Second Monday of October – Canadian Thanksgiving

Since 1957, Canadian Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated on the second Monday of October. Basically, it is a chance for people to give thanks for fortunes in the past year, including a good harvest. It is a holiday that shares many similarities with its American equivalent but with a number of things that set it apart, including that it happens a full month and a half before American Thanksgiving. Here we will explain what people do on Canadian Thanksgiving, as well as the ways that it differs from U.S. Thanksgiving.…

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October 6: Canadian Beer Day

Did somebody say beer? Beer is a drink that has been enjoyed for thousands of years and, in historical times, it was often much safer to drink than water! Believe it or not, still today, quite a large amount of the world population prefers beer over water anyway. Canadian Beer Day is all about celebrating the beverage and the Canadian beer industry, and It’s no secret that a cold beer can be the perfect complement to any day. Beer lovers are sure to find interesting events across Canada on this…

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Porphyry Island – Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior

Just east of Thunder Bay on Lake Superior’s northern shore, Canada, lies the volcanic Black Bay Peninsula that separates Black Bay and Nipigon Bay, and consists of over 300 distinct lava flows. Porphyry Island is the last in a chain of islands that stretch southwest from the peninsula and is named for the island’s igneous rock, known as porphyry, that contains quartz and feldspar crystals. Another unique peculiarity of the island is the presence of the so-called devil’s club, a shrub with a spiny stem and large leaves. Porphyry Island…

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July 1: It’s time to celebrate Canada Day!

Canada Day, in French Fête du Canada, is a federal statutory holiday celebrating Canadian Confederation. Originally called “Dominion Day”, the holiday commemorates the unification of the three North American British colonies, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (which at the time consisted of Ontario and Quebec). Historically, it was on July 1, 1867 when the British North America Act formally joined the colonies, creating the unified, semi-independent Dominion of Canada and, basically, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain. The enactment of the British North America…

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Gibraltar Point Lighthouse: the historic lighthouse on Toronto Island

The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is located on the Toronto Islands in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Begun in 1808 and first lit in 1809, it is the oldest existing lighthouse on the Great Lakes, the second oldest in Canada and one of Toronto’s oldest buildings. When completed in August 1809, the lighthouse was located 7.6 m from the shore. Since then, sand has built up over time so that it now stands about 100 metres inland. When opened, it was accompanied by a lighthouse keeper’s cottage, a two-stories squared-log house clad in…

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“It’s fart time!”

As far as pastries go, these probably win for having the least tasty-sounding English translation. The reason? The French-Canadian Pet de Soeur literally mean “nun’s fart”. Québécois often bake the flaky delicious spirals of dough especially during holidays. The pastry, glazed in butter, brown sugar, and occasionally cinnamon, pays crass homage to the nuns who first made it, and it’s significantly tastier than its name implies. So, why a flatulence reference for such a delicious treat? Well, nobody knows for sure, as explanations abound. Some say it stems from the…

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Moose Milk: the Winter Cocktail of the Canadian military

On chilly nights during World War II, there was a potent elixir known as Moose Milk that filled the stomachs (and soothed the souls) of Canadian soldiers. This rich cocktail usually leaved drinkers full, warm, and quite tipsy. Despite there are many variants, historic recipes typically involved ingredients as liquor, cream, and egg yolks beaten with sugar. In any case, which division made it first is uncertain as the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force, and Canadian Army all claim as the originator of the drink, and each made…

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How to play a hot victorian Christmas game without get burned

In the 19th century, a regular Christmas was a little different. For holiday fun, revelers in the United States, Canada and England scared their friends with ghost stories, fortune-telling, and played boisterous party games. One of these, the so-called snapdragon, was a parlour game popular from about the 16th century and is rarely part of anyone’s Christmas these days. After all, it involves pulling sweets from a puddle of flames! The game itself is simple: take a wide, flat plate, and cover it with raisins. Carry the plate into a…

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Hyder: the easternmost town in Alaska that can only be accessed from Canada.

The town of Hyder, Alaska, is both the geographically easternmost town in Alaska, as well as the southernmost town in Alaska that can be reached by car. However, one cannot drive to Hyder from the rest of Alaska. The reason? Hyder is what is called an “inaccessible district”. In other words, an inaccessible district can be define as “parts of the territory of one country that can be approached conveniently – in particular by wheeled traffic – only through the territory of another country.” And, believe it or not, there…

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Why you should visit Wayne – Alberta~

In Wayne, Alberta you’ll find a bar with real bullet holes in the wall in a ghost town that is said to have real ghosts, but also a still operating and supposedly haunted hotel, probably the only one in a Canadian ghost town! All this is located in a little place called Wayne, about 16-km and 11 single-lane bridges southeast of Drumheller, Alberta. Wayne sprung up when the Red Deer Coal Company built the Rose Deer Mine, in 1912, and it has fascinating history. Part of the Drumheller Valley’s coal…

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The Truth behind Edmonton’s Haunted Hospital~

It is known as one of the most haunted buildings in Alberta, Canada: it is the former Charles Camsell Hospital in Edmonton, which holds long forgotten secrets still waiting to come to light. Some have said they’ve seen figures in the windows and there are lot of locals that think their ancestors spirits haven’t found peace and they’re still wandering, because for a lot of people it was not a happy place. First established as a Jesuit College in the early 1900’s, it was then used as a military base…

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Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel – the splendid “Castle in the Rockies” and all its stories~

Even if you’re not from Canada, you’ve likely heard about “The Castle in the Rockies”. Fairmont Banff Springs is one of the world’s most iconic hotels, and it is located high in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. It was built in 1888, because this area was a stop along the Canadian Pacific Railroad, and this turned out to be a wise decision, in fact the regions’ natural beauty attracts thousands of tourists from around the world every year. The first structure was built of wood and tragically burnt down in…

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19# Fruitcake: the gift that keeps on giving

American journalist and humorist Calvin Trillin theorized that there is only one fruitcake and that it is simply sent from family to family each year. What is true, is that most Americans turn their noses at the very thought of fruitcake even though, for some reason, this item keeps making the rounds and this is made possible because the cakes are soaked in alcohol or other liquors to keep them from go bad. Don’t believe me? This man sampled a cake that someone had kept as a family heirloom dating…

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11# Chicken Bones: the story behind an uniquely Canadian holiday treat

In the riverside town of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, sweet tooth still speak with reverence about an almost 140-year-old candy known as Chicken Bones, a vibrant pink candy made of pulled sugar, with a cinnamon-flavored outer layer and a bittersweet chocolate filling. It hold high regard in Canadian Christmas traditions, where it appears as a common stocking stuffer, or as a staple in grandma’s candy dish. They are a product by the most experienced confectioners at Ganong Brothers Limited, the oldest candy manufacturers in Canada (in business since 1873). The…

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A lost japanese village uncovered in the British Columbia forests

In 2004, a retired forester reached out to Capilano University archaeology professor Bob Muckle about investigating what looked like the remnants of an old logging camp in the forests of British Columbia, Canada. According to North Shore News, each spring for the next 14 years, Muckle took his students there to help him excavate what he now believes was a sort-of-secret Japanese settlement. The site is located on the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, about 12 miles (19 kilometers) northeast of Vancouver. It’s approximately the size of a football field and…

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An evening at the theater in Vancouver: Vogue and Orpheum, and the resident ghosts!

Vancouver is a stunning mountain set city, but in addition it have a lively cultural scene fostered within ornate and historic theaters. Granville Street lies in the heart of Vancouver’s entertainment district and is know as one of two of the most haunted places in town, at least, according to some. And they are both theaters! One of two haunted theater of Granville Street is the Vogue Theater. This art deco entertainment hub, located in the southern half of Granville Mall, was intended to function as a movie house and…

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SkullStore Oddity Shop: here you can buy a human skull!

The Prehistoria Natural History Centre is one of a kind in Canada as they claim they are the only free conservation and natural history educational centre in Toronto. However, they’re better known as the SkullStore, one of the largest oddity shops in Canada. This curious and macabre oddities shop in Toronto sells dead people…at least, part of them! So, If you need a real human skull in Canada, there is a place to get it. Driving along Weston Road, a quiet area northwest of downtown Toronto, you’ll see so many…

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Legend of the Screaming Tunnel, Ontario~

For some, this arched stone tunnel running beneath the Grand Trunk railroad tracks in Niagara Falls is just that: an arched stone tunnel running beneath the Grand Trunk railroad tracks in Niagara Falls. However, for ghost-stories enthusiasts with a vivid imaginations, the dark passage is haunted by the screams of a girl 100 years dead. The tunnel is known as “Screaming Tunnel” or “Blue Ghost Tunnel”, and it was created in the early 1800s not as a thoroughfare but as a drainage passage to keep the tracks from being lost…

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Ortona, Italy: Moro River Canadian War Cemetery

Near Ortona, in the region of Abruzzo, Italy, there is a place that links Italians and Canadians: the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery. The Battle of Ortona was Canada’s bloodiest battle in the World War II Italian Campaign. A deep water port on Italy’s east coast, the town of Ortona’s capture by the Canadians was strategically important but also very dangerous. It was a key German command centre and Hitler ordered troops, seasoned from years of war, to defend Ortona at all costs. For eight days, soldiers clashed in hand-to-hand…

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Just one note: history of the shortest concert ever!

The summer of 2007 was an exciting year for White Stripe fans in Canada: Jack White and Meg White of the former legendary rock duo The White Stripes and their entourage set across the country and vowed to play every Province and Territory. Something no other band or artist had done on one tour before! Along the way the White Stripes would show up at various and non announced places and play a quick set in a pub or in a studio like in Calgary or shoot off a canon…

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McBarge: The floating restaurant that McDonald’s unveiled at the Expo 1986.

Before the 2010 winter olympics, Expo ‘86 was the biggest event Vancouver had ever hosted. Held to celebrate the city’s centennial, this world’s fair is often credited as launching the city into a major tourist destination. And while several stadiums and other buildings built for the event have served the city’s civic life well enough in the years since, one rusting relic sits forlornly in a nearby inlet, despite ongoing attempts to save it. The “McBarge”, as it has been lovingly nicknamed, was built as either the world’s first or…

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The Canadian Potato Museum~

Here we are: Many people visit Canada’s Prince Edward Island because they are passionate about literature. The island, in fact, was the setting of the beloved Anne of Green Gables novels. However, for people less inclined toward tracing the footsteps of the fictional Anne Shirley, the western end of the island offers a more down-to-earth experience, as the town of O’Leary is the home of the Canadian Potato Museum. Open from mid-May to mid-October, the museum showcases the local potato industry and sports the “world’s largest exhibits of potato-related farm…

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Buntzen Lake Powerhouses: the set of Stephen King’s IT Miniseries~

The area around Indian Arm, British Columbia, is a very beautiful place to go for a hike: there are many trails accessible by foot, by mountain bike, or by horse. But beware around the Buntzen powerhouses on area’s eastern shore: There were some really creepy clown sightings there some years back! Buntzen lake used to be named Trout Lake, and was also called Lake Beautiful,and was renamed to Buntzen Lake in 1905 at the opening of the tunnel to Coquitlam Lake. Along the edge of the water, there is a…

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Tranquille Sanatorium in British Columbia: a haunted place?

The Tranquille Sanatorium and its surrounding quarters were built in 1907 when the sanatorium was established to treat patients with tuberculosis (also known as the white plague), during the time when TB was treated with exposure to fresh air. The area itself, just outside Kamloops city limits, where the North and South Thompson meet and flow into Kamloops Lake was purchased in 1905. It seems that Tranquille was the name given to an Indian chief, “Sanquil”, who had formerly called the property his territory. “Tranquille” is the French word for…

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Kitsault: the canadian ghost town where lights are on but no one is at home~

If you think about any ghost town, you’ll probably imagine roofless houses, broken windows, dirty floors and vandalized areas. That’s true? Not at Kitsault, on the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Here you’ll find rows upon rows of perfect houses, but also shopping centers, restaurants, banks, pubs and theaters, all abandoned, of course, but all untouched and very preserved. The town’s lights are always on, with streets lined with plentiful trees and lawns are freshly mowed. However, no one live in Kitsault since 1982! The town of Kitsault, close…

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Riverview Mental Hospital: More From British Columbia~

Abandoned insane asylums are some of the most chilling urbex destinations, and the West Lawn building of Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam, British Columbia, abandoned since 1983, isn’t an exception. At one time Riverview Hospital was known as Essondale Hospital, for Dr. Henry Esson Young (1862-1939) and the neighbourhood where the hospital is located also became known as the Essondale neighbourhood, still today. There is a curious collection of stories and anecdotes from the staff of Riverview Hospital, called Riverview Reminisces and published in 1992. These are example of the stories…

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Blue Hawk Mine~

Unlike many reclaimed, abandoned mines, this Canadian cave system is still an interesting, dangerous maze. This is the Blue Hawk Mine, in woods of British Columbia, a rare example of abandoned mine that has not been turned into a boring attraction for adventurous tourists, but is still a dangerous and enigmatic abandoned site. It is located on the east slope of Blue Grouse Mountain, on the west side of Okanagan Lake, just a few kilometres from Downtown Kelowna. Historically the mine began operation in the 1934, but only produced ore…

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Abandoned Canada: Parkhurst Ghost Town~

British Columbia is a province known for its natural beauty and thriving western seaport. In this region for visitors it is not common to talk about ghosts or abandoned places, and locals are usually only haunted by poor drinking decisions and the current state of the housing market. However, for people brave enough to venture past the safety of the city lights there are some interesting abandoned places to explore. An interesting area to hike and explore is the abandoned logging village of Parkhurst, located in the woods near a…

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The Canada’s gnarliest tree.

Just a five-minute walk from the road outside Port Renfrew, British Columbia, Canada, the ancient cedars and Douglas firs have become a very popular attraction! This interesting grove is filled with large western red cedars and Douglas firs. All normal? Absolutely no, in fact, many trees seem to be growing out of each other, with knots as if there was a struggle to break free of their bark! The southern end of Vancouver Island in British Columbia has the perfect climate for growing trees: It gets plenty of rain and…

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23# Christmas around the world: traditions and customs from Canada~

Yes, it seems that today is my turn! Even if I come from different countries, and you don’t ask me the reason, today I’ll talk you about Christmas in Canada, the country where I was born. Today Christmas is celebrated in various ways and in particular traditions come from the French, British and American traditions. Christmas is generally defined as the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus, but the feast has complex origins and ambiguous non-religious resonances. The origin of the name Christmas is the Old English Crïstes mæsse,…

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