Christmas in Ortona: 1943

The Christmas holidays are already here, approaching faster than you can say "egg nog." It dawned on me now that it's two days away. It's that time of year where both our bank accounts and blood pressures surge, feeling the time crunch to check off interminable lists of final chores and errands. We get vastly…

Day Two in Scotland: Reaching for the Skye

My view of Loch Ness was obscured by thick morning dew over our window. I wiped the moisture away with my sleeve and gazed outside, looking for a creature to surface above the water. Richard met us for breakfast, still wearing his kilt and outlined our schedule for day two on the Isle of Skye.…

Day One in Scotland: Hightailing Through the Highlands

When you hear Scotland what comes to mind? Rugged Highlands, shimmering lochs and forgotten isles, haggis, the screeching of bagpipes and Scotsmen in kilts? These cultural symbols have been synonymous with "Scottishness" for as long as I can remember. But some travelers, perceive them as too campy for their liking, yearning instead to unravel the…

Casa Loma: The Story of Henry and the House on a Hill

Nestled on a hill lies a mysterious castle within Toronto's Annex, overlooking bustling cafes, museums and university campuses. Passersby at Spadina Road and Dupont Street would turn their heads, puzzled and enamored at the grey turrets poking out of the trees before commencing their school commute. Surrounded by aged, heritage homes, the castle's imposing nature…

Neuschwanstein: A Bavarian King’s Dream Come True

On a cloudy September day, I was cordially invited for afternoon tea at King Ludwig II's castle. Well technically, I invited myself weeks in advance. By purchasing a ticket. And sadly, poor Ludwig's been dead for over 130 years. His hosts ran a tight schedule in order to accommodate thousands of guests. If you failed…

Visby: My Gotland Getaway

In the fall of 2017, I did my first solo backpacking trip. I spent nearly four weeks touring England, Scotland and Scandinavia as a Masters graduation gift to myself. Now that summer is fading and my favourite season is around the corner, I started reminiscing on my autumn adventures. It took months to craft an…

Seasons of Philosopher’s Walk: Spring

"During spring, the stream that once ran through the site would have been teeming with wildlife and native fisherman would have lined the hooks with gill nets and fish weirs to partake of this bounty. For them, the stream would have been a sacred place - a place of powerful and audible spirits." *  …

Heritage Snapshots of Ontario: The Whitby Centennial Building

  The Centennial Building has been the heart of a booming Great Lakes town since the 1800s. This grand structure is one of my favourite gems in downtown Whitby, and where my Mom and Stepdad got married in October, 2016. The building was constructed between 1853-1854 as the Ontario County Court House, which served as…

Planting the Seeds of Political Activism Through Treehouses and Onions: The Legacy of Osman Kalin

I've ventured through a few treehouses in my time, but I've never seen one like this before. Upon first glance, this rustic curiosity, perched on a bed of graffiti and ingrown foliage looks like an abandoned shack. Perhaps inhabitants have frequented the place on occasion, needing temporary refuge from the streets. However, being in Berlin,…

Belfast and Black Taxis: Discerning Contested Pasts Through Art and Mobility

A classic, London-style black taxi rolled up directly in front of our hostel. Its driver, a thin grey-haired man with slumped shoulders stepped out, taking one last drag of his cigarette. He introduced himself to us as Patrick—or Paddy for short, our tour guide. For the next two hours or so, he took us through…