This year, being Canada’s 150th Anniversary as a country, will trigger many comparisons with the last national party we enjoyed in 1967. In some respects, Canada is profoundly different today. For many, the Charter of Rights & Freedoms was the beginning of Canada as a nation. Perhaps that should be the date we honour. In other ways, we’re much the same.
The part that never loses it shine for many of us is the land itself. Pollution and development be-damned! There’s still lots of untouched acreage. Poets, artists, musicians and the like have been waxing eloquent about our terrain for centuries now. How many of us have actually taken the time to experience these places first hand?
Imagine the change that came over an entire generation of young people who stuck out their thumbs after Centennial Year and travelled the fairly new Trans Canada Highway, some of it on foot but most in the back seat of cars owned by trusting Canadians. I was one of those adventurers in 1969, at least that’s what it felt like the day I decided to hit the road. I’ve travelled the country many times since, sometimes by car, other times by train, but those first impressions of the prairies, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast are permanently etched in my brain. I’m sure it’s those love-at-first-sight moments that entice me to return, time and time again.
And then there were the people. Often, the drivers across the country who stopped to pick me up were determined to show me their town, their favourite landscape. Some had never met anyone from Ontario before. Sounds crazy today. I experienced the same emotions when I travelled east. Enjoying a smoke on the Plains of Abraham with two young Quebecers (long before bilingualism was a topic of conversation) is one of my favourite memories of that province. Or the New Brunswick fisherman who invited me join his crew to jig for cod. I had no idea there was red soil on PEI.
All the National Parks are free this year. Not that I need it, but maybe that’s incentive enough to hit the road once more. I wonder if Ben, that retired logger who owned that greasy spoon outside Kakabeka Falls will toast me up another free western sandwich.
Contributed by Duncan Fremlin,
Broker, RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd.