Once in Canada, there are certain things you must do and try to truly understand the culture and people. We were kind of lazy tourists but saw and tried the things that matter the most to the people around us. So the following is a short subjective overview.
Checking out a lacrosse game was one of the completely Canadian thing we did. Canadians are so very proud of lacrosse, their national game. The history of the game reaches far back to the native people and originally comes from the American east coast. It’s a physical contact game and injuries are quite common, but not as common as in hockey. But for a nation who loves hockey as much, injuries big or small are a piece of cake when you can have that much fun!
We had a chance to go to the Edmonton Rush and Colorado Mammoth game with Hal, a friend of Mike’s.
The game is like hockey, but the athletes run around and catch and throw the rubber ball with a stick that has a kind of a net on one end for stopping the ball. Luckily we – Edmontonians won and Edmonton Rush broke their streak of defeats. It was a super experience with all the entertainment that was going on in the hall: main screen showing selfies posted on FB by people on the grandstand, couples kissing on live camera, ball throwing competition and lottery.
Rush’s biggest fan, The Grandma, cheering everyone to cheer for the team.
Edmontons pearl is the West Edmonton Mall. Ask anyone and they will mention that you definately have to visit WEM, because it’s so big and full of awesome shops and entertainment. Mike and Jasmine played the Easter Bunnies and gave us two tickets to the WEM’s waterpark.
We loved the big pool with its occasional “big waves” and trying out all the slides gave a boost of adrenaline. Our favourite was the terrifying slide where you start your almost vertical drop from a closed booth with a countdown of 3, 2, 1 …
WEM truly is awesome, because it also has a rollercoaster called the Mindbender with mindblowing loops. We really screamed loud and enjoyed every second of this thrilling experience, first one for me and so far the craziest for Rainer.
When the night approaches Edmonton completely transformes to … the kingdom of rabbits! They are everywhere and have taken over the city!
I was walking home from work one night and there was a gang waiting for me, blocking my way to safety. 6 rabbits all lined up in a combat formation. The picture is dark, but if you try and look closely you notice the creature-bunnies, all of them in line and waiting to run me down.
Two important undertakings: auctions and garage sales
We also went to a couple of garage sales, found some cool CD-s and funky clothes and some other knick-knack.
I also had a chance to visit a true auction! And I didn’t stop there, I betted on several items of the thousands on sale and got us a GPS and a propane stove.
The Raygun Cowboys
“Raygun Cowboys?” you say. It’s a cool band that just isn’t known worldwide yet. We happened to stay with their awesome trompetist, Mike and therefore knew when they were performing in Edmonton. It was a gig in a small rock-club with a lot of hardcore fans going all out forming mosh pits and all. It was a great show!
Find them on Youtube or at rayguncowboys.com
Resourceful solutions – the weirdest toilet ever.
Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue has one a bit odd attraction. The public toilet with glass walls functions as a scientific establishment for different peeing methods. Researchers from all over the world (tourists) are welcome to make notes or participate.
Canada has a large number of Irish descendants and Irish traditional dance is very respected. Rainer and I had only heard about Riverdance group, so when Jessica from Rosso announced that Irish dance is her whole life and passion, we just had to go and check it out for ourselves. The sport has taken the costumes beyond the limits and at home we would say that they dress like jewish christmas trees. And oh my god, the hair! They were so .. bouncy! Turns out that you need a very specific number of curlers in your hair to make the perfect hairdo for the performance. Anyhow, all of this doesn’t matter, because this dance takes a lot of effort. We only saw children, but even they showed some high capability for raising those legs oh so high. Another reson to respect them is for their work to keep the traditions alive, even after so many generations.
Like a scene from a movie – we drove to a real life culdesac!! The picture is a panorama, so it makes it look like a street, but no, its a real culdesac! A closed roundabout kind of street, with houses in a perfect circle. How awesome is that! Yep, turns out that I’m a huge fan of culdesacs, now that I’ve seen one. And there we were, in one of the houses, having a jaccuzi night with bbq! Mike’s sister was on a trip with her family so we all went and “walked” the dog and kept an eye on the house for them.
If there has to be one famous Canadian food then it’s pancakes with maple syrup. “The one” Canadian coctail is Ceasar.
1 bottle (240 mL) clam juice
4-1/2 cups (1.125 L) tomato juice
1 cup (250 mL) vodka
2 tbsp (25 mL) lime juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) prepared horseradish
1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot pepper sauce
1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
celery and salt
8 slices lime
pickeled bean or asparagus
Sounds weird? Well, it is, but the tasting went nicely, nevertheless. Rainer said that it tasted like a strong marinade of a tomato compote. Not really your everyday coctail! A bit like Estonian very famous coctail milli-mallikas. I wonder why the famous drinks have to be so nasty?
I know that it almost sounds like I’m about to swear, but I had never watched a Star Wars movie before. Rainer had seen a couple of episodes years ago but hadn’t memorized all the world famous phrases so for the real fans it’s almost like he never truly watched the movies at all. There was no going back once this horrific truth popped out during a random conversation with Mike. If we wanted to live under the same roof, we had to be enlightened. So we did watch episodes 4 and 5. I must say that with comments and movie industry related facts from a true fan, it was a cool experience after all. I intentionally kept away from this space fairy tale for my whole life and now I know better. No more unreasonable jokes about Star Wars! At Hal’s wedding 20 years ago, the theme was.. you got it right – Star Wars! So if you are still hesitating whether your wedding theme should be 70′ retro or countryside with a barn – here’s an excellent idea for being unique.
We come from a country where things are packaged according to the consumption of a small family. Here the grocery shops surprise with choices of big and extra big. Why wouldn’t you want to buy 20 kg of flour or 5 kg of M&M’s at a time? Buy more, pay less.
Back at home you can find orienteering possibilities for almost every weekday. The events are scattered all over Estonia, but over the past 10 years the popularity has grown tremendously. To the contrary, orienteering in Canada is something truly exotic. Although there are a lot of runners on the streets and in the parks, the average Canadian has never heard of such a sport. Edmonton Overlanders Orienteering Club is one of the few organisations keeping the sport alive. People are willing to participate as long as the weekly event is in the boundries of the city and ran on a small park map, like the one we tried out. We had a chat with the heads of the club and they say it’s extremely hard to get people to the forest events, on a more serious map – only about 20 people turn out there.
The Alberta Weather
The spring had been gathering its strenght when we woke up one morning and found that the weather had played a serious trick on us. It was all white! But the snow was gorgeous and we were lucky to witness this beautiful winter day.
The snow was melting pretty quick and so was our time in Edmonton.