This is a continuation of the second part of my blog entry about my quest for the west, you might read a few things that repeat from previous entries or you might not I really don’t know yet.
The second reason was the need for adventure. I have always been one to choose the rockier road when it comes to choices in my life on where and how to live. I can not say I’ve chosen anything exotic mind you but the choices were substantial just the same. I do get bored easily, not so much with the people I know or the job I am at so much as the place I’m living in. I imagine that if I fell in love again and stayed with them I might be content to live out the rest of my days in Small Town, Canada but until then I’m a wanderer.
In 1989, I went off to college in Barrie, Ontario leaving a small town behind, this was immediately following a summer in which I worked up at a resort near Parry Sound, Ontario. I left college in 1990 and went back to the small town until opportunity knocked in Brampton, Ontario. I moved there, lived there for several years, until I met my ex and after a six-month struggle with the U.S. government moved to Ohio. I lived in about four different suburban towns in Ohio for almost nine years. When I separated, I moved back to Ontario and ended up in Owen Sound briefly. I found a job in Kincardine for a few years. I left that company and I decided to go to Hanover to run my business. When that went under I moved to Inverhuron until I accepted a job up north in Baker Lake and Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. I was up there almost a year and then returned to Inverhuron where I spent almost another year before deciding to pack up and leave for the coast. In total, city to city, town to town, I have lived in about fifteen communities and moved about twenty-five times since age 18.
I have seen more of this country in the last fifteen years than most people I know have ever seen in their entire lives. Sure, some people have traveled outside North America to places like Europe and the Caribbean, Asia, the Pacific and Africa but I’m betting a lot of those people haven’t even seen half of what Canada has to offer. I don’t consider flying from Calgary to Las Vegas and back to Calgary to be counted as “worldly” any more than going by plane from Toronto to Vancouver and back would be.
I’m talking ground travel, road, rail, travel where you “see” the country or the landscape as more than just patchwork quilting below the clouds. I concede that if that is my standard then I can’t really consider my trip up to Baker Lake, Nunavut to be traveling in a worldly fashion however I will add the exception that when no roads are available and the only means of travel is by plane then it counts. And, while I lived up in Nunavut I did take the opportunity to ride a quad out onto the land a couple times to explore the otherworldly landscape of the tundra.
Getting back to seeing Canada, you will have read in a previous blog that I stopped at many cities across the country when I drove out here back in 2013. I remember many of the things I saw while driving the roadways that you just can not possibly see from the air. The landmarks I visited included the world’s largest coin, the nickel, in Sudbury. I think I might have been near the worlds largest Canada goose in Wawa Ontario but I can’t confirm it. I did see the world’s biggest egg, in Vegreville, Alberta, a monument to the Ukrainian settlers in the region which for some reason was not on the Reader’s Digest listing that I could tell. In Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan I found the tallest border markers in Canada that, geographically, do not actually mark the true border between the two provinces. Since moving here to Alberta I only recently went down to Drumheller and visited the world’s largest dinosaur.
I did see monuments to the Toonie and Loonie in Ontario but they weren’t really that big and I count Big Bruce in Chesley on the list even though I didn’t see him while driving west. And if we extend the list to trips across Canada then the big beach chairs in Kincardine are a well known tourist attraction, along with a famous inuksuk monument built just outside of Baker Lake, Nunavut. I vaguely recall a giant Muskoka chair outside a business near Neustadt, Ontario and in Vancouver there was a building in the harbourfront with grass instead of shingles. I have been up the CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario, a couple times when it was still the tallest freestanding structure in the world, since then I think it has slipped down to something like fifth place? For naturally occurring monuments we can include the Rocky Mountains range, the Hoodoos near Drumheller, Alberta, the caves around southern Georgian Bay, a sulfur bog near Durham, Ontario, a magnetic hill near Brampton, Ontario and the mysterious striped hills near Caledon, Ontario.
And then there are the things that aren’t monumental in size but certainly in local and national history. I visited museums and provincial legislatures in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The museums covered everything from art, to geography to local history. The legislatures added three more to my list having seen the Ontario one back when I was in school.
To be continued…
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