These pages show you images of a four week stay in Canada in October 2009. Originally Vancouver's military reserve, Stanley Park is one of North America's largest urban parks. One of its highlights is the totem poles at Brockton Point. The newest and ninth totem pole was erected in 2009 and was carved by Robert Yelton of the Squamish Nation Band. The Coast Salish people never made totem poles but they did make welcome arches as part of the entrance to their traditional longhouses. This new arch, one of three called People Amongst the People, shows three grandparents. The other side of the gate shows six grandchildren. The multiples of three represent the three Coast Salish peoples. The arches were carved by Susan Point, one of British Columbia's best known First Nations artists. Another carved welcome gateway by Coast Salish artist Susan Point. They are carved of red cedar and constructed to represent the traditional slant-roof style of Coast Salish architecture with carved welcome figures in the doorways. Alexandra Bridge is a historic suspension bridge that crosses a narrow channel on the Fraser River. Alexandra Bridge was built in 1925 and named after Princess Alexandra of Wales who became the Queen of Edward VII. The abandoned Othello-Quintette railway tunnels in the Coquihalla Canyon are part of the Kettle Valley Railway system built from 1911 to 1916. In total there are five tunnels and the railbed crosses the Coquihalla River several times. This little Anglican Nlak'pamux Church at Spense's Bridge on the Banks of the Tompson River was built by the natives over 100 years ago. It is no longer in use and has since fallen to disrepair. Even then it's a nice little church with its wooden tiles. Kamloops Lake seen from a lookout next to the Trans-Canada Highway. Because most of the rain falls at the Cascade Mountains closer to the coast, the landscape is arid and the summers can be hot. The British Columbia Wildlife Park is a nice little park with snakes, grizzlies, wolves and other interesting animals like mountain lions, or cougars. Not hindred by the fenced enclosings chipmunks run around at amazing speed searching for food. Wells Gray Provincial Park, 123km north of Kamloops is the fourth largest in British Colombia covering an area of 541,000 hectares with lakes, rivers and waterfalls like 18m high Dawson Falls in the Murtle River. One of the main attractions is Helmcken Falls, with 141m Canada's fourth highest. With thunderous violence the water plunges into the deep. Only from a distance the height of the falls and the gorge the Murtle River has created over time can be really appreciated. From the dense foliage along the road a deer watches us passing with curious eyes. A stand of beeches at the border of Mount Robson Provincial Park. The setting sun catches the peaks of the Colin Range behind Medicine Lake in Jasper National Park. From dusk to dawn the outskirts of the town of Jasper are frequented by herds of elk. A watchful male guards its females. The tranquil surface of Maligne Lake guarded by Mounts Charlton (left) and Unwin (right). The iconic pines of Spirit Island, 14km up Maligne Lake, are dwarfed by the steep slopes of Mount Charlton. Driving back from Maligne Lake the peaks of the Colin Range are impressive again but look quite different than the day before at sunset. High on Whistlers Mountain, named for the whistling marmots that live here, the town of Japer is dwarfed by the altitude of 2300m. Rock piles mark the top of Whistlers Mountain at 2464m. On the way back the weather deteriorates and snow drifts blow in. Using the Jasper Tramway the height between the Upper Station at 2277m and the valley station at 1304m is quickly covered. A wooden bridge gives access to Pyramid Island, a tiny island in Pyramid Lake, one of a couple of serene lakes behind the town of Jasper. September snow has changed the landscape along the Icefields Parkway dramatically. Suddenly the landscape has changed from coloured to black and white. The branches of snow covered trees are bending from the weight of the snow for the first time this autumn. Blue, silt-laden waters flow through deeply cut gorges below Athabasca Falls, 30km south of Jasper. Mistaya Canyon has some deep rounded slots, or pockets, in the limestone rock cut by the Mistaya River. Castle Mountain, halfway between Lake Louise and Banff, shrouded in clouds. Named by James Hector in 1858 it stretches along a ridge for nearly 16km. The vivid blue colour of Lake Louise, as seen from the walking trail to Lake Agnes, contrasts starkly with the snow covered surroundings. Mount Fairview overlooking the blue glacial lake of Lake Louise. The blue colour is the result of very fine-grained particles caused by glacial grinding suspended in the water. The surface of Lake Agnes mirrors the towering peaks surrounding it. Lake Agnes was named in honour of Lady Agnes Macdonald, second wife of Canada's first prime minister. A curious bird visits the teahouse at the shore of Lake Agnes to see the visitors, but more likely, what they're eating. Pine trees, heavy with freshly fallen snow surround the trail down to Lake Louise. Lake Louise is situated at the base of impressive glacier-clad peaks. It's about 2.5 kilometres long and 90 metres deep. Lake Louise is named after the Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. Aerial view over the white slopes and ridges of the Goat and Sundance mountain ranges surrounding Banff. Sprey Lake Reservoir is a united string of lakes formed by damming the Spray River in 1950. It lies 1700m above sea level and is almost 15km long. Leaves colouring yellow in the autumn sun, blue skies and white mountains form pleasant images along the Bow Valley Parkway. It's the beginning of the so-called Indian summer. In a relatively short span of time the leaves turn from green, via a palette of yellow, orange and red colours to brown. Distant high mountains overlook the red fields of Bow River Valley. A stand of tall white beeches. The Bow River Valley in its full glory. Back at Lake Louise the weather has improved considerably compared to the days before. Visible as the magnificent backdrop of Lake Louise, Victoria Glacier and the base of Mt Victoria are clearly visible. An empty stretch of road along the Icefields Pakway. Late in September the weather is still nice but the crowds are gone. Waterfowl Lake and the awe-inspiring mountains of the Continental Divide behind it. Towering over the Lower Waterfowl Lake, the steep cliffs of Mount Chephren are most impressive as they rise 1600 metres above the valley floor. Mount Chephren was originally named Pyramid Mountain but in 1918 its name was changed in order to avoid confusion with the Pyramid Mountain near Jasper. Beeches in autumn colour surround the shores of Waterfowl Lake. The 3060m high Hilda Peak immediately east of Mount Athabasca as seen from Parker Ridge. A lonely porcupine curiously approaches us while we're crossing Parker Ridge. It doesn't seem to be bothered by the fierce wind. On top of Parker Ridge we're surrounded by snow covered mountains. To the right Cirrus Mountain is visible with the steep cliffs of the Weeping Wall below. Saskatchewan Glacier, the largest outflow glacier from the Columbia Icefield, covers an area of approximately 30km2 and has a length of 13km. A closer look at 3270m high Cirrus Mountain and the steep Weeping Wall below, named so because of the series of waterfalls that tumble down the mountain's eastern face. View of the North Saskatchewan River from Howse River viewpoint on the Icefields parkway. The sediment in the glacier melt water colours the river a whitish blue. More snow covered peaks along Icefields Parkway. Castle Mountain is, according to legend, the home of Chinook, the warm, dry winter wind that makes the snow melt. A lake reflects its surroundings in the early hours of morning. The hike to Stanley Glacier is a fine hike in Kootenay National Park. Ascending from the parking lot one enters a hanging valley with the imposing Stanley Peak looming overhead. Walking through forest at first, the trees give way to scree which is considerably more difficult to walk on. Looking back towards the steep slope of Stanley Peak on the left and the main valley behind. The fast flowing waters of Tokumm Creek falling into Marble Canyon. Fort Steele is a restored 1890's pioneer boomtown named after North West Mounted Police superintendent Samuel Steele. One of the 60 restored buildings is the Carlin & Durick General Store. Fort Steele's school building looks like it has been left behind for the weekend waiting for the kids to return on Monday. One of the restored houses is the house of the Taenhouser family. Behind the house is the Perry Creek Water Wheel. A decaying farmer's truck doesn't look out of place within Fort Steele's boundary. A footbridge at one of Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area's walking trails. The town of Nelson has over 350 designated heritage buildings. One of them is Burns Building, designed for millionaire cattle king, Patrick Burns. The data stone over the entranceway gives a clear indication of Burns' business. The Court House dates from 1909 and was build by men from the gaol commandeered to "hurry things into shape" for County Court sittings. The S.S. Moyie is the world's oldest intact passenger sternwheeler. It began its service in 1898, carrying passengers and freight on Kootenay Lake for 59 years. Travelling from Nelson towards Osoyoos we decide to take a longer route via Kaslo. This route brings us past beautiful small lakes. The moist air partly covers a loon swimming in one of the lakes. The colour palette ranges from white (the snow covered peaks in the distance) to black (the deep shade between the trees) and all colours in between. Spotted Lake, 8km west of Osoyoos, is a remarkable phenomenon caused by evaporation of water resulting in white-rimmed circles of minerals. An unpaved road between Osoyoos and Manning Park. Yellow leaved beeches announce the beginning of autumn but the weather is still excellent. A pika, a small mammal with short limbs and rounded ears sits on a rocky slope near the beginning of the Lightning Lake Loop in Manning Provincial Park. Opposite Manning Park Resort a winding road goes uphill to Cascade Lookout where the views over Manning Provincial Park extend as far as the Hozameen Range in the US. It's minus 8 (Celsius) at Cascade Lookout but as there's no wind at all and a brightly shining sun overhead, it's almost pleasant to be outside in shorts. Bright moon in a bright sky. The Steller's Jay is a crested jay native to western North America and its range stretches from Alaska to Texas. It's getting later in autumn. The colours of the leaves become more impressive every day. The mountains of West Vancouver offer panoramic views over downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge. The Lions Gate Bridge is a 1823m long suspension bridge that connects downtown Vancouver to the municipalities at the other side of Burrard Inlet. The 70m high Brandywine Falls, located along the Sea To Sky Highway between Squamish and Whistler suddenly drop out of the dense forest. Brackendale is well known for its thousands of wintering bald eagles. Unfortunately in autumn we only met this heron, resting on a dead tree in the middle of Squamish River. The ferry ride from Earl's Cove to Saltery Bay provides us with a wonderful panorama, especially with the light of the setting sun. A tiny island in a reservoir somewhere between Gold River and Woss on Vancouver Island. Fortunately a sign helps us distinguish between the main road towards Woss and a logging road that leads to nowhere, at least not a place where we're interested to go to. Dark clouds hover over the waters of the Pacific and the Pacific Rim National Park. A sea star, washed ashore by the waves, stands out against a background of black and grey pebbles of the beach. Detail of a shorepine on Pacfic Rim's Bog Trail. Because of its stunted growth and malformed limbs shorepines often resemble a giant broccoli. Ferns and mosses grow on old fallen logs, a common sight in the old- and second-growth forests of The Pacific Rim National Park. An elevated boardwalk both enables us to pass and protects the undergrowth at Schooner Cove Trail. Many huge and old pines fortunately still survive in this area. Patterns in the sand. A surfer challenges the untamed waves at Long Beach Unit. A tiny dorsal fin and a bump on the back characterize a humpback whale, one of several we saw around Tofino. A tail is the only thing we saw from this gray whale feeding in the relatively shallow waters in Clayoquot Sound. A bunch of sea lions basking in the warm rays of the sun, and a couple of cormorants. Ucluelet is Tofino's smaller neighbour with lots of green between the houses and both human and other inhabitants like this Columbian black-tailed deer. Unafraid of us this female deer stands close to the road watching her fawn but also keeping an eye at us. Her fawn examines us curiously at the same time nibbling at some green stuff. The road from Tofino to Nanaimo passes along a series of lakes and a lot of trees, most still standing but some passed away. A particularly beautiful spot is Cathedral Grove, part of MacMillan Provincial Park, with some of British Columbia's oldest trees. It's impressive how such old trees are based on very shallow roots only. Next stop along the road is Chemainus. This small town has converted from a traditional milling town to a tourist destination because of its murals. Paul Ygartua depicted Chemainus' native heritage in this 1983 mural. Arrival of the "Reindeer" in Horsehoe Bay. The Reindeer made regular stops in Horseshoe Bay (now called Chemainus Bay) on its rounds of the coast. Detail of Steffan Jünemann's trompe l'oeil mural named "Emily's Beloved Trees" showing two of Emily Carr's paintings "Sombreness Sunlit" (left) and "Mountain Forest" (right). Apart from murals the streets of Chemainus also contain a number of sculptures like this touching sculpture called The Older Generation. Detail of "Memories of a Chinese Boy", honouring the town's Chinese heritage. Grandma Chang gives candy to children while travellers wait for transport by sea at Sam Yee's store. "Sea Captain" is a sculpture by Glen Spicer on the roof of a building on Willow Street. The "Chemainus Tug Boat" was built in 1909 for the Victoria Lumber & Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Nearby Duncan is aptly called the City of Totems, they're everywhere. Over 80 of them dot the city centre like Wedgewood House Totem made by an unknown carver. Cedar Man, Cedar Woman, made by carver Simon Charlie in 1986. Thunderbird Above Whale Above Bear, made by carver Norman John in 1987. Detail of Thunderbird Above Whale Above Bear. Detail of Namgis artist Harold Alfred's Thunderbird Above Killer Whale, carved in 1990. Victoria's Parliament Buildings are home to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia are in operation since 1898. The buildings are guarded by statue of Queen Victoria. The Royal British Columbia Museum's second floor has a natural history gallery with some very realistic dioramas for example this Ice Age Mammoth. Another diorama shows a re-created rain forest where a grizzly bear comes very close. The third floor of the Royal British Columbia Museum is dedicated to human history and has an interesting collection of First Nations totem poles. Detail of one of the totem poles. Two more totem poles inside the museum's Human History Gallery. A Kwakwaka'wakw ceremonial mask made by Chief Nakap'ankam Mungo Martin representing huxwhukw on of three bird attendants of Baxwbakwalanuxwsiwe', the Cannibal-of-the-North-End-of-the-World. A Coast Salish mask. The waters of the Strait of Georgia are quiet when we leave Victoria Island for the return ferry to Vancouver. Cranes near the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. We arrive on the main land close to dusk. Part of a magnificent panel carved by Coast Salish artist John Marston in Vancouver's Museum of Anthropology. John Marston travelled to Papua New Guinea, where he met and was inspired by Sepik carver Teddy Balangu. The faces, carved from Sepik rosewood, are an ambiguous cross between west coast native and Papua New Guinea tribal styles. A Haida bentwood box from around 1870. Bentwood boxes were used for many purposes by First Nations people. As well as for storage they served as drums and cradles and even coffins. An interior house post from the village of Xwamdasbe' on Hope Island. It was made by Tlatlasikwala First Nation people. A house post from Skunggwai, a village site of the Haida people. Two figures holding up a seat form part of a house post & seat carved by Quatsino artist George Nelson in 1906. This large sculpture of a Haida Bear, carved by Bill Reid in1963, stands in the Great Hall of the museum. Dzunukwa is a figure in Kwakwaka'wakw mythology. She is venerated as a bringer of wealth, but is also greatly feared by children, because she is also known as an ogress who steals children and carries them home in her basket to eat. Detail of a paddle. Bill Reid's famous The Raven and the First Men depicts the story of human creation according to Haida legend. It was carved from a giant block of laminated yellow cedar and took two years to complete. Three more magnificent examples of Haida house poles which held the beams of the structures. From the totem poles and First Nations' history we leave for the high-rise buildings of downtown Vancouver. A traffic light at Cordova Street signals green. The traffic is relatively light on this Monday morning. The various high buildings are reflected in the glass facades of opposite buildings. A strange looking building. Judging from the doors, it looks like the elevator is on the outside, but none is visible. The buildings make for interesting photo opportunities. Tainted blue glass and brown glass. It looks like somebody has left a window open. It's difficult to stop making pictures. Burrard street and the high-rise buildings next to it. From downtown Vancouver we walk towards Gastown. Gastown is where Vancouver began its life in 1867. Gastown's steam clock was built in 1977. Incorporating a steam engine and electric motors, the clock displays the time and announces the quarter hours with a whistle chime. Where Water Street becomes Alexander Street (left) and Powell Street (right). The statue of Gassy Jack. Gassy Jack Deighton was an English sailor who started Vancouver (Gassy's town) by opening a bar to service the region's developing timber mills. The pointy rooftops of the Vancouver Convention Center's East building resemble the sails of sailing ships. Christ Church Cathedral, the biggest and best Gothic-style church in Vancouver seen from the Lookout Harbour Centre Tower. View towards Vancouver Harbour Water Airport, the 8th busiest aerodrome in British Columbia, and Stanley Park and Lions Gate Bridge beyond. The Vancouver Lookout Harbour Centre Tower is 169m high and was opened in 1977 by Neil Armstrong. Rogers Pass, a high mountain pass of 1382m through the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, lies in the heart of Glacier National Park. Because of low hanging clouds the views around Rogers Pass are limited, but suddenly Avalanche Mountain jumps into view. Rocks covered by lichen, green carpets of mosses and the occasional tree are scenes along the Rockgarden trail in Glacier National Park. Mount Revelstoke National Park is a compact national park just north east of Revelstoke. The season is short here, lasting from July to late September only. The summit of Mount Revelstoke can be reached via the 26km winding Meadows in the Sky Parkway and the 1km Summit Trail. From Parapets Viewpoints atop Mount Revelstoke the Monashee Mountains can be seen on the left and the Selfkirk Mountains on the right. The Columbia River flows in the middle. View over the Selfkirk Mountains from Parapets Viewpoints. First Footsteps Trail presents the traditions of the Secwepemc, Ktunaxa and Okanagan First Nations through sculpture and artwork. Unfortunately the wildflower boom was over but fortunately the park was still open to the public when we were there half October. A herd of bighorn sheep near the town of Golden. This natural bridge through solid rock in Yoho National Park was created by the Kicking Horse River over millions of years. The silt laden waters of the glacial Kicking Horse River show the familiar blue coloration that so beautifully contrasts with the dark coloured rocks of its bedding. The Kicking Horse River disappears from sight before re-emerging on the other side of the natural bridge. Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park was discovered in 1882, when famed mountain guide Tom Wilson was led lakeside while rounding up a group of horses that had gone astray. Back on the Icefields Parkway we travel north from Lake Louise to visit Peyto Lake. The lakes in between and the mountains reflected in their waters remain impressive. The upper parking was already inaccessible because of snow and ice, and the trail was difficult in places for the same reasons but we managed to get to Peyto Lake's viewing platform. Peyto Lake, named after park warden Bill Peyto is normally one of the park's busiest spots. Today, late in October only one person shared the viewpoint with us. Thousands of kilometres away from Peyto lake we're in Churchill, the epicentre of polar bear viewing. First we visit the 28-cell Polar Bear prison. During the summer months, scores of hungry bears head to Churchill in search of food. Nowadays they're being jailed for this for some time and released far from Churchill on the promise to never return to the town again. An inuksuk is a stone landmark or cairn built by humans, used by the Inuit and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. An inuksuk of the inunnguaq variety was the symbol of the winter Olympics in 2010. While Churchill is relatively safe from polar bears reminders around the city limits clearly warn that this is polar bear country. The Eskimo Museum in Churchill is home to one of the oldest and most comprehensive collection of Inuit artefacts and sculpture in Canada. The exhibit includes historic and contemporary sculptures of stone, bone, and ivory, as well as archaeological and wildlife specimens. This display shows snow goggles in the form of a slit in a band that was worn over the eyes to prevent snow blindness. Miss Piggy is a C46 aircraft that crashed in 1979. She is called Miss Piggy because she was able to hold so much freight and once did have pigs on board. On the first day in Churchill we take a helicopter ride out into Wapusk National Park. While the many lakes of this marshy area are already frozen, the Hudson Bay still isn't. There are many polar bears around as they're waiting for the sea ice to become thick enough to venture away from shore to hunt seals. We're lucky as we see two polar bears together below us. Undisturbed by the sound of our helicopter we can observe them quite well. Below us the terrain is coloured black and white with little other colours. A lone watchtower is the only signal of human presence in this barren landscape. A moose rests in the low shrubs. Well camouflaged from below it's more easily seen from above. The next day we enter the Churchill Wildlife Management Area over land with a so-called polar rover, an all-terrain vehicle built as a wildlife viewing vehicle for photographing and observing polar bears and other Arctic wildlife. Soon we see several polar bears, some far away, others relatively close. Even from a distance they're big! The polar bear is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear. Polar bears hunt seals from the edge of sea ice, often living off fat reserves when no sea ice is present. Seals migrate in response to these changes, and polar bears must follow their prey. Adult males can weigh over 650 kg and measure up to 3 m in length. Adult females are roughly half the size of males. Their white coat usually yellows with age. Polar bears have an excellent sense of smell, its hearing is about as acute as that of a human, and its vision is also good at long distances. Regularly we see one sniffing the air when we're out on the balcony of the tundra buggy. Polar bears are normally cautious in confrontations, and often choose to escape rather than fight. Hungry polar bears are extremely unpredictable and are known to kill and sometimes eat humans. Not much vegetation survives the cold and harsh environment around Churchill and the landscape is barren. Polar bears are superbly insulated by up to 10 cm of blubber, their hide and their fur, and are nearly invisible under infrared photography. The males' significantly longer hairs on their forelegs are thought to attract females, and increase in length until the bear reaches 14 years of age. The pads of the paws are covered with small, soft papillae which provide traction on the ice. The polar bear's claws are short and stocky and are deeply scooped on the underside to assist in digging in the ice. With a last goodbye we say farewell to these magnificent creatures and wish them well in their uncertain globally warmed future. The high ground clearance helps a polar rovers negotiate difficult areas of the trail. A modern Great White Bear Polar Rover typically begins life as an airport fire control crash truck. Due to the large tires the polar rovers, although massive, put down a low ground pressure minimizing damage to the fragile arctic landscape. The northern terminus of the Hudson Bay Railway. The tracks are used for the export of Canadian grain to European markets and, apart from air travel, form the only other way to reach Churchill. The rays of the rising sun paint Churchill's sky in colorful hues of orange, red and blue. Unfortunately we didn't have the chance to see the aurora borealis but these colors aren't bad either. Images include Vancouver,Stanley Park,Totem Poles,Brockton Point,Robert Yelton,Squamish Nation Band,Coast Salish,Susan Point,Alexandra Bridge, Othello-Quintette,Coquihalla Canyon,Kettle Valley Railway,Nlak'pamux Church,Spense's Bridge,Tompson River,Kamloops Lake,Cascade Mountains,Wells Gray,Dawson Falls, Murtle River,Helmcken Falls,Mount Robson,Medicine Lake,Colin Range,Jasper,Maligne Lake,Mount Charlton,Mount Unwin,Spirit Island,Whistlers Mountain,Jasper Tramway, Pyramid Lake,Pyramid Island,Icefields Parkway,Athabasca Falls,Mistaya Canyon,Castle Mountain,James Hector,Lake Louise,Lake Agnes,Mount Fairview,Banff,Goat Range, Sundance Range,Sprey Lake,Bow Valley,Victoria Glacier,Waterfowl Lake,Mount Chephren,Continental Divide,Pyramid Mountain,Hilda Peak,Mount Athabasca,Parker Ridge, porcupine,Cirrus Mountain,Weeping Wall,Saskatchewan Glacier,Saskatchewan River,Howse River,Chinook,Stanley Glacier,Kootenay National Park,Stanley Peak,Tokumm Creek, Marble Canyon,Fort Steele,Samuel Steele,Carlin & Durick General Store,Taenhouser,Perry Creek Water Wheel,Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area,Nelson,Burns Building, Patrick Burns,Court House,S.S. 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