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As many of you already know, I have blogged this week from Canada, appearing at a conference hosted by the Canadian Journalism Foundation last night at the University of Toronto. I had the pleasure of joining Andrew Coyne on stage, along with Jesse Hirsh and Julian Porter, to discuss whether bloggers are "shamans or shams". Afterwards, I met a number of fine Canadian bloggers for the first time -- RightGirl, Wonder Woman, Stephen Taylor, Brent Colbert, Bob Tarantino and Greg Staples of Blogging Tories, and John from Newsbeat1. Here's a shot of all of us at the conference:
The conference itself provoked a wide-ranging Q&A. In fact, we overran our time, but none of us noticed it -- I know I had a great time answering everyone's questions. Canadians have a marvelous sense of hospitality and grace, and even those who had no inclination to support an American right-wing blogger treated me with friendliness and respect.
After posting on some issues this morning, the First Mate and I took the day to go on a tour of Niagara Falls and the surrounding countryside. Neither of us have never been to Niagara Falls on either the American or Canadian side, so the opportunity proved too enchanting to pass up when Toronto is so close to it.
We signed up for a guided tour that took us right from the hotel to Niagara on the Lake, a small village that had plenty of history about the War of 1812. It used to house the provincial government of Upper Canada (renamed Ontario), but when war threatened, the British wisely moved it to York (renamed Toronto). The Americans captured Niagara on the Lake, and burned it to the ground when the British recaptured it from us. They returned the favor later in the war when they sacked Washington DC and burned most of the government buildings in retaliation.
So, if nothing else, we had time enough to learn about karma in Niagara on the Lake.
After we left, the tour took us to the helipad for an optional aerial tour of Niagara Falls. Anyone who knows me knows that I would not get onto a helicopter unless someone threatened my life, and even then I'd have to think about it. I have a tremendous fear of heights that usually would petrify me just thinking about such a trip. Neither the First Mate or I expected me to get aboard ... but the opportunity to see the falls from the air proved too attractive.
We flew in a Bell long-range helicopter, which gave us a spectacular view of the entire Niagara area. I picked out the two best shots I got of the falls, and even used my digital camera to take some quick video of the Horseshoe Falls (watch here). The ride turned out to be fantastic, which was good, because the taped guided tour -- the only way the First Mate could enjoy the ride -- turned out to be in French, a mistake by the flight company. After pointing out that her very expensive ten minute flight amounted to nothing, they put us both back up in the air immediately, for free, with an English-language tape instead ... which meant I took my second helicopter flight moments after my first.
After a delicious buffet lunch at the Sheraton, we went to the Maid of the Mist for an up-close look at the falls. I've included a couple of shots of the tour, a spectacular view of the American Falls and one of Horseshoe Falls that doesn't come close to capturing the experience. The water, the pounding, the mist; it all feels so primal and so awe-inspiring that neither words nor pictures do it justice.
We returned late this evening, and we immediately came back to the amazing JetBlue story and the news of tornado touchdowns in Minneapolis. That came before an interview for Canadian radio CHQR for The World Tonight with Rob Breckenridge, who always has a great show. It's been a busy day, and I have plenty to write tomorrow before going out to see more of Toronto for our last full day in Canada on this trip. (Don't get me started on the resurgent Canadian dollar, which is killing us!) I plan on blogging more tomorrow, so keep checking in, and make plans to see Niagara Falls as soon as possible if you haven't yet been here.Sphere It View blog reactions
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