Category Archives: Canada

Tunnel Mountain Hike

A couple months ago, a hiked up Banff’s very popular Tunnel Mountain. Although originally known as Sleeping Buffalo due to its appearance, the mountain received its current name during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The surveyors assumed the easiest path would be to follow the Bow River, and in this case, constructing a tunnel through this mountain which was beside the river. CPR was furious at the idea, and instead found a route north of the mountain that actually shortened the overall railway and saved CPR millions of dollars. Continue reading

Calgary Zoo

Last year, I visited the Calgary Zoo which is most known in the negativity-centric media for its unfortunate animal deaths. In person, the zoo is a worth while destination for viewing over 1,000 animals.

A couple caterpillars make the rounds in the Botanical Gardens.

In the Butterfly Garden, there are many different butterflies fluttering around. I was quite captivated by this butterfly and pattern in its eyes.

A fruit bat’s body is structured to hang upside down without exerting any energy. Their legs are surprisingly weak, and cannot support their weight while standing upright for a long period of time. But this isn’t a problem when hanging upside down.

This chimpanzee looks from the outside into a cage. Unlike the monkey above, chimpanzees and apes do not actually have tails at all. I never noticed the difference until now!

Numerous flamingos quench their thirst and clean themselves.

Meerkats like this are native to South Africa. They eat many kinds of insects and even small birds, and are immune to many kinds of venom. They don’t have excess fat stores, so finding food is a daily need, which I’m sure is an easier process inside the zoo environment. Sadly, their lifespan in captivity is only 12-14 years, half of what it would be in the wild.

The zoo does a good job of copying the natural terrain especially outdoors inside a major Canadian city like here in the Canadian Wilds section.

After a day in the zoo, it is relaxing to sit down and enjoy the scenery.

Kananaskis Country, Alberta

In July, I went hiking in Kananaskis Country with my friends.

The scenery was beautiful with large rock faces and trees in the valleys, seemingly clinging to nothing on the rock.

Even though we weren’t super high up in the sky, clean white snow was still around in patches. Thankfully, it wasn’t too cold as most of Alberta was pretty much into its summer by the end of July.

About 3/4 of the way, there was a lake with more mountains away in the distance.

The view from the top!

A clear trail marks the best way through the mountains on this long, but beautiful hike.

Near the beginning of the trail, a stream runs though. There were actually several streams. After over 6 hours of hiking, we were anxious to find the parking lot again on the way back, but this is what we kept seeing instead!

After the hike, we had dinner in Canmore before returning to Calgary. I look forward to more hikes again next year after Calgary’s 9-month winter is done for another year again!

Family Visit 2011 (Drumheller, AB)

While my family visited for my university convocation, we took a side trip to Drumheller.

Until you are near the town, it seems like a normal highway. Then, the badlands appear, and you’re there.

This is the view of Drumheller from inside the world’s largest dinosaur.

The dinosaur bones are quite fascinating to see in person at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but this display was quite large. I was only as tall as the legs, if that.

This display showed a neat little bird.

Another one of Drumheller’s attractions is Little Church. It is designated as an actual place of worship that seats six at a time. At one time, it had stained glass windows and a brass bell according to the town web site.

Family Visit 2011 (Banff & Lake Louise)

In June, I officially completed my Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Calgary. To mark this occasion, my family came out from New Brunswick (by car) and North Carolina to Calgary.

This post is my first in a series. I haven’t had much time to update my blog yet this year, but I plan to do this more frequently since I now have quite a growing backlog of photos to go through!

Our first trip outside to Calgary was of course to Banff and Lake Louise. This beautiful vista is a popular photo spot on the way to Banff.

My parents.

Beautiful downtown Banff boasts an impressive mountain backdrop.

My mom and my uncle.

The Banff Springs Hotel.

Me with my family in front of Lake Louise. There is still some ice covering the lake, but most of it is gone.

Me and my uncle.

A bird was seemingly quite eager to pose for photos. What else can you do besides relax beside Lake Louise?

Banff iCORE Summit

From August 20th to 22nd, I attended the iCORE Summit in Banff as one of the students to represent the Interactions Lab. The lab is partially supported by iCORE, and a summit is held yearly to discuss various topics. This year’s theme was security, which proved to be interesting. Accommodations were provided at the Banff Centre, which was an arts centre that has begun to host events for scientific venues as well.

For me, this was also an opportunity to experience Banff in summer time, and take photos!


Banff’s main street is instantly recognizable to all who have been to the town before. Not visible in this picture are Banff’s city buses. There is actually 3 bus routes running regularly!


One morning, there was heavy fog and cloud cover. It began to break apart slowly revealing only sections of a mountain in the distance.


Getting around the Banff Centre was difficult due to the construction of a new building in the centre. The construction workers have the benefit of having the best view of the whole centre, though.


The Bow River offers many beautiful vistas with mountains in the background.


This is the same spot on the river looking towards the town, and its bridge.


Usually, streets are assumed to be two-way unless otherwise stated, but Banff decides to indicate this using two… one-way signs. Cars travelled in both directions on this street.


The iconic Banff Springs Hotel.


Provincial flags at the Banff Centre seem to create a mountain slope of their own.


In this shot, the infamous Hoodoos are visible, which are the rock formations in the middle left part of the photo.

Banff and Lake Louise

On the Monday holiday, I went to Banff and Lake Louise with some new friends.


Our first stop was the Johnston Canyon for a short hike. It’s a beautiful area.


A beautiful shot of a very small waterfall.


This is a larger waterfall. In order to see it, you must walk through a very low cave!


Three layers seem to converge and lose their depth in this photo.


This is Lake Louise. Because of the weather, it was hard to get a good clear shot. However, with some retouching, this photo gained a mystical quality!

Banff, Alberta (Part 2 of 2)

And now for part 2 of Banff. I will begin within what is the most breathtaking view, in my opinion.

Now THIS is beautiful. This view is in the opposite direction of Banff, with other snow-capped mountains in the distance. Many of my pictures are from this similar view, just at different angles.

Proof that I was there! I am standing here near the top of Tunnel Mountain. Taking my photo was a traveler from an Asian country I will not name here. As I did for most people I met, I asked why he was travelling to Canada. His response? “I want to try weed!” This is certainly the most hilarious and perhaps most honest response I could have received. Apparently people are hung for smoking weed in his homeland. I didn’t get his picture or name though, so if you’re some foreign police force wasting money on cracking down on this, don’t ask me for help!

The beautiful Bow River runs through Banff. In this shot, you see the river in the middle, mountains in the distance, and a still-snow covered shoreline in the foreground. Even without lush greenery, I think seeing remnants of snow is a benefit.

The True North Strong and Free! Seeing Canada through the eyes of a tourist without politics gave me some sense of pride. Places like Banff are what people in other countries see about us in tourism brochures. I think this is a good thing too. Banff is a nice place with tourism done right. The main attraction, the mountains, is free for anyone to use. Your enjoyment of this place is not limited by the amount of money you have.

When I arrived at Banff, it was almost dark. Since I only had about 24 hours here, I didn’t want to waste one night, so I toured the small downtown at night. Driving this motivation to roam about was the fact that the room at the hostel was a complete mess with garbage all over the floor left by previous occupants. So there I was in downtown Banff at 9 PM. Most things were closed, but a fudge shop was open. I bought a block of fudge which turned out to be $10. Ooops! But it was good anyway!

When it was time to return to the hostel, I asked a bus driver when the next hostel bus would come. It was a little while, so I decided to check out the grocery store. Well, I missed the bus. So I asked the first bus driver who came along when the next bus was, and he recognized me. He told me the next bus wouldn’t be for an hour. He felt bad, so he says “Oh what the hell, this is Banff, hop on” and he took me where I needed to go anyway even though it wasn’t his actual bus run. This is what I call hospitality.

That’s all for my trip to Alberta.