Nov. 28 2015

Driving Across Canada Day 17: Reprieve in Jasper

In which we answer the questions of where to find good wifi, coffee, and 2am pizza in the alpine town of Jasper in western Alberta.

After clambering down from the tea houses at Lake Louise outside Banff, we headed on to Jasper.

Now, I am very lucky in that I have an aunt and uncle who live there and offered us a place to stay.

This is the true secret to travelling across the country on the cheap: Having family or friends who’ll share a futon with you.

If you’re ever in Jasper, pop in to Rocky Bear Gifts. Say hi to Karl or Colette and tell them that Mel sent you!

Pretty much everyone who lives in Jasper is involved in the tourism economy somehow. The nearby Mt. Edith Cavell is one of the most beautiful mountains in the Canadian Rockies. It’s only about 5km outside town.

We slept in all the way to 10 am. Our legs were stiff from the 15km hike the day before and we had a leisurely start to the day.

We also had some work to catch up on. We hadn’t really stopped to answer emails and such since we left home on August 1st, so we decided to catch up on that.

Thus begs the question:

Where can you get the best cup of jo/wifi connection in town?

Luckily, since my aunt, uncle, and twenty-something cousin Megan all live there (although since we left Megan has moved to New Zealand – way to go, Megan!), they were able to point us in the right direction.

The Wicked Cup

Every local we asked said it was the best coffee place in Jasper.


They also had lots of power outlets. And coffee.


That’s a bear in my coffee!

The matcha latté at the top of the post is also from there. Had to keep my caffeine intake sources varied.

So we worked the day away at the Wicked Cup, then went to my aunt and uncle’s place and did some laundry. You know, the glamourous life.

We then took a nap before heading out to:

The Whistle Stop Pub

It’s attached to Whistler’s Inn. One of the most popular places to stay in Jasper. It was crazy there in the summer. My family was telling me the season was much busier than usual. The low Canadian dollar was one factor.

In a dim corner of the Whistle Stop we met up with my aunt’s nephew. David is also a journalist; I’ve met him a few times before. He’s currently working in the Jasper food and restaurant scene to save up some money.

He’s also got one of those crazy memories.

We grab a pitcher to split between us as he explains I can tell him my birthday, and he’s able to tell me exactly what day of the week I was born on.

Me: “No way.”

Him: “Yeah.”

Me: “April 29, 1990.”

Him: “Sunday.”

Me: “Holy shit! That’s right.”

Him: “Yeah.”

He tells me that there are 28-year cycles for the day of the week. All he has to do is count back from our current cycle to figure out what day it would have been in 1990…

Or something like that. Clearly that one conversation at the bar hasn’t clinched it for me. But, it’s a pretty cool bar trick.

We go on talking and then Rob gets up to use the washroom. He comes back and mentions their urinals.

They’re shaped like lips.

Me: “What? No way.”

And then David and Rob enlighten me to all the different kinds of urinals there are.

This was something I had never really thought about.

They say there’s some shaped like lips, ducks, target signs, flowers, etc.

Some are even games.

Me: “What kind of games?”

They tell me there’s golf greens, battleship (Yeah, battleship. You have to try and knock the ship over and sink it.),  interactive urinals, etc.

I Googled. There’s one interactive game called ‘Clever Dick’. It’s a quiz game.

I made Rob sneak back in with my iPhone and take a picture.

I wanted proof.


And proof I got.

I’m considerably unimpressed that someone designed something for men to pee in that looks like a woman’s mouth.  The world is a strange place.

So, after discovering the hidden world of men’s themed urinals (something I had never thought about or considered, until now) we decided to go get pizza.

North Face Pizza

This is the only place to get pizza in Jasper at 2am.

It might be the only place to get food in general in the small town of Jasper at 2am.

And it’s good pizza. Made to order. We pay for our pizzas and take a seat. They’ve got covers of Simply the Best and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun playing.


We finish our pizzas and say goodbye to David.

On the way home, we encounter the bane of any drunk wandering around Jasper late at night:

Elk sirens.

Okay, that might not be their real name.  Anyone who knows what I’m talking about, please correct me.

There are a lot of elk around Jasper.  There are a bunch of ways that people who live there keep elk out of their gardens and lawns.  You can hang up ribbons, build a fence, plant things that elk don’t eat, etc.

Or, if you’re this one house between the bar and my aunt and uncle’s place, you have an elk siren.

When we started walking past it this little bulb flashed red on the roof and started emitting this high-pitched pulse sound.

It was really uncomfortable. Kind of like a dog whistle, but higher.

Anyway, we ran away as quickly as possible, but man, that siren persisted until we were about a block away. Worst neighbour. Can you imagine going to put your trash out at night and having to listen to that?

We returned home and got into bed, just missing seeing my uncle get up at 3am (He’s an ultra marathoner. The kind that runs death races up mountains. His schedule awes us.)

Another great day on the road.

One last exchange:

David: “My friend is an underwater ceramics technician.”

Me: “Wow. What does he do?”

David: “He’s a dishwasher.”

Badum tish!

Day 17 Costs:

  • The Bear’s Paw Bakery: $16.45
  • The Wicked Cup, multiple drinks, foods, and coffees: $33.03
  • Whistle Stop, beers: $22.59
  • North Face, pizza: $15.05

Total: $87.12



This sounds like the perfect productive rest day on any trip! Except for that elk siren. That’s just obnoxious.

Also, that whole urinal discovery is just gross. I’m fascinated and disgusted and unimpressed all at once.

I will never understand the world of designer urinals.

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