Taking UVic across the country
Coming to UVic from Germany, I had a picture in mind of the typical Canada and its people. But Victoria directly challenged that: People here don’t live in isolated log cabins, wear plaid shirts all day and sink into 10ft deep snow during the winter. Actually, the weather was somehow similar to what I was used to from Germany. So there wasn’t really a big cultural shock like I expected.
However, this made me realise that there obviously isn’t one typical picture of Canadians that applies to all places (except maybe for the fact that they all love to say ‘sorry’ and that Tim Horton’s are everywhere). Instead, every province seems to have its own culture, slang, and habits. I also realised that because of this I would need to see more of this country than “just” Vancouver Island to get the full Canadian experience.
Luckily, the stars were in my favour and this dream is becoming a reality right now: Last week, I left Victoria to take the train across the country to the east coast and on to New York City. Along the way, I’ll stop in quite different cities like Winnipeg in the prairies, Halifax on the east coast or Toronto, which is Canada’s biggest city. And I will take UVic with me.
The Beginning: BC’s Mainland
But before I actually leave BC in a few days, I took some time to explore the mainland a bit more (and to visit friends). So I made my way to Salmon Arm (where I stayed with fellow blogger Kate), Chilliwack, Squamish and Clearwater. Even those four cities all have their own stories and unique features that were created by the different environments.
Salmon Arm, for example, is located on one arm of the Shuswap Lake, just north of the Okanagan, and therefore attracts a lot of tourists. The town itself, however, is rather small and cosy with a really strong community sense. All of this is surrounded by endless wilderness and magnificent waterfalls.
Chilliwack or, well, Rosedale, where I actually stayed (it’s 20 min outside of Chilliwack) is encircled by mountains — in whatever direction you look, they dominate the horizon. This is obviously perfect for hikes but the isolation from other bigger cities also creates perfect conditions for star watching!
Where sea and mountains meet: That’s Squamish. You can climb up high on famous big rocks, like the Stawamus Chief, and then go to the beach after because an inlet brings the saltwater far into the country. The intense blue colour of the water you’ll see here is created because rivers from the glaciers come down as well and therefore mix freshwater into the saltwater.
My current abode, Clearwater, is probably the smallest town I’ve visited so far. However, it is also weirdly spread out among three city centres. The centre was moved several times because the main business in town and therefore the most important building changed or, most recently, because a new mall was build that attracts businesses. Nevertheless, nature around town and especially the numerous waterfalls stayed just as incredible as they’ve always been.
Next station: Winnipeg
From here on, I will make my way into the prairies and to Winnipeg soon. Yes, that means I’m skipping Alberta and Saskatchewan completely but I’ve been to the former one last November (and made a video about it) and will visit the latter one in the second half of August. So we’ll get to that! Until then, I hope that I will manage to post updates regularly and show you how diverse this beautiful country is.
For regular updates and more photos, check my Instagram where I try to post daily! (@mountainofwords)