01 May 2005

May Day in Sault Ste. Marie

We have reached the worker's paradise of the Soo, having passed the longitudinal meridian of Canada (the day before yesterday), the Arctic/Atlantic watershed (yesterday), and the mid-point of the Trans-Canada (today). The half-way point in terms of the schedule will be the public show in Ottawa on Sunday (2pm at the public library on Metcalfe). Here's an updated map tracing our route!

The day began in Thunder Bay, where our hotel window looked out on the Sleeping Giant, who rests on his back in front of the city:

[Sleeping Giant near Thunder Bay]

In case you can't quite see it, or dread waking him up to ask, here's the Sleeping Giant's anatomy:

[the Sleeping Giant explicated]

Get it? Well, apparently I didn't, because the explanation above is Dave's, which happens to coincide with the city of Thunder Bay's. Here is how I was seeing it:

[Sleeping Giant explicated acc. to Jack Mitchell]

Also near Thunder Bay, we of course visited the Terry Fox Memorial. Terry Fox is one of the greatest Canadians who ever lived; his story is inspiring and tragic. In brief: afflicted with cancer, which had taken one of his legs, he decided to run across Canada, from Newfoundland to the Pacific, in a Marathon of Hope to raise money for cancer research. He made it to Thunder Bay, where the cancer finally forced him to stop, and he died not long after. It is absolutely staggering that he made it half way across. Dave remarked to me, "Every kilometer we drive from now on, he ran with one leg." The 25th Anniversary was April 12th, day of the first public performance on this Tour.

[the Terry Fox Memorial]

The drive along the North Shore of Lake Superior . . . they always tell you, "Boy, it's farther than it looks, especially along the North Shore of Lake Superior there. You'll be amazed, believe me." Having been told this fairly often throughout my life, I was not amazed, and it actually seemed to go by fairly quickly. Of course, it's the largest lake in the world, so driving around it does take some time.

[the big lake they call Gitche Gumee]

Along the way, we were rather surprised to pass hundreds of inukshuks, piled atop the many cliffs along the side of the road. This is an Inuit word meaning (I believe) something like "humanitans," or something that takes the place of a human being in the landscape (usually to indicate directions). It's a pile of rocks shaped (usually) like a person; the word's been in the news recently because it forms the basis of the recently announced 2010 Olympic Games logo.

[an inukshuk]

This being Canada, some (not the Inuit themselves) have objected to the use of the inukshuk as a symbol, on the grounds that it's an Inuit, as opposed to pan-Canadian, practice. But something tells me that thousands of Inuit have not built navigation markers along the North Shore of Lake Superior; rather it really is true that a great number of Canadians have taken up the inukshuk.

[another inukshuk]

Their position on the Trans-Canada at this point is somewhat strange, I suppose, because there is only one way to go!

Oh, and we made it past Wawa safe and sound.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting to see the photos of the inukshuks along the highway. Curious.

Its fun to follow along on your trip with the blog.

Anonymous said...

Halfway! Great trip so far. See you in Toronto on the 6th.

Anonymous said...

This is the best blog so far. Love it!

Anonymous said...