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Crossing Canada Day #12: Kenora Ontario

We continue our Chronicles of Crossing Canada. Welcome back!

We continued our route West on the trans-Canada after leaving our Hotel in Moosomin, Sk. Kenora Ontario would be our next destination.

Fourth Chute Rd. Bonnechere, ON. Art by Jaime Lee Lightle (2022)

Jaime Lee:

I woke up to a voice asking me: “What are you worried about?”. I don’t know if I was having a dreaming, but suddenly I felt fear biting at my guts like a fire ant. A fear that everything we worked so hard for (our home in NS, our business, our livelihood) were gone. And so that set the tone for the day’s drive back to Ontario via Friendly Manitoba.

We continued our route West on the trans-Canada after leaving our Hotel in Moosomin. We were seeing the same, flat plains, gradually transform into grasslands, then trees. It was Jim’s turn to drive so I booked our next destination campsite while Jim was in the captain seat. Kenora Ontario would be our next destination.

A few hours later, we arrived at the border of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, greeting us was a flashing sign as we entered Manitoba: “Be safe, get vaccinated”. Seeing this sign reminded me of the talk radio discussion we heard the previous day. The subject of discussion was a study conducted for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives which asked Canadians what they thought about Vaccine Mandates. A whopping 75% of respondents believed that “vaccine hesitant” Canadians were “irrationally” afraid of the vaccine (sorry but the internet scrubbed the study). I suppose the $624.2 billion dollars spend on Covid-19 vaccine initiatives paid off! By the way, that’s more than what the Canadian Government spent during WWII.

Center of Canada, Manitoba. Photo credit: Jaime Lee Lightle

As we were getting close to the Ontario border, the Canadian Shield started emerging from the earth. By no coincidence, I noticed my level of alienation and agitation decrease. This part of our drive reminded me of a conversation we had earlier in the Summer with an Ontario transplant who currently lived in PEI. He explained to us how on a recent visit to Ontario he recognized how Ontario felt to him after so many years of living on a sand bar (Sorry PEI). More so, he noticed how he felt grounded when his feet contacted the strong granite of the Canadian Shield. I felt this same feeling. Ontario was where my strength came from – the fire aunt in my gut quieted for the time being.

We made it to Redden’s Camp and checked in at the General Store. The General Store had everything from healthy foods, clothes, shoes, alcohol, and a café where I was already looking forward to visiting in the morning for my cuppa joe. The attendant gave us a map and directions to our site which was literally behind the General Store and an apartment complex.

We parked at the end of a corridor of 3-season campers, snug and exposed, a cabin on one side and the trailer park’s driveway on the other side. Our camper neighbour to our south offered us some homemade fire starter as restitution for watching their fire whilst they went for a walk to the doc.

Home, sweet home at Redden Camp (Kenora ON). Photo credit: James Lightle

We later learned that these nice people were from Manitoba, he was originally from Goose Bay Newfoundland and she a native of the friendly province. A funny coincidence that Manitoba and NFLD were sadly omitted from our first Canada crossing. I read some disappointment from the Manitoba neighbour’s face when we said that we did not get a chance to see Manitoba – the fire ant took another bite.

After setting up our little oasis in an oversized parking lot, we walked down to the camp’s doc and marina on Longbow Lake. This was the Lake of the Wood region. It had a familiar beauty.

Redden's Camp, Longbow Lake (Ontario). Photo credit: James Lightle

Jim’s notes:

The drive from Moosomin to Kenora was a good haul. Yet as we were leaving the west, I kept seeing Tesla Cars. Every time I saw one along the trip, it was seeing a spike being driven into the oil and gas industry in our country. Fuel was getting more expensive the more east we drove. Again, this divide of east vs west. All these laws are made in the east and they effect the west the most. Just like the electoral system. Does the western provinces voice matter? In my heart it does.

We arrived at Reddens Camp on Longbow Lake; it was quite the general store. I bought myself a Black Rifle Coffee Company mug and hat. You have to support the troops anyway you can is the way I look at it. I don’t even drink coffee, but I needed a new water bottle. We walked down to the dock and stood there for a bit. I noticed a map that showed us where we were in the Lake of the woods. Such a large area of fresh water that I used to read about in my fathers “In fisherman” magazines as a kid. We bought some nice food at the General store and sat down for supper. The neighbours were very nice, and they were friendly. They were from Manitoba, I felt bad that we didn’t stop in their friendly province.

We were sitting by our fire and the night sky clouds slowly floated over us. There was a huge canine walking down the road towards the General store. It reminded me of our dog Odin because his tail was similar. Then suddenly, a golf cart rushed up beside the big Canine. The canine continued past the general store and crossed the road and into the woods. I overheard one of the employees yell out: “I guess I am on wolf duty tonight”. When he said that, everything made sense to me. That’s why the Canine looked like my dog. My pup back home has a little wolf in him. It made me miss the dogs again. I wish that they both could have come with us, but it would have been chaos. We tried to camp with them earlier in the summer to no avail.

Near Fraserville ON. Art by Jaime Lee Lightle (2022)

The neighbours got out their guitar and serenaded the night sky with what seemed like homemade music. The air outside was getting cooler. When we headed to bed, we turned the heater on. The first time trying it out. Well, I overheated so quick, but was still able to get some sleep. This is our first night in Ontario on the way home. What a wide province. Fully treed, fully rooted in the Canadian shield.

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