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True Patriot Love: A Canada Day Photo Essay

Today is Canada Day, our national holiday marking when we officially became a country, July 1, 1867. I always think of myself as a Canadian first, and am proud to have grown up and continue to live here. I also consider myself fortunate to have experienced much of it – having visited all 10 provinces, living in 3 of them so far, and spending significant time visting 2 others over the years. To celebrate, here are some photos I’ve taken the past few years of some of my favourite places and things across the country. It’s not an exhaustive list – it’s dependent on where I’ve been with a high-resolution camera these past few years, but it has also reminded me of many of the things and places I love, and haven’t been back to see in far too long (hello Montreal, Toronto, Niagra, and Annapolis Valley!)

On Canada Day, I hope you get to spend some time with – or thinking about, your favourite things from this country too.

I suggest you look through these images while listening to Joel Plaskett’s True Patriot Love.

Mountains! Taken in Banff

Mountain Peaks

Calgary Folk Fest at Prince’s Island Park. Slipping away from the action to relax along the Bow River is always a pleasure.

Bow River

Street life on Rue Saint Jean in Quebec City, which turns into a pedestrian-only street during the summer.

Rue Saint Jean

The Waterfront Trail in Ottawa. One of my favourite places to run.

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The coloured row houses in St. John’s is one of the city’s best features.

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Oceans! The Atlantic Ocean, taking off from St. John’s

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…and the Pacific, on a boat near Victoria.

Seals

Speaking of Victoria, the Legislature is amazing at night.

Legislature

The public gardens in Halifax was one of my favourite places to go when I lived there.

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The Market! My home on Saturday mornings during the summer in Edmonton.

City Centre Market

Baseball at Telus Field in Edmonton.

The Pitch

One more from Edmonton – overlooking the River Valley, truly the city’s world class feature.

Saskatchewan Drive

Speaking of world class, the Black Sheep Pub in Wakefield is one of the country’s great music venues, yes?

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Parliament Hill in Ottawa. I get a thrill every time I visit. I hope that feeling never goes away.

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Hiking above Jasper, Alberta, where my family has gone regularly since I was a little kid. Here’s an overhead view of the town.

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Finally, atop the Sulphur Skyline near Jasper – one of my favourite hiking trails. That’s me taking in the view. We truly have a beautiful country.

Admiring the View

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Dear Chicago

Chicago turns 175 today. It’s a city that feels younger. Some of that is borne out of necessity – the great fire of 1871 destroyed much of the city. Much of it, in my observation, comes from a culture of innovation and openness, a willingness – common to most successful enterprises – to constantly reinvent itself.

The signs of reinvention are everywhere – in the repurposed buildings and spaces, to those, like Millennium Park, that turned utilitarian spaces into great public ones.

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Former warehouses brought back to life with new businesses and residents northwest of The Loop.

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Navy Pier. Not my favorite, but a repurposed space that has become a popular attraction.

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Millennium Park and the Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion, truly one of the great public spaces, in my opinion.

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Admit it, we all love the bean (that’s me taking the photo in the middle).

You’re always looking up in Chicago. The birthplace of the skyscraper, the skyline towers over you. Waves of glass and steel, celebrating generations of style and design, crowd alongside the Chicago River, vying to capture your attention.

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Buildings loom over Michigan Ave and Millennium Park.

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Skyline, as seen from the Chicago River near Navy Pier.

Chicago is a city you experience from above – from the heights of its tallest buildings, or from the El that rises and travels above the city.

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The El, traveling above you along State Street.

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The second-story high station in Wicker Park.

Yet, the city doesn’t overwhelm you. It’s also a city you can disappear in. Being mere steps away from the glass and steel forest can feel like an entirely different world.

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Finding solitude amidst the business district is easy with amenities like this pool

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The beach along the Lakefront, steps away from the skyscrapers in The Loop.

Further out, as you travel along the El, you find what is still a bustling city, but one that exists at a more human scale. It’s easy to get lost on a sunny afternoon at Wrigley, or a peaceful morning in Wicker Park.

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Afternoon baseball at Wrigley Field.

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The farmers’ market in Wicker Park.

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Peaceful Sunday brunch, in the secluded courtyard at Jam, just off the beaten path in Wicker Park.

Every moment can be an adventure. The character, and spontaneity which so often make cities so great, is abundant. It keeps drawing you back, not just to the city, but to the same places.

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People having fun at Millennium Park on a hot summer day.

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Alternately, many of buildings have details and touches you may not appreciate if you don’t stop and truly explore.

At 175, Chicago doesn’t feel old. It feels like a city that is constantly evolving, and will keep you coming back to see what’s next.

Happy birthday, Chicago. Until next time.

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