Canadian Food

As we get ready to celebrate Canada 150 it is time to find out what is Canadian food. A few items on the list surprised even me.
I used to live abroad and had Coffee crisp bars sent to me. I didn’t know they were only in Canada, eh?  Also liked Kitkats for dipping in tea and coffee. But they were more international. 

I ‘ve made Nanaimo bars and like extra butter in the second layer. 

Of course there are pancakes with maple syrup but I didn’t know butter tarts were Canadian. 

I have seen Canadian pizza on the menu even abroad.  It is often pepperoni, bacon, mushrooms and cheese. 

There is also Hawaiian pizza invented by a man in Ontario. It has tomato, ham, pineapple and cheese. Some people add green peppers and mushrooms. 

And California maki rolls may be Canadian too I read.  They have avocado, cucumber and imitation crab.  Guess we often don’t name things after ourselves. 

Our Chinese restaurants have plum sauce for egg rolls.  Not sure what others have.  It is not made from plums though.  Pumpkin I believe. 

The above Canadian food link mentions many foods from Nova Scotia though I would add we have one of the biggest blueberry crops. Also shrimps and scallops though they seem to be exported a lot.  Smoked mackerel is nice.  Australian  and B.C. visitors have raved about pan-fried haddock.  

I like Canadian wine and cheese too.   There are lots of craft beer and I saw people buying Canadian Iceberg Vodka for Caesar day today.  See a previous post to understand this yummy drink. I just found out that this vodka is actually made from pure iceberg water in Newfoundland. 

We try any foreign thing we can as well.  After all we have many immigrants and many people love to travel. Many cities have large communities of people from elsewhere and sometimes they create fusions or twists on things. 

But when I think of Canadian food I think of fresh and simple ingredients.  We used to have clam bakes and corn or lobster boils on the beach. All you needed was butter and salt to season.  Vinegar for lobster.   Mussels have replaced clams and are done in a broth but can still be dipped in butter or vinegar. There are seafood chowders preferably with fish, seafood and potatoes with a roll. 

Also when you get fresh beets, corn, potatoes or green beans you just add butter and enjoy.  Love fresh strawberries or peaches. 

This is why you won’t ever see Canadian restaurants abroad.  It is mostly fresh local food done simply. You have to be there to enjoy it and relax in the wilderness or small town or city preferably. You may even see some wildlife. 

See you for Canada 150 this year!



As you can see I am embracing winter this year. Well it’s not going away anytime soon.  It hasn’t been too bad as most storms seem to come at night.  

Last night was the same. We were awaiting a Nor’easter which is a storm that may strike fear in the heart of those living in the area from North Carolina to Newfoundland.  Or it may excite you if you’re a storm lover. 

I tend to fall in the latter category. It can be fun to witness the power of nature unleashed. I like to get stocked up and take a window seat.  

Apparently storm chips are now a thing. They even have a hashtag. I saw a four pack yesterday when I was stocking up on storm drinks. It seemed I wasn’t the only one.  

A New Brunswick company called Covered Bridge makes a chip pack with BBQ, salt and vinegar, ketchup ( very Canadian ) and one more I can’t read on the pic I googled.  They had boxes at the liquor store. This is new. 

Speaking of storm drinks I found out there is a Nor’easter cocktail made of lime, bourbon, maple syrup and ginger beer. It could be more of an NY thing. I like the idea but it needs more Northern ingredients. The storm does affect the north after all. 

Anyway as you can see despite some media’s claims (especially some Toronto news outlets with ridiculous reports that always make TO look better than the rest) it didn’t really leave much snow behind. I moved out of the parking lot so it could be cleared but there was nothing much except a few drifts and the plow didn’t even come. 

It was a lot bluster causing drifts on the right and left but ultimately doing not much.  When you looked at the streetlights you saw white stuff going in both directions and getting nowhere.  In the end it amounted to not much. 

You were very astute if you realized the above was a political analogy. 

Somehow school was cancelled and other things delayed though it was mostly a nighttime event. Fear is easily stirred up. 

I finally researched Nor’easters even though I’ve heard about them my whole life.  It’s like a cyclone I was surprised to find out except a cyclone feeds on warm  air and a Nor’easter on cold air.  There was an early morning moon set though hard to see. 

This storm happens when cold, dry air from the north meets warm, wet air from the south. A pre – Valentine’s warning that maybe opposites don’t attract.   They just make a mess of things. 

The name tells you the direction of this storm and it actually hangs out for weeks further north so we shouldn’t complain. I always wondered where storms go to die. 

They turn counterclockwise so they are a bit rebellious. Going against the grain.   They tend to spin out from November to March so they are almost over as this month flies by.

They are generally a mix of wind and either rain or snow or something in between. 

In my post storm walk today it was empty and quiet as even waterfalls and streams were frozen or buried.      There was rock art. 

People were scared off by the media.  When I was young we walked around in all kinds of weather free from the media’s over protection.   We did just fine and the weather was worse then. 

Winter is a time for reflection and planning for springing into a new beginning.  Tonight is the full moon.  

PS: Another one is coming on Monday. 

In the Greening

Most recent trip to the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia where I saw my final uncommoncommonart.  Another great day.  If the summer hadn’t have been so dry the rush of water in the stream would have increased the full sensual experience.  

The location was perfect and a wonderful end to the art and nature treasure hunt.

This could be haunting at dusk and closer to Halloween.  It looked and felt  like an abandoned civilization.

The above photos are of Gaspereau Vineyards first as seen after the gloaming. 

Then Luckett’s Vineyards with their wonder views of the sacred Cape Blomidon.  They also have a British red phone box in the vineyard and you can call anywhere in North America for free.  Look for it in the first photo.

It was too crowded for lunch that day but I instead went to Troy in Wolfville and forgot to take a picture of the vegetarian platter until it was too late.  Oops!  Yum and very shareable.

See resto below-nice Turkish decor.   

Luckett Vineyards.  There is some green in this pic.  

Uncommon Common Art 2016

“Hunting for art in nature in beautiful, inspiring surroundings.  It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Last year was the first time I found out about Uncommon Common Art and I was hooked from the start.  This is my kind of thing. Art and nature-yes.  Art in nature, nature in art-better yet.  The treasure hunt aspect makes it better yet.. A low tech to no tech version of Pokemon Go.  There is GPS and geo-caching but I just get the pamphlet from the local tourist bureau in Wolfville or Kentville, N.S. Canada and go.  They are available around town too and of course there is a

I posted my finds last year in previous posts but I didn’t show you all of them as time flew and they were gone and I didn’t see the point of posting them after the fact.  They say they will be there from about June 21st until the end of October but I am not sure about the end date as I went looking on a cool late afternoon at the end of October for something and found nothing but a scary bird that flapped its wings and seemed about to attack me in the woods just a few days before Halloween.  I never did see what bird it was as I ducked and screamed.  So I would try to see most before mid-October just to be sure they are there.  The sound of crackling dead leaves underfoot added to my terror.  There’s a reason for the timing of Halloween.  A bridge between life and death.  Harvest of life and the end of all most of nature for months on end except the evergreens and year round creatures.

This year I got a good start and by the end of July I ‘d seen more than half.  They have  been many hot and humid days this year but it has been fun.  Here’s what I’ve found so far.  It is fun to search and explore.  I love finding areas I haven’t seen before but some are in the same place as last year which made it easy.  It feels great when you find them.  A few times the pamphlet is a bit off and one doesn’t have sign but I found them regardless.  Enjoy!







As for food in Wolfville I have been going a lot to Troy lately which serves Turkish and Mediterranean food in authentic surroundings with a large patio.  I especially like the mixed mezze platter with lots of dips and pita bread which is easily shared to keep costs down.






To ring this bell you walk up a hill behind a house and get the added bonus of reading this poem.  Do you recognize it?  It was a hot humid day as they all have been this summer when I went on this treasure hunt.   The produce has been great.  I just bought some amazing corn, tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries.






I have seen most of the art by now.  This one didn’t have the usual blue sign at the site.  Luckily it was low tide as it is only visible then and a long drive to this one and the previous one.

































Annapolis Royal – Beginning of Us All

See the above link about the Order of Good Cheer started by Champlain and the alcohol it has spawned.  I have never noticed it in stores but wasn’t looking.  I like the idea of the Order and how it started things off on a positive note.

Port Royal began here in 1605. But many died from the conditions in winter when they stayed on a nearby island the year before.  Samuel de Champlain was here and founded one of the first settlements in North America.  As said he started L’Ordre De Bon Temps which consisted  of celebrating and feasting which helped them make it through the hard times.  Later he went on to discover Quebec.




Years later many are enamoured of the place. Engish, Germans, Americans and other Canadians have gone there on vacation and come back to live there full or part time.

Today, May 11th there was a story in the Chronicle Herald about Tina Taylor who was brought up in Hollywood by a mother who was in Elvis Presley films. She found this place by chance and she and her daughter are touched by the place. Tina finds herself drawn there more and more.  She got it in the divorce.  Nova Scotia is like that. There have been other stories in the paper especially about this place causing people to pick up and move there.  People will say they have travelled a lot but this place has a special magic.  I could say the same.

I haven’t been to Annapolis Royal for a few years but remember going in June when they have a festival of short plays. Many things were closed on Sunday but I had a memorable feta and watermelon salad at a corner restaurant that I have since recreated.  It was here and the menu board even advertises it with a raspberry balsamic reduction.IMGP1328

There was bakery owned by Germans with many sports cars in the parking lot for some reason.001

I saw Fort Anne but didn’t go there.


I did visit the garden. This area has a very good growing climate which is better than the rest of the province.












I also investigated Port Royal in nearby Granville Ferry the following year in July and saw  the conditions the original settlers had to endure.




People from everywhere have come here.




This is so how we picture early Canada.  So rustic and simple yet with a hint of romanticism.  The bare essentials and so esoteric.  It will be hard to pare down the photos.


I see things like Rhubarb Syrup written on those jars.  We have lost some of these recipes.




Some had a very simple life here.





Great light.



Go ahead and fall for the place like many have.  Nova Scotia has magic.

Tina Taylor who was mentioned above said she has travelled a lot but Annapolis Royal really has her heart.

Nearby is Bear River which is a small artsy place that has buildings on stilts. There are two vineyards in this area which I haven’t yet visited but hopefully will this summer. So much to see.


LaHave River to Petite Riviere

Leaving Bridgewater which is the biggest town on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, you can loop down via the LaHave River which is mellow with many nice houses despite becoming increasingly remote with old houses and churches and buildings related to fishing.

In my last post I mentioned the LaHave Bakery outlet in Mahone Bay but the main one is found here near where a ferry traverses the river.  It was bought by some people from Montreal and many places in the area seem to have attracted people from other places- such is the draw of the area.  One came to paint the murals in the supermarket from Toronto and stayed.  Others have an art gallery.  See this  post-,_Nova_Scotia


The LaHave Bakery is housed in a very old building and they even have on old style cash register.  Besides the fresh bread you can buy things such as pizza slices.  Cyclists are attracted to this route and everyone has the choice of sitting inside or out on the front deck on adirondack chairs or even at picnic tables, weather willing.




Next there is a park with a small museum.  Later you will come to Crescent Beach which is on of a few beaches that you can actually drive on.  I remember as a child being on this beach having corn boils or lobster boils or maybe it was clams as we used to dig for them.  Nowadays mussels have replaced clams are they are tasty and more easily found but back then they were shunned and we just used them to catch crabs we later threw back or even killed on the road I am sad to say.



Then comes Risser’s Beach which is very nice with a lovely view of drumlins on the hill and an inlet area popular with boaters and birds.  The boardwalk here is lovely.  The beach has full facilities and campgrounds.  I have heard it is one of the most popular campgrounds in Nova Scotia.  You can park in the campgrounds and walk under the road through a tunnel to reach the beach.  At first I found this confusing.  I didn’t know where to park.  Go to the campground area across the road from the beach for free parking.  Unlike places such as PEI, NS beaches are free even when serviced with lifeguards, canteens, showers and small museums.  What more could you ask?







After this is a small convenience store where I usually get an ice cream.  At this junction you could turn left to Green Bay where there are cottages, a small beach and a canteen with ice cream etc. or you could go right to Petite Riviere where there is an Art Gallery type shop and beyond that as you see the relaxing river on your right you will eventually come to the Petite Riviere Vineyard where you can try some wines.


After that carry on back to Highway 103 where you originally turned off to Bridgewater.  There is an interesting veggie stand en route back to Bridgewater or beyond.  It’s in Hebb’s Cross and called Bob and the Boys Farm Market.  You can also get ice cream there.

Lunenburg County -Winery, Waterfall & More

This September day started out in Mahone Bay with a sandwich at the LaHave Bakery.  It is not the original which I’ll feature in a future post but a small outpost that takes advantage of this very busy tourist town.  I often just buy day old bread and bagels there which have no preservatives and must be immediately frozen but taste so real.  This time I  bought a sandwich comprised of cheese and hot peppers with carrots on the side though you could get a less healthy side.  It was a lovely warm day for sitting outside which is nice as they don’t have much space inside.


I was hungry and then realized I should take a picture.  What was left.


Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.

Francis Bacon


Nearby is the Tea Brewery though their building is for sale.  I hope they will stay on with different owners of the space.  I have some great Lavender Earl Grey tea from there.  Maritime Morning is another good one.

Mahone Bay is known for the view of three churches and also has some nice restaurants and a pub.  It is often crawling with tourists.  Another favorite place of mine is Eli’s Cafe for a pastry and coffee when the weather is warm enough to sit out on the front deck.  There are always interesting characters to be  seen and some famous people have signed the wall inside.  Some have made a movie in this areas.  Service is variable and the price can be a bit much depending on what you get but I have liked my fancy Kicking Horse coffee and chocolate croissant.  My travel mate always has some kind of pastry with apple.


In the fall there is a Scarecrow Festival featuring some famous people such as royals and other creations to be seen.

Next I headed to the Lunenburg County Winery which is known for wines made out of various fruit.  On highway 103 at Exit 11 you head the other way instead of the direction of Lunenburg.

Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.


It had an overgrown vine feel to it along with barking dogs.  I was told it was popular in August and early September when people come to pick blueberries.  There seemed to be some ignored fruit trees with ripened fruit falling to the ground in this fertile place which seemed far away from everything.



At a small local liquor store I was surprised to find their wines of many fruit including blueberry, peach and pear.  I thought it seemed more of a spring, summer, fall thing but jump started that and tried a blueberry one.  It was light  and sweet and yet delivered a small punch.  Good for when you don’t want a heavy wine.  Easy to sip and hey, blueberries are very good for you.  There is a peppery taste too.  You don’t need food with this one.  Good for an early happy hour in the sun.


Nova Scotia is kind of the blueberry capitol of the world.  We export many.  Lots of healthy things grow here.  Another Lunenburg County company is doing well with the haskap berry which has many health properties.  They have lots of products.  Here is an interesting website about the features of the area.  I haven’t been to the haskap farm but it is LaHave Natural Farm in Lunenburg County and the haskap berry has great health properties.   I have tried a nice spicy chutney at a market  but it can be a jam and juice as well.  Here is what it looks like.  It has many anti-oxidants and is valued in Russia and Japan.  It is like a long blueberry.  They have a shop in Mahone Bay.


I love the sounds and the power of pounding water, whether it is the waves or a waterfall.
Read more at:

Further down the road I found Indian Falls.  As usual the sound of rushing water was a balm to my soul.  I took a short hike in this area and saw some wonderful sights.





On the way back there was a steep incline and after taking some photos  I wasn’t paying attention enough and almost didn’t grip the handrail on the way up.   There was even a sign warning about steep slopes and poor footing.  I hate to think what could have happened but am reminded of tragic tales of selfies gone wrong or just people trying to get that special shot.  When you are in this mode you are too creative and spacey and must become more aware of the details of your surroundings afterwards for your own safety before you move on.  Be sure to get out of photo mode before getting into hiking mode if the area is difficult to navigate.  There was even a sign warning about steep slopes and poor footing that I even took a picture of.



It’s hard to see but on the right side near the shore there is a bird that didn’t seem to notice me due to the noise of the water.


Wrap around root. Like a tree hug.



Another popular Canadian tea shop is David’s Tea where I get my loose leaf tea.  I especially like green tea such as Sencha, Genmaicha, Gyokuro Yamashiro or Dragonwell.  With tea or red wine some great accompaniments can be found at the Superstore.  Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds or Dark Chocolate, Pecan, Mango and Chili Flavour Bark.  Kind of healthy too.


As said don’t have this wine with dark chocolate as it is not heavy enough.  Maybe with light crackers and chutney and mellow cheese.  The haskap chutney may work well here.  There are lots of great things to eat and drink and see in Lunenburg County.




















Chinese Lanterns

A few years ago I found some of these beauties in the winter after they had lost most their orange Halloweenish look which they have after their green start.  Asia is not really a place for Halloween and these plants fit in better in their adopted home of North America  as they look a bit like hanging pumpkins.  A bit of east meets west.  They are indigenous to Eurasia but grow here too


A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows public opinion

Chinese Lantern Festival Quote




They are part of the nightshade family which includes tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.  The pod is OK but the other parts can be poisonous.  I didn’t know this.  They can be invasive but are very interesting looking  in all of their phases I think.  I later read that people dry them indoors hanging upside down.  The seeds are used in a Japanese festival to guide the deceased.

Some use them for floral decoration and say keeping them upright will preserve them.  You can cut the vein and it will curl up in interesting ways.  Mine sure didn’t stay the same after I brought them inside.  They were very futuristic.  It seemed like something alien may come out at any time.




Some pods had a seed and some didn’t.  I wonder why.


Is this your inner soul laid bare?  Is there hope for tomorrow or are you an empty shell of your former self?  We can be reborn again into a new life within this life if needed.  Start again when required.


A dark soul.


Empty souls going nowhere.


Into the light yet still veiled from the truth.


Final testing in the dark until an eventual chance at metamorphosis in the spring.



Oysters from Malpeque, Prince Edward Island on NYE.  This is a good place for oysters but these were not as juicy and luscious as some.  Perhaps I will find better for Valentine’s Day.  Also my favourite cheese that I only get for special occasions.  Canada has some pretty good cheese.


P1040096.JPG A beautiful January sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean.  Sunsets can be nice too and also stars proliferate with extra clear skies in the winter.  The truth can be seen.





Prince Edward Island Delights – Charlottetown




It’s hard to believe it has been three years since my last visit to this lovely island.  Before this I was going there every second year but many people I talk to go there every year.  It is just the thing to do and yet it is never too crowded and you can book quite last minute and do fine.

Charlottetown was named after the German born Queen Charlotte who was the consort of King George III.  Other places in North America like Charlotte, North Carolina are also named after her.  She was chosen as the wife for George as she was young and from a small town in Germany and would have no knowledge of politics or intrigue.  He told her not to meddle and she never did.  Some things don’t change.  She gave birth to 15 children.


  • Everyone admits that Union must take place sometime. I say now is the time. [At the Charlottetown Conference 1864] – Sir John A Macdonald
  • Canada was Born Here.”  Canada’s Birthplace
  • It’s an adventure in history, plus so much more.”

There was a time I thought that I may not go back there though.   On that occasion I went there and not long after arriving  some creepy cop stopped me and said that I had been driving over the speed limit.  I had missed the sign but the Trans Canada there goes from 90 to 60 for no good reason except for a few houses.  Where I live it is always 100 or more.  It is never 100 there and I suppose it should be part of its charm but on that day it was part of its harm and I didn’t stay too long that time.   It actually happened in a place called Crapaud which is pronounced Crap-o.  Beware of the crap there.

Still the draw was too strong and I eventually went back and enjoyed the land and especially Charlottetown.    This post focuses on that

I was happy with the choice of lodgings at the Banbridge Inn for once as there was no noise save some door slams.  People really need to think more about that when in public places.  I got to sit outside a few times on the porch or chairs provided.  There was even a muddy river behind us though we were technically in the city.  There were chairs there too but they were dew covered at night and early morning when I wanted to sit on them.


Out front there were more chairs and picnic tables and even barbecues and croquet.

The first morning was so warm and I sat outside and had an amazing coffee on the porch near the geraniums.  They get their coffee from Just Us which is in NS in Grand Pre.  I tried some tea which was also nice.  You can buy their products in many locations including major supermarkets but also in their cafes.

You could find lots of breakfast items in the self-serve kitchen like oatmeal and fruit and yogurt.  We bought muffins but hardly needed them.  I got to interact with the other guests and it reminded me of my travel days  at hostels.

As  like most of my trips there was a bit of serendipity.  I decided to drive through until Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick which is just before the bridge and has a nice Visitors’ Centre with restaurant and museum and viewing tower and beach and trails.  If only I’d had more time for the trails but I enjoyed what I saw.  Including a snake, rabbit and osprey nest.  You could walk up to a viewing platform and this is some of what I saw.  You can take a trail that goes under Confederation Bridge but I didn’t have time.


The snake.  I had to hurry to get this picture.


The rabbit who didn’t seem that afraid of me.  Sometimes the real trip is in the journey.  This was just a stop to eat my sandwich and use the “composting” facilities.  I had been here before but had not explored as much.  I was happy I checked it out.


There is an osprey nest here though it is hard to see.

Meanwhile there were other things to be seen in the museum.P1020611


I learned a very interesting bit of history here when I read how people used to cross from New Brunswick to PEI in the winter on the ice. It is a ten minute drive across the bridge now.  In this time if you paid the lesser fare you had to get out of the boat and help get it across.  Mail was one important thing transported on these boats.  It was a dangerous crossing of course.  I had no idea.


It was great to see Charlottetown again and on this trip that is all I had time for as I had booked two nights at the Jazz Festival.  There was time to roam about a bit and eat and that was about it.  It was all made so easy in this compact city with easy angled parking often free or at least on the off hours.  I love that there are so many cool old buildings made into wonderful places to shop, eat or drink.

I learned on this trip that in 1866 there was a “great fire” which blackened four city blocks, gutting a hundred buildings.  This led to brick being used for buildings and that is why we have so many of these wonderful structures creating lovely streetscapes, proving that good can come from bad.


There is also a lovely pedestrian area which is important for every city to have I think.


This is Victoria Row near Confederation Centre  of the Arts which has underground walkways and a museum where you can see plays and musicals.  It has a restaurant as well.  It’s all very central but the whole place is so walkable.   I have seen the Anne of Green Gables musical in the past and this time I saw Alice Through the Looking Glass which brought me back to my childhood.  They threw candies and toys on parachutes among other things.

I had a chance to walk in Victoria park and relax on its trails and then come out to a nice view of the harbour.  P1020646


In this city picture you can see people enjoying walking, boating and perhaps even see farm land beyond.  It is all so accessible and intertwined there.

I also took a tour of an old house with Americans mostly.  I find these places fascinating as they ooze the past and you wonder what things went on within their walls.  It was a very different time with large families living within such maze like spaces as well as the servants that worked for them.  There was always a bit of luxury mixed perhaps with tragedies of the time which may or may not have been documented it seems.  This is Beaconsfield Historical House.  Lots of fancy rooms and wallpaper and staircases as they had in those times with bland servants’ quarters in the back.

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On this trip I couldn’t stop going to the Pilot House for some reason.  I usually choose variety but was afraid to ruin a good thing.  I’ve heard there are cheaper oysters elsewhere but every time I tried to go to another place it didn’t work out so  I tried them here among many other luscious things.  They seem to get so much right.

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Both nights there I not only ate in the Pilot House but also went to the PEI Jazz and Blues Festival.  I enjoyed listening to Diana Panton and the Phil Dwyer Trio.  Both acts took place in an old church which really added to the ambience.

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Luckily Art in the Open was happening by chance that weekend.  This goes from 4 – midnight.  There are various installations around the city that looked even better lit up.   Some are interactive.  I saw a fortuneteller with a parrot and people were writing things on a wall seen below.  Look for the comment about Harper who was the prime minister at the time but lost by a landslide a few months later.   One woman told me people dressed up as crows and ran to the park later in the evening and I saw a few of these too.

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Also downtown is the lovely St. Dunstan’s Basilica.

See pictures below compliments of Google.  And in this divine moment this post comes to an end.