My niece Sarah is nothing if not persistent and I just must get this one sorted otherwise it may turn into a family feud —
This arises from our trip during August / September 2014 (wow it’s already “last year”!) to Canada with a cruise to Alaska thrown in. When they heard we were coming, both my sister Sheila (Sam), representing the “East”, and her daughter Sarah, ably assisted by other daughter Rachel, representing the “West”, went out of their way to make sure we had a wonderful trip and there were no holds barred when it came to their proving that “their side of Canada” was the best.
Now, being the totally fair and objective person that I am, I thought the only way to settle this would be a series of 20 “tests” based on a set of criteria that is completely without bias or favour, so here goes :
1 – Best Welcome at Airport
Unquestionably the one we got at Calgary! Sarah arranged a “White Hat” ceremony for us in the Arrivals hall so this one goes to the WEST
2 – Best Party
OK it wasn’t arranged just for us but the Pig Roast at Alex and Sarah’s place the day of our arrival was really special – has to be the WEST
3 – Best Mountain Scenery
Our trip through the Canadian Rockies was sensational – no mountains to speak of in the East (well the parts we visited anyway, although they made up for it with trees) – has to be the WEST
4 – Best Coastal Scenery
The trip around Cape Breton on the Cabot Trail was a treat and we didn’t get to the west coast so this is a win for the EAST
5 – Best Historical Site
Hands down winner was the wonderfully restored Fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia where we spent a couple of interesting hours exploring its delights – the EAST takes this one
6 – Most Memorable Meal (Restaurant)
This has to go to the Raven Bistro in Jasper which was also the most expensive meal we’ve had but worth it! Yes it’s in the WEST
7 – Best Poutine
Only Canadians will know what this is – rather good but very filling, it’s soggy French fries with brown gravy and smothered in cheese curds. The one we had in Calgary was not bad but even Sarah and Rachel told us that the Gaetans roadside wagon in Alexandria served the best poutine and so it turned out. The EAST is superior in this category.
8 – Friendliest Neighbours
No offence to the people we met in Alexandria, but Alex and Sarah’s neighbours in Dalhousie, Calgary were super-friendly and we felt like old friends when we left. The WEST takes it.
9 – Most Spectacular Vehicle Ride
The ride onto the Athabasca glacier in the Rockies outdid anything else we did so an easy win for the WEST
10 – Most Spectacular Boat Ride
This has to go to the boat trip (on my birthday) out of Englishtown Nova Scotia which took us to Bird Island – no competition as there were no boat rides in the west, so the EAST wins it
11 – Most Memorable Meal (Home cooked)
Sorry Fave Sis this must unfortunately go to Sarah’s 5 star gourmet meal on our last night in Calgary, but you were a close second – Sarah worked hard for a win for the WEST
12 – Best Driving Experience
Well, I didn’t get to drive in Calgary due to time running out but John made up for it by letting me drive his 1953 MG TC around the country roads near Alexandria, Ontario – nice one for the EAST
13 – Best Military Display
Once again John clinched this with his wonderful mini-museum of Canadian military dress – no competition. The EAST wins
14 – Best Home Entertainment
The home cinema at the farm was a delight and made for a few relaxing evenings when we were not trying to set new records for travel in a day. The EAST is superior in this department
15 – Most Enthusiastic tour Guide/Organiser
Sarah puts a lot into everything she does and we had a ball with her at the helm. My Fave Sis was also a star but she has trained her daughter too well so the WEST gets the honours
16 – Best Garden Birding
I had some good birding in both Calgary and the farm but the latter obviously had more scope and turned out to be the better birding spot, so EAST wins the round.
17 – Most Miles Travelled
We saw a lot in a few days of touring the Rockies but distance-wise the EAST was by far the winner as we traversed Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and in the process we saw many trees – I lost count of them at 1 Trillion…..
18 – Best City
We only spent half a day in Quebec City but were taken by its beauty and history, so a triumph for the EAST
19 – Best Lakes
No question here – the scenic lakes of the Rockies take some beating when it comes to beauty so the WEST is on top
20 – Best Town
This would be a toss-up between Banff and Jasper but I think the former has more going for it – both are in the WEST
So where does that leave us? Let’s count the WEST’s and the EAST’s …… I don’t believe it, both get 10 points! Who would’ve thought?
I can only come to one conclusion and that is that Canada as a whole wins! (groans all round)
Cheers for the Canadians!