Japan: Yokohama (Berrick Hall/ ベーリック・ホール)

Yokohama was once a small fishing village having little contact with foreigners until the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Amity which opened Japan to foreign trade following the Sakoku Period (Japan’s period of isolation). Once the Port of Yokohama opened on June 2, 1859, the town quickly became a base for foreign trade in Japan. Foreigners initially settled in the Kannai area and later occupied much of the Yamate district overlooking the city. Today, the Yamate area is known for having the largest number of foreign residences in Japan.

Among these foreign residences is Berrick Hall, a Western-style building constructed in 1930 by architect J.H. Morgan. The building was the residence of British trading merchant, Bertram Berrick. It later served as the dormitory for the St. Joseph’s International School. Today it is open to the public and often used as a venue for weddings.

The original house where the Berrick family lived was destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. The current residence was constructed in the same location in 1930. The architect, J.H. Morgan also constructed the Yokohama Christ Church.

Visitors pass through a gate and follow a looping footpath leading up to the main entrance. Although this is considered a foreign residence, visitors are asked to remove their shoes when entering the home. A typical Japanese custom which helps keep the house clean. To the right of the entrance you will find the living room. To the left is a reception area which connects to the dining room. Beyond that, you will find the palm room or the sun room with its checkered floor and wicker chairs.

Following the art deco style cast iron staircase to the second floor, you will find a number of private rooms including Berrick’s room which contains his working desk and an old fashioned typewriter. Other rooms include Mrs. Berrick’s room and their son’s room.

The Berrick family lived in this house from 1930 to 1938. They relocated to Canada in 1938 as the threat of World War II grew imminent. Bertram Berrick passed away in Vancouver ten years later and his family donated the Yokohama house to the Society of Mary who managed the St. Joseph International School. The home was converted into a dormitory for the school in 1956. The school closed its doors in 2000 and Yokohama City took possession of Berrick Hall in 2002. The city refurbished the home and opened it up to the public as a cultural asset.

The home is open between the hours of 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM. It is closed every second Wednesday of the month and during the New Year holiday. The residence is accessible via the JR Keihin Tohoku Negishi Line, exit Ishikawacho Station.

Address:           72 Yamate-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama.

Web page:


Japan: Fukui (Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum)

When you think about Japan, what comes to mind? Mount Fuji, cherry blossoms, the temples of Kyoto, the ski slopes of Nagano, the bright lights of Tokyo? How about a dinosaur museum? That’s right, the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, located in Nagaoyama Park in Katsuyama City is about 10 minutes by car from the Echizen Railway Station. It is considered to be one of the three largest dinosaur museums in the world along with the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Canada and the Zigong Dinosaur Museum in China. The museum is an active international center of research on dinosaurs with a team of Japanese and foreign specialists in residence.

More dinosaurs have been unearthed in the Katsuyama area of Fukui, where the museum is located, than anywhere else in Japan. Excavations which began in 1989 have yielded such fossils as the Fukuiraptor, the Fukuisaurus and Fukuititan. As a matter of fact, dinosaurs are just about everywhere in town, on the traffic island outside Katsuyama Station and even on manhole covers.

The museum officially opened on July 14, 2000 and consists of four major departments: the exhibit, the educational, the service and the research departments. Its 320,000 sq ft of display space features over 30 complete dinosaur skeletons, plus many partials and other fossils, minerals, rocks and related exhibits. The building also houses a restaurant, a gift shop, a library and a special exhibit hall.

A long escalator takes visitors to the lower level where they can view Dino Street, a hallway displaying fossils of some of the earliest known life forms on earth. A bone bed is situated at the end of the hallway and is a replica of an actual site in Wyoming.

The main exhibition hall located on the floor above, is the museum’s primary exhibition space and consists of various dinosaur fossils. Dioramas, including some with robotic dinosaurs, provide visitors with a conceptual look at the dinosaurs’ habitats.

The second floor contains exhibits primarily focused on earth sciences, including plate tectonics, rock formation and precious gems.

The third floor displays the history of life, showing a timeline from the formation of the earth up to present time.

There is a Dino Lab, with actual fossils on display, which visitors are permitted to handle. Additionally, there is a fossil preparation room where visitors can watch fossils being cleaned and preserved.

Outside, you can find replicas of dinosaurs and their fossils throughout the park grounds including some cartoonish ones that offer excellent photo opportunities.

The museum is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission is ¥720 for adults, ¥410 for high school/ college students and ¥260 for primary/ secondary school students.
















Dish available at the museum restaurant, Dino.

Dish available at the museum restaurant




Address:        51-11 Terao, Muroko, Katsuyama, Fukui 911-8601, Japan

Web Page:

New Mexico: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

It began in the parking lot of the Coronado Center Mall in 1972 with just 13 balloons and has grown into one of the largest ballooning events in the world. Today, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place at a permanent site equaling more than 350 acres with over 700 balloons and 1,000 pilots. Further, the event draws participants from 22 countries including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Lithuania, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The event takes place at Balloon Fiesta Park in early October and draws over 850,000 visitors to Albuquerque over its nine day duration. The fiesta is divided into two sessions: morning and evening. The nine morning sessions begin at 5:45AM and wrap up around 12PM. The five evening sessions begin at 1:30PM and end at 8PM (there are no evening sessions on some days).

In 1989, the Special Shape Rodeo was added and has become the most popular event at the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.




Visitors can walk amongst the unusual shaped balloons ranging from clowns to Star Wars characters and chat with the pilots. Each year there is a different theme and the sky is filled with balloons of all shapes and sizes creating a captivating spectacle.

If you are the daring type, you can schedule a balloon ride in advance by contacting RAINBOW RYDERS, INC. at: 1-800-725-2477.

In addition to the balloons, the event features a stage on Main Street where various bands and children’s acts perform.

For more information, visit:













Canada: Alberta (Jasper National Park – Glacier Skywalk)

The Canadian wild west has always been a major attraction for nature lovers from all over the world and now Alberta has a new draw, the Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park ( Opened last May, this 1475-foot long glass-floored walkway carved and folded into the mountainous landscape gives the eerie sensation of floating above the Sunwapta Valley, which lies nearly 1,000 feet below.


Athabasca Glacier

Athabasca Glacier

Columbia Icefields


The Glacier Skywalk is an experience like no other, offering adrenaline pumping views of majestic glaciers, ice-capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, and Canadian wildlife.




Upon arriving at the Jasper National Park Visitor Center, guests are greeted by the Athabasca Glacier just across the parking lot. The Visitor Center offers tickets to various adventures, including the Glacier Skywalk. The cost for this one hour quest is $24.95. En route to the skywalk, tourists can explore the glacier ecosystem on the Discovery Trail, a walkway that snakes along the canyon wall.

Once you reach the Skywalk, you will be amazed by the views. Look down and you’ll see hints from life thousands of years ago. Look up and you’ll see the most stunning glacial vistas. Look around and you’ll discover one of the most unique ecosystems in the world. The Skywalk has various numbered viewpoints where visitors can input the corresponding number to a hand-held device provided upon entry and learn about what they are seeing.





Be aware that when visiting the Skywalk, you should always dress appropriately, as even in the summer months the temperatures tend to be on the chilly side. Always bring an extra sweater or jacket and make sure you have proper footwear.

The Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park is a definite bucket list contender for all who want to experience the priceless feeling comes from connecting with nature.

Address: The Icefields Parkway Columbia Icefield Glacier Di, Jasper National Park T1L 1J3

Phone: +1 800-760-6934

Canadian Gluten-Free Bed & Breakfasts and Inns

I recently posted an article about gluten-free bed and breakfasts & inns in the U.S. and I certainly could not forget about our neighbors to the north!  Below is a brief list of these establishments located in Canada, for those of you venturing up north for the holidays.

Abbeymoore Manor Bed and Breakfast Inn


1470 Rockland Avenue

Victoria, BC V8S 1W2




Unwind and relax in the historic Rockland district of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Ideally located across the street from the Lieutenant Governor’s mansion, near Craigdarroch Castle and the Art Gallery the inn is a five minute drive to all downtown Victoria’s attractions, US ferries and four blocks to the ocean.

Meal options include, low fat, restrictive, vegetarian and Celiac/ gluten-free.


The Boathouse B&B


33 1/2 Glencove Drive
Stratford, Prince Ed. Isl.
C1B 1Y2


The Boathouse is situated on the water’s edge overlooking Charlottetown Harbour in a quiet neighborhood of Stratford, but only minutes from the city with it’s restaurants, shops, theatres and bustling waterfront area. Full, vegetarian and gluten-free breakfast options are available.

Buffaloberry Bed and Breakfast


417 Marten Street

Banff National Park,

Alberta T1L 1G5, Canada


Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the Buffaloberry Bed and Breakfast offers visitors unique and elegantly rustic accommodations, gourmet breakfasts which can accomodate an individual’s gluten-free needs, and unparalleled service provided by local resident hosts. This B&B is only a short stroll to shopping, dining and cultural facilities while ski and hiking trails are only minutes away.

Craigmyle Bed & Breakfast Inn


1037 Craigdarroch Rd,

Victoria, British Columbia V8S-2A5, Canada (Rockland)


Victoria Homestay B&B also known as The Craigmyle is conveniently located in beautiful Rockland, Victoria, BC. It’s a fantastic location in a residential setting but only 2 minutes from bus stops to downtown, and within 10 minutes walking distance to downtown, restaurants, cinemas and coffee shops. Daily gluten-free breakfast options are available.


Elizabeth Manor Bed and Breakfast


52 Elizabeth Dr., S

Iroquois, Ontario Canada



Unwind and relax along the shores of the beautiful St. Lawrence River in Iroquois, Ontario, just a short walk to the local beach, marina and golf course.

Enjoy a gourmet breakfast in the formal dining room, on the front verandah or at a garden patio. Vegetarian, gluten free, vegan meals available – please advise at the time of reservation.


Forest Edge Bed and Breakfast


Forest Edge 302783 Douglas Street
Durham, Ontario
N0G 1R0


Conveniently located near the Durham Art Gallery, horseback riding trails, cross country and downhill skiing and snowmobiling facilities. Breakfast service available offering vegetarian, organic, and gluten free options.


Canada: British Columbia

I’ve always considered visiting our neighbors to the North as an opportunity to visit Europe without leaving the continent or worrying about communication issues. Living on the west coast, venturing to the province which comprises the Pacific Northwest along with Oregon and Washington  seems very appealing and reasonable. I am referring to the westernmost province of Canada, British Columbia! British Columbia, one of Canada’s 10  provinces boasts a wonderfully diverse population. Over forty major Aboriginal groups reside in the region and the large Asian communities have made  Chinese and Punjabi the most spoken languages next to English. Here you will also find significant German, Italian, Japanese and Russian communities all  contributing to a culmination of distinct architecture, language and cuisine.

Dish from The Dining Room at Buchart Gardens

Dish from The Dining Room at Buchart Gardens

British Columbia’s capital is the city of Victoria, the 15th largest metropolitan region in Canada. It is also one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest. The city has managed to preserve a large number of its historic buildings, in particular its two most famous landmarks, the British Columbia Parliament Building and the Empress Hotel which opened in 1908. The city’s Chinatown is the second oldest in North America after San Francisco’s. Steve Nash, who received the NBA’s Most Valuable Player designation twice grew up in Victoria.

Parliament Building

Parliament Building

Parlament building-2, Victoria, BC

Empress Hotel

Empress Hotel

Craiderroch Castle

Craiderroch Castle

Known as the “City of Gardens”, Victoria is an attractive city and a well-liked tourist destination. Over 3.5 million visitors come to Victoria each year and contribute more than a billion dollars to the local economy. An additional 500,000 visitors arrive at Victoria via cruise ship. The city is a favorite port of call on the Pacific Northwest and Alaska cruise itineraries. Boaters flock to the city for its beautiful and rugged shorelines and beaches.

The Butchart Gardens located in Brentwood Bay near Victoria were begun in 1904 as an effort to restore a worked-out quarry site. The Japanese Garden was designed by Isaburo Kishida of Yokohama who had initially traveled from Japan to build a tea garden for Esquimalt Gorge Park in 1907. Designated a National Historic Site of Canada, the gardens host over a million visitors each year.

Buchart Garden, Victoria, BC

Buchart Garden, Victoria, BC-1

Buchart Garden, Victoria, BC-2

Nestled between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, is B.C.’s largest city, Vancouver. For more than a decade, business magazine assessments have ranked Vancouver as one of the most livable cities worldwide where tourism is its second largest industry. Perhaps best known for its scenic beauty, Vancouver is one of those rare places where you could theoretically ski in the mountains, windsurf in the ocean, and play a round of golf all in the same day. The city is also the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada, where 52% of its residents do not speak English as their first language.

Vancouver, Canada-2

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden-1, Vancouver, Canada

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden-2, Vancouver, Canada

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Established in 1867, the original settlement known Gastown, was based around the Hastings Mill sawmill and a nearby tavern. When the transcontinental railway was extended to the city in 1887, the city became a vital link in a trade route between the Orient, Eastern Canada, and London.

Statue of Gassy Jack in Gastown

Statue of Gassy Jack in Gastown

Gastown, Vancouver, Canada

Steam Clock, Gastown

Steam Clock, Gastown

Today, the city is one of the largest film production centers in North America, earning it the of Hollywood North.

Finally, the province of British Columbia is also a nature lover’s paradise with 141 ecological reserves, 35 provincial marine parks, 4 national parks and 3 national park reserves. As a matter of fact, 12% or 44,000 sq. miles of British Columbia is currently considered protected territory.

Yoho National Park, located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains along the western slope of the Continental Divide covers 507 square miles and it is the smallest of the four contiguous national parks. Yoho, together with Jasper, Kootenay and Banff National Parks, along with three British Columbia provincial parks—Hamber Provincial Park, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, and Mount Robson Provincial Park—form the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site.

Yoho National Park, BC-1

Emeral Lake, Yoho National Park, BC-3

Emeral Lake, Yoho National Park, BC-6

Emeral Lake, Yoho National Park, BC-7

Emeral Lake, Yoho National Park, BC-8

Emeral Lake, Yoho National Park, BC-9

Takakkaw Falls, Yoho National Park,k BC-2

Takakkaw Falls, Yoho National Park,k BC-4

Photo Credits: Mika Panzaroni