A taste of Manitoba
by Dale Burgos
(L-R) Bella, Rece, Kiana, Gavin, Tyra, my Ate Net, mom and Elizabeth taking a break on our way to Tofino.
Excuse me while I blow my nose and wipe the tears away.
Another summer has come and gone. Oh, how I enjoyed endless days of sunlight and fun with the family. Soon enough, it will be winter once again! Depressing, isn’t it? I promised Ate Emmie that will try to stop crying long enough to write this month’s article.
This is now my third summer living on Vancouver Island, with the rest being spent in Manitoba. I will never forget the hot humid days walking at The Forks, swimming at Winnipeg Beach or taking a dip at the Kildonan Park outdoor pool. As good as those activities were, it will always be the time with family at BBQs or sitting on the deck that I will cherish. So many great memories were made in Manitoba and sadly, I didn’t have the opportunity to make it back this year. On the bright side, this summer was a bit different. This year, Manitoba came to me. And, oh boy, was it tiring!
Living on the west coast is something special. You are surrounded by ocean and mountains. It is these very things that attract people from all over the world. In my case, the Burgos Hotel was open for business once again.
My hotel is a pretty special place. It offers three meals a day, majestic views of the mountains and quaint sitting areas amongst lush green gardens. It is also quite affordable! But before you start asking for the web site address or the toll free number, I should let you know that it’s only open to family.
In early July we hosted my sister in-law and her fiancé. They enjoyed a two-week stay that involved trips to all the local boutique shops, and a day in Coombs where they saw the “goats on the roof.” (Google it, it’s a pretty cool place.) The highlight of their stay would be when we took them for a tour of Vancouver. First stop after a quick ferry ride was the Vancouver Aquarium. We all had a blast! We saw jellyfish, a billion species of other fish, octopus (or octopi?), seals and well, you get the idea. If you get a chance to visit, try the fish and chips for lunch, it’s really fresh (wink, wink).
We also had the chance to check something off on my wife’s bucket list – we got to watch a CFL game between the BC Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers at BC Place. You see, she was born in BC but moved to Manitoba at a young age. She and her father would enjoy the rivalry every summer, but they never did get a chance to attend a game on BC’s home turf. It was pretty special and we got to witness a fantastic game – sorry Bomber fans, but the Lions won that game.
The Manitoba theme continued into August when we hosted the “Burgos Cousin Reunion.” First to arrive was my mom (who never seems to age by the way), along with my sister Bernadette and nieces Kiana and Tyra (who seem to be growing faster than bamboo trees). A few days later we welcomed cousins from California and Alberta. Day one of the reunion was a walk along Nanaimo Harbour. Day two, you guessed it, we saw some goats on a roof. We added a swim at Qualicum Beach for the heck of it.
Day three was something I hope they will never forget. They got to climb trees! Not far outside Nanaimo is Wildplay Park. It’s a treetop adventure that includes zip lines and other obstacles. Muscles were tested, but the laughs numbed the pain. – another one to try if you ever get the chance.
Sadly the majestic mountains never appeared during the reunion as the smokey haze from all the BC fires filled the normally blue skies. No one seemed to mind though.
After the cousins left, my mom, sister and nieces stayed behind for a couple days. I needed to show these Manitobans a bit more of what the Island had to offer. We took a short road trip to the west coast, where we made a stop in Ucluelet and Tofino. On this side, the forecast called for clear skies, but was soon disappointed as we entered into thick fog at Long Beach. It’s here where you find surfers and swimmers alike. Once again, I felt like I needed to apologize to my prairie guests because the views were overshadowed by Mother Nature. They didn’t seem to mind as they still frolicked in the waves of the cold Pacific Ocean. I jumped in for a bit, but wow, was it chilly!
The Burgos Hotel has now closed for the season. We’ve managed to get a few hundred more photos that will need to be put into an album. We had a lot of fun and a ton of laughs – which is good because I’ve just reminded the kids that school will be starting very soon! The laughs have now turned to tears, mostly coming from me. I am not looking forward to another year of waking up cranky kids, a bunch of parent-teacher interviews and figuring out what to make for lunches. Excuse me while I blow my nose and wipe away the tears.
Dale manages the communications department for a school district in BC and continues to write from afar.