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Oh Canada

Happy Canada Day!

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Our country could not be any more beautiful, and my Canada Day weekend camping in the mountains could not have been more perfect. Can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Have a great one!

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Canada Day!

I am back! Evan and I took a red-eye flight back from Calgary yesterday morning (definitely aptly called red-eye, I felt like I was in a dream all day yesterday even though I slept on the plane). It was a whirlwind trip and every single day was jam packed with stuff, so I am way behind on blogging about our adventures. I have a lot of catching up to do. Starting with Canada Day!

It was a dream day. We went to Canoe Beach around noon and hung around there with Eric’s friends all afternoon.

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By the way, the mountain behind us the local people call Chief Mountain because it looks like a Native chief’s head in profile.

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Not sure if that helps the visual. The rock face is his headdress. There’s also what looks like a beaver in there on the right side of the rock face.

It was much busier on Canada Day than it was on the Monday, the day we went before…

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But still very nice. And if this beach was anywhere in the Toronto area it would be three times as busy. We found a quieter section in a grassy area and leisured around all day on the shore, and in the water.

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I love swimming so much, especially in lakes, and it was really nice to be able to spend the day doing that. The mountain views made it even better.

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Uncle Donny even dropped by in the later afternoon to hang out with us.

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So that was really nice. We had a good time swimming with him.

Kenya’s mom has a house near the beach that she rents out for the summer, but she left it open last week specifically to host us all for a Canada Day barbecue. The house is beautiful, and Evan and I were set up in a quiet little guest house, which was really thoughtful of Kenya’s mom. We all walked over there in the afternoon after all the beaching for the evening festivities. My mom even made it out, and it was so nice to spend Canada Day with her.

Evan and I were all decked out in our patriotic gear.

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Kenya’s mom made a really awesome appetizer that was so simple and such a good idea. Tortellini pasta salad scewers.

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Cooked, chilled, tortellini tossed in dressing and then just on a skewer. It was so easy to just grab one and eat it. No fork or plate needed. That will definitely be recreated over here. We also had burgers, hotdogs, and the best fruit salad.

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And festive cupcakes Kenya’s sister made to celebrate our amazing country.

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Unfortunately Eric’s bestie Dixon could not make it to the barbecue, but the rest of Eric’s friends were in attendance. I really, really enjoyed them. They, like Dixon, were all so nice and just embraced both Evan and I immediately.

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Evan said all of Eric’s friends really reminded him of his own friends (and his brother) from high school, kind of nerdy, definitely quirky, and super nice and thoughtful. Just a buncha misfits, in the best way.

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They were great. Eric is very lucky to have such a good group of friends.

Evan and I were also talking about how much we really enjoyed Eric (and Kenya’s) company. The E-Rock has grown into quite the respectable young man.

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He and Kenya were sporting their holiday onesies for the occasion…

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I think they beat Evan and I for festive attire.

We were sitting around the campfire for much of the evening and for a good 15 minutes Evan and I just watched Eric because everything he did was so hilarious, without him meaning for it to be. At one point he was trying to stealthily crawl under the badminton net to get to the other side, but he tends to be more like a bull in a china shop (and he reminds me of myself in this way, when he tries to be quiet and sneaky he ends up making more noise and knocking things over), so of course the button on the butt flap of his onesie got caught on the net when he tried to nimbly duck under it, and he brought the net down, got all tangled, and Kenya had to go over and help him out of it.

After some campfire action and s’mores roasting, we all made our way down to the dock with some fireworks. Don’t worry, Kenya’s mom was with us so we had parental supervision.

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They weren’t the best fireworks, we only spent $40 on them so they were mostly elaborate roman candles and a burning schoolhouse, but it was still a great way to end an awesome day. 

You know, our trip was so great not only because of all the amazing things we did, but really because of the amazing people we were with and met along the way. I know that sounds cheesy but it is so true. Canada Day was a big part of this. I am so thankful for Kenya’s mom for hosting us all. She is a very cool mom. It’s very important to have a cool mom (mine is the coolest!).

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Canada Day Festivities

Happy Canada Day!!!!!!

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A day late, but I hope all you Canadians had a great Canada Day long weekend filled with barbecues and fireworks (the above photo is from last year when I spent Canada Day weekend on Vancouver Island with my family).

My weekend was amazing. On Saturday Evan and I walked to Evergreen Brick Works from my apartment, but I have a lot to talk about so that is going to have to be saved for another post. This will be about Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday my beautiful friends Emily and Corey hosted a Canada Day barbecue at their place. Very similar to Emily’s 30th birthday barbecue party, but more intimate and no grown-ups drinking out of boots.

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A lot more of the frisbee drinking game went down also.

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And I am happy to report that I have gotten much better at it over the past few weeks. Not sure how that happened as I haven’t been practicing (although I was accused of practicing alone in my apartment), but I was much less useless as a teammate, so this is good news. Eventually it just turned into a giant game of frisbee.

It was a very low-key night and I didn’t take very many photos. We did have a fantastic barbecue though.

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My friend Sherrie was in attendance, and I was excited to see her because she just spent three weeks in Thailand and I hadn’t seen her since she returned. I was really looking forward to hearing about her crazy adventures in person. She had some good ones. She went all by herself! She is such an independent minx.

Evan and I brought raspberry shortcake for our dinner contribution.

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So festive! When we brought this out to the table we all sang O Canada at the top of our lungs. It was a beautiful moment that I will forever cherish in my heart.

For the shortcake, my original plan was just to slap some raspberries and Cool Whip on the little cakes and call it a day, but Chef Evan took it to the next level and basically made raspberry jam.

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He cooked two packages of frozen raspberries on the stove with 1/4 cup of sugar until it turned into a jam-like sauce.

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He is such a creative little food lover.

We put spoonfuls of Evan’s jam on the cakes, and then added Cool Whip and fresh raspberries on top.

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They turned out quite well and they were DELICIOUS.

Joanna also brought her apples with caramel and Skor dip that I can’t get enough of.

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That dip is so, so good.

After our barbecue we had a beautiful bonfire.

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Em and Cork’s neighbours had the most impressive residential display of fireworks I have ever seen, so we had fun watching those and telling stories around the fire.

Corey had a little too much fun…

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He fell asleep so Emily decided it would be a good idea to hit a cup off his head like a baseball. He liked it. We had sparklers also, and here is the best picture I got of the sparkler action…

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Did not work out very well.

It was a fun evening with my pals!

Yesterday after possibly the best nap of my life, Evan, his friend Ian and I decided to hit up Toronto Ribfest at Centennial Park in Etobicoke.

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We assumed most people in the city probably had plans for Canada Day and since it had already been going on all weekend maybe it wouldn’t be very busy. This assumption was wrong.

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It was very, very busy. But, anything for ribs I always say! (I’ve never said that, but it seems fitting.)

Once we got into the actual rib area it opened up a bit so we weren’t standing on people anymore. There were so many rib vendors it was a bit overwhelming…

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We had no idea which one to choose, so I quickly did some Googling to find out the best place for ribs at ribfest and Crabby’s BBQ Shack kept popping up. That was the winner for us.

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If the number of their awards was any indication of the quality of their ribs, I think we were going to be alright with our choice.

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We ate in front of the stage, and Crabby’s actually won the People’s Choice Award for something ridiculous like the 12th year in a row as we were sitting down eating. I felt proud so I made sure to cheer for them.

I was also excited when I saw the employees saucing the ribs with a tool that looked like a mop.

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It was safe to say they were going to be saucy, and saucy is my favourite.

Evan, Ian and I all ordered the Vegetarian’s Nightmare, which is just how it sounds. It includes 1/3 rack of ribs (which was enough for me), pulled pork, and chicken. It was great because it allowed us to try everything.

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I also got a Red Leaf draft from the Canadian Brewing Company to complement my box of meat.

The ribs were good, but the pulled pork was my favourite. It’s hiding under the ribs in that picture so you can’t really see it in all its pulled pork glory, but it was amazing.

After our meat party we were all full and disgusted with ourselves, so we waddled back to the car. I wish we had a wheelbarrow or something with us so the boys could have rolled me there.

It was a pretty great weekend, no complaints here!

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Island Adventuring

We had the day to kill on Saturday, as the wedding didn’t start until later, so Eric and I decided to rent bikes and explore Quadra Island.

I had grossly underestimated the size of the island. I kind of had the image in my head before we arrived of it just being the resort and a marina, with maybe some forest. But there was a small town (like four stores), and people live there (it has a population of nearly 2,500 according to Wikipedia). Even though we were biking for two hours we didn’t quite get to explore the entire thing. It was really hilly also. MAN it was hilly.

You can see Eric huffing and puffing up the hill in the background. I had to abandon my bike a few times to walk.

I’m eating like an absolute champ around here so it was nice to squeeze in something active.

We also did some general exploring around the resort, and Eric found a friend.

Eric the Eagle!

I am not sure how Eric the Eagle and Eric the Man both had nametags… Such a coincidence.

Sunday morning (Canada Day!) we woke up basically just in time to make it to brunch, and rolled ourselves out of bed and into the lodge for some food.

I saw this along the way:

And it made me laugh, because that man kind of looks like Richard Dreyfuss, and that is absolutely the shirt he let Bill Murray borrow in What About Bob.

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I saw some of our family and friends in the restaurant, so we did the ol’ “how are you feeling this morning?” thing, and regaled each other with tales of what time we eventually went to sleep after the wedding. And then I loaded up my plate with buffet goodness…

And then Eric and I waddled back to our room for a nap.

We awoke about an hour later feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. We took the water shuttle from our resort to Painter’s Lodge to see what kind of activities were going on for Canada Day.

We do actually say ‘eh’ a lot in Canada. That is one thing that is not just a stereotype. It’s when you ask a question and you want someone’s feedback, like “Wow, that’s a beautiful sunset, eh?” I don’t think there is any other word that works as well as ‘eh’ does in this context, so I fully embrace saying it. How else would I end my questions, eh?

Anyway, we immediately saw this when we docked at Painter’s Lodge.

That’s a big salmon, eh?! Campbell River is known as the salmon capital of the world (self-proclaimed, I am pretty sure), and Painter’s Lodge resort is famous for its fishing. They have these stations set up right on the dock so they can clean the fish immediately. And if you are staying there and catch a fish, the resort staff will clean it, cook it, smoke it, or freeze it for you so you can either eat it there or take it home.

We also saw a ton of seals. The salmon guts go right back into the water so the seals pretty much stalk the dock for food. I didn’t get a decent picture of them, but they were cute. They reminded me of my cat Winnie.

After Eric made another new friend…

We picked up our car and headed to downtown Campbell River to check out the Canada Day festivities.

We found a parade!

And it reminded me of the parades that used to happen in my hometown, with random vehicles decorated, and tractors.

We also came across a market on the water with tons of vendor booths selling various jewelry, pottery, and other knick-knacks. And they had a few authentic European food stations set up, so I made a beeline for the pierogies as soon as I saw them.

They weren’t quite as good as our Ukrainian Nana’s homemade pierogies, but they were still delicious. And that coleslaw was actually pretty good also, and I usually am not a fan of that stuff.

We perused the market for a bit, before continuing down the water to the historical pier.

There were a lot of boats. Boats everywhere!

So many clouds also. It was overcast and chilly. But we still wanted ice cream, so we got some from a little shop on the pier and sat down to take in the view.

And then we headed back to our car and continued along the highway for about 20 minutes to Saratoga Beach.

It was pretty, but man it was cold. I really wanted to swim in the ocean, but it was just too cold. I’m not usually afraid of cold water swimming, but I was already freezing in my jacket. I couldn’t do it. Ah, one day I will swim there.

But we had a good time walking along the beach enjoying the view and looking for crabs and shells.

When we finally got back to our resort, Eric met up with our Dad for an intense game of chess.

Please note the denim on denim. If my dad isn’t wearing a tropical shirt, he is wearing denim.

I watched them for a bit before heading to our room to leisure around. I thought maybe since the chess was life-sized it would make it more exciting to watch. I was wrong.

Later that evening, Eric and I again took the water shuttle into town to meet up with Chrissy, Allie, my aunt, and their friends for dinner at Quay West, a restaurant located right on the ocean with a beautiful patio.

We were also there to see the fireworks display, which were set to go off on the wharf right beside us.

Our reservations were on the patio (for optimal fireworks viewing), and beautiful though the patio was, it was FREEZING. We are Canadian though (eh?!) so we sucked it up. Well, after some of the boys ran home to grab a ton of sweaters to pile on us… Then I sucked it up.

I started with the seafood chowder, mainly to warm me up, but also because I wanted to try the local seafood.

This picture is not doing the chowder justice at all. It was really good, and had tons of seafood in it.

For my main I obviously had to get salmon, since I was in the salmon capital of the world.

It came topped with crab, shrimp, and cheese, alongside corn on the cob and rice. And the salmon was honestly amazing. I was not disappointed.

And I would have gotten dessert, but Eric and I had to book it back to the resort. The fireworks started to go off around 10:20, which was bad timing for us, as we had to take the water shuttle back to our resort and the last boat was at 11. We were only able to stay for a few fireworks before we had to head back. But hey, if this was the only thing to go wrong during our island vacation, I will take it. It was great to see everyone at dinner, and I will take that over the fireworks any day.

And that was our last day at April Point.

(View of the resort from our water shuttle)

I will miss this view from our cabin patio, even with the clouds.

And I will miss these people.

But at least I took a million pictures. I had a great time! And my vacation in the west isn’t over just yet!

The next day we packed up and left for Salmon Arm (where my mom and Eric live, in the BC interior) at 5:30 am, but that is a story for another post.

Hope you guys are all having a good week! And Happy Fourth of July to all my American chums, eh?!

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