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Bohemian Waxwing

One of the perks of my house-sitting stint in Alberta last fall was a backyard bird feeder that attracted all kinds of birds — most of which were new to me. Some species, like this Bohemian Waxwing, were much more interested in the mountain ash berries.

Through My Lens: Prairie Slough

Here’s a landscape I never get to see in Vancouver: the wide open prairie with its big, big sky. I took this photo about a month ago, well before the first snowfall.

Through My Lens: Alberta Poplars

One of the cool things about my time here in Alberta are the variety of trees — so unlike any of the ones growing in Vancouver’s rainforests — that I get to photograph.

These, I’m told, are poplars.

Elizabeth Lake

Who of us knew walking would become a thing when this pandemic first hit? Not me. Such a simple act, which has been my balm in Gilead these past nineteen months.

And yet, who of us by this time are not bored to tears with their neighbourhood, having explored every corner of it?

Even me — and I live next door to one of Canada’s most spectacular urban parks.

And so, on this Thanksgiving I am grateful that the stars have aligned and I have a (temporary) change of scenery. I’m in Central Alberta for some weeks, which at the moment is stunning in all its fall glory. There are lots of trails and walks to discover, too. Last Sunday, I spent the afternoon walking around Elizabeth Lake, in the centre of Lacombe.

Here’s some of what I saw.

Through My Lens: Prairie Clouds

So, yeah. I’ve been a little quiet lately on the blog front. What can I say? I did warn you.

Here’s a photo I took last weekend in Lacombe County, Alberta. I was there to visit family and get my landscape fix.

We don’t have clouds like these here in Vancouver. Not very often, at any rate. Which is why I think they are quite spectacular.

Through My Lens: Aspelund Road

Aspelund Road

I didn’t spend my entire vacation in the Rockies. This photo was taken two days ago on Aspelund Road near Sylvan Lake. It’s just north of the county line between Lacombe and Red Deer, and I’m facing east. My dad showed me this view on a drive we took through the Alberta countryside.

Rolling parkland is ubiquitous in this part of Alberta.

As are pickup trucks.

Through My Lens: Bentley

Bentley Grain Elevator

This is a favourite photo of mine, and today is a good day to post it to the blog. That’s because this afternoon my dad and I took a drive to Bentley to deliver his sister (my aunt) safely home after a family get-together. Bentley, Alberta, is a small town due west of Lacombe where I spent a good chunk of my childhood summers.

Yup, I’m back in Wild Rose Country.

I took this photo almost five years ago. Alberta’s grain elevators are quickly disappearing ― in 1934, there were over 1700 of these iconic structures, but today there are maybe 120. Happily for me, this one is still standing.

Lacombe Mural

Speaking of murals, here’s another. This one’s from Lacombe, Alberta. I took the photo on a grey November day and, once again, the colours of the mural blend perfectly with the surrounding sky.

Lacombe Mural


Flatiron Building

I used this month’s long weekend (November 11 is a stat holiday in Alberta and BC), plus a few of my vacation days, as an opportunity to fly to Alberta for a bit of family visitation. On one afternoon of that extra-long weekend, I was driving through the town of Lacombe with my dad en route to visit my various aunts and uncles and I thought to myself, “What a pretty little town this is!”

I don’t know the town of Lacombe very well, even though a whole passel of my relatives still live there and even though I spent a good chunk of my summers in the Lacombe area when I was growing up. That’s because we always parked our family tent trailer on the dairy farm of my aunt and uncle and there were far too many fun things to do on the farm for any of us kids to want to go into town. (I highly recommend spending summers on a dairy farm when you’re a kid.)

Anyways, the very same day (is that a weird coincidence or what?) that my dad and I were driving around Lacombe, its Historic Main Street (50th Avenue) was selected by the Canadian Institute of Planners as Canada’s Great Street for 2013. (Who knew there was a Canadian Institute of Planners? Not me.) The story made the local TV news that night, and it gave me an excuse to go back the next day and take some photos for this blog.

The architectural style of the buildings on Lacombe’s 50th Avenue is Edwardian ― that’s the style that was in vogue during the first decade and a bit of the last century. Lacombe’s Flatiron building (see above photo) was opened in 1904 and is the oldest flatiron in the province.

Lacombe started out as a boxcar train station on the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was incorporated as a village in 1896 and as a town in 1902. In 2010, it became Alberta’s 17th city (and, with of population of 11,000, its smallest).

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