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How To Get Inside Chernobyl's Reactor 4

When I visited Chernobyl in 2016, very few people had ever heard of it. Fast-forward to 2019 and Chernobyl is one of the fastest-growing tourism spots in Europe, thanks to the HBO mini-series Chernobyl. It has grown so much, so fast, that in July 2019 Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky even declared it an official tourism destination.

It's been incredible to see this location get the international recognition it deserves, but with it comes the question of what to do with Reactor 4 – the unfortunate reactor that exploded and radiated the area. The reactor is imprisoned inside the "Sarcophagus" and is now covered in the New Safe Confinement structure. This means that hopefully, no radiation will escape its fiery, burning pit.

But what if somebody wanted to get inside?

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The Horrors of the RCMP Heritage Centre's Black Museum

They say dead men tell no tales, but these ones do.

The RCMP Heritage Centre's Black Museum only opens for a couple of weeks every few years, with the last time being in 2015. I loved the museum and am disappointed every year that followed when it didn't open. I heard a rumour that it was opening this year after a four-year hiatus, so I reached out to the Heritage Centre and they confirmed the rumours to be true. A few days later, I was there, camera and notepad in hand.

The Black Museum opens with Oliver, a terrifying mannequin that once toured across northern Canada for Christmas shows. Although Oliver says he'll be your guide through the displays of horror that await you, you never have to see him again. However, some people say his eyes follow you as you walk around the room, so don't be surprised if you turn around and he's staring right at you.   

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Review of Inim Bala by Alchemy Prophet

I first met Matt Lay when I partnered with Paranormal And Supernatural Team (PAST) during a paranormal investigation of Boards n Beans last summer. I've heard about Lay in prior work with PAST, but it wasn't until that night that I met him and saw some of the technological wizardry he creates.

Lay has been creating music since he was a child, with his focus being violin and electronic keyboard. Many of his musical inspirations include The Alan Parsons Project, Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Gustav Holst and Mike Oldfield. He's always had a love for music, although his life has often led him down different avenues of expression.

Lay's story starts in the 1980s when he lived in Mobile, Alabama. Lay was very open about spiritualism and didn't agree with the mantra of mainstream religion. However, he found the culture in the southern United States very restrictive with religion and spiritualism. He would move to the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia in 1989 for a fresh start. However, when he was setting up his new life, the United States fell under the "Satanic Panic". Lay found himself once again harassed by hate groups and ridiculed by local churches, many misunderstanding his ideas, teachings and lectures. This was a difficult time for anybody pagan in the United States.

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Journey to Grey Owl's Cabin - Part 2

Normally I sleep very well, but our night in Prince Albert National Park was rough. I woke up a half dozen times, each time curled up at the bottom of my tent, with both my arms on fire. I knew my arms were sore from the sixteen kilometres we canoed the day before, but the pain seemed much worse than normal. Had it been cold out, I would have assumed my muscles were cramping, but it was warm in the tent so that wouldn't make sense. I was too tired to understand why so I straightened myself and attempted to get some sleep.

I woke up to my alarm at seven in the morning. After a little tossing and turning and denial of the day ahead of me, I got up around eight when I heard Kevin getting up.

We brushed our teeth, splashed some of our drinking water on our faces and broke down camp.

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Journey to Grey Owl's Cabin - Part 1

It's been about fifteen years since I last visited Grey Owl's Cabin. I went with my elementary school's Outdoor Ed program when I was about thirteen, and the only highlight I remember was missing school when I got back because of the blisters on my feet.

It was also around fifteen years ago that I last paddled a canoe.

So, it's fair to say I wasn't prepared for the 40-kilometre canoe trip to Grey Owl's Cabin. To make sure I didn't lose my way or end up being bear-food, I asked my good friend Kevin Dunn, the former 2018 Saskatchewanderer, to come along with me.

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5 Fun and Budget-Friendly Travel Ideas

I don't know about you, but I could really use a vacation these days. After all the hustle and bustle of the summer, it seems there wasn't any time to relax. What's worse is that it seems whenever I have a chance to save up any money to get away, life throws me a curveball. For many, money and a budget is the key to making your travel dream come true... but it doesn't have to be.

Many people think that you need wads of cash to travel, but that isn't true. You don't have to save up tens of thousands of dollars to go on a vacation. Chances are you can make by with a couple hundred. I've talked about a few different ways to save money while travelling on this blog before, but here are a few other options you can consider:

Don't make the mistake of thinking that the trips you hear about are the only ones worth going on. Thinking outside the box is one of the best things you can do if you're serious about saving as much money as possible. You can start by looking at alternative destinations that aren't as expensive as others, although equally as enjoyable. For example, Ukraine is often cheaper than England, and Greece is often cheaper than Italy.

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Weyburn's Soo Line Historical Museum

Weyburn's Soo Line Historical Museum is a surprising gem of The Opportunity City. Inside the shell of a former factory, the museum embraces the city's colourful past -- both the things they are known for and the things they try to forget.

Like many Saskatchewan museums, the Soo Line Historical Museum showcases early snapshots of prairie history. I expected this going in, but what I didn't expect was a section about early Indigenous people. My reaction might seem unwarrented, but I couldn't think of another museum in Saskatchewan (besides the Royal Saskatchewan Museum) that has a section about Indigenous people. Not only was this exhibit a surprise, but it had a piece of history that I have never heard about before!

This piece of history referenced the Cree "Grandfather Rocks" – basketball-size stones with faces carved into them. These "Grandfather Rocks" were used by Cree medicine men to help carry spirits from this world to the next. Several of these stones were on display in the museum.

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Celebrating Summer with Regina's Summer Bash

If you've been driving around Regina any time the past few months, you've probably seen the signs for Summer Bash. At only three years old, this annual festival seems to be the talk of the town and has taken the southern community of Regina by storm.

This past summer, Summer Bash has rolled out five free movies, from July 4 – August 22, as well as a Summer Market on August 11 and their main festival this upcoming August 25.

Their main festival at the end of the summer is Harbour Landings answer to the Cathedral Village Arts Festival in May, which marks the beginning of summer. Because of the huge success of CVAF and its legacy in the city, Summer Bash is using them as a model to promote local businesses, vendors, musicians and artists.

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Instagramming Canada - Prince Edward Island

Part 12 of my cross Canada series takes us to the smallest province in Canada, Prince Edward Island. However, don't let the name confuse you: PEI is actually 232 islands!

PEI also happens to have smallest population of any province in Canada, with only 146,300 people as of 2014. This means this province has less people than my hometown Regina!

Being so small, however, it was difficult to find images on Instagram. That isn't to say there's nothing there worth seeing! Quiet the quandary, actually. PEI has a few very unique locations that drive their tourism. One of them is the gorgeous themed village of Avonlea, named after the village in the hit novel "Anne of Green Gables" published in 1908. This story, and the subsequent stories, follows Anne, a red-haired "fiery" orphan who grows up on PEI. The story is an international bestseller, and is strangely very popular in Japan (or so I've been told)!

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What Makes Downtown Regina So Cool

Throughout the past few months I've been sharing a lot about downtown Regina, and there's a reason for that. Downtown Regina's urban centre has undergone a massive revitalization the past few years, and since I love Regina, I felt it was important for me to talk about this. For those who don't travel downtown regularly, you'd be surprised to find out it is no longer the downtown of the 1990s. A lot has changed, is changing, or has been completely transformed.

Scores of people had to come together to make this happen, but one of the driving forces behind this transformation is the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District (RDBID). This organisation was established in 1981 under the belief that entrepreneurs, diversity and creativity should thrive in the hub of the city. It may have taken time, but after decades of work their efforts are finally being rewarded. Today, downtown Regina is the epicentre of festivals, vendors, concerts, movies, art displays, and outdoor activities. This winter the RDBID lit the Christmas tree downtown, has been operating the skating rink twice a day everyday, and helped to arrange the crokicurl rink – the new sport that is sweeping the nation. 

In the summer the list gets even longer – thanks to many partners and sponsors – with the Regina Farmers Market, Market Under the Stars, Cinema Under the Stars, AfroFest, Doors Open, Yoga in the Park, art {outside}, Parkin(ing) Day, Pop Up Downtown and dozens of other events and festivals.

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Exploring Leader & The Great Southwest

When it comes to Saskatchewan, your next adventure can be around any corner. As you venture off the main highways, signage is scarce and directions such as "if you've passed the gate with the buffalo skulls, you've gone too far" are all too common. Communities grow smaller, people grow warmer and the list of things on your Saskatchewan Bucket List seems to only get longer.

My adventure to Leader started a few months ago when Christine over at Cruisin' Christine shared a list of Leader bus tours on Facebook. Some of the tours were in June, but one was in September. The September tour caught my eye because it was a two-day tour and I had to ask myself what we would do for two days in Leader. Leader has a three digit population, so I was perplexed on what the tour would comprise.

I was so perplexed that I decided contacted Leader Tourism and booked the tour to find out.

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