July 18 – CN Tower and Legislative Assembly of Ontario

The drive from Brantford to Toronto was quite busy but uneventful. Finally we visited the CN Tower for views of the city and surrounding areas.

After flying for so many years the views from the tower seemed less interesting than they might have been earlier.

 

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario was about a 30 minute walk up University Avenue. I hadn’t realized how many hospitals and medical facilities were located on University Avenue.

We had one of the security guards as our photographer for the shots with the Canada Flag.

The drive back to Brantford was over two hours and reaffirmed that I don’t miss the workday commute.

Joining us for dinner with Lyn and Randy was Hector, our long time friend. Hector was on of my first passengers in a Piper Colt in the late ’60s. We had several flights to Niagara Falls and around the Niagara Peninsula, and Hector always liked to do spins.

 

July 17 – V. F. R. – Visiting Friends and Relatives

We spent a few days taking a break from the travelling and flying to spend a little time in Ontario where Valerie and I were grew up. With Canada being such a big country and people moving from place to place, it’s always worthwhile spending time catching up with friends and relatives.

We met with Valerie’s brother Bill, and Provie, for a nostalgic tour of the Hamilton / Burlington area, driving past houses and neighbour hoods of years long past. It was then off to Mother Tucker’s where we ate far to much, again.

We enjoyed a real tasty beer can chicken dinner with my niece Lyn, and Randy, for a much appreciated relaxing low-key evening.

Valerie connected with her cousin Randi, and her friend Eddy, who she hadn’t seen in 40 years and was able to link up through Facebook.

I connected with someone I taught to fly 37 years ago in Hamilton when I was working as a flight instructor. Life happens and after being away from flying for many years, Dave has returned to aviation and is the proud owner of a Commander 114.

After getting the Arrow fuelled and ready to continue the journey we spent the remainder of the day with my older brother Eric, and Joanne, reflecting on the past, sharing the present, and wondering about the future.

 

July 13 – Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site

 

We are staying in Brantford, ON with my niece, Lyn, and today we visited the National Historic Site for Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone.

The Bell family home in Brantford, Ontario
Historic plaque at the site

Alexander was the middle of three sons. His parents emigrated from Scotland after loosing several family members to tuberculosis; their oldest son and his son, and their youngest son.

This round table was the only furniture that the Bell family brought with them from Scotland.
The conservatory/green house. Mrs. Bell started her plants and herbs to transplant to the garden in the spring.
A pleasant place to have a cool glass of lemonade in the summer.

Alexander developed his ideas and prototype for the telephone while living in this house with his parents.

Replicas of early prototypes of the telephone

By chance, we had the pleasure of meeting a descendent of Alexander Graham Bell who was visiting from Boston, MA; the Great, Great Granddaughter of Alexander, Elsie Myers Martin. Elsie explained her family connection and we then toured the facility with Elsie and her husband (our photographer).

Bob, Lyn, Elsie, tour guide, Valerie

July 12 – A Flying Day – Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie to Brantford

Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie

Our flight was VFR and our routing was following the north shore of Lake Superior around to Sault Ste. Marie. The weather continued to be rather poorly as we passed Marathon and Wawa. With the continued poor and lower conditions I picked up an IFR clearance for the remainder of the flight to Sault Ste. Marie.

Sault Ste. Marie to Brantford

With the continued poor weather and forecast lower ceilings and visibility at our destination, I filed an IFR flight plan for our next leg. The flight was at 11,000 feet and almost entirely in visual conditions. We had a few good bumps the some rather heavy rain for a couple of minutes. Getting closer to destination we began our descent and passing through about 10,000 we broke out of the clouds and left all of the poor weather behind us. It was a welcoming sight to see the familiar cities, town and terrain of the area where I grew up. The RNAV approach into Brantford completed this leg after crossing two thirds of Canada. Time for a few day of V.F. R. – visiting friends and relatives.

July 11 – St. Andrews to Thunder Bay

We were staying in a hotel in downtown Winnipeg so it was a long taxi ride from downtown Winnipeg to St. Andrews Airport. The aircraft had been parked on a grassy/gravelly area and it had rained overnight so when we pulled the aircraft out of the parking area the tires were covered with some mud and gravel. The young man looking after aircraft fuelling kindly washed the tires so that they would be clean for retracting after takeoff and not cause any problem with the landing gear mechanism.

The flying school at St. Andrews, Harvs Air, is training 16 Air Cadets for their Private Pilot Licence this summer. I met with then at noon for a casual briefing regarding our Canada 150 flight across the country and their training, the same training I had for my pilot licence as an Air Cadet 50 years ago. It was then outside for a photo in front of the Arrow with the Canada Flag.

Winnipeg is on the eastern edge of the prairies and about 15 to 20 minutes after departure the terrain transitioned from prairie to lake country,

I was able to capture our flight crossing the border from Manitoba to Ontario. Here is a screen shot of Foreflight on my iPad and a couple of photos to our left and right.

 

Crossing the Manitoba / Ontario boarder looking south
Crossing the Manitoba / Ontario boarder looking north.

The weather was rather poorly throughout the flight with Marginal VFR conditions. There was a hotel real close to the airport and with the poor weather it was time to call it a day.

 

July 11 – Manitoba Legislature

The aviator in front of the Manitoba Legislature Building

This morning we woke to a rainy misty city that called for a quiet breakfast at Tim Horton’s.

We went on the Manitoba Legislature Building to meet with Dwayne Marlin who works as a Special Assistant in the Ministers Office of Growth, Enterprise and Trade.

Manitoba Legislature Building

Mr. Marlin met us on the grounds of the legislature then took us inside the legislature for photos and a tour of the building.

Mr. Dwayne Marlin and his colleague on the steps of the Grand Staircase

 

In the Rotunda displaying the flags of Canada from the Vikings to the present.

This legislature building was constructed with a vision for the future and space to accommodate many varied government functions.

The wide hallways throughout the building reflect the vision of the

July 10 – Regina to St. Andrews

With the aircraft out of the shop we were loaded and on our way by late afternoon. A couple of hours later we landed at St. Andrews and it was time to tie down the aircraft. The airport is to the north of Winnipeg by quite a distance with limited transportation options. A kind offer by Marcel was readily accepted to drive us downtown to our hotel. After such a late flight we satisfied our hunger with a bowl of soup at a nice delicatessen across the street from the hotel.

July 9 – Corner Gas

We had driven from Regina to Moose Jaw on the Trans-Canada Highway so I thought it a good idea to take a different route back to Regina and our hotel. We headed off down the country roads and boy were they ever straight and flat. I was beginning to think that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

Canola fields stretching to the horizon in all directions.

By chance, we came across the little village of Rouleau, SK. This place was the site of the sit-com Corner Gas. 

The Dog River Hotel continues to operate as a hotel and restaurant.

 

A lot of good times at the Howler.
The Corner Gas Dog River Hotel was an important part of the series, so significant there is a plaque recognizing the very successful Television series.

We even had a quick stop at the restaurant where an old fellow was sweeping up as he likely has done so for hundreds or thousands of times.

The restaurant is still open for business.

The set has been torn down but several of the buildings used in production were easily identified. 

The television set has been torn down and these signs give an idea of what was here and entertained us for several years.

An interesting bit of Canadiana for sure.

 

July 9 – Moose Jaw – Snowbirds

Moose Jaw is home to the Royal Canadian Air Force Air Demonstration team – the Snowbirds. The base is a few miles out of town and after a short dive were at the main gate.

Entrance to the base at Moose Jaw

While taking a few photos a man came by and we started chatting about the base and about our trip with the Canada flag. It turns out that he is Sergeant J. Weber who happened to be in charge of the gate house and he offered to raise our flag on the flag pole. What a great idea!  It turn out that his folks are from Chilliwack, BC.

Our Canada flag up the pole at Moose Jaw Guard House.

The on-duty Corporal A. Vallieres raised the flag in short order. Another person came by and chatted about the flag and our trip; Company Warrant Officer M. Blain who happened to be driving by. After many years in the military he is retiring and in just a few day he will be out of the military and back to being a normal citizen. They all were so pleasant to talk to and wished us a safe journey.

With Sergeant J. Weber and Warrant Officer m. BlainThe base at Moose Jaw is home to CAE and the training program for many NATO nations’ pilots. The program is referred to as the NATO Flight Training in Canada.

 

Training centre operated by CAE for many NATO nations

This hangar has been the home for the Snowbirds for many, many years. When the team is not on the air show circuit you can usually find them here.

Home of the Snowbirds aircraft

There is always room for an airplane on a pedestal.

Tutor on display at Moose Jaw

Just outside the base the highways proudly display these signs.

Even the provincial highways celebrate the Snowbirds