The Great Canadian Road Trip

The Great Canadian Road Trip

Posted on March 27 by admin
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Today’s guest blog post is by Mark Richardson, author of the very soon to be released Canada’s Road. Mark is the former automotive editor of the Toronto Star and is the author of Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. He lives in Cobourg, Ontario.


Spring’s here, and this week I’m off on my first road trip of the season, down to New York City from my home near Toronto. People are still asking, though, about the road trip I took last summer that stretched right across Canada – I drove the length of the Trans-Canada Highway, from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Victoria, British Columbia. And since I drove out to Newfoundland to start the journey, and then drove home from B.C. at the end of it, the whole adventure covered almost 30,000 km. This helps explain the comment from my wife when I said I’d be hitting the road again this week to get to New York: “Aren’t you sick of driving?” she asked. “Don’t you want to just take a plane?”

No, not if there’s the time to stay on the ground. Road trips put travel into perspective and that’s why I drove across the country last year. The Trans-Canada Highway was opened 50 years ago, on the same day that I was born, and it’s something that connects Canada in a far more physical way than a bunch of flight paths or television signals. I wanted to meet the people who live along it and find out if the highway kept its promise as a link across the nation. Most of all, I just wanted to see the country.

There were some wonderful stretches, too. People always mention the grandeur of the Rockies and the beauty of Lake Superior’s north shore – and they are very grand and beautiful – but I slowed down and discovered something new every day. The enormous prairies, even more limitless with the top down on the Camaro as I sped west with my son; the fascinating rock of Newfoundland and its relentless rain, huddled in the car with the roof up; the people, English and French and everything else, using the highway to get to the store or get to the ocean. It was three months of exploration.

I’ll drive less this year. That’s really too bad, but the Trans-Canada Highway will always be there.