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)
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