North Manitoba – The Pas, Snow Lake

Wekusko Lake near Snow Lake, MB

North? We’re getting somewhere! Winnipeg, in southeastern Manitoba, is north of the northernmost point we visited in North Ontario. The province considers anything north of the 53rd parallel North Manitoba, and describes it as ‘a vast untamed wilderness’ which sounds like our kinda place. So from Winnipeg, we headed north…

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Winnipeg, MB

Just about everyone we talked to about Winnipeg suggested we stop to visit the Canadian Human Rights Museum. That’s more than enough reason for us to make a stop. In order to get to the Prairie Wind Music Festival last week, though, we needed to drive on through Winnipeg (with a quick stop to pick up a part for our truck) and return to Winnipeg after visiting Riding Mountain National Park. Fortunately our return trip took us through Minnedosa.

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Riding Mountain National Park

Clear Lake

Riding Mountain National Park opened in 1932 and is the oldest national park in Canada. It rises 457 meters (1,499 feet) above the pretty flat prairie in all directions. At its center is Clear Lake and the town of Wasagaming. Its most recognizable feature is a line of cliffs along the eastern border formed by the Manitoba escarpment.

We planned to visit. Our new friends from the music festival confirmed it was a must see in Manitoba. We set a course.

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Prairie Wind Music Festival

The morning after

Our approach to non-planning our trips always includes having a list of music festivals and dates handy so we can be on the lookout for where our trajectory might intersect a festival. Most recent example: if we bypassed Winnipeg on our  first pass (planning to double back to visit later), we could attend the Prairie Wind Music Festival in Cypress River. To continue a theme from the previous post, Neil Young wrote about this town – the town where his dad grew up – in his song ‘Prairie Wind.’

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North Ontario

The edge of the boreal forest

We wanted to explore north Ontario. Yeah, we hear you. You took a look at our travel map and said: ‘North? That’s not north!’ It is, in Ontario. There is exactly 1 continuously paved, east-west road across north Ontario – the Trans-Canada North.  There are a few paved roads that head north a few kilometers. And there’s one, mostly paved, 300 km (180 mi) road further north to a fishing camp at Pickle Lake. We don’t fish so we decided not to visit.

South Ontario? That is what’s east of Detroit.

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Algonquin Park

Abandoned beaver pond near Amikeus Lake

Algonquin Provincial Park is the oldest provincial park in Canada. Situated 3 hours west of Ottawa and 4 hours north of Toronto and open year-round, it’s the most popular park in the province and the country. The park is in the Ontario highlands, a relatively mountainous portion of the province where there’s a healthy mix of deciduous and coniferous trees and a long logging history. It’s best known for its 2,000 km (1,200 mi) of interconnected lakes and rivers, a canoer’s paradise.

We don’t have a canoe. We hiked.

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Ottawa, ON

We’ve shied away from visiting large cities in the past. However, when we noticed that the Wesley-Clover Park Campground was within the city limits of Ottawa (pop 1 million), receiving 5-star ratings and boasting of easy access to downtown via bike trails and public transportation, we decided to visit Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.

Ottawa is fun and overwhelming and already on our list of places to visit again!

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Riviere-Beaudette, PQ

Mon oncle Dege et ma tante Edith

Les deux côtés de ma famille ont immigré aux États-Unis du Canada. Parmi les 12 frères et soeurs de ma mère, tous sont restés aux États-Unis sauf un – ma tante Edith. Elle est retournée au Canada, dans une toute petite partie du Québec bordée par l’Ontario et l’État de New York, juste au sud-ouest de Montréal. En grandissant à New Hampshire, nous avons dû visiter souvent et j’ai appris à connaître tous mes cousins ​​canadiens. Alors, bien sûr, un voyage au Canada doit inclure une visite.

English translation follows

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