Southern Alberta

Province

I’ll admit that I don’t know much about Japanese garden philosophy – I thought that a “bonsai” was an actual type of tree, when it’s actually the art form of shaping a tree in a specific way. That said, I’ve always been drawn to garden spaces, but walking through the door to the Nikka Yuko Garden in Lethbridge was like strolling into a gorgeous outdoor space in Japan.

“A REAL Picasso?” That was my incredulous response after David Smith, the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery assistant curator, casually waved towards one of the gallery rooms.

It's hard not to think back to the "old west" days when driving through the coulees of Lethbridge. They're almost like a canyon cutting through the prairies, dry and rugged, with rattlesnakes and scorpions on the lam. I can see the odd cactus still holding on to their spring flowers.

As one of Canada's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is an incredible aboriginal legacy, helping to preserve more than 6,000 years of Blackfoot cultures and traditions that happened here in the North American plains.

Words can hardly describe the moment I came upon the vast destruction caused by Frank Slide. Driving from Pincher Creek, we passed by green fields, wind turbines, and mountains. Everything was neat and intact. But as we approached the town of Frank, a massive landscape of rubble lay on both sides of the highway and carried on for as far as we could see. Looking through the windshield, we could see the mountain that gave way, a brief moment in history that became Canada's deadliest landslide.

Did you know that a small town in southern Alberta is the birthplace of the modern oil and gas industry in Western Canada?

When a town is named after the main attraction, you know it's a place you don't want to miss. The Fort, which is located in Fort Macleod, is home to the museum of the Northwest Mounted Police and First Nations Interpretive Centre. I decided it was time to check it out. For all the history buffs out there, this is one place to add to your bucket list.

Home to cactus and rattlesnakes and a desert-like climate, (yes, right here in Alberta!) I was surprised to learn about all the fun you can have on the water in Lethbridge.

Even though I attended the University of Lethbridge many years ago, I never took the time get to know the city’s natural areas. I always loved the look of the coulees, whether I was driving through them or seeing them from the school, but I hadn't really explored them. 

2017 was an exciting year for Canada. We celebrated our 150th birthday while also celebrating that Lonely Planet named Canada the No. 1 country to visit in the entire world.