I took my annual voyage to Canada this year to visit my Father, but this time the trip had a new angle. An exciting, dangerous road-trip throughout the Canadian wilderness.
Our itinerary consisted of taking the plane from the quaint Billy Bishop airport in Toronto, onto Quebec City and then to embark on a weeklong trip on the road, through Newfoundland and Labrador, onto Nova Scotia and then back to Quebec for some sightseeing.
What struck me most about the roads in Canada is the sheer uninhibitedness of them. Unlike England, where space is at a premium, there are vast expanses in Canada where nature reins free. There is much beauty to be found that has not been afflicted by tourism. It is these vast expanses of free land that make Canada such a wonderful experience to drive through. The roads are stress free and you can play classic road music at full blast whilst enjoying the ethereal beauty of the refreshingly sparse landscape.
The pinnacle of our journey was the Trans-Labrador Highway, truly a voyage into the abyss. Some say it’s the longest unpaved road in the world. It’s definitely the loneliest. The highway has no satellite reception and is an unforgiving whirlwind. There was one day when the fog was so dense that I could not see more than a few feet in front. Whilst completely terrifying, it was exhilarating to be completely under the control of the elements. It was akin to being a deep-sea diver staring into the bleak, darkness of the basin of the ocean. Furthermore, it is clear why people choose not to live around these parts, as by the end of the journey through the highway I was covered in painful bites. The climate is harsh, and it is clear that any sort of life that exists there is doing so out of sheer tenacity and stubbornness.
After several stops at remote, French speaking towns over the course of five days, we eventually reached the ferry to Nova Scotia. After aimlessly, but enjoyably, driving around the infrastructure of lakes and islands, we eventually settled on a beautiful motel overlooking a lake. The next morning, we awoke to a gorgeous sunset overlooking the water and then began our journey back to Quebec City.
Quebec City is a wonderful, cosmopolitan city with sprawling European city landscapes that closely resemble the pebbled roads surrounding the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris. The weather dramatically improved as the journey went on, as if the weather reflected the journey back into civilisation from North to South.
As my journey came to an end, I was left to reflect on a week spent in alien surroundings.
As a child of the digital age, it was fascinating to experience an insight into a terrestrial, disconnected mode of living.