Sunday, November 09, 2008

Day 3: Jasper Town

Sunday was spent mostly exploring the town of Jasper itself. We began the morning by attending worship service at a local baptist church. Apart from having the opportunity to worship God in such a beautiful town where the beauty of God's creation was so abundant, we also noted the incredible sense of community in the church.

For example, we were greeted by Paul, a brother in Christ who also happened to be the Parks Canada tour guide at the train station. We also recognized other familiar faces from around town. Indeed Paul remembered us from the day before, and was delighted to see that we had come to worship with them as well. (It turns out Paul had also heard of the Bridge church -- spotting a recent advertisment for worship leaders at Regent College last time he was in Vancouver! God works in mysterious ways.) The tight knit community reminded us a bit of the ficticious "Stars Hollow" in the Gilmore Girls.

Much like the ficticious "Stars Hollow", much of the commerce and industry in Jasper revolves around tourism. During the peak seasons of the year, Jasper is bustling with people interested in skiing, seeing wildlife and generally having a good time. However, during the non-peak seasons (November is definitely one of those times), the town seems to settle into a more local mode. Some restaurants even close altogether during this month either for renovations or to enjoy some vacation time of their own.

Photo Right Caption: This one shown in the photo to the right was an example of a restaurant that had closed. Of course the sign caught my attention -- I guess changing times and demographics had this previously "Chinese Canadian Food" restaurant rebranding itself as purely "Chinese" food.... though a quick glance at their menu has me questioning that a bit.

Visiting Jasper in November thus gave us a bit of an insider's look at Jasper - which we appreciated. We even had the chance of visiting the local arena and community centre.

Here are some of the places we discovered:

Cafe Mondo seemed to be a local hangout. This italian themed cafe (I mean with the flag draped at the back - what was your first clue?) was buzzling with music, TV with the latest sports, local town folk and a wonderful variety of coffees, hot chocolates and cookies. Karen and I visited this cafe a few times during our trip to chat and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Other Paw Bakery and Cafe was also another place where locals and passing train engineers seemed to hang out. Though the atmosphere was more of a darker theme than Cafe Mondo's, we enjoyed their freshly baked pastries.

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