Archive for the ‘Canada Beijing Travel’ Category

Rideau Canal in Ottawa and the Grand Canal in Beijing

Monday, September 2nd, 2013
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Walking on the pathways of Colonel By Drive along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada,I’m really amazed by the peaceful and harmonious scene between man and nature: with clear water, Rideau Canal is sided by the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways and green belts, which is enlivened by people jogging, biking, skating, canoeing, rowing,  sightseeing cruise and fishing. In winter, Rideau Canal will be turned into a skateway, the longest skate rink in the world.

The skateway and the network of the recreational pathways of Rideau Canal traverse the capital city of Canada roughly from north to south uniquely linking the green spaces, the urban core, which was created thanks to the vision of Douglas H.Fullerton (Chairman at National Capital Commission 1969-1973).

The initial purpose of the Rideau Canal was totally military, aimed at providing a secure supply and communications route between Montreal and the British naval base in Kingston to deter any American invasions of Canadian territory during the War of 1812, a 32-month military conflict between the United States and Great Britain. Later the canal once also served a commercial purpose. The Rideau Canal was easier to navigate than the St. Lawrence River because of the series of rapids between Montreal and Kingston before the construction of a system of locks on Saint Lawrence Seaway. As a result, the Rideau Canal became a busy commercial artery from Montreal to the Great Lakes. Now Rideau Canal has long been lost its transportation function, perfectly switched to the recreational purpose.

The original construction of Rideau Canal was mainly supervised by Lieutenant-Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers. Much of the construction work was done by thousands of Irish and French-Canadian labourers. The building of canal started in 1826, and it took a total of 6 years to complete by 1832. The 202 kilometres of the Rideau Canal incorporate sections of the Rideau and Cataraqui rivers, as well as several lakes, including the Lower, Upper and Big Rideau lakes.It is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America, and it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

Rideau Canal alway reminds me of the Grand Canal (also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal), starting from Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province in the Yangtze Delta area of China and ends in Beijing, the capital city of China. The Grand Canal is regarded as one of the two greatest projects in ancient China and the other being the Great Wall of China. It is the longest and oldest canal in the world with a total length of 1794km, 1442k,still navigable and 877km navigable all year round.

Like Rideau Canal, the initial construction of the Grand Canal was also for the military purpose. It dates back to the the 5th century BC when King Fuchai of Wu, ruler of the State of Wu (today’s Suzhou), wanted to conquer the neighboring State of Qi in the north. He ordered a canal be built for shipping ample supplies north. The construction started in 486 BC and completed in three years.

The Grand Canal was completed in Sui Dynasty (581 – 618); prospered in Tang Dynasty (618–906) and Song Dynasty (960–1279); the actual straight canal from Hangzhou to Beijing was completed in Yuan Dynasdty (1206–1368), different from the canal in Sui Dynasty which had linked Luoyang (Capital of Sui Dynasty) to Beijing and Hangzhou in a triangle; cleared and reconstructed in Ming and Qing dynasties ( 1368-1911). The Grand Canal’s construction started in 486 BC and navigated from Hangzhou to Beijing in the year 1293.

The present day’s Grand Canal traverses 4 provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong and Hebei as well as two municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin. The Grand Canal links 5 great water systems of Qiantang River, Yangtze River, Hui River, Yellow River and Hai River. It is the longest and oldest canal in the world with a total length of 1794km, 1442k,still navigable and 877km navigable all year round.

The purposes for the construction of the Grand Canal is multifold. 1.Strengthing the central control over the whole country by enhancing the north and south transportation and communications. 2. Further developing the economy in Yangtze Delt Area ( Jiangnan) 3. Culture cultural immersion between the central China and Jiangnan Area. 4. Convenience for carrying the grain from the south to the north.

The Grand Canal is now generally composed of 7 sections including 1) Tonghui Canal 2) North Canal 3) South Canal 4) Lu Canal 5) Mid-Canal 6) Inner Canal and 7) Jiangnan Canal. Except for the north two sections of Tonghui and North canals, all the other 5 sections still play an important role in waterway transportation and culture exchange.

Unfortunately, most part of the Grand Canal in Beijing, or popularly known as Tonghui River ( Tonghui Canal) is not navigable, only serving as sewage works. The recreational network of Rideau Canal sets us a perfect example of how to transfer a “dying canal” into a live and clean waterway to enliven and upgrade the urban life in Beijing.

Today we are happy to see people are getting more aware of the environment protection, pushing Beijing local governments to use all kinds of resources to clear and renovate the waterways from the city center – Shichahai area, the northern tip of the ancient Grand Canal to the Canal in Tongzhou District. The Grand Canal in Tongzhou has been opened to sightseeing boating and the Shichahai ( Back Lake) has become a mecca and night hangout in the heart of Beijing. But more efforts should be made to transfer the Beijing Grand Canal into a human-nature harmonious waterway, providing the urban residents with spaces for walking, cycling, rowing, cruising.

In addition, it is encouraging to learn that experts and enthusiasts along the Grand Canal have been prepared and done great deal to apply the Grand Canal for both World Culture Heritage and World Natural Heritage.

Rideau Canal got the World Cultural Heritage in 2007. Will is the Grand Canal far from it?

Sightseeing cruise on Rideau Canal

Sightseeing Cruise on Rideau Canal

Sightseeing Cruise on Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal at Sunset

Rideau Canal at Sunset

Rideau Canal at Sunset

Love padlocks on the bridge over Rideau Canal

Love padlocks on the bridge over Rideau Canal

Love padlocks on the bridge over Rideau Canal

The heritage bridge was built in 1882

The heritage bridge was built in 1882

The heritage bridge was built in 1882

Jogging along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Jogging along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Jogging along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Cycling along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Cycling along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Cycling along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Skating with her dog along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Skating with her dog along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Skating with her dog along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Sunrise over Houhai Lake, one of the three lakes in Shichahai, the northen tip water system of the Grand Canal

Sunrise over Houhai Lake, one of the three lakes in Shichahai

Sunrise over Houhai Lake, one of the three lakes in Shichahai

Qianhai Lake, one of the three lakes in Shichahai, the northen tip water system of the Grand Canal

Qianhai Lake, Sunrise over Houhai Lake, one of the three lakes in Shichahai

Qianhai Lake, Sunrise over Houhai Lake, one of the three lakes in Shichahai

Fishing at Qianhai Lake

Fishing at Qianhai Lake

Fishing at Qianhai Lake

Boating on Tongzhi Grand Canal

Boating on Tongzhou Grand Canal in Beijing

Boating on Tongzhou Grand Canal in Beijing

The Grand Canal ends at Gongchen Bridge over the Grand Canal in Hangzhou

Gongchen Bridge over the Grand Canal in Hangzhou

Gongchen Bridge over the Grand Canal in Hangzhou

 

Any questions, just drop a line.

St.Lawrence River and Yangtze River

Monday, August 26th, 2013
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Yangtze River is to China is as St. Lawrence River is to Canada in terms of history, economy, geography, transportation, sightseeing and river cruising.

Saint Lawrence River river runs through Quebec and Ontario, the two provinces in Canada, linking the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It also forms part of the international boundary between Ontario in Canada and New York in the United States.

St. Lawrence River is one of the largest estuaries in the world with a total length of 3,058 kilometres from the farthest headwater to the mouth and 1,197 km from the outflow of Lake Ontario, which is often regarded as St.Lawrence River itself.

Named after St.Lawrence River, Saint Lawrence Seaway is a system of locks, canals and channels that allows ocean-going ships to traverse from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, as far inland as the western end of Lake Superior. The Seaway extends from Montreal, Quebec, to Lake Erie, and includes the Welland Canal. The seaway was opened in 1959 and it costed C$470 million, $336.2 million of which was paid by the Canadian government and rest by the American government. St. Lawrence Seaway is a great human project. The seaway works started in 1854 and completed in 1959 with a construction span of 5 years involving 22,0000 construction workers. The 6,5000 local residents living along the St.Lawrence River were relocated to make way fort the building of the cement roads, tunnels and bridges. Now Saint Lawrence Seaway is the largest water passage with a lock system.

St. Lawrence River is one of the most important destination for river cruising in the world.  Cruise the Saint Lawrence offers a unique, unforgettable Saint Lawrence cruising experience. Cruise the Saint Lawrence operate the 9 ports of call on the Saint Lawrence.
St. Lawrence Cruise Lines’ Canadian Empress offers warm-weather cruises along the St. Lawrence Seaway, which skirts the borders between New England and Canada.

Yangtze River in China is the longest river in Asia and the third-longest in the world. It traverses for 6,418 kilometers from its headwater glaciers on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in Qinghai eastward running southwest, central and eastern China before entering the East China Sea at Shanghai.  The Yangtze drainage takes one-fifth of the land area in China (PRC) and its river basin is home to one-third of the China’s population.

The Yangtze river is normally divided into three parts. The first part is the upstream area from the origin to Yichang, Hubei province; the second part is the midstream area from Yichang to Jiujiang, Jiangxi province; the third part is the downstream area from Jiujiang to the East China Sea. Yangtze River cruise usually refers to the cruise through the Three Gorges that are located between Chongqing and Yichang in the upstream area. The Three Gorges are Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge, which are the most beautiful part of the Yangtze River.

The Yangtze drainage takes one-fifth of the land area in China (PRC) and its river basin is home to one-third of the China’s population. The Three Gorges Dam project has been Chinas greatest project since the construction of the Great Wall and the Grand Canal. The Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydropower station and dam in the world. The Construction started in 1994 and was finished im 2009.

Three Gorges & Dam Cruise is the highlight of the lifetime Yangtze River Cruise. Chongqing to Yichang route is by far the most travelled section of the Yangtze, winding through the Three Gorges and passing the namesake Dam. Typical Yangtze River cruises are paired with land tours, as well.Viking River and Victoria Cruises are the main cruise operators on the Yangtze River. If you plan your China trip, Yangtze River Cruise is highly recommended.

St.Lawrence River seen from the upper town of Quebec City

St.Lawrence River seen from the upper town of Quebec City

St.Lawrence River seen from the upper town of Quebec City

 

Saint Lawrence River seen from the old town of Montreal

Saint Lawrence River seen from the old town of Montreal

Saint Lawrence River seen from the old town of Montreal

Saint Lawrence River seen from Nun’s Island in Montreal

Saint Lawrence River seen from Nun's Island in Montreal

Saint Lawrence River seen from Nun’s Island in Montreal

Cruising on St.Lawrence River

Cruising on St. Lawrence River

Cruising on St. Lawrence River

Victoria Cruises are the main cruise operators on the Yangtze River

Victoria Cruises are the main cruise operators on the Yangtze River.

Victoria Cruises are the main cruise operators on the Yangtze River.

 

Passing Qutang Gorge,  one of the three gorges on Yangtze River

Passing Qutang Gorge, one of the three gorges on Yangtze River

Passing Qutang Gorge, one of the three gorges on Yangtze River

 

Sunset over Yangtze River

Sunset over Yangtze River

Sunset over Yangtze River

Any questions, just drop a line. 

The Ramparts of Quebec City and Xian City

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013
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Strolling on the fortifications of Quebec City in Canada is like walking or biking on the ancient city walls of Xian City in China, a must-do activity when you travel the two historic cities.

Quebec City boasts the only remaining fortified city walls in North America north of Mexico. Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. Its ancient city walls and its whole upper town were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. Its original fortifications were built 1620-1665. Now Quebec City has close to 4.6 km of walls and 4 imposing gates. Porte St-Louis and Porte St-Jean are the main gates through the walls from the modern section of downtown; the Kent Gate was a gift to the province from Queen Victoria.

Xian City has the most complete and well preserved ancient city walls in China and one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world as well. Xian City Wall was initially built in Tang Dynasty (618 -907). The existing wall was built during the Ming Dynasty in 1370. Now the remaining Xian City Wall is 12 meters tall, 12-14 meters wide with a perimeter of 14km in length with a deep moat surrounding it. You can walk, even cycle on the wall. Plan your Xian tour?  Xian City Wall, not to be missed!

Porte St-Jean

Porte St-Jean

Porte St-Jean

Quebec city wall 1

Quebec city wall 1

Quebec city wall 1

 

Quebec City Wall 2

Quebec City Wall 2

Quebec City Wall 2

 

Quebec City Wall 3

Quebec City Wall 3

Quebec City Wall 3

 

Porte St-Louis

Porte St-Louis

Porte St-Louis

The South Gate to Xian City Wall

The South Gate to Xian City Wall

The South Gate to Xian City Wall

On the City Wall in Xian

On the city wall of Xian

On the city wall of Xian

A   turret on the City Wall in Xian and the city moat.

A turret on the city wall and city moat in Xian

A turret on the city wall and city moat in Xian

 

Any questions, just drop a line .