Of all the things I’ve scribbled since I began keeping a diary at age 14 years, the one thing about which I’ve never written is Canada. This is alarming for two reasons: 1) it’s the background of my entire life; and, 2) after having spent 6 months each year straddling the border between Canada and the United States of America, and having lived through the reign of both Nixon and Trump and opined upon each of them, it’s about time I said something about Canada!
Canada, second largest country in the world in area (after Russia), occupying roughly the northern two-fifths of the continent of North America.
If I recall correctly I have driven across Canada three times, once from Washington DC to Alberta; another from Alberta to Toronto; and something in between which I only vaguely recollect. What I do remember is that the joke about seeing the TD Centre from Winnipeg is not entirely comical. The prairies are broad and flat. There are quite literally tumble weeds drifting across the highway (which I presume was the Trans Canada Highway est. July 30, 1962).
The Trans-Canada Highway (French: Route Transcanadienne; abbreviated as TCH or T-Can) is a transcontinental federal-provincial highway system that travels through all ten provinces of Canada from the Pacific Ocean on the west to the Atlantic on the east. The main route spans 7,821 km (4,860 mi) across the country, one of the longest routes of its type in the world. The highway system is recognizable by its distinctive white-on-green maple leaf route markers, although there are small variations in the markers in some provinces.
What I also recall about my first trip across Canada is the indescribable beauty of the Rocky Mountains. I learned to ski at Lake Louise when vacationing on Mt. Temple. My father golfed 36 holes at Lake Louise with his colleague Al Draper. I have never known anyone else who golfed as much on one day.
Lake Louise is a hamlet within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Named after Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, it lies in Alberta’s Rockies on the Bow River, 3 km (1.9 mi) northeast of the lake that shares its name. Initially settled in 1884 as an outpost for the Canadian Pacific Railway, Lake Louise sits at an elevation of 1,600 m (5,200 ft), making it Canada’s highest community. The nearby lake, framed by mountains, is one of the most famous mountain vistas in the world; the famous Chateau Lake Louise also overlooks the lake.
Mount Temple is a mountain in Banff National Park of the Canadian Rockies of Alberta, Canada. Mt. Temple is located in the Bow River Valley between Paradise Creek and Moraine Creek and is the highest peak in the Lake Louise area. The peak dominates the western landscape along the Trans-Canada Highway from Castle Junction to Lake Louise.
I also drove from Toronto to Halifax several times while attending Dalhousie Law School. It was only two years ago that we drove from Almonte to Halifax, Shediac (“Lobster Capital of the World”) and Fredericton for a short holiday. Several years previously we had been to Newfoundland; and not long before that, Prince Edward Island. Accordingly I feel that with the exception of the “north country” I have seen Canada coast to coast. The closest I have come to northern Canada is an acquaintance with Patty Doyle who resided in Almonte and was a pilot with First Air (now owned by the First Nations but then owned by John Jamieson from Almonte).
Just for the record I also made it to Victoria Island in British Columbia. It is there at the Empress Hotel in about 1960 while vacationing with my family that I saw for the first time a gentleman wearing a “pinky” diamond ring, a theme which was revived in 1963 in undergraduate studies at Glendon Hall by Bob White who wore one too. I eventually got one from my parents (well, really my mother only) when I graduated from law school. I later discovered that John H. Kerry, who first promoted my legal enterprise in Almonte, wears one as well. You’re welcome to read into these trifling details anything you wish. I acknowledge the matter admits to limitless speculation and insinuation relating to everything from fashion to capitalism and the flavourful themes of character they inspire. What more can I say but that, “It is what it is!” In keeping with this wanton exhibition on my part I would be remiss were I not to revisit howsoever briefly my putative United Empire Loyalist association.
The Fairmont Empress, formerly and commonly referred to as The Empress, is one of the oldest hotels in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Located on 721 Government Street, it is situated in Downtown Victoria, facing the city’s Inner Harbour. The hotel was designed by Francis Rattenbury, and was built by Canadian Pacific Hotels, a division of the Canadian Pacific Railway company. The hotel is presently managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, part of AccorHotels since 2016. It is owned by Nat and Flora Bosa of Vancouver.