Prepping to Cross Canada

The Trans Canada Highway

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.

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16 responses to “Prepping to Cross Canada

    • Thanks John! I am excited too – this time will be quite different than the others – usually I am just in a hurry to get across! Looks like there is a whole ghost town highway in Saskatchewan that we are planning to drive – cool! 😀


        • Well, it drags a bit in the middle through the 3 prairie provinces – actually most Canadians tell us to take the American route! Faster & more interesting – more to see. But I still appreciate the drive – & this time I will actually be intentionally visiting some sites! 😛 Yes – bringing family here actually, John – at long last!


  1. This sounds very exciting! Congratulations! Are you going by yourself or with others? Since you suggest you’ve been this way before, are there any sights you want to see again? Sorry if you’ve already answered these questions, I’ve been a bit out of town myself!


    • Well, the husband & I fly in to Toronto, and are driving back with my parents! This will actually be the first family tour across Canada that I have done, now that I think about it!

      Honestly, I have never planned to see any sites on any of the tours I have taken across in the past. Anything that I came across was purely random.

      The things that stick out in my head are ridiculous – a gas station rest stop in the prairies that remembers me every time I cross (& they pulled me out of a bit of trouble once too), is probably my favourite!

      This time will be very different from the previous random style tours I have taken. This time, I am looking for history! 😀


    • Thanks Sue :). Well, I am finally bringing my parents here & that will be the last of my family in Ontario – so other than the trip I plan to do from Toronto to the furthest reaches of the east coast (which we will fly into Toronto to do), YES I do suspect this will be our last drive across Canada. I am running out of things to look at along the route!! LOL. But in all seriousness, you never know what the future will bring. I just know that it costs about the same to tour Canada as it does to fly to England & head out through Europe…. And I still have much more to see in Europe!


  2. Have fun! I still have my journal from the 6-day trip I took with my Dad from Toronto to Vancouver when I was 16. In it I have recorded all kinds of fascinating details such as the price of gas in various places. That was my first trip across by car (I had already done it by plane and train). I have also driven from Toronto east to Nova Scotia, twice, and across the United States from New York to California, and from Toronto to Florida. I love road trips and I hope my children can experience one someday.


    • Oh wow – what a treasure to still have your journal from the trip! I love that!

      That is one thing I have not yet done – headed east to Nova Scotia. I have not been past Quebec, actually! That is a future plan, for sure.

      I too LOVE road trips (obviously) – nice to meet a kindred spirit! I know my kid (20 yrs old now) was EXCELLENT on road trips – it was one of the few times she was PERFECTLY behaved! LOL…


    • O gee – I have never even heard of that – writing it down! Thank you.

      I too am most excited for the ghost town highway – I hope there are some sites left to view along the route!

      Thank you 😀


  3. I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to go off the beaten track just to see a giant sausage! Seriously though, this trip will be amazing and I’m looking forward to seeing Canada through your lens.


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