The Canadian Rocky Mountain Icefields have over a hundred glaciers. Many are visible from the Icefields Parkway. Dawn Page / CoastsideSlacking

21 Goofy Reasons to Visit Canada: Maxi Bars, Timbits and Pocket Loonies

Part 6 and last in a series:

The Coastside Slackers had an amazing time in the Canadian Rockies: Soaring mountains, roaring waterfalls, exotic wildlife, orange marshesplacid Alpine lakes. We could drop the mic and end it here, but we wanted to share a few tongue-in-cheek thrills that amused us along the way. We hope you’re amused, too …

21 Goofy Reasons to Visit Canada

20170803 - 20 things about canada-IMG_2052Meat Draws: Imagine buying a roll of raffle tickets to support your local lodge and going home with a tray of steaks, lamb chops and sausages as the grand prize. Now stop imagining and visit western Canada. Don’t forget to bring a cooler and declare your prize at the border.

Timbits: Tim Horton’s is the Dunkin’ Donuts of Canada, except way better. Good coffee. Great breakfast sandwiches. The hash browns need some work. We recommend the maple-flavored Timbits (go ahead, click on the link.) It’s not clear how the brand name made it past the focus group.

Canadians never forget a face: The Canadian Border Services Agency officer asked about our trip to Niagara Falls from three years ago. It’s always fun to be remembered! 

20170706 - drive to banff-IMG_6045New passport smell: You gotta have your papers to visit Canada. The Geek broke out a virgin passport at the Abbotsford-Huntingdon Border Crossing. It was crisp as a Canadian breeze. Her recently expired one carried the miasma of dozens of immigration officials from mostly sweaty tropical countries. MontaraManDan’s passport carried only a residual whiff of baguettes from a single out-of-country trip to France five years ago.

Speed limits top 100! OK, that’s kilometers per hour, or about 62 mph. #DadJoke1

20170706 - drive to banff-IMG_6022Cross-cultural signage: Geek: “The sign says the hotel is about 30 km away.” M-Man: “Speak English, Geek! You know I don’t know Canadian.”

Extreme Traffic Control: On-ramp gates instead of meters. Signs in two languages. Flashing yellow left turn arrows. Broken white lines at the end of a merge. Wildlife overpasses. Texas gates. Roundabouts. Rumble trips. Whoa. Where do traffic engineers go when they die? We suspect they go to Canada.

20170803 - 20 things about canada-IMG_3049Amusing cash: Red, green, blue, purple, gold … we absolutely love Canada’s rainbow currency. And it’s fun to find loonies and toonies in your pocket change.

Hotel Maxi Bars: Our Best Western in Revelstoke, BC, had a full-service liquor store just off the lobby. It seemed to be a “thing” in Canada. We’re unsure if the innkeepers are in the throes of a mini-bar apocolypse or simply trying to work around regional liquor laws. Maybe both. New York, are you paying attention?

Big bear spray: Bear spray in Canada comes in the handy 8-ounce economy size. California limits you to 2.5 ounces. Canadian bears either run in packs or these bad-ass Canucks don’t back down as easily as their laid-back California cousins.

20170707 - lake louise-IMG_6219 2No road kill: Well-constructed deer fences line hundreds of miles of highway through Canada’s national parks. And Banff National Park has stunning wildlife corridor crossings over the highway. We prefer our wildlife three-dimensional.

Gas for about a dollar! Ok, that’s per liter. #DadJoke2

20170803 - 20 things about canada-IMG_2941Beverages with a view: Every deck at every bar and restaurant had an amazing view. All of them. It can’t be helped.

Fair warning: See a “Falling Rock” sign? Expect falling rock. It happened to us. Don’t let your guard down. (The mini-avalanche missed.)

Canadian Tire: You can’t buy beer and wine at the grocery store, but you can buy coffee pots, deck chairs, water trampolines and mulch at Canadian Tire. And they sell tires, too!

Our first glimpse of Bow lake in the morning at Banff National Park. Dawn Page / CoastsideSlacking
Awe fatigue:  The scenery is so consistently spectacular that if you can survive the first hour on the road then awe fatigue renders the splendor merely commonplace. M-Man: “OMG. Look at that!” Geek: “I suggest you look at the road.”


20170706 - drive to banff-IMG_6043Invasive Mussel Protection: British Columbia has an Invasive Mussel Defence team. California, are you paying attention? (Click on the link for #DadJoke3)

Highway Memes: One highway construction sign advised motorists: “Paving Bridal Falls. Use Alternate Route to Hope.” Profound. Yet sad. Joni Mitchell should write a song.


Bighorn sheep at Banff National Park. Dawn Page / Coastsideslacking

Big-horn jams: A herd of big horn sheep provided the best wildlife photo op of our trip by boldly congregating in the middle of Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive. Apparently their honey badger approach to tourists — “honey badger don’t care” – is commonplace.

Tough Love: Our Canadian hosts were invariably friendly, helpful and wise. While eating dinner in Revelstoke, two gentlemen on neighboring bar stools questioned America’s dependency on pharmaceuticals and herbicides: “They’ve got a pill for everything.” We chose not to engage because, well, they had a point.

Bow lake in Banff National Park. Dawn Page / CoastsideSlackingGlacial Silt: The secret ingredient that turns the water turquoise. They ought to sell a science kit.

THANK YOU, CANADA! With love, M-Man and The Geek


This post is the sixth and last in a series on the wonders of the Canadian Rockies, pegged to the 150th year of the Canadian Confederation. Here are links to other posts in the series:

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