Words: Dave Swan
Mountain photos: Courtesy of SilverStar Mountain Resort
The expression “every cloud has a silver lining” is usually said as an encouragement to a person who is overcome by some difficulty or grief. Unable to see any positive way forward, it’s intended to motivate you to keep forging ahead because for every sad or unpleasant situation, something positive must come out of it. Back in January this year, Silver Star was our “silver lining”.
This saying “every cloud has a silver lining” I have at times questioned. In my lifetime, and through what I have experienced, I am not so sure it rings true. Does something bad always have to proceed something good? Why can’t there just be good times followed by more good times. I’ve experienced my fair share of trials and tribulations, and not always has something good come out of it, indeed, rarely has this occurred. Anyhow, all I knew, considering the year we had last year, with dad battling prostate cancer that eventually spread throughout his body getting the better of him at Christmas, was that my family and I were in need of something uplifting, some change of scenery. Well, there’s no polar opposite to January in Queensland than British Columbia in Canada to deliver such a “change of scenery”.
And so it was, rather than proceeding with the much-needed home renovations we had been saving up for quite some time, we instead used that money to go on a family holiday. With the kids all in their early twenties and late teens, we figured this could be one of our last holidays all together. Time spent together is far more valuable than material things. The destination we had our heart set on was Canada – the northern hemisphere Australia. The question that remained though was, where in particular should we go? My wife Katie and I had travelled through Canada in 1996, visiting Toronto, Quebec City, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and Whistler. Indeed, it was in Banff where Katie and I got engaged. Getting married the following year, it seemed surreal that 25 years on, we would return to the place where it all began. What better place to celebrate your Silver Wedding Anniversary than SilverStar?
You see Katie has never been one for fancy gifts or jewellery. What we do value however above all else is our family. We have all longed to go to Canada for some time now, the kids having never been and Katie and I not venturing back there since we got engaged.
I visited my good friend Craig Russell at Helloworld Kawana to see what magic he could swing this time, considering the miracle he conjured up for us last time back in 2019, before the world went crazy. He didn’t disappoint. Maybe there is a silver lining after every dark cloud after all. The time we got to spend as a family over in Canada will be forever etched in my memory and I know dad would have been so happy that something so joyous came out of the pain and suffering he endured. Family meant everything to him too. Dad would have sacrificed anything to see us happy, healthy and well.
LAY OF THE LAND
Simply put, the mountain is vast and the village is small. If you lose your friends or family on the mountain, you are bound to catch up with them in the village.
SilverStar just has this incredible charm about it. The colourful buildings with their sparkling fairy lights make it appear like a mini-Disneyland in the snow. This appeal combined with lots of child friendly amenities and activities, leaves you with no doubt as to why it is so popular with families.
It is unassuming and casual. There are little show ponies to speak of and no tearaways screaming and yahooing at the top of their voices. I must say, this is what we loved about the place.
That and the fact that it is ski-in and ski-out from virtually everywhere in the village, which is what appealed most of all.
It is quaint and compact. The village is centrally located (and completely car free). There’s a convenience store (stocking some incredible Canadian craft beer I might add), a few bars, restaurants and shops, just enough to give you a variety of options for a week or two’s stay. The nightlife is perhaps a little sedate but again, that is what we wanted. We wanted to have some quality time with the family and not be visiting party central. The reality of the matter is you’re there to snowboard and to be up early and hitting the slopes, not nursing a hangover.
Apart from snowboarding and skiing, there’s ice-skating, tubing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, fat biking and snowmobile tours.
If I were to give SilverStar a rating out of 10 it would be a 10. The whole family loved it and we have most certainly promised to return. I just hope the kids are shouting next time.
WHERE IS IT EXACTLY?
SilverStar ski resort is located in the Okanagan Valley, 22 km northeast of Vernon in British Columbia, Canada. The resort is basically smack bang between Vancouver and Calgary, being 464km northwest of Vancouver and 574km west of Calgary.
The best way to get there, particularly in the winter months, is by plane from Vancouver flying into Kelowna International Airport. From there it is about an hour’s shuttle bus trip northeast to SilverStar Resort, which is 75km away.
Other renown ski resorts are also nearby if you’re considering mixing up your snow terrain over a couple of weeks. Big White ski resort is 56 km southeast of Kelowna (less than an hour). Sun Peaks ski resort is just under 3 hours northwest and Revelstoke 2 ½ hours northeast. Basically, you have four renown ski resorts all within a couple of hours of one another. A few more hours down the road and you have more resorts again on offer such as Apex Mountain Resort in the southwest and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in the northeast.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Around 1921, Bert Thorburn and Tini Ryan road their bicycles up Silver Star Road with skis strapped to the frames of their bike. They continued to trek by foot and by ski for a further 17 kilometres. After many hours, they reached the open slopes and became the first to ski the slope.
During the warmer months, the Syilx People of the Okanagan Nation frequented the area for the mountain’s rich hunting and foraging grounds. When white settlers arrived in the region, the peak became known as Aberdeen Mountain after Lord Aberdeen, Canada’s Governor-General from 1893 to 1898.
In the late 1800s the mountain became the site of a promising but ultimately unsuccessful mining operation with the earliest claim staked in 1896 by the Silver Star Mining Company. Trace amounts of metal such as silver, lead, zinc and copper were found in the ore leading miners to believe they had found a treasure mine. Unfortunately for these prospectors however, they soon realised that the ores were too low grade to be worked at a profit. The mountain’s mining era ended in disappointment around 1926.
Around this time, 1921 in fact, two gentlemen by the names of Bert Thorburn and Tini Ryan road their bicycles up Silver Star Road with skis strapped to the frames of their bike. Ditching their bikes they then continued to trek by foot and by ski for a further 17 kms up to the mountain’s summit. After many hours, they reached the open slopes and became the first to ski the slope. Indeed, Bert was credited with being the first.
In December of 1938, the hill’s first downhill race was held, with competitors coming from the nearby towns of Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and Summerland. In the ensuing 20 years, SilverStar gained a reputation as a skiing mecca across the Okanagan Valley.
Although SilverStar was originally part of a Class A provincial park with no development allowed, Silver Star Sports gained approval from the Province to build a ski hill in the Class A park in the summer of 1957. In 1958 the final three kilometres of the Silver Star Road was pushed through to the current day village area.
Construction of two rope-tow lifts and an A-frame day lodge were built in 1958. Fast forward to 1984 and between that year and 1990 many new hotels and amenities were built on the mountain. Desmond Schumann, an Australian, who earlier had bought Big White Ski Resort in 1995, then reached an agreement with Judd Buchanan, the majority shareholder of SilverStar Mountain Resort, to purchase the majority of SilverStar Mountain Resort assets in 2001.
The two resorts remained a joint venture, but then in 2012 Desmond died at the age of 94, leaving his son Peter Schumann with Big White and his daughter Jane Cann with SilverStar. The two resorts soon became separate entities.
In December 2019 it was announced SilverStar had been sold to the Powdr Corporation, a Utah-based owner of 10 other ski resorts in Colorado, Utah, Vermont, California, Oregon and Nevada.
Reportedly POWDR tends not to invest in residential real estate and hotels at ski resorts, and this saw Jane Cann retain Schumann Resorts Ltd., which holds 12 hectares of SilverStar real estate development land.
POWDR is said to embrace SilverStar’s master development agreement, which includes the development of more ski terrain and restaurants.
As to the famed 19th century saloon-style architecture of the town which resembles an old British Columbian mining town with its pillbox red, sunflower yellow and royal blue colour scheme, you now know it’s a nod to its history.
As I previously mentioned, the resort is compact, but don’t let that mislead you as to the variety and amount of terrain. There is 3,282 acres of skiable terrain and 132 marked runs. The amount of skiable terrain is enormous in comparison to so many other resorts, and yet it still appears so compact thanks to the way it has been set out.
The trail statistics are 15% beginner, 40% intermediate, 35% advanced and 10% expert, which aptly describes the spread of terrain. Strong intermediate riders will love SilverStar Mountain Resort for the many blue runs as well as some of the black runs, and the resort also caters very well to beginners, which is what appealed to us so much. We enjoy pushing ourselves but not to death-defying levels. Katie and Mikaela are on skis and are firmly in the green run (beginner) and occasional blue run (intermediate) camp. Phoebe, Sam and I snowboard and are comfortable in the blue (intermediate) to black (advanced) range. Sam, who clearly has no fear, is pushing more towards the double black diamond terrain and I, in my growing years, am coming back from those kinds of slopes to more cruisy runs. As Sam kept reminding me, “Dad, you’re getting soft. You’re not pushing as hard as you used to.” In my defence, I reminded him I had just broken six ribs, near lopped of my ear and split my head open only six weeks prior to our trip thanks to a three-metre fall from a ladder onto a frameless glass pool fence. Yes, 2022 was quite the year!
The mountain has 7 lifts, which includes 2 high speed quad chair lifts and a gondola. Vance Creek on the front side of the mountain was definitely our favourite: a good cross section of beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain with plenty of treed runs. Plus, there was the added bonus of some night time skiing to add to the experience.
Putnam Creek on the backside of the mountain has lots of terrain for advanced riders, although when we were there, it was a little icey, which, as everyone kept telling us, was very unusal. The area has numerous black diamond runs but quite a few cat tracks too, which if you are not aware, are the bane of all snowboarders.
For mine it was all the treed runs. On The Front Side it was Peanut Trail, Spruce Meadows, Deer Park, Silver Meadows and Trinity Trees. On The Back Side it was Canntastic, Russty Whistle and the various runs either side.
There is something so special about carving through deep snow amidst the trees. It is taxing on the legs but so forgiving and a totally different sensation to groomed runs. It is also has the added bonus that if you stack, it is like falling into a pile of pillows, which did give me some comfort knowing I was still nursing some broken ribs.
Speaking to a many locals, they said they keep coming back to SilverStar because of the ski conditions – not too cold, a good powdery base and lots of blue sky days.
SNOW & WEATHER
On average the ski resort receives 7 metres of snowfall, which is 100% all-natural. This is less than their west coast counterparts such as Whistler Blackcomb that gets on average 11-12 metres of snow per year, but the cooler temperatures inland mean the snow is drier and the snow quality can be maintained thanks to the colder temperatures.
Speaking of temperatures, SilverStar for mine is ideal – not too cold so you’re absolutely freezing your ass off and not too hot that you have to strip off layers when exerting yourself. When we were there the temperature generally hovered between -5 degrees and -15 degrees. On average the Winter temps are -4 degrees to -11 degrees. Whistler is usually a few degrees warmer and somewhere further inland like Banff is usually a few degrees or more colder.
I generally find it quite comfortable up to about -20 degrees, from there it starts getting a little chilly on the lifts when you’re not moving or when there is no sun about. Visibility on the slopes is also generally quite good. Speaking to a many locals who have been visiting the mountain for 30 to 40 years or so, they said they keep coming back to SilverStar because of the ski conditions – not too cold, a good powdery base and lots of blue sky days as opposed to perhaps nearby Big White ski resort which has earnt the unfortunate nickname of Big White Out due to the reported number of days with low visibility. For those unaware, a whiteout typically occurs when there is a dense, even layer of cloud over a snow field. The sun light is diffused through the cloud, and then further scattered while reflecting between the snow surface and the cloud layer.
The lack of a single light source results in a lack of definition thus affecting one’s ability to judge depth, distance and space. It is hard to determine where the horizon is let alone an undulating landscape. Everything blends together and can’t be defined unless it is really dark like a tree, which are always good to avoid.
During our week and a bit in SilverStar we experienced the perfect weather combo: a few blue-sky days, a few days with it snowing heavily (my most favoured condition), a few overcast chilly days and a couple of warmer ones.
To gain some perspective on various snow destinations, I have always found it fascinating to view comparative statistics measuring things like the average season snowfall, elevation and skiable terrain. The following table compares a few of the various destinations from around the world, some of which I have been fortunate enough to have visited and some yet to be explored.
It is interesting when you are on deadline with a magazine. When you can ill afford the time to go down these rabbitholes but can’t help yourself because it is just so intriguing. I thought it was just me but then all the team got in on the conversation so we decided to include my litlle ready reckoner. It may not be entirely 100% accurate but serves as a guide and was compiled thanks to various snow websites like snowstash.com and powderhounds. com.au, which is an absolute cracker.
Please note, as I have been told many times before, it is not just the amount of snow, but the quality of the snow. Dry and powdery is generally considered to be best. The closer you move to the ocean, the wetter the snow.
WHERE TO STAY
I mentioned earlier how my mate Craig Russell at Helloworld Kawana has worked his magic for us in the past. Well, this time around he absolutely excelled himself.
With the resort near fully booked for the tail end of January (by the time I came around to making our decision to take a break) we could not secure accommodation for the full 8 days we intended to be there. The decision was made to try two alternate accommodation offerings for 4 days a piece with our luggage conveniently taken across from one to the other while we were on the slopes. Even though each property was at either end of the resort, given the village is quite small, there was less than a 5-minute walk between the two.
The first property we stayed at was the Firelight Lodge, one of SilverStar Mountain’s newest properties located right by the skating pond and Tube Town. It was so modern, spacious and beautifully furnished. I could quite honesty easily live there with our family of 5. It was incredible. You could snowboard virtually to your door (well maybe 40-50 metres from your door). It had a beautiful big fireplace and private outdoor spa bath. It was the absolute lap of luxury by our standards and truly magnificent and massive. All the facilities you would want were there including a drying room for your gear downstairs. Shops, restaurants, bars and the convenience store was a leisurely 3-minute stroll away.
The second property we stayed at was Snowbird Lodge right in the heart of the village. Our room was literally 20 metres from the main street/village square/rectangle. But don’t worry, because there is no late-night yahooing, there is no noise to speak of. The main Comet Express gondola was the same distance away – 30 seconds on a snowboard. You could snowboard right to our private jacuzzi and night skiing was directly in front.
You get it by now, the proximity to everything was incredible. The apartment itself was older than Firelight Lodge and 2/3 the size but it was comfortable nonetheless and way fancier than any place we usually stay. Again, it had its own fireplace and private hot tub too with the added bonus that when you soaked in it, whilst enjoying a beer of course, you could watch the snow fall on the main run, getting you psyched for the next day’s play.
Which one was better? That is an incredibly tough call. I sincerely loved both, and both had their own advantages (there were no disadvantages, we were in SilverStar for goodness sake). What I will say is that given they were fully equipped apartments, we could wash and dry our own clothes and cook our own meals when we felt like it and that for mine was better than staying at a hotel and far gentler on the wallet.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
At the end of each day, we still managed to have enough energy to get in a raft of other activities like ice skating.
Well, you can’t snowboard all the time. Believe me, I tried. I pushed myself from start to finish for 3 days straight but eventually had to have a half day on the 4th just to give my 52-year-old body a break. At the end of each day, we still managed to have enough energy to get in a raft of other activities like ice skating. The setting at SilverStar is just so beautiful. Give me a natural, outdoor skating pond any day over an ice-skating rink.
Right beside the pond was Tube Town where we went tubing more than a couple of times. It is so much fun with the family and even after a tiring day on the slopes is well worth it because it is not taxing on the body and just so serene looking out over the landscape as you spin down the big dipper-esque slope.
There’s also snowshoeing in town, with the trails equally incredible, as well as cross country skiing and fat biking. We had no more energy left for the last two – possibly next time we visit I hope.
Other than that, the Lord Aberdeen Convenience store is a ripper and has all you need at reasonable prices with a cracking selection of Canadian craft beers, as I earlier mentioned. Trash Can Panda by Parallel 49 Brewing Company (such a great name) was for mine the best, but there we so many good brews to choose from. Believe me, I tried a different 4-pack every second day or so.
For a breakfast/brunch coffee and snack Bugaboos Bakery Cafe was incredible. Great little pastries, coffee and hot chocolate.
Our lunch ritual was the Red Antler. Great ‘pub grub’, pardon the pun, friendly service and a superb spot to down a few nice IPAs to dull the muscle aches before hitting the slopes again.
For dinner the winner was The Bulldog. At first I couldn’t believe how this place in this tiny little village of SilverStar had ripped off one of the most iconic coffee shops in Amsterdam which I visited in my youth. I was later to find out the owner was one and the same. He loved coming to SilverStar so much he opened his own bar/restaurant/accommodation there. The décor is very appealing – all rustic, wood and stone with my new favourite sport of ice hockey playing on the big screen.
Other things to do in SilverStar, if that wasn’t enough, is relax and unwind. You’re on holiday. Jokes aside, that was possibly one of the most appealing aspects about the resort – it is not too full on. Simply read a book in front of the fireplace, watch a movie, occasionally pinch yourself to make sure you’re really there or share a laugh and a chat with your family in the hot tub as they tell you how you’re not as good as you once were. Speaking of which, my theme song for the trip written by American country music star Toby Keith was, “I ain’t as good as I once was.” Sums me up perfectly nowadays and I am 100% fine with that estimation.
WHERE TO VISIT ON THE WAY
time we ventured to Canada, Katie and I didn’t leave enough time to explore Vancouver. It is something we always regretted and hoped to rectify one day. We weren’t going to make the same mistake this time around and allowed 4 days to explore this most stunning city, which was the perfect amount of time in our opinion. On our “must see and do list”, in no particular order, were: Granville Island, Gastown, Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, an ice hockey game and a number of Vancouver’s galleries given our eldest, Mikaela, is obsessed with art and music – Phoebe and Sam are less culturally enamoured shall we say.
Definitely don’t walk it, the park is huge. To put it is context, at 1001 acres it is 1/5 larger than New York’s Central Park. We started walking it and promptly grabbed some bikes, which is the ideal way to explore this urban forest.
Located in the north-western half of Vancouver’s Downtown Peninsula, Stanley Park is surrounded by the waters of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. The land was originally used by Indigenous peoples for thousands of years before British Columbia was colonised by the British (of course) during the 1858 Fraser Canyon Gold Rush. Much of the park today remains as densely forested as it was in the late 1800s with about a half million trees. Some of these trees stand as tall as 76 metres and are hundreds of years old.
The historic lighthouse on Brockton Point marks the park’s easternmost point. It is here where the park’s famed totem poles stand. Reportedly first introduced in the 1920’s, the Vancouver Parks Board started buying them thinking that they would eventually build a replica First Nations village in Stanley Park.
Some of the original totem poles are said to have been carved as early as the 1880s. They were originally located at Lumbermens’ Arch and at Prospect Point. In 1962, they were moved to Brockton Point where they now reside. By the mid-1980s, many of the totem poles in Stanley Park were damaged and rotting and consequently many were moved into museums with replicas carved.
The Totem was the British Columbia Indians’ coat of arms and are unique to the northwest coast and lower Alaska. They were carved from western red cedar with each carving telling a story of a mythical event. Each carving on each pole has a meaning: the eagle represents the kingdom of the air, the whale the lordship of the sea, the wolf, the genius of the land and the frog being the transitional link between land and sea.
Anyhow, Stanley Park presents a good opportunity for some exercise to get the jet lag out of your system after a long flight and some great vistas and photo opportunities of the city surrounds.
The last time we visited Canada we didn’t catch an ice hockey game. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again. We saw a game between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers.
Let me say, even tickets right up in the rafters (where we sat) will set you back a couple of hundred bucks each (yep). But, you don’t travel half way around the world to miss a spectacle like this. Even though there wasn’t a biff, it was electric. The speed, the skill, the toughness, the show – it even had Mikaela who isn’t generally a sports fan wanting to see another game. So we caught another local fixture while in SilverStar between the Vernon Vipers and Penticton Vees, which was equally as engaging – smaller stadium, closer to the action. My only challenge now is how to watch games back home.
Yes, we loved absolutely everything about Vancouver, but this was just the cherry on top.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
The bridge is undeniably impressive suspended some 70 metres above the rapids below, but the gardens are equally impressive resembling a set out of Lord of the Rings. I went there interested to see if it was worth all the hype and left absolutely gobsmacked at how awe-inspiring it was. It truly was magical and well worth the visit.
When you cross the bridge it certainly does sway, not just a little, but a lot, and the more people who walk on it at the one time, the more it sways. Looking over the edge does give you a kick of adrenaline, even more when someone walks hurriedly past. Little kids understandably freak out when crossing. It is 100% safe but not for the fainthearted.
We knew we were heading to the snow, but it couldn’t come soon enough and considering Grouse Mountain was just up the road from the Capilano Suspension Bridge, we thought we might as well check it out. As we only had a few hours we decided to hire some snowshoes and absolutely loved it. Yes, we loved absolutely everything about Vancouver, but this was just the cherry on top. If we ever had an extended stay in Vancouver in the future we might book a couple of days skiing here. The slopes looked like fun and there is even night skiing.
While the remainder of the family went shopping, Mikaela and I took in some culture visiting the likes of the Vancouver Art Gallery and Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery but by far our favourite was indigenous artist Bill Reid’s art gallery. An acclaimed master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, writer, broadcaster, mentor and community activist, Bill Reid was born in Victoria, British Columbia, to a Haida mother (an indigenous group who have traditionally occupied an archipelago just off the coast of British Columbia) and an American father with Scottish German roots. The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art was created in 2008 to honour his legacy and celebrate the diverse indigenous cultures of the Northwest Coast.
Gastown is the original settlement that became the core of the city of Vancouver. Its name funnily enough originates from a publican. As legend has it, “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a Yorkshire seaman, steamboat captain and bartender arrived in 1867 to open the area’s first saloon. He was famous for talking a lot (“or gassing”) and so his saloon soon became known as Gassy’s town. The name evolved into Gastown and the area is now regarded as Vancouver’s first neighbourhood.
Gastown quickly became a general centre of trade and commerce thanks to it being the site of the seaport and the Hastings Mill sawmill. In the 60’s however, the area was earmarked to be demolished to make way for a major freeway into the city’s downtown. Citizens became concerned with preserving Gastown’s distinctive and historic architecture. A campaign led by local businesspeople and property owners thankfully put an end to its destruction and Gastown lived on.
Today Gastown is a mix of hip contemporary fashion and interior furnishing boutiques, restaurants, brewpubs, bars, internet businesses and professional offices, along with art galleries, music and art studios, film and acting schools. Its heritage listed buildings and cobblestone streets add to its eclectic appeal.
It’s most famous, though nowhere near its oldest landmark is the steam-powered clock on the corner of Cambie and Water Street. It was built in 1977 to cover a steam grate, part of Vancouver’s distributed steamheating system. It was a way to harness the steam and to prevent street people from sleeping on the spot in cold weather. Apparently the original design was faulty though and it had to be powered by electricity after a breakdown. The steam mechanism was then completely restored with the financial support of local businesses (as it had become a major tourist attraction) and is now promoted as a heritage feature although it is of modern invention.
Gastown also happens to be home to many microbreweries and watering holes specialising in local craft beers. You can perhaps see where my interest lay with regards to checking out this area. Three establishments you must visit are Steamworks Brewing Co, The Lamplighter Public House and Six Acres.
Granville Island is a small cultural, dining and retail precinct located across False Creek from Downtown Vancouver under the southern end of the Granville Street Bridge.
The peninsula was originally a sandbar that was used by the Musqueam Indian Band and the Squamish people as a fishing area. Interestingly, the city of Vancouver back then was called Granville until it was renamed in 1886, but the former name was kept and given to Granville Street and the rickety wooden Granville Street bridge that spanned the small inlet known as False Creek.
This sandbar would eventually become Granville Island following a reclamation project in 1915 to create a 14-hectare industrial area. It was originally called Industrial Island, but Granville Island, named after the bridge that ran directly overhead, was the name that stuck. In the 1970’s, Granville Island began a transformation from an industrial precinct to now one of the most popular public spaces in Vancouver.
Today it is home to more than 50 independent food purveyors and contributes to the island’s appeal as a renowned culinary destination. It’s here where customers can purchase the freshest of fresh produce, meat, fish, seafood, cheeses and other products, many of which are locally sourced.
The area has also become Vancouver’s premier artistic and cultural hub and is home to numerous performing arts theatres, artisanal jewellers, art galleries and designers, further adding to the island’s charm.
A visit to Granville Island is not complete without dropping by Canada’s first microbrewery, the famed Granville Island Brewing.
I was only given a set amount of time to sample their wares by the family, but I was determined to make my way through all eight available varieties (no tasting paddles here thank you). I only managed four in my allotted time slot, but it was fun all the same. With another item on my Vancouver visitation bucket list ticked, I happily sauntered out of there with a belly full of beer and in search of a BeaverTail (a Canadian delicacy made up of fried dough pastry with helpings of maple syrup in case you were wondering).