Now that fall is officially here, it is the kick-off for those three great Canadian events, NHL hockey, CFL football playoffs ending in the Grey Cup, and my favorite -- dog sled racing, or as it is more accurately known, sled dog racing. Canadian Thanksgiving is next weekend and it is the day we bring the dogs out of their refrigerated kennels, hook them up to the sleds and set them off. Dogs love sled dog racing, and they look forward to it even more than we do. Sled dogs are part of the family here in Canada, they're very docile, tame and well-loved by the polar bears. When a polar bear strolls through our back yards, as they often do, we just send one of the dogs out to play and distract them. It always works.
When any of you folks come to Canada for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, you will find that the better hotels will offer good rates on dog-sleds for getting around the city and sight-seeing. They'll even provide a driver. Unfortunately sled dog racing is not part of the official Olympics, although there may be some "off-site" contests. It was used as a demonstration sport in the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid New York, but for some reason it just never took off -- so to speak. Not enough Canadians there, I guess.
If you prefer to get around on your own steam, you will find snowshoe rental kiosks on every corner, and snowshoes come in all sizes for every member of the family. When you put on your snowshoes, you can tell which is the left and which is the right by making sure the loose ends of the straps point outward. That way you won't step on them. Be sure to have the kiosk owner give you a crash course in snowshoe walking, and you'll quickly get the hang of it. If you can walk, you can showshoe. And, if you find yourself being chased by a polar bear -- which is fairly rare, but it can happen -- don't try to outrun them in your showshoes. It's pretty tricky, and you will definitely be on the losing end of the race. If you can, try to find a sled dog to distract the polar bear until you can make your escape. This hardly ever happens, however, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.
Welcome to Canada, eh, and enjoy your stay...!