After traveling to Canada for my very first international tour last year in July, I got bitten by the international travel bug. Sure I’ve lived on the road for a year in Australia, and I have traveled 60 per cent of my country (And LOVED it), but the feeling I got by being on top of the world at one of the highest peaks in Banff, Alberta Canada, at Sulfur Mountain lookout (Elevation of 2,451m) is just so indescribable, I longed to go back for my second Canadian Tour.
For this tour, I performed 17 shows in 38 days from Didsbury, Alberta, across to Chilliwack, British Columbia. (Shown on poster below- Plus Peachland Markets Sunday 18th June)
On the 29th May 2017, My Brother; Mitchel and I boarded the train from Newcastle to Sydney, then caught the long 14 hour flight from the Sydney International Airport to Vancouver International. We were thrilled to have an eight hour lay over before our flight to Calgary Alberta as we had time to walk through the famous Stanley Park, and lay on the grass with our music pumping from Mitchel’s Bluetooth speaker while overlooking the sea planes take off from the shore. On our way back to the airport, we acted like true Aussies by stopping in to ‘check out’ the Irish Pub. After quite a few Canadian beers and myself flogging Mitchel at pool, we had to go back.
When we arrived in Calgary, we were met by not only our friend Doug Shields but also quite a large amount of Country decorations as the town was only one month away from the biggest festival seen in Canada; The Calgary Stampede. We unfortunately were flying home one week before the festival began but I did attend last year and was blown away with amazement. If you get your chance to go the Canada, you don’t want to miss it.
For the first week of our trip, we were staying with our friend Doug on his farm in Didsbury, Alberta. Doug has a very successful property growing peas, canola, hay and barley. Here’s some interesting information for agriculture enthusiasts- Unlike Australia, Canada only has around 5-6 months per year to plough their crops and harvest them.
I know, It doesn’t sound possible right?…. Wrong!!
Their sun rises at 5:30am and doesn’t set until 10pm. In that 16 1/2 hours of sunlight each day, the crops grow very quickly. They do have the issues with hail and frost in the summer but they’re all covered with insurances for those cases. Overall, the crops grow so quickly and are cut and sold before the first snow. Pretty cool eh?
After my first performance at the Didsbury Motel for their grand opening with new owners; Ang and Shane, We jumped in my 1976 Chevy Van RV ‘Maple’ and hit the road to our favourite Alberta town; Banff. I performed at the Banff Legions Club and was joined by some good friends; Hugh Pettigrew on Harmonica and Shane Curtis on Bass Guitar. After some good jam sessions, we were grabbed by some locals to taste the best pizza in town and drink the biggest sangria glass ever! If you have never tried pizza topped with honey and sweet chili sauce- you must. It’s life changing.
Mitch and I stayed in Banff for four days. During that time, we figured out that half the town are Aussies, we went hiking at Sulur Mountain and Tunnel Mountain, saw our first Elk and made lifelong friends (Katie, Shane, Gary Beatty; I’m talking about you). Mitch loved the town so much that he is already planning to get his visa and live there for six months in May 2018. Look out Canada!
We were sad to leave Banff but excited to be on the road again, this time traveling to the town of Kamloops. I love this town, it honestly reminds me of Mildura, VIC with it’s dry landscape, salt bush forestry and the whole town built around the Thompson River. We stayed with our friend Brittanie Alcantara and caught up with more friends; Angel Easton and Richard Baker when I was performing at the Kamloops Casino. A little secret to all those cheese cake lovers- this place is incredible!
We moved along further into the state of BC and closer to the beautiful city of Vancouver as I was performing in Chilliwack at Rosedale Roadhouse and Bob’s Bar and Grill in Aldergrove. It was amazing to spend the day with our other Canadian friends who went to Uni in Canberra back in 2014/15; Brandi, Gaby and Delowsky. My favorite thing about Rosedale is their berries. The blackberries alone are the size of 1/2 a golf ball and are so juicy that you’d want to wear a napkin!
The Okanagan Valley is a stunning area of BC, known for it’s abundance of wineries and orchards. We traveled through the area and I performed at the Woodlake RV Park in Lake Country, Todd’s RV Park in Peachland, the Canyon Farms RV Park in Kelowna and the Farmers Markets in Peachland (Thanks to Papa Thom for inviting me). While we were here, we again made some incredible friends; Debbie Loker and Patrick. Mitch and I also took advantage of my days off by hiking up the peaks of the mountains. In Peachland, we walked up Pincushion Mountain (815m) and in Lake Country we struggled up Spion Kop Mountain (875m). We must have lost our way numerous times off the walking track because on some parts, we literally were on our hands and knees as it was too steep and slippery with the rocks. It was so much fun! When we got back down, we did discover a map with five different trails for every levels. Both of these summits held the most spectacular views showing the lakes and the cities.
Every few months in Peachland, the information center have a bat count. What’s that you say? Well, believe it or not, the historic primary school building was not being used but when it was discovered that there were thousands of bats occupying the attic, they turned it into the information center and are protecting the Yuma Bat colony.
Our friend Debbie decided to make Mitch and I feel at home by taking us to Kangaroo Creek Farm in Lake Country. Cute is an understatement. I was lucky enough to hold an albino joey and a Mumma sugar glider. We got selfies with emus, wallabies and miniature horses. Oh and I can’t forget about the Cockatoo that does the world’s BEST Donald Trump impression….. You can view that on my Facebook page.
Definitely a place you need to visit.
ALRIGHT… I am going to stop right here so you can catch your breath and make sure you have your passports ready…
Love SAMI xxx
P.s Be sure to look back for Part 2 which includes Mitch and my trip from Sicamous to Didsbury. (This is the good part you don’t want to miss). I will also be writing a couple of blogs that will be extremely useful for the next trip you take so make sure you subscribe.