Niagara Falls, Canada’s most spectacular gateway is familiar to more people than any other place in the world’s longest unfortified border. North of this border lies an area larger than the United States with a population little more than the state of New York. A fabulous country offering escape from crowded places and their boredom.
The famous city of Quebec has its quaint sections with all the atmosphere of an old European town. About the time the pilgrims were landing in American shores the first French colonists were beginning to build this city and their French speaking descendants are here today, in fact they constitute 30% of Canada’s 13 million. Here’s St. Anne de Beaupré close to the city and probably the most famous church on the North American continent. The shrine of St. Anne’s draws thousands every year, who come with a deep rooted faith in her miracles which have actually produced results defying explanation. Near the village of St. Joseph de la Rive and only six miles from Quebec is this vista of majestic beauty—Mount Alonsy Falls. They drop 274 feet whereas Niagara’s cataract is a mere 155. Montreal, world’s greatest inland sea port, 750 miles from the ocean is a mixture of the old world and the new. The ‘Paris of the North’ Canadians proudly call it.
The soaring gothic of the Peace Tower rising from the Parliament Buildings dominates Ottawa, Canada’s seat of government and frequent scene of pomp and ritual. Here is the busy centre of national life and international diplomacy. The changing of the guard is a daily ceremony reminding the visitor that this is a dominion of the British Empire, self governing and equal in status to the mother country. Not so much pomp and colour perhaps as at the gates of Windsor Castle but essentially in the same tradition.
Strictly Canadian and strong in its own traditions is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Many and varied are the duties of the constable as he is officially called. Chief among these is the enforcement of law in the vast expanse of wilderness areas where because of the Mountie and the respect he commands, the city man who seeks recreation can venture in safety. His first and basic duty is the protection of great national parks and their thousands of annual visitors. Each province has their own game laws and the ardent fisherman can be sure there will be a Mountie somewhere if he is tempted to take just one more fish after catching his limit.
It has been said that part of the standard of living in America is the wilds of Canada, and many a sportsman from the States knows that Canada offers an escape from standards of living that have long since made such fishing as this a dream of yesterday.
The national parks are also reservations for Indian tribes that once roamed all over Canada and the roving constable depends on them for information and assistance in his job of policing vast areas. The Chippewa or Ojibway is one of the largest Canadian tribes. They still hold onto the dress and many of the ancient customs of their nation with particular pride in colourful handmade costumes. The Indians look upon the Mountie as a trusted friend, they know he guards their interests.
Occasionally he will ride in upon a scene that is familiar. A prospector is at work, his identification must be checked and certain routine questions asked. But this fellow is too busy for a lot of talk, he must be finding something. Anyway, the constable is satisfied and wishes him luck. For luck can mean so much in this occupation that might make a man rich overnight, or keep him washing sand in his search for gold throughout a lifetime. In the ranch country it is rare that livestock is stolen for the would-be rustler never knows when he’ll encounter the roving Mountie who may patrol an enormous area but avoids an exact schedule. He knows every rancher and ranch hand in the country he covers and they’re glad to see him ride in. He is their contact to the world outside when they’re on the range.
The Alpine Club of Canada welcomes visitors who can qualify for membership by climbing a peek of at least 2500′ above the timberline and here in the Rockies they are trying their skill on the edge of the Bugaboo Glacier. The crest is 10,000′ up and the stony fortress-like formations and many scenes of spectacular grandeur make this British Columbia locale one of the world’s finest alpine settings. Kipling once offended Canadians by calling their country “our lady of the snow.” They were somewhat sensitive about their rugged winters and thick blankets of white. The tremendous growth of interest in winter sport has changed all that. Nowhere else in the world does winter provide more fun and sport, not only for Canadians but for thousands of visitors from the States.
Here in Canada is ski country to accommodate all the ski enthusiasts who have no fear of a broken leg. The Laurentian Mountains just a little north of Montreal are within reach of thousands who flock here every winter to enjoy the deep powdery snow and sporty slopes. The view is often exciting on top of Mount Baldy and there are ski runs reserved for the most daring. The expert thrills at breathtaking speeds, there are no gentle hills for the novice. Control of nerves and muscle must be flawless, split second judgment perfect, on ski runs expertly contoured by nature. Yes, this is the land of release from the commonplace, from the boredom of routine things. Canada the land of escape.