Tag Archives: Canada

The Ottawa River – Photo Friday #6

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Welcome back to Photo Friday!

This week’s photo was taken on the Québec side of the Ottawa River, just across from Pembroke, Ontario, Canada in August 2020.

This picture was the result of a spur of the moment 4-hour road-trip I decided to take one early morning before work. (A story for another time) I’ve always known that the Ottawa River was wide, but when I arrived I was still surprised to find out just how big it actually was; it felt more like I was on the edge of a lake than on the banks of a river! While I only stayed for a few minutes before turning around to head back, it made for a nice day trip, and a good distraction from work for the time being.

See you next week!

Ottawa River, Quebec, Canada
The Ottawa River, Québec, Canada (ca. August 2020)

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Beaver Pond Trail Guide – Algonquin Provincial Park

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Quick Look:

Name: Beaver Pond Trail

Location: Km marker 45.2, Highway 60, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Length: 2.0 km (1.2 mi)

Difficulty: Moderate

Features & Points of Interest: Beaver ponds, lodges & dams; scenic lookout.

Beaver Pond Trail Map, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Beaver Pond Trail Map – Algonquin Provincial Park (Source: alltrails.com)

Overview:

The Beaver Pond Trail is a 2.0 km (1.2 mi) hiking loop located in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. The moderate-difficulty route features an array of beaver activity such as ponds, dams, and lodges, and navigates through several terrains including a bog, a forest, and a scenic rocky lookout. The Beaver Pond Trail is perfect for those looking to explore multiple ecosystems within a relatively short distance, and learn about the impact beavers have on this stunning environment; all while still working up a good sweat.

Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
The Beaver Pond Trail begins with a walk across a bog on a well-maintained boardwalk.
Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
The contrasting wetland and forest environments are showcased throughout the hike.
Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
There is a helpful guidebook at the trailhead which explains how the beavers work to shape their surroundings.
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What do you need to know?:

I highly recommend picking up a Beaver Pond Trail guidebook when you arrive at the trailhead. You can purchase one by leaving the correct change in the honour box below the trail map sign, or you can simply borrow it for free by returning it at the end of your hike. This guidebook provides insight into the dual history this area, and the beavers who live in it, and discusses the processes by which they have created and molded this environment to suit their survival needs. Just be on the lookout for the corresponding numbered fenceposts along the path, and refer to guidebook as you go.

On arrival, there is a sizeable parking lot available just off of highway 60. While crowds on this trail are generally less in number compared to other hikes such as The Lookout Trail, it is always worth keeping in mind the time of year you’re visiting (fall colours season will be busy) in order to enjoy the best experience. If you’re looking for another activity to pair with this hike, the Beaver Pond Trail is only 2 km (1.2 mi) away from the Algonquin Park Visitors Centre.

If you’re thinking of hiking the Beaver Pond Trail, be sure to check the weather forecast in advance as the path is known to become a slush of mud after a good rainfall. If you find that the trail is in an unusable condition when you arrive, consider hiking the nearby Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail to stay out of the muck and to keep your socks dry.

Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
This beaver dam is an impressive example of the influence the beavers have.
Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
There are lots of opportunities to stop, take photos, and admire nature.
Beaver Pond Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
The pinnacle of this hike is the scenic rock outcrop which overlooks one of the two beaver ponds.
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How to get here:

  • From Toronto:
    • Hwy 400 –> Hwy 11 –> Hwy 60 –> Algonquin Park West Gate –> Km marker 45.2

*Be sure to stop in at the West Gate first to pick up your day pass*


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Canadian Sunrise – Photo Friday #5

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Welcome back to Photo Friday!

Today’s photo was taken back in September of 2020 in the Algonquin Highlands, located in Ontario, Canada.

I’m not really a morning person, but this past summer I found myself needing to wake up early for work and thankfully for my troubles, almost every day I was rewarded with an absolutely stunning sunrise. The lake, the big skies, the rolling forested hills, and of course the vibrant colours brought by the rising sun made this the perfect setting to start my day.

I miss these early mornings, and I can’t wait until winter finally releases its grip on the north, and I get to be here again. This picture below was la crème de la crème of all the sunrises I witnessed, and I’m sure you’ll see why.

See you next week!


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Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail Guide – Algonquin Provincial Park

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Quick Look:

Name: Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail

Location: Km marker 42.5, Highway 60, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Length: 1.4 km (0.87 mi)

Difficulty: Easy

Features & Points of Interest: Well maintained boardwalk, bird-watching, northern spruce bog, forested path, wheelchair accessible & kid friendly.

Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail Map – Algonquin Park (Source: alltrails.com)

Overview

The Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, located in Algonquin Provincial Park, is an easy, wheelchair accessible 1.4 km (0.87 mi) loop that follows a well maintained wooden boardwalk through a northern spruce bog and wooded area. This trail provides excellent opportunities for bird-watching and photography, and is the perfect place to enjoy a slow paced nature walk with younger children and seniors.

Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
The beginning of the trail hovers above the bog
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
A small stream runs through the heart of the bog
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
About halfway through the trail, the boardwalk gives way to a forested path
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What do you need to know?

The Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail is one of the most accessible in all of Algonquin Park. While adventure seekers might prefer hiking somewhere else, this trail is a perfect place to go for a slow paced nature walk, take some photos, and enjoy the scenery with friends and family. The mostly flat grade, and relatively short length makes this a great choice for beginners, seniors, or those with younger children.

While the trail’s location is fairly far along the Highway 60 corridor, and a little ways away from the west entrance of Algonquin Park, the Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail is well worth the trip, especially as a companion activity to the Visitors Centre, located half a kilometre away at km 43.

In my opinion, this trail is best enjoyed if used from late June until late October to avoid the swarms of bugs you’ll encounter during blackfly season earlier in the spring. However, as this is the perfect spawning ground for mosquitos, you might want to choose a warm, sunny day to hike this trail in order to avoid getting bitten throughout the rest of the summer months!

Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
Birds, turtles, beavers, and more can be found on this trail!
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
This section of the trail, which snakes through a grouping of spruce trees, is perhaps the most photogenic
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail, Algonquin Park
While it’s scenic, beware, this is the perfect spawning ground for Mosquitos!
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How to get here:

  • From Toronto:
    • Hwy 400 –> Hwy 11 –> Hwy 60 –> Algonquin Park West Gate –> Km marker 42.5

*Be sure to stop in at the West Gate first to pick up your day pass*


Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

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Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower – Kitchener, Ontario

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The Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower is an 18.9 m (62 ft.) tall stone tower constructed in 1925 to commemorate the original Pennsylvanian-German pioneer settlers who arrived in what is now Waterloo Region between 1800 and 1803. It is located along the banks of the Grand River in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, just over a 1-hour drive from Toronto, and lies on what was originally the territory of the Six Nations of the Grand River.


Quick Look

Name: Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower

Location: 300 Lookout Ln, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Maintained By: Parks Canada

Features & Points of Interest: Stone tower, scenic lookout, historical sites, natural area, hiking trails, community park.

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Although the Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower used to be surrounded by farmers fields and forests, the structure now lies at the back of a recently constructed subdivision. To get to the tower, simply follow the Parks Canada signs that begin to appear once you turn off of King St. and onto Deer Ridge Rd. On arrival, there is a small, and free parking lot available.

Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
Parks Canada directions sign
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower parking lot
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower

The tower is located within steps to the parking lot, and sits in the centre of a small clearing. At the site, there are a couple of informational plaques that recount the history of the area, and the historical significance of tower itself, of which I will briefly cover before continuing on to what else this destination has to offer.

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Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
Parks Canada historical plaque

In 1784, nearly 240,000 hectares of land, including that of which the Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower now sits on, was given as a gift to the Six Nations Confederacy for their allegiance and support to the British Crown during the American Revolutionary War. In the years to come, some 38,000 hectares of this land was then purchased and sold again, this time by German Mennonite Settlers from Pennsylvania, who were looking to escape the persecution and high land prices they faced in the United States.

As time passed, more and more German pioneer settlers travelled to what would eventually become Waterloo County. They established homesteads and farms, and began cultivating and developing the land; the first of which was located on this site, where the Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower now lies, in present day Kitchener, Ontario.

Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower

While today the city is known as Kitchener, Ontario, this wasn’t always the case. In the past, the city went by a different name; Berlin, Ontario. Beginning with the arrival of the original German Pioneer settlers, who established Berlin in the early 1800s, this area has maintained a prominent German cultural presence. Even today, the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany takes place here every year, attracting over 700,000 visitors annually.

However, in 1916 this heritage wasn’t as keenly celebrated. In response to the growing local anti-German sentiments caused by the outbreak of World War I, the city voted to change its name in support of the British Empire, and thus was renamed to Kitchener, Ontario, after Herbert Kitchener, a prominent Irish-born officer who served in the British Army from 1871 to 1916.

Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower

Following the conclusion of the first world war, to make amends for the damage done by the anti-German sentiments, and subsequent city name change, a petition was put forth to the local government to construct a monument to represent the historical significance of the original pioneer settlers, and German heritage. Thus, the Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower was built. It cost $4,500 to build, and was eventually designated as a historical site in 1989. While there have been some refurbishments to the original structure over the years, its exterior appearance has remained relatively unchanged since.

Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
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While at one point the interior of the tower was open to the public, today the front entrance is locked. However, if you’re interested in seeing the inside, you can contact Parks Canada ahead of time to gain access and schedule an official tour.

Nearby the tower there is also a small cemetery, inside of which you’ll find the headstones of some of those original German pioneers, including Joseph and Elizabeth Sherk, parents of David Sherk, who is reputed to be the first non-indigenous person born in what would become Waterloo County.

Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
Dedication Plaque located on the side of the tower

Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
Inner staircase leading to the top of the tower
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
Nearby pioneer cemetery

When you’re finished taking in the Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower, I recommend going for a short walk down Joseph Schoerg Crescent to explore the ruins of the Betzner Barn, and the Schoerg (Sherk) farmstead, the first permanent European settlement in inland Upper Canada. There are also several informational plaques which talk about the the history of the pioneers, and the local area which I described above.

Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
The remaining structure of the Betzner barn
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower
Joseph Schoerg Crescent (ruins at left, tower down the road)

The Betzner Barn is also the location of Clarica Lookout, which offers a view of the nearby Pioneer Tower Natural Area. This greenspace was created to protect the winter habitat of the king of the skies, the Bald Eagle. Since the 1700s, the local population of this majestic bird has been decimated due to hunting and habitat loss, and so this natural area remains one of the few refuges in the region.

Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower, Pioneer Tower Natural Area
The view from Clarica Lookout
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower, Pioneer Tower Natural Area
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower, Pioneer Tower Natural Area
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While the Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower and surrounding structures offer a glimpse back into history, this area also features Kuntz Park, the Walter Bean Grand River Trail, and the Pioneer Tower Natural Area, as I mentioned above. These locations are great places to go for a nature walk, and while I only had time to walk the Pioneer Tower Natural Area section of the trail, there are more than 17 km (10.5 mi) of pathways to explore, stretching all the way from Cambridge, Ontario, through the City of Kitchener along the Grand River, and then further more on to Waterloo, Ontario.

Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower, Pioneer Tower Natural Area, Grand River Trail
Walter Bean Grand River Trail Map
Pioneer Tower Natural Area, Grand River Trail
Path leading into the Pioneer Tower Natural Area
Pioneer Tower Natural Area, Grand River Trail
Pioneer Tower Natural Area, Grand River Trail

The Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower, in combination with the Pioneer Tower Natural Area, and the Walter Bean Grand River Trail makes this destination well worth the visit. Whether it be the history, the nature, or simply being a great place to go for a walk, there is something here for everyone to enjoy.


Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

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Lookout Trail Guide – Algonquin Provincial Park

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Quick Look:

Name: Lookout Trail

Location: Km marker 39.7, Highway 60, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Length: 2.1 km (1.3 mi)

Elevation Gain: 71 m (233 ft)

Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult

Features & Points of Interest: Scenic lookout, large rock outcrop, sheer cliff, well maintained forested path

Algonquin Lookout Trail Map
Algonquin Lookout Trail Map (Source: alltrails.com)

Overview

The Lookout Trail, located in Algonquin Provincial Park, is a moderate to difficult 2.1 km loop that features a sweeping scenic lookout, large rock outcrop, and well-maintained forested path. Despite its relatively short length, this trail can pose a challenge for some due to its steep incline, and elevation gain. At a moderate pace, the hike can be completed in less than 1 hour.

Lookout Trail Algonquin Park
Flat, forested section of the path, just past the trailhead
Lookout Trail Algonquin Park
Shortly past this point, the trail gives way to a relatively steep incline

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What do you need to know?

Hikers will be rewarded with one of the best views in the entire area and a fantastic place to stop, catch your breath, and take an unhealthy amount of photos. Just be warned though, this trail is one of the most accessible in Algonquin Park, and as such will be one of the busiest. It’s best to hike the Lookout Trail earlier in the morning, or later in the afternoon to avoid the lunchtime and evening rushes.

If you’re planning on visiting during the Fall colours season, particularly on the weekend, know that the parking lot reaches over-capacity quickly, and the path becomes nearly unusable due to the congestion. To maximize your enjoyment, consider coming during the week, or visiting the park at a time of year when the crowds aren’t as numerous.

Algonquin Lookout Trail
A bench at the top is the perfect place rest, or take photos
Lookout Trail Algonquin
A small lake is visible in the distance
Algonquin Lookout Trail

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How to get here:

  • From Toronto:
    • Hwy 400 –> Hwy 11 –> Hwy 60 –> Algonquin Park West Gate –> km marker 39.7
    • *Be sure to stop in at the West Gate to pick up your day pass*

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

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The Canada / United States Border – Photo Friday #3

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Welcome back to Photo Friday and Happy New Year!

This week’s photo comes from the Canada – United States Border between the Province of British Columbia and Washington State.

Much of the border between Canada and the United States looks just like the area in photo below: a ditch beside the road, or a long clearing of trees. The border between these two nations is not only the longest international border in the world, (8,890 km, 5524 mi) but it’s also the longest undefended one. The only way to actually tell you’re entering an entirely different country is by the colour difference of the pavement, and the white pillars which mark the exact boundary line.

Still though, much of the border is under constant 24/7 surveillance from both sides, so crossing here without repercussions isn’t as easy as it seems. However, it fascinates me just how different the United States’ northern border is with Canada in contrast to the one with Mexico in the south; walls, fences and all.

See you next week!

The Canada - United States Border
Canada – United States Border Marker, British Columbia/Washington State (ca. November 2019)

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

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2020: Year In Review

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To mark the end of the year, I put together a brief overview of 2020: what I did, where I went, my top posts, and the overall statistics of the website and blog. You’ll also find a list of my favourite blogs and channels of the year, and links to their respective pages.

2020 was a memorable year for a lot of reasons. While it started out relatively normal, the global COVID-19 pandemic quickly changed how the rest of the year would unravel; for all of us. I was lucky enough to do some international travelling before the world shut down, and then explore some of my own home country once Canada loosened some of it’s internal restrictions over the summer months.

But perhaps the most memorable part of 2020 for me happened on May 1st, when I finally took the plunge and started this website and blog, Seeking Saudades. As I said in my last post, I’ve really enjoyed writing, reading, and interacting with all of you, and I’m extremely grateful for those who have taken the time out of their day to visit, like, share and follow.

I’m excited to keep growing, learning, and posting new material, but for now, let’s take a look back at the year that was. Here is the 2020 year in review.

See you in 2021!


| Travel Recap

1. Thailand

I travelled to Thailand in late February, just before the global shutdown due to COVID-19. The first part of the trip was a short stint in Bangkok, followed by a week-long stay on the island of Phuket. It was my first time in Thailand, and I really enjoyed what I saw. I’ll definitely be making the effort to return one day.

| Bangkok
Bangkok, Thailand
| Phuket
Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand
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2. Japan

This marked my second time in Japan. My first was a near 2-week stay in 2018 travelling through Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima. This trip however, was simply a 2-day layover in Tokyo on the way back home from Thailand in late February. I love Japan, and any excuse to visit is one worth taking. There are plans in the works to go back again in the near future; exactly how near is up to COVID-19.

| Tokyo
Senso-JI Temple, Tokyo, Japan
3. Canada (Notable Destinations)

I did more exploring of my home Province of Ontario this year than ever before. While there were a ton of destinations on the itinerary this summer, I narrowed the list down to a few notable places. I went to Chutes Provincial Park in early September as part of a larger road trip to Manitoulin Island. While I was impressed by both, my favourite destination this summer was Algonquin Provincial Park. I might be a little biased as I worked there, but nonetheless it’s still a breathtaking area, and one I highly recommend you visit if you haven’t been before.

| Algonquin Provincial Park
Spruce Bog Boardwalk, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
| Chutes Provincial Park
Chutes Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
| Manitoulin Island
Cup and Saucer Trail, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada

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| Overall Website Statistics

*Statistics are from May 1st – December 30th, 2020*


Where You’re Reading:

In 2020, Seeking Saudades was viewed in 42 countries from around the world. Here is a map and list of where, and a breakdown of each location’s total percentage of views.

1. Breakdown by Map
Shaded countries represent where Seeking Saudades was viewed
2. Breakdown by List
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Most Viewed Post:
3 Days in Seattle, Washington
3 Days in Seattle, Washington
Most Liked Post:
Tales From a Lost Water Bottle
Personal Favourite Post:
Music For a World Traveller – Sounds like Van Spirit
Sounds Like Van Spirit: A Collection of Europe's Pavement Melodies

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| Favourite Travel Blogs

1. Andy’s World Journeys

Travel, photos & more from 84 countries & counting!

2. Wandering Canadians

Two Canadians exploring the world.

3. Digging For Gems

Searching for hidden gems along the best tourist trails.


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| Favourite Travel Channels

1. Rich and Kirsten

Rich and Kirsten are Canadian couple who started off the year travelling the world, but were ultimately forced back home due to the pandemic. They spent the summer living and driving across Canada in a minivan, and loved it so much they decided to convert a cargo van to live in on the road full time.

2. Abroad in Japan

Chris Broad is originally from England, but moved to Japan full time to teach English. Since his arrival years ago, he’s made a career out of making videos about his experiences, notable destinations, and cultural differences. If you’re interested in learning more about Japan, his channel is where to go first. His latest series was a 1,000 km road trip to Mount Fuji.

3. Joe Robinet

Joe Robinet films extended length outdoor adventure and bushcraft videos. If you’re a fan of Les Stroud – Survivorman, you’ll love Joe’s content. I spent the summer binge-watching his collection of canoe expeditions through the wilderness of Ontario.


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Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Enter your email address below to subscribe and stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

Join 247 other followers

Looking to start a blog? Earn a $25 credit towards a wordpress.com plan when you sign up using the affiliate link below!


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Thank You for 1000 Views!

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Happy Monday everyone!

Recently, Seeking Saudades surpassed 1000 total views! I’m incredibly grateful to all those who have taken the time out of their day to stop by to read, like, comment, share or follow this website and blog. It has been a pleasure writing, and interacting with all of you and I’m excited to keep building and creating more in the future to come.

For the first time, I’ve decided on keeping a consistent schedule for all of my posts, so make sure to keep an eye out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for new material!

Thank you, and see you then!



Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

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Algonquin Highlands, Ontario, Canada – Photo Friday #2

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Welcome back to Photo Friday, and Merry Christmas!

This week I’ve chosen a picture that was taken from an unmarked trail and lookout in the Algonquin Highlands, located just south of Algonquin Provincial Park in central Ontario, Canada in July of 2020.

For those looking to get out and explore next year, this region of Ontario offers some of the best hiking, swimming, camping, sight seeing, boating and more in the entire province. The best part: it’s within close proximity to Toronto, about a 3 hour drive, so you can easily make a day trip out of it. This area is one of my favourite places on Earth, and the photo below might just help illustrate why.

See you next week!

Algonquin Highlands, Ontario, Canada
Algonquin Highlands, Ontario, Canada (ca. July 2020)

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’ve made it this far please consider liking the post, sharing it with your friends, and hitting the follow button so you don’t miss any of my upcoming material! And don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

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