Day 2: Manitoba and Saskatchewan

We finally made it out of Ontario, almost 26 hours after leaving Toronto. I’ve always known that Toronto isn’t reflective of “Canada”, but having travelled through my own province, I’m struck my the differences.

As we stopped in Ferland ON last evening, a native Canadian woman, probably in her 70s, stood waving frantically at the passing train. I wondered how often she had done this before. I wondered how many people bothered to wave back. Around her, her grand-kids (I assume) listened to their iPhone (perhaps iPods as cell service was no existent), uninterested in the whole ordeal. The town looked like it had less than 10 houses. Winnipeg was over 8 hours away, Toronto more than double.

Awoke “early” (travelling west and the ensuring time zone changes make it easy) and had breakfast with a couple and their child from Toronto, before heading off to explore Winnipeg. My knowledge of The Peg was scant, based on some elementary geography lessons. I remembered that Portage and Main is apparently the coldest street corner in Canada, and that there is a “Golden Boy” on top of the provincial legislature. Hence, these were my two destinations. Found both. Was surprised/impressed by Winnipeg. Downtown has a lot of turn-of-the-last-century buildings, and for the most part, they are well maintained. The infamous corner is no longer a corner, but rather a traffic circle. The “Golden Boy” however, is as advertised.

Leaving Winnipeg, I was anxious to cross the 100th Meridian, which as anyone who grew up in the 80s and 90s know is where the Great Plains begin (if you didn’t, Google The Tragically Hip and 100th Meridian and you’ll get the reference). Well, as I’m typing this now in Saskatoon, I’ve been underwhelmed by the Prairies. The never ending sky, the flatness and the field upon field of blowing grain have failed to materialize. I’ll wake up in Edmonton (hooray for another time zone) and maybe get to see some of what I imagine the Prairies to look like.

Tomorrow, Edmonton, Jasper and the Rockies.

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