Toronto to Vancouver by car, part 1

March 10, 2018  •  8 Comments

On June 17th, Ralph, Katie and I left Brampton and drove 4000 km to Vancouver British Columbia, driving on the Trans Canada Highway.   The driving distance was approximately 2,841 miles and took us a total of 16 days.   We drove through Ontario staying in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Wawa, Thunder Bay and Kenora.  Leaving Ontario we drove through Manitoba staying in Brandon with a short stop in Winnipeg.  Then we drove though Sasksatchewan staying in Regina.  We spent quite a few days in Alberta, staying in Medicine Hat, 3 Hills and Canmore.  Finally we arrived in BC staying in Golden and Revelstoke before arriving in Vancouver where we spent just over two months.

Toronto to Vancouver (1 of 102)Toronto to Vancouver (1 of 102)

Our first stop on the route was Perry Sound,  a popular cottage country region for Southern Ontario.    Perry Sound, Ontario is located on the eastern shore of Parry Sound.  The area also has the world's deepest natural freshwater port.    I actually went to a summer camp near Parry Sound but of course I didn't recognize the town at all.    We drove up to Tower Hill where I climbed up 117 steps to get this view overlooking the downtown area.  It was a very grey and coolish day but it was still a nice view.  

Toronto to Vancouver (2 of 102)Toronto to Vancouver (2 of 102)

Katie and Ralph posing in front of the Big Nickel (a replica of a 1951 Canadian nickel) in Sudbury, Ontario.   The Ojibwe people of the Algonquin group inhabited the area for thousands of years prior to the founding of Sudbury following the discover of nickel ore in 1883 during the construction of the transcontinental  railway.   I had been to Sudbury in the 1980's  for a bridge tournament and had not been back since.   At one time, Sudbury was a major lumber centre and a world leader in nickel mining.  

Toronto to Vancouver (1 of 1)Toronto to Vancouver (1 of 1)

We stayed in Sault Ste. Marie for a night and enjoyed meeting friends whom we had not seen in years.   We had lots of great memories of the Sault as we had come to a few bridge tournaments in this city.  Algoma Steel is  fully integrated steel producer based in Sault Ste. Marie and is the largest employer in the city.  

Toronto to Vancouver (1 of 1)Toronto to Vancouver (1 of 1)

In nicer weather we have sailed on the St. Marys River.  The city is well known for the Soo locks where freighters, barges, tugboats and other ships use to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes.  The air pollution here can be extremely bad at times when the plants are working at full force.  You can see the industrial plants spewing out the mass of smoke from the the large stacks.  

Toronto to Vancouver (4 of 102)Toronto to Vancouver (4 of 102)

We stopped off for a quick hike at Aguasabon Falls which was just off the highway near Terrace Bay, Ontario.  This 100 foot waterfall cascades into the Aguasabon Gorge, flowing along a 2.6 billion year old rock face (granodiorite).   The falls were created in the late 1940's when the north end of Long Lake was dammed up for the Auuasabon hydro development.  The development diverted the water away from  Hudson Bay where the water had traditionally flowed.  This was done to make sure there was an ample supply of water for the Aguasabon generating station.   This had the result of raising the water levels  in Lake Superior and the rest of the Great Lakes.  

Toronto to Vancouver (5 of 102)Toronto to Vancouver (5 of 102)

A view of Lake Superior just before we approached Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Driving around the lake was a bit disappointing to me.  First of all we had  cloudy and cool weather during the drive and there were very few places to stop or even see the scenic views even though we were driving along the lake.    I've included this photo just to show what Lake Superior looked like.  Fortunately, on this day the weather was a little better.

Toronto to Vancouver (6 of 102)Toronto to Vancouver (6 of 102)

Terry Fox was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian and cancer research activist.  In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he took on an east to west cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research.   Because of his cancer spreading, he was forced to quit after 143 days and 5,373 km (3,339 mi).    The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.  Over C$750 million has been raised in his name as of January 2018.   The Terry Fox Monument is located in the outskirts of Thunder Bay, Ontario.  This statute marks the place where Fox was forced to halt his run on August 31, 1980.  The actual place where Fox ended the run is approximately 4 kilometers further west.   

Toronto to Vancouver (7 of 102)Toronto to Vancouver (7 of 102)

Kakabeka Falls is known as "the Niagara of the North".  It is on the Kaministiquia River, 30 km (19mi)west of the city of Thunder Bay.  These waterfalls have a drop of 130' cascading into a gorge carved to of the Preamvrian Shield.  The Kakebbeka Falls Provincial Park is right off the Trans Canada Highway so it was an easy place to stop and and walk around in.  

Toronto to Vancouver (8 of 102)Toronto to Vancouver (8 of 102)

The rock face of the falls and the escarpments along the gorge are made up of unstable shale and are eroding.  As you can see from above, the rocks host sensitive flora and contain some of the oldest fossils in existence, some 1.6 billion years of age.  Due to the fragile rock, going into the gorge below the falls is prohibited.  

Toronto to Vancouver (9 of 102)Toronto to Vancouver (9 of 102)

This photo is the top of the Whitecap Pavilion in Kenora, Ontario.  Kenora was actually my favorite Ontario town to stop in during our trip.  The weather was cool but sunny and the town and surrounding area was quite picturesque.  Kenora is very close to the Manitoba border and just 200km east of Winnipeg.  It took us five days just  to drive through Ontario.

Toronto to Vancouver (10 of 102)Toronto to Vancouver (10 of 102)

Leaving Kenora, we made our way to Brandon Manitoba.  This photo on the Canola fields was taken  somewhere in Manitoba, from the road beside the farm.  Canola oil or canola for short is a vegetable oil derived from rapeseed.  This oil has a relatively low amount of saturated fat so is considered safe for people to eat.  Canola is Manitoba's most important oilseed crop.  Its production in Manitoba has grown steadily over the years and it now accounts for the greatest amount of seeded area, followed by wheat.  17.5% of canola farms in Canada are in Manitoba.  

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  Brandon, Manitoba is the second-largest city in the province of Manitoba.  It is located in the southwestern corner of the province on the banks of the Assiniboine River.

Toronto to Vancouver (2 of 2)Toronto to Vancouver (2 of 2)

Brandon has a population of about 49,000 people.  It is a major hub or trade and commerce from the Westman region as wells parts of the southeastern Saskatchewan and northern North Dakota, an area with a combined population of around 180,000 people. The city was incorporated in 1882 having a history rooted in the Assiniboine River fur trade as well as its role as a major junction on the Canadian Pacific Railway.  Brandon is known as the wheat city.  To me, this photo looked like it could have been taken in the 1950's.

Toronto to Vancouver (12 of 102)Toronto to Vancouver (12 of 102)

The next morning we finished our drive through Manitoba.  The weather was still cloudy and cold.  

Toronto to Vancouver (13 of 102)Toronto to Vancouver (13 of 102)

A 4,560-tonne wooden grain elevator in Shoal lake was formerly operated by Manitoba Pool.  It replaced an earlier elevator built in 1973 that was destroyed by a fired in 1980.  Closed by Agricore in mid-2001, the building is now used for private grain storage.  


Tricia Matheson(non-registered)
So glad that you are able to get these photos on your blog, Marsha! Love the Kabeka Falls! Must make a point of visiting these, soon.
These make us anxious for future parts
Lynn Muller(non-registered)
Beautiful photos of our beautiful country, Marsha. Looking forward to seeing more of the west.
Great shots Marsha! I especially like the falls. I can't imagine driving across Canada. You are a trooper.
Gretchen Taylor(non-registered)
Very cool trip! your photos will serve as terrific reminders of this wonderful time of your life!
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