You know something about Ontario, the Province where I was born and raised, that I didn’t really know before?
So big, it’s bigger than Texas, y’all. One and a half times as big. Who knew?! Ok, probably lots of you fellow Canadians – but it was news to me!
So while one of us was biting at the bit to get home, the other was happy that the drive through Ontario was still going to take a couple days.
Because there’s some cool stuff to see in Ontario! Here’s a funny thing about Krista (me!) that some of you already know. I spent a year in Belgium and a year in China before I ever made it to Toronto for the first time. Toronto is 5-6 hours away from where I live.
So you can imagine how much of the rest of Ontario is a mystery to me.
Speaking of mysteries, did you know about this giant Volkswagen spider in Kenora, Ontario?
We stumbled upon it by accident! It’s in front of an auto shop. It manages to be beautiful, yet disturbing, classy with the top-hat, yet nitty gritty with the wrench, and confusing all the way! If you look closely, there’s a silver moose in the spider’s clutches, between his wrench and his broom-stick. Makes you wonder.
There’s lots of moose in Ontario. They’re on buildings, and signs, and in spider’s clutches. But do you think we saw a single moose?
No. We didn’t.
So you’ve probably already guessed who was the homesick one, but just in case there was any doubt, look at this guy after we crossed into the Eastern Standard Time zone:
We learned about the guy who invented the worldwide standard time zones, Sir Sandford Fleming. He was from Scotland but lived and died in Canada. He was a pretty accomplished guy!
We also visited the statue of another amazing Canadian, Terry Fox.
If you don’t know about him, read about this inspiring young man. Especially if you’re a runner! I didn’t think of it until then, but we could have done a tour of Canada going along the route that he ran. His run ended near this spot, where they erected the statue of him. It’s a powerful statue – you can see beads of sweat streaming down his face.
Once we hit Thunder Bay, Ontario, we drove and camped along Lake Superior. It was already a beautiful drive, but throw in the massive Lake Superior and it was even more so.
It’s not the best photo, but hopefully that just inspires you to see for yourself! 😉
We actually got the opportunity to camp almost right on Lake Superior. We were looking for a campground and had the option of an RV park with full hook-ups and wireless internet, or a Provincial park right on the water with no hookups or internet. We hadn’t had the internet in days and we were feeling the pull of that luxury, but something made us turn down the road that leads to the park anyway. Along the long dirt road to the gate of the park, we spotted a small furry animal on the side of the road up ahead. It was a lynx! It was small and had its butt in the air, getting ready to pounce on some poor unsuspecting creature in the grass. It leapt into the brush once it saw us, but we definitely got a good look at it and there was no doubt it was a lynx. I was dumbfounded. I really never thought I’d see a lynx in real life, ever (outside of a zoo of course). Earlier that day, a little black bear ran across the road in front of us. It was an exciting day for wildlife! I went from being tired and resigned to staying in a boring RV park to excited and energized about what other wildlife we might see. Once we took a look around the park and scoped out what campsites were available, we changed our minds and stayed there instead.
We were able to get a campsite right across from the water, with our own little path leading to the beach.
After setting up, we had some wine and cheese on the beach and watched the sunset.
After dinner, we sat out and had a fire. It was the perfect ending to a perfect evening.
The next day we continued our drive through Ontario. We stopped in Wawa, Ontario because Steve remembered that there was a giant goose there. I don’t know why there are so many giant things in Canada, but there are. You could do a tour of Canada, just seeing giant things. I’m not sure if that says something about our country. You tell me!
We were still following Lake Superior and its largeness was apparent (it’s the largest of the Great Lakes) – it was hard to tell where the water ended and the horizon began.
Steve’s fun fact: Lake Superior contains 10% of all the earth’s fresh surface water.
There’s a big Mennonite community in Ontario. They were easy to spot, with their all-blue attire, the women in bonnets, and the men with long bushy beards. But even if we hadn’t seen them, we would have known their presence. In the same way that even though I didn’t see any moose, I knew they were around:
I think I found my new favourite crossing sign.
We spent close to an hour navigating Sudbury, Ontario looking for their giant nickel – they mine nickel there. Steve saw it as a kid but I’ve never seen it and probably never will now. We gave up, feeling the pull of Steve’s family cottage, which was where we were due to arrive that evening.
This is what awaited us:
The first couple of days at the cottage, we visited with Steve’s family. The aunt and uncle in the photo above are the same aunt and uncle we stayed with at the beginning of the trip, Joan and Larry. It was a great way to round out the trip, seeing them at the beginning and the end 🙂 We had to be back that week because Steve’s brother, Richard was getting married, and especially since Steve was one of the groomsmen. But it worked out well that we got there early in the week so that we could spend quality time with them all before the Big Day.
Steve’s parents packed up and left the cottage to Richard and some of Richard’s friends for the second half of the week. We stayed in Amelia in the driveway but hung out with them at the cottage. It was a lovely week of canoeing, fishing, eating breakfast looking out on the water, sitting out at campfires and eating S’mores and Smokies (have you heard of Smokies? I hadn’t! They are dangerously delicious at a campfire), and getting to know Richard’s friends.
Did you know that loons have beady little red eyes? I’d been photographing this sleepy guy for hours, waiting for him to wake up and show his face and then when he finally did – eek – beady red eye looking back at me. Creepy. We could hear the loons’ plaintive calls at night, since we were in Amelia. I’ve always thought that a loon’s voice is a beautiful, but sad sound.
The wedding was held at a lovely resort, not far from the cottage. It was a gorgeous, though blustery day and the couple radiated love.
And I got to see my man all dolled up and looking dashing.
It didn’t occur to me until the end of the evening, after we’d been dancing and got all sweaty, to get a photo of both Steve and I. Steve’s dad took a photo of the two of us all cleaned up and hopefully not looking like we’d just spent the past three months living in a van…
In case you’re curious, and because I’m pretty pleased how it turned out and want to show off, this is how I did my hair:
It’s being held together by a wing and a prayer (or hymn and a prayer, which is what I said originally and then was corrected by Steve – that one’s for you Jenny, and whoever else enjoys my tendency to mess up sayings). I just folded it all in around itself. There’s four bobby pins holding the shorter pieces in place, but that’s it!
The day after the wedding, we left for home. It was a long, difficult drive in hard down-pour rain that caused us to pull over several times and wait. But we made it! And our sweet little kitten-now-full-grown-cat came running to the door all purrs and head butts and we couldn’t believe we’d been without his sweet face for three months.
So, dear readers, the cross-continent journey has come to an end. I still have at least one more blog post in the works, so stay tuned for that. Like I said, I’ll drag it out for as long as possible! 😉 So no goodbyes just yet. Just goodnight!