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The Hockey Hall of Fame

Silver Stick Hockey Tournament 2013 - Canada

 

Links to Photos, related links, and More Travel Reports at bottom

 

Prologue: Over Thanksgiving weekend, hockey teams from the west coast traveled to San Jose to play in the regional Silver Stick tournament. These teams included my grandson Mikie's squad, the Fresno Monsters Midget 16 and Under team. His teams had played in the tournament the previous two years, but never made the final cut.

This year a powerhouse Monsters team kicked off the tournament with a 10-0 win over the Ventura Mariners, goalie Austin Hathcoat's first shutout of the season. The next game was against our most challenging opponent, the Capitol Thunder from Roseville near Sacramento. It was a close, hard-fought game, with the score tied much of the time, but in the end Fresno came away with a 3-2 win.

The Oakland Bears, another relatively weak team, gave up eight goals while scoring two, putting the Monsters in first place for the playoffs. In the 1-4 match up, Fresno again defeated Oakland, with a 3-0 shutout. Meanwhile 2nd place Roseville handily defeated 3rd ranked Ventura, 8-0, sending the top two teams in the NORCAL league to the Sunday morning final.

The teams played with intensity and the game was closer than the final score would indicate. The Thunder scored first, just over a minute into the game. More anxious moments ticked off for Monsters fans as their boys did not score till Andrew Pellegrino tied it up half way through the period. Then he gave Fresno a lead with his second goal of the game in the final three minutes of the period.

Most of the second was scoreless, until Roseville tied it with 2:57 left. Fresno opened the third period with a goal by Vance Scrimshire in the first minute, then settled down for a long period of defending a one goal lead. With 1:26 left Boston Lindlahr scored his second goal of the weekend, giving Fresno some breathing room. The Thunder coach pulled his goalie, and a fierce puck battle followed, all in the Monsters zone. With 24 seconds left, Danny Goodwin got the puck with a little open ice and cleared it. The puck slowly but surely made its way into the empty net, sealing Fresno’s 5-2 victory.

The entire team rushed the goalie and enjoyed a celebratory hug as the parents and other fans screamed in relief and joy. The boys then lined up to receive their medals and the third championship Mikie has enjoyed in the 2012 calendar year.

Next the Monsters would face their biggest challenge and probably the most exiting time of their hockey careers – a trip to Newmarket, Ontario to compete in the International Silver Stick tournament final in January.

 

Off to Canada: After a month and a half of anticipation, January 8 arrived and it was finally time to leave for Canada. The time between then and the regional included making plane, hotel and rental car reservations, shopping for cold weather clothing, and compulsively checking the weather in Buffalo and Newmarket nearly every day. On the advice of the two Canadian families in our organization, we planned to fly to Buffalo and rent a car there for the drive into Canada.

Following advice from my sister Linda, who lives in Duluth MN, Teri, Mikie and I all got thermal tops and “long johns” made partly of wool. I had a stocking hat and some gloves that seem plenty warm in the winters of central California, but at the last minute I bought some mittens, which Linda said would be warmer than gloves. By the way, being much smarter than I am, Linda was emailing this advice from New Orleans, where she planned to stay till mid-February.

My advance look at the weather nearly always produced the same results: Highs in the 30s, lows in the high 20s, and snow or rain every few days. This finally caused me to call the car rental company the day before we left to upgrade to an all-wheel drive vehicle.

On January 8 we all got up much too early – 4 a.m. for me and even earlier for Teri and Mikie, who live several miles farther from the airport. We met at Fresno-Yosemite International about 4:45, got our boarding passes, checked in our luggage, and made it through the security check with a minimum of fuss. The first leg of our flight took us to Denver, so we had a sort of view of the Sierra in the dark, and some nice views of the Rockies.

We had a quick brunch in the airport (at around 9 a.m. home time), and looked in a couple of stores. Then our 1:18 layover ended and we departed for LaGuardia in NYC. For most of this flight, we were looking down on clouds, but we did get a good look at downtown Manhattan as we landed.

Although we had a nearly three-hour layover, we had no trouble filling the time. First we had to leave the United Terminal and take a 10-minute shuttle ride to the Delta Terminal. This meant another trip through the security check, which again went smoothly. We had time for a leisurely supper (dinner? lunch? Who knows; it was about 5 p.m. our time). We found a place that had an excellent salad bar, plus pizza for Mikie. We then had about 30 minutes before boarding time, which passed quickly, and we were off to Buffalo.

All of our luggage arrived with us, the rental counter was just out the door and across the street from baggage claim, and everything went smoothly, picking up a Kia AWD mini-van at Budget Car Rental. The drive to our hotel was about five minutes, so we were soon settled in, and trying to convert our mindset to Eastern Time, going to bed by 10:30 (7:30 back home).

There was quite a bit of snow around, but a local resident on the plane said that it hadn’t “really” snowed for a week (Weather Channel had shown at least snow showers the previous five days). In any case, the roads were clear and the snow here and there made nice scenery for people who live in a place that gets snow maybe once every ten to twenty years.

Official activities for the tournament did not start till Thursday, so on Wednesday we slept as late as we felt like, getting up just in time to get in on the complimentary breakfast. After that we loaded up the car and Teri set her phone’s GPS for the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) in Toronto. We had considered a stop at Niagara Falls, but the 34 degree weather and 25 MPH wind promised a 10 degree wind chill factor. In addition, Teri and I had seen the falls, and Mikie is not interested in things of that type, so we decided to just head for Toronto.

The roads were clear and traffic light most of the way. At the border we stopped at a Tim Horton’s Doughnut Shop. Although established in 1964, it is now described as “like a Starbucks.” There are some noticeable differences, in particular that they speak English there – the drink sizes are Small, Medium and Large.

At the border we showed our passports and answered a few questions (where are you from, where are you going, who do you know in Newmarket, roll down the window so I can see the passenger in the back seat), and were soon rolling through southern Ontario, with a light dusting of snow in fields and other areas most of the way.

Part of the way our route ran along the southern shore of Lake Ontario. In this area, if we were not in towns or cities, there were lots of grape vines and fruit trees, with many signs for wineries along the way.

Apparently the recession is over in Toronto – there are buildings going up everywhere, as well as some street construction work, with the usual hassle of driving in construction zones. I would guess that there were fifty or more construction cranes set up throughout the downtown area. We had a little trouble finding the HHOF (the sign is not very big), but after trying to go around the block, we found a parking lot, got directions from the attendant, and braved the Canadian winter. The directions we got were a little off, but someone on the street pointed us in the right direction, and we found it right where Teri’s directions said it was (30 Yonge Street in case you’re going that way).

We did have one small problem, which became slightly larger when we left. Teri had paid for cell phone data service in Canada, but it did not work. Fortunately she had printed out the turn by turn instructions, which saved the day.

The Hall was quite impressive, and we all enjoyed seeing displays relating to our favorite teams and players. There were items from the earliest days of hockey, including the original Stanley Cup, which is displayed in a vault. The current cup has a replica of the original at the top, with a tall base containing rings where the names of the winning teams and players are engraved. When a ring fills up, the oldest one is removed, flattened, and displayed in the vault, so there are always five rings at any one time on the cup itself.

I’m not sure how long we were there, but it was at least two hours. During that time we ran into two of Mikie’s teammates and talked to them briefly and took some pictures of the three players.

Like many museums, the main exit leads out through a gift shop, so we all got a souvenir of some kind, including a HHOF T-shirt for Mikie’s dad, whose work prevented him from coming with us.

When we got back to the parking lot, the printed directions for getting from there to Markham, the location of our hotel, were a bit confusing. We again got directions from the attendant, and although they were correct, we had not specified east or west on the freeway we needed to be on. We drove the wrong way for a mile or two on city streets, but eventually came to a street that led to the eastbound lane we wanted, and got headed in the right direction.

The traffic was heavy, so for quite a while we drove 15 to 30 MPH on the expressway. A change to a different highway gave us about ten miles of near normal speeds, but the short drive from the freeway to our hotel was through a two-mile construction zone with heavy after-work traffic. We had hoped to complete our trip in daylight, but the Toronto and Markham traffic ended that idea, and we arrived at the Hilton Suites around 6 p.m.

Just across a side street from the hotel was the St. Louis Wings café, so after registering and taking our luggage upstairs, we drove over there for supper. In California winter weather we would have walked that short distance without hesitation, but the cold and wind were such that we wanted to be out as little as possible. Even walking about 150 feet from car to restaurant, we were bundled up with hats and gloves.

A friend of mine who visited Canada a few years ago had suggested I try poutine, the “national dish.” The classic version is French fries and cheese curds with gravy, but the restaurant offered a couple of variations, so I had the St. Louis wings poutine, which adds cut up boneless hot wings and onions. Overall it was not bad, but I decided that it is really a crime against French fries. Mikie asked how it was, and I asked him, “What does the phrase ‘soggy French fries’ do for your appetite?” I ate all of it except some of the fries, and it wasn’t terrible or anything, but I would not get it again. In fairness to the dish, we later discovered that the fries at that restaurant were not very good even without gravy.

I had not slept well in Buffalo, so by 10 p.m. I was ready for bed, at least an hour before my normal bedtime at home. I got a good night’s sleep, and woke up at 9 a.m., followed shortly by Teri and Mikie.

We enjoyed a very good breakfast buffet, included with our room, and then checked our Email and read and watched TV for a while. The team had a practice at one of the two rinks where they will play in Newmarket, about 30 minutes away. Teri and Mikie left around noon, but I wanted to do some reading, go for a walk, and work on this report, so I stayed behind.

The weather was much improved from the previous day, around 35 with 5 MPH winds at 1 p.m., so I walked over to a nearby shopping center for exercise and to scout possible restaurants. It turned out that I was dressed slightly warmer than necessary; I didn’t wear my mittens, and never zipped up my hoodie. I went into The Future Store to see what the future would be like, but it’s really just Best Buy North, and since I was dressed for outside, I stayed only two or three minutes. The shopping center had a small grocery store, a supermarket, two drug stores, a bank, a money exchange place, numerous other small shops, and at least eight eating places, several of which I would be willing to try.

Teri had got her cell phone data working, but kept it turned off except as needed, so we were out of touch while they were at the rink. I received an Email saying there would be a team meal after practice at East Side Mario’s, about two miles from the hotel. Later she called to ask if I wanted her to bring me something. We were under the impression that to pick me up she would have had to drive through the downtown Markham construction zone, then back through it to the restaurant, so I told her I would probably just walk over to the St. Louis Wings place.

Later when I went out to do just that, several of the players and parents were walking by, since they wanted to leave the boys’ equipment in the hotel. I was offered a ride, so I got to eat with the team families after all. Mario’s proved to be a good Italian restaurant, with a variety of choices. Teri had a shrimp salad, while Mikie and I went for pizza. Having eaten several pieces of bread while waiting, I ate only half my 10-inch New York pizza, so the rest went into the refrigerator in our room for later.

After two days in Canada, we finally had a hockey game on Friday, January 11. The Fresno Monsters opened the tournament against the hometown Newmarket Redmen. Before we left home and even up to game time, all the parents, grandparents and probably team members wondered how they would do in the heartland of hockey. Could a team from the central valley of California do anything against boys who started skating on frozen ponds at age three?

Not to worry…Fresno put in the first goal, a knuckle baller from Michael Perez that hit the goalie’s glove, rolled over it and into the net. With that goal they surpassed last year’s Midget team, which was shut out in all their games at Silver Stick.

The Redmen quickly answered, but Fresno put in one more in the first period from Jacob Haynes, and never looked back. In the second, Perez scored Fresno’s 3rd goal early in the period. There were a few demoralizing minutes when Mikie Liddle put the puck into the net and the team came together to celebrate. However, the ref missed the goal, and the game continued. With Monster players out of position, the Redmen put in their second goal, but Fresno came back with a goal by Jacob Buck to take a two-goal lead. On a power play with 90 seconds left in the game, the Redmen pulled their goalie to give them a 4 on 2 advantage, and scored to make it 4-3. After the faceoff, the Redmen again pulled the goalie and put forth a good effort, but Fresno’s Justin Russo got the puck, skated down ahead of the defender, and sealed the win with an empty net goal.

Back in Markham, we returned to the St. Louis Wings place where Teri and I enjoyed wings and fries (NO gravy); Mikie had a burger and a salad, being under instructions from the coach to eat no fried food.

The evening game was against the Woolwich Wildcats, one of the highest ranked Midget A teams in Ontario. It took the Monsters about ten minutes to figure out how to play against this team, and by that time the Wildcats had scored three times. In the second period, both teams scored once, and Fresno put in one more in the final frame, but still came up short, losing 4-2. With a bit better effort in the first part of the game it looked as if Fresno could have stood up against this team, but the lesson was learned too late.

Getting back to Markham after 11 p.m., we picked up McFlurrys at the nearby McDonalds, which was all Teri and I wanted. In addition to the ice cream, Mikie finished off the half pizza left over from Thursday night.

Saturday morning we were able to sleep in a little later, with a 1 p.m. game against the Ayr Flames. This team was clearly not as good as the Wildcats, but the Monsters came out flat, and could not get a goal past the Flames defense. Ayr scored four times, putting Fresno in the familiar but uncomfortable position of needing another team to lose in order to make the first round of playoffs. That contest was Woolwich vs. Newmarket, and some Flames parents told us their team always loses to Woolwich, so we had high hopes, which were indeed upheld.

The quarter-final game Saturday night was against the undefeated Oakville Rangers, ranked number two in Ontario. The Rangers scored within the first minute, but the Monsters played one of their best, most intense games, keeping the score at 1-0 till late in the third. Oakville put in one more goal, but Fresno players and fans left the rink with heads held high, having held their own for most of the game against a superior team, which was also the eventual tournament champion.

This concluded the hockey portion of the trip, and players were free to eat fried food, stay up late, and generally act like normal teenagers for the rest of the evening. Since we had to allow for the possibility of a game on Sunday, that became a free day, with different families pursuing different activities, including starting the homeward trip for a few. We had done the sightseeing we wanted to do, and Mikie was content to spend much of the day on the couch watching football. Teri read, uploaded photos to Facebook, and packed, and I read, napped, worked on this report, and packed.

We had our third St. Louis Wings dinner Sunday afternoon after Teri and Mikie drove over and got wings and salad. Strangely, the restaurant did not have take-out drinks, so they went to a nearby convenience store. After making their selections, which totaled about $14, they tried to pay with US money, which had been accepted everywhere else. The proprietor told them the price would be $19 US (exchange rate was just about even at this time). They walked out and we made do with water.

The next day brought a long, tiring trip home, offset with a few pleasant times along the way. Our day started at 8 a.m. in Markham, 5 a.m. Pacific time. We picked up a quick breakfast snack in the hotel restaurant and ate in our room, then did our last minute packing and checked out. The two-hour drive back to Buffalo went very smoothly, with our route bypassing Toronto, and no slow traffic anywhere. Once across the border we filled up the gas tank and made a final stop at a Tim Horton's, of which there are a dozen or so in Niagara Falls and Buffalo.

We had a lot of time at the airport, but it seemed to pass quickly. There were five team members on our homeward flight, so the boys got to hang out together and the adults visited and read. The first leg of our flight was to Boston, about an hour, and we had some of the best views of the trip approaching that area. There were many lakes, rivers and frozen ponds. In one area I saw a large lake, with open water in the wide part above the dam, and ice on the upper narrow section.

We had a two-hour layover in Boston, with a terminal change and another trip through the security check. Once through that we had our big meal of the day. The adults scattered to various eating spots, while the boys found a pizza place. Our departure time was just after 6, so we had a great view of downtown Boston with the buildings brightly lit up.

Our flight from there was the hard part of the trip - six hours to LA. I did a lot of reading, watched a couple of comedies on the video screens, and napped a little. Mikie's only previous flying experience had been Fresno to Las Vegas, and he decided that long-distance air travel was not nearly as exciting as he had hoped. However, time passed slowly but surely, and we made our landing in LA at 9:30 Pacific time. Our scheduled departure time was 10:30, but the plane was late, and we did not take off till about 11:15. We arrived in Fresno just after midnight, and after getting our luggage, stepped out into Canadian weather - a little below freezing, with ice all over our windshields.

Teri had originally planned to have her husband bring her to the airport, and I would take them home, but she ended up driving her truck. I had taken everything out of my car to make room for our luggage. This included anything I might have had to scrape ice off the windshield, but after running the defroster for a few minutes, I made do with an Altoids tin, and got home around 1 a.m.

 

OBSERVATIONS, or A BUNCH OF STUFF THAT DOESN'T FIT NEATLY ANYWHERE ABOVE:

Fear of Flying (& airports): I've never really been afraid to fly. Like any sensible person, I'm afraid of crashing, but I've never been in any situation where there was a problem. Flying into Ontario Airport in southern California a number of years ago, we had much greater turbulence during the descent than I had ever experienced - sudden drops that seemed quite disturbing. But I observed that my more experienced fellow passengers continued their reading without concern, so I assumed all was well, as it indeed was.

More recently the big hassle of flying has been the security check, plus the need to get to the airport so long before flight time. However, the security people were fast, courteous, and efficient, and we went through security quickly at every stop (four in total). There were no real lines at any location. The only inconvenience was taking off my shoes every time, which meant a lot of bending over for my ancient back. But I increased my shoe-tying speed by about 10% on the journey. I don't know if the full body scanners we went through were the kind that "see" you naked, but I read just after our return that they are eliminating these. I'd like to think that looking at me contributed to this decision; I'm like this guy.

Flying seems to involve a lot of walking. Four of the airports we went through are huge, and even staying in the same terminal (Denver) meant a long walk from our arrival gate to our departure gate. There was a long section of moving sidewalk there, but still a lot of walking too. Even though we rode a shuttle from one terminal to another at LaGuadia, it was a long walk to get outside. In one airport we walked considerable distance along an area where a moving sidewalk is being installed, but that did us no good. In Boston we walked outside and walked quite a ways to a different terminal, and in LA we went down ramps and through connecting passageways just to stay in the same terminal. Buffalo, just slightly larger than Fresno's airport, required at least five minutes of walking to get to baggage pick-up, but at least the car rental counters were close (although requiring a quick walk out into the cold). Since I did not do my regular exercises during the trip, I accepted this as a good substitute.

 

Driving: Since Canada uses the metric system, speed limits are posted in kilometers. Years ago, driving in Mexico, I simply divided the posted number in half for miles, which is "close enough."  Modern cars all have kilometers in small numbers below the MPH numbers. We stayed at or no more than five KPH above the limit on highways. But as in the US, other cars would pass us. On the other hand, there were times when everyone seemed to be staying very close to the limit. In Markham, waiting to cross at an intersection, I saw two cars go through late on the yellow light, and one blatantly run the red. I also had to be alert in parking lots, where I twice saw cars traveling close to 30 MPH, just like at home.

In keeping with their reputation for Canadian "niceness," drivers always slow down to let you in when you need to change lanes, on city streets or freeways. The exception was the woman who was texting while driving through the construction zone in Markham. Made us feel right at home.

The Canadian families on our team told us that Canadians put their motorcycles in storage during the winter. During our time there we saw exactly one motorcycle on the road, on one of the warm, sunny days.

 

Our Hotel: Overall our hotel, Hilton Suites, was very nice. We had a separate bedroom with two double beds, a fold out sofa bed that Mikie used, kitchen with microwave and sink, coffee table, dining table, and counter space.

A breakfast buffet was included in our room price, and it was fairly good - bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, and pancakes or French toast, all pre-cooked, plus a selection of yogurt, fruit and pastry. We are spoiled by the Hilton Garden Inn in Milpitas, California, where we get eggs, pancakes and omelets cooked to order.

There was plenty of parking, which was free for us, but not for non-group customers. We were in a building separate from the main hotel, with covered parking, and were always able to find a space. There is a bridge connecting the buildings, so we could go to the lobby or to breakfast without going outdoors.

In the bathroom there was a shelf above the toilet that stuck out so far that the seat would not stay up. After holding it up every time I used it the first day, I applied some adhesive tape. Of course I un-taped it after each use for Teri's benefit. A few years ago people could go to Canada and buy toilets that still gave a powerful flush, but apparently the enviro-nannies have struck, and they have low-flush models. Worse yet is that the outlet is a little too small. At least three people in our party had to call for maintenance people to come up with a plunger.

 

Weather: Although the first day welcomed us with a 10 degree wind chill (32 degrees, 25 MPH winds), it warmed up each day after that. We had some rain Friday, but it was never bitterly cold again. By Saturday, New Brunswick and other parts of eastern Canada were buried under snow and were experiencing power outages. The prairies (Manitoba, Saskatoon, parts of Alberta) had blizzard-like conditions that made travel treacherous. California was shivering under an Arctic cold front that brought snow and road closures in the southern mountains and threatened the San Joaquin Valley citrus crops. Meanwhile, southern Ontario had record highs for January, with temperatures in the low 50s, rain some days and sunshine others. It was actually two degrees warmer there on Friday than back in Fresno. However, normality returned on Monday, January 14, with a 20 degree temperature drop in Ontario, just in time for our drive back to Buffalo.

 

Stores, Shopping, Taxes, Tips: There are a lot of familiar chain stores in the big cities, but quite a few unfamiliar names also. Future Store is like Best Buy, which also has some stores there. Tim Horton's Doughnuts is kind of like Starbucks, but we liked it better. They are just as ubiquitous, and also can be found connected to fast food places and gas stations. It's said these are not as good as the free-standing ones, and the one I went into was certainly much smaller. There is a big drugstore chain, Longo's, stirring memories of the late lamented Long's Drugs in the U.S.

Liquor laws vary from province to province. You will see stores with the sign "Beer Store." These are operated by the brewers and sell beer. Nothing else. I understand that the liquor stores in Ontario sell liquor and wine, no beer, no mix, nothing else. I believe they are operated by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. I could not really get definitive information in my on-line research.

Several restaurants we went to had hand-held machines that they bring to the table. You swipe your card, and then you can enter a tip as a dollar amount or as a percentage. The whole team went to one restaurant, where they happily provided separate checks, but added the tip. The amount was 15% of the pre-tax amount, instead of the 18% that is common in the US. The tax is significantly higher, 13% on merchandise at the HHOF and in one restaurant but 15% in another, in the same city. This amount was 15% of the bill plus the added gratuity, so who knows what's going on. Looking at my Mastercard statement on line, I observed that some places, not all,  had added a small amount to the amount on the bill, probably due to the exchange rate. And of course, my bank charged a "foreign transaction fee" on every bill. Before we left, and when I checked again on January 19, the rate was 99 cents US to one Canadian dollar. The amount added ran about 1.3%.

Gas prices were very high. When my older grandson and I were in Canada in 1998, he was impressed with the amazingly "low" prices until I explained that the amount was for a liter, about 3.8 per gallon. Gas everywhere on our trip was $1.22.something, which works out to about $4.64 per gallon.


We Look So Cool: Monsters players and families have always thought that the boys uniforms are extra cool. This belief was supported by comments received on our trip. Members of other teams commented on the jerseys, and a bunch of people complimented the players on the Silver Stick hoodies that were the official off-ice outfit. Parents in the stands also were impressed with the sweatshirts, embroidered with sparkly "Fresno Monsters" lettering, that most of the hockey moms wear. And hey, I even got a compliment on my suspenders from a female TSA agent in New York.

 

Where are the Canadians? We've been learning a lot of Canadian geography on this trip. Canada is the world's 2nd largest country in area, but the population is just 35 million, fewer than California. I would guess that 95% of them live within 50 miles of the US border, and it seems like most of them live in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). In actuality, the area population is about six million. I knew that Toronto was Canada's largest city, but I did not realize how spread out it is. Driving northeast from downtown on our way to Markham, we would go through an open, wooded area, then come to another cluster of tall buildings, which we referred to as "additional downtowns." This continued through four or five separate clusters, but I believe that many of the tall buildings are condos and apartments. Toronto itself has a population of 2.5 million, with a number of cities nearby that range from 300,000 to 700,000.

Markham, about 20 minutes from Toronto and the site of our hotel, has about 300,000, lots of traffic, lots of high rise apartment buildings, and quite a bit of construction activity, both roads and buildings.

Another 20 minutes northeast is Newmarket, location of the tournament. It is much smaller at 80,000, and also boasts some construction activity. Mississauga, a short distance west of Toronto, has 713,000, while two other nearby cities, Brampton and Hamilton, have half a million each.

And then there's Ayr. After our game against the Ayr Flames, I asked one of the parents from there where it is located, and learned that it's about 90 minutes west of Newmarket, near Kitchener. It is a village of about 3,500, and the members of their team are all local boys who have been playing hockey together since they were about five years old.

Other big population centers include Montreal, 330 miles northeast of Toronto at one and a half million; Calgary in Alberta (near the Rockies) with just over a million; Ottawa, the national capitol, at 883,000; and Edmonton, north of Calgary, with 812,000. Winnipeg in Manitoba, 220 miles straight north of Fargo ND, has 663,000 and Vancouver, B.C. logs in at 603,000. Another dozen cities have 200,000 or more. Of all these, only Edmonton is a significantly long distance from the border.



Speaking Canadian: Canadians say "oot" for "out" and end lots of sentences with "eh" - right? Well, partly. The Canadian pronunciation of words with "ou" is almost "oo," but not quite. I don't think American speakers can produce the exact sound that Canadians do. It's somewhere between "oat" and "oot," but not quite either. It's just one of those foreign pronunciations that we can't exactly match.

The use of "eh" seems to be less common, and may be a regional idiom to some extent, although Canadians move about from place to place like everyone else, so it's hard to be sure. We spoke with a number of Canadians on our trip and only heard the expression once, while watching a curling contest on TV. I was in Banff, Canada in 1998 and chatted with one man who used it every other sentence. But I don't recall hearing it from others to any great extent. I asked Mikie about it, and he didn't hear anyone say it on this trip.

 

Where Does All that Water Come From? On our trip in 1978, my daughters and I saw all five Great Lakes, as well as Niagara Falls. We didn't go to the falls this time, but several families did. And Mikie got his first look at a Great Lake, Ontario, the smallest. The thing that impresses nearly everyone when they see Niagara is the amazing volume of water, and the question frequently asked is, "Where does all that water come from?"

The surface level of Huron, Michigan, Superior and Erie is approximately the same, while Ontario is considerably lower, below the Niagara Escarpment. Water flows from Erie through the Niagara River, over the falls, and into Ontario. As to where it comes from before that, readers can do their own research.

--Dick Estel, January 2013

 

Photos (Click to enlarge; pictures open in new window) 

 

Our rental car at the hotel in Buffalo

View out the lobby window Niagara Falls (by Amy Perez)

Our rental car at the hotel in Buffalo

View out the lobby window Niagara Falls (by Amy Perez)
 
Toronto, CN Tower on right Downtown Toronto Construction at Front and Bay
Toronto, CN Tower on right Downtown Toronto Construction at Front and Bay
 
Great Lakes and Greater Toronto Area The Hockey Hall of Fame Mikie in front of the Hall

Great Lakes and Greater Toronto Area

The Hockey Hall of Fame Mikie in front of the Hall
 
Display for Grandson Johnny's team and Dick's team Vintage Penguins jersey from 1968-67 season Mikie is a huge Colorado Avalanche fan
Display for Grandson Johnny's team and Dick's team Vintage Penguins jersey from 1968-67 season Mikie is a huge Colorado Avalanche fan
 
And Teri avidly follows the Detroit Red Wings Simulated Montreal Canadiens Dressing Room Part of a video display honoring all the current team captains
And Teri avidly follows the Detroit Red Wings Simulated Montreal Canadiens Dressing Room Part of a video display honoring all the current team captains
 
Boston jersey worn by Eddie Shore, who played from 1926 to 1940 Eddie's helmet The Seattle Metropolitans were the first US team to win the Stanley Cup, back in 1917
Boston jersey worn by Eddie Shore, who played from 1926 to 1940 Eddie's helmet The Seattle Metropolitans were the first US team to win the Stanley Cup, back in 1917
 
Yes, there is ice hockey in India Stained glass dome above the Hall of Honor, where plaques for each inductee are displayed The original Stanley Cup, first awarded in 1893
Yes, there is ice hockey in India Stained glass dome above the Hall of Honor, where plaques for each inductee are displayed The original Stanley Cup, first awarded in 1893
 
The current version of the Stanley Cup Monsters in the Hall: Mike Perez, Mikie Liddle, Andrew Pellegrino Our hotel, Hilton Suites in Markham

The current version of the Stanley Cup

Monsters in the Hall: Mike Perez, Mikie Liddle, Andrew Pellegrino Our hotel, Hilton Suites in Markham
 
Construction on Highway 7 in Markham Huge Canadian flag on a windy day Snow along the road between Markham and Newmarket

Construction on Highway 7 in Markham

Huge Canadian flag on a windy day

Snow along the road between Markham and Newmarket
 
Another snowy scene Monsters checking out the competition Ready to go on the ice against the Newmarket Redmen
Another snowy scene Monsters checking out the competition Ready to go on the ice against the Newmarket Redmen
 
In action against the Redmen The puck comes Mikie's way for an attempted shot... ...but gets deflected away by an Oakville Rangers defender
In action against the Redmen The puck comes Mikie's way for an attempted shot... ...but gets deflected away by an Oakville Rangers defender
 
A puck battle along the boards The team's final salute to their fans Hockey moms & grandma:  Karen Prichard, Kathy Smythe,  Teri Liddle ,  Angela Errotabere ,  Christi Achee
A puck battle along the boards The team's final salute to their fans Hockey moms & grandma: Karen Prichard, Kathy Smythe, Teri Liddle, Angela Errotabere, Christi Achee
 
Sparkly lettering on the hockey mom sweatshirt Dick and Karen model their custom-made hoodies And the view from the front
Sparkly lettering on the hockey mom sweatshirt Dick and Karen model their custom-made hoodies And the view from the front
 
Related Links
 
Fresno Monsters NORCAL league International Silver Stick
Newmarket More about Newmarket Toronto
More about Toronto Tim Horton Tim Horton’s Doughnuts
Ontario Lake Ontario Yonge Street
Markham Hockey Hall of Fame Hall of Fame Video
 
Canadian Flag

Downtown Toronto

Mikie in front of the Hall

 
Travel Reports
   
Before 2002     2002     2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008

2009    2010    2011    2012     2013     2014     2015     2016     2017     Other

   
Before 2002
Early Trips Later Trips
Camping Trips Backpacking Trips
1961 Monterey Jazz Festival Bluegrass Odyssey
   
Multi-Year Compilations
Fresno Area Canal Walks Clovis Trail Walks
   
2002
Journey of 2002 (Ohio & Back) Logandale & Utah Parks 2002
   
2003
Arizona & Bluegrass on the River 2003 Grand Canyon & Logandale Bluegrass 2003
Parkfield & Huck Finn 2003 Early Frog Camps (2003-2005)
   
2004
Paso Robles & Parkfield 2004 Road Trip 2004 (Ohio & Back)
Bullhead City Bluegrass, Mesa, Superstition Bluegrass 2004 Bluegrass in the Foothills 2004
   
2005
Arizona-Southern California 2005 Huck Finn Bluegrass 2005
Morro Bay 2005 Stargazer Rock Camp 2005
Parkfield Bluegrass 2005    
   
2006
Huck Finn Bluegrass 2006 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2006
Rock Creek Non-Camp Stargazer Rock Camp 2006
Parkfield Bluegrass 2006 Oregon 2006
Bluegrass in the Foothills 2006    
   
2007
Bullhead City, Bakersfield, Joshua Tree 2007 Frog Camp 2007
Eastern Sierra Journey 2007 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2007
Stargazer Rock Camp 2007 Roundup #1
(Mother Lode; Kings Canyon, Yosemite)
Bluegrass in the Foothills 2007    
   
2008
Nevada-Arizona Hockey & Bluegrass 2008 Parkfield Bluegrass 2008
Frog Camp 2008 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2008
Stargazer Rock Camp 2008 Bluegrass in the Foothills 2008
Hobbs Grove Festival 2008     
   
2009
Roundup 2009
Las Vegas, Mariposa, Table Mountain, Orange County
Frog Camp 2009 Southern Journey 2009
Parkfield Bluegrass 2009 Stargazer Rock Camp 2009
Bluegrass Tour 2009
Brown Barn, Plymouth, Hobbs Grove
Hensley Lake Camp
   
2010
Mojave National Preserve & Havasu Bluegrass Roundup 2010
Hensley Reservoir, Mojave Preserve 2 & 3
Parkfield Bluegrass 2010 Lake Almanor & Mt. Lassen 2010
Las Vegas Expo Summergrass
    Brown Barn, Watsonville & Hobbs Grove
   
2011
Roundup 2011
Mariposa, Hensley, Table Mountain
Frog Camp 2011
Parkfield Bluegrass 2011 Frank, Pat, Dick & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Northern Coast Journey 2011 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2011
Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival Chilkoot & Stargazer Rock Camp
Kings River & Brown Barn Bluegrass Festivals Hensley Camp 2011
    
2012 
Parkfield Bluegrass 2012 Four Squaw Leap Hikes
Northern Coast Journey 2012 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2012
Stargazer Rock Camp 2012 Bluegrass in the Foothills 2012
A 3-Event Weekend
Farmer's Market, Kings River Bluegrass, Antique Fair
2012 Las Vegas CAN AM Hockey Challenge
Fall Hikes
Finegold Trail; Bower Cave
Into Los Gatos Canyon
  
2013
Silver Stick Tournament - Canada Sierra Foothills - Winter 2013
Finegold Trailhead, Hensley Lake, San Joaquin Gorge
Death Valley - Alabama Hills - Whitney Portal Sierra Foothills - Spring 2013
San Joaquin Gorge Hike, Big Creek Drive
Parkfield Bluegrass 2013 Shaver Crossing Station & Big Creek
Lake Almanor & Caribou Crossroads Mono Hot Springs
Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival A Wedding in Duluth
Sequoia Park Hiking Roundup 2013
Kings River Bluegrass, Buena Vista Peak Hike, Hensley Lake Camp, North Fork Mono Museum, White Rock Road, Hockey in Denver
     
2014
2014 Winter Hikes
Millerton South Bay Trail, Clovis Trail, Hite's Cove Trail
San Joaquin Gorge Campout
Colorado Springs Hockey Tournament Lake Havasu Bluegrass
2014 Spring Hikes
Stockton Creek Preserve, San Joaquin River Trail, San Joaquin Gorge, Millerton Lake, Sycamore Creek, Buena Vista Peak Again
NORCAL Hockey Playoffs and Santa Cruz Visit
Greeley Hill Road Trip Parkfield Bluegrass 2014
Journey of 2014 Journey of 2014 Photos
Nelder Grove Hikes 2014 Sentinel Dome Hike
2014 Fall & Winter Hikes
San Joaquin River Trail South & North, Red Rock Canyon Nevada, San Joaquin South Again
California Flat Campout
Snow Day with the  Upshaw's   
 
2015
Rambler Hikes 2015 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2015 Part 2
Adventures of 2015 - February to May
(Goofy Smith Flat, Coast Redwoods & Big Sur, Pine Flat, Finegold Trail, Edison Point Trail, Nelder Grove)
Adventures of 2015 - June to December
(Lewis Creek Trail, Kaiser Pass, Kaiser Pass Again, Taft Point, Kings River Bluegrass, Shaver Logging Road, San Joaquin River Trail, Lewis S Eaton Trail, San Joaquin River Gorge, Thanksgiving at the Gorge)
Lake Tahoe & Virginia City Parkfield Bluegrass 2015
Colorado Springs Cousin Convention 2015 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2015
Stargazer Rock Camp 2015 Grand Canyon & Arches National Parks
  
2016
Adventures of 2016 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2016 Page 1
Adventures of 2016 Part 2 Rambler Hikes 2016 Page 2
Adventures of 2016 Part 3 Rambler Hikes 2016 Page 3
Adventures of 2016 Part 4 A Pennsylvania Adventure
Adventures of 2016 Part 5 Parkfield Bluegrass 2016
Adventures of 2016 Part 6 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2016
Adventures of 2016 Part 7 Stargazer Rock Camp 2016
     
2017
Adventures of 2017 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2017 Page 1
Adventures of 2017 Part 2 Rambler Hikes 2017 Page 2
Adventures of 2017 Part 3 Rambler Hikes 2017 Page 3
Adventures of 2017 Part 4 Hiking and Hockey
Parkfield Bluegrass 2017 Stargazer Rock Camp 2017
Other
Fresno Area Canal Walks Clovis Trail Walks
Butch's Blog Walker Family Trips
Parkfield Earthquake Kim & Morgan Brown Trips & Photos
Travel Report Menu Estel Home Page
Photo Albums Slide Shows
Laurie Lewis' High Sierra Hikes Email
   
 

Updated September 24, 2015