Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Autumn Photography

Every autumn I go on safari. Not really. I treat it as a safari, though. I pack my camera in my satchel, slip on a warm jacket, and head for the woods. What am I hunting, you may ask? Trees, leaves, nature—anything really to depict this glorious season we call fall. And that’s my Freedom Friday introduction to fall photo gathering.

A path to the foot of the woods
A path to the foot of the woods

The adventure typically begins at the foot of the woods a couple of minutes from my home. You see, I live in farm country, near where all the folks from Toronto get their corn, strawberries, and other assorted goods. How close do I live to the woods? I’ve seen foxes chase rabbits from the brush across the street into the neighbor’s backyard at 5:30 in the morning. This happened ten feet from my walk. I’ve seen multiple raccoons frenzying on garbage cans as if bitten by zombies. And I’ve smelled. Yes, smelled—skunks near where I trod. I’ve seen them, too. Tail sticking up. Those are the animals I fear most spilling from the woods. Oh, did I mention the coyotes? We have them, and they’re the dreadful parasites of our town’s existence.

As I was saying, the adventure begins at the foot of the woods. During this time of year when the forests give up their leaves, I’m there capturing it all. I suppose it has to do with the color the season exhibits. Boy, can anyone deny autumn is colorful? I think not. And here I am, in the middle of the woods, the threat of coyotes at every turn, snapping photos of anything that may inspire me to share with others.

Beautiful morning majesty
Beautiful morning majesty
The woods
The woods
Leaves that have yet to change color
Leaves that have yet to change color

The time I get the absolute best photos is either early in the morning, as the sun makes its appearance in the horizon or in the evening just when the light turns all sorts of golden hues along the edge of the tree line. I’ve taken shots in the middle of the woods just as dusk approached. Reminiscent of Dorothy’s travels through The Wizard of Oz’s Dark Forest, the day fades, the wind howls, and it does get creepy. But it doesn’t stop teenagers hitting the woods at night to have their secret rendezvous. On occasion, I’ve come across the remnant of empty bottles near a felled tree, a spot I suppose popular with the young crowd.

The log where teens hang out
The log where teens hang out
I think I know where I'm going
I think I know where I’m going
Enjoying the crunching leaves
Enjoying the crunching leaves
Inside the woods
Inside the woods

The woods have paths I can walk yet there are times the leaves cover the paths making it difficult to find my way back. I’ve gotten lost several times only to find my way back after having remembered what the trees looked like from mental notes of my journey. Believe me when I say it’s not fun not knowing where you are in the grand scheme of things.

I have to say this: whenever I’m out there with my camera taking those eye-popping photos of the foliage, sometimes my breath catches. It’s as if I’m seeing things for the very first time, enjoying every moment. The colors are vivid and beautiful, the air crisp, and the area is so much at peace without human interference. I’m glad I have the woods as my fortress of solitude. Everyone needs a place of refuge. The woods are mine.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Do you take photos of the foliage every year? Do you have a fortress of solitude?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Autumn in Niagara

As you may know, my book released this week and things have been rather surreal around Casa Flacco. My sleep cycle has left me and I’ve been functioning on pure adrenalin. It’s a good thing. At least, I think it is. Yes, it is a good thing.

Autumn in full bloom
Autumn in full bloom

Last weekend, three days before release, on impulse my wife and I packed, loaded the kids in the car, and scooted to Niagara Falls for a weekend away from it all. I’ve described in a previous post for Freedom Friday how Niagara Falls is one of those enchanting places on earth where my wife and I relax, let time stand still, and come back with new and exciting decisions about our life together. Last weekend was no different.

We’d left late Friday afternoon, arrived at the hotel just before sunset, quickly unpacked, and headed straight for a restaurant. The big thing here in Canada is Boston Pizza. And Niagara Falls has one we enjoy going to whenever we visit.

You know, sitting there in the lounge area as dusk settled, I thought of how wonderful a family I have that we’re able to enjoy each other’s company without worrying about tomorrow, of what is and what will be. The notion came and went, as if a fleeting thought that passes through the mind and makes a quick exit through the door.

Soon after devouring the chicken wrap, washing it down with a soda and lime twist, we took a walk on Clifton Hill. If you’ve never been to the Niagara Falls’ Clifton Hill strip, I highly recommend it. It’s one thing to see the area during the day, but the night is something to behold. I’ve never been to Las Vegas, but the whole area lights up like fireworks on Canada DayFourth of July to my American friends.

The SkyWheel
The SkyWheel
One of the many sights on Clifton Hill
One of the many sights on Clifton Hill

The evening was ideal. Not too hot, not too cold. Perfect fall weather. During the whole time, I thought, oh, how our family’s changed. I have grown children ready to take on the world. How fast did it happen? What happened to those days when I’d purchased our first DVD player so we could watch Titanic in pristine digital? Oh my, how has time flown so fast?

The next day, Saturday morning, we headed to the continental breakfast table downstairs in the dining area. From there, we landed at the IMAX theater enjoying a tale about Niagara Falls’ myths and legends. I’d seen the movie before but had forgotten Rocky composer Bill Conti had written the score. Boy, talk about a step back in time. The music moved me to remember my youth and how I’d wanted to take on the world. Goodness, how things have changed.

We ate Mexican for lunch, then spent some time in our hotel room reading. The kids had brought a load of books to consume, and my wife and I had our tablets to keep us entertained. Here is where I have to tip my hat to the folks working in the tech department of our hotel who gave us access to the internet via free wi-fi. While some establishments implement pay-per-use, our hotel was kind enough to offer the service without spending a dime in fees.

When evening approached, our goal for the night consisted of having fun at the Guinness World Records Museum. Somehow, lists of who made more money posthumously, and of which spider had the longest leg span made us curious. I know the kids got a kick out of the freakish exhibits.

Guinness World Records Museum
Guinness World Records Museum

From there we enjoyed the nightlife, taking in some ice cream and walking in the rain. Trust me when I say, eating ice cream in the rain is something to experience first hand.

We didn’t leave Niagara until late Sunday afternoon, once we’d completed our tour of The Falls. In your lifetime, if you ever want to experience anything wondrous and exciting, Niagara Falls is the place to go. The sheer volume and magnitude of this watery beast is enough to send shivers throughout the body.

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls

On our way back home, all I could hear are the rushing waves, the thundering crashes, and the surging currents of Niagara. The Falls certainly leave an impression.

Skylon Tower
Skylon Tower
Scenic fall photo
Scenic fall photo
Beautiful stream by Niagara Falls
Beautiful stream by Niagara Falls

Oh, which reminds me—our life decision this year has to do with helping our kids as much as we can. So, if you don’t see me around as much, I’m probably either helping my kids with their homework or spending some time with them in an effort to build a lasting relationship. Corny, yeah, I know. But it’s true.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Do you take any time away from it all? Any “unplanned” vacation heading your way?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Ottawa

Last week, my family and I took a much-needed vacation to Ottawa, Canada, the nation’s capital. This should not come as a surprise to my regular readers given how I’ve posted of our many adventures enjoying our love for travel. If you want to read some of those posts I’d written for my Freedom Friday series, you’ll get a taste of Nova Scotia, Niagara Falls, and our recent weekend getaway.

Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada
Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada

From our town, an hour north of Toronto, to Ottawa, it took four-and-a-half hours driving without stopping. Once we arrived, we checked out our very cool suite. I’m not sure if all hotels are as fancy as the one we chose in the downtown core, but our suite looked incredible. The elegance thrilled us with the handcrafted beds and embroidered blankets, marbled bathroom, and the useful kitchenette. We’d gone for a package deal, having added a set of tours to boot of the nation’s historical museums. We certainly didn’t have to wait to see the benefits of that decision.

Salmon sushi dinner in Ottawa
Salmon sushi dinner in Ottawa

First off, let’s get one thing out of the way. It’s about the restaurants. Since food is a big part of our travel experience, we try to eat as much variety as we can. Apart from our kid’s ingesting their staple chicken fingers and French fries, my wife and I will dive into sushi, Greek food, and salads. There’s nothing quite like the taste of maki or souvlaki on a hot day in July. What I noticed about Ottawa’s restaurants however, is how upscale they are in elegance and design. I’m sure it has something to do with the affluence of a high percentage of the region’s population. Well, most are lawyers, senators and politicians. So yeah, the restaurants ought to service those folks in those professions. And the eateries’ decor will reflect that clientele. Nonetheless, no matter what the bistros and cafés look like, the food is delicious.

Ottawa’s also a culturally rich area filled with museums centered on Canada’s history. We took advantage of that history by hitting Parliament Hill as our first stop. Since our hotel was ten minutes away, we walked all the way. The heat was intense but the journey worth it. Seeing the hill for the first time was somewhat overwhelming. Its Gothic Revival architecture reflects an era when style and grace had epitomized the people’s preference for sophistication. The Peace Tower itself looks no different from Big Ben in London, England. It even plays chimes throughout the morning. I caught Somewhere Over the Rainbow in the midst of it all.

Centre Block, Parliament Hill
Centre Block, Parliament Hill
Peace Tower, Ottawa, Canada
Peace Tower, Ottawa, Canada
Centre Block Archway
Centre Block Archway

Our tour consisted of the House of Commons, the Senate, the Library of Parliament, and the Peace Tower, which are all part of the Centre Block. The most fascinating story is that of the great fire of 1916 that had devoured most of the Centre Block except for the Library of Parliament. A quick-thinking library clerk by the name of Michael MacCormac had shut the library’s iron doors preventing the spread of the fire, which would have consumed priceless books and paintings accumulated over a period of five decades. This small action taken by the clerk impressed me to remember his name and will possibly remain in my memory for a long time. I won’t forget his diligence as it has inspired me to keep pressing forward without relent in all my industry.

Besides enjoying sleeping in (lots of sleeping in), we took a trip to Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Seriously, Ottawa’s the center of museum country. To my family and I, who are avid museum aficionados, this was our territory. The museum houses a collection of some of the most impressive aircrafts that’d flown in the world. This says a lot given I’ve also been to the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

Rather than tell you more of what we did during the week, I figure I’d let the photos tell the story instead. Therefore, below are highlights of our Canada Aviation and Space Museum trip.

Hangar
Hangar
RCN 387 - Helicopter
RCN 387 – Helicopter
Fighter Jet
Fighter Jet
CAF Rocket
CAF Rocket

One more museum trip I thought you’d like to have a gander at is that of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec. We crossed province lines to the most visited museum in Canada to see what the big deal was. Wow! Big deal is right. The place is massive. It surpassed all my expectations. Not wanting to spoil it by my overdone descriptions, the highlight was our tour of an area in the museum featuring our country’s history. In the following photos, you’ll notice the twilight/sunset feel created by the exhibit’s indoor lighting.

Museum Totem Poles
Museum Totem Poles
Glass Shop
Glass Shop
Indoor Display
Indoor Display
Furniture Shop
Furniture Shop
Indoor Set
Indoor Set
Aiding a Man's Last Moments (dummys)
Aiding a Man’s Last Moments (dummys)
Winter Window
Winter Window
The View of Parliament Hill in Ottawa from Gatineau, Quebec
The View of Parliament Hill in Ottawa from Gatineau, Quebec

I had written a complete elaborate ending to this post, but decided to scrap it. You didn’t want to hear about the dark, foreboding storm we drove through on our way home. Of how it was two-thirty in the afternoon and the black clouds made it seem like ten at night. Of how I had my windshield wipers on max and I was screaming, “Bring it on” while my wife prayed for protection as buckets and buckets of water dumped on the road, stopping traffic to the side. You didn’t want to hear about that, did you?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Have you gone on vacation yet? Where did you go? What did you do? What do you like most about your vacation?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Canada Day

Since everyone’s still in a holiday mood, us Canadians having celebrated Canada Day on the first, and Americans Independence Day on the fourth, I thought I’d go easy on everyone. How about if I use Freedom Friday to show you some of my favorite moments?

I’ve been taking digital photographs for over nine years. I have 14,306 photos. Most of them shot in the early years. Some may ask how I keep them organized. Easy, I have an application that catalogs all of my memories in neat stacks of craziness. Believe me, just because I have over 14,000 photos doesn’t mean I’m a genius photographer. I may have deleted twice that amount in an effort to keep the very best. So, yes, over 28,000 photos may have bit the dust in cyberspace somewhere between my camera and the digital garbage heap called the delete key.

Below are some of my treasured memories of Canada Day with stories attached. I hope you enjoy them!

Major Surgery
Major Surgery

July 1, 2004—Here is my youngest son after having blown his knee (gotta love mommy tending after him). Uh, not the first time. During the course of several years, my beloved, accident-prone progeny had a few close calls with broken limbs, a finger trapped in a dust mop (long story), a second shy from being electrocuted, and several stitches sewn on his still-growing cheek. In this photo, he fell, scraping his knee. Honestly, it’s the tamest of injuries he’s experienced in his young life.

Main Street
Main Street

July 1, 2008—I find it amazing to look at these old photos knowing I shot them, and have them as a record of a time once spent. This particularly is the best portrayal of how we celebrate Canada Day. My family and I park the car near the town library and walk to Main Street. This is where it all happens. If you look up Main, not only is our clock tower visible, but you’ll also see a river of red. Our flags are red and white, but during this holiday, everyone wears red. If you’ve ever heard of the term “red coats”, we were the red coats.

Canada Flag
Canada Flag

July 1, 2009—I’m a proud Canadian. Really, I am. I love saying “eh” after my sentences, having a beaver on my nickel, and calling our dollar coin loonie and two-dollar coin toonie. There’s something to say about our culture when our packaging is bilingual, and a whole province speaks French. Others may call us Canadians Looney Tunes, but in some circles, we definitely know how to stand out. Check out the hand-painted Canada Flag in our town’s park and lake setting.

Canon Firing Prep.
Canon Firing Prep.

July 1, 2011—Moving equipment into position, folks dressed in full wartime regalia prepare for the town’s annual canon blast. It’s a one-of-a-kind event featured in local newspapers and magazines in our region. I gotta tell ya, it’s something to experience. When standing there fifteen feet from the blast, it’s like feeling a massive burst run through the chest that pushes the innards backward until there’s nothing left. It’s that powerful. I tend to plug my ears, and wait until I feel the shockwave hit. What an exhilarating feeling.

Fireworks
Fireworks

July 1, 2012—Of course what would Canada Day be without fireworks? There’s something amazing about the bright lights and awesome sound of explosions in the air. Amid the haze of mosquitoes, we usually park at the train station lot, a few minutes from our home in farm country to enjoy the show. Since I live in a small town, an hour north of Toronto, we usually recognize everyone there. We’re a tight-knit community and the fireworks makes for a nice cap to the evening’s festivities.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

If you were fortunate enough to celebrate a day off this week, what did you enjoy most about it?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Weekend Getaway

I’ve sat here for the past fifteen minutes trying to come up with a witty and funny intro to last weekend’s getaway I spent with my wife in Barrie, Ontario. But the more I tried, the less I accomplished. I suppose trying too hard, if that is possible, makes for an unproductive experience. In some ways, I can see why.

Barrie, Ontario, Shore
Barrie, Ontario, Shore

Welcome to my Freedom Friday post where I talk about whatever comes to mind. And what’s on my mind at this moment is last weekend. What did we do that was so special? My wife and I loaded the car, dropped the kids at friends, and spent three days away from it all. We enjoyed a mini-vacation, if you will, without the cares and worries of life’s little inconveniences. You know the ones. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, dusting, shopping, mowing the lawn, washing the windows, picking up and dropping off the kids to their activities, and a myriad of life’s other chores we do, but have only so many hours in the day to accomplish.

Barrie, Ontario, Rocks
Barrie, Ontario, Rocks
Barrie, Ontario, Fountain
Barrie, Ontario, Fountain

When we arrived at our hotel last Friday night, I unloaded the car while my wife took care of our room. The first thing that’d happened, which set the tone for the rest of our stay, was my wife’s chitchat with the desk clerk led to a free upgrade to the room. There was a lacrosse tournament happening that same weekend, and rather than have us stuck on a floor with partying teenagers, the desk clerk booked us in the honeymoon suite complete with a king-size bed and Jacuzzi. When I say Jacuzzi, I mean hot-tub-in-the-center-of-the-room Jacuzzi. It gets better.

Our hotel was close to the highway, making it easy for us to travel from one activity to another. Most of our time, however, we spent in the throes of relaxation. The word downtime comes to mind. It doesn’t even come close to describing what we experienced. Believe me, a weekend without the kids does not inspire a time of planned recreation.

Inside the hotel room, we dropped our bags on the spot and left for dinner. We have a special restaurant we visit whenever we’re in town called Ling’s Cuisine. I can describe their food as delicious, yet somehow the phrase needs some work. Beyond delectable? How’s that for a description? Their atmosphere is quiet, and their service is perfect. Their servers know their menus, having the ability to recommend plates and understanding their ingredients. For instance, I didn’t know what tobiko was until our server said they were flying fish eggs. The eggs don’t fly, it’s the fish that breed the eggs that fly. Good to know, anyway. I ordered a couple of plates of salmon maki while my wife chose a Miso (vegetable) soup and Salmon Teriyaki. As we enjoyed our dinner, my wife nodded regarding the couple behind me. They, too, were enjoying time alone. They had a full bottle of white wine with their meal. By the end of the evening, it was all gone. She smiled at me knowing where they were going.

Ling's Cuisine
Ling’s Cuisine
Philadelphia Maki
Philadelphia Maki
Salmon Teriyaki
Salmon Teriyaki

Our Saturday consisted of waking up late and heading to the pool. The water was cold yet manageable. I spent most of my time in the hot tub gazing out the ceiling windows into the clouds. One cloud in particular caught my attention. It was the puffy white kind set on a crystal blue background. It shifted. First, it turned into a genie, then it became a cowboy. As the minutes passed, it became apparent it was disappearing before my eyes. It sparked a thought. Our lives are like the clouds, passing so fast that one day we’ll also disappear into nothingness. One day we’re here and the next—poof—we’re gone. Well, that was the morbid portion of my post. I also do song and dance on demand and recite funny limericks.

That afternoon we headed to Boston Pizza, a Canadian gourmet pizza franchise that also specializes in serving gluten-free pizza. My wife was happy, and as I said once beforehappy wife, happy life. This time our conversation centered on how nice it was not to have any responsibilities for the weekend. Both of us had dopey eyes for most of the meal. Boy, we thought, we should do this more often. Amazing what alone time will do. You young parents will know what I mean when you’re away from the kids for some time. It’s like a natural sedative.

Boston Pizza (Exterior)
Boston Pizza (Exterior)
Boston Pizza (Interior)
Boston Pizza (Interior)

For our Saturday night entertainment, we enjoyed that wonderful Jacuzzi and went back to Ling’s. Good things go a long way. You know, it’s funny. We were driving to the restaurant and I notice a biker in all his glory on this amazing-looking bike. I mentioned this to my wife, telling her how much I admired it. She said, “Yeah, Jack, but it isn’t a Harley.” I thought, who is this woman who I’ve known for almost half my life. Is there something she hasn’t told me about her past? How does she know what a Harley looks like?

On Sunday, we wanted to head over to see the new Star Trek movie Into the Darkness, but we had the complimentary breakfast in the guest lounge downstairs, and went back upstairs in the serenity of silence instead. Without a doubt, we got our money’s worth from our room. The explanation I have for you there is when you get free time away with the person you love most in this world, you don’t want to spend it watching a movie. So we sat next to each other on the bed reading.

Salmon Lover Roll
Salmon Lover Roll

And, as the cliché goes, all good things must come to an end. We got back home late that evening after having treated the kids to the Sushi Garden. I guess you can say we all enjoyed a sushi-filled weekend.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Have you ever gone on a getaway weekend with your love? What did you end up doing?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Our Dates

Once a week my wife and I do something special. Something unique to reflect what we like doing as a couple. It may be going out to eat, watch a movie or just sit outside and talk. Whatever we choose, thank goodness the kids have nothing to do with it. For this edition of Freedom Friday, I’d like to give you a peek at what we enjoy doing on a date.

One of our many walks through our neighborhood
One of our many walks through our neighborhood

My wife and I have been married forever, although it doesn’t seem that way, given I still think it was yesterday. But yeah, we’ve been married for a long, long time. During the course of our life, we’ve done almost everything together. We visited Disney World, Disneyland, the Caribbean, Nova Scotia (oodles of times)—suffice it to say we’ve traveled a fair bit. However, what we enjoy the most are the simple things in life. No matter how busy we get throughout the week, we always try to spend some time away alone. It’s difficult with the kids, but we’ve managed quite fine.

Our big night is movie night. Every weekend, we pick a movie we’d like to watch, get some snacks, plop on the couch into a cuddle, and become entranced by the images on the screen. Sometimes the movie’s great. But sometimes, ugh, it’s awful. This prompts us to heckle the characters, which usually leads me to throw unknown projectiles at the screen. I can’t say how many times I have found popcorn, toys and socks behind the TV. It makes for some interesting conversation the next day, though. That’s what’s important, right?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve taken an opportunity every week or so to ask my wife out at our favorite eatery. Down the street from us, we visit a cozy, little restaurant called Mr. Greek. We call it “our place”. This is where we talk about life in general, in the warm setting of Greek food and music. It also provides some much-needed downtime in the middle of the week between tossing the kids between activities and the regular daily chores. We look forward to these impromptu dates. We really don’t know what our conversation will be like, but we know we’ll have lots to say.

Weekend Getaway to Barrie, Ontario
Weekend Getaway to Barrie, Ontario

Another fun thing we like doing together is to take weekends away from it all. We’re rather blessed because our town is located in and around resort country. A few minutes drive, we’re into beautiful vistas of lakes, streams and forests. One of the most memorable weekends we had without the kids was last spring when we traveled to Barrie, Ontario. We reserved a hotel room for a couple of nights and had fun in the pool, restaurants, walks, talks—it was so great. We had a fabulous time. You know, there’s nothing like being alone together without the cares of the daily grind.

I’m going to let this post fade with our most favorite thing we enjoy doing (besides that). We’re walking enthusiasts. Yep. We love walking around our neighborhood, hand-in-hand, talking, laughing, joking—gosh, I just noticed we seem to talk a lot with each other, huh? In the summer, our usual jaunt begins from our house and covers about two kilometers (a mile). As we take in the aroma of BBQ drifting in the air, we love seeing our neighbors’ kids having fun kicking a soccer ball in their yard.

What are your favorite things to do on a date? Do you have some place special you like to go?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Royal Ontario Museum

During this year’s spring break, my family and I skipped the idea of going to the Ontario Science Centre and decided to hit the Royal Ontario Museum instead. It was a cold and dark morning, raining to no end, and we thought it great if we could be in among history. Besides, I wanted to include the trip for my Freedom Friday series.

Royal Ontario Museum
Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is located in the heart of Toronto (100 Queens Park). Since I’ve been there numerous times with my wife, the kids needed a refresher of our good ol’ fashioned Canadiana history. Besides, I wanted to see the dinosaurs.

We live in a small town, an hour’s drive north of Toronto. We opted to take the car halfway then take public transit the remainder. Public transit in Toronto goes by the name of the TTC (a.k.a. Toronto Transit Commission). Some studious young folk affectionately know it as “Take the Car” or “The Red Rocket”, on account the buses and street cars are red. I’ve always loved the TTC and there might be issues, as with any public transit system, I still trust the system to carry my family from point A to point B.

Totem Pole
Totem Pole

When we arrived at the ROM, the first thing we did was hit the dinosaur exhibit. I mentioned I like dinosaurs, didn’t I? The kids get a kick out of it as well. It was a special exhibit only open for spring break, and we wanted to take advantage of it. It was an extra cost to admission, but the entire exhibit was worth seeing.

Something new the organizers did this time around was introduce colored lighting to its exhibits. I don’t remember seeing that with any of the exhibits of the past. Nevertheless, it made the displays pop. Also included were creative backdrops set in the correct period. I especially had fun viewing the volcanic settings for the dinosaurs; they made the tour all the more enjoyable.

Pisanosaurus
Pisanosaurus
Dinosaur Skeleton
Dinosaur Skeleton
Dinosaur Paws
Dinosaur Paws
Dinosaur Lighting
Dinosaur Lighting
Dinosaur Ribs
Dinosaur Ribs

Next up, we ventured from the dinosaur exhibit to the food court in the building. Surprise overtook me when I realized they had gluten-free items available for my wife to eat. It made me a happy man. Happy wife, happy life. I went for a large salad while the kids had burgers and fries.

Once we finished our meals, we headed over to the Gallery of Chinese Architecture. We stayed for a bit, examining the beautiful clay pottery and ornaments. It was great seeing how history has been kind to these wonderful pieces.

Chinese Art
Chinese Art
Chinese Pottery
Chinese Pottery
Chinese Statue
Chinese Statue

Our last stop was upstairs in the Canadian section. This has always been one of my favorite sections of the museum. I guess I’ve never been afraid to admit I’m Canadian, and am proud to know our history is rich with culture. But this time, we skipped the cultural section of the exhibit and browsed through Canadian wildlife instead.

Did you know Canada has about 200 species of mammals, 630 species of birds and that Canada’s beaver is the second largest rodent in the world weighing up to 60 pounds (South America’s capybara’s up to 100 pounds)? Fascinating, really.

Canadian Beaver
Canadian Beaver
Canadian Wolf
Canadian Wolf
Canadian Fox
Canadian Fox

With all that information in our heads, we decided to call it a night and head back. It was still raining, dark and gray, but I like those days and it made the evening all the more enjoyable when we got back to our nice, cozy home.

Have you ever been to the museum? What is the most fascinating thing you’ve seen?