I had the incredible opportunity of visiting Quebec for the first time this summer, and it stole my heart away. I've seen many of the provinces and territories across Canada, but there's just something special about Quebec.
To me, Quebec is a province locked in time. Montreal is futuristic, with expansive bridges, modern art, postmodern architecture and has the title of being where John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their "Bed In For Peace". Quebec City, on the other hand, is old fashioned, remarkably European with French styled architecture, has old cobblestone roads and a massive murals. The contrast between the two cities is so incredible that I actually considered splitting this article into two sections, one about Montreal and one about Quebec.
Quebec is unique to Canada as it's the only province where French is the native language. Canada is supposedly bilingual, but the only bilingual province is New Brunswick. Although Quebec is strictly French, I had no trouble getting around because everybody I met spoke fluent English.
Quebec has had it's challenges over the years, from struggling with the Aboriginals, to being bombed and destroyed by the British, by having a rebellion (or "Patriots' War", depending who you ask), by being plagued with extreme separatism and having to be invaded by the Canadian military, by having the Oka Crisis and finally by almost separating Canada with their famous 49-51% vote. Quebec is the province of Canada that is most proud of who they are and their heritage, and it is something uniquely refreshing about the province when you compare it to Western Canada which has a very recent history and whose heritage is lucky to go back more than a century, let alone almost four.
Being said, I would like to introduce you to "Instagramming Canada Quebec", and the 9th installment of my 13 part series about Canada. Hope you enjoy it!
Lakes and Rivers
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
The Island of the Dolls is in Xochimilco, a borough south of Mexico City. While it would be faster to take a car from Mexico City to Xochimilco, the traffic is dense and the roads are very congested. Instead, if you're going there, I'd recommend taking metro, which is easy and the cheapest in the world. What you gain in comfort, however, you lose in speed, as the train ride takes about 2 hours.
Mexico City and Xochimilco both sit in the Valley of Mexico. Until about a millennium ago, the whole region around Mexico City was surrounded by a massive body of water. Over the centuries due to both climate change and interference by humans, most of this water has dried up, for the exception of Xochimilco. With networks of canals crisscrossing the borough, car transportation is difficult and water transportation is essential. I'm sure there were motorized boats somewhere in the waters of Xochimilco, but I never saw any. Instead, canoes and rafts are common on the water. However, the most popular vessel is a trajinera – a colourful gonadal-like boat that is pushed along the water with a wooden pole.
Xochimilco is known worldwide for their Floating Gardens market, which are essentially canoes floating down the canals, selling wares to tourists on trajineras. These include things like food, drinks, silver rings, trinkets, ponchos and sombreros. Occasionally other trajineras full of Mariachi bands will approach tourists and offer to play beside them on the water.
Last year I put together 50 Images That Showcase Regina, and it was very successful. However, I did that article early into the year and missed out on some pictures I would take later, so I decided to do it again this year. These pictures were all taken either in late 2015 or in 2016.
If you guys enjoy this article as much as you liked the last one, I might start making this an annual thing.
Some of you may recognize a few of these pictures from earlier in the year, but there should be a few here that none of you have ever seen before.
A few weeks ago Jessica and I decided to go on a shopping trip to Moose Jaw. Now that the snow is gone and the roads aren't so messy, I plan to get back on the road more often. I also took this opportunity to try out some video creation. After seeing some of the awesome content people like The Saskatchewanderer are putting out, I decided to try it out for myself.
Moose Jaw is about 45 minutes west of Regina, and is famous in Saskatchewan for its old brick architecture, small-town vibe and myriad of underground tunnels. Two tunnels tours exist in Moose Jaw. One is based around the famous gangster Al Caopne (whose cell I visited while in Eastern State Penitentiary) and the other is about Chinese immigrants who were forced underground by the Canadian government's "head-tax". Both tours are fascinating and I've done both several times. While we visited them on this trip, we didn't actually go on any the tours.
Although Regina is a larger city that Moose Jaw, downtown Regina lacks the quirky mom-and-pop shops you'll find in Moose Jaw. For the past few decades, much of downtown Regina has been transformed into either banks or big box stores, all which pushed the smaller boutique shops away. The past few years have seen a resurgence of them, but there isn't nearly as many as there used to be. Moose Jaw, on the other hand, has very few big box stores in its downtown area and still has scores of quirky boutique shops and restaurants.