There is something reinvigorating about being on the road, especially as the next segment of my trip was the north…
Some may argue that Manitoulin Island isn’t really north, but from my cocooned existence in Toronto, it’s waaaaay north! 🙂
This area of Ontario is all lakes, and rolling forested woodlands.
I can now see why the Group of Seven painted so often in this region of Ontario, given the abundant natural beauty.
For those that don’t know the Group of Seven, (also sometimes known as the Algonquin School). This was a group of Canadian landscape painters (1920 to 1933) who had dedicated themselves to depicting the Canadian landscape.
Similarly, to the European Impressionists of the 19th century, they stylised the now, iconic imagery of the Canadian wilderness. Much as Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Pissarro had done decades before with European landscapes.
Strangely, what crossed my mind was what a difficult trip it must have been for them in those days. As there were few roads and for the most part would of had to canoe and portage to make their way here.
Goodness knows how long of a trek that must have been…
The first place I pulled off the road to explore was Whitefish Falls. It’s one of the places along the highway that if you blink you might miss it.
I followed the road and had a stunning view of the falls, just a couple of minutes from the hwy.
So much natural beauty…
Espanola is the junction to the Trans Canada Highway from Manitoulin Island.
I’d decided in advance on checking out Vermillion Lake, some 33 kilometres (21 miles) west of Sudbury.
This idyllic lake is home to a vibrant community year round, but in the summer it is particularly scenic.
It was perfectly still, with not a breath of wind nor sound except for the ever present cicadas…
No sooner than I had pulled up and take a couple of photos than a local resident came by on his RTV to see who I was and what I was doing.
I guess they don’t get many visitors to this little piece of far flung paradise. He seemed friendly enough, but pointed if you know what I mean. 🙂
Assuring him that I was only there to take some photographs I was able to placate him. I made full use of my accent, which in this situation helped I’m sure.
It was a hot afternoon and although the lake looked refreshing, I decided to not press my luck. 🙂
My next port of call, so to speak was Sudbury as this was to be my stop for the night. However, first I had to check out one thing I’d always wanted see.
Yep, not trip to Sudbury could be complete without a visit to the Big Nickel!
Now, I know it sounds cheesy, but actually it’s awe inspiring!
The Big Nickel is a nine-metre replica of a 1951 Canadian nickel, located at the grounds of the Science museum, and is the world’s largest coin. Sorta cool!
The background for those of you that aren’t familiar with Sudbury is that it was a huge lumber and mining town.
In the early to mid part of last century, Sudbury was completely stripped bare and of trees and foliage as it consumed and/or sold all of its available lumber.
That being said, Sudbury is best known for its mining operations. With a couple of large mining companies making an absolute fortune from its natural resources.
Over the last 30 years the city has undergone a massive transformation, planting some 3 million trees in and around the city, which have now covered the many exposed old mines.
Today, Sudbury is the fifth largest city in Ontario boasting some 170,000 residents. It’s also home to Laurentian University and a swath of local and federal agencies.
I was pleasantly surprised with my visit to Sudbury… Who knew??
My final day was the slow trek back to Toronto, some 4.5 hours distant.
In all I covered just over 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) in my three day adventure and discovered some of the most beautiful and pristine wilderness.
All, I might add right at my back door!
It was a great getaway and would highly recommend it, especially for those of us who are travellers at heart and don’t want to get on a plane right now…for obvious reasons.
You might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.
Until next week!