Real Quebec Photos From My Wife And Son

Yesterday I mentioned how my wife was sending ridiculous pictures to me while on her trip. Shortly after writing that blog, she sent me some much nicer and more touristy style of pictures. Here is a quick collection of images from my wife and son:

Architecturally, Quebec is Eastern European influenced. The entire place reminds me of a real life fantasy world smack dab in the middle of Canada. And people just going about their business, because living like this is totally normal.

I do wish I was there with them. Maybe one day I will go on a trip and see what Quebec has to offer. For now, I just get to enjoy a few photo dumps from their trip!

Quebec Has My Wife And Son

My wife and son have arrived safely in Quebec. They have a couple of days to explore before the speed skating competition. So that’s what they did.

Throughout the day my wife sent me random photos. None were really the type that people share while on a vacation or trip. More just things that she found interesting or humorous- and sent them to send me.

I am a little unsure as to why she shared a picture of kale dumped on the side of the road. Or why she felt it necessary to send a picture of snow the height of a car. In fact, when she sent that to me, as I am here in Vancouver, it began to snow shortly after I received the text. We can all blame her for the snow arriving here! Sorry friends on behalf of my wife.

However, amongst the random pictures of things, she did send me a smiling selfie of the two of them. There was also the obligatory poutine meal picture. So I know they are happy and well fed on this trip. Hopefully she will share some other pictures of more interesting adventures and I can pass them on to everyone else.

Canadian Music Scene

Today I went about starting a new Spotify Playlist. This time I decided to put only Canadian Bands into it. Majority is from the grunge scene in the 90’s. I forgot how amazing some of those artists were.

Listening to band like The Odds, Age of Electric, Great Big Sea, Our Lady Peace, Moist, Barenaked Ladies, Econoline Crush, Moxy Fruvous, 54-40, Big Wreck, Sloan, Bran Van 3000, Prozak, Rush, Tragically Hip, Loverboy, Celine Dion… the list goes on. Okay some aren’t 90’s grunge, but the music that was created over the years is iconic. Maybe it’s the fact that in Canada radio broadcasts need to be 40% Canadian artists.

However, I was reminiscent of hitting the clubs for concerts in small venues as well as outdoor festivals. I’m also discovering some “One Hit Wonders” that I had forgotten about over the years. I’m also adding more artists as they get recommended to me.

Feel free to take a listen to my playlist and let me know if there are any bands I should add. Or feel free to add some songs for me. No country music please- or I will turn off the collaboration option. Rock, pop, grunge are the preferred music talents. I’ll be accepting of some rap music if it gets in there.

Icicles Thaw Out A Memory

The other morning I was outside in the backyard admiring the peace and tranquillity that the snow had brought for New Year’s Day. Something astonishing happened to me though. An icicle came into view.

This surprised me because I rarely see icicles in the Lower Mainland. I am aware that they have been known to occur. But I don’t notice them to ever be this size. Usually they are small and are gone in the blink of an eye. That warm weather and rain thing normally diminishes their existence rather hastily.

As I walked up to the shed to take a closer look, there was an entire row of icicles hanging down. The sight reminded me of my youth and living in Edmonton. I would lay in my bed and stare out the window at the edge of the roof. Numerous icicles would be growing there over the winter. Their size increasing as winter went on. Then decreasing as spring would roll in. Icicles in Edmonton lasted much longer than they do in Vancouver.

Those memories of watching icicles form and vanish triggered numerous other youthful memories. Snow banks blowing into the corners of the yard against the fences. The way those banks would freeze on top and become strong enough for a five year old to walk on. We would dig out small tunnels and little caves inside. Keeping the smooth top as a roof.

The fences would also create a row of icicles. So would the deck railings, sheds and rooflines. As kids, we would break them off and have sword battles. Or we would throw snowballs at them, trying to knock them off. We kept ourselves entertained in the snow.

The icicles that were here the other day are already gone. Melted away. As quickly as the memory I just shared popped into my head, it faded just as quick. The weather is turning and changing so rapidly these days, I may not see more icicles before next winter.

As an adult, I’m totally fine with it.

Gutters, Rainbows, and Fireworks

The autumn rain was falling periodically today. Between the rainfalls I decided to clear out the gutters of leaves and debris.

Our last home didn’t have gutters the way most houses do. Instead it was a flat roof with slopes to the drains. Cleaning these gutters was easy. I just put on some gloves, climbed a step ladder and scooped them out. In the spring, I plan on giving them a hose out as I check the shingles on the roof.

I also enjoyed another break from the rain as I drove to get the kids from school. The sky cleared up in the distance and the sun refracted beautifully off the remaining droplets in the atmosphere. Seeing the rainbows against the autumn colours was amazing.

I’m ending my day by watching fireworks from my bedroom window. Diwali is being celebrated. I really enjoy living in such a diverse country such as Canada. Especially on the outskirts of Vancouver. Those celebrating have a clear night to enjoy the festivities. I have a front row, million dollar view of the action. What a day.

Life is good.

Loving Canada

Today is Canada Day! I am proud to be Canadian. So much so that I work for Canadian National Railway. Just kidding, I work for the railroad because I love trains. Man, I cannot say that with a straight face. I work for CN because I enjoy making money to live.

Moving on…

Growing up, I remember my father always drinking Molson Canadian Beer. When I turned legal drinking age, Molson was my go-to beer for many years. Mostly because I’d buy a $20 t-shirt and get a free case of beer. (At least that’s what I told myself, but clearly it was the opposite).

There was a commercial years ago put out by Molson that I enjoyed. I Am Canadian aka Joe Rant. It felt like the commercial was made for me specifically. I rewatch it every year. I also share it every year. I am a proud Canadian and love this country with all of its amazing landscapes and diverse culture.

My name is Joe.

AND I AM CANADIAN.

Happy Canada Day!

Get Out There & Vote!

What are you doing reading my blog right now? Don’t you know there’s this election thing happening in Canada today? Go and vote! Then come and read my blog- I’ll wait.

Done voting? Excellent. I had thought about doing the advanced voting last weekend, but since I had a turkey to make- no go. This morning however- I was first in line at my local polling station waiting for the doors to open. That’s mostly because I finished a night shift and the polling station was a couple blocks away from our home. The timing was impeccable.

It’s going to be a rainy and miserable day in the Vancouver area. Not only will it be miserable because of the weather… but also because we are the last province to be counted. Many of the other provinces will have their numbers in and whatever the west does isn’t likely to skew the vote in either direction. But I have the opportunity to place an ❌ inside of a circle next to a name of some candidate I think will be best for my needs. So I chose someone.

And making the choice this year was difficult. I finally narrowed it down to two candidates and made my choice as I stared at the paper of names behind the cardboard cutout. Maybe you were better informed than I was. Maybe you just vote the same way every time. But a vote is still a vote.

Tell your family to vote.

Tell your friends to vote.

Tell your coworkers to vote.

Tell your neighbor to vote.

Tell the barista to vote.

Tell the traffic safety person to vote.

Tell a complete stranger to vote.

You get the idea. Make everyone have their voice heard today.

If you read all the way to the end before hitting the polling station- all I want to say is “Go Vote!

Canada Day

I am Proud that we have Canada Day. To me, being Canadian means being kind and polite. I’m glad that’s also how the world sees our country.

So today I implore you to go out to enjoy our glorious country. Meet people and smile. Smile so that the love you have in our glowing hearts spreads far and wide.

May your celebrations be lighthearted and full of friendships!

Happy Canada Day!

Weed Wednesday

Marijuana is legal in Canada as of today. I don’t think anything drastically good or bad will come of this. People who smoke it won’t change. And those who don’t smoke- probably won’t.

So what’s the big deal?

Nothing. Because weed was already ignored for the most part in Canada. Some say it’s a gateway drug, but I don’t believe it. I know quite a few people who smoke pot and they don’t seem like addicts. They are more like calm individuals who just happen to partake in a toke or two.

That being said, I also don’t think people should drive or go to work high. It’s the same as alcohol. You’re not quite yourself and your actions could affect those around you.

So be smart about using those marijuana cigarettes. And for those enjoying a “Wake’n’Bake” today-

Far-out man.

Proudly Canadian

Happy Canada Day!

I’m fortunate to call Canada my home. My family is also quite happy about it. As great as it is to travel to other countries, coming back to the “land of the free” is always reassuring. This is a great country with wonderful people residing here.

I always try and do something “Canadian” on Canada Day. Sometimes I go to a parade, eat poutine or drink Molson Canadian. Other times it’s hanging out with friends at a BBQ drinking Molson Canadian. Today I am doing the most Canadian thing I can think of- instead of drinking beer and watching hockey. I am going to work at CN Rail aka Canadian National.

How ever you are celebrating today- have fun and behave. Our polite reputation relies on it.

Happy Canada Day!

150 Years/150 Reasons

Happy Canada Day!

Canada is celebrating 150 years of being a country today.  So I’m going to share 150 reasons I love Canada (in no particular order).

  1. The natural beauty of this country.
  2. Free health care.
  3. Our flag.
  4. Our national anthem.
  5. Our Prime Minister.
  6. Our diverse culture.
  7. Bilingual schooling.
  8. Immigration laws.
  9. British Columbia.
  10. Alberta.
  11. Saskatchewan.
  12. Manitoba.
  13. Ontario.
  14. Quebec.
  15. Newfoundland.
  16. New Brunswick.
  17. Nova Scotia.
  18. Prince Edward Island.
  19. Yukon.
  20. Nunavut.
  21. North West Territories.
  22. The Northern Lights.
  23. The Rocky Mountains.
  24. Trans Canada Highway.
  25. The prairies.
  26. Lakes.  Lots of lakes.
  27. The nicer side of Niagra Falls.
  28. Hells Gate.
  29. Okanagan Wineries.
  30. Whistler.
  31. Snow blowers.
  32. Snow.
  33. Ice.
  34. I can go swimming in the ocean and skiing on the mountain within a couple of hours.
  35. Newfies.
  36. Québécois.
  37. CN Rail.
  38. Our gun laws.
  39. Peace.
  40. Freedom.
  41. The RCMP.
  42. Walkie-talkies.
  43. Peanut butter invented in Canada.
  44. Poutine.
  45. Ketchup Potato Chips.
  46. Our colourful money.
  47. Canadian Tire Money.
  48. No pennies.
  49. Loonies.
  50. Toonies.
  51. Touque.
  52. Toboggan.
  53. Igloos.
  54. Winter Olympics.
  55. Hockey. 
  56. Basketball.
  57. Zippers.
  58. Beavers.
  59. Moose.
  60. BC Salmon.
  61. Otters.
  62. Killer Whales.
  63. Canada Goose.
  64. Polar Bears.
  65. Log Rider’s Waltz.
  66. Winnie the Pooh.
  67. Superman.
  68. Politeness.
  69. I’m sorry.
  70. Eh?
  71. Timbits.
  72. Lumber.
  73. Natural gas.
  74. Hollywood North.
  75. CBC.
  76. The Friendly Giant.
  77. Mr. Dressup.
  78. The Raccoons.
  79. Fred Penner.
  80. Raffi.
  81. Just For Laughs.
  82. Kids in the Hall.
  83. SCTV.
  84. Bob and Doug 
  85. Some of the greatest comedians.
  86. Some of the greatest actors.
  87. Some of the greatest singers.
  88. Some of the strangest news articles.
  89. IMAX
  90. Molson Canadian.
  91. Real Beer (that’s not water).
  92. Glacier water.
  93. Pop.
  94. The metric system.
  95. The Pacific Ocean.
  96. The Atlantic Ocean.
  97. Santa lives in Canada.
  98. Lax marijuana laws.
  99. The Maple Leaf.
  100. Maple syrup.
  101. Nanaimo Bars.
  102. Split Pea Soup.
  103. Beaver Tails.
  104. Alberta Beef.
  105. Kraft Dinner.
  106. Montreal Steak Spice.
  107. Montreal Smoked Meat.
  108. Smoked salmon.
  109. Red Rose Tea.
  110. Coffee Crisp.
  111. Crispy Crunch.
  112. Girl Guide Mint Cookies.
  113. Kinder Surprise Eggs aren’t illegal…
  114. PEI Potatoes.
  115. Yukon Gold Potatoes.
  116. Hudson’s Bay.
  117. Air Canada.
  118. The Rocky Mountaineer.
  119. Postal Codes.
  120. Vulcan, Alberta.
  121. Drumheller, Alberta.
  122. Calgary Expo.
  123. Vancouver.
  124. Victoria.
  125. Calgary.
  126. Halifax.
  127. Montreal.
  128. Toronto.
  129. Friendly border guards.
  130. We are proud to display our flag as we travel.
  131. Bathtub races.
  132. Expo Ernie.
  133. Giant rubber duck.
  134. Inflatable beavers.
  135. Canadarm.
  136. Chris Hadfield- making space travel cool again.
  137. Best sushi around.
  138. Real Canadian Superstore.
  139. President’s Choice brand.
  140. 75% of the world’s mustard.
  141. Trivial Pursuit.
  142. 2-4.
  143. 26er.
  144. Insulin is a Canadian invention.
  145. Neighbours.
  146. Colour.
  147. Favourite.
  148. Zed.
  149. My friends.
  150. My family.

All of this and more helps to define what I feel makes Canada a great place to live. Happy 150th Canada!

The Tragically Hip

Last night I watched a truly Canadian event.  The Canadian band, The Tragically Hip, performed their last ever live concert in their hometown at Kingston’s Rogers K-Rock Centre.   As most Canadians and fans of “The Hip” know the lead singer, Gord Downie, was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer.  The demand for concert tickets for the final tour was high and sold out within minutes.  Public outcry was met with relief from another Canadian Icon- CBC. 

CBC: As Canadian as ever.


CBC broadcast it to all of Canada commercial-free: on television, radio and their digital mediums.  The show ran for nearly three hours.  This is a first to my knowledge in Canadian history.  The show was viewed in bars, restaurants and homes throughout our great country.  

Our Country’s Leader.


Most Canadians took a break from the Olympics and their busy lives to watch the show.  Even our Prime Minister was in attendance at the show.  It doesn’t get much more patriotic than that.
It surpassed viewership to another favorite Canadian Event: Stanley Cup Playoffs.


I was never the biggest fan of “The Hip” but like many Canadians, a couple of albums were among my collection.  In 1992, I had on repeat “At the Hundredth Meridian” from the album Fully Completely until I learned all of the lyrics.  I remember owning it on CD, and my sister owning it on cassette because I never shared my music with her.  It is my favorite “Hip” song.  

Gord.


I found out watching this show that I knew more “Hip” songs than I realized.  By the end of the concert, I was singing along.

Watching them perform their final gig was heartfelt and tearful knowing it would never happen again.

Just amazing.


Much respect to the courage it took the band and the lead singer to do one final tour.  The Tragically Hip gave Canada some amazing music and beautiful lyrics.

“No dress rehearsal, this is our life.”

Happy Canada Day!

As much as I like most of my American neighbors: I am a proud Canadian.  Canada is celebrating 149 years of being a country this year.


A few years ago Molson Canadian would made some fantastic commercials celebrating the greatness of being Canadian.

I know this place is where I am,

No other place is better than.

No matter where I go I am,

Proud to be Canadian!
I am, you know I am, I am Canadian!

I am, you know I am, I am Canadian!

Come on!


I love this country where I am,

This land is where I make my stand.

No other heart is truer then,

The one we call Canadian!

Here are my favorite videos from back then:  CLICK ON THE LINKS TO VIEW THEM

Proud to Be Canadian
My name is Joe & I am Canadian

And of course, William Shatner is Canadian and proud of it: William Shatner is Canadian

I’m going to celebrate with my family locally by visiting Fort Langley, BC.  Be good to each other and have a great Canada Day!

MY NAME IS JOE AND I AM CANADIAN!

Fort Langley

Crossing Over

Being a Canadian we are blessed with pretty decent “free” health care, decent wages, beautiful scenery, and a reputation worldwide of being nice.  There are plenty of other benefits of being Canadian, but our southern counterparts have many luxuries that we don’t.  Don’t even get me started on Netflix differences…

peacear1

Peace Arch Border Crossing

We live a fifteen minute drive from our home to the nearest border crossing.  It may seem odd, but I notice a difference as soon as we leave our country and enter the USA.  The roads are wider, the trees are fewer, there’s more concrete, more billboards, better prices.  The Canadian dollar took a bit of a dive recently, so the exchange rate isn’t worth the travel to find great deals Stateside.  I’m frugal, so finding good deals is always the plan.  The United States has a lot going for it, just like Canada, and often it feels that there are so many similarities that why aren’t we just one big country?  Unfortunately, there’s too much to give up on either side to become one solid entity.  I can still complain about what I don’t have, I can still have an idea of what “The American Dream” is, I can still admire from afar the luxuries that Americans have.  Here is a short list of 15 Ways Americans Are Different Than Canadians that is a fairly accurate read.

The US is rich in history, both good and bad.  Often times I know more about American politics than Canadian politics, but that’s okay.  The way information is shared these days, I wouldn’t really call most news “news”.  It’s more a ratings grab or shock value created  by the media networks in order to get advertising revenue.  Watching American TV up in Canada, I have learned that cellular plans are far superior in the USA. More coverage, better data, and cheaper.  That’s not all- the cost of food, gas, and most merchandise can be less than half the cost we pay in Canada.  Insurance rates, buying homes or cars, even eating out at a McDonald’s is far cheaper.

Josef's iPhoneNov2014 282

Obligatory beach shot. 

When we travel, I try and find any place with free WiFi.   From the hotels we stay at to the coffee shops we stop at.  WiFi is the lifeblood that keeps me sane.  Sure, I’m enjoying my roadtrips with the family, but a quick downtime for my brain is also needed.  These vacations make me appreciate what I do have back home.  It’s always fun to daydream about never going back, especially when laying on a sandy beach in the winter months, but there is the reality that hits.  It’s not likely to happen, so just enjoy the moment.
I love my country, but as they say, the grass is always greener…