Acadian Rappie Pie

statue to Evangeline Acadian Rappie Pie

Longfellow’s Acadian heroine Evangeline stands in Port Royal.

The Acadians have kept French language and culture alive in Maritime Canada. And they took these to Louisiana where it still survives as Cajun. But somehow, Louisiana never inherited their real culinary gift –  Acadian rappie pie.

In 1605, Sieur de Mons and his cartographer, Samuel de Champlain, began the first settlement of Port Royal. This is the oldest settlement in North America apart from St. Augustine, Fla.

The beauty of the Bay of Fundy and its sheltered harbour had long been known to the Mi’kmaq people who had lived here for centuries. The French and Mi’kmaq began a long and enduring friendship in the land that became known as Acadie, possibly from the classical name, Arcadia – a place of lasting peace. And the French settlers here were Acadians. Continue reading

Bikes and Brews – Victoria, BC

waterfront at Victoria with Empress Hotel Bikes and Brews in Victoria, BC

The venerable Empress Hotel dominates the waterfront in Victoria.

Delicious sunshine makes this the perfect day to explore this beautiful city on two wheels. I set out to see if Victoria, British Columbia lives up to its moniker of most bike friendly city in Canada. Just a short block from the harbour with its iconic views of the provincial parliament buildings and the Empress Hotel, Shawn, one of the owners of The Pedaler, fits us out with comfortable bikes and mandatory helmets. And we’re off on our tour. Continue reading

In Search of a Legend – Grey Owl

Grey Owl's cabin - In search of a Legend - Grey Owl

Grey Owl’s cabin, christened Beaver Lodge, stands in a remote part of Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan. Inside the beaver lodge of his beloved pets opens into his living space.

Grey Owl was a real person but he was also a legend and hiking to his cabin has become a pilgrimage for many who care about the environment.

I’m standing in mud, and it’s happily oozing right through my mesh sneakers. I can’t believe I wore white socks and sneakers!

I did wear Muskol. But despite copious applications of the repellent, I’m patently providing sustenance for half the mosquito and deer fly population of Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan. Continue reading

Finding our Muskoka Soul

Group of women watching sunset over the lake

The sun sets over Lake Muskoka

On this sunny, unseasonably warm day in a Muskoka forest, I have my eyes peeled for mushrooms. We’re having a Scavenger Hunt and all the items on our list can be found in this lovely stretch of woodland near Muskoka Soul‘s Cliff Bay House.  A maple leaf is another challenge in this forest of oak and pine, but we find one. It’s a cooperative effort and I find myself revelling in the fresh forest scents. Continue reading

End of the Line on the Underground Railroad – Chatham, Ontario

Quilt with underground railroad symbols

Gwen Robinson points out the history of slavery and the Underground Railroad stitched on this quilt, on display at the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society

The little town of Chatham, Ontario is the terminus of a very important railroad – one without tracks or engines. The Underground Railroad brought escaping slaves to Canada, and many found refuge in Chatham, which became known as the ‘Black Mecca’. Continue reading