Posts Tagged ‘canada’

Video: Aurora Borealis

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

The Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights) is a vibrant, otherworldly light display that has to be seen to be believed. Named for the Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn, and Boreas, the Greek term for “north wind,” the Northern Lights have been drawing enthusiastic spectators since humans have lived within sight of this celestial phenomenon. Here, see a time-lapse video of an Aurora Borealis display from July, 2007.

Want to see for yourself? We’ll teach you about the relationship between electricity, the ionosphere, and the Aurora, and we’ll even provide the cold weather gear. Limited space available on our Northern Lights of Canada program this September, so book soon! Fall is one of the best times of year to see the Aurora.

Click here to learn more about the Aurora Borealis and more from Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, or click here to read about the Northern Lights in Smithsonian Magazine.

What can you see in the night sky where you live? Share below.

A Grand Canadian Rail Adventure

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Barry Lane is a Canadian historian with special interests in British colonial and maritime history. He has accompanied Smithsonian travelers on numerous journeys across Canada. Here, he tells you why he’s so thrilled to share Canada with new travelers and what he loves about his country. Click to learn more about Barry and traveling through Canada with him.

Mt. Edith Cavell is located in Jasper National Park Alberta, Canada. Photo: Barry Lane

Mt. Edith Cavell is located in Jasper National Park Alberta, Canada. Photo: Barry Lane

Over the years I have had the privilege of acting as Study Leader on the Smithsonian’s Trans-Canadian Rail trip. As a Canadian, this is the All-Canadian trip and it makes me very proud of my country. For over 3,000 miles travelers sit back and experience the stunning beauty and diversity of the Canadian landscape, and also meet and converse with people from around the world as well as with ordinary Canadians who use the train as a means of transportation. There is also the crew, a mix of younger and older Canadians, dressed in attractive dark blue uniforms who work so hard to help travelers enjoy their journey. This too is typical of Canadians, a people known for their egalitarianism and conscientious spirit. All in all, this is the perfect opportunity to become engaged and familiar with a country and its soul.

The first part of the train journey is my favorite, as it passes through the rugged Shield country of Northern Ontario, with its beautiful myriad of forests, lakes, and granite outcropping. For Canadians, this is our heartland area, a symbol of the wilderness, cold, and challenges that have seared our souls throughout our history. With only a few resource-based towns and a scattering of native reserves in the region, the train travels for a thousand miles through an almost unspoiled landscape.

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

As I sit in my compartment looking out the window, I savor the wonderful views of nature which give me a deep sense of inner peace and a feeling of closeness to eternity. But at the same time, my sense of well being is also enhanced by the rhythm of the rails, and the partaking in the rituals and camaraderie of our railroad family, on-board meals seasoned with interesting conversation, chatter in the dome car, good books, and shared ideas. (more…)

Video: Polar Bear Play

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Hundreds of polar bears gather on the coast of the Hudson Bay every autumn to await the inevitable freezing of the bay. When the ice thickens, the polar bears venture out to hunt Arctic seal and gain sustenance for the long winter ahead. Watch a pair of polar bears in Manitoba as they interact with each other and their environment. Each year, we bring travelers to snowy Churchill to observe these fascinating creatures.

Click here to learn more about our polar bear journeys.

Click here to learn more about wildlife adventures.

Video: Toronto International Film Festival

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the most successful cinematic events in the world, with 2008 Gala entries including Rachael Getting Married, The Wrestler, Slumdog Millionaire, and Burn After Reading. Smithsonian Journeys has a limited number of industry passes available for this highly coveted event.

Watch below for a very informative early review of surprise hit Slumdog Millionaire, from Janelle Riley at

Click here to see more information on our Toronto International Film Festival experience.

Click here to learn about all of our performing arts travel opportunities.