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Crossing Canada Day #4: "Inspired by Terry Fox"

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

We continue to chronicle our Cross Canada Journey during a very historical time in our country; during a Global Pandemic and with a Federal Election looming. Welcome back friends....

Jaime Lee Lightle and James Lightle at Ten Mile Point, Manitoulin Island

We woke up early and made out way off Manitoulin Island but not before getting a panoramic photo off the Ten Mile Point (photo above). “We will return to this place for a longer stay and with our bikes” I exclaimed as we drove away. A fella at the campsite we stayed at said you need more than 1 day to discover Manitoulin Island.

Truck-house at Ten Mile Point, Manitoulin Island

The drive from Sault Ste Marie, along Lake Superior was magnificent. Here, highway 17 is sandwiched between the Superior coast and the Great Canadian Shield. The Shield, the mighty, huge range of geological stone that was left after the erosion of the ancient mountains. Lake Superior was vast, like an inland ocean. Upon the higher Rocky altitudes were lakes and islands.

Lake Superior Park, another place to explore at another time. The most expensive gas was before Marathon/ White River: $1.579/L (September 4th, 2021). Schreiber was another town we drove through. We saw their story on Still Standing, a CBC series about Small Towns who are down on their luck but not down for the count, hosted by Jonny Harris.

Hope, British Columbia (2021) by Jaime Lee Lightle

We really started seeing some election signs on this part of the trek. Blue, Purple, and Orange signs doted the small towns and communities in Northern Ontario. Maybe the tides are changing. So far, small town Canada is done seeing Red.

I wrote in our travel journal: “Seeing the power and beauty of Northern Ontario has rekindled my love for this country. And how can you really, fully appreciate this country if you don’t get to experience it - in all its glory?”

At 7:20 PM, 10 minutes before we had to check in at Trowbridge Falls Municipal Park in Thunder Bay Ontario, we made a quick detour to see the Terry Fox Monument.

Fieldstone Campground, Moosomin SK (2021) by Jaime Lee Lightle

Jim writing again,

The drive all along the beautiful rugged coastal landscape of Georgian Bay and Lake Superior put an artistic drive in my gut. Here I am, driving in rain again; a trend for me on this journey. Further north, I noticed a small town called Hawk Junction, a friend I served with in the Military was from there.

Along the trans-Canada Highway, we noticed a different road sign that we haven’t seen before. It was a sign that read: Group of Seven Route on it. Before the time of coloured photographs, and Instagram, artist attempted to capture this route with a painting or sketch. They may not have achieved the true glory of the rocks, the water and the trees but what they did capture, was the spirit of the area and thereby attracting more people to this raw, and wonderful piece of Canada.

Group of Seven Route (Tans Canada Highway)

Onward, the trans-Canada lead us to yet another place of significance that an entire Nation watched in 1980. As a Canadian child you know who Terry Fox is and you know that this young man put his best effort when fighting Cancer. My parents would always tell us the story when we were kids about passing Terry Fox on the highway in New Brunswick.

There was a video that was showed at our school assemblies of Terry having to call an end to the Marathon of Hope in Thunder Bay. His voice cracking from trying to hold back tears, knowing that he must stop his journey even though he wanted to continue. That is a true Canadian Hero. His monument, just before Thunder Bay overlooks Lake Superior and is a beautiful setting for this hero. He ran the Marathon of Hope in 1980, it is now 2021. As we stood there, I thought about that day, 41 years ago when he stopped here at this spot. Even though Terry Fox is gone, his marathon continues today in every school, town, and City in over 60 countries of the world.

Cancer affects more and more people every day. We had just dealt with a huge blow from Cancer in 2019 ourselves with the loss of Jaime’s mother Debbie. Debbie’s legacy of love, of life and of travel is now passed down to her Children who will continue to move forward in her spirit just as Terry Fox has moved thousands of others to do the same.

As we left the Terry Fox Monument and made our way to camp only 5 kms away, the sky suddenly changed. Large, dark clouds rolled in from the North and the wind picked up. We wanted to get to camp before God opened the floodgates. Our very first time in Thunder Bay and it measured up to its namesake. We had just enough time to put the camper’s jack posts down at our site before the heavens let us have it. We had our supper in our cozy truck-house listening to the rain. Once the rain let up, we built a fire and went to bed as the sun went down. Tomorrow will be another day.

Here is a reflection from Buckminster Fuller, who was the discoverer/inventory of the geodesic dome. He was fond of stating that what seems to be happening at the moment is never the full story of what is really going on. He liked to point out that for the honey bee, it is the honey that is important. But the bee is at the same time nature’s vehicle for carrying out cross-pollination of the flowers. Interconnectedness is a fundamental principle of nature. Nothing is isolated. Each event connects with others. Things are constantly unfolding on different levels. It’s for us to perceive the warp and woof of it as best we can and learn to follow our own thread through the tapestry of life with authenticity to resolve. (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, 208).

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