Lockport pelicansCanada has about one holiday (federal or provincial) per month, and when the August Civic Holiday rolled around Amy and I headed for the beach. Although Winnipeg is about 600 miles from the sea (Hudson Bay, to the north-east), the Great Lakes are of such immense size that they have sand, waves, tides and everything else one would expect from their oceanic equivalents. Lake Winnipeg is about the size of Sardinia, though is so shallow (mean depth: 12 m) that you can walk out for ages before being forced to swim. I contented myself with walking out to some of the sandbars (scattering minnows and a wary pelican) and tossing a Frisbee around, perhaps over-concerned about a) the hole in the ozone layer and b) leeches.

On our way back to the city, we stopped off at Lockport (site of a dam on the Red River and thus a magnet for water birds) and Birds Hill (a much more crowded provincial park, with an artificial beach). The dam and lock at Lockport were full of American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) jockeying for position on the waterfall, and people trying to catch the fish that got past them. We also came across a juvenile finch or grackle who hadn’t yet learned to stay away from humans, and more sunbathers than could be counted.

Patricia Beach (1)Patricia Beach (2)

Lockport finch (2)Lockport finch (1)