Canada’s pretty great, eh! Follow Sawyer and Suzie’s incredible trip through Canada as they explore everything from French Quebec to Jasper National Park. (Duration: 29:18) Theme music by Kevin Macleod – Incompetech.com. Want to listen offline? Click the download icon on the player above to download this episode to your device.
Episode 2: Oh, Canada!
It had been a whole week since Suzie and Sawyer returned from Spain. It took everything in them not to tell their parents, or the entire world for that matter, about Grandpa’s magical globe. It had become such an ordeal in fact, that when they wanted to talk about it and relive their exciting Spanish Adventure, they had to go into a dark closet or a far off room and whisper about it. Not now. Now they were back at Grandpa’s house.
They sat in his living room in big leather chairs. Across from them, Grandpa Boone quietly stoked the logs in the fireplace, bringing the flames crackling back to life. The last log was pushed into place before he sat back in his chair. Suzie didn’t quite get why grandpa was so fixated on his fire. It didn’t matter the time of day or year, there was always a toasty fire under his mantle to be tended to.
Grandpa let out a deep breath. He opened his mouth to speak, but instead rubbed his beard and forehead.
Sawyer couldn’t bear the silence any longer. “Well, when do we leave?” He asked.
“Leave? You have plans of going somewhere I don’t know about?” Grandpa said, leaning back and taking a sip of his hot cocoa. Sawyer and Suzie hadn’t touched their mugs since grandpa had put them on the table. As you could imagine, they were too busy thinking about far more important things.
“Oh come on grandpa, you know what I’m talking about. The globe?”
Suzie could tell grandpa was getting irritated. “Sawyer, just forget about it, okay?” She said.
“You mean forget about the magical ball in the other room that sends us on crazy adventures. Okay, sure. Poof! Gone. So what do you guys want to do? Stare at each other some more?”
“Sawyer,” Suzie gave him an elbow.
“You weren’t supposed to discover that Globe, young man. And that Guide Book,” he looked at Suzie, “that was written for myself, not a couple of kids to go meandering about, causing havoc, and getting lost or even killed in the process. No, no more globe.”
“He’s right,” Suzie said. “It’s a miracle that bull didn’t get us last time. I was really scared, Sawyer. Let’s just let it go.”
Sawyer looked them both over and then leaned over for his cup of cocoa. With a mischievous smirk and his pinky up, he took a sip. After clearing his throat he began imitating a possible conversation with their mom. “Hey honey, how was it at grandpa’s house today? – It was great, mom, thanks for asking. You should have been there. – Oh really? Been where pumpkin? – Africa, we rode Lions and swam with crocodiles.”
Grandpa’s eyes got wide under their bushy brows. “You wouldn’t,” he said. “They can never know.”
Sawyer looked at his nails. Not for any particular reason other than he’d seen people do it in the movies when they had the upper hand on someone. “But they’d sure like to, wouldn’t they? I’d hate to spoil our fun.”
“Oh, alright!” Grandpa relented. “Telling your parents is certainly out of the question. They’d never let you come back and they’d put me and that globe in a museum. If we’re going to do this, there are strict rules you must follow.”
Sawyer beckoned with his hands, “Bring ‘em on.”
“First, you MUST spin the globe. If you try to cheat and just touch wherever you want to go it will either not work at all or drop you off in the middle of the ocean somewhere.”
Sawyer and Suzie exchanged a nervous look.
“Second rule, Always ALWAYS bring the Guide Book. Without it you are lost. Follow its instructions precisely. That includes using those Globe Trotter tickets in the crease. They’re universal and will get you around faster, much faster.”
“Like magic,” Suzie whispered in wonder. She’d been on a magic kick all week, reading stories of princesses and pretending she was heir to a magical kingdom.
Grandpa nodded, “That’s right. Third rule, NEVER tell anyone about the globe or how you got there. This isn’t a dream, you are really living it, and the last thing we need is to be on the front page of the New York Times.” He stared at Sawyer with a stink eye. Sawyer swallowed and shriveled back into his chair. “The fourth and final rule, to return, you must always look at a clock at 4 ‘o clock. Did you get all that?”
Sawyer slurped his cocoa, trying desperately to get every last drop. He even tapped the bottom of the mug to make sure the mini marshmallow stragglers trickled down to his mouth. The others watched in annoyance. Finally, he felt their stare. “I got it.”
“Now,” grandpa continued, “Stay here while I do a few chores. When I’m done, we’ll go together.”
Suzie and Sawyer nodded.
While grandpa raked the front yard, the twins played out back. Out back was a marvelous place. Most backyards were boring green squares surrounded by a fence. Grandpa’s on the other hand was anything but. Rolling hills stretched into the distance. Towering oak, cottonwood, and maple trees shaded the long flowing grass. A babbling creek cut across between two willows where an old arched bridge crossed over to the other side. The place was straight out of a painting. And it was just now that Suzie was taking in the majesty of it all.
She looked down at a squirrel that had stopped by her foot. “Welcome to my kingdom Sir. Squirellington. I shall take you to the Nutty Forest.” She pranced over the bridge and surprisingly, the confused squirrel followed.
Sawyer shook his head. “Girls.” He rubbed his arms and shivered. “Brrr, I hate the cold.”
“It’s not even winter yet, peasant Sawyer,” Suzie called back in her princess voice.
“Peasant? More like, King of the Islands.”
“Ew, that has a nice ring to it.”
“It will when the globe drops us off in Fiji or some other tropical paradise. Come on let’s go inside.”
“Ah ah! Grandpa said we have to wait for him first. And I’m not going without him. Personally, I’d rather just read about those places in those books of his. I’ve had enough danger to last me a lifetime.” She twirled and then dropped a nut for Sir Squirrelington.
Sawyer thought for a moment. He perked up, “But my lady,” he said in an accent, “We must first defeat the dragon in its cave if we want to rule the kingdom.”
“Indeed!” Suzie shouted. She couldn’t believe Sawyer was finally joining in one of her make believe stories. Who knows how many times she’d tried with no success.
Together they ran inside and crept into the library.
“Shhh, the dragon is in there,” Sawyer said, pulling out an invisible sword. “I’ll cut its wings while you snag the treasure.” He made a bunch of pointless hand signals and then jumped into the room.
“Ya!” He yelled as he pretended to fight the invisible beast. “Quick! Get the treasure, its fiery breath is torching my eyebrows!”
Suzie looked around in a panic for something to use as treasure.
“There! On the table!” Sawyer nodded at grandpa’s Guide Book.
Suzie hesitated and then took it.
As soon as she did, she turned around and gasped, “Sawyer! What are you doing?!”
Sawyer was no longer fighting a dragon. He was standing over Grandpa’s Globe, now wearing nothing but a colorful swimsuit and a pair of goggles. With a look that could only be described as “starving for adventure”, he spun the globe.
“Come Ooooon Fiji!”
Suzie jumped for him as his finger stretched towards the spinning ball, “Sawyer, no!”
The room sucked into the ball until they were surrounded by darkness, followed by a blinding light, and then SHLOOM! They were left standing on an icy street in the middle of a snow storm – Suzie, trying to use the Guide Book for warmth and Sawyer standing half naked and nearly frozen. Giant snowflakes caked his goggles. He blew a burst of snow out his snorkel.
“You…have got to be kidding,” he said.
Suzie grabbed his bare arm and pulled him out of the street. “Quick, we need to get inside before we freeze to death!”
They ran for an old stone cafe with a snow capped roof across the street. On the way, Suzie looked frantically for signs, hoping one of them would give some sort of indication of where Sawyer had taken them.
A sign emerged out of the white flurry. It read, “Beinvenue”.
Bienvenue?, Suzie thought as they ran into the cafe.
The second they burst through the doors, everyone inside looked up from their drinks and conversation. They stared in bewilderment at the two desperate kids, clearly ill-equipped for one of the worst snowstorms of the season.
Soon enough, their curiosity was satisfied and they returned to their steaming mugs.
Suzie listened carefully as the people talked. “I know that language. There’s a girl from France in my class and she sometimes talks like that.”
“Like what?” Said Sawyer through chattering teeth.
“French. They’re speaking French. Which means,” she flipped through the Guide Book and stopped on a page, “We’re in France!”
Forgetting all about her popsicle for a brother, Suzie started to beam. She read the first instructions on the page aloud. “Ask for the next bus to Paris!” She shook Sawyer, “Paris! It’s every princesses’ dream! Oh it’s going to be so magical!”
“Magically lame,” said Sawyer through blue lips.
Suzie ran to the grumpy old man at the counter who looked over Sawyer like he was the biggest baffoon on the planet. Which he was, so he had every right. The man reached under the counter and pulled out a coat and handed to him.
“Thanks,” said Sawyer, taking it and putting it on.
“Prochain bus a Paris?” Suzie said trying to follow the pronunciation guide in her book.
“Paris?” A smile finally separated the man’s fat cheeks. “Americans?”
“Yes,” Suzie replied.
“You’ll have to take a plane to Paris, my friends,” the man said in perfect English. “Where do you think you are?”
The man burst into laughter. “They think they’re in France!” He announced to the room. Like him, they exploded into laughter.
“What is this a comedy club? Just tell us where the bus is,” said Sawyer, who was finally warm enough to put a whole sentence together.
The old man looked back at them with a confused smile. “My American friends, this isn’t France. You’re in Old Quebec. Bienvenue a Canada!”
Suzie and Sawyer froze. People spoke French in Canada?
“Give me that thing!” Sawyer grabbed the book and flipped it open to the section on Canada.
“Enjoy your time in Quebec, eastern Canada,” he read. “Be sure to brush up on your French. Not all of the locals know English. First instructions, take a carriage through Old Quebec to the Chateau Frontenac.”
With a little help from the cafe manager, a beautiful white horse drawn carriage was called for them. A gentleman helped them to their seats and away they went. The carriage rolled down the narrow streets, clickety clack clickety clack, passed brick buildings with pots full of frozen flowers hanging from the windows and under an arched stone bridge with a round turret.
At last, they rounded the corner and the most magnificent building came into view. Its red walls shadowed the surrounding village and the sharp steeples on the greenish gray roof stretched into the sky.
Suzie beamed. “A castle!”
“What are we doing here?” Asked Sawyer, not in the least bit impressed by the incredible edifice. To him, the numbing cold was far too distracting than the surrounding architecture.
“We’re here to dance!” Suzie read with even more excitement.
Sawyer’s expression went blank.
That same blank expression carried into the ballroom – a massive bright room with tall windows that wore flowing drapes like dresses. Ornate trim lined the high ceilings and several crystal chandeliers hung down as if dropping from heaven, which was exactly where Suzie was.
She strutted onto the dance floor in a shimmering pink gown, provided by the carriage driver. Sawyer snapped out of his stupor and stepped out next to her. All the carriage driver could convince him to wear was the gentleman’s coat, and even then he wore it lazily with the buttons undone.
Around them, men and women dressed in their finest stepped out onto the dance floor. As soon as everyone got into positions, a folk band chimed in. Not an orchestra or large symphony, a folk band, complete with fiddles and an accordion. Couples swayed gracefully back and forth to the music.
“Now, dance with me,” Suzie said in her princess accent.
“In your dre – Whoa!” Sawyer was yanked onto the floor. They swayed awkwardly as they tried to mimic the other dancers. Just when Sawyer had had enough, the accordion picked up steam and blasted notes through the dance hall.
Right on cue, the dancers began joining hands and turning around each other before switching partners. Within seconds Suzie already had it down. She twisted and turned down the line of dancers while Sawyer sat off to the side waiting.
“Can we go now?” He whined.
“Last song I promise. The guide says it’s French Canadian Folk Dancing. Isn’t it wonderful!”
Sawyer rolled his eyes. At this point, even standing out in the freezing cold half naked wasn’t sounding so bad.
After a few more twirls, the accordion hit its last note and the dance was over.
“Okay princess, where to next?” Sawyer asked.
Suzie opened the book, “Well that’s interesting. Looks like we’re riding into the country in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.”
Sawyer swallowed. “Riding? What does it mean? Like, on a horse?” Normally animals didn’t bother Sawyer much. In fact, he liked most of them. But ever since he’d seen the Ichabod Crane Disney Cartoon with the headless horseman, he couldn’t go near a horse. Even the short stubby ones at the fair.
Suzie shrugged. “Doesn’t say. Can’t imagine it being anything else though. There’s really only one way to find out.”
With a little help from the magical Globe Trotter tickets, they took the next train to the other side of the country where a sign, in English thank goodness, reading “Welcome to Jasper” greeted them.
Sawyer had been ranting the whole ride over about how they should just skip the Rockies. Suzie on the other hand, couldn’t have been more excited. She stopped next to a big round boulder when they arrived. “It says to wait here for our ride.”
Sawyer was pacing. “Maybe it’s talking about donkeys, you know? I bet Canadians are all about donkeys. They’re probably like the household pet here. Like dogs and cats in the US. It’s possible, right?”
Suzie ignored him. She was too busy looking around for any sign of their “ride.”
“Who’s lookin’ for a free ride into the Rockies, eh!?” Came a voice behind them.
They both turned to see two men on horseback approaching. One of them was as furry as a buffalo with a thick brown beard and shaggy hair that curled out of a beanie. The other bloke was completely bald and looked as though he shaved hourly. Both were wearing big plaid coats and snow boots. Tied to their saddles were two extra horses. Big brawny horses. The kind that look like they’ve been fed nothing but Canadian bacon they’re whole lives.
The bald one pulled out a flask of maple syrup and took a swig. He smiled when he spotted Suzie and Sawyer. “Hey, eh! Headin’ for the Rockies?”
Suzie nodded while Sawyer shook his head vigorously. “You bet! I’m Suzie this is my brother Sawyer.”
“Nice to meetcha, eh. I’m Barry, this here is Harry.” The hairy one grunted. “He doesn’t talk much, but eh, he’s kinda like bringin’ a friendly grizzly along for protection.”
Suzie started helping herself onto a horse. “Sounds great! We have about an hour until we have to leave, so a quick trail ride in and out should do the trick.”
Barry listened to Harry’s grunts intently and nodded as if understanding the caveman language. “Mmm hmmm. Okey Dokey, eh.” Barry looked at the kids to translate. “He’s says about one hour is perfect, eh.”
The two guides trotted into Jasper National Park with princess Suzie close behind. She bobbed up and down on her horse with confidence, pretending she and her stallion were returning to their kingdom. In their dust, Sawyer clenched desperately to his horse’s rains. With every bounce he whined and failed like a rag doll.
Suzie took in the gorgeous views of her realm. Majestic snow-capped gray peaks looked down at their reflection in an emerald lake. She took a deep breath of the fresh pine air as the cold breeze whipped her hair back dramatically. Behind her, the same breeze froze Sawyer solid on his furry transport.
At last they arrived at their eating spot. Barry jumped off his horse, took another sip of his maple syrup, and then started preparing lunch. Harry looked up and noticed Sawyer shivering by his pony. Without saying a word, mainly because he couldn’t, he marched over, grunted a few times, and then sandwiched Sawyer between two horses.
Sawyer’s face looked like a puckered fish between the furs.
“Good thinkin’, eh!” Said Barry. “That should keep you na-a-a-a-ice and warm!” He and Harry shared a chuckle.
Together, they prepared what they called Poutine, a Canadian favorite. First they heated some oil in an old pot. Then they tossed in some potatoes, freshly cut into thick fries. In another pot they heated delicious beef gravy. Once it was all ready, they poured the steaming gravy over the homemade fries and then topped it off with cheese curds.
“Mmmmm!” Suzie swallowed her first hot bite. Her body immediately warmed up. “This is soooo good!”
Harry, smiling through his beard, shuffled over to Sawyer and fed him between the horses. Sawyer’s squashed lips struggled to fit the spoon.
“You guys have been complete gentlemen. Thank you for your kind hospitality, but we must be going,” Suzie said, again with her princess air.
At their request, Barry and Harry rode them back to the trailhead and parted ways.
“Enjoy the rest of your Canada stay, eh!” Shouted Barry as the kids headed off on their train.
A few minutes into the ride through Alberta’s beautiful countryside, Suzie pushed the Guide Book into Sawyer’s annoyed face. “Want to know what’s next?”
“You’ll be happy to know we have a choice.”
Sawyer perked up. “A choice?”
“Yeah, it says we can either go snow skiing in Banff or go to a Canucks professional hockey game. How about on the count of three, we say what we want? One…Two….Three..”
“Skiing.” – “Hockey.”
Suzie bit her lip.
“Come on,” Sawyer pleaded, “give me this one thing. Let me be indoors for two minutes. Please.”
Suzie smiled, “Hockey it is.”
From their lower level seats, Suzie and Sawyer cheered on the Vancouver home team. The tickets provided in Grandpa Boone’s Guide Book were incredible. Lifetime season passes. Sawyer couldn’t imagine the old man getting up to Canada often enough to warrant such a perk. Then again, the man had a magical globe in his study.
The game was exciting. Both teams rushed up and down the ice rink, slamming into the glass walls, and jerking back and forth on their skates. Half way through the game, Sawyer noticed something peculiar dangling from the stadium’s ceiling. It was a jersey, number 22 with the name Boone above it.
He nudged Suzie. “Check it out. Maybe grandpa was a team sponsor or something.”
Suzie tilted her head. “That’s funny.”
The lights in the stadium went out. Glowing cell phones glittered in the stands like moving stars. And then the jumbotron flashed on above them.
A rock and roll anthem blared followed by a black and white highlight reel of a Canuck. The crowd cheered and roared as scenes of the incredible player, scoring, diving, and stealing shone overhead. About halfway through Sawyer recognized the number on the jersey, number 22. And then the name above it.
“Let’s hear it for our retired hall of fame legend, KiiIIIIIIiip Booooooone!” Said the voice over the loudspeaker.
The crowd erupted.
The only ones not jumping up and down for the hockey hero were Suzie and Sawyer. They stared at the screen dumbfounded.
A middle-aged man in blue and green face paint grabbed Sawyer by the arms. “Isn’t he amazing!” The man said in tears, giving Sawyer a good shake. Sawyer pried the man’s hands from his arms and then looked at his sister.
“Ookaaaay, I think that’s our cue.”
Suzie agreed and together they left the stadium.
At this point they were both exhausted. But, Suzie insisted they complete the final set of instructions. Understandably, Sawyer preferred to end the trip early. He wanted to finish on a good note, since the hockey game was the only thing he actually enjoyed.
“This is the last thing I’ll ask for, pretty please,” She pleaded, waving the magical Globe Trotter tickets.
“Fine. But last thing!” Sawyer insisted.
Pretty soon, they were flying on a bush plane into the Yukon. When it landed, a dog sled was waiting to carry them across the ice fields. Much to Sawyer’s dismay, the cold he was now experiencing was far more brutal than anything else they’d encountered. He wanted desperately to be back with the two weirdos eating hot Poutine by the lake.
Suzie was even starting to get uncomfortably cold. She’d left a glove somewhere in Jasper National Park and was paying the price.
It was dark now, even though technically it was still daytime. That’s how it is up north. During the winter months, far north places like the Yukon might only see a few hours of sunlight in a day. It was smack in the middle of the afternoon and the only light to be seen were hundreds of thousands of glittering stars above.
Finally, the dogs came to a stop.
“What are they doing?” Sawyer said, starting to panic. “We can’t stop out here we’ll freeze to death!”
Suzie herself was starting to get nervous. By this point she’d forgotten all about her magical princess adventure, with her gloveless hand freezing, and being lost in the middle of nowhere. A feeling of deep regret came over her as she watched her brother start to freak out.
“Come on dogs! Mush! Muuuuush!”
“What does that mean?”
“I don’t know! I just know you say it to make them move. MUUUSH! What if they’re frozen?” He shook the reins to see if indeed they’d become furry ice cubes.
“Sawyer, relax! They’re not frozen. They’re waiting for something.”
“What, for us to die!”
“Stop it! This is the last thing the Guide Book told us to do, so we have to trust it.”
“What if we don’t get back in time to look at a clock at 4 ‘o clock, huh?”
Suzie paused. He was right. The thought was now starting to make her panic.
An odd glow in the sky interrupted their argument. Slowly, they both looked up and gasped.
Flickering in long waves across the sky was the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. Vibrant greens, blues, and purples danced in the night with an extra-terrestrial glow. Stars peaked through the colorful blanket that glided behind shadowed pine trees.
“It’s…It’s,” Suzie struggled to find the words.
“It’s magical,” said Sawyer, staring up in wonder.
Both of them watched the natural light show like little kids at their first firework celebration.
Faint chatter pulled their gaze away.
Lanterns flickered towards them in the distance.
Could you believe it! It was Barry and Harry! Barry was on a dog sled and his massive hairy friend was pulling it on all fours.
Sawyer shook his head. “No way.”
The two Canadians came to a sliding stop in front of them. Barry hopped off the sled and took a swig of maple syrup from his flask. “You forgot your glove, eh!” He stretched out his hand holding Suzie’s little mitten.
“You rode all the way up here, to bring me this?” Suzie was astonished. No one had ever done something so foolishly kind for her in her life.
Barry shrugged. “It’s Canada….eh.”
Harry stood up. “And sometimes we just get that bored,” he said in perfect English.
Suzie and Sawyer’s jaws dropped.
“Well, better be gettin’ ya back to the airport, eh? Don’t want to hang out here too long. It’ll freeze ya solid.” Barry went to take another drink of syrup but the amber liquid was frozen in its container.
“Do you have the time?” Asked Suzie.
Harry looked at his watch. “It’s exactly 4:30 PM.”
Suzie and Sawyer’s eyes went wide and they’re stomachs turned. They’d missed their window. They were going to be stuck in the coldest patch of Canada, forever.
Tears welled up in Suzie’s eyes. “Are you sure that’s what it says?” She asked.
Barry and Harry were taken aback by the twins’ sudden display of emotion. Barry chose his words carefully and decided to make no more mention of time, seeing as these troubled kids were obviously overly sensitive about the hour.
“I’m sorry, eh. If we’d known you’d missed lunch and that it meant that much to you, we would’ve brought some with the glove.”
Suzie shook her head. “We’re not hungry. We’re trapped!” She felt herself start to cry. “Grandpa warned us this would happen.”
“Yes he did,” came a booming voice from the darkness.
A shadow stepped out of Harry and Barry’s sled and walked towards them. It wasn’t until the figure stood in the light of the Aurora that they could see who it was.
“Grandpa!?” They said in amazement.
Grandpa Boone didn’t look happy. “You’ve really done it this time,” he said with a stern look.
Suzie and Sawyer didn’t know how to react. Part of them was thrilled to see Grandpa had come for them. And the other part knew he was right – they were on serious trouble.
Have a conversation with your child about what you’ve learned about Canada from the episode. Locate Canada on a globe or map and discuss how far it is from your home, what continent it’s on, and what countries are around it. See if they can find the locations mentioned in the episode: Quebec, Alberta, Vancouver, and the Yukon
Walk down the streets of the places mentioned in this episode using Google Street View.
Old Quebec (stroll by the Chateau Frontenac where Suzie and Sawyer danced)
Vancouver, British Columbia (Check out the stadium for the Vancouver Canucks)
Here are some images of the Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights) taken in the Yukon Territory of Canada.
A Taste of Canada
Make this popular Canadian dish together:
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
1 (10.25 ounce) can beef gravy
5 medium potatoes, cut into fries
2 cups cheese curds
- Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep heavy skillet to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). While the oil is heating, you can begin to warm your gravy.
- Place the fries into the hot oil, and cook until light brown, about 5 minutes. Make the fries in batches if necessary to allow them room to move a little in the oil. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Place the fries on a serving platter, and sprinkle the cheese over them. Ladle gravy over the fries and cheese, and serve immediately.