Points of Interest: The Canada Edition

Here’s some Canadiana we're checking out in July.

Stars in the night sky at Jasper National Park above a lake and mountains
Jasper National Park.   Photo: Luuk Wijk

Place

See Jasper light up after dark Astrotourism is on the rise, and Canada is a top destination: Parks Canada protects more dark skies than any other organization in the world. At 11,000 square kilometres, Jasper National Park is the second-largest of Parks Canada’s 12 Dark-Sky Preserves (after Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta andthe Northwest Territories), and it’s also the most accessible: the town of Jasper, with a population of nearly 5,000, not to mention hotels, a ski hill and a planetarium–islocated within the preserve. Start by downloading a stargazing app, like SkyView, then head to an easy-to-reach spot like Patricia Lake (just a 10-minute drive from town) to marvel at the Milky Way from your beach blanket. Astro lovers: if you can’t make it to Chile’s Elqui Valley for the total solar eclipse this month, Jasper is a pretty good second choice.

Elizabeth “Elsie” MacGill, the first woman aircraft designer
Elizabeth “Elsie” MacGill.   Photo: Canada Aviation and Space Museum

History

Meet the first woman aircraft designer Elizabeth “Elsie” MacGill was the first Canadian woman to earn a degree in electrical engineering as well as the world’s first woman aircraft designer. She earned the nickname “Queen of the Hurricanes” overseeing the production of 1,400 Hawker Hurricane fighter planes during World War II as chief aeronautical engineer for Canadian Car & Foundry. And she’s still making her mark: Earlier this year, she was featured on a postage stamp, in a special Canadians in Flight series released by Canada Post. See a Hawker Hurricane XII at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.

NASA researchers taking photos on Nunavut’s Devon Island
Devon Island, Nunavut.   Photo: The Mars Society

Science

Visiting Mars (without leaving Canada) Nunavut’s Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island in the world. With its forbidding landscapes and weather, it’s also the closest thing to Mars on Earth, which is why NASA has been sending researchers there for the past 20 years. If you’re not part of the space program, you can still explore it any time: Google Street View recently mapped the place, so Canada’s faux-Martian landscape is as close as your nearest mobile device.

Chef Jeremy Charles’ first cookbook, Wildness
"Wildness: An Ode to Newfoundland and Labrador", Jeremy Charles.   Photo: Phaidon, photography by John Cullen

Book

A chef’s ode to Newfoundland and Labrador Chef Jeremy Charles’ first cookbook, Wildness: An Ode to Newfoundland and Labrador ($60, Phaidon) is an homage to his home turf. The man behind St. John’s famed Raymonds, Canada’s Best New Restaurant in 2011, shares 160 recipes and plenty of tales, going all the way back to his nan’s kitchen, where he first fell for food. John Cullen’s photographs bring to life both Newfoundland’s rugged landscapes and Charles’ dishes, including blackened cod-liver mousse, moose bresaola and one of the province’s signature dishes, fish and brewis. “It’s a dish that sums up Newfoundland culture and how we survived for generations on fatback pork, potatoes, onions and hard bread,” says Charles. “It’s simple, rustic, unpretentious and something that everyone should taste.”

 

Want more cool Canadiana? Discover a new Canadian wonder this summer.

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