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Saturday 30 December 2017

Hotel de Glace (Hotel of Ice)

Hôtel de Glace sculpté dans la glace.

Location: Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, Quebec, Canada
Address:  1860 Boulevard Valcartier
Date: Feb 2010
Website: www.hoteldeglace-canada.com

  The Hotel de Glace or The Ice Hotel is located just north of Quebec City.  It is built out of snow and ice each December and guests can start spending the night in January.  The hotel continues to be built and by February it is complete.  Then come April it is demolished before it melts away.  The next December the whole process starts again.

Stairs Down To The Ice Hotel.

   We were brave enough to spend one night inside the hotel, but most visitors come just for a brief daytime visit to see the ice sculpted rooms.  We will discuss our overnight stay in another blog post.  First let us take a tour of how the hotel looked in 2010.

Ice Hotel Floor Plan.

  The green section in the floor plan (above) was built by January 4th.  The red section was built by January 12th and the final blue section was finished January 19th.

Furry Front Doors.

  We entered through the fur covered front doors.

Igloo Room.

   The first room we entered was the Igloo Room.  It had a tall curved ceiling.

Ice Chandelier.

  An ice chandelier hung from the ceiling as tourists roamed the Grand Hall area.

Everything is on the rocks.

The Ice Bar had tables made of ice and huge ice pillars holding back the thick snow roof.

Fire & Ice.

  It also had a fireplace to help you forget that it was -30 degrees outside and below freezing inside.

The Ice Slide.

  A slippery ice slide was set up in a corner and grown-ups took turns acting like children as they played in the snow.

A Long Icy Hallway.

  A long hallway of snow and ice leads to the special hotel rooms.  We spent our night in a basic room, but the special rooms are a highlight of the hotel.  Each room has its own theme.

Ocean Room.

  There was an ocean room with whales carved into the walls.

Eclipse Room.

An eclipse room where it looked like you could reach out and touch the sky.

Mermaid Room.

A room with a mermaid watching over you while you sleep.

Rose Room.

A rose room with a pink glow and flowers carved into the snow and ice.

Greek Room.

A Greek room complete with statues and pillars.

Bear Behind The Bed.
Blue Ice.
Totem Room.
Wall Carving Room.
Sloped Roof Bedroom.

Above are some other highlights from the various rooms we visited.

Ice Chapel.

Just behind the hotel is the ice chapel.  There have been many visitors to the Hotel de Glace who have chosen a chilly start to their new life together.  Many weddings have been held here each year since the hotel first opened in 2001.  Each year the chapel melts away with the rest of the hotel and is reborn with a new look the next year.

Etched Ice Chapel Window.

  The chapel had a beautiful etched ice window at the back.  The entire Ice Hotel with its carvings and coloured lights is quite a sight to see.  Spending the night inside the hotel is a different story.  We will continue with that story in our next post.

Map of Our World
Hotel de Glace

Post # 202

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Kringlewood Drive

Welcome To Kringlewood.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: Inglewood Drive
Date: Dec 2016

  For a number of years now, the residents of Inglewood Drive in Toronto have placed giant inflatable Santas on their front lawns.  It has become a Christmas tradition in the neighbourhood and more residents seem to take part each year.

Lots of Santa Clauses?

  We decided to take a drive and see this group of Santa ...Clauses?  We are not sure what the plural of Santa Claus should be as we usually only deal with one at a time.

Merry Christmas To All.

  Each Santa is close to 14 feet tall so they tower over you as you head down the snowy street.  We enjoyed seeing all of the Santas.  Despite the fact that they were all exactly the same product, we started to notice some differences.

Huggy Santa.

  This Santa Claus was bending over and reaching out as if he wanted to give you a hug.  Either that or his back had given out from standing in the front yard all day.  We think it was to give out hugs.

Santa & Frosty.

  This Santa had a snowman friend to keep him company. 

And To All A Good Night.

  This last Santa was already napping on the job and it wasn't even Christmas yet.  Santa can get his rest on Boxing Day and until then you can enjoy Inglewood Drive (aka Kringlewood).

Map of Our World
Kringlewood Drive

Post # 201

Sunday 10 December 2017

Land of 1000 Delights

Mechanical Polar Bear.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 176 Yonge Street.
Date: Dec 2016
Website: www.saksfifthavenue.com

  Saks Fifth Avenue has taken over part of the Hudson's Bay store on Queen Street in Toronto.  This is because Hudson's Bay now owns Saks.  It also means that besides the popular Christmas windows at The Bay, we get more decorated windows along Yonge Street.  We visited the Saks windows in 2016. Welcome to the Land of 1000 Delights.

Ermine Security Guards.

  The first windows we encountered were not yet part of the Land of 1000 Delights.  The first window featured a polar bear who was running like the mechanism of a clock. The second contained a group of ermine.  An ermine is a stoat in its winter coat.  A stoat is a type of weasel.   The animals looked as if they had been hired to guard the purses in the displays.  It is not uncommon for there to be a $4000 price tag on a purse at Saks so the store could be testing out new security measures.

And now finally, the Land of 1000 Delights.

Lollipop Lollipop Oh lolly lolly lolly.

  The first lady we encountered was Lady Lollipop.  She was covered from head to toe in swirly lollipops.  Many children sport a similar look when eating lollipops.  A few licks of the lollipop and ...ooops!  Next thing you know you have a lollipop stuck to the edge of your Christmas dress.

Run run as fast as you can.  You can't catch me I'm Lebkuchen Woman.

  Up next was Baroness Lebkuchen.  Lebkuchen is a German baked good similar to gingerbread.  We have never knowingly tried lebkuchen, but now we will have to get our hands on some.  We were only at window number two and already getting hungry.

Countess De Limon is a-peel-ing.

Countess De Limon was the next lady arriving with zest.  She had slices of lemons, oranges and limes.  We suspect it was candied fruit all covered in sugary syrup.

Pass the Duchy on the left hand side.

  A deep purple display contained the Duchess De Chocolate.  This was definitely our style.  We imagined we were unwrapping some gold and purple foil covered, dark chocolates.

Crackers is Whackers.

  The Queen of The Christmas Crackers was ready to start things off with a bang.  We imagine her dress was entirely filled with bad jokes, paper crowns and if you were lucky, a fortune teller fish.  When she finally pulls her dress off expect to smell something burning and find little bits of paper and prizes everywhere.  Check the cranberry sauce just in case.

A sweet entrance.

  Mademoiselle Macaron was making a sweet entrance.  She had some of the tasty meringue and almond based treats along the edge of her dress.  Those macarons wouldn't last long if there wasn't a glass window between us.  Excusez-moi!

Princess Patty.

  Little Princess Peppermint was twirling and swirling in her window.  She had a dress made of traditional  red and white candy canes.
The Empress Impresses.

The highest royal titles are those of Emperor and Empress.  This next window contains Empress Gingerbread.  She ranks much higher than the Baroness, Duchess and even the Princess and Queen in the other windows.  We do enjoy gingerbread during the holidays, but as we mentioned before we have yet to try lebkuchen.

A Sweet Treat.

  The final window featured the Marchioness of Confections cutting a candy rug.  A Marchioness is the equivalent of a Marquess.  She ranks lower than a Duchess, but higher than a Countess.  She was covered in all sorts of sweet treats.  We enjoyed our walk through the Land of 1000 Delights.  Now get out of our way as we are headed to the lower level of The Bay where they have their candy department.

This location is near Queen subway. Visit other Toronto TTC stations.

Map of Our World
Saks Christmas Windows

Post # 200

Thursday 30 November 2017

Heart's Content Cable Station

Heart's Content Cable Station.

Location: Heart's Content, Newfoundland, Canada
Address:  NL-80
Date: June 2017
Website: www.seethesites.ca

  In these days of cellphones and unlimited internet access it is hard for some to imagine a time when communication was a luxury.  Transmitting a message from Canada to Europe used to be an impossibility.  A small town in Newfoundland played a big part in making the impossible a reality.  We visited Heart's Content to see where history was made.

The First Atlantic Telegraph Cable.

  Across the road from the Heart's Content Cable Station are a few monuments which explain how it all came to be. 

Glad To Grasp Your Hand Uncle John.  Happy To See And Greet You Jonathan.

  In 1858 there was an attempt to lay a cable for transmitting telegraph messages between Newfoundland and Ireland.  The photo above shows the two nations shaking hands.  Two steam boats, the Niagara and the Agamemnon met and joined the cable.  Messages were sent between Queen Victoria and President Buchanan, but the cable failed shortly afterwards.

4300 KM of Cable.

  A huge ship called the SS Great Eastern was built.  It was designed to be a cruise ship and could hold 4000 passengers.  It proved to be too expensive and too big to keep operating as an ocean liner.  It found new life as a cable layer since it could hold the 4300 km of cable needed to make the cross-Atlantic attempt once more.

The Arrival Of The Atlantic Cable.

  This time the attempt was a success.  There was now a cable between Heart's Content and Valencia Ireland.  With the telegraphic cable in place, Heart's Content became a busy communications hub and life was very good there.

The Cable Enters Here.

Entrance To The Cable Operating Room.

    Inside the station we visited the cable operating room.  It was filled with equipment used for transmitting and receiving messages.  At the peak of its operations, it also would have been filled with staff handling the equipment.

Multiplex Switchboard Cabinet.

  There would have been operators switching cables to make connections as well as groups transmitting or re-transmitting messages.

Western Union Morse Code Sheet.
 Morse Code.

  They would have transmitted these messages using morse code.  Above is an original morse code sheet as well as a re-typed one to make it easier for visitors to read.  See if you can use the information above to decipher this message.
-... . - - . .-.   --- -.   ...- .- -.-. .- - .. --- -.

Submerged Submerged Repeater Repeater.

  In order to get the messages across the Atlantic Ocean, there are submerged repeaters which do just what their name implies.  They take a message received and repeat it.  This keeps the signal strong and allows it to be more easily interpreted at the opposite end.

More Cables.

  More and more cables were added to the network and the Heart's Content cable station ran until 1965 when newer technologies made it obsolete.  The station now stands as a reminder of how it changed the world.

Cable Box.

   The box above is where the cables entered the station.

Between England And The Continent.

    From there they ran towards the water where a morse code plaque reads "Between England and the continent".

Rusty Cables.
 Cables Reach Out To The Water.

  On the beach across the road some of the cables still remain.

Heart's Content Lighthouse.

  From there the cables headed across the ocean floor past the Heart's Content candy striped lighthouse and into the open ocean.  Somewhere thousands of miles away the message was received.  An amazing feat for its time.

Map of Our World
Heart's Content Cable Station

Post # 199