If you like British culture, the countryside, charming old historic homes & towns, real estate, relaxing shows, etc.
I can’t talk about archaeology televisions shows without mentioning Time Team – a British television show that ran from 1994-2014. It was my first archaeology love and is still my favorite show of all time. This incredibly unique show opened my eyes and heart to the past in such a compelling way.
But Time Team has some company. A few months ago, I’m sure I googled something like “archaeology TV shows” and I was very pleasantly surprised to discover another outstanding archaeology themed television program called Wild Archaeology.
This nicely named show just so happened to be Canadian-made and free to stream online. What are the odds?!
(Believe it or not, there’s also another Canadian-made archaeology show called The Naked Archaeologist – which I’ve watched a few episodes of on my library app)
Anyways, Wild Archaeology features three youthful and highly engaging First Nations hosts who go on an archaeological journey across Canada.
There’s an expert archaeologist (Dr. Rudy Reimer) from Simon Fraser University, and two enthusiastic ‘amateurs’ (Jacob Pratt & Jennifer Brousseau) who participate in digs and explorations and learn about archaeology and ancient First Nations and Canadian history along the way.
Here’s a more succinct summary of the show from aptn.ca:
“The archaeological record of the First Peoples of North America is scattered, fragmented, and could be lost forever…we are taken on a quest through the mountains, waterways, plains, and Arctic landscapes of Canada’s ancient archaeological record to discover first-hand the untold story of the original peoples of North America. For the first time in archaeological history twelve thousand years of human inhabitation of this land is vividly brought to life through thirteen episodes of Wild Archaeology.”
The show is viewable across Canada, but I don’t think you can stream it in the US – I know they can’t in the UK. Wild Archaeology is working on a second season.
Stream Here: http://aptn.ca/wildarchaeology/
More Info: http://wildarchaeology.com/home/
I was inspired to buy a new plant for my room the other day because of this spectacular indoor public space at Minto Place Shopping Mall / atrium in Ottawa. Worth visiting if you’re into lush, nature-inspired indoor spaces and green walls. Click on images to enlarge.
One of my top interests this past year has been the philosophy and creative possibilities behind “tiny homes.”
And having access to hundreds of great videos to watch on YouTube certainly fuels the fire.
Watching the process and story behind how people develop and build their smaller (and more affordable) homes has not only been fascinating, it’s also fantastic video entertainment – No cable required!
As part of my media routine I’ve been subscribing to YouTube Channels so that I can know when a new video is posted.
Three outstanding YouTube Channels you must check out if you have an interest in living smaller and smarter are: 1) Exploring Alternatives 2) Kristen Dirksen 3) Living Big In A Tiny House.
Be sure to check out each page’s playlists as well, if you have a particular interest in subcategories of tiny homes (i.e. vans, RVs, tiny homes).
The nice thing with Exploring Alternatives is that they release a new video every Sunday, so it’s something to look for.
The nice thing about Kristen Dirksen’s videos is they are almost like mini documentaries – much longer than your average YouTube video.
Living Big In A Tiny House
This is my latest YouTube Channel discovery, and I’ve been enjoying the videos so far. It feels more like an HGTV television show.
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I’ll be on the lookout for more tiny home channels, but right now I’ve got plenty of content to keep me entertained and inspired.
Please leave a comment if you have a favorite not listed here.
Too busy for that dream vacation? Can’t afford a trip right now? Well, the good news is you don’t have to buy a plane ticket to explore Europe.
I’m happy to share that Rick Steves, the well-known travel writer, tour guide, and television host, has officially uploaded over 100 full episodes of his show and lots more on the Rick Steves’ Europe YouTube Channel.
You’ve probably seen his yellow books in travel sections, or come across his show on local PBS stations. Now you can explore the show and Europe on demand.
Have an interest in Greece? There’s a show for that. Have an interest in Portugal? There’s a show for that. I could go on… And you can easily pick and choose destinations and additional topics via his YouTube playlists, including blog videos and travel lectures.
The shows are a nice mix of part sightseeing, part cultural education. They are especially engaging if you are interested in the show’s chosen destination. I find that Rick Steves’ Europe has beautiful camera work, well-written scripts and regular doses of cheesy and charming humor.
I’ve enjoyed a number of the show’s episodes, and happened to be following Rick’s facebook page when the latest season (season 9) was released on YouTube. So I got special access to the newest shows sooner than most.
One of the first episodes I remember watching was the one(s) on Paris. It was a really nice European escape for me.
Overall though, three of the most memorable shows for me are:
British TV is my favorite TV. About two years ago I experienced a revelation. I discovered an absolutely awesome British television program called Time Team (Watch clip below).
With an interest in history and archaeology, Time Team literally turned out to be my favorite TV show of all time.
The basic premise is that the Time Team gets three days to dig a site that has relatively little, if any history of being dug, and they dig it. The show has a highly engaging host (Tony Robinson) and a fantastic, expert archaeology team.
They make all sorts of discoveries in every episode, and at the end of the program they summarize what they learned into a story and visual recreation of the site. There are lots of Roman sites, prehistoric sites, medieval sites and even some more modern sites. There are so many layers of history in the United Kingdom, and I really appreciate how the show sheds light on ancient human life.
Time Team ran for 20 years and just ended in 2014. According to their wikipedia page, there are 280 episodes (including specials) to watch. So if you ‘dig it’ you’ll have an abundance of shows to watch and enjoy.
Since discovering my favorite show of all time, I’ve gone on to find a number of other great British shows, and it turns out that I REALLY, REALLY like British content.
Below are 7 of my recommended British TV shows and mini-series to check out. Most of these are available to watch online (for free) in Canada/US.
Know of any other great non-fiction shows? Please leave a comment.
1. TIME TEAM
“Time Team was a British television series that originally aired on Channel 4 from 16 January 1994 to 7 September 2014. Created by television producer Tim Taylor and presented by actor Tony Robinson, each episode featured a team of specialists carrying out an archaeological dig over a period of three days, with Robinson explaining the process in lay terms…The sites excavated ranged in date from the Palaeolithic to the Second World War.” source: wikipedia
2. BBC ANTIQUES ROADSHOW
“Experts invite members of the public to bring along their antiques for examination.”
3. ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY
“A series which helps prospective buyers find their dream home in the country”
4. ESCAPE TO THE CHATEAU
“Having ditched their London flat in exchange for rural France, this engaging and eccentric couple set out to transform a crumbling chateau into a showcase home and event space — all in time for their own wedding!”
WHERE TO WATCH
Season 1 & 2 currently available on CBC TV website and app.
(WATCH HERE >>)
5. FAKE OR FORTUNE?
“Journalist Fiona Bruce teams up with art expert Philip Mould to investigate mysteries behind paintings.”
WHERE TO WATCH
Season 3 currently available on knowledge.ca (WATCH HERE >>)
Previously available on TVO.org (currently unavailable)
6. MARTIN CLUNES: ISLANDS OF BRITAIN
“Islands of Britain is a 2009 documentary series, filmed over the summers of 2008 and 2009, hosted by Martin Clunes, which visited a number of the islands that lie off the coast of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as the Channel Islands.” –wikipedia
WHERE TO WATCH
(was available on AcornTV – currently unavailable)
7. RIVERS WITH JEREMY PAXMAN
“In this four-part series, journalist Jeremy Paxman, a devoted fisherman, travels along great British rivers, meeting the people who make them what they are, unearthing their history and traditions, and exploring their wildlife.” -tvo.org
WHERE TO WATCH
Available on TVO.org (WATCH HERE >>)
So I made a trip last night over to the “largest naturally frozen ice rink in the world” – The Rideau Canal Skateway, of course – for what I thought would be a ‘classic’ skating experience.
A night skate on the canal seemed like a quintessential Ottawa Winter experience.
Overall I ended up having an invigorating skate, but I could not believe my eyes.
The skating surface was extremely badly lit – Like 19th century, pre-electricity terrible. You could barely see the ice in front of you for a majority of the skate. But a lot more on that in a minute.
At the beginning of my journey to the Skateway, there was an older man waiting at the bus stop with me.
I noticed he had a couple of unique buttons on his backpack that I had never seen before.
One of them said “I (illustration of) BRAIN Science” and the other was similar and said “I (illustration of) BRAIN Philosophy.”
The buttons were a great conversation starter. I remarked to the man that I liked them and thought they were unique. I also mentioned how incredible it is that there are so many variations out there on the famous “I Heart NY” logo.
I asked him where he got them from, and he said something like his friends have a button making machine and he was apart of a not for profit. He didn’t go into any more detail than that.
I told him I was going for a skate on the canal, and he said he was going to a class at Carleton University. How brainy of him! But seriously though, it reminded me that I should really take a class again one of these days.
Back to the Skateway. So I arrived at Dow’s Lake (a major entrance to the Skateway) and before my skate began I used the “Comfort Station” – aka port-a-potty. While it was super convenient to have it right next to the rink, I was upset it didn’t have any hand sanitizer! It wasn’t that it was out of hand sanitizer, it didn’t even have one. Fortunately I had some with me, but that’s a pretty big pet peeve of mine. It got my skating adventure off a bit on the wrong foot…
While I’m at it, am I the only one who can’t believe places like the Apple store do not have sanitizer dispensers?! A billion hands handling their expensive devices on display, and no sanitizer for you on the way out? Anyways, I digress.
So there I was at the Dow’s Lake end of the canal – just like I was a couple weeks ago during the day – but it was a much different feel at night.
It almost felt like Halloween night or something, which was fine at first. Some people had headlamps, or colored lights on their clothes and I soon learned why.
It was pretty much pitch black on the lake. I figured it would get a lot brighter once I got past the lake. But disappointingly it barely did. I was very surprised that such an well-known attraction – an attraction full of such Ottawa pride – would be so pathetically illuminated.
At one point I even tried using the light on my iPhone. I felt smart because it not only added a little light in front of me, it also let others see me too. But I soon realized that if I fell, I wouldn’t want to damage my phone.
There were about a handful of soft/chipped spots in the ice where it caused me to trip a bit. Fortunately I’m a good skater and didn’t fall, but I’m sure others have. I decided to bring my bike helmet with me, and I ended up wearing it over my toque. I’m glad I wore it, because I probably would have felt even more upset/less safe about the whole experience.
The section closest to the Parliament Buildings was closed off last time I went due to bad ice conditions, but this time it was all open. It was gratifying to go to the complete opposite end, which is also another starting point.
Granted, the lighting was quite a bit better in that last section closest to Parliament, but the brightness you find there should be the lowest light you should be able to find on the whole of the rink. Meaning, the lighting there is actually pretty bad too, but almost acceptable. There’s a good view of Parliament and the Chateau Laurier hotel from that point, and there’s a Beaver Tail stand conveniently close too.
All in all, I still enjoyed myself and got a great skate in. I just wish Ottawa invested some money into proper lighting. It’s really mind blowing that such a world-renowned attraction is so poorly lit. Any ski-hill around the world would put the Skateway to shame. Even the walking path behind my friend’s house in the suburbs is lit about a million times better.
I had this idea that it would be so romantic doing a night skate (even alone) but I was left with a bad taste in my mouth. There’s nothing romantic about skating in near pitch black conditions with the possibility of your date falling and seriously hurting themselves.
I don’t recommend the Skateway at night unless you are a really good skater. And I would recommend you wear a helmet too.
As I made my way back home, I walked through Confederation Park and there was some signage for Winterlude (running February 2 to 19) and I saw a few ice sculptures on the grounds. I’m glad that I now know where it takes place. I’ll have to check it out in February and report back.