O’ Canada, land of the First Nations people, the Looney and the red maple leaves.
Home of good friends, good bands and good parties. Where I learned what a dyke was, got my belly button pierced and went drinking at The Keg after dinner at White Spot. Where my cousins introduced me to real maple syrup, maple walnut ice cream and bagels with real salmon.
Land of Arby’s, the Dairy Queen Skor Blizzard, Tim Horton’s and as many flavours of ice tea that you can think of. Home of Totem Poles, Le Chateau, ice wine and the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations I have ever seen.
Downtown Vancouver where you can see steam coming out of a clock in Gastown, pick up some lovely First Nations jewellery on Granville Island and dream of owning a house in West Van on the other side of Lions Gate Bridge.
A city so beautiful that it is blessed with both waterways and a surrounding trio of snow capped mountains. Where you can go tubing on Mt Seymour followed by a dip at Kits beach. Where you can walk the wires in Lynn Canyon by day and see the twinkling city lights from Grouse Nest restaurant by night.
The city which has one of the best aquariums in the world in one of the best parks in the world. Where I fell in love with otters, white Beluga whales and Canada Geese. Where I discovered UBC, the Pitt Pub and the mosh pit at Arts County Fair.
Vancouver Island, home of the capital of Victoria, the Empress Hotel and China Beach. Where a trip through the Gulf Islands becomes an adventure in killer whale spotting and you never want to leave.
Seeing snow banks bigger than houses, making snow angels and going tobogganing. Discovering the real beauty of snow covered fir trees, the taste of hot toddies and learning how to snow plough.
Taking a trip on the Sea to Sky highway to go skiing at Blackcomb, only to find out that Big White’s better. Staying in a real log cabin, drinking with folks from the Yukon and meeting American snowboarders at Mt Baker.
Land of moose, black bears and a white rock a stones throw away from Seattle.
And that’s just the west coast.
The enchanting Casa Loma in Toronto, the icy blue Niagara Falls and the unexpected beauty of Niagara on the Lake.
Where you can dance with a cowboy in Calgary, find out what a cold nose really is in Saskatoon and go ice-skating inside West Edmonton Mall.
And I know there is so much more to explore.
Montreal, Quebec City and Lake Louise. New Foundland, Christina Lake and the Rockies.