Our emigration plans were settled, the house was sold, the furniture loaded into a container – all we had to do now was to travel across Canada and over the big water to Australia. How best to take advantage of this opportunity for yet another adventure?
A rented motor home for 5, a cross-country road trip and a destination of Vancouver with some sightseeing on the way – that was our grand plan. We were off to our new home in Australia some 15,500 kilometers away. We traveled in a vehicle similar to the one in the picture. Somehow all the pictures of this trip have disappeared, but I might know who has them! This chronology of our journey was taken from diary notes compiled during the trip.
We left Mississauga on 26th of June, 1990 driving our rented motor-home heading out through central and northern Ontario. Passing through some wonderful scenery and small towns on the way on our first day we made it Kama Bay along the Lake Superior circle route.
This lake is the largest body of freshwater in North America and driving along you are offered fantastic views of the lake, streams, waterfalls, some wildlife and colorful rock cuts as you pass the rugged shoreline. We stopped overnight in Espanola, Ontario.
Day 2 – It was another long days drive to Wawa, Ontario where we came upon the iconic Wawa Goose that overlooks Lake Superior. It is an all steel replica that was built-in 1960 to commemorate the completion of this section of the trans-Canada highway. Wawa is a Ojibwa Indian word for wild goose and this area is a busy fly-way for the magnificent migratory Canada goose.
We enjoyed some stops, rest breaks and treats as we made our way every westward. As we drove along the highway signs indicated that Moose were on the roads and a night hazard – that we found humorous.
Day 3 – After an overnight stop we were onto White River that is claimed to be the coldest spot in Canada. At one of our stops the black flies were out in force and my daughter got her fair share of bits that needed ointment. We saw some deer running across the highway that thrilled everyone.
At Thunder Bay we passed the Terry Fox Memorial dedicated to a young Canadian cancer patient who with one leg was on his marathon-of-hope when, at 3,339 miles, he had to cancel his en-devour due to recurrent cancer. The skies opened up and the rain poured down as we passed this point.
As a Mountie I had been in Newfoundland when he began his journey and I was in Coquitlam, BC when he was laid to rest in his home town so this memorial held special meaning for me.
Somewhere between Thunder Bay and Kenora, Ontario (a 15 hour drive) we stopped a Ignace, Ontario for dinner and were fleeced.
Day 4 – It was on through the Lake of the Woods area that is a wildlife haven. We saw deer on two occasions. We also stopped 20 km west of Dryden at Egli’s Sheep Farm to give the kids a taste of what they will see in Australia – lots of sheep.
Then it was out of the Province of Ontario and into Manitoba. Here we ended the forest scenery of white birch and oak trees and entered the beginning of the prairie provinces. The kids remarked that it is boring with the land being flat, not like Northern Ontario. We experienced a beaver dam at Whiteshell Provincial Park and stopped for a break at Beausejour, Manitoba where a good RCMP friend of mine had gotten married and I was best man year before. We did a tour of the city of Winnipeg, home of the Assiniboine First Nation people. Apparently there were lots of drunks noticed on the way.
Day 5 – We checked out Portage le Prairie and I showed the kids where I had been stationed in the RCMP. It was considered to be in the heart of the rich central plains farmlands. We continued our motoring and headed to Brandon and checked out the Commonwealth Air Training Plane Museum that had been set up to train British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand aircrews during WWII between 1940 and 1945. Some interesting history here. It was then onword through the rest of Manitoba and onto Saskatchewan.