July 15, 2011

This Vast Land - Tracy Krauss

We’ve had several days now to reflect on William and Kate’s royal visit to Canada.  Nightly news casts relayed the day’s events as the couple toured the country, charming everyone in their path. I hope they came away with a positive view of what we’re made of. Even the protestors in Quebec were apparently respectful enough not to cause too much trouble. Imagine a country where decent is a freedom which we still embrace.

I had the privilege a few years ago to take a cross Canada trip with my family, hitting every capital city in the country except Yellowknife and Iqaluit. (I’m sorry that we couldn’t squeeze them in, but time and money just wouldn’t allow it!)The trip took seven weeks, and although we couldn’t possibly see everything this great country has to offer, it did afford us a glimpse of every region, and certainly inspired future trips to certain spots.  Of course the thing that strikes one the most when doing a trip like that is the shear vastness. It is amazing when you consider that a mere 35,000,000 people are spread out over this huge landmass, yet somehow we manage to find enough common ground to call ourselves one nation.

Highlights for me were visiting the old fort of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia, old Quebec City as well as the country side in rural Quebec, and the rugged beauty in Newfoundland.  The wilderness of Northern Ontario was a surprise as was the quaint and elegant beauty of Victoria, BC. To save money we spent many nights sleeping in our vehicle – despite the fact that there were six of us. Our children were used to long trips, having lived most of their lives in the north, so they were content to fall asleep while my husband, (who needs very little sleep) kept driving until he felt like stopping. We spent many nights in the ‘Hotel Suburban’ as we called it, since at the time we drove a GMC Suburban, which was big enough to hold our large family plus all our gear. Every few days we’d rent a room to get a proper night’s sleep and then away we would go again! 

Lobster suppers, Viking villages, the Hockey Hall of Fame and so much more are now just a memory.  On our way home, as we rolled back along the Alaska highway to our home in the Yukon, despite the many wonderful places we’d visited, we all agreed that the scenery in our own back yard was still probably some of the most spectacular we had seen. 

On July first when I was watching the news, there was a short clip about Canada Day celebrations that were going on in London, England – the biggest celebrations outside of Canada itself. Here they had things like a Tim Horton’s booth, Molson Canadian beer, and street hockey. Isn’t it funny how certain things have come to define us? While these are quite true, I like to think it is our friendly, outgoing nature, combined with our sense of adventure, that are truly what define us as a people.  Perhaps these characteristics are an extension of the landscape itself – adventurous, vast, and varied. May we long be known as the ‘True North’ - strong and free. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reminding us of the joys of driving to discover!! My sons made a cross-country trip a few years ago in a 1995 Saturn. They dubbed it "Two Fords in a Saturn!" They drove from Calgary to Pennsylvania to visit their grandparents. On the way there they drove through America, and on the way home they drove from Niagara Falls, a jaunt up to Toronto and then west to Calgary. It cemented their strong bond as brothers and gave them new appreciation for their heritage.
    Denise M. Ford


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