JohnBoy’s Travel Blog

Photos and stories of my journey across the US and Canada


Welcome to my blog.  Here I will share photos of my trips throughout the United States and Canada.  For details on my intent for this project please click “About” in the upper right hand corner.  If you have comments or requests please feel free to contact me by clicking on “Contact” in the upper right hand corner.

The photo above is of the lighthouse in the town of La Martre on the Gaspé Peninsula in Québec province, Canada which I took on August 14, 2019 as I drove between Gaspé and Rivière-du-Loup.

If you are new to the blog please note that you are seeing the most recent posts first.  As you scroll down you are going back in time.  You may read statements which may not make much sense right at the moment because they may refer to a discussion earlier in the blog.

Enjoy, and please feel free to share the blog address with others.  Also feel free to copy and save any photos I’ve taken.  You should be able to right-click on them and save them to your device (but if you sell them and make a gazillion dollars, please slip me a zillion or two. We’ll just keep that between us).  The photos are best viewed on a computer or tablet, not a phone.  The larger the screen the better.

Canadian Sign Language – Part 3

October 14, 2019

Canadians love pictures on their road signs.  My previous posts on this topic were comprised mainly of signs which I had seen during my trip.  Where practical, I took the photos I posted but there were times that for some reason I couldn’t, or I thought perhaps I would see the sign again and didn’t.  In those situations I tried to find photos online and when that method didn’t immediately lead me to find a suitable replacement I got desperate in my quest and started searching driver’s manuals for certain provinces.

I looked at more photos of actual road signs online than I care to remember but did make it a point to save some memorable or humorous signs.  Here are more examples with my own interpretations:


Armpit-sniffing at next exit?


Cow-cloning at next exit?


Giant bong at next exit?


Nude beach

That one’s accurate!


I have no idea – but that image was actually in a driver’s manual…


Again – I have no idea.  Perhaps just a math quiz or something to distract you from the fact that there is a speed trap ahead….


Safety Stop Ahead – I hope you brought doughnuts or you may get a ticket…


Congratulations – You just won the Indianapolis 500!!

3 Things – First impressions

October 14, 2019

Before I left on my 7-week trip to Canada I found a photo online which inspired me to form three impressions (thoughts, places or experiences) about each province.  These are things which come to mind when I think about my time spent in each place.  Now that I have finished posting photos from that trip here are my lists, in the order in which I visited each province.


  1. Tides
  2. Flowerpot rocks
  3. Curling clubs


  1. Cabot Trail – Cape Breton
  2. Tidal bores
  3. Casual


  1. Mountains
  2. Rugged
  3. Animals (moose, puffins, whales)


  1. Mussels
  2. Potatoes
  3. Farming


  1. French influence (language, signage, food)
  2. Fast drivers
  3. Gaspé Peninsula coastline


  1. Architecture
  2. Modern
  3. Artistic


Welcome to the United States

August 27, 2019

Tuesday morning I left Toronto on a rainy, foggy morning and started my trek back to the United States.  I had a stop planned at an unusual spot a considerable distance northwest of town and did drive most of the way there, but as I was about to exit a major highway to a much smaller road there were signs warning of a road construction project which was to continue for many miles and that I was to expect MAJOR delays.  Given the weather and the fact that I still had to drive to Niagara Falls, and then to my brother’s house in northeast Ohio I decided to bail out and turned around.  Over the “off season” I will probably put together a post about the venue I didn’t make it to.

This was the scene when I arrived at the border crossing at Niagara Falls, NY:


I was able to pass through about a half-hour later without incident and the remainder of my trip went as planned.

I am going to make two more posts about my 7 weeks in Canada.  First, I promised to list three memorable things, places or impressions about each of the provinces I visited.  Second, I still have another Canadian Sign Language post to make so I might as well go out on a high note.

I am planning to return to many of the same spots in Canada again next year and I will put together a post with some of the reasons I want to go back so soon.

Toronto – BAPS Hindu Temple

August 26, 2019

The proper name for this place of worship is BAPS Shri Swanimarayan Mandir.  In researching this post I discovered there is a Hindu Temple with an identical name in Morrisville, NC, out near the Raleigh-Durham airport, and evidently similar facilities share the common name.  I have no idea what ‘BAPS’ stands for.  Worshipers at this temple follow the Swanimarayan branch of the Hindu religion.

Although the temple I visited has a Toronto mailing address it is physically located quite a ways northwest from downtown in a suburb named Etobicoke.  MapQuest indicates that driving to this temple from downtown would cover about 20 miles and take 24 minutes using major roads.  I used public transportation and it took me considerably longer.

Two ladies from South America who now live in Israel told me about this place when I met them one of the days I was in Ottawa when we shared stories of where we had been and where we were going next.

Monday afternoon I took the subway system’s northwest route to a stop near where that line ends.  From there I took a city bus several miles west.  On one of maps I was using I was under the impression that I might be able to walk to the temple from where that route ends but the driver suggested I get out a few stops before that and take another bus south, then yet another bus northwest.  He was pretty sure that bus would drop me off right in front of the place, and he was right.  I think I might have been in for a long walk and probably would have gotten lost if I had stuck to my original plan.

This was the sign which greeted me at the main gate.


There was another sign just past an unoccupied security gatehouse which advised visitors that they were entering a place of worship and that there were rules which must be followed.  I followed instructions on that sign to use the intercom to declare my intentions to a security guard who ultimately told me to walk to the main entrance and come inside to discuss my plans (the intercom barely worked and this was the easiest solution).  Upon entering the “Haveli,” a cultural center and meeting hall, I immediately removed my shoes as instructed and found my way to the Information desk.


I had already decided that I wasn’t going to enter any of the interior portions of the temple as it sounded like there are always things going on there and I didn’t want to intrude.  I told the guard that I simply wanted to take pictures of the exterior and he said that was fine.

I put my shoes back on once I was outside the building and walked next door to the “Mandir,” or Temple.


It took 18 months to build this structure using hand carved Italian marble, Turkish limestone and Indian pink stone.  A chain link fence wouldn’t permit me to get too close to the building so I relied on my digital camera to get some close up shots.  The mid-day sun was on the opposite side of the building so the photos are a little “washed out”.








The Haveli next door also had many elaborate wood carvings near the main entrance doors.  These carvings consisted of many, many themes, some containing people and others featuring various animals.  There was way more variety than the few shots I am posting.





The city bus which took me to the entrance of this facility didn’t run very often so I pretty much just scrambled to get my photos and walked back out to catch the next one that came along.  I reversed the transportation sequence to get back downtown.  All things considered, it took me much longer to get there and get back downtown than I actually spent on the property but it had been highly recommended and if I hadn’t made the trip I would have always wondered what I had missed.  There are a few, but not many, photos of the interior online.



Toronto – Day 3

August 26, 2019

Monday was my last full day in Toronto (and in Canada).  Here are some of the things I saw throughout the morning.  My afternoon venue took a while to get to and will appear in a separate post.

This is the Frank Gehry-designed façade on the front of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).  I didn’t know until I researched this post that Mr. Gehry is a native of Toronto.



The building is so large (and faces a narrow city street) that it was difficult to get it all in one photo.


I would have missed this next venue if my Airbnb hostess hadn’t made me aware of it.  It is located right behind the AGO.  This is Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University:


While much of the school is located inside a “normal” building, part of it is suspended on stilts, several stories in the air!


Admittance to the upper floors appears to be achieved by an escalator and perhaps stairs and/or elevators in the main street-level building.



And this being an art school and all, we may have found the artists responsible for some of the artwork in Graffiti Alley!  These images were found outside next to the stairs and handicap-access ramp:




I went back up to the front of the AGO building and saw this clever way to secure one’s bicycle without blocking the sidewalk:


This piece of art was located outside, across the street from AGO.  While the first photo shows what appears to be a flat painting of a man’s face, there is more to it than that.


The side you see above is actually three-dimensional.  It is concave, as it curves in from the sides of the painting:


The opposite side of the painting shows a similar image but is convex, in that it protrudes outward from the flat surface of the border.


After I took those photos I hopped back on a bus to head further north.  There was a restaurant where I wanted to eat lunch and I then wanted to revisit the art museum I had seen Sunday evening.

This was not the restaurant where I ate but I was amused by their signage.  Somehow I think if this is going to be your tagline….


…. then you may want to rethink the name of your restaurant….


Here is another look at the exterior of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).



I didn’t go inside any of the museums in Toronto except to inquire about the availability of photos at the shoe museum (see previous post).  Next year when I return to eastern Canada I will budget days to visit many of the museums along my route, regardless of the weather.



Toronto – Bata Shoe Museum Display

August 25, 2019

When I was in northern Toronto Sunday evening I walked past this museum and noticed an impressive display in their windows.  I tried taking my own photos, both Sunday evening and again on Monday but there are two reasons why they are not blogworthy – 1) since they were taken during the day the reflection in the windows of what was behind me is too much of a distraction, and 2) what I was seeing was best viewed from a distance.  I don’t want the creativity behind the display to go unmentioned, though, so I have downloaded a few photos I found online and will post two of my own at the end.

The display I am talking about, called “In Full Bloom,” was created back in 2017 to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.  Students from the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University put together a display of the official flowers of Canada’s various provinces and territories.  This display consists of over 2,000 shoes created on a 3-D printer in various colors.  When viewed from a distance the flower images are quite impressive.  The “flowers” are arranged left-to-right based on the location of each province or territory (west-to-east) in the country.

BataShoe twitter

(Photo credit: twitter.com)

BataShoeMuseum RemiCarreiro

(Photo credit: Remi Carreiro)

BataShoe occasionalontario blogspot com

(Photo credit: museumnotes.blogspot.com)

The photo above is a prime example of the reflection in the upper right corner of the window distracting from the subject of the photo.

BataShoe museumnotes

(Photo credit: occasionaltoronto.blogspot.com)

The photo above is the first closeup which clearly shoes the solid-colored shoes which are used to create the image of a flower when viewed from a distance.

Bata TravelWithClem

(Photo credit: travelwithclem.com)


The two photos below were taken by me Sunday evening around 7pm.



When I went back to the museum Monday I went inside to ask if professional photos (postcards, perhaps) were available but was told they were not.


Toronto – Day 2 – Street Art

August 25, 2019

Here are some examples of various murals, graffiti and a sculpture I saw while visiting various parts of Toronto on Sunday:

I saw this sculpture on the side of a building as I was riding the street car through the west side of town.  I made note of the location and got off on the return trip so I could get a photo.


I had also seen a cool mural so I got off the streetcar again so I could get a photo.  I had to take the shot on an angle to get it all in (without the clutter of cars parked in front of it).


This was on an apartment building on a side street (perhaps where the artist lives?).


Those were all taken in the morning.  Let me jump ahead to my trip home at the end of the day and show this mural which is on the side of a building about 4 blocks from where my Airbnb was located.


The reason I wanted to jump ahead in time with the photo above is that all the others photos in the remainder of this post were found in “Graffiti Alley,” a 3-block alley on the west side of town just a short distance from the main east-west street.  Yes, there really is such a place:








These next two go together.  Because I was literally in an alley I couldn’t get far enough back to get the entire theme (a lobster DJ) in one shot, and shooting it in an angle didn’t do it justice.