THE BEST OF THE BEST
By Gerrye Wong, September 1, 2010
(excerpted from ON THE SCENE: August 25, 2010)
Once in a while I come across people, organizations and travel destinations that I think are exceptional. On the Scene will devote itself to these special people and places.
A HIDDEN TRAVEL GEM
Kim Lyall, center, welcomes us to Lethbridge, Canada
Seeking a place away from the humdrum of traffic and California’s summer crowds, I headed to a little-known area of Southern Alberta where I found the most interesting history and scenic beauty. Few people stop in Lethbridge on their way from Calgary to Glacier National Park except to see its highest and longest suspension bridge in Canada, but I did. Chinook County Tourist Association CEO Kimberly Lyall kept me busy showing me what her hometown had to offer. For history buffs, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Head-Smashed in Buffalo Jump is one of the largest and most well- preserved buffalo jumps in the world. For 6,000 years the native people of the North American plains were able to kill bison by driving them over this precipice. It is amazing to realize that before firearms or horses were available-thanks to their understanding of topography and bison behavior-this method of hunting could kill up to 300 bison at a time.
We rock lovers toured Writing-On-Stone Park where National Parks Guide Bonnie showed the largest collection of petroglyphs and pictographs in North America dating back over 5,000 years. At Fort MacLeod we visited the replica of the first outpost of the Northwest Mounted Police in Western Canada where I got to help groom the horses performing in their live musical ride of uniformed riders. Program Director Jeremy Mason showed us the historic Empress Theatre where the story of Charles Dickens’ son, Frank of the Mounted, was presented in a one-man show.
Larry, Loretta, and husband Calvin Louie found golfing among the beauty of Canada’s scenery very inspiring. Land-O-Lakes Pro Jim Moulton showed
Picture Butte Golf Pro Shop
them his well-manicured course in nearby Coaldale. Picture Butte Golf Club Pro Dean Sklarenko showed me his well-stocked golf shop of women’s clothes, which isn’t always the case in most courses. As Director Michael Fleischhauer was proud to tell us, Paradise Canyon Golf Resort is nestled among the mountains, making it a very beautiful setting for golfers who travel here from all over the country,
The old town of Lethbridge once had a thriving Chinatown and today is still home to a thousand ethnic Chinese, according to Bow Tin owner Al Leong. Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden ED Lindy Rollingson led us on tour of her serene and peaceful place right in the center of the city, boasting an authentic teahouse and landscape designed by noted artists from Japan. We were enthralled with the history of the area told to us by Emil Gundlock who chronicled all he knew about this interesting area he grew up in.
Traveling an hour southward we came close to the Montana border where we discovered Canada’s Shangri-la: Waterton Lakes National Park, the world’s first International Peace Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trail of the Great Bear
Beth Towe, right, and Waterton Lakes natives
President Beth Russell-Towe is a native who fell in love with the area some fifteen years ago and never left. Her company spearheads the Wildlife Festival, which draws visitors to see the animals of the park, and the Wildflowers Festival featuring many species of rare flowers. Beth took us to beautiful Cameron Lake with boat rentals enjoyed by families of all ages, and drove us on Red Rock Parkway, which truly illustrated where the strikingly colored red and green rock mountains meet the prairie.
We even saw two bears lolling around the Waterton Lakes Golf Course before retiring to the comfortable Bayshore Inn where General Director Shameer Suleman brought to the town the largest gift shop, a Lakeside Chop House & Fireside Lounge and Serenity Spa for his daily visiting bus tourists. If you need to step back from the busy-ness of your life and stop and smell the flowers, this is the place to come to during the summer.
To read the rest of this article, click here.
Also, to read another family’s blog about their experiences on their trip through Waterton, click here