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Adventure

Lac La Biche


With an abundance of space, Lac La Biche Region is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of life. Relax, restore and rejuvenate in the laid-back lifestyle of lake country. There are a variety of accommodation providers from hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, cabins, tipis, trappers’ tents or bring your RV/camping equipment and …Read More
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With an abundance of space, Lac La Biche Region is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of life. Relax, restore and rejuvenate in the laid-back lifestyle of lake country. There are a variety of accommodation providers from hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, cabins, tipis, trappers’ tents or bring your RV/camping equipment and set up your own oasis. Of course, if you are craving some retail therapy there are many unique shops throughout the hamlets of Lac La Biche and Plamondon.

Imagine breathing in the fresh air with the smell of evergreens and water surrounding you as you explore and adventure in the outdoors. Lac La Biche Region is home to the Lakeland Provincial Park which is home to Alberta’s backcountry canoe circuit. Challenge yourself to paddle and portage through the Lakeland Canoe Circuit for your next outdoor adventure.

The long history of cultural diversity of Lac La Biche Region provides the perfect opportunity to experience different cultures activities and foods. When you visit you are encouraged to immerse yourself to your level of comfort be it visiting a museum like the Mission Historical Site, learning to make a lean-to with John from Hideaway Adventures, or enjoying some dumplings and a brew at the Fat Unicorn Brewery.

Visit Lac La Biche Region to make new connections and create lifelong memories.

Enter to win a two-night three day get-a-way in Lac La Biche.

Itinerary FYI

Day One

Travel

Stop at Metis Crossing in the morning

Late afternoon/overnight arrive at Hideaway Adventure. Experience the Metis culture and overnight in Trappers tent

Day Two

Museum Tours LLBC (Plamondon, Mission, Lac La Biche)

Dinner at Fat Unicorn Brewery

Overnight at hotel

Day Three

Kayak ½ day

Lunch at golf course

Travel home

Enter Here:

https://www.laclabichecounty.com/come-visit-us/lac-la-biche-region-2020-contest/

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Northeast of Edmonton


Fun and quirky sites–and sights–for physically distanced day trips While COVID-19 has put a stop to many summer vacations, there is no reason to be totally housebound this summer. There are still things to do and see within a short drive of the area. The areas north, east, and northeast of the city are home …Read More
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Fun and quirky sites–and sights–for physically distanced day trips

While COVID-19 has put a stop to many summer vacations, there is no reason to be totally housebound this summer. There are still things to do and see within a short drive of the area. The areas north, east, and northeast of the city are home to an array of unusual, memorable, and fun roadside attractions. Most of them are viewable from within a family vehicle, but as long as you maintain proper physical distancing, you can get closer–and enjoy some photo ops! 

10 excursion options for your summer day-tripping 

Lac La Biche David Thompson statue

The 3.6-metre-tall statue on the lake shore was built to commemorate Lac La Biche’s bicentennial and to recognize David Thompson’s landing on the shores of the lake–a French translation from the Cree moniker of “Lake of the Elk.” Thompson was the first European to reach the shores of Lac La Biche, arriving in 1798 while searching for the elusive Northwest Passage.

St. Paul UFO Landing Pad

You will see this landmark–the world’s first UFO landing pad–as you enter St. Paul from the west. It was built in 1967 and at its grand opening that June, St. Paul was declared the Centennial Capital of Canada. Located next door is a tourist information centre. The pad’s been a boon for tourism, including a few international UFO conferences.

Mundare Sausage Monument

You can’t miss the world’s largest sausage when driving through Mundare. It sticks out like a...big sausage. The 42-foot-tall statue is a tribute to Stawnichy’s Meat Processing, a family-run sausage factory founded in 1959 that is famous for its kielbasa. However, it’s not likely the family has ever produced a sausage as big as this one: it is over 5,443 kilos (12,000 lbs.) and made of brown fiberglass. 

Vegreville Pysanka Monument

The Vegreville egg makes for an iconic photo backdrop. Located, appropriately enough, at 4500 Pysanka Avenue, the Ukrainian-style Easter egg was designed by artist Paul Maxum Sembaliuk and was unveiled in 1975. An intricate set of two-dimensional aluminum tiles make up the geometric patterns (524 hexagonal stars and 2,208 equilateral triangles, in case anyone wants to keep count) over an aluminum frame. Hey, a snow shaker replica of the Pysanka even made it into an episode of The X-Files.

Vilna Mushroom Monument

The sculpture known as World’s Largest Mushrooms is located in the village of Vilna, just a block away from Main Street. The gargantuan fungi may look like something out of Alice in Wonderland, but is actually a giant replica of the tricholoma uspale mushroom which grows wild in the area and is often used as an ingredient in regional dishes. Mushroom hunting has been a tradition in Vilna since Ukrainian settlers arrived in the early 1900s. 

Glendon Pyrogy Monument

If you love the doughy dumpling, you won’t want to miss seeing the World’s Largest Pyrogy in Glendon, on Highway 28. You won’t need a fork–the 8.2 metre sculpture which weighs 2,721 kilograms is already mounted on one, to make it more recognizable. It’s fiberglass with a metal frame and was built in 1991. 

Andrew Mallard Monument

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it might be a testament to the sculpture of a mallard with a wingspan of 23 feet (7.2 metres). Weighing in at one tonne, the mallard was built in the village of Andrew to commemorate the wetlands areas in the district. It comes as no surprise that the area is a popular breeding ground for mallards. No actual mallards have ever been reported as being this size, however. 

Smoky Lake Pumpkin Park

Smoky Lake’s Pumpkin Park features a sculpture of seven large pumpkins. They’re not oversized, but replicas of winning entries from the town’s annual Great White North Pumpkin Fair and Weigh-Off that’s a must-see event for gourd fanatics. They’ve had a number 

gigantic winners, including one weighing in at 854.5 kilos (1,884 lbs.), a site record since 2017.

Bonnyville Splash Park giant moose shower

Not many kids can claim to shower beneath a giant water-spewing moose, but then not everyone lives by Bonnyville Splash Park, where the antlered behemoth is visible to spectators up to several blocks away. It’s probably the most unique aspect of the splash park, and if you have kids, they will get a kick out of it. The park is also located near some walking and biking trails if you’re up for more recreational activity.

Cold Lake 4 Wing Gateway Park

If you feel like making the trip up to Cold Lake, a visit to the 4 Wing Gateway Park offers a number of aircraft on mounted display in striking poses near the roadway. You can park and gaze at such legendary fighter jets as the CF-5 Freedom Fighter and the CT-133 Silver Star, located outside Cold Lake Air Force Museum. If the museum’s open, more nifty displays await.

[post_title] => Northeast of Edmonton [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => northeast-of-edmonton [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-06-02 13:45:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-06-02 19:45:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.summercity.ca/?p=13970 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [_excerpt] => Fun and quirky sites–and sights–for physically distanced day trips While COVID-19 has put a stop to many summer vacations, there is no reason to be totally housebound this summer. There are still things to do and see within a short drive of the area. The areas north, east, and northeast of the city are home … ) 1

Urban Foraging


A growing movement toward wild-harvested food has no trouble seeing the forest for the trees. “Production right now is relatively minor, but in two or three years we’re going to start seeing our first flush of fruit,” remarks Kenton Zerbin, permaculture teacher and consultant. Zerbin is referring to the St. Albert Community Food Forest, the …Read More
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A growing movement toward wild-harvested food has no trouble seeing the forest for the trees.

“Production right now is relatively minor, but in two or three years we’re going to start seeing our first flush of fruit,” remarks Kenton Zerbin, permaculture teacher and consultant. Zerbin is referring to the St. Albert Community Food Forest, the first of its kind in town.

Together with local urban agriculture enthusiasts, Zerbin designed this site using permaculture techniques, an approach to growing food that mimics the design of natural ecosystems for self-sufficiency. He estimates that in five-to-seven years the forest will reach its capacity, offering a safe nutritious source of edibles such as plums, red currants, gooseberries, haskap berries, saskatoons, comfrey, and more. And lots of it—free for whoever wants it.

Ripe for the Picking

Food forestry and permaculture might be unfamiliar concepts to many, but they’re part of a growing realization that cities are chock full of potential when it comes to food. It’s literally all around us—in city parks, in the woods, alongside rivers and roadways. Numerous books detail the variety of edible fruit, plant, and mushroom species available in Central Alberta—much of it on public land, available to anyone with a bucket and a little know-how.

The appeal of urban foraging is understandable, as any trip to the grocery store will uncover. Healthy food ain’t cheap. In 2013, the Edmonton Community Foundation reported that food costs had risen by more than double the overall inflation rate over the past 10 years. Food prices are notoriously volatile—in 2018 the Edmonton Food Bank distributed more than $22,000,000 worth of food. 

A World of Foraging Possibilities

On paper, it seems there’s little stopping us from getting out there and taking advantage of the cornucopia of produce growing wild all around us, but obstacles exist. The first is knowing where to look. Cue the Internet, where maps have been popping up pinpointing precise locations of fruit trees and other edible plants around the world. 

The biggest roadblock, however, is probably time and energy. Supermarket produce might be pricer, but it’s easy, and this is the likely cause of why so much backyard fruit goes to waste. Considering that an average apple tree can produce more than 100 kg of apples in a year, for some households even a single tree can be too much. And when you consider how many trees a city may have, both public and private, this adds up to a staggering amount of food that’s, unfortunately, for the birds.

Locally, Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton (OFRE) musters volunteers to harvest backyard trees of homeowners unable to use their fruit. The haul from each pick is divvied up, with roughly a quarter each going to the homeowner, the volunteers, OFRE, and a charity such as the Food Bank or Hope Mission.

Reshaping Cities and Attitudes

In Edmonton, a food forest has sprung up in the MacKinnon Ravine, just west of downtown. The MacKinnon Food Forest began in 2014 as part of Root for Trees, an initiative by the City to plant trees, with a minimum target of 16,000 a year in order to increase Edmonton’s canopy cover from 10 to 20 percent.

The MacKinnon Food Forest bears highbush cranberries, currants, beaked hazelnuts, saskatoons, chokecherries, pin cherries, raspberries, elderberries, and strawberries. All are native plants, as designer Dustin Bajer points out.

“That was one of the ways we were able to do something like this,” Bajer says. “I don’t think the City would’ve been onboard had it been non-native species.”

Building a Food Forest 101

Permaculture aims to re-create ecosystems that not only produce food, but are also self-sustaining. Fortunately, Mother Nature gives us a pretty good model to riff on. Forests are made up of layers, from the canopy and understory to the ground cover and roots—and each has a function.

Canopies provide shade and protection so lower plants can thrive; meanwhile, perennials in the herbaceous layer die each year, feeding essential nutrients back into the soil. It’s this interplay between layers that makes a forest more than the sum of its parts, and it’s an incredibly efficient and resilient system that sustains many species of plants and animals in a small area.

As such, a good food forest design optimizes available sunlight, water, and soil through the careful arrangement of elements. Beyond that, the forest is more or less left to its own devices. 

[post_title] => Urban Foraging [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => urban-foraging-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-06-02 12:51:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-06-02 18:51:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.summercity.ca/?p=13939 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [_excerpt] => A growing movement toward wild-harvested food has no trouble seeing the forest for the trees. “Production right now is relatively minor, but in two or three years we’re going to start seeing our first flush of fruit,” remarks Kenton Zerbin, permaculture teacher and consultant. Zerbin is referring to the St. Albert Community Food Forest, the … ) 1

Exploring our night skies


Look up—way up—at Mother Nature’s time machine It’s crazy to think that all those stars we see on a clear night could already be gone. That’s why stargazing is like witnessing time travel in its simplest form. This Einsteinian fact has everything to do with the distance that light has to travel to get to …Read More
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Look up—way up—at Mother Nature’s time machine

It’s crazy to think that all those stars we see on a clear night could already be gone. That’s why stargazing is like witnessing time travel in its simplest form. This Einsteinian fact has everything to do with the distance that light has to travel to get to us. Witnessing this blast from the past, however, is hindered by the presence of light pollution, which makes all but the brightest stars invisible. Fortunately, areas of land across the world are being set aside where the only light to be seen is from the sky above you. So, getting out of the city to take in the full glory of a cloudless night is easy—all you need is time, a few astronomy basics, plus a blanket to keep you warm. Take a look.

Stargazing and city living may seem an unlikely mix, but being limited to the stars that are visible in urban areas can help you pick out the brighter ones with just a pair of binoculars. You can also invest in one of three basic types of telescopes: a refractor that uses lenses, a reflector that uses mirrors or a catadioptric that uses lenses and mirrors. Remember, however, that moonlight can hinder good sky viewing. Also, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day because it constantly shifts about 13 degrees towards the east. Keep this in mind to minimize moonlight interference when you set up your telescope or point your binoculars towards the heavens.

Stargazing really doesn’t require more than a healthy dose of wonder and a few astronomy basics. Books and websites are also great resources to help you locate constellations, planets, galaxies or even the International Space Station. NASA’s website is always a wealth of information, and the RASC’s has a list of Canadian star parties to attend, as well as links to all the DSP sites across Canada. Don’t forget about Edmonton Telus World of Science. Its website lists classes and upcoming events.

So whether you are new to stargazing or were born with a telescope in your hands, looking up at a star that twinkles back at you is always awe-inspiring—especially when that star’s light took tens-of-thousands of years to reach Earth.

Dark-Sky Preserves

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) describes dark-sky preserves (DSP) as land found in or around parks that have a reduction or elimination of artificial light. Besides being a great place to view the night sky, DSPs also help nocturnal animals, plants and humans keep to their normal Circadian rhythms.

Beaver Hills Dark-Sky Preserve, Alberta

Location: Elk Island National Park, including Cooking-Lake Blackfoot Provincial Area

Size: 293 square km

RASC designation: Received DSP status 

September 2006, on Elk Island’s 100th Anniversary

Astronomy in the park: The Edmonton RASC has been visiting this preserve for over 20 years. It holds public astronomy programs, but also raises awareness about the damaging effects that light pollution has on the environment.

Jasper National Park Dark-Sky Preserve, Alberta

Locations: Marmot Meadows, Athabasca Glacier, Jasper House and Pyramid Island

Size: 11,228 square km

RASC designation: Received DSP status March 2011

Astronomy in the park: October is Dark Sky Month in Jasper and is celebrated with a Dark-Sky Festival. This year’s event runs October 16-25.

[post_title] => Exploring our night skies [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => exploring-our-night-skies [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-06-02 12:37:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-06-02 18:37:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.summercity.ca/?p=13931 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [_excerpt] => Look up—way up—at Mother Nature’s time machine It’s crazy to think that all those stars we see on a clear night could already be gone. That’s why stargazing is like witnessing time travel in its simplest form. This Einsteinian fact has everything to do with the distance that light has to travel to get to … ) 1

THE STURGEON BY KAYAK


Experiencing a wilder, wetter side of St. Albert The Sturgeon River has provided many different things throughout the central Alberta region’s history, from food and water to transportation, habitation and recreation. These days, a growing appreciation of the local waterway’s ecological importance and understated beauty is drawing many folks from the Edmonton area and surrounding …Read More
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Experiencing a wilder, wetter side of St. Albert

The Sturgeon River has provided many different things throughout the central Alberta region’s history, from food and water to transportation, habitation and recreation. These days, a growing appreciation of the local waterway’s ecological importance and understated beauty is drawing many folks from the Edmonton area and surrounding communities back to the water. And there are so many ways to enjoy that water now, too, including by kayak. These ancient, low-impact
watercraft are not only fun and easy to use, but also provide an entirely new perspective of our home by the river.

Close to Water

There’s no preamble, no safety lessons or even a kayaking 101 lecture. Within a few minutes of showing up at the boat launch in Riel Park, I’m on the water in a 12-foot, 50-lb. kayak, as if I’ve been doing this sort of thing for years. (I haven’t.) Not that there’s much need for formalities—unlike many other recreational activities, kayaking really is as easy as it looks. The distinctive boat sits low in the water, giving it greater stability than a typical canoe. Manoeuvrable and quick, it responds very well, even for the novice, darting forward with just a few strokes and (almost) stopping on a dime. It’s a comfortable ride, too—braces inside the seating area, including a backrest and footrests, make for easy, low-impact exploration.

The Sturgeon River is also a great venue for the first-time kayaker. According to Sean Demidovich of Active Recreational Rentals, the Sturgeon is a big draw for many of his customers, especially through the spring and early summer. A popular route for many clients is to float downstream from Riel Park to downtown or even further.

On this mid-July morning, however, weeds are already choking much of the sluggish river. Instead of heading off for a jaunt through town, for a few minutes I simply try out the area around the boat launch, getting a feel for the water. Unlike other modes of aquatic travel, kayaks really put you in touch with the thing you’re moving through—you feel you’re in the water, as much as you’re on it. I stop for a moment to watch the dark head of a muskrat bobbing past as it crosses from one bank to the other. Then I turn the kayak upstream and make my way to more open water.

Birds of a Feather

Another advantage of kayaks, at least as far as the soloist is concerned, is the paddle. The distinctive spoon blades at either end allow for more strokes and a rhythmic pace, as the kayaker isn’t constantly switching the paddle from one side of the boat to the other. This means kayaks tend to “track” (i.e. move in a straight line) more easily than other watercraft. While canoes don’t necessarily require more skill to paddle, the fact is even a beginner like myself can feel (and look) pretty masterful in a kayak.

Though there’s no current to fight against, I take my time as one of the river’s greatest draws soon reveals itself. The riverbanks and in the shallows of Big Lake are home to a great diversity of birds. I spot three dowitchers, plump birds on stick-like legs that poke for invertebrates in the mud with their long, sensitive beaks. As I coast toward them, the wary birds swim off into the denseness of the rushes.

Meanwhile, a male red-winged blackbird flies back and forth across the river, perching on the tall rushes on either side. While the females tend to stay out of sight, the males are gregarious attention-getters, with the plumage to match: glossy black all over with bright, orange-red shoulder patches that flutter beautifully when the bird is in flight.

Black terns are another recognizable species, spotted more easily for their distinctive hunting behaviour than their grey-to-dark colouring. Like dragonflies, they hover over the water and frequently dart at the surface when they spot a soon-to-be unfortunate bug or fish. They’re also known for aggressively defending their nests by dive-bombing anyone who wanders too close, to the point that the nearby boardwalk had to be shut down at one point.

A Big Lake

In many ways, a kayak is the perfect way to explore the nooks and crannies of the Sturgeon and the lake it flows through. Those slow-moving waters offer little resistance, allowing paddlers to explore at their leisure. Compared to other watercraft, especially the motorized variety, kayaks have less of an impact on the environment. As self-powered vehicles, they don’t leak gas or oil into water and their lower speeds in shallow waters don’t cause erosion to shorelines.

On the other hand, any vehicle (and the human presence that accompanies it) causes at least some disruption to fragile ecosystems. The fact that kayaks can go places other vehicles can’t—like uncomfortably close to nesting areas—places the onus on the user to enjoy this environment responsibly. It’s one good reason why Alberta Parks has considered enacting a total boat ban for Big Lake as part of the draft management plan for the provincial park that surrounds it.

Such a ban would be disappointing to some boaters, but it would be understandable. The lake, the centrepiece of Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park, is known for its wetlands habitat, an ecosystem valued for its ability to absorb and purify large amounts of water, process carbon and inorganic nutrients, stabilize shorelines, and provide food and homes to a wide range of plants and animals, especially birds. Wetlands are considered the most biologically diverse of ecosystems, and at Big Lake it’s easy to see why. Up to 237 bird species have been recorded there, with around 180 reportedly using the site annually. Due to this diversity of life, and the importance of the provincial park in conserving the wetlands, Big Lake is recognized globally as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), a listing developed by BirdLife International to recognize important bird habitats around the world.

Back Again

After two hours of paddling, with the water refracting the midday sun and a blanket of heat hazing the surroundings, it’s time to head back to Riel. Like other journeys, things look different on the return. On the horizon, new subdivisions are going up as a fast-growing city, by necessity, swallows up the open spaces around it. One wonders how we’ll experience this and other natural places in the future, and if we’ll be able to balance a newfound appreciation with the competing demands of development,
recreation, and conservation.

Active Recreational Rentals

Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week
Call (587) 588-9226
Email sean@activerec.ca
Visit https://activerec.ca/

Sean Demidovich of Active Recreational rents and sells a variety of kayaks. Rentals are $30 for two hours or $60 for solo kayakers for the day and include life jacket, paddle, and some basic instructions. Sean also offers free kayak drop-off and pickup within St. Albert. Delivery and pickup throughout the Edmonton region also possible for an added fee.

[post_title] => THE STURGEON BY KAYAK [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-sturgeon-by-kayak [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-05-21 18:15:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-21 18:15:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.summercity.ca/?p=13296 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [_excerpt] => Experiencing a wilder, wetter side of St. Albert The Sturgeon River has provided many different things throughout the central Alberta region’s history, from food and water to transportation, habitation and recreation. These days, a growing appreciation of the local waterway’s ecological importance and understated beauty is drawing many folks from the Edmonton area and surrounding … ) 1

Where There’s S’mores, There’s Fire A rite of summer on the Prairies, the classic campfire lights the way to a glorious evening


Anyone who’s sat around a campfire as twilight turns to night knows how easy it is to lose one’s thoughts in a flicker of flame. After all, there’s something about a blazing fire that takes us away from the world and its worries, to a place in our minds that’s primeval and mysterious. Perhaps fire …Read More
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Anyone who’s sat around a campfire as twilight turns to night knows how easy it is to lose one’s thoughts in a flicker of flame. After all, there’s something about a blazing fire that takes us away from the world and its worries, to a place in our minds that’s primeval and mysterious. Perhaps fire fascinates us because it’s a study in opposites—one moment, it’s dangerous and the next moment, it’s a source of comfort.Whatever it is, those flames have been casting its spell for a very long time.

Philosophical musings aside, most can agree that few things set the mood for an evening of relaxing companionship like a hearty fire. Whether you’re at a campground, cabin, or just chilling around your backyard fire pit, a crackling fire is a perfect way to wind down your summer days. It all starts with some firewood and a sturdy axe. Make sure you leave a few thick, slow-burning logs to toss on as the fire starts to dim. Just don’t forget the marshmallows, once you’ve got a decent fire happening.

Building a Campfire 101

The ingredients of a campfire are simple: heat, oxygen, and fuel. The heat is easily supplied with a lighter or matches, and the oxygen is all around you, so that leaves the fuel.

You’ll need three types: tinder, kindling, and chopped firewood. The tinder should be easy to ignite—paper, leaves, even lint will do. Make a loose pile that can breathe easily, then build your kindling around it. Kindling consists of smaller pieces of wood like sticks, branches, or wood chips. These will catch fire easily, but burn longer than tinder.

Next, light the tinder in several places, and fan or blow on it to supply more oxygen. As the flames grow and the kindling catches, start feeding it with firewood—carefully, and with smaller pieces first, until the fire’s well on its way. Kick back and enjoy your night by firelight.

Where to Get Firewood

For the occasional fire builder, it’s easy to buy firewood in the Edmonton area, where many stores, supermarkets, and service stations sell it in bags and boxes. A bundle of wood is typically 0.75 cubic feet, roughly containing up to nine pieces and selling for less than $10. Depending on how big or how long-burning you want your fire to be, five to ten bundles should do for an evening’s fire. Like most things, buying in greater quantities is more economical, and if you’re planning on a lot of fires this summer, bigger might be better.

Also available at many stores are composite logs. Made from sawdust and wood waste cut into log shapes, these products are arguably a greener alternative, as they burn longer and more efficiently than firewood, and give off less carbon monoxide. A six-pack of three-hour logs typically costs between $15 and $25.

Upscale Your S’mores

When the fire’s good and roaring, the natural inclination is to bring out the smokies, the traditional main course of many fireside feasts. And you can’t forget a kiddie favorite like the s’more, consisting of two graham crackers, one golden oozing marshmallow and one chunk of chocolate. But adults might want to tinker with the s’mores formula to suit more mature tastes. So it doesn’t hurt to experiment with dark or flavoured chocolate, substitute oatcakes or cookies for the graham crackers, or dunk your creation in a salted-caramel sauce. You’re only limited by the number of marshmallows left in the bag. Here’s a recipe to get you started.

“Gourmet” Cherry Chocolate S’mores

1 artisanal marshmallow (because we’re being fancy here)

2 butter cookies (but not shortbread, which will crumble)

1 square cherry-flavoured chocolate (the really expensive kind)

1 tbsp cherry preserves (that’s jam)

Toast marshmallow over an open flame. Top one cookie with chocolate, artisanal toasted

marshmallow, cherry preserves, and the remaining reserved cookie. Eat.

Firepit Rules and Regs

In Edmonton, the Community Standards Bylaw regulates fire pit usage. According to this bylaw, fire pits must be installed a minimum of three metres from buildings, property lines, and anything that can burn. They should be less than 0.6 metres high and a metre wide, and they should have enclosed sides and a mesh screen with openings no larger than 1.25 cm. Care should be taken to minimize the amount of smoke a fire creates, and, as elsewhere, fire bans must be respected. For fuel, only use charcoal or clean, dry wood (in other words, no pallet fires in your backyards please). For more info, check the City of Edmonton website or one that’s pertinent to your municipality or county.

[post_title] => Where There’s S’mores, There’s Fire A rite of summer on the Prairies, the classic campfire lights the way to a glorious evening [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => where-theres-smores-theres-fire-a-rite-of-summer-on-the-prairies-the-classic-campfire-lights-the-way-to-a-glorious-evening [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-05-21 18:06:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-21 18:06:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.summercity.ca/?p=13290 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [_excerpt] => Anyone who’s sat around a campfire as twilight turns to night knows how easy it is to lose one’s thoughts in a flicker of flame. After all, there’s something about a blazing fire that takes us away from the world and its worries, to a place in our minds that’s primeval and mysterious. Perhaps fire … ) 1

AN ANGLER’S PARADISE Fishing in Alberta


Despite being landlocked, Alberta has a lot to offer when it comes to sport fishing. There are over 600 freshwater lakes in this province and about 250 rivers, each with its own unique joys and challenges for anglers. And these days, there’s a lot more to a fishing trip than spending long days alone with …Read More
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Despite being landlocked, Alberta has a lot to offer when it comes to sport fishing. There are over 600 freshwater lakes in this province and about 250 rivers, each with its own unique joys and challenges for anglers. And these days, there’s a lot more to a fishing trip than spending long days alone with your thoughts. It can also be the perfect reason to travel this beautiful province of ours, making memories with friends and family and learning new skills as you go. And, of course, few things are more satisfying than catching your own dinner. Thanks to the help of the Internet, it has never been easier to learn the ropes, find the best spots and learn how to be a responsible fisher. Here’s where we started. Take a look.

The laws and regulations surrounding sport fishing in Alberta are numerous, but the basics are simple. If you’re between the ages of
16 and 65, the first things you’ll need before getting out on the water are a Wildlife Identification Number and a fishing licence. You can purchase these online or at participating retail locations, such as Canadian Tire. Each body of water has its own season, as well as its own limits on which fish you can keep and how many, so before you head out, familiarize yourself with the specific rules that govern your destination.

Although you can go fishing just about anywhere that fish are found, some locations make for better fishing trips than others.
Here are a few regional favourites.

Pigeon Lake
• Friendly to campers, families and pets
• One of the best destinations for catching
• Walleye in Alberta (Special Walleye Licence required to keep catches)

Wabaman Lake
• A catch-and-release lake, perfect for those who love to fish but aren’t interested in the cooking part of the process Calm waters   
 ideal for introducing kids to the sport
• Camping and boat rentals nearby
• Home to Pike, Yellow Perch and Whitefish

Lac la Biche
• Beautiful island campground that allows you quick and easy access to the water
• Home to Perch, Whitefish and Burbot Bow

River (Calgary)
• Provides a challenge for those wishing to improve their skills
• Top fly-fishing destination in Alberta
• Home to many varieties of Trout

Athabasca River
• Camping friendly
• Ideal for shore-side fishing
• Home to Burbot, Goldeye and Northern Pike

If you’re new to fishing, it may seem like there are a lot of fishing regulations that might detract from the fun of the sport. But not only are these regulations easy to follow, once you get a handle on them, you’ll appreciate that they serve an important purpose. Alberta’s 600 lakes and 250 rivers are a precious resource that needs to be guarded so that residents can enjoy the sport for generations to come. Respect for the waters, respect for the fish populations and respect for the regulations go a long way to preserving both the beauty of nature and the fun of the sport. So grab your fishing rod, grab some good friends and head out to the water.  There is a whole province just waiting to be explored.

Online Resources You’ll Want to Consult

Albertarelm.com—Visit to register for a fishing licence online.

Albertaregulations.ca—Learn the specifics of all the fishing laws in Alberta.

Albertafishingguide.com—A location database, showing species, catch limits, seasons and sizes for each body of water in Alberta.

Mywildalberta.ca—Provides updates on advisories, bans and restrictions.

AHEIA.com—Provides lessons and certifications  regarding responsible fishing and wildlife conservation.

[post_title] => AN ANGLER’S PARADISE Fishing in Alberta [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => an-anglers-paradise-fishing-in-alberta [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-05-21 17:58:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-21 17:58:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.summercity.ca/?p=13285 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [_excerpt] => Despite being landlocked, Alberta has a lot to offer when it comes to sport fishing. There are over 600 freshwater lakes in this province and about 250 rivers, each with its own unique joys and challenges for anglers. And these days, there’s a lot more to a fishing trip than spending long days alone with … ) 1

Elk Island National Park


Our homegrown wilderness wonderland There’s something so special about a bright, beautiful July day. Maybe it’s the warmth of the sun, the gentle summer breeze or the smell of freshly cut grass, but we feel nature all around us. We yearn to escape the city’s hectic pace, forget our troubles and take in the outdoors—even …Read More

River Valley Fun


Exploring our ribbon of green By Markwell Lyon & Robert Michon The nation’s largest expanse of urban parkland lies right here in Edmonton. The River Valley parks form an unbroken “ribbon of green,” stretching 48 km and covering 18,000 acres. The River Valley provides Edmontonians with an array of activities and events, especially during the …Read More

TIPS FOR RENTING A VEHICLE


Vacations should be relaxing, but they can get pretty stressful when you’re spending too much of your holiday checking bus schedules or flagging down expensive cabs. The solution: renting your own set of wheels. But before you hop into any car on the lot, check out these tips for getting the most out of your …Read More
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Vacations should be relaxing, but they can get pretty stressful when you’re spending too much of your holiday checking bus schedules or flagging down expensive cabs. The solution: renting your own set of wheels. But before you hop into any car on the lot, check out these tips for getting the most out of your rental.

Find the Rental Deals

There are dozens of rental agencies littered all around most airports of the world. But the first agency you come across will rarely offer the best deals, and what you gain in convenience is often reflected in the price. If you’re looking to save some money, consider taking a shuttle bus or a taxi to the city’s core, and do some shopping around.

Once you’ve found a suitable price, do a quick Internet search for the rental company in question. Pair this search with words like “promotion,” “offer code” or “coupon.” You’ll be surprised how many additional discounts are available through online promotions.

Get to Know Your Vehicle

A lot of rental cars will come with bumps and scratches from previous excursions. To avoid being accountable for these damages, make sure to perform your own inspection of the car before you drive it off the lot. Take note of any dents, scratches, engine trouble or anything else that just seems off. Then mention it. Document any discrepancies with your camera, and alert the agent who is carrying out your transaction. Whether it’s an honest oversight or a blatant scam, a quick survey of your vehicle will prevent a lot of unwanted rental headaches.

Be Insurance Savvy

You’re not obligated to buy insurance from the rental company, but most will offer you car insurance, and some will even pressure you to buy it. So do your research before you agree to any additional fees. If you’re already paying insurance for your own vehicle, it’s likely that your coverage extends to rentals of a similar vehicle type. If you’re unsure, call your insurance company to find out exactly what coverage you’re already paying for, and ask if it might be a good idea to agree to the additional fees.

Understand Your Contract

Are you allowed to take your rental car onto unpaved roads? Do you have a maximum kilometre limit? Is your rental one-way, or do you have to return it to the same agency from which you borrowed it? These are all important details that will be outlined in the fine print of your contract, so make sure to read it fully before you sign. Don’t hesitate to ask the rental agent for clarification on any confusing points.

Investigate the World of Car Sharing

If you’re planning on spending your trip in one city, you might want to consider a short-time subscription to a car-sharing service. Each service differs slightly, but standard practice has you paying based on your total distance travelled. Car shares can often be more convenient, cheaper and use subscriptions rather than contracts, so you’ll pay for only as much time as you use. The only major downside is that car shares restrict their users to travel within specific cities, so if you’re planning a road trip, it’s often better to stick to traditional rental models.  t8n

Did You Know?

In Canada, we’re familiar with minimum age requirements when it comes to car rentals. But in many countries, rental agencies impose maximum age limits, meaning that seniors and teens find themselves in the same boat when trying to rent a car.

Fun Fact

A 2014 survey found that car-share services in Canada own a total of 5000 vehicles and serve over 289,000 users. That number has only grown.

[post_title] => TIPS FOR RENTING A VEHICLE [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => tips-for-renting-a-vehicle [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-04-08 17:49:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-08 17:49:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.summercity.ca/?p=9293 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [_excerpt] => Vacations should be relaxing, but they can get pretty stressful when you’re spending too much of your holiday checking bus schedules or flagging down expensive cabs. The solution: renting your own set of wheels. But before you hop into any car on the lot, check out these tips for getting the most out of your … ) 1