Today was our longest day so far. We left the hotel and drove to Fort William, which was the North-West Company’s inland headquarters. The reconstructed fort complex is huge and employs 30 people year round with 60 students added in the summer. All of the ‘work’ done in the fort; its farm, blacksmith shop, tinsmith, canoe maker, bakery, etc. are done all summer by the staff in period costume. Since it was Canada Day there were also lots of special activities, crafts for the kids, and music. We got there when it open at 10 and there were only a few other cars in the lot. When we left at 12:30 there were people lined up through the doors waiting for admission and both parking lots were full. Ft. William is a very popular place in the summer, ranked one of Canada’s best attractions. We also stopped at the Terry Fox Memorial Lookout east of Thunder Bay. The memorial is located on a cliff top with a panoramic view of Lake Superior. It seemed fitting to be there on Canada Day to acknowledge a young man who, through his courage and determination to leave the world a better place, created more national pride in Canadians than had ever been seen before.
We made two other stops along our 478 km drive from Thunder Bay to Wawa. First was an 11 km drive into the forest to see the Ouimet Canyon. It is so deep and so narrow that sub-arctic plants grow on the canyon floor.
Second stop was just a short bit off the highway to see Aguasabon Falls. Like Kakabeka Falls yesterday, Aguasabon was full and roaring into the narrow gorge through which it flows.Our final ‘quick stop’ was at White River. White River bids itself as “The Place Winnie-the-Poo Began.” In 1914 a Canadian serviceman passed through White River on his way overseas. While there he purchased a black bear cub (heaven alone knows what he was thinking really) and named the cub Winnie for his home town of Winnipeg. The cub became the troop mascot and when the Lt. was shipped to France he gave Winnie to the London Zoo to care for in his absence. Winnie was a Zoo favorite, especially of author A.A.Milne and his son Christoper. In 1926 A.A. Milne gifted the world with his wonderful story about Winnie-the-Poo.
After spending the day driving through forests and here-again/there-again views of Lake Superior we arrived in Wawa at 8:30 pm, the latest by far we have checked in to our hotel. We are now 1/2 way across Canada. The ‘official’ middle – half way between Victoria, BC and St. John’s, Newfoundland – is considered to be Sault St. Marie which is 227 km further east Considering we began in Salmon Arm, not Victoria we are now over half way to St. John’s.