October 20, 2020

Why Canada is simply awesome

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Lake Malaign (All Pictures by Kelee Evahnenko)

In the 16th Century a word was derived to describe something that is “filled with awe”.

The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of that same adjective is “extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear”.

Canadians like the word awesome and maybe use it a little bit too often.

To describe fries on a restaurant menu as “awesome” is taking it to the extreme, although the chips at the D’ed Dog Bar and Grill were pretty decent.

Plus the latest cell phone offers advertised on Alberta billboards didn’t exactly fill me with awe or inspire any great admiration even though they were branded as “awesome deals”.

Wildlife from the roadside

And the fact I enjoyed a very nice and reasonably priced meal of bison and bacon meatloaf at Evil Dave’s Grill was hardly worthy of the response of “awesome” from Erin, the excellent server, when I told her so.

However there is one thing in Western Canada that can only really be described by using that very same word, and that’s the town of Jasper.

A three-and-a-bit hour drive from Edmonton, taking in some of the most spectacular scenery you’ll ever see, brings you to the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

Here we stayed for two nights at the Tonquin Inn – a first-class hotel on the edge of town complete with pool, hot tubs indoor and out, and spacious, clean rooms. Pretty awesome in fact, especially the price.

From its location you’re a short walk into the town centre or a not-so-short drive to some of the attractions around Jasper.

In days gone by tourists would have easily run out of film. There are that many picture-postcard photo opportunities that need to be snapped.

Even in this digital age a 2gb memory card probably won’t be enough as spectacular scenery is literally around every corner.

But once you peel away the waterfalls, hot springs and snow-capped mountains you can discover what really makes Canada so special, and that is Canadians.

After a week I was desperate to meet a surly server, rude receptionist or a cantankerous cab driver, but despite my best efforts it proved nigh on impossible.

Athabasca Falls

All in all, my first trip to Canada proved to be one I’ll never forget. Its scenery, the people – especially my companion for five days – and the country as a whole can only really be summed up in one word. Awesome.

Westjet flights from Cayman to Edmonton (via Toronto) start from around $172 (plus taxes) one way. www.westjet.com

Two nights for two people at the Tonquin Inn, Jasper starts from around $120 (seasonal). www.tonquininn.com

Two day pass for Jasper National Park for two people $34. www.jasper.travel

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