It’s a good year to do a road trip across Canada. It’s the sesquicentennial, the 150th birthday of the country. In fact, today is Canada Day! Happy Canada Day!
Since we started our cross-Canadian road trip a month ago, Bruno and I have seen tons of evidence of Canada’s big birthday, from giant signs on buildings to merchandise being sold in tourist shops. We were recently in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, where they were gearing up for their biggest Canada Day celebration yet, with expected crowds of over 500,000 people. I was tempted to stick around for the festivities, but instead took pity on poor Bruno and his fear of crowds and cities.
This month, Bruno and I have traveled through three Canadian provinces – Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. Although I had already been to both Saskatchewan and Ontario, the route we chose was entirely new to both of us. We emerged into Canada at Grasslands National Park, visited Saskatchewan’s provincial capital, Regina, and then spend several days in Manitoba’s Riding Mountain National Park before stopping by Manitoba’s own capital, Winnipeg. In Ontario, we traveled along the coast of the massive Lake Superior, skirted the tip of Lake Huron, and then headed eastward toward Ottawa. We are ending the month just before the border of Quebec province.
This is a lot of kilometers! Canada is really rather massive! Between driving and visiting, we haven’t had a whole lot of time to work on our bus, which was something we’d been hoping to do this month. We did manage to accomplish the following this month:
– install kitchen cabinet locks (they work perfectly and we’re so, so happy with them!)
– build ourselves a shoe rack
– finish the bookshelf (love it!)
– install a carbon monoxide detector
– upgrade our converter and add two electric sockets to the walls
– install a third solar panel to the roof (after traveling through Ontario’s almost endless grey, rainy skies, we realized we didn’t have enough wattage)This list may look impressive, but it actually only amounts to only about 3 days of work. What we realized is that it’s not very practical to live inside our bus while working on it – we make a giant mess, and setting up and cleaning up takes a long time. Looks like we’re going to need to settle down somewhere for a month or two down the line to properly finish Big Blue!
I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences in central Canada, but will save the stories for a couple of upcoming posts. Stay tuned!
KMs driven: 3,712km. Another heavy driving month! Honestly, it’s been sort of exhausting, and we’ve felt like we’re always behind the wheel and transiting through places, which isn’t the way we enjoy traveling. That’s what happens when you have a date with family on the other end of the continent! Hopefully we’ll slow down next month.
Provinces Visited: 3; Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario
National Parks Visited: 2; Grasslands N.P. (Saskatchewan) and Riding Mountain N.P. (Manitoba)
1) Picnic Lake, White River, Ontario (48.607720, -85.264030): This quiet parking on a little peninsula along a lake was beautiful and peaceful. While we might not have enjoyed the 120 mosquitoes that managed to get inside our bus that night, we did appreciate seeing a gorgeous sunrise after being awoken by their buzzing!
2) Terrace Beach Bay and Marina, Terrace Bay, Ontario: The municipality allows free overnight parking at their beach. Very pretty sand beach along Lake Superior with a waterfall flowing into the lake.
1) Nipigon Township Marina & Campground, Nipigon, Ontario (49.0094, -88.2575): Not technically free, but the municipality’s position is that if there’s no employee there to collect $17, then it’s free. We stayed two nights and never saw an employee.
2) Montreal Soaring Club, Hawkesbury, Ontario (45.616800, -74.646950). Overlanders can camp here free for a night or two because a member of the association is an overlander and wants to give back to our community. Yay!
Highlights This Month:
The overall highlight has just been traveling through new parts of Canada and therefore getting to know my own country and to share it with Bruno.
More specifically, a few days ago, I celebrated my 33rd birthday in Ottawa. I had lived there back in 2010-11 and so really enjoyed showing Bruno around, getting happily nostalgic about places I used to frequent, and sharing a special dinner with old friends.
On the Cards Next Month:
In July, we plan to drive less (haha!) and to enjoy spending more time in each place. We will spend most of the month in the province of Quebec, where we will visit La Mauricie National Park, do some whale-watching in the Saguenay region, and cross into the Gaspé Peninsula.
At the end of the month, we will enter my home province of New Brunswick to meet up with both my family and Bruno’s. We’ll take off for Nova’s Scotia, where we will be doing a 10-day 3-RV trip! The summer promises to be jam-packed with wonderful places and experiences, so I’m guessing we won’t find much time for bus renovations!