Posted by: James Shannon | November 1, 2010

Welcome to Northern Ontario: It’s Eighty Billion Miles Across, And Maybe Twelve People Live There

After a weekend filled with visiting with extended family, I’m back at ‘er, ready to finish off the picture/video posts on the Cross Canada trip.  Following this, as promised, there will be material covering my extended three week stay here in Nova Scotia (seems like forever considering the amount of time I spent in places on my road trip!).

In one week, I hit the road again, heading to Vancouver to touch my 8th province in my exploration of my home country, and then 2 days later, I leave this continent behind for the first time in my life, as I make for Thailand and SE Asia!

But let’s get back to the Cross Canada journey, shall we?

Monday dawned clear and bright, and after a wholesome and delicious breakfast cooked by Steve (thanks again bud!), Abed and I hit the road for the land of Spirited Energy, Manitoba.  Took longer than I thought, due to the static sameness of the Prairies.  After entering Manitoba, it was a quick jump down a collector highway from the Yellowhead (Hwy 16) to the Trans-Canada (Hwy 1).

road trip, ironicAbed being ironic; can you spot how?

After fuelling up in Virden (where the above pic is from), we hightailed it for the Ontario border, skipping Winnipeg entirely.  Maybe next time.  After 2 1/2 days of nothing but pancake land, we saw trees. Together en masse.  And then some granite rocks.  Soon there was nothing but bedrock everywhere, as we had suddenly entered the Canadian Shield.  Eventually we hit the border, the last one I would see for almost a week…

Ontario, road tripThis is the province that doesn’t end.  It goes on and on my friend…

Manitoba, road tripWhere we were … bye bye Prairies!


Beyond the border, we were on a mission: to get to Thunder Bay.  No fooling around.  After another 14-15 hour day behind the wheel and two time zone changes (not in our favour, such it is when driving East).  Not alot of time for pics on this day…

Subway, road trip, Dryden, OntarioAfter dinner @ Subway in Dryden, Ontario … can you believe we had 4 more hours of driving after this??

Ontario, Northern Ontario, road trip, nature's callIn the middle of nowhere in Northern Ontario after answering Nature’s call; so still and peaceful on this night…


The next day introduced me to something I’d not felt in a while: damp coldness!  Starting to get into more aqueous areas of the continent finally!  As we drove through the shield, we were treated to many great sights, such as these:

Terry Fox Memorial, Terry Fox, Thunder Bay, Ontario, memorials, road tripTerry Fox Memorial, outside Thunder Bay

Sleeping Giant, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Lake Superior, road tripSunbeams dance across Lake Superior in front of a spectacular view of the Sleeping Giant

Northern Ontario, Canadian Shield, Ontario, road tripTypical road view driving through the Shield; beautiful granite hills everywhere

Old Woman's Bay, Lake Superior, Lake Superior Provincial Park, beach, beaches, road trip, Canada, OntarioOld Woman’s Bay in Lake Superior Provincial Park: simply stunning!

Old Woman's Bay, Lake Superior, Lake Superior Provincial Park, beach, beaches, road trip, Canada, OntarioTouched one of the Great Lakes – one major body of water down, three to go (Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic)

After finally leaving Lake Superior behind after driving around it for 6 hours, we pulled in for gas … but ran into something a little more campy than I expected …

kitsch, cheesy, creepy, souvenirs, Ontario, CanadaCool in a creepy/kitschy kinda way…

If you think you may have seen this place before but you can’t quite place it, it’s likely because you saw on a popular Canadian travel show Departures (seriously, watch this show; it’s on OLN in Canada, and on the National Geographic Channel worldwide).  A bit much, but I might buy something from here when I pass through next time.

Following this, the pic taking stopped, as darkness fell, a serious push was made for Hamilton, which subsequently fell short when The Blue Rocket’s alternator went to Poopstown on the express train, just outside Parry Sound, Ontario.

Tomorrow, I go over my very enjoyable stay in the Golden Horseshoe, thanks to my gracious car-mate turned host!


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