Sunday, June 16, 2024

Travels with Suz: Canada 150

Susanne Wussow

Last fall, having a drink with our friends Kiki and Blaine, Kiki came up with the plan. What were we doing for Canada’s 150th birthday, she asked. We mumbled something, as it was eight months away, and then she said, on July 1, what if we go to Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America, and watch the sun rise? And then we race to the airport and catch a flight to British Columbia, and watch the sun set on the west coast of Vancouver Island? All on the same day – July 1. All of Canada, in one day. Sea to shining sea.

The idea totally captured my imagination, and impulsive person that I am, I said we’re in. And it seems that when I mention it to someone, they’re also captivated by it. In fact, someone asked me if we were part of a tour group, as they felt that a lot of people would be keen to do it. Nope, I said, it’s just the four of us.

The advance planning is quite something – I’m usually the one who organizes our trips, but we’re fairly free and easy once we get where we’re going. We have a general direction and plan, but other than that, it’s pretty much day by day, whichever way the wind blows us. This would drive my sister Monika crazy, as she is a meticulous planner, with activities, routes, accommodations, and meals organized down to the half-hour. This trip is much more like my sister’s: rental cars on two coasts, ferry schedules and advance bookings, sunrise and sunset timetables, accommodations, etc. I have a lot of respect for travel agents now!

Let’s just hope that the flights aren’t cancelled, or we aren’t bumped, or the weather is horrible.

Here’s our plan:

June 27 – Leave Toronto for Gander, rent a car and catch the ferry to Fogo Island. We’ll stay at a B&B on Fogo – we want to see the Fogo Island Inn, but with prices per room per night starting at $1,675 and going on up into ‘If you have to ask, you can’t afford it’ territory, we won’t be staying there. We’ll have lunch – or a drink.

June 28 – Fogo Island – Jonny Harris, of Murdoch Mysteries and Still Standing fame, has done a segment on Fogo Island and the Inn on his Still Standing show. I’m really looking forward to seeing ‘the edge of the earth’.

June 29 – Drive to St. John’s, and visit with friends there. On our last visit, we were ‘screeched in’, so now we’re looking forward to awesome fish ‘n chips, and maybe sleeping on Matthew’s boat. More on that in my next report.

June 30 – St. John’s, and scouting out the route from Cape Spear to the airport.

July 1 – Canada Day! The Big Adventure! Cape Spear, 5:07 a.m. to watch the sun rise. Let’s hope for clear skies.

Off to the airport for our 8:30 a.m. flight to Calgary.

Land in Calgary for a 4-hour layover and a quick visit with our friend Marsha.

Flight from Calgary to Comox on Vancouver Island, rent a car, and drive to Tofino or Pacific Rim National Park to watch the sun set at 9:31 p.m. Once again, here’s hoping for clear skies.

We’ll stay at a B&B in Tofino. But we will visit another fancy inn for lunch – the Wickaninnish Inn, starting at $540 a night. The Wickaninnish was built in the hopes that people would come in what was then the off-season – winter – to watch winter storms on the ocean. It has since become one of premier inns in North America with year-round visitors, and its slogan is ‘Rustic Elegance at Nature’s Edge’. We’ll check out their famous ‘largest selection of single malt scotches in BC’, as two of us are scotch connoisseurs. And one of us – me – will sample a fine selection of ports. And Earl will be the designated driver.

Friends will be house-sitting for us and will keep us up-to-date on the celebrations in Meaford. I’m really sorry to miss July 1 in Meaford, as it’s always so much fun. Here’s hoping we have clear skies in both Newfoundland and BC, and that the airlines are able to keep to their schedules. Wish us luck! I will be documenting my trip, so watch for updates!

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