Saturday, May 01, 2021

Moving Back To Ontario

It's been quite a while since I last posted. After spending around 15 years in Vancouver, British Columbia, I decided to move back east to Ontario. I took some time off work, and made the journey by driving across Canada, stopping at various motels (usually a Motel 8) for the night.

It was a pretty interesting trip. Here's a Google Maps showing the route I took. Mostly following the Trans-Canada Highway.

Day 1 - The moving company came and took my belongings around noon, and I left Vancouver shortly after that. I started in my old 2003 Nissan Sentra. I made it to Kamloops, BC.

Day 2 - Just after leaving Kamloops, the "Service Engine" light came on. When I got to Salmon Arm, I searched for the nearest Nissan dealership. There was one in Vernon, so I detoured south and asked them to take a look at it. They said there was leak in the fuel system, and it might catch fire. They also didn't have parts to fix it, and the parts were on back-order across North America.

In the end, I bought a new car! A rather unexpected purchase, but the old car was 18 years old, so it had a good run. I was debating between another Sentra and a Kicks (compact utility vehicle). In the end I went with the Kicks. Compared to my old car, it has a ton of gadgetry. I do like Car Play though. It is interesting how the car companies just let the phone take over.

Day 3 - I picked up the new car from the dealership at noon, and continued on. Pretty much lost a day and a half. I ended up having to take a detour down to Radium Hot Springs and then back up to Banff due to construction. Radium Hot Springs has some gorgeous scenery. Actually all of this part of British Columbia is quite beautiful. I ended up stopping for the night in Canmore, Alberta. This amused me because I used to watch Royal Canadian Air Farce back in the day, and one recurring character was "Mike from Canmore."

Day 4 - I drove to Calgary, and then stopped to visit with a friend from high school for an hour or so. Calgary is a really weird city. It has like a grid of "arteries", main roads which traverse the entire city. However within each square it's very suburb-like, with lots of curving roads and cul-de-sacs. For a stranger, it's kind of hard to tell if a large street is an artery, or just the entrance to the grid.

After Calgary I drove to Swift Current, Saskatchewan. I really should have stopped at Medicine Hat, but I pressed on. One of the hard things to judge on these long drives is when to stop, especially as the towns are so far apart.

Day 5 - I drove to Winnipeg, Manitoba. This drive was all prairies. The element you notice here is the sky. It dominates the view, as the land is so flat.

Day 6 - The stopping point here was Thunder Bay, Ontario. Northern Ontario is really big. As well, the speed limit was lower up here, around 90 km/h, where it had been 110 km/h for most of the western provinces.

Day 7 - I went around Lake Superior to Sault Ste. Marie. This part is all Canadian Shield, with the lake on your right, popping in and out of view. Quite pretty, but might be better in summer, rather than just coming out of winter. I probably could have kept driving to Sudbury, but stopped a little early.

Day 8 - Drove to my parent's place in Brantford. Toronto traffic was a less than pleasant experience after the previous seven days on the Trans-Canada Highway. Still, it was good to finally make it to my destination.

That was my trip across Canada. I've always wanted to drive it, so that's one item crossed off my list. It was very enjoyable. Sometime later, I would like to drive to the Maritimes, or maybe across the United States.

Having to get a new car was a bit disconcerting, but I really like the Kicks, and I think it worked out well in the end. Maybe I should make more decisions quickly, rather than contemplating for a long time.


  1. Wow, that's a trip. Probably longer than my last "road trip" holiday of 2 weeks through 7 European countries :)

    The car story reminds me of a long time ago where it didn't break down during the drive, but one week before a planned vacation (and was too expensive to have it fixed), so a replacement had to be procured on short notice...

    1. Heh, Europe is probably more compact though, and I imagine that things change faster during a day of driving.

  2. This will sound weird, but nearly all of my friends who have made your drive have required a new vehicle or some massive repair. One of my good friends was trying to get from Vancouver to St John in NB. His car broke in Ottawa and he couldn't afford another, so was forced to stick around.

    That trip is on my list too. Cool that you got to take it!

    1. Interesting coincidence. The big issue I had is that it wasn't just a holiday, but that I had to get to Ontario to complete the move. The other option to buying a car was trying to get a flight back to Ontario. And I had a few things which I would have had to ship back (or throw away) separately.