” in the case Edwards v. Canada (Attorney General). The five women, Emily Murphy, Irene Marryat Parlby, Nellie Mooney McClung, Louise Crummy McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards, created a petition to ask this question. They sought to have women legally considered persons so that women could be appointed to the Senate. The petition was filed on August 27, 1927, and on 24 April 1928, Canada’s Supreme Court summarized its unanimous decision that women are not such “persons”.

Fortunately sense prevailed the following year, which reduced the sense of outrage  I was feeling a little – that, and the waves of tiredness which were now washing over me. An early dinner and an early night called. The next day, we battled our way through the Stampede crowds to collect our car and set off for the mountains.