Gateway to Jasper National Park, the Oilfields and
Jerry W. Bird
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Alberta: Foothills Ranchlands, Bow River, Banff and
Jerry W. Bird
or Drive to Alberta: Many Worlds in One
Explore your own world in Alberta
Follow, follow the sun
We've got many worlds in one
In Alberta. In Alberta.
Jerry W. Bird
of the first clients I served as an advertising agency
executive in Edmonton, was Travel Alberta, representing a
Province whose beauty and bounty I have praised for many
years. Our contact was Ed Bryant. My former employer at the
time, now called FWJ, still handles the advertising account,
which is something of a record. They sent us a beautiful
package of photos and some background information, which we
are proud to share with you. This will be of special
interest to those who join our Air Highways Magazine
Sponsored Tours of Western Canada and USA.
special theme I created (opening lines above) was featured
musically in many audio visual presentations we produced.
The following capsule describing my experiences on the
Alberta sector of the Yellowhead Highway is from a 14-page
feature I wrote for Latitudes Magazine of Montreal. It
appeared in a special upscale edition they produced
entitled, "Roads to Canada's Great Drives." This episode
featured the Yellowhead
winds its way through Alberta on enroute from Lake Manitoba
to the Queen Charlotte Islands of the North Pacific.
Easter Eggs and Wild Roses
Yes Virginia, there
is a Lloydminster, Alberta and also a Lloydminster,
Saskatchewan. Just like there were two football teams named
the 'Roughriders' that chased the elusive Grey Cup in the
CFL. My hero Ronnie Lancaster is still going strong. That
problem of two Lloydminsters, however, causes a bog
kaffuffle when daylight saving time rolls around. It also
has implications regarding provincial sales taxes and the
The town's Antique Museum
honors England's Barr Colonists, and when later on,
see an onion-shaped dome or giant Easter egg on the
you know you're in Little Ukraine.
of the Ukrainian Pysanka Festival, with its fly-in breakfast
and 3 solid days of food and fun.
Island National Park
A thatched-roof dacha houses the Ukrainian Folk Museum.
There's a fenced preserve, where over 400 buffalo roam,
sharing the rolling hills and meadows with moose, mule deer
and elk. Poplar, spruce, aspen and birch line a network of
hiking trails, and the lakes and sloughs teem with
waterfowl. Sandy Beach recreation area has a 9-hole golf
course. Alberta's emblem came from the wild roses, which
grew in this area along the old Victoria
"Chiefs" by George Littlechild, is part of the Artists for
Kids Trust program featured in Air Highways Magazine.The
opening verse is from a theme song, written by Mr. Bird as
part of a program for Alberta Tourism.
City of Big Shoulders
How can one help
but love a city that jump-started his career. For me it all
began at the Edmonton Journal, one of Canada's great
newspapers. No place I know has such energy, or capacity to
seize the moment. Edmontonians have always been a cocky lot,
from their sports dynasties and oil czars, to politics. Even
the location is cocky; perched regally on the North
Saskatchewan cliffs; its Upper Level bridge reaching from
Alberta's Legislature to the University area. And who else
has the audacity to build a shopping Mecca that rates seven
mentions in the Guinness Book of World Records? Speaking of
highs and lows, Edmonton's river valley, from Old Fort
Edmonton to the Conservatory and beyond, is a tourist
destination all by itself; golf courses and picnic
Get out and stretch your
legs; this is the largest greenbelt of any major Canadian
city. Edmonton as a boomtown? - its archives tell of fur
traders, riverboats, a Klondike boom, a railway boom, a land
rush, and black gold that blew things sky high in '47.
Legendary bush pilots, who opened up the North live again at
Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. By the way, if you love to
shop, or hanker for genuine Alberta Prime Rib -- there's no
provincial tax. And if I recall the jingle, "Your credit is
fine with Irving Kline." Beyond the outskirts is Lake
Wabamun (try saying that with your mouth full), a popular
camping spot. Edson and Hinton are major stops en route to
Jasper National Park.
Parkway: Banff to Jasper
Alberta's Rocky Mountain High
on the Banff-Windermere Parkway include Sinclair and Marble
Canyons, Vermilion Pass and the Fireweed Trail. Heard about
Paint Pots? Would you
believe they're ponds of red, yellow and orange, just like a
kiddies' coloring set? The pots are fed by oxide-bearing
streams, and there's an endless supply. For ages untold,
Indians mixed ochre from this site with fish oil or animal
fat to decorate rocks, teepees -- and each other. Near
Vermilion Pass, the Alberta- BC. boundary marks the summit
of the Continental Divide; rivers east of here drain to the
Arctic Ocean or to far off Hudson's Bay; waters to the west
flow to the Pacific. Excerpts from Air Highways Magazine by
Jerry W. Bird.
Park's Castles and Caves
twelve festive days of Christmas in a fairyland castle!
Truly unforgettable, when it's the
Springs Hotel. During
many memorable stays, l learned of the hotel's hey day from
band leader Louis Trono, who was on a first name basis with
the Hollywood greats. As a return to elegance, the hotel
offers a new $12 million health spa, with cascading
waterfalls, mineral whirlpools and Turkish baths. The Banff
Springs is an Epicurean's delight and a golfer's challenge.
The first tee-off, from high above the Bow River to its far
shore, still gives me goose pimples.
After skiing Mount
Norquay, hiking Sundance Canyon, or fishing Lake Minnewanka,
Sulphur Mountain's Upper Hot Springs is a Banff ritual --
hot plunge, icy shower, steam bath, blanket-wrap and
massage. Loose as a noodle and ready to devour an ox -- is
how one usually feels after that routine. A gondola nearby
will whisk you to the summit for a sweeping view of the
valley. Sundance Canyon Trail leads to The Cave and Basin
National Historic Site, where like honeymooners for
generations past, we gazed through a telescope at
surrounding peaks. Clad in Rundle-stone, like most Banff
buildings, this site contains displays, a theater, and tours
into the misty grotto, with its emerald pools, and warm
sulfur water dripping down the cavern walls. Priceless
Indian relics at nearby Luxton Museum are well worth
HIgh Teahouse at Lake
If you really want
to seize the moment, rent a canoe, or pedal your way to Bow
Falls, Tunnel Mountain, or 101 equally delightful places.
Heading north west from Banff, one can cruise the Trans
Canada via Sunshine Village to Lake Louise in a breeze. For
a change of pace, however, take the old road (Hwy 1A) along
the north bank of the Bow River via Johnston Canyon, with
its ink pots and nature walks. Chateau Lake Louise is a
jewel in an exquisite crown. Talk of beauty and serenity! --
when one's creative spark needs rekindling, the Chateau is
my choice. You can paddle a canoe in a scene right out of
Hiawatha, or take the alpine trail to a Tea House for
granola cakes and wild berry tea. The azure lake far below
gets even smaller, as you climb the corkscrew path. Breathe
deeply folks -- it gets to be a challenge near the top.
Guess who was left standing still by a German couple in
their mid 80s?
Louise is a hard
gal to say good-bye to -- but not to worry, there's more
beauty around the next bend in the road. The Ice fields
Parkway ranks among the world's great highroads, with
glaciers standing like 100 icy sentinels. Jasper National
Park begins at The Columbia Ice fields, a marvel of nature
with the largest mass of ice in the Rockies. A fleet of Snow
coaches traverse the Athabaska glacier, looking from a
distance like ants on a giant vanilla marshmallow sundae.
This seventh wonder is part of a formation that blanketed
Canada for a million years.
The highway follows the
Sunwapta River, joining its cousin the Athabaska at Sunwapta
Falls. The hottest water on the entire drive (54°C) is
at Miette Hot Springs, near Jasper Lake, and Punchbowl
Falls. Don't worry, it's cooled to a comfortable 39° in
the swimming pool.
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