Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, Parry Sound

I thought I should write something about the towns for a change, even though I spent very little time exploring them.
I did not get any good pictures of Sault Saint Marie but I love the name--it is so --umm--Canadian.

The Sault Ste Marie Canal serves as the US/Canadian border and was completed in 1895.  It provides a navigable channel between Lakes Huron and Superior and formed the last link in an all-Canadian transportation route.  

The wildflowers around the town were stunning.

The truck stop where I spent the night was noisy, and smelly but I slept anyway.

My tank ran out of water and the truck stop couldn't help me so they sent me down the road to one of the bottled water stores.  The owner was  super nice, filled my tank from his outdoor garden hose, then talked for an hour about his travels in the US in a camper.

My next stop was the laundromat but I got there just as that owner was closing for the weekend.  When she found out I would be leaving town that afternoon, she reopened the door and stayed until I finished the laundry.  She has two chihuahua dogs, one grown daughter and a boring husband that won't take her anywhere.  She decided she was going to buy an RV and go traveling too--by herself!

By the time I finished filling my tanks (water and gas), doing the laundry and stopping at Walmart it was too late to travel on.  

So I spent the night at Walmart and was up bright and early the next morning and back on the road. That is my usual routine in the towns.  I will eat in a small family-style restaurant, then walk the main street checking out the store windows but being careful not to buy anything--space is a premium these days.

As I drove away I passed two Amish (?) carriages.  Now there is a conversation I would like to have sometime.

Along the way I spied a moose, some deer, a fox  and--dead on the side of the road--a wolf.  I could't find a pull-over place at the time or the animals disappeared before I could stop and find the camera.

I was getting frustrated trying to convert kilometers to miles in my head so I did a chart for myself and taped it on the sun visor.  Next will be a chart converting kilos to pounds for the grocery store. 
And then there is the gasoline conversion.  I am so glad we have the same clock and calendar--all this math tires me out.


A most notable person from Sudbury-- television game-show Jeopardy host Alex Trebek,
 Sudbury was founded following the discovery of nickel ore  in 1883, when the transcontinental railway was near completion.

The population resides in an urban core and many smaller communities scattered around 300 lakes and among hills of rock blackened by historical smelting activity. Sudbury was once a major lumber centre and a world leader in nickel mining. One of the most photographed objects in Canada is the Sudbury Nickel.  I saw it but there was too much traffic to get a picture.  It is easy to find on line though.

Mining and related industries dominated the economy for much of the 20th century. The two major mining companies which shaped the history of Sudbury were Inco,  which employed more than 25% of the population by the 1970s, and Falconbridge. 
The  Inco Superstack was the world's tallest freestanding chimney in the world at 380m, and is currently the second tallest structure in Canada after the CN Tower.  It is almost the same height as the  Empire State Building.

 Sudbury has since expanded from its resource-based economy to emerge as the major retail, economic, health and educational centre for Northeastern Ontario. Sudbury is also home to a large Franco-Ontarian  population that influences its arts and culture. 


Parry Sound was one of my favorite towns.  The main street travels right down the hill to end at the sound on Georgian Bay.  

I drove down and parked at the marina then spent the day walking this area watching all the activities...

Lots of outdoor restaurants, boaters, fishermen, 

tour boat activity, and

tours by seaplane.

These photos are for my cousin, Jamie, the pilot.

I didn't even consider a tour.  First it was very expensive, and secondly, if I wouldn't let Jamie take me up in a tiny plane I wasn't going to let some unknown bush pilot do it.

But they were fun to watch take off and land in the sound.

Parry Sound is the birthplace of hockey legend Bobby Orr, and the namesake of the local community centre and the town's own Bobby Orr Hall of Fame. In Orr's best-selling autobiography, Orr: My Story, he speaks highly of Parry Sound, the friends and family who resided there and the happy childhood he had living in that part of Canada. 

I drove over to his recreation center and found a great parking area that looked out over this waterway.  

I ended up parked there for two nights.  

Hockey is a pastime tradition in Parry Sound. The Parry Sound Shamrocks were one of the first teams formed in Parry Sound. Famous and retired NHLer Bobby Orr played for the Shamrocks before the OHA's Oshawa Generals

 At one point I decided to go sightseeing and ended up at the foot of this one-lane bridge to a tiny island on one of the reservations. I had real misgivings about driving onto this bridge--it looked so old and rickety ....

...but I was trapped, with no place to turn around.   A sign warned me of the limit of tonnage allowed on the bridge and I thought I had better find a way to weigh Spirit if I was going to continue getting into these tough places.

The waters around the island and everywhere around Parry Sound are part of Georgian Bay.  The Bay is so large it is sometimes referred to as the 6th Great Lake.  Alas, the community that lived on the island was very small with no businesses to visit.  The only time I saw anyone they were at the cemetery. 

It was a quiet and uneventful day.  The only way back was over the same bridge.  Thankfully, the bridge presented  no problems. 

I was on the road the next morning and once again admiring the excellent engineering that has produced this smooth ride in a part of the country that is very challenging for most of the year.
For miles I had been seeing clusters of balanced rocks on top of formations like these and tried a few times to get some pictures of them but never did.  I had the feeling the rocks were related to the First Nations in some way.  
Next stop, Connie in Collingwood.

(Everything in Italics is taken from printed literature, signs or websites produced by the towns and tourist bureaus.)


  1. Your photos have inspired me so. Also, thanks for the Alex Trebec factoid.

  2. You are intrepid! Your strategies for having adventures and getting the most out of life are an inspiration.

  3. Intrepid! Wow! I've never been called that before. Thanks!