Magellan animates our travel adventures

From Aurora Borealis to Zigzag Roads

We jubilados never settle for capturing our travel with one camera when six are in the suitcase


Click anywhere on the Postcard to play movie

Last week we shared our joyful experience of getting monkeys on camera at Bosque del Cabo.

But “Nature’s wardrobe/holds a fair supply of costumes” and today we’re featuring colour and love. Swirls of brilliant avian plumage, the vermilion, royal blue, daffodil yellow and dazzling white of a pair of scarlet macaws who spent the afternoon loving each other on the beach. While we watched, for almost three hours. “Nowhere else in the world can these birds be seen in such numbers as on the Osa,” our guide Ben reminded us. “There are two nests in dead trees right at the beach’s edge, and the birds are always around and very active.” No wonder people become birders!

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Like clockwork, about an hour before sunrise at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge, before the kitchen staff put out coffee, we were startled awake by loud, whooping calls, a guttural sound between a bark and a roar. This is no rooster crow. Our jungle alarm clock came from a troop of mantled howler monkeys—the loudest animals on land in the world—their calls can be heard five kilometres away.

But it was the gymnastics, intelligence and natural spectacle of the black-handed spider monkeys in Magellan’s video above that truly captivated us.

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Batsú Postcard

If you’d told us that one of the happiest experiences of our lives would be photographing hummingbirds over the course of two afternoons, for a total of almost six hours, “Really?” we would have questioned.

How did it happen?

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Eaton's 1948 Xmas Catalogue

What are some of your fondest memories of being a child at Christmas?

For me, Christmas started with the arrival of Eaton’s Mail Order Christmas Book. What a delight and dilemma to crawl through the catalogue, narrowing my choice to just one or two treasures. And then getting to share that choice with Santa—in person!

I don’t remember my first Christmas but I’ve been told it was not a white one. Dad was a fireman with the CNR and on a run that was delayed by snow. Knowing he’d be back late Christmas Eve, Dad bought a tree in Wainwright and put it in the coal tender. Neither shaking nor spraying that tree with water would get the soot out. But I’m sure I loved it anyway.

In pre-school years I wanted presents like a toy hammer and a saw (dad and all my six uncles were skilled carpenters), a train set with a transformer to emulate my Dad, who was now an engineer, tinker toys and a MECCANO Set. Mrs. Claus snuck in a pair of pyjamas (to be opened Christmas Eve, rather than the present that looked suspiciously like a hockey stick.) When I was five, Mrs. Claus upped her game to get me a navy wool blazer and pants that looked spectacular in pictures but were very itchy.

After moving from Biggar to Saskatoon, I spent more time in the sports section of the catalogue. I yearned for shin pads to replace the magazines bound to my legs with sealer rings,  I lusted for a Red Wings jersey and I wasn’t thrilled with the leather helmet Santa thought would protect my glasses’ frames that kept getting broken.

What might have caught mom’s eye in the catalogue?

Mom would have wanted to look swishy at the New Year’s Eve party so she might have circled “A” on the page below as a hint to dad. “DREAM of a dress…perky self ties at back….Crisp Rayon Crystalette with gold-colour splashed print.” Would mom have wanted Grey (shown) or Deep Teal Blue? $10.98.

I remember family holidays in the summer, stopping on a side street in Wenatchee so mom could get into her girdle before some “big city” shopping. Spice thinks “E” might have been what mom would order for herself. “NUBACK  CORSET…firm boning and sliding back panel for comfort and support. Order 2 sizes less than waist to allow for lacing. $4.95.”

What does every woman often get her man for Christmas? A sweater. “E” looks like something mom would choose for dad, but $7.95 would have been a lot of money in 1948.

On Christmas morning,  Mom was even more excited than me. She paced the hallway, knowing exactly where to step on the one board that squeaked. If flushing the toilet wouldn’t wake those sleepy kids, why not flush it two or three times more? Our lights were always the first ones on in the neighbourhood.

Christmas was different then. Kids received just one or two presents each and rarely gave gifts to their parents unless they were homemade. That being said, every year from the time I was eight years old until last Christmas I bought my mom a spatula for her Christmas stocking.

After breakfast, the whole family went skating on the forty-by forty foot rink that Dad built in the backyard every year, along with a six-foot-high toboggan hill. In the afternoon, even if it was forty below (same in both Fahrenheit and Celsius), he lit the Weber bbq to roast the turkey. What a challenge it was to keep the charcoal fired and try to coordinate the turkey’s timing with the vegetable dishes. After dinner I curled up with a new book or magazine, wearing my new jersey while dreaming of my best move around Red Kelly of the Toronto Maple Leafs to score the winning goal in the Stanley Cup Final. Having been up since 4 am, it was time to crawl into bed, happy.

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Timothy Eaton’s first catalogue, published in 1884, was a 32-page booklet distributed to out-of-town visitors at the exhibition in Toronto. Eaton expressed his vision for the catalogue in 1887: “This catalogue is destined to go wherever the maple leaf grows, throughout the vast Dominion. We have the facilities for filling mail orders satisfactorily, no matter how far the letter has to come and the goods have to go.” It became the first nationally distributed catalogue in Canada, and by 1894, Eaton’s was filling more than 200,000 orders per year. Colour was added in 1915, and photographs were added in 1919. The most anticipated catalogue of the year was Eaton’s Christmas catalogue, which, by the 1950s, grew to be a hefty wish book, slick and glossy with more than 200 pages and a kaleidoscope of colours.

Pictures Source Library and Archives Canada

Catalogue Pictures Copyright:

  • Eaton’s Fall and Winter 1948-49 Source: T. Eaton Co. Catalogue [English edition]Fall & Winter — Toronto : T. Eaton Co., [188–197-] — v. — P. 1-574© Sears Canada Inc. Reproduced with the permission of Sears Canada Inc. 029006-nlc003958

  • Eaton’s Christmas Book 1956 Source: T. Eaton Co. Catalogue [English edition] Eaton’s Mail Order Christmas Book — Toronto : T. Eaton Co., [188–197-] — v. — P. 1-187 © Sears Canada Inc. Reproduced with the permission of Sears Canada Inc. 029006-nlc003955

Once upon a time at the edge of a forest beside a river there was a magical place, Glenora, a golden valley in the northern wilds of British Columbia. Even its name had the lilt of birdsong, Glenora: glenn, the Gaelic word for valley; and ora, Spanish for gold.

One Sunday in the summer warmth of June, a man called Magellan and his wife Spice decided they wanted to camp at Glenora after hearing about its charms earlier that afternoon.

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Aurora Borealis Around the Moon

Only once have I seen the Aurora Borealis—nature’s fireworks. I remember it vividly: a wave of green ribboning the sky, a tinge of magenta on its tail, the distant crackling of electricity audible above the prairie wind. It was piercing cold that Saskatchewan night, January 25, 1992, after my grandparents’ 65th anniversary dinner. Ever since, I’ve longed for a repeat performance. Read more