Flags and fanfare and lakeside luxury

The parade featured a lot of Canadian flags. By pure coincidence, we happened to pass through the Village of Lumby, en route between Calgary and Vancouver, while they were having their annual “Lumby Days” family fair. 2017 was the year when Canada deemed itself 150 years old, providing the theme for that year’s festivities. Canada, as a country, was cobbled together over the span of some decades. The original British and French colonies and the districts and territories owned by the Hudson Bay Company were all combined, in different stages, into the federation that is today’s Canada. However, 1st July, 1867, when the Confederation of Canada was formed, is deemed to be the birth of the country, even though some territories were only added later.

Like I said, lots of Canadian flags, and some from provinces and territories, etc.

Anyway, 150 years later, with impeccable timing to coincide with our visit, the citizens and merchants and politicians of Lumby and surrounding areas seized the opportunity to celebrate. You do expect such parades to feature a lot of marching, many flags, military-style bands, etc. This one did not disappoint, but also included some surprising and interesting participants. I will let the captioned photographs speak for themselves:

How to go camping in the Land of Opportunity
Since we were in Canada, one has to assume that this float was put together by a local ice hockey club…
I think he’s holding that gold pan wrong, but good to see that Artisanal and Small-scale Mining is booming along with the real estate industry (Remax) and the Krazy Llama Bistro (I think we had a coffee there).

When you start a road trip through Canada, you expect to see a good collection of tour buses, camper vans and so-called RV’s. This parade gave us the opportunity to see other vehicles that we had not been expecting:

Practical transport for the well-dressed gentlemen of Lumby. I’ve always wanted a self-propelled cooler box, myself.
The North Okanagan Mini Car Unit was out in full force, accompanied by the roar of lawnmower engines. You are probably just as stunned as we were, by the appearance of senior citizens on “toy cars” wearing hats branded “Gizeh”… These guys are from the Gizeh Temple Shriners, some version of a Masonic order that describe themselves as “a fraternity based on fun, fellowship, and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth“.
Local politicians throwing sweets to the voting public. I kid you not.
Marina, obviously enjoying her “poutine”

The village green had been turned into a fairground for the day, featuring live music, all sorts of arts-and-crafts stalls, and many opportunities to snack! We had been advised that we definitely had to try “poutine“, a concoction based on french fries (also known as “slap chips” in South Africa, but I digress), but with added cheese curd, gravy and possibly with some pulled pork or other meat on top. You will now understand the meaning of the word “poutine” which is Quebec slang for “a mess“. But it was a very tasty mess, as you can no doubt see from the look on Marina’s face. If you are really interested in culinary information, you can read more about poutine here.

This day was an excellent example of how it’s possible to find unexpected pleasures when you’re on a road trip with a loose itinerary. And a reminder that western Canada is not only about mountains with forests and bears. We did not even know that Lumby existed before we got there, and we had a great time!

We continued on to the city of Vernon, beautifully situated between three lakes.

Okanagan Lake, the largest of these, is a deep lake situated in a long valley that was occupied by the Fraser Glacier until the end of the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. Before that time, the valley was completely filled with ice. The ice sheet covering this part of the continent was more than 1,000 metres thick, with only high mountain peaks protruding from the ice. Safe to say that this area would not have been a comfortable place to stay at that time, since everything in this area would have been covered by ice more than a kilometre deep. Road trips would not have been possible, should we thank climate change? In today’s milder climate, the valley now hosts a number of wineries on the slopes surrounding the lake.

View onto Okanagan Lake

While exploring the rocky shores of the lake, we met a young couple with their sons, speaking… Afrikaans! Since we were also speaking our own version of Afrikaans-Dutch to each other, we were all equally surprised. I seem to remember that this family had relocated from Pretoria to Vernon, where the father had recently started work as a doctor. South Africa’s loss must be Canada’s gain. I spent a couple of years in Pretoria, myself, courtesy of the South African Defence Force, and I would probably also choose Vernon over Pretoria as a place to live…

Rocks, mosses and lichen. Trying to break down the rocks that the glaciers could not.
… and some more chipmunks. I was wondering how to distinguish them from ground squirrels, but the latter apparently don’t have stripey heads.
We had reserved accommodation in Vernon through AirBnB and this complete and rather luxurious apartment had a fantastic view towards the lake. Yes, a hot tub with a view!

Sitting in a hot tub overlooking the beautiful countryside, and even now, “revisiting” the area with these photographs and blog posts, I am very grateful for how fortunate we are, that we have been able to travel like this, to gain such a spectrum of experiences. Long may it continue, post-covid!

After Vernon, we travelled on towards Vancouver and surroundings. More greenery, more friends to catch up with and more about that in the next post!

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