By Toronto Star Writers and Contributors
Road trips are the perfect way to see Canada, and our new ebook, White Line Fever: Ten Awesome Canadian Road Trips, provides all the inspiration you need to create your own this summer! From the sands of Prince Edward Island to the heights of the Rocky Mountains, and from the shores of Nova Scotia to the vast landscapes of Nunavut, these ten pieces from Toronto Star writers and contributors take the reader on astonishing drives throughout our great country, vividly evoking the romance of the highway.
Single copies of Star Dispatches eReads can be purchased for $2.99 at starstore.ca or itunes.ca/stardispatches
White Line Fever: Ten Awesome Canadian Road Trips
I’m about 30 minutes out of Kenora on the Trans-Canada Highway, heading west towards Winnipeg, and I’m confused. Did we miss that “magical” transition? I’m on a road trip across Canada and back through the United States, heading first to Prince Albert, in northern Saskatchewan, for a cousin’s wedding. From there our group of three will go on to Edmonton and Jasper, drive south through Banff and Calgary to Montana, then back east to Toronto, stopping at Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park (where we’ll end up at the centre of a buffalo stampede).
I’ve planned carefully, with 12 hotels booked for this 15-day, 9,000-kilometre drive that will become my all-time favourite vacation. The trip is particularly poignant as one of my travel companions, Tara, will die of cancer two years later, at an unforgivably young age. My father, a truck driver with plenty of road travel throughout most of North America, has helped me plan the route and itinerary. But he wasn’t the only person recommending we pay close attention to a special moment when the landscape changes in a flash, the flatness of the Prairies suddenly before you. “It’s like passing through a curtain,” says another friend before our departure, estimating that it happens about 20 minutes west of Kenora. Before that, you’re driving through the Canadian Shield.
None of us has ever seen this part of Canada, so we have no idea what to expect. The land flattens, but there are trees on either side of the highway. More time passes, so we figure we’ve missed it. We all relax. It’s a perfect summer evening anyway, getting close to sunset. The windows are open and we are blasting one of the discs from Oh What a Feeling: A Vital Collection of Canadian Music, a 4-CD box set released in 1996 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Juno Awards.
Without warning, in the blink of an eye, the broad expanse of the open prairie lies before us. It’s so completely different, we look at each other in absolute astonishment. “What just happened?” I blurt out. It quickly dawns on us that our sources were correct in every sense, except the distance to reach the spot. The difference is so stark and sudden it is like being beamed onto another planet.