After floating our way up through the Northwoods we crossed the boarder into Canada at Sault Ste Marie. A mighty bridge spans the locks that move ships from one great lake to another. A short queue, quick passport inspection and some questions about alcohol and firearms saw us welcomed into Canada.

Once across the boarder the highway was lined with warning signs about deer, moose and Amish rickshaws. We saw many Amish rickshaws, a few deer, but unfortunately, not a moose in site.

The Canadian roads were excellent and it didn’t take long for the big V8 to float its way to Sudbury where my brother Wayne and his wife Monique live.

Sudbury sailing club and lake ferry.

Science North is a big, snow flake shaped building housing an Imax theater and a number of science displays relating to the local area.

The park surrounding Ramsey lake, in the center of town, is the home to a large collection of native wildlife. These Canada geese share the waters edge with a resident beaver. There are squirrel’s, chipmunks and raccoons, but still no moose or bears.

One of the main tourist attractions in Sudbury is the Big Nickel. At 9 meters high, it is listed in the Guinness book of records as the worlds largest coin.

Sudbury’s Inco Superstack is the second tallest freestanding chimney in the world (380 meters)  being outstacked by a neat 10% by a chimney in Kazakhstan. Before construction of the superstack toxic gases from the mine had a devastating effect on the local environment – acid rain turning rocks black and killing off all vegitation. The superstack pumps the gas high into the atmosphere, where it can be detected for a 240km radius around Sudbury.

The Canadian government control all alcohol sales in the country. If you want to buy beer you go to the Beer Store – they don’t sell wine or spirits, just beer. If you want alcohol containing beverages other than beer you drive across town to another government owned store called the LCBO. There you can buy wine and spirits, but not beer?

Cigarette sales are also controlled by the government via heavy taxes. Through some loophole, the Indian reservations can sell cigarettes tax free. For a few bucks you can buy 250 generic cigarettes and add some more toxic fumes to the local atmosphere.

Monique took us for a drive to Onaping Falls north of Sudbury. A beautiful river cuts through weathered granite country, lined by forests of birch, maple and pines. It’s a spectacular site at the start of summer but during the fall the green forests turn brilliant red and yellow – it must be really something to see.

Wayne and Monique took us on a boat trip down French River, an hour south of Sudbury. It is a wild unspoilt waterway, dotted with islands and scattered cabins. Indian tribes have lived in the area for centuries and the first European contact was way back in the 1600’s, when the river became a major trade route for furs and timber.

French River Loon

This old fishing lodge was built on French River in the early 1940’s. The semicircular dining room has hardly changed since the day it was built.

French River is a beautiful, unspoiled part of the country. Our guide, Rene, had a real passion for the region, having lived there all his life. His detailed knowledge of the river’s history really made it a fascinating trip.

12 thoughts on “CANADA

    • Hi Ruth,
      You really do live in a beautiful country. We saw a number of canoes on French River, some loaded with camping gear. Our guide pointed out a number of camping spots along the river canoeists use. What a great way to spend a few days.

  1. Hello I clicked on your blog at Leenies place I am so glad I did I live in Canada and never seen the sites up North. Can you believe that? I love your commentary and am glad I dropped in. Welcome to Canada eh!
    I may have to go to Sudbury this year to see what I am missing. B

  2. John,
    I’m loving your blog here… feel like I’m along for the ride. I’ve been to both Wisconsin (as a kid living on the Illinois – Wisconsin border) and Canada a fair amount in Vancouver and Calgary. It’s a bit nostalgic for me to see it again through your eyes. Have always loved both Wisconsin and Canada. Glad you’re having what appears to be a great time with your travels and the watercolor arena!
    Bill Dunn

    • Hi Bill,
      Glad you are enjoying the blog. We are really enjoying traveling through the US and a quick trip into Canada.
      We’ve seen just enough to convince us that we have to come back for an extended stay.
      Hope your watercolors are keeping you busy.

  3. Hi John, I have been keeping up with your travels and really enjoyed the photos and commentary you have included, i’m glad you are enjoying the sites on your travels.Look after yourselves.

    • Hi Helen,
      Nice to hear from you. We have been having a great time here in the US. At the moment we are in the middle of a workshop in Bend, Oregon. Beautiful little town surrounded by snow covered mountains. I’ll post some photos soon.
      Hope you are keeping well and busy painting.

    • Hi Linda,
      I’m back in the studio now and looking forward to getting into some of the material I gathered in Canada and the US.
      Will post results soon

  4. Hi, I too am a watercolour painter, and I am Canadian. I’ve painted many scenes from this area you visited as we have family up there too. In fact, my husband’s father was, years ago, a guide for the French River. At the time, he was the youngest one in Ontario, I think. I’m always inspired by landscapes of the Canadian Shield.

    I had to laugh at your assessment of the liquor and cigarette situation. Pretty ridiculous isn’t it? One correction – you can get beer at the LCBO. In fact, the Beer Store only has certain brands, and if you want to try something different, you have to go the the LCBO.

    I envy your photo of the loon. I keep trying to get one that close and that clear, but it hasn’t really happened yet.

    • Hi Lianne,
      Thanks for your comments, and thanks for clearing up the LCBO rules – still doesn’t make much sense though!
      We were so lucky to see the loon that close. We had heard them at night and never really expected to get a photo of one. Loved the French River

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