Winnipeg, Churchill & Toronto - 17 to 27 October 2014


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North America » Canada » Manitoba
November 1st 2014
Published: November 2nd 2014
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WINNIPEG



We awoke early to catch our flight from Vancouver to Winnipeg which was only a two and half hour flight but we lost two hours in time as well. Our hotel was right next to the airport so we were able to walk but as soon as we got outside the cold really hit you - we hoped it would not get any colder during our stay….





The City of Winnipeg is located at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, almost at the geographic centre of North America. It is the eighth largest city in Canada and dominates the Manitoba economy. Around the mid 1700s fur trading posts started to spring up and brought in the first permanent settlement of the area with a group of Scottish crofters. The arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885 brought a 30-year period of growth and prosperity unequalled in Canadian urban development. A flood of immigrants, high wheat prices, plentiful capital, and improved farming techniques contributed to making Winnipeg the wholesale, administrative, and financial centre of western Canada. Following World War I, economic stagnation due to low wheat prices and the Depression lasted well into the 1940s. Since 1945, Winnipeg has grown steadily, based on its position as a major grain, financial, manufacturing, and transportation centre.





On our first day we caught the local bus into the town centre and visited the Manitoba Museum which kept us busy for the next three hours wandering around and reading exhibits and even then we could have stayed longer.





In the museum entrance was a exhibit featuring the original Victoria Cross medals awarded almost 100 years ago to three Winnipeg soldiers who served in the First World War. The medals were awarded to Corporal Leo Clarke, Sergeant-Major Frederick William Hall, and Lieutenant Robert Shankland, who, at the time of their enlistment, had all resided in the same block of Pine Street in the west end of Winnipeg. In honour of the accomplishments of these Pine Street soldiers, a phenomena that was unique to Canada, Pine Street was renamed Valour Road in the 1920′s.





We thought that the Museum’s collections were extremely well displayed and reflected the rich heritage of Manitoba. Many interpretive galleries explored the interrelationship of people and their
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Inuit woman's parka
environment. We appreciated the way one travelled through millions of years as you journey from north to south across Manitoba’s vast and varied landscape, from the icy arctic coast to the windswept prairies. Amazing lifesize human wax models and taxidermied animals were displayed in natural habitat along indoor walk through galleries which visually portrayed the stories of life in the region through the ages.





We actually walked through First Nation peoples lands, walked across Settlers prairie and even strolled along the waterfront of 17th century England, where the two-masted ketch Nonsuch was awaiting high tide, morning light and a voyage into history … …. …. In 1668, the original Nonsuch sailed into Hudson Bay in search of furs, The voyage not only led to the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company two years later, but was instrumental in establishing commerce in western Canada.





Uniquely displayed in the museum this unbelievable life size replica of the Nonsuch did not have quite such a journey as its original - but nonetheless did actually sail. It was built in England to celebrate the tricentennial of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1970 and is considered one of the finest replicas in the world, sailing over 14,000 kilometres in salt and fresh water before finding a home in this unique setting at the Museum in Winnipeg.







We enjoyed our visit to the museum but it was a shame that there was no cafe or anywhere to get a hot drink, just a vending machine or we could have refreshed and stayed longer. We were going to walk to Forks Market but as soon as we got outside it was so cold that we caught the bus back to our hotel to get hot drinks.





Later that evening we met up with our fellow travellers for an introduction for our trip to Churchill the next day. We were surprised that it was such a large group and we were 37 in total we thought it would have been more like 20 - apparently the lodge can hold 40.





In the morning we boarded a bus that took us to a private airport for our chartered flight with Nolinor Air. The beauty of a chartered flight was that we did not have to worry about our luggage as this was all sorted directly from the hotel and also there was no security to have to go through or any restrictions on what you took on board. The plane had seating for fifty so it was not full and within minutes of arriving at the airport we were on our way. The flight from Winnipeg to Churchill took about two hours and we soon stepped out on to the tarmac to much colder temperatures and light snow - brrrr





CHURCHILL



We were met in Churchill by a lady guide who took us around the town in the local School Bus. She was very knowledgable and gave us some interesting details on the area as she drove us around. Located along Manitoba's 1400 km coastline on the Hudson Bay, Churchill is the meeting of three major biomes: marine, boreal forest and tundra, each supporting a variety of flora and fauna.









Churchill is a small town with about 900 people and you can walk from one end to the other in about 20 minutes. It is situated on the west shore of Hudson Bay and is famous for the many polar bears that move toward the shore from inland in the autumn, leading to its nickname ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’ and the reason we were here … …. … October and early November are the best time to see the bears as they wait on the vast peninsula until the water freezes on Hudson Bay so that they can return on to the ice and hunt their primary food source - seals.







Our first stop was at the Polar Bear Holding Facility on the edge of town - this large compound currently had 18 inmates! Polar bears roam the ice of Hudson Bay hunting seals. When the ice melts in July, the bears come ashore. They remain on land until the bay freezes over in late November. While on land the bears eat little and are quite inactive. As autumn approaches, they begin to move northward along the coast and congregate where the first winter ice forms. This annual movement brings many bears into the town of Churchill each year where a potentially dangerous, sometimes fatal, situation for both bears and people may occur. Many locals even leave their cars unlocked in case someone needs to make a quick escape from a polar bear in the area.



The local authority maintains this so-called ‘polar bear jail’ where bears (mostly adolescents) who persistently loiter in or close to town are held. We were not allowed inside the holding facility as no contact between human and bear is made to keep them ‘wild’ and not encourage them to come back to town .…





When a bear enters the control zone, the Polar Bear Alert Team's first response is to try to move the bear out of the area, usually with scaring devices. If the bear cannot be encouraged to move or if not present when the team arrives, a live trap is set for the bear. In situations where the bear presents an immediate threat, the bear is immobilised with a dart gun. When a bear is captured, it is moved into the compound. Air conditioned cells are used during the summer and a heated holding cell is available for orphaned bear cubs.







The bears are not fed and are given only water during their stay. The average stay for a problem bear is 30 days. Since the start of the Alert Program over 2000 bears have passed through, the largest in any one season was 176. In most years, more bears will be captured than the polar bear facility will hold. At times when the facility is full and Hudson Bay is not frozen over the bears may be airlifted to the north away from Churchill. When Hudson Bay freezes all the bears are released onto the ice. The bears are given tags and if they are caught again get a different colour tag - a third time and they may to be as lucky! Our guide told us that it is very expensive to release them but they do get help from film crews who pay for the helicopter flight so that they can enjoy the privilege of filming their release.







We also visited the Cape Merry Battery which was constructed in 1746. With six cannon emplacements it provided additional protection at the river mouth and was designed to supplement the defences of the Prince of Wales Fort across the water. We met up with a Park’s Guide who gave us a brief introduction on the site’s use.





The Prince of Wales Fort itself encompasses a massive fortification along with the battery at Cape Merry. We could see the fort across the water with its thick walls and star-shaped bastions. It was quite unique for a fort here as it was made of stone and not wood. This was due to there being hardly any trees on the tundra, but there was plenty of stone. This huge stone fortress took the Hudson’s Bay Company 40 years to build and now stands as a reminder of the French-English struggle for control of Hudson Bay’s fur trade.





Cape Merry is named after Captain John Merry who was Deputy Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Of the six cannons only one remains strategically placed overlooking the river, a stark reminder of its intent … … … A crest on its front showed that it was forged during the reign of Queen Anne. As we listened to the guide in the distance we could see an Arctic Fox jumping along some boulders by the shoreline - it was a shame it did not come any closer as its pure white coat was really stunning.





Arctic Fox



The Arctic Fox can be found in arctic and alpine tundra and like many animals of the region they have special adaptations to help them survive in the extremely cold conditions. These adaptions include fur on its paws to help keep them warm, a thick, dense coat of fur around its body, short ears and a large tail that it uses to curl around its body to keep it warm.



On our way back to Churchill town in the yellow school bus we were lucky to see two other animals, an Arctic Hare and a Cross Fox.





Arctic Hare



The Arctic Hare also lives in the harsh environment of the tundra. These hares do not hibernate, but survive the dangerous cold with adaptations like the Arctic Fox above. Traditionally it has been important to Native Americans as these plentiful animals are hunted both as a food source and for their fur, which is used to make clothing. They have thick fur and enjoy a low surface area to volume ratio that conserves body heat, most evident is their shortened ears. Hares are a bit larger than rabbits, and they typically have taller hind legs and longer ears. Like other hares and rabbits, Arctic hares are fast and can bound at speeds of up to 40 miles an hour. In spring, the hare's colours change to blue-grey blending in well with the local rocks and vegetation. The hare we spotted was already decked in its brilliant white winter coat which provides excellent camouflage in this land of ice and snow.

Although there had been a little snowfall it had not covered the ground yet and like the Arctic Fox above this one stood out against the grey tundra rock.





Cross Fox



On the other hand the Cross Fox would be really noticeable in any conditions as it colour was striking. The Cross Fox is a partially melanistic colour variant of the Red Fox which has a vertical dark stripe running down its back, intersecting another stripe to form a cross over the shoulders - hence its name. Most of its body was in different shades of brown whilst its legs were black. Its tail was grey though the tip stood out bright white. Our guide told us that they do get mistaken for a Red/Silver Fox mating but are distinguished by the back stripe which is black rather than dark red.





We had a really tasty lunch at Tundra Inn and were surprised at the quality of food particularly as they were catering for 37 plus and it all came really fast and hot. We continued our tour of Churchill stopping at an Inukshuk which is a stone landmark or cairn usually shaped like a human figure. These are built and used by people in the Arctic of North America along travel/trade routes as a point of reference for fellow travellers - a bit like a modern day signpost.





We were disappointed that as it was Sunday and the Eskimo Museum was closed so we walked around for a while and stopped at the only food store in town. If you bought a packet of cereal you could enter a pumpkin raffle and win a Skidoo - not sure what we would do with one of these though!! We noticed that the price of food was much more expensive here than elsewhere in Manitoba - the price of milk for instance was three times as much. At the local liquor store though the price of beer was a lot cheaper … … …







We enjoyed our day in Churchill and were lucky that we did not encounter any Polar Bears. We met our fellow travellers at a small gift shop ready for our journey to the Tundra Lodge. We were transported by bus to the outskirts of Churchill where we boarded a Tundra Buggy and met our driver/guide. Seeing these huge vehicles for the first time was quite exciting and once on board we were really surprised to see a propane gas fire at the back of the buggy which kept it snug and warm - the space on board was huge like an extra wide coach. Bob our guide was very knowledgeable on the wildlife of the tundra as he had been living here for many years. He proved to be an excellent spotter and managed to manoeuvre the buggy seamlessly over the mixed terrain.







TUNDRA BUGGY AND TUNDRA LODGE



The Tundra Buggy was originally invented and built by Leonard Smith in 1979. He bought a Grader second hand from the military and converted it into a buggy and then took his mates fishing and boozing on the tundra!





Smith later took a group of explorers to view the bears together with a 'National Geographic' film crew which created the movie ‘Polar Bear Alert’. Several photographs were later published in NG and it basically ‘went magazine viral’ - so the tundra buggy was born. Nowadays the buggy is an all-terrain vehicle used to view, photograph and study polar bears in the Cape Churchill Wildlife Management area of Manitoba.





Smith later created a company he named ‘Tundra Buggy Tours’ and went on to build more buggies as well as the Tundra Buggy Lodge where we would be staying overnight. The mobile lodge consists of a diner, lounge, two bunkhouses, kitchen, shower rooms and utilities unit. It is towed from Churchill, behind a Tundra Buggy for several miles and connected together like units of a train, on the west shore of Hudson Bay each year.





In 2000 Smith sold Tundra Buggy Tours and the trademark ‘Tundra Buggy’ to Frontiers North Adventures (FN). They now have more buggies which are used by researchers and tourists alike. They offer guests unique wildlife viewing for photographing and observing polar bears and other sub-Arctic wildlife. There is only one other company licensed to remain overnight out on the tundra. Both of these companies also offer day trips and these guests stay in motels and inns in the town of Churchill. It takes at least four hours of the day to travel out to find the polar bears so we had chosen to sleep out on the tundra instead booking with FN. Although more expensive and not quite as comfortable as an inn or hotel we were hoping that this would maximise our chances of seeing the bears. We realised that we would not be able to go out hiking and would be restricted to the buggy and the lodge for the next three days as you are not allowed to touch the ground with your feet whilst on the tundra … … … Basically your buggy ‘docks’ with the lodge and you transfer across and the buggy or the lodge is your home for the next three days.





Tundra Buggies are built very high off the ground and the tyres on each vehicle are 5.5 feet high and 3.6 feet wide. A wide-bodied enclosure sits on top of the wheels and provides even more height, security, comfort and ability for guests to move around to view and photograph wildlife. The buggies are four wheel drive with a top speed of 28 mph on a smooth trail, but they usually travel much slower. Before the autumn freeze, these vehicles only use an existing set of trails that were built by the Canadian and American Armed Forces in the 1950s and 1960s. Some of these are in good shape whilst others are not so good with the ice and water washing away the gravel. Although the high ground clearance of the buggy helps to navigate through any difficult areas of the trails. The Tundra Buggies are relatively self-sufficient with onboard air compressors and propane heaters which are independent of the engine. They also have comfortable seats, windows that open and a large observation deck at the back which is also used when docking the vehicle.





We were transported by another bus to the main docking station, where we picked up our Tundra Buggy which was Number 10. Our journey out on to the tundra was really exciting and we even saw some polar bears wandering around the trails just as it was getting dark. After a two and half hour journey we finally docked to the Tundra Lodge and transferred across with our luggage.





We were greeted by the three other staff at the lodge, Emma who was the housekeeper, Gary who covered maintenance issues and Toby the cook.The three of them together with Bob our driver and guide would be looking after us all during our stay.





We were allocated two bunk beds with a curtain to give privacy from other travellers. Each bunk had a window looking straight out on the tundra, a light, electric sockets for charging our cameras and videos. We were even able to pick up the internet whilst we were there so that was a real bonus and totally unexpected.





We had an excellent supper of Venison Casserole and retired to our bunks. I must say we had a really good night as the beds were comfortable and it was really quiet and peaceful. Just before I put my kindle down I glanced out of the window and was totally surprised to see a large Polar Bear heading toward me. It stopped a little away from the tundra buggy lodge and sniffed the air … … … As I watched another bear appeared and the first bear ran off. He reappeared a while later and headed off following the other bear - what a memorable experience it was to lay in bed and watch a polar bears out of the window - just awesome.





The next morning after a good cooked breakfast we transferred back into the tundra buggy which was still docked and headed out on to the tundra looking for bears and other arctic wildlife … … …







Polar Bear



Polar bears congregate every year along the shores of Hudson Bay waiting for the water to freeze so that they can get out on to the ice to hunt and catch seals their main food source.





Frequently called ‘Lords of the Arctic’, these spectacular animals are huge and we will never forget our first sightings of them. A male polar bears can grow to more than 600 kg and stand 10 feet tall. Even though they are so big and look really cumbersome they can move with surprising speed and agility. The bears live in pretty cold temperatures, so they have certain features that help them stay warm. One of these is their skin which is blue/black the same as their nose, mouth, eyes and tongue.





This blue-black skin helps them to absorb the warm light of the sun just like us when we wear dark clothes we feel warmer than when we wear light ones. Their thick white fur keeps them additionally warm and helps to blend them into the snowy background - we did not ever notice their black skin but we did noticed their black mouth, nose, eyes and tongue. They can stretch themselves out so their nose can reach out as far as their front paws can - which means they have very long necks. Even high up in the safety of our Tundra Buggy bears have a been known to stick their nose in the windows!





They have a highly acute sense of smell and are skilled hunters that can pick up a scent from over 30 kilometres away. They can detect the presence of seals under three feet of snow and ice. As Polar Bears have no natural enemies they consequently have no fear - apart from each other that is.





We were so very fortunate and saw many polar bears during out stay and even a mother with two cubs. One day we watched her nurse her cubs just yards in from of us. Bob said we were very lucky to witness this unique event. Another day we saw her black tongue licking the white fur of the cub whilst the other one looked on waiting his/her turn.





The next day though we stood on the buggy and watched as another bear started heading towards her as she lay resting on the ground with the cubs. As she was up wind she had not noticed the bear coming, luckily one of the little cubs raised its head and the next minute the mother was up on her feet. Sensing the danger she started backing away guarding her cubs as she did so. Bob thought at first it was a male bear but later said it could have been a large female - they are really difficult to tell apart - a male would kill the cubs.





Whilst out on the tundra we also saw several birds we have not seen before including flocks of Rock Ptarmigan, Snow Buntings and even a couple of Snowy Owls.



Rock Ptarmigan



This bird is seasonally camouflaged — its feathers moult from white in winter to brown in spring or summer. The breeding male has greyish upper parts with white wings and under parts. In winter, its plumage becomes completely white except for the black tail. The flocks that we saw looked stunning against the tundra landscape. We really liked their feet which have feathers that completely cover the legs and toes. The ptarmigan’s distinct toe feathers are thought to provide some warmth, but perhaps more importantly they provide a snowshoe effect, preventing the bird from sinking into deep snow when foraging. As we watched these birds pecking at any nearby shrub they walked over large grey boulders speckled with orange algae which made their webbed feet stand out even more..





Snow Buntings



The Snow Bunting is sometimes called a snowflake which we thought was a much more appropriate name for the bird. Even on a warm day, the mostly white plumage of a bunting flock evokes the image of a snowstorm. In flight, it is easily identified by its large white wing patches which flashed past us as we bumped around the tundra in our buggy. The breeding male is unmistakable, with an all white plumage and a black back; the breeding female is grey-black where the male is solid black. We saw them in their winter plumage of mottled pale ginger, black and mostly white - a really colourful and pretty bird.



Snowy Owl



The Snowy Owl is one of the largest species of owl in North America, it is on average the heaviest owl species. The adult male is virtually pure white, but females and young birds have some dark scalloping, the young are heavily barred. It has thick plumage and heavily feathered taloned feet rendering it really well-adapted to life in the Arctic. Snowy Owls mainly eat mammals, ranging from small rodents to large hares. They are also known to eat birds ranging in size from small songbirds to medium-sized geese and lemmings. An adult owl may eat around three to five lemmings each day! So they obviously do well when there is a ‘glut’ of lemmings. Unlike most other owl species, snowy owls hunt mainly in the daytime hence we were able to get quite a number of sightings during the day.







TUNDRA LODGE



Whilst at the lodge we saw the arrival of a BBC Travel Show film crew who were here to film the polar bears and we became ‘extras’ on their filmset - do watch out for us as it is apparently going to be shown on the BBC World TV shortly - who knows we may become famous but we only had a ‘bear’ part … … …





We had really enjoyed our time at the Tundra Lodge and were lucky to see so many polar bears and other arctic animals during our 3 days. It was sad to leave but again it was going to be nice to be able to head out for a hike when we wanted to and get a little bit of exercise … … We headed back to Churchill but the fog was really thick and a little while later Bob had a call from Emma saying to wait as our chartered flight from Winnipeg had not taken off and she did not want us to have to travel along the bumpy tundra all the way to Churchill until they were sure of what was going to happen with our flight.





So just as we though we were going to leave this little paradise everything changed. All of the motels and inns in Churchill were fully booked so there was no alternative but to return back to Tundra Lodge - poor Emma she had waved us all off, changed 37 bunk beds for the next batch of guest only to have us all arrive back again - we were happy though as we would have another night out on the tundra - and would worry about making changes to our travel schedules later … … …





Back on board the tundra lodge we were lucky to be able to change our forward flight from Winnipeg to Toronto getting the last couple of seats, so would still be flying out the same day only much later. Others were not as lucky, most were heading in different directions and some had to stay another night in Churchill and those who were hoping to catch trains were making mad dashes across the country to try and pick up long train journeys.





The next morning the skies had cleared so we said goodbye to Bob, Emma, Gary and Toby and finally arrived back in Churchill. Our chartered flight arrived a little while later and we all climbed on board. The engines started and just as we thought we would be airborne all the lights went off and then all engines stopped … … … An anxious wait later for maintenance to check out the problem and they got it sorted so we headed back to Winnipeg. It was a little concerning as we raced down the runway but once airborne the pilot announced that it was just a lighting problem! What we did find amusing on the plane was that there were no flush toilets just a old fashioned ‘long drop’ - would not want to be underneath the plane!





We did arrive safely though and were transferred from the private airport directly to the hotel where we said goodbye to our fellow travellers, picked up the rest of our luggage and got a lift back to the main airport for our flight to Toronto. Quite a frantic day and not as planned but at least we got back on track pretty quickly and were looking forward to our last few days in Toronto.





TORONTO



Located on the north west shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto is Canada’s most populous city with over two and half million residents. It was for two very brief periods the capital of the Province of Canada but Ottawa has that role since 1866.





We enjoyed our few days in the city staying at the Doubletree Hilton which was ideally located in the centre of the city. The hotel served excellent seafood and the staff were all exceptional, probably one of the best hotels we have stayed in for a long while. They gave you scrummy chocolate cookies on arrival and we were often handed more during the day … … … We were able to walk down to the lake side and our visit coincided with the annual Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade. The streets were full of thousands of bloody and ghoulish people completely attired as mummies, monsters, vampires and demons. Happily they would pose for photographs but we decided not to join in.





NIAGARA FALLS



We wanted to see Niagara Falls whilst we were so close so booked a day tour and on the way stopped for some wine tasting - we tried an Ontario Ice Wine which is renowned world wide. This dessert wine is made from grapes that have been left to freeze naturally on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing a more concentrated grape. The grape must be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine. It was rather sweet and not to my liking but I could see why some people would love it. They had some nice chilled white wine which was great but it was rather early in the morning to be drinking wine!





Niagara Falls is actually the collective name of three waterfalls, that straddle the border between Canada and the United States or between the province/state of Ontario and New York. They form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge a long escarpment which terminates at the falls. The three waterfalls are Horseshoe Falls, the biggest, followed by American Falls and then the smallest Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lie mostly on the Canadian side and the American Falls entirely on the American side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island.





While not exceptionally high with a vertical drop of more than 165 feet, they are very wide although the Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America. More than six million cubic feet of water falls over the crest line every minute in high flow enough to fill an olympic size swimming pool in half a second. The falls were really magnificent and we also had a boat cruise on the Hornblower which gets you as as close as possible to the water. We were equipped with pink ponchos so we just knew we were going to get wet and we did … … … The boat passed the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and then sailed into the very heart of the Horseshoe Falls. The noise level was staggering and once in the mist you could not see in front of you - it was indeed an awesome experience.





On the way back to Toronto we stopped at Niagara-on-the-Lake where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario. It is often described as the prettiest town in Ontario and it really was quaint. We strolled down its wide main street which was decked with unique shops, boutiques and cafes. It is the only town in Canada that has a Lord Mayor.





FINAL DAY IN NORTH AMERICA



So we have come to the end of our six month journey around Canada and the USA but we have had so many wonderful experiences. We have met some lovely people and made many good friends from all walks of life. We have stayed in some wonderful accommodations particularly on Vancouver Island and our home by the sea in the north. We have travelled by van, car, truck, cruise ship, train, bicycle, boat, floatplane and skiff as well as chartered and schedule flights. We have enjoyed some wonderful hikes and seen so much flora and fauna and were lucky to see our ‘Big 3’ - Black, Grizzly and Polar Bear. As well as Moose, Bison, Elk, Deer, Sea and River Otters, Wolf, Fox, Big Horn Sheep, Racoon, Prairie Dog, Marmot, Ground & Tree Squirrels and so much more.



We have also seen Humpback Whale, Orca (Killer Whale), Dolphins, Porpoise, Seals, Sealions, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Falcon, Snowy Owl, Kingfisher, Duck, Swan, Loon as well as numerous other birds and of course plenty of Canada Geese and Spawning Salmon.





The scenery has been outstanding within many National, State & Provincial Parks throughout the USA and Canada with huge snow capped rocky mountains, giant ice fields and glaciers, thick forests, prairies, tundra and deserts.





What next for us you might say - well we are going to visit our family in Dubai, Geoff, Sharon and our granddaughter, Maisie who will be 11 on the day of our arrival - we have been instructed not to miss this occasion ... ... ... We will then head for England to visit Kerry & Cliff in their new home in Eastbourne and catch up with all our other family and friends dotted around the UK that we have not seen for ages.



The reason we started blogging back in 2010 at the start of our travels was to store our memories and photographs in a secure ‘easy to access hard drive’ as we knew we would need somewhere to keep a record of all our adventures. I hope that one day we will be able to put some of the words and pictures into a book that we can read and remember well into our old age …………..



So this will be our last blog for a while until we sort out out where we are going to live and our future plans. We do have a few more adventures up our sleeves though and hope to visit some more exotic and not so exotic places in the future - so we may see you there ………….. or maybe somewhere else………………





With very best wishes to all our family and friends, happy travelling and thank you for following our journey.



👣Paul & Sheila

Silvernomads



www.travelblog.org/bloggers/silvernomads


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2nd November 2014
Evening Light

I'm going to miss you!
Really, your blogs are the best with so much juicy information, great descriptions and fabulous photos! Polar bears, Niagara Falls and that wonderful Manitoba Museum--you certainly went out with a bang. And now to Dubai--that will certainly be a contrast--bon voyage!
3rd November 2014
Evening Light

will miss you too
Tara - thanks so much for all your comments and following our travel blog it has been great hearing from you and we will miss you too - happy travelling, until the next time .....
2nd November 2014

I've really enjoyed following your travels around North America...
very few Americans and Canadians have seen their own countries as you have. I'm pleased you got to meet some wonderful people. I'm particularly pleased that you crossed paths with fellow TBer Pierre in Churchill. I've posted the picture of you having lunch together on the TB Album in the Forum. We this planned or coincidence? I look forward to your future blogs.
3rd November 2014

Fellow TBer
Had no idea that Pierre was a fellow blogger so thanks for info - it just never came up in our conversations. I think we were too engrossed in the lovely polar bears!
2nd November 2014
us with Pierre and Kim

Travel Bloggers!
Fantastic
2nd November 2014

Bucket List
This is on our short list of must do's. Fantastic blog. Really enjoyed your adventure.
3rd November 2014

bucket list
you just never seem to get to the end of the bucket - it just keeps getting bigger ... ... ...
3rd November 2014
us with Pierre and Kim

That's way too cool!
Finding that I met wonderful TB addicts...and that's few days after we spent nearly a week together is a great moment! And during all that time we never ever made a comment about TB...crazy! Are we sure Kim is not on TB?!? We need to post this pic in travelblog album! Hi from Congo...no bears around!
3rd November 2014
us with Pierre and Kim

That's way too cool!
Finding that I met wonderful TB addicts...and that's few days after we spent nearly a week together is a great moment! And during all that time we never ever made a comment about TB...crazy! Are we sure Kim is not on TB?!? We need to post this pic in travelblog album! Hi from Congo...no bears around!
3rd November 2014
us with Pierre and Kim

Hi from not to hot Dubai
Not sure about Kim - Did do a search but she did not pop up! Glad that you have found no bears in the Congo ... ...
3rd November 2014

Great blog
Really enjoying your travels - Im very jealous!!
5th November 2014

I will miss your blogs
I've been looking forward to your blogs all these months, with such wonderful pictures and descriptions. I hope you get to travel again soon, both for your sake and also mine ;) and what a coincidence to meet Pierre! enjoy your time with your family!
8th November 2014

Thank You
Thank you so much for your kind words and I am sure there may well be more blogs in the not too distant future ... ... ... happy travels
13th November 2014
Young Polar Bear

Wow!
Amazing picture
15th December 2014
Young Polar Bear

Wow
Thank you for your comment
10th January 2015
Colourful Tundra

Best polar bear picture I've ever seen!
I think its because of the backdrop of colourful tundra, but this is a great shot!
11th January 2015
Colourful Tundra

Polar Bear on the Tundra
Hi Andrea - thank you for your comment it is much appreciated and agree with you the tundra really makes the shot different - such a wonderful experience being amongst the bears in their nature environment we were so lucky.

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