The next best thing

As Lethbridge’s most photographed landmark, it takes quite a stretch to imagine the High Level Bridge not towering over the river bottom as it does today. But what if it had not been built at all? Surely the start of Coalbanks and it’s evolution into Lethbridge would have been stagnated from not having a way to get goods in and out of the region. Further more, it would have prevented the flow of commerce and wealth to the area and both aforementioned dots on the map would never have been forged.

What would the city be known for without it’s famous train bridge?

I posed this question recently on our Facebook page. Fort Whoop-Up was mentioned as well as the building that houses our post office (which hopefully will never get a digital clock installed to keep with the times, as it were). The water tower was also mentioned, with it’s recent conversion into a restaurant after years of being an unused eyesore… and I’d have to agree that it would be the next best thing Lethbridge has to ‘Wow’ visitors to our city.

A couple of summers ago, a friend of ours came up from the States for a visit. He had heard so many great things about Canada that he had wanted to experience them for himself, but unfortunately the only Canucks he knew were my husband and I. I felt a little sorry for the guy since we don’t really live in what you would consider an exotic locale of Canada such as Vancouver or Toronto, but we took him in and gave him some good old Canadian hospitality anyway.

One of our first stops in town was to grab a bite to eat, so we stopped in for some wings and beer at Boston Pizza. A Yank having his first swing of Canadian beer is quite a delight when you see their eyes grow wide at the strength of some Rickard’s White. Then we went off to see the “sights”. Our next stop was to see the train bridge and the river bottom (naturally), followed by the university, city hall, a quick coffee break at Timmy’s so our friend could enjoy one of those famous Iced Caps he kept hearing about (“Not bad!”), then to the Japanese Gardens, and finally a stop at the water tower restaurant, Ric’s Grill, for supper.

Unless you go on a regular basis, dining at Ric’s Grill, even if just in the lounge, is quite the experience. Telling our American friend about the history of the restaurant and the fact that it indeed once was just a 300,000 gallon water tank impressed him as much as the view did. Luckily he visited during the month of August because we were seated beside one of the southwest-facing windows where he could see greenery and sunset, instead of brown gravel and industrial area (which is sometimes the unfortunate part of being seated on the northern part of the building). So with the scenery along with a good meal, it was a great way to end his trip to Lethbridge and he felt very welcome as an American citizen in our “overly polite” city. So it was highly recommended by our southern counterpart that a trip to Ric’s Grill is a must while in Lethbridge.

The City of Lethbridge website has it’s own picks for what Lethbridge has to offer for city landmarks (with the High Level Bridge and the water tower among their picks). Those can be found here.

What are your favourite city landmarks?

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Photo Friday (on a Wednesday): High Level Lights

Today’s entry was suppose to be a write up about Lethbridge being included in Google Maps’ Street View, but the Internet ate it (and I couldn’t blame it on the dog since we don’t own one). In it’s place I am posting a photo I was saving for this week’s “Photo Friday”. It was taken September 5, 2009 – the night of the In the Shadow of the Bridge festival to celebrate the High Level Bridge Centennial.
It was also the first night I learned how to properly take photos like this from one of the spectators on the coulee path we were on. Thanks to that stranger, you can actually see what the bridge looks like, not just a big blur in the dark.
Enjoy!