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From Vancouver to Ottawa (and lots in between)

Does anyone else love Johnny Cash? I do. My recent trip across the country had me signing ‘I’ve been Everywhere’ in my head for alot of the drive. Im sure my dad (my raodtrip buddy) was happy it was only in my head. FYI singing is NOT one of the skills I possess. When I was little music teachers used to say “thats ok Janine, you have lots of other talents.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement for me to join your next karaoke night is it? Also a very good thing that I doscovered my passion with photography, and not opera. Anyway, while I do love a good tangent, back to my road trip story….

We drove 4979km from Vancouver BC to Ottawa Ontario. Some of you might be thinking ‘did you drive in circles it isn’t 5000km to get across the country!’ and you would be right. We took the scenic route. The road less traveled. And it was wonderful. Our scenic route looked a little something like this….

Vancouver, BC to Castelgar BC

A very beautiful day that took us through the Okanagan, where many road side fruit stand stops were made. Sadly there were no winery stops, the driving kind of killed that dream, but lack of wine aside, a gorgeous day. And even a sighting of the Kokanee Sasquatch statue, near Creston BC.

Castelgar BC to Swift Current, Saskatchewan

We motored right through Alberta, via Crows nest pass. that evening we tried to stay in Medicine Hat on the Alberta side of the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, which was apparently a very popular idea. There wasnt a hotel room to be had, so after a stop for roadside dinner, and YET MORE COFFEE, we decided to push on through to the next major town. In case anyone was wondering, the next town is Swift Current, 225km away. Needless to say a 922km day and a 1:30am arrival in Swift Current made for a later start the next day.

Swift Current, Saskatchewan to Winnipeg Manitoba

Wheat stubble as far as the eye can see. I say stubble because the fields had been recently harvested, Saskatchewan looked like it had been given an army issue haircut. With Tim Horton’s dotting the landscape like caffeinated beacons, I made it through. In fact this section of the drive was still beautiful in its own right. Somewhat the same way a snowy tundra is beautiful, lovely in its simplicity.

Winnipeg, Manitoba to Dryden, Ontario

The shortest day of trip, only 353km. It began fine, a lovely breakfast in Winnipeg, a stop in Kenora, Ontario for a coffee re-fuel and a car re-fuel. Celebrations in the form of a sing-along-dance-party that we had crossed the provincial border into our final province destination, Ontario… and then it happened… I hit the wall. Somewhere around Oxdrift Ontario (yes that is a real place) I decided I could not, and would not spend even one more second in the car. I told my dad to either “pull over, or slow down so I can tuck and roll.” Thankfully he pulled over, saving me from a tuck-and-roll. And where did he pull over you ask? the lovely pulp and paper town of Dryden, Ontario. Where I was out of the car for 18 blissful hours. We walked, we wined, we dined and Dryden rescued me from certain death by boredom in the car.

Dryden, Ontario to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Upon leaving Dryden, the optimism returned, 18 hours out of the car! I was a new woman! a stop in Thunder Bay at The Terry Fox Statue proved very beautiful and inspiring, and we made it all the way to The Sue without incident.

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to Toronto, Ontario

Leaving The Sue we took the Manitoulin Island ferry to Tobermory Ontario.  This was a neat experience. I have taken ferries before, many in fact in BC, but always on the ocean. I have to admit that I had no concept of the size of lake Huron, it is enormous! The small corner that ferried across was a a nearly 2 hour trip. almost the same amount of time it takes to get to Vancouver Island! Who knew? well I guess a lot of people, but I wasn’t one of them. After a near death by chicken sandwich experience for my dad we were on our way… Toronto bound, for Maria’s bridal shower.

Toronto, Ontario to Ottawa, Ontario

Arrival in Toronto! Lovely! Not just heavenly to be out of the car. But we made it in time for my best friend’s bridal shower  (as the maid of honour it wouldn’t have been great if we didn’t). A short overnight stay and lots packed in a TO visit, meant that the next day I would arrive in Ottawa! Finally! Let the unpacking begin! ugh…. I was so focused on getting out of this car, that I forgot about that part…


The Journal


  1. Absolutely love this post, vagabondgirl! Lucky to have you.

  2. Pat says:

    I really like those prairie shots! Hope you put up a lot more landscapes.

  3. thanks guys! I do have a genuinely scary number of cow photos actually…. I really enjoyed photographing the prairies.

  4. Graeme says:

    Fantastic. What a country we live in.

    I do wish there was a way to see the prairies without committing to ALL of it.

    You may be the first to say that Dryden saved you from boredom, though, from what I’ve heard.

    I agree with the above poster – more landscapes!

  5. Graeme says:

    Also – love the ship shots, too.

    Very much the essence of seafaring…or at least my image of it.

  6. outlet says:

    Thanks for this blog post, it was a good read.

  7. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.

  8. Janine, love this post. I know it’s an older one but I’m oddly also a photographer in Ottawa and am making the road trip from Ottawa to Vancouver in May this year. I sincerely appreciated hearing your insight and would love to know how you made the transition from Vancouver to Ottawa as I’m looking to one day do the complete opposite.

    • Hi Tracey;
      I hope you enjoy the trip, May should be a lovely time of year to make the trip. A transition to Vancouver will be great! It is such a beautiful city with year amazing things to do. I’m sure you will love it. Definitely two totally different lifestyles though… at least for me. Love to tell you all about it 🙂

    • absolutely! lets grab a coffee sometime and chat.

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