In the ‘Soo’. Where are you?

Today I drove from Thunder Bay on the North-Western shore of Lake Superior to Sault Ste. Marie which sits near the US border at the meeting point of Lakes Superior, Huron, and Michigan. The 700km drive took about 8 hours (figuring in stops and slow-downs) and a little less than a single tank of gas from my peppy 2001 Volvo S40. Along the way I stopped 3 times – once to visit the Terry Fox Memorial (more on this below), once for some A& W fries (my favorite fast-food fry), and another time to slurp down a Timmy-Hos Iced Cap and take a photo of a gigantic steel Canada goose (why not, eh?). Here are three photos and the stories behind them.

Terry Fox Monument – Thunder Bay, ON

The Terry Fox monument outside of Thunder Bay, ON was a stand-out moment on the long and winding road across Canada. I was reminded to stop there by the owners of the bed and breakfast in which I had stayed the night before and I decided to take a look. I could not have anticipated how emotional the experience would prove as I strolled down a leafy tree-lined avenue and spotted the statue perched on a hill over looking Lake Superior. For those of you who do not know (i.e. non-Canadians), Terry Fox set out in 1980 to run from Newfoundland to Coastal British Columbia to raise money and awareness for cancer. His “Marathon of Hope” (named so because he ran on-average a full marathon each day) ended after 143 days when the bone cancer that had claimed his leg 3 years earlier forced him to stop running and ultimately ended his life at only 22 years of age. Born and raised in Port Coquitlam, Terry Fox is a particularly inspiring British Columbian whose incredible strength and courage has always been a humbling source of pride for me. Visiting the spot where his run ended was a touching experience and I suggest that all Canadians should do so as a way of honouring one of our greatest national heroes.

After we left Thunder Bay, Barty (my life-companion) insisted on driving for a while. I made him return to shotgun after he kept pulling over to chase moose and search for berries in the woods.

This is a gigantic steel Canada Goose that sits near the HWY 17 exit to the town of Wawa. Everything about that sentence is funny. Really, who names their town Wawa. That aside, I got out to get an Iced Cap and was proposed to in the parking lot of a Tim Hortons because, and I quote, “you are really tall and you have a guitar in your car… I think I am in love.” I declined the proposal (don’t worry, Dad) and made my way out of town. Pausing only to reflect on the possibility of quitting this whole PhD business for life in rural Ontario with a gigantic Canada Goose keeping watch. It was a very brief pause.

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