I started Take Me to the World to combine my love for travel with my love for the performing arts. One travel aspect I haven’t focused on much yet is my love of road trips. Maybe it’s part of being Canadian, our collective unconscious, or maybe it’s just me, but nothing says traveling and summer like going on a road trip across Canada. I grew up on road trips, driving around Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. I’ve road tripped out east in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. In 2013 I drove by myself from Calgary to Toronto. I traveled across four provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario) and drove a distance of about 3400 km or 2112 miles.
So yes, I love road trips (I’ve done road trips in the US as well), and there are several reasons why I think you should take a road trip across Canada (preferably this summer or in early fall when the weather is nice).
Why Road Trip Across Canada? You Decide
When you fly or even when you take the train (another form of transportation I enjoy) there’s usually one route you take. Sure, you might have to make an emergency landing somewhere (if there’s a medical issue or something), but for the most part you’re getting from point A to point B. It’s fine, but let’s face it, it’s also kind of boring. Often travel is more about the journey than the destination, and this is particularly true with road trips. You can change your route, spend more time in one place, less time in another place. When you’re on a plane or train you don’t get to choose the route you take, or the pace in which you can travel. When you’re on a road trip you can decide the route and the pace you will take.
Some of my best road trip memories came from taking detours and other routes. Whether its seeing the Icefield Parkways in Alberta, or detouring to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (yes that’s really the town’s name) instead of taking the usual route I do when visiting my family in Saskatchewan detours are what make memories, and road trips special.
You See More
One thing I love about road trips is stopping at cheesy tourist attractions. If it says the “world’s biggest” or “world’s smallest” then I’m there. People miss seeing these quirky attractions, small towns, and beautiful landscapes when they fly. Even taking the train, while you might see some (not all) of these sites out the window, you can’t get out and see them up close.
When I did my big road trip in 2013 one reason I wanted to do that was to see more of my own country. I’d never been to Manitoba or Ontario (well aside from Toronto) before that point. Granted I didn’t spend much time in Manitoba and only spent one night in Winnipeg, but it seemed like an underrated city and one I’d like to go back to. In Ontario I was awestruck on the drive along Lake Superior (from Wawa Ontario to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario). Lake Superior is so big (the biggest of The Great Lakes) that it kind of felt like driving along the ocean.
You Can Do More
It’s great to see landscapes and new places up close from a car window, instead of seeing it as a quilt patch from the sky. Road trips are also great because you can stop and explore what you want and when you want. You might be limited by time and/or by your budget, but for the most part you can do a lot more on a road trip than you can with any other type of travel.
When I was on my epic road trip I purposely made sure to stop at The Hoito in Thunder Bay, Ontario for Finnish pancakes (so yummy). I was able to spend an hour at The Forks in Winnipeg, and I could stop at Wolseley, Saskatchewan to stretch and see an opera house. It might take longer to get there, but all those stops and detours are what make the journey.
With a road trip is really is about the journey, and not just about the final destination. You’re not waiting on luggage or waiting in an airport or train terminal. You’re in transit and constantly seeing something new. Whether you take a big road trip or a small local road trip, and whether you travel alone or with others a road trip is the perfect way to see Canada. I love road trips so much that I’m heading on a short road tomorrow.
Have you taken a Canadian Road trip?