We had a late night flight from Toronto to Winnipeg, leaving at 10pm from Toronto Pearson. For some reason, everybody else seems to fly at that time too. The airport was packed with people. A 45-minute wait for food at one restaurant. What craziness is that? But on the positive side, our flight left on time, and we had a spare seat next to us.
The flight was just over two hours long. I spent an hour of that reading, and then the rest of it dozing off. I was hardly conscious for the landing, and all I wanted to do was go back to sleep.
Once again, the benefit of only taking carry-on luggage outweighed the downside of having to minimise how much we took. We were off the plane and out of the airport in no time at all. Even better, I’d book us a hotel right at the airport, so we walked out of the terminal and a minute later walked into the hotel.
We stayed at The Grand Winnipeg Airport Hotel by Lakeview, and boy, was it nice. The hotel is a year old and still looks brand new. The room was big, bed very comfortable, bathroom clean and spacious. It had some nice modern touches like an iPad for use (which gives you access to Netflix and controls the tv), swipe card entry (not slot, but swipe), and controls beside the door for Privacy/Make-up room.
We were in bed within about half an hour of arriving and, despite my back being sore, managed to sleep pretty well.
I woke up at 8. Glen had been awake since 6. We went down for breakfast, served by a very friendly and attentive waitress, went back to the room for a bit before checking out at 9:30 or so. A short walk back to the airport, a quick check-in at Calm Air and breeze through security, and we were at the gate in next to no time.
Pity the flight departing wasn’t so punctual. Still, it wasn’t as if we had plans when we landed so it didn’t make much of a difference. We left half an hour late, on a smallish plane that seats about 40 people. Glen and I were the last to board, but we got the emergency exit seats at the front, and had two seats to ourselves each. The plane was only about half full of passengers.
It was a noisy ride (the propellers just outside the window – and visible as they whirred around). We were given a little lunch snack box thing, which contained a ham and salad sandwich, a piece of cake, and a small caesar salad. We also had drinks. There was one flight attendant, and at one point either the captain or his co-pilot came through to use the bathroom at the back of the plane, while the flight attendant went into the cockpit.
The flight lasted about two hours. There wasn’t much to see out the window as it was a bit cloudy. We could see more on our descent. It’s a different kind of landscape, that’s for sure, with lots of little rivers and lakes, with clumps of trees dotted around the place. It’s very flat too.
After landing at the airport, I called the hotel and they sent someone to pick us up. A short drive later we were in town and checking into the Polar Inn & Suites. Accommodation is simple, but comfortable. After dumping off our stuff, we went for a walk, stopping at Gypsy’s Bakery for lunch, then going to the Parks Canada Visitors Centre.
We chatted to one of the officers there and got the message that it’s dangerous out here. There’s one area behind the hospital where we were told not to go in early morning or late evening as polar bears like to use the beach. We were also told, generally, not to go wandering around as you never know when you might cross paths with a bear. Then it’s pretty much goodnight Gracie. Glen was a bit freaked out, meanwhile I’m secretly praying we see one from a relative safe distance.
What this does indicate though is that we’re likely to see at least one polar bear during our trip, which I am over the moon about. Polar bears AND Beluga whales in one go? How awesome is that?!
After checking out the Parks Canada museum and watching a video, we walked through a bit more of the town. It’s bigger than I expected, but the houses are kind of what I had in mind. Built low to the ground, weatherboard house, the place a bit like a seaside town that’s very laid-back. It reminds me a bit of Rottnest Island. We walked along the track the officer told us was dangerous at certain times of the day. No polar bears, but we saw the bay and the inukshuk (Inuit monument/statue).
We looked around a little bit longer and then went back to the hotel. There’s not much to do here apart from go on tours, and most of them happen in the morning. I’ve sketched out a bit more of a plan for the next few days, but it looks like we’ll have a lot of free time. I suppose we’ll just have to relax.