It was the summer of 1999 and the Sandaus decided to take a road trip vacation across this great country of ours. We started in Calgary and meandered our way to Hull, Quebec to visit relatives. The participants were mom and dad and two daughters aged four and two. We had a large laminated road map with us to help the girls understand the huge undertaking we were about to embark on. Several gruelling days of driving across the country via the Trans-Canada Highway. The first stop was Regina to visit with family and see a Roughrider game. The travel day included stops at various playgrounds along the way to keep the young passengers happy and to help them expend a little energy throughout the day. Medicine Hat and Swift Current should be commended for their great parks. The last park we visited had the world’s largest moose statue in Moose Jaw.
Day 2 of travel started early and was uneventful, flat, and straight driving to Winnipeg. A quick lunch and back on the road with a quick stop in Ste Anne’s for another swing ride for the ladies. We arrived in Kenora at dinner time and decided to eat at an interesting local eatery. Low and behold it was being operated by an owner of a Calgary restaurant we frequented. Food, drinks, and laughter a plenty and we did not make our final destination of the day and decided to spend the night in Kenora with our newest best friends.
The third day was dissimilar to the last as the Canadian Shield landscape dominated the scenery outside of the minivan windows. The road turned from straight to hilly and full of cornering adventures. Lake Superior was seen off and on throughout the day. A few stops throughout the day for pictures to capture the beautiful vista views of the Great Lake.
Day 4 was the continuation of our travels around Lake Superior. Now we have a firsthand reference why they are called Great Lakes. Two travel days to travel around one lake. On the way home we have already decided to catch a ferry to try and cut the travel time on our homeward march. We end our day in Strurgeon Falls to visit my wife’s family. Reacquainting and initial introductions to this Ontario family were engaging. Historical family stories were shared. The vegetable gardens that can be grown in Southern Ontario make a prairie boy jealous. The variety of items that are planted in my home garden pale in comparison to the variety in Southern Ontario. Ripe tomatoes in July, peppers, and full grown sunflowers were some of the items that were ready to eat and savour in the middle of the growing season.
Day 5 of travel has us passing through Toronto and taking a small side trip to Niagara Falls. This side trip did not disappoint. A ride on the Maid of the Mist along with standing at the foot of the falls puts this wonder of the world in perspective.
Last day of travel and we arrive in Hull. Five days of travel, 3 provinces, and 3500 kilometers later friendly faces greet us and ask if we would embark on this journey again. Of course our answer is YES.
Craig S – INLIV