For the next four days, I will be preparing for and researching our nearly 5,000 km cross-Canada tour. Well, almost 5 thousand km – if we DON’T sidetrack to look at anything – which you know we will!
…And not quite the whole way across Canada – but much of it!
Sometimes, having done this trip more than 20x before, I just head out – a few pairs of clean underwear in hand and no other plan. I have even done this expedition without money – or transportation!
I was the first of my friends to make my way across the Trans-Canada Highway in the mid 1980’s, and have now done the long voyage more than anyone I know – excluding a few long-haul trucker acquaintances. Not bad for a non-driver.
I have hitch-hiked (I do not recommend this), bussed, flown (doesn’t count!), driven and caravan-ed across the country – usually without a plan, or money. No reservations, no objective, no back up.
This time is different. This should be my last tour across the country. As such, it is special to me.
Usually, I make this trip in about 4 days. That is a lot of driving without stopping. We will be doubling that this time, reserving 8 or more days, which leaves us lots of time to take in some Canadian history along the way.
So, this time – I will prepare! And of course I plan to share those preparations with you.
Step one? Research online. Find the historical sites of each province we pass through and see if any are located within a relatively short distance from the Trans Canada.
I am interested in all kinds of history, but am guilty of liking to actually ‘look’ at something. I do have some pre-requisites that need to be in place in order to be drawn somewhere;
- Does ‘it’ represent something significant historically/societal-ly/environmentally? As much as I am a fan of giant nickels or sausages, I am not going to intentionally drive just to see one.
- Is it close to the Trans-Canada? We are already driving almost 5,000 km. If a site is more than 3 hours from the Trans-Canada that equals another whole day of driving when you include returning to the main highway. So sites we visit need to be 3 hours (or less) off of the main highway – for this tour at least.
- Does it have something physically to look at (more than just an honorary/memorial plaque preferably)? I hate to be ‘discriminatory’ in this manner (because I know I am missing some important locations), but if I am making a long trek to see something – I want to actually SEE something. Even the smallest remnant will make me happy, but I am apt to feel disappointed if all that remains of an important historic site is a field – and I am speaking from experience.
How long will this research take me? Certainly the rest of today and I have much more to do, so I had better get on it!
If you have a suggestion, or would like to see a particular place photographed and researched (and it fits into the above prerequisites), let me know! Some of the best adventures come by suggestion.
- National Historic Sites Ontario (Wikipedia)
- List of National Historic Sites Saskatchewan (Wikipedia)
- List of National Historic Sites Manitoba (Wikipedia)
- Historic Sites Listing Alberta (culture.alberta.ca)