Sure, we’ve been stopping to explore here and there, but it sure drives home the fact that Ontario is a big, big province. Quebec to Manitoba, from border to border, it’s more than 2,000 km. The route is lined with rocks, trees, lakes, rivers and more rocks and trees combining to create breath-taking scenery. Much as it reminds us of Group of Seven paintings, there’s lots more to see besides the landscape.
In Parry Sound, we climbed a former fire watchtower and took in the view from 10 stories up. In Sudbury, we took pictures of the famous Big Nickel then we went down into a mine at Dynamic Earth. The tour showcases the evolution of mining since the late 1800s. Early minors strapped candles to their leather hats to be able to see underground. Safety was not much of a concern.
At Sault-Ste-Marie we looked across the St. Marys River to the U.S. The river is all rapids here as it carries the waters of Lake Superior, 10 percent of the Earth’s fresh water, into Lake Huron, 23 feet below. We stopped at the old locks first opened in 1895. They were refurbished in the 1990s and now convey pleasure crafts between the two lakes. Four commercial locks operate on the American side for commercial traffic.
While in Lake Superior Provincial Park, we walked a steep stony trail down to the shore of Lake Superior. Once there, if you dare to cross the slick, sloping rocks at the base of the cliff, you can see pictographs that were drawn by the Ojibwe people up to 400 years ago.
Northern Ontario seems to revel in weird and wonderful monuments and statues. White River has a statue of Winnie the Pooh. It’s the town where Harry Colebourn bought the famous bear cub on his way overseas to fight in WWI.
We stopped at the iconic Terry Fox monument east of Thunder Bay, a must-do for me as my father ran with Terry Fox for a couple of days east of Québec Ctiy.
At Kakabeca Falls, west of the city, we took in the magnificent waterfall sometimes called the Niagara of the north. And we still had 500km to go.
Beyond Thunder Bay, we discovered the whimsical side of the people of Northern Ontario. It begins with the famous Canada goose in Wawa. He was far more impressive than I expected.
The tiny hamlet of Ignace has a mosquito large enough to carry off a full-grown man. Dryden has Maximillian the moose and Kenora has Husky the muskie.
Yes, seven days in, we’re still in Ontario but there’s just so much to see.