#GoFurther150: Celebrating Canada 150 in Southern Alberta with Ford
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In case you didn’t know, 2017 is a big year for Canada’s history as it marks 150 years since Confederation! To celebrate this important milestone, big Canada 150 celebrations are happening all across the country. In Alberta, there’s no better way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday than taking a moment to appreciate rich natural and cultural heritage the country has to offer.
Earlier this month, Kev and I had the great opportunity to go on an Alberta road trip adventure with Ford, Canada’s longest established automaker! From Calgary to Southern Alberta, we embarked on a 3-day journey to explore the great outdoors and discover historic sites that provide a glimpse into the past.
Introducing 2017 Ford Fusion Sport – Our Canada 150 Travel Companion!
For a great road trip, having a reliable travel companion is essential. Coming with us on our Canada 150 journey is ……(drumroll, please) ……the 2017 Ford Fusion Sport!
This new powerful Fusion, with a 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 Engine and continuously controlled damping, was so smooth to drive. The sports mode adjusts steering calibration, transmission shift schedule, throttle response and engine sound, making this all-wheel-drive sports sedan comparable to the BMW we own!
This vehicle also promises to yield a safer ride with all its safety features, including the pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system, cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping system (which are super important for highway driving!). The hands-free parallel and perpendicular parking capability with its Enhanced Active Park Assist System was also extremely helpful. It involves pressing a button to turn on the mode and controlling the accelerator and the brake, when necessary.
Last but not least, SYNC 3, Ford’s new communications and entertainment system, helped us stay connected to the world. Its enhanced voice recognition and a more intuitive smartphone-like touchscreen are more responsive and user-friendly than ever! With SYNC Connect, we could remotely start the car, schedule future starts, or lock and unlock the car using our smartphone. What we also found useful is the SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link service. It kept us up to date on traffic condition, weather report, best gas prices, and even movie times!
Canada 150 Stop #1: Waterton Lakes National Park
Access to Canada’s national parks is free this year as a way to celebrate Canada 150. We gotta take advantage of that by visiting Waterton Lakes National Park in Southern Alberta! Located adjacent to Glacier National Park, Montana, Waterton Lakes National Park is a very special place on multiple levels:
- Waterton Laks National Park and Glacier National Park share the designation of an International Peace Park, as a symbol of peace and goodwill between the U.S. and Canada.
- Due to its distinctive climate and landforms, the abrupt meeting of mountain and prairie, and its tri-oceanic hydrographical divide (waters flowing toward three oceans), Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park was officially designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
- Recognizing its ecological diversity, Waterton Lakes National Park became the first Canadian national park to be designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1979.
To witness Waterton’s magnificent natural beauty and rich wildlife, we visited some of the top spots, all within close distance to the townsite:
- Red Chairs at the Marina: Parks Canada started the ‘Red Chair Experience’ a few years ago, encouraging visitors to seek them out and share their Instagram-worthy experience on social media. What could be more appropriate to share our Canadian pride than finding the iconic Red Chairs for Canada 150?! Strolling along the lake shore of Waterton Village early in the morning, we were lucky enough to spot a pair of Red Chairs at the Marina, overlooking the Prince of Wales Hotel up the hill!
- Red Rock Canyon: Following the theme of ‘red,’ we drove up the Red Rock Parkway to Red Rock Canyon. The winding parkway let us fully experience the stunning scenery created by the flatlands of the prairie and the abrupt upthrust of the mountains. At Red Rock Canyon, we hiked along the 0.7 km Canyon Loop to take in the beauty of the deep-red rocks and rushing water!
- Prince of Wales Hotel Hill: No trip to Waterton is complete without a visit to the Prince of Wales Hotel, a National Historic Site. Standing tall on a hill above Waterton, this hotel provides impressive views of Waterton lakes and surrounding mountains!
- Cameron Falls: Without venturing too far from the Waterton Village, we were able to get an up-close and personal view of these falls. Given its easy access, there’s no doubt that Cameron Falls are one of the most photographed landmarks in Waterton!
[bctt tweet=”Check out this epic 3-day road trip itinerary for Southern Alberta #ExploreAlberta #travel” username=”fortwoplz”]
Pro tip: May is still considered winter in Waterton (odd, I know!). When we visited, the wind blew hard and the temperature was in the low 10s. Unless you’re visiting after July 10, which marks the beginning of the summer season in Waterton, be sure to dress warmly!
- Lakeside Chophouse: Located right on the lake shore, this upscale restaurant boasts sweeping views of the Waterton Lake and the surrounding Rocky Mountains. The menu focuses on Alberta beef and local game and offers a delectable selection!
- Zum’s Eatery: This charming restaurant serves up hearty breakfast and comfort food staples including fried chicken, waffles, burger, and pizza. Its decor is full of character and gives the place a homey touch.
- Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort: Many hotels in Waterton operate seasonally. The Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort is one of the few that open year-round, located right in the heart of the national park. Their romantic deluxe suite comes equipped with a king-sized bed, a gas fireplace, and a jetted bathtub, giving you all the comfort you ever need.
- Prince of Wales Hotel: That’s right, you can spend a night over at this iconic building and savouring the stellar views surrounding the hotel! Make sure you plan ahead if this is your top choice. The hotel only opens from late May to late September so reservations fill up fast!
Canada 150 Stop #2: Frank Slide
After driving an hour northwest of Waterton Lakes National Park, an unusual landscape came into view – giant grey limestone boulders lied on both sides of Highway 3. This is the second stop of our Canada 150 road trip: Frank Slide.
So, what exactly happened?
The story dates back to 1903. Frank was a booming coal mining town with a population of 600 people until 4:10 am on April 29, when more than 82 million tonnes of rock from Turtle Mountain’s summit came crashing down into the valley. Within 90 seconds, the rapid rock avalanche destroyed the southeastern part of the town of Frank and buried 3 square km of the valley under a layer of 30-m deep limestone blocks. Most of Frank’s residents were out of the path of the slide, but at least 92 people lost their life that day, making Frank Slide Canada’s deadliest rockslide.
The possible role of coal mining in causing the rockslide has long been debated. We know one thing for sure – Turtle Mountain has an unstable geological structure. Coal mining and river action at the based of the mountain have probably contributed to its instability. The particularly wet winter and the freezing of water in summit cracks may have triggered it.
To learn more about Frank Slide, I strongly suggested visiting the following sites:
- Frank Slide Interpretive Centre: The facility offers dynamic interpretive programs and presentations that shed lights on the disaster of Frank Slide. The 30-minute “On the Edge of Destruction” docudrama at the theatre recreates the remarkable night the rockslide came down and gives you a first-hand, emotional feel for the slide. (Admission fee applies, adult $13)
- Frank Slide Trail: Begins at the Interpretive Centre parking lot, this 1.5km trail winds through the debris of the rockslide, offering an opportunity to explore the devastation created by the collapse of Turtle Mountain.
- Old Frank Road: Grab a map from the information desk at the Interpretive Centre and embark on an automobile tour through the slide on the Old Frank Road. Driving through the multiple stops gives you the chance to travel into the past and an insight into the history of the area.
- La Antigua: This Mexican-fusion restaurant offers a great variety of delectable dishes with authentic Mexican flavours!
- Stone’s Throw Cafe: This cute little cafe is a gathering place for locals and a great stop to grab breakfast, lunch, coffee and snacks.
- The Kanata by BCMInns Blairmore: A newly renovated hotel located in the nearby town, Blairmore. The big, clean rooms are perfectly equipped for comfort and will make you feel well taken care of!
Canada 150 Stop #3: Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
An hour drive towards the East brought us to the last stop of our Canada 150 journey – Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. This archeological site, located at the southern end of Porcupine Hills in southwest Alberta, is an evidence of a hunting method practiced by aboriginal people on the Great Plains for nearly 6000 years!! Head–Smashed–In Buffalo Jump is one of the oldest and best-preserved buffalo jumps. In recognition of this, it was designated a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1981.
Why is it named “Head-Smashed-In”?
A long time ago, according to legend, the people were driving buffalo over the sandstone cliffs. A young brave wanted to watch the buffalo tumbling past. Standing under the shelter of a ledge, he watched the beasts fall. The hunt was unusually good that day and as the bodies piled up, he became trapped between the animals and the cliffs. When his people came to do the butchering, they found him with his skull crushed by the weight of the buffalo carcasses. Thus, they named this place “Head-Smashed-In.”
Walking through the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Center, we gained insight into the plains buffalo culture. It was fascinating to learn how much organization and skills such communal bison hunts required to lure buffalo from the gathering basin into the drive lanes, and finally over the cliffs. The Centre features exhibits explaining the topography of Head-Smashed-In, buffalo behaviours, the communal hunting techniques, and the culture and traditions of the Blackfoot tribes.
To see the actual buffalo jump site, we took a walk along the Upper Trail, accessible through the top floor. The trail provided a clear view of the jump from the top of the cliff and a panoramic view of the prairie. We even saw a buffalo herd roaming nearby!
Pro tip: After arriving at the Interpretive Center, I recommend heading over to the main theatre first, to watch a 15-min featuring a detailed re-enactment of a buffalo hunt.
We had so much fun on our 3-day road trip with 2017 Ford Fusion Sport. It was our first time traveling to Southern Alberta and we were totally stunned its natural beauty and rich history. We would like to thank Ford Canada for letting us celebrate Canada 150 in such a meaningful way!
Have you visited Southern Alberta before? Are you planning a road trip in the coming weeks? Check out this packing list to keep track of all the essentials!
Disclaimer: This post is written in partnership with Ford Canada. As always, all opinions on For Two, Please are my own and I only recommend services that I 100% stand behind.
I’ve looked at doing a road trip in that part of Canada several times. The scenery is gorgeous! I’m really interested in the Prince of Wales Inn — did you go inside to take a peek?
I think it was smart to do this Canada trip by car. The country is so vast and while I’ve thought before about taking a train trip through Canada, I really think I’d need a car so that I could pull off and find all these tucked-away cafes and Inns.
Waterton is one of my favorite places. When I used to live in Whitefish, I had the opportunity to visit and it was simply amazing. Some of the best scenery in the world.
Canada has lots to offer, Cat! These spots are just perfect!
What a great guide! That red rock canyon looks amazing! Looks like a fun little road trip in that Ford! Alberta is so beautiful!
Amazing road trip there and I love the Red Rock Canyon! The Ford Fusion looks fabulous too might test drive it when it gets to Malaysia
What a beautiful part of the country! I’ve never been to Alberta, but I can imagine a road trip is the perfect way to see the amazing scenery. The Ford Fusion looks like a safe and comfortable car for a great road trip!
Red Rock Canyon looks absolutely stunning! Honestly, you are so lucky Cat! You live so close to such amazing places. For me, I’d either have to take a plane or suffer a long and painful drive. I’m definitely hoping to visit Albert in July/August though. I’ve bookmarked this and can’t wait for my trip. Thanks for sharing!
I had no idea Alberta was so picturesque! Good on Ford for helping you share the story.
I was lucky enough to work with them back in 2011 to promote the new Ford Focus, and it was a great excuse to get out and see a bit of my backyard I hadn’t seen yet. Glad you did the same!
We love a road trip (after all, it’s in our blog name). We have been reading more and more about Canada and the scenery looks amazing, definietly a place we have to experinece for ourselves soon.
Red rock canyon is way impressive. I would love to visit after seeing your picture. I really want to try those tacos you photographed – yummy!
We’ve been to Canada a handful of times and we’ve always loved it. The Red Rock Canyon looks incredible! That will have to be on our itinerary the next time we visit Canada.
Oh Alberta you are so amazingly pretty. Looks like the perfect place to celebrate Canada 150!
Canada 150 is around the corner and it’s exciting! Thanks for the post and the sceneries are just great! I always enjoy a road trip and Canada is one the best places to do it! @ knycx.journeying
*sigh* I’ve been wanting to go to Canada since the mid-90s but have yet to get the opportunity to do so. Anyways, I love the idea of the ‘Red Chair Experience’! It gives hints and ideas on the best spots to take photos around the park, while the red chairs themselves could become a trademark of sorts for Parks Canada.
You’re living my dream. Renting a car and explore Canada is the best holiday I can imagine.
This sounds like it was an all-might road trip with a beautiful car! I would love to do this drive, I used to live in Canada but never visited this region. The nature & landscape looks incredible!
Happy 150th year of Confederation! Canada is such a beautiful country. I would love to visit and do the same route like you did. The images are stunning! Thank you so much for sharing this and inspiring me to visit Canada soon.
There is just something about Canada. It offers views like nowhere else. Canada is quite far away from where I am right but one day 🙂
Gorgeous views, a perfectly done itinerary and an amazing travel companion! Canada is on the bucket list for such natural beauty and fab scenery! 🙂 The landscapes are simply jaw dropping. This looks like an epic road trip. My favourite was the Red canyon!
Canada 150 is really being celebrated so well! I also heard that the national parks are giving free entry! This is awesome!
The car looks fantastic and know that it fares as good as your BMW, that’s awesome!
Good to know about the International Peace Park! The Red Rock Canyon and Cameron Falls are just stunning!
This road trip looks incredible. I’m always blown away seeing images of Canada. The view from Lakeside Chophouse alone makes me want to book a flight right now!
If I’m not sure whether to visit somewhere or not then I see it is a UNESCO site, then I will definitely visit. Frank Slide is a very interesting place to visit, I’ve never heard of this rock slide or the devastation it caused but it makes for an interesting stop. The Cameron Falls image you have shared is spectacular it reminds me of the mini grand canyon you see in Yellowstone Park.
Wow – I didn’t know that national parks were free this year! That’s so cool to be able to explore all of them. Canada has so many beautiful natural areas.
I’ve been wanting to do a road trip of Canada for so long. Your itinerary looks amazing, but I’m not sure I’d make it past stop #1. Waterton Lakes National Park looks too gorgeous for words. I think I’d want to hang out there for at least a week!
Your blue colored Ford Fusion really looks cool and a real travel companion for road journey. Cameron Falls in Waterton is really a scenic place. The Kanata by BCMInns Blairmore hotel look like a comfortable and relaxed stay.
The car looks pretty amazing!! Canada must be perfect for road trips, with so many national parks and amazing spots everywhere. Pretty cool!
Canada is really celebrating its 150 anniversary with a huge bash. There is so much happening around. The road trip to south alberta with an awesome blue ford companion is just like a dream. The red rock canyon and falls look fabulous. the head smashed in buffalo jump is really interesting.
What a wonderful concept with the red chairs. I know that is something that I would seek out if I had the opportunity to travel Canada during their celebration. I hope it is something that continues afterwards. The Prince of Wales Hotel looks like something out of an Agatha Christie novel. I could just imagine the wealthy all gathered there when a storm comes through, isolating them from the rest of the world with an unsolved murder.
The 2017 Ford Fusion Sport sounds like a great car to drive on a road trip! We always prefer a car with a SiriusXM. Beautiful destinations in Alberta! We drove from Calgary to Toronto before and the sights were not as gorgeous as these.
The legend of Head-Smashed-In sounds so interesting. Is the entry to the Canadian National Park this year free for foreigners too? The Ford Fusion Sport definitely looks like the car of the year!
That red rock canyon looks like something out of the American SW! So beautiful! We love the Canadian National Parks, but don’t have any plans to get there this year. I may have to change that since they’re free this year!
I am in love with Canada and I have never even been there. You have some good recommendations there, I especially like Cameron Falls as I love waterfalls. Also that red rock canyon just looks beautiful. You have definitely made my desire for visiting Canada even stronger now.
I really want to go to Canada this year, especially since the national parks are free. It looks so beautiful. Ford Fusion Sport sounds like a great car for a road trip around Canada. Upper Trail looks really beautiful. I would looove to visit Canada this summer. Thank you for all the tips 😀
This sounds like such a fun trip! I’m DYING to road trip in Canada, especially in the Alberta region since I had two friends in college who were from there. Cameron Falls looks amazing, but I’m also such a sucker for a good waterfall!
This car looks really cool. I presume the idea behind a remote start is to allow it to warm up in winter which would be nice as there is nothing worse than getting into cold seats. I love road tripping around Canada as it is so stunning, makes me want to return
Beautiful Canada, new Ford, breathtaking views, amazing weather, good food … this all sounds like an amazing adventure and you really inspired me to jump in the car and explore.
I find the red canyon quite unusual and lovely. Did not know that you have an Instagram popular red Chair. That is a marketing idea for sure. Nice set of tips along with the car suggestions
Looks like an amazing trip! Earlier this year we went on a 3500km roadtrip through California in a Ford Explorer and really love it! Both the trip and the Ford.
Lovely post and quite apt to explore Canada through a road-trip…considering there is no much natural beauty there. I am eagerly looking forward to visiting Canada again to explore it’s wild side too 🙂
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