O Canada – How beautiful art thee

What is a Canadian? A Canadian is a fellow wearing English tweeds, a Hong Kong shirt, and Spanish shoes who sips Brazilian coffee sweetened with Philippine sugar from a Bavarian cup while nibbling Swiss cheese, sitting at a Danish desk over a Persian rug, after coming home in a German car from an Italian movie all with a smile on his face saying, “What a great day, eh?”

No matter where you’re from, or what you believe in, we can all agree  Canada is our, “True North strong and free.”

British Columbia - Agassiz

British Columbia – Agassiz

Jasper National Park

Alberta – Jasper National Park

Saskatchewan2

Saskatchewan – Canadian Pacific Railway

Lake Winnipeg

Manitoba – Lake Winnipeg

Ontario - Algonquin Park

Ontario – Algonquin Park

Mont Tremblant

Quebec – Mont Tremblant

Newfoundland - Puffin Nest Island

Newfoundland – Puffin Nest Island

PEI - Covehead Lighthouse in Stanhope

Prince Edward Island – Covehead Lighthouse

Nova Scotia - Bay of Fundy Humpback whale

Nova Scotia – Humpback Whale in the Bay of Fundy

New Brunswick - longest wooden covered bridge

New Brunswick – Hartland

Yukon- Northern Lights

Yukon Territory – Night Sky Stars, clouds, and Northern Lights

Northwest Territories - Sambaa Deh Falls1

Northwest Territories – Sambaa Deh Falls

Nunavut - sunset

Nunavut – sunset on the High Arctic

Sandman’s Tribute to Fathers

Father & Son Golf

What does it mean to be a dad?

Most fathers would probably cite the same qualities — and employ much of the same language — if asked that very question. Most would say a dad provides. A dad protects. He tries to teach, often by example, if only because so many fathers still embrace the “strong, silent” stereotype, and so many dads find that showing rather than telling can frequently be a more eloquent method for imparting a lesson.

In fact, of all the familial “hoods” — motherhood, childhood, fatherhood — the latter has probably changed less, in fundamental ways, than the others over the last several generations. Motherhood is largely unrecognizable (in many positive ways) from the institution of, say, the 1950s, while childhood sometimes seems to be redefined with each new alarmist magazine cover: Our kids are too lazy! Our kids are too busy! Our kids are too coddled! Our kids are too stressed!

Father-and-Son

But fatherhood? For the most part, today’s dads are still good-natured. Much as their fathers and their fathers’ fathers did before them, maybe a little more “enlightened,” more “sensitive,” more “attuned” than their old men, but generally working on the same basic principles: Raise good kids. Don’t spoil them. Help them stand up. And, every once in a while, let them fall down. Love them, guide them — and then, as painful as it’s going to be — let them go.

From all of us at Sandman, to Bob Gaglardi, founder of our company, and every dad out there, Happy Father’s Day.

No need to travel for a vacation

staycationNeed a vacation but don’t know where to go? Easy – Sandman Staycation. A what? A vacation in your own city where you get to truly explore sites and attractions while staying at your local Sandman hotel. Perfect way to truly enjoy your time off.

So now that you know where your vacation will be, it’s time to plan the itinerary.

Act like a tourist. Most people travel far to visit museums in other countries but have yet to visit the tourist attractions in their own backyards. When you check in at the hotel, ask for some brochures for nearby museums, hikes, and parks. Or, visit the attractions that you’ve always wanted to see but never have.

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Take your taste buds on a trip. Treat yourself to a culinary adventure by indulging in different ethnic food each night. Never been to Greece? Perfect. Find the closest Greek restaurant and make sure to try the ouzo.

Watch a foreign movie. Instead of stumbling on your words while attempting to communicate with foreign locals, just watch a movie with subtitles. Check to see if your city has a movie theatre that shows foreign films. Wouldn’t it be great to go to Paris without the long flight?Photographer

Take photos. This is your chance to really act like a tourist. Ask strangers to take pictures of you in front of famous buildings and statues. Make sure you have a camera strap and hang your camera around your neck. This way, you actually look like a tourist.

 

So next time you need a break from reality, but don’t know where to go, remember: a Sandman Staycation is right around the corner.

Interesting Canadian Road Side Attractions

With the fall weather slowly creeping in, it’s fair to say that a large majority of Canadians are desperately trying to cling on to the last vestiges of that summer spirit. That’s why this upcoming Labour Day weekend is among the most coveted dates for ‘last chance’ road trips before the brisk awakening of autumn.  With many of our hotel locations situated along major travel routes we decided to compile a list of the best road side attractions to visit in Canada, because, after all, who doesn’t love a drive through corn stand?

Must See in BC

When most visitors think of sights to see in BC, they usually seek them out on water (whale watching is popular) or on the mountains (the province is famed for its skiing).  Yet, there are some interesting roadside pit stops that are enticing too. Take for instance the Giant Dump Truck in Sparwood.

The appropriately named, Terex 33-19 “Titan” tandem-axle off-road dump truck is among the biggest in the world. While it used to be a working vehicle, it now stands as an iconic reminder of the town’s rich mining history. Approximately 7 metres tall and nearly 20 metres long this glorified version of your kid’s toy weighs 260 tons – something the tots are sure to love!

Everyone needs a pit stop for food during their on-road travels, but sometimes burgers and fries just don’t suffice. That’s why there’s ‘The Sparkes Corn Barn’ drive though. Sprinkled across Chilliwack highway areas, you can simply pull up, order a bundle of the town’s freshest, and be on your merry way. Renowned for having some of the sweetest corn around, the bright yellow and green barns are easy to spot with their cute and colourful displays. A ‘golden’ opportunity, you’ll want to stop by at least once for some homegrown goodness.

The Ogopogo Sculpture, Kelowna, BC

Much like the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, Kelowna’s mythical (or real, depending on your sources) water creature is the stuff great legends are made of. Old folklore tells of a beastly lake monster that ate men, yet, if you look at the monument created in Kelowna, you might get a different impression. A cute and cuddly looking thing, this road side statue looks more like the flying dragon from ‘The Never Ending Story’ rather than a scaly, scary creature – which is good because the lake is a great place for a summer swim and hasn’t seen any man-eating activity for centuries.

The Enchanted Forest, Revelstoke BC (Roger’s Pass)

Perhaps one of the most curious sights you’ll see while travelling along the TransCanada Highway in BC, The Enchanted Forest is a real life …well, enchanted forest. Similar to what you’d envision for an Alice in Wonderland amusement park, this fantasy play ground was created way back in 1950s. Starting off as a lifelong passion for Doris Needham, she began creating her enchanted statues by hand using cement molds. Then, she and her husband found the ideal location near Revelstoke, BC and began turning their wide lot of land into a mythically charmed acreage. Clearing over 40 acres of land by hand with shovels, picks and saws, they were able to construct everything from candy cane houses to giant mushrooms for passersby to enjoy. Then, in 1960, they opened their pride and joy to the public, attracting a large number of highway travellers to their bright, colourful and curious forest. Now a local legend, this is the stuff dreams are made of – literally.

Giant Beaver, Beaverlodge, Alberta

Why did the beaver cross the road? To become a 3000-pound road side attraction of course. Perhaps the most fitting tribute to a town called ‘Beaverlodge’ this giant icon is truly Canadian in every sense of the word. Home of the Beaverloge Blades, a hockey team in the North West Junior Hockey Leauge (NWJHL), we’re pretty sure their proud of their wood-chipping mascot.

Giant Dinosaur, Drumheller, Alberta

There are 2 cool things about Drumheller’s famous road side attraction. One, the statue is a life-sized replica. Two, a long, long time ago, there was the real thing likely walking around the area. We’re talking about the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The king of all dinosaurs, this big guy is famed for being the largest T-Rex road side replica in the world. Standing at 26-plus metres (86 feet) tall, 145,000-pounds (65,770-kg) in weight this is the closest you can get to the ancient giant. By close, we mean really close, as in you can climb up inside its body for a mini-museum  tour all the way to the top where its mouth offers a stunning view of the surrounding area.

Big Cowboy Boot, Edmonton Alberta

Most folk passing through Edmonton get a big kick out of this roadside attraction. Perhaps the most carefully crafted footwear you’ll ever see, this statue was actually refurbished by a real shoe company, the Stallion Boot and Jean Company. An ode to the city’s prairie roots, you can go wrong with a good ol’ pair of cowboy boots.

World’s Biggest Wind Gauge, Lethbridge Alberta

With those strong Chinook winds, it makes sense that Lethbridge, Alberta would have a giant Wind Gauge in their city. Trouble is it doesn’t work! However, engineers can breathe a sigh of relief as the design is intentional to prevent unruly tourists from harming themselves by climbing or playing with it. Which is pretty smart if you think of it, because standing at 18 feet tall, you wouldn’t want to get hit in the head with its oversized ball bearing.

The Starship Enterprise, Vulcan, Alberta

Any Trekkie will love this one. There is a real place called Vulcan, and it lives in Alberta. Very aware of their kinship to the famed sci-fi series, the town decided to erect a giant statue of the starship Enterprise for every fan to enjoy. Near the statue is a visitor centre where onlookers can learn much about the Vulcan culture (the alien culture that is, not the actual culture of the town) in addition to many other Star Trek related facts. Maybe the town should adopt a new slogan – ‘live long and prosper’ perhaps?

The Second Largest Fire Hydrant, Elm Creek, Manitoba

Standing at over 30 feet tall, this mammoth statue was built by volunteer fire fighters as a tribute to their team. Seven months in the making, it is an impressive sight, and likely a huge beacon for tourists and dogs alike.

Very Big Van Gogh, Manitoba, Canada

Did you know that Altona, Manitoba is the ‘Sunflower Capital’ of Canada? If your answer was no, then you might want to take a drive out there where you can find a 76-foot tall easel with a giant hand-painted replica of Van Gogh’s classic ‘Sunflowers’. We’re glad they went creative on this one, because a giant bottle of sunflower oil wouldn’t have been as attractive.

A Giant Orange, Montreal, Quebec,

Yup, this one is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a 3-storey tall orange. Yet, it has more functionality than most of the other road side attractions. It serves orange juice and has been doing so since 1942.

Easter Island Head , Toronto, Ontario, Canada

If you’re looking to play a good trick on your friends, you can head over to Tilley Endurables in Toronto where they have a giant Easter Islands head sculpture. Standing at 15 feet tall, the head looks like the real thing and with the help of some crafty camera work, could fool people into thinking that you took a wild vacation somewhere far, far away.

So, if you’re on the road this long weekend, and you’ve got a bit of time to spare, you might want to check out some of these quirky and fun pit stops. After all, they always make good photos opportunities and that long drive just a bit more exciting!

Of course, Sandman Hotels are ready to provide you with a good night’s sleep should you need a place to stay, so check out our locations along the way.

Name That Wild Sandman Location!

As the official hotel sponsor of the BC Lions, we’re always showing our staff pride! Name the Sandman location where this picture with lucky #13 lion Mike Reilly was taken, and you can win a pair of tickets to tomorrow’s game!

We’ve got two pairs, so keep those answers coming! Answers may be posted on our blog or facebook. For facebook, please make sure you ‘like’ and ‘add’ us, otherwise we will not be able to message you when you win.

Winners announced at 4pm. Good Luck !