Manitoba, Winnipeg (again), Portage La Prairie, August 22-23, 2008

9 03 2011

Just Outside of Winnipeg

Like I said before, this is the most boring part of the Trans-Canada highway to drive. It’s not because it’s flat and rural, but more because billboards are allowed along the sides so your eyes are constantly being assaulted with images of fast food restaurants, chewing gum, insurance, and other generic corporate annoyances.

The Forks Market

Because we hadn’t really spent time in Winnipeg on the way out, we decided to just spend a few hours hanging out there, even though we were in kind of a rush to get to Calgary in time to pick up Linda. We don’t know much about Winnipeg, so we just went to the Forks, which is where the Red River and the Assiniboine River meet. There is a giant park and public market. We ate some food fair fare and were happy to notice Tall Grass Prairie Bakery had a kiosk. Months before this trip we had heard the story of Tall Grass Bakery on Stuart McLeans’ radio program “Vinyl Cafe” (CBC, what else?). Basically, some food activisty folks decided to make breads from freshly milled, local organic whole grains, and then sell it for about 400% of the going rate. Banks and investors laughed at them. They opened a bakery anyway, and on opening day, baked 30 loaves of bread, only to find when they opened the doors, about 200 people waiting to buy their bread! That’s just a condensed version but you can read the whole inspiring story on their website. Of course we bought some bread and it was good.

Salisbury House on the Esplanade Riel

In the park next door there was a kind of water skidoo race and show off on the Assiniboine River, which we watched for a while. There is all kinds of stuff in that area, such as a kickass skateboard park, and a pedestrian bridge with a restaurant on it! I think Winnipeg would have had a lot to offer us if we could only get to spend some time there.

Skate Park at The Forks

On our way out we stopped at a roadside farmers’ market and bought some fruit and vegetables.

Now was the time to put the pedal to the metal and really put some road behind us. We put our seriously driving hats on and hit the road. It was a lovely, bright, if windy afternoon on Highway 1. We made it about 80 kilometres before we had to admit we couldn’t safely drive in the winds. The Boogie Bus is really tall and most of its weight is low to the ground, and we were having to wrestle to keep the bus on the road. For safety, we pulled in to Portage la Prairie to stay until the wind calmed down.

We needed a new marine battery for the back of the van anyway, so we went to Canadian Tire and got one and Step installed it himself. It’s the battery that powers our interior lights and it recharges as we drive. Then we hung out in Canadian Tire until they closed at 9pm. I found some great LED Christmas lights on sale which I purchased for a song.

The Shame of It All

At closing time the wind was still going strong and we were at a loss as to what to do. There was no way we could drive and we didn’t know of a campground or a place to park overnight. Yes, after months of traveling all over Canada and often having nowhere to camp and never, ever once staying in the Wal-Mart parking lot, it turned out the Manitoba prairie wind was our Waterloo. There was a Wal-Mart across the street from Canadian Tire, and we pulled on in.

At first we were just going to make dinner but eventually it got late and was still windy so we went to bed. In the morning it was STILL WINDY! We started to get worried at this point. How long would we be in this Wal-Mart parking lot, trapped by the wind? The answer was until about midmorning. Then we were on the road again.

On the Road Again





Ontario, Highway 17 from Ottawa to Kenora, Aug 18 -22, 2008

5 03 2011

Wild Berries of Ontario

So we had to be at the airport in Calgary by the evening of the 24th, to pick up our friend Linda , who would travel with us the last 10 days of our trip. Maybe for some people, 6 days is plenty of time to get from Ottawa to Calgary, but—don’t stop me if I’ve mentioned this before—it takes Step and I forever to get from point A to point B in the van. Part of the reason is we use propane as fuel whenever possible, and while it is cheaper and cleaner burning than gas, it takes a long time to fill the tank. The other reason is that we are Looky-Loos and I take about 100 pictures a day, so we are constantly stopping for photo ops.

On our way east we had traveled Highway 67 (also in a hurry—why?), so this part of Highway 17 was new to us. Despite our determination to make road time, it was very slow going due to frequent detours and delays caused by crews maintaining the roads. At one point when we were at a standstill, a trucker got out and bounced our bikes. He explained he thought our rack was loose, and had tried to contact us on our CB radio. Haha! We fooled him! The Boogie Bus had at some previous owner’s point had a CB, but all we had left were the antennas.

Awesome Abundance

Ironically, after traveling the Stewart Cassiar and Trans Labrador highways, it was highway 17 that gave us the biggest windshield crack of the trip, from a flying rock, and, of course, right in front of the driver’s side.

We stopped in Sault Sainte Marie for propane and groceries, and after spending so much time in the Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador, I was gobsmacked by what most would consider a normal array of foods for sale, and took pictures until a suspicious but friendly store manager asked me to stop.

Half a Highway

Maybe an hour down the road we made a pit stop, and I was surprised to note we had stopped at the halfway point of the Trans Canada highway. There weren’t bells and whistles, just this plaque.

We also went into Wawa for gas, and I learned the giant goose by the highway was just 1 of 3! It turned out the original one had been flimsy but so effective at getting Trans Canada visitors to stop that a sturdier one replaced it. I don’t know where the 3rd one came from.

The 1st Goose

The 3rd and Most Mysterious Goose

We camped at Berry Trails campsite, at Obatanga Provincial park. It’s too bad I had never seen a wild blueberry before, because we saw a lot of them there and I bet they were fucking delicious. I suspected what they might be, but was too afraid to try one. (Yes, I ate the blackberry in Labrador, but I had a botanical guide for that area). The trees are really tall there, although they hardly rival those on the west coast, and the campsites are near a small, serene lake. We had a campfire which we doused multiple times with lake water, but in the morning the remaining logs were entirely embers, so I learned how hard it is to put a fire out. I am glad we did not burn down the park. Berry Trails campsite has the Worst Showers Ever. Why? Because the shower heads were ridiculously high up on the wall, and the water sprayed out so far that all the water just ran down the walls and none of it landed on us. So we got slightly damp but not at all clean.

Berry Trails Campsite

We had to gas up in Marathon, again. ‘Nuff said.

Michael's Yard

Before Thunder Bay we stopped to visit Michael, an old University friend of Steps’s, and his wife. They have a very lovely home on a little lake, including their own Finnish sauna which we all enjoyed and then ran into the lake. That reminded us we wanted to try the Finnish pancakes at Kangas Sauna. It was a debate on whether to lunch there, or once again at the beloved Hoito, but in the end Kangas won, since we had only saunaed there on our trip out, but not sampled the fare. They were good! So was the smoked fish we picked up at Lilsa Karkkainen Fish Shop. She had wild blueberries for sale, but they really cost a lot. It makes sense—wild blueberries are tiny and picked by hand.

We also stopped in at the Terry Fox Memorial and Lookout. For those that don’t know, Terry Fox is a iconic Canadian Hero, who, due to cancer, had his leg amputated at a young age. He then decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research; The Marathon of Hope. At first, no one paid any attention, but as his marathon gained momentum, so did his fame and the feelings he inspired in people. Even though he was from Port Coquitlam, which is in British Columbia, he started the run in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and made it to basically Thunder Bay before succumbing to his illness. So he didn’t make it across Canada, but he died trying. I know, too, from personal experience, it’s a long way from St. John’s to Thunder Bay. Anyway, Canada has all sorts of Terry Fox memorials but the one near Thunder Bay is the main one. Step felt quite emotional at the memorial and wouldn’t let me take his picture.

Terry Fox Memorial and Lookout

If you want to learn more about Terry Fox and his story, Douglas Coupland wrote a really readable biography of him, and the proceeds from the book go to the Terry Fox Foundation.

Tin Man near Kenora

From Thunder Bay we were able to veer off of the Trans Canada Highway, which we had already driven, and instead drove Highway 11 through Fort Frances and then the cottage district of Lake of the Woods to Kenora, where we got back onto Highway 1. I didn’t take pictures of the cottage district, but it was Canadian and woodsy, with signs with beavers and mooses and whatnot. Also, we slept that night behind an empty building in Emo, but we got sort of paranoid because there were kids out drinking and fooling around, and then the police came to investigate the kids, and we were hoping no one would investigate us, and thankfully no one did. So, were those these Emo kids we hear so much about, haha?

Sadly, the most boring part of the Trans-Canada highway is from Kenora to Winnepeg, but there are no alternate routes so we now drove it a second time.

Shevlin Yard in Fort Frances





Quebec, Wakefield and Lac Philippe, August 16, 17 &18, 2008

1 03 2011

"There's a Little Place I Love in the Gatineau's..."

It felt weird to drive through Montreal without stopping, even though we have been there a bunch of times and had spent 3 days there the month before. We also went straight through Ottawa and Gatineau, but stopped half an hour later when we got to Wakefield.

The Legendary Black Sheep Inn

Wakefield is a wee, artsy town in Quebec that is English speaking. The town is famous for being super hippie and for the live music venue of Black Sheep Inn, who book really quality acts, which CBC radio sometimes broadcast live. The other thing Wakefield is famous for is a red covered foot bridge with a swim hole underneath it. We parked around the corner and went and saw Mike Plume at the Black Sheep Inn. He sang a song about Canada called “(8:30 Newfoundland) This is Our Home” and having recently experienced so many places in the song made me feel patriotic. He also mentioned the swim hole in the song—-”There is a little place I love in the Gatineau’s, with a covered bridge and a swimming hole” so we resolved to go there the next day. My only complaint about the Black Sheep Inn, and indeed Wakefield in general, is they serve the worst cider ever! Mystique—-the cider that tastes like lightly artificially flavoured sugar water.

Step in Downtown Wakefield

A Floor That is Also a Window

We just slept in the same lot we parked in. The next day we explored downtown Wakefield, which is only a couple blocks long so that didn’t take a lot of time. I did really enjoy the Pipolinka Bakery and bought what might be the best apple pie ever made there, which was reasonably priced, too. It almost made up for the Mystique of the place.

We had lunch at the Wakefield General Store (macaroni and cheese), in the cafe upstairs that had glass in the floor so you could see people shopping below, and I finally talked Step into washing the van. But it was SO dirty we barely got even the top layer of grime off, even though we were at the car wash for over an hour.

Refresh!

We actually had to drive to the swim hole because it’s on the other side of Gatineau River. Fortunately we met some people on the way and found out we weren’t allowed to skinny dip before we tried it. It was a hot day but for some reason only one other couple was swimming. The water was mild and there was a really strong circular current that I would let pull me out towards the rapids and then I would swim back and do it again. Some people on the bridge were yelling at me but I couldn’t hear what they were saying. After I had my fill I went and hung out on a rock with Step and we watched kids jump off the bridge. We got dressed and walked up to the foot of the bridge where a guy was tending flowers. It turned out he knew Lindsay, who we had met in St. John’s, and he told us the water was really high today. Usually, the swim hole is protected by a sort of fence of river rocks which keep people from being pulled into the rapids, but because the water was over the rock fence, no one was swimming. The people had been yelling at me to get away from the rapids. So I had been flirting with death and I hadn’t even known! Ignorance, in this case, was a lot of fun at the time, but makes for a disturbing recollection.

Deadly Rapids?

Swimming at Twilight

Liz and Ed were camping at Lac Philippe, which was nearby in Parc de la Gatineau, so we decided to spend the night there. It would be a good opportunity to visit, since we hadn’t seen much of them when we stayed with them at their straw bale house. We were lucky to get a spot as the campground was well attended that evening. It was a very clean and modern park, with the nicest laundry I had ever seen in a camp ground. We invited Liz and Ed and their kids over and we made them blow torch natchos, which Alec and Mavis really liked, except Alex said we should have had more cheese. Then we all went to the lake and went swimming again, and the kids showed off by jumping off the lifeguard’s chair.

The next morning we made another quick stop in Wakefield, for more pie, stopped in Ottawa for spicy noodles, and then headed down highway 17.

Behind the General Store





Quebec, Quebec City Again, August 15 & 16, 2008

21 02 2011

Quebec: Still Partying After 400 Years

The Stylish Cafe Cosmos Bar

When we arrived in Quebec City for the second time on our Cross Canada adventure, it was Friday night and the 400 year celebration was still going strong. Unlike our last visit, the weather was warm and dry and Grande Allee E was buzzing with partyers. Sean and Evalyne lived outside of Montreal but were on their way to camp past where we had come from on the St. Lawrence. They were running late, but that was okay because we managed to get a table on the sidewalk across from the giant disco ball, at a restaurant called Le Cosmos Cafe, and ate a nice dinner while we waited for them. I had a steak. It wasn’t great but it tasted better because the design of the restaurant was so interesting and modern. That shouldn’t make a difference, but somehow it does.

Beach Party!

We were planning on going to a free concert at the Baie de Beauport. When Sean and Evalyne arrived we walked a few blocks and caught a bus. Since we had spent a day in Beauport, we should have figured out it was quite far away, but somehow we totally zoned out on this fact. It took forever to get to the beach where the concert was being held, and even after we got off the bus we had to walk over a bridge and then around the barriers. As we approached the party we could hear Bran Van 3000 playing their hit, “Drinking in LA”, so we knew we had basically missed them and DJ Champion, who I love. All that was left was DJ Moby, who Step and I are not the hugest fans of. Also, all the canteens were completely out of beer and wine, so there were no adult refreshments available. We hung out a bit anyway, for the novelty of the large screens, video ball, light show, bonfires, and thousands of people dancing on the dark beach (did I mention Quebec took it’s 400th birthday seriously?). Also, it was nice to catch up with Sean. But it was super late and we were tired so we left after less than an hour. We had to line up for the bus home, and didn’t get back into the city until 3am. We just drove the van a couple of blocks, and found a flat, unrestricted parking space near Vieux Quebec, and stealth camped under the shade of a tree.

Stealth Camping

The next morning we went out for a great bacon and egg breakfast at a place called Cafe Moka, and I went back to the Croc store and bought the fleece lined crocs I couldn’t bear to buy the first time I was there. They only had red ones left—you snooze, you lose, or end up with red fleece lined Crocs.

We were on a serious time budget, and we wanted to spend some time in Wakefield, so we had to boot out of there. I felt uplifted yet melancholy as we left Quebec, and I played “Hey Jude” really loud as we drove down the highway, to match my bittersweet emotions.

Corn Grows in Downtown Quebec





Quebec, Highway 138, Tadoussac, and Sainte Anne-de-Beaupre, August 15, 2008

17 02 2011

Folk Art of Quebec

Cafe in Tadoussac

Under the circumstances, the highway along the north shore of the St. Lawrence river seemed very civilised to us, but in reality it is charmingly under-developed and provincial. Coming out of the gray, buggy summer of Labrador, the sun was extra soothing and the bushy tall trees were majestically luscious. Of course, we had seen the south shore when we toured the Gaspe Peninsula, and this area had much in common to that. It was more heavily populated but we still got to see interesting folk art and a refreshing lack of national chain stores.

The Boogie Bus Goes for a Ride

Tadoussac is a tidy little town famous for whale watching. It’s one of those spots where one side of the highway is linked to the other side by a ferry, so we stopped there for lunch, at a nice cafe called Le Boheme. We both had espresso—-espresso!—and tasty panini sandwiches.
The ferry ride was sunny, crowded and short. We had a date that night in Quebec City with some friends, so we didn’t dawdle along highway 138. At one point, I had to pee, and instead of stopping the van I just pulled the chemical toilet from under the bench seat and did my business. Our safety habits had really changed after living in the van for 3 months, when we would stop on the side of the road and unbelt just to get something from the back.

Shops by the Basilica

By the time we got to Beaupre we figured we were ahead of schedule, so we stopped in to see the famous shrine of Sainte Anne-de-Beaupre. I had never heard of this place (which just goes to show how generally clueless I am—it’s one of the biggest tourist attractions of Quebec), but Step had visited there on a high school field trip.

Miracles

Miracles

Sainte Anne is the patron saint of Quebec who is known for miraculous cures, and the modern day basilica that is her shrine is a destination point for pilgrims who seek to be cured of some ailment or affliction. I really enjoyed the area for it’s ’50’s modernist aesthetic, and the streets surrounding the shrine are full of shops selling religious trinkets. I found the whole place mind blowing in the same kind of gaudy, plastic style that I enjoyed in Niagara Falls. The shrine itself is more dignified. When you walk in, there are a couple of pillars in the entrance which are covered in crutches, prosthetics, and braces that the healed had been able to cast off after their personal healing miracles. We picked up a pamphlet from a selection of many entitled “Why Chose Marriage” [sic]. There were also candles you could light, or for a couple of bucks you could buy a candle in a Chinese food take out box thing on a stick. The use for this because apparent after dark, when the miracle seekers that attended the service lit them and had a little parade around the statue of Sainte Anne in front of the shrine.

Seeking Divine Intervention

Fortunately for me and the interested, I didn’t notice the sign asking you not to take pictures inside until after I had taken a bunch (I really didn’t mean any disrespect—I had been distracted by all the sights. Sorry Sainte Anne and possible God). I don’t think it was because they don’t want people to see, it was more to not distract the service attendees. Our camera is pretty good so at least it was quiet and I didn’t use the flash.

Sacred Statue of Sainte Anne

Why Chose Marriage?

I watched part of the service while Step made phone calls in the van. Some of the people were in wheelchairs and the like. As an agnostic, I wasn’t sure what to think. On one hand it seemed sort of snake oily, but on the other hand I do believe in the bodies ability to heal and if this was the conduit, who am I to judge? No one experienced any immediate miracles when I was there. I spent the second part of the service wandering around the grounds and then I got a couple pictures of the parade.

It was only 30 kilometres from there to Quebec City, and we made it with time to spare.

Religious Souvenirs, Anyone?





Quebec, Trans-Labrador Highway (Part 3), Fermont, Gagnon, and Manic Everything, August 14, 2008

16 02 2011

A Common Sight on Route 389

The last stint of the Trans Labrador Highway was about 580 kilometres and took us mostly through what we call Northern Quebec, (but if you look on a map it’s really middlin’ Quebec), and was by far the most active part of the highway in terms of traffic and things to see. We also got some of the most beautiful and amazing picture of our trip on this portion, but maybe not in a conventional sense.

The Long, Long Building of Fermont

Once we left Labrador City we only had to go about 10 minutes down the highway and we were in Quebec again. Here, the highway changes name from Route 500 to Route 389. Almost instantly we came across the mining town of Fermont. We didn’t spend a lot of time there, but we did note a few interesting features. One was an enormous truck, much bigger than a monster truck, which was on display at the entrance of the town. (We didn’t know yet, but later in our Cross Canada adventure we would encounter an even much bigger truck. At this time, we were amazed that a truck even this size could exist). The other was a residential building 4 stories high and at least a full kilometre long, that was built that way to act as a wind and snow break for the town. In the winter, the people who live in the building never have to leave it. It’s a triumph of urban planning! We drove through the town quickly, but other than those 2 things there wasn’t much to see.

Step Aside Monster Truck

Tires of Mont-Wright Mine

Right outside the town is the Mont-Wright iron ore mine, where most of the people of Fermont work. It is giant and plateaued, and much of the mountains have been eaten away. I can’t say it wasn’t beautiful in an industrial way. There was traffic and dust, and I took one of my favourite photos, this one of a train emerging from a cloud of dust. The highway got really twisty and we crossed the same rail track 17 times. There was even a stop sign! Dust. It was hot and we had to keep the windows closed. This is when the joy of celery sticks, bought in Happy Valley, trimmed, and chilled in the fridge, asserts itself. Yes, celery had never been so good.

Robin's Favourite Photo

Once we got away from the mine we were able to open our windows again, but we frequently had to re-close them because another truck came by. Some of those trucks were driven very recklessly, too, careening around unbanked, unpaved curves with full trailers of logs or whatever fishtailing behind them. Later, we found out this is one of Canada’s most dangerous roads.

The Abandoned Grate of Gagnon

After 3 hours of gravel highway, we came to the ghost town of Gagnon. Gagnon was the company mining town until everything was moved to Fermont, and not even any buildings are left, just a little stretch of pavement, a chunk of sidewalk, and a drain grate. For a ghost town in the middle of nowhere, there were sure a lot of people around. We saw about 4 parked cars and one mystery sight of one car being towed with a chain by another car. We don’t know what all those people were doing, but we just guessed they were fishing.

From here the highway has mostly hydro-electric projects, mainly the 7 Manic dams and generating stations (there are 7 but you only see 3 along the road). Some are huge but none rival Churchill Falls in scale or inaccessibility. The Manic dams are so named, I believe, for the Manicouagan river and lake. Manicouagan Lake is really a man flooded reservoir in one of the largest asteroid impact craters on Earth. If you look on a map you can see it is massive, almost perfectly round and has an almost as big round island in the middle, so it actually looks like an island with a moat around it. Astronauts in space can see it with their naked eyes and sometimes call it the “Eye of Quebec”. We were curious to go to its shore but there is no easy way to get to it so we had to content ourselves with glimpses from the van, and I’m not sure we got any of those, either.

Quebec Gives a Dam

The other thing on this part of the highway is the gas station in Relais-Gabriel. The gas station is the only thing there. You must buy gas; if you want to get anywhere else but there you have no choice. The gas, as you can imagine, is extremely expensive. There are also a little cafe and corner store, and cabins that travelers can rent. I have no idea why anyone would want to stay there, but I guess some do. I wonder often and a lot, what would it be like to be the family that runs that gas station. You would see a million strangers and have no neighbours. And probably each one of those strangers would complain about the price of your gas.

Manic 5

We saw one of the smaller dams and then we came to the Daddy Dam, Manic 5 (now known as Daniel-Johnson Dam). This is the largest multiple-arch-and-buttress dam in the world. The pictures we took can tell you more about this wonder of engineering than my words can. Here, the road became paved and we knew we were approaching civilisation again because there we all kinds of regular cars around, and in front of the dam there are motel rooms, a corner store, and a cafeteria style restaurant. Step stopped to use the pay phone to sort out some school stuff for the fall.

Camping at Manic 2

It was dark and as we got closer to the end of the highway there started to be things like campgrounds and other amenities, so we stopped in at one near Manic 2 and spent the night. The next morning I took a shower and there must have been something unfamiliar in the water because after the shower I was unbearably itchy for hours. We stopped to gander at Manic 2, which was no Manic 5 but still a wonder to behold. It turned out we had camped pretty close to the end of Route 389, and in no time we were in Baie Comeau. After so many weeks in remote towns, company towns, scrubby wilderness, really long gravel roads, and no cellphone signals, to suddenly burst out into this averagely urban town on the paved shore of the St. Lawrence felt oddly relieving, and we headed straight to the local Canadian Tire to get a new coffee pot.

The End of the Road





Labrador, Labrador City and Wabush, Aug 13 & 14, 2008

10 01 2011

Jim Relaxes in Mike’s Living Room

Step Models the Satellite Safety Phone

Like so many Canadian cities, Labrador City and it’s suburb,Wabush pretty much blend into one city, and with a combined population of around 9000, it is not large as cities go. I think the main industry there is iron mining. It’s located very in the interior, and in fact is almost on the border of Quebec. We got to Labrador City in the early evening, and after returning the satellite phone to the Two Seasons Inn, headed over to Wabush for an evening with Mike.

We had never met Mike, but our newfound Newfoundland friend, Todd, knew him through work and we had asked for an introduction. Mike was originally from Newfoundland and he and his brother Jim entertained us like a true Atlantic Canadians, feeding us all kinds of nice foods and large amounts of alcohol, and luring us into the living room where music was played by Mike and Step. I tried to take pictures of Mike but he didn’t like that so instead I show you his cans of Full Monty and Spotted Dick. Mike also showed us some amazing photographs he had taken on his travels.

Interesting Food Stuffs of Our Host

We slept in the van that night and it was odd because we were in a suburban area and it was Wednesday night, but really loud cars kept zooming past us and making the van shake. I guess some Labrador Citians like to drag race in the night, or other such sports. It took me a little longer than usual to fall asleep.

The Fast Paced Streets of Wabush

Not Widely Available

Mike was so hospitable and kind he left his house open the next morning so we could go in and take showers. Then we decided to explore Labrador City a bit. We went to the visitor centre and got the lay of the land, and also tried to purchase an “I survived the Trans-Labrador Highway” bumper sticker we had seen in the gift shop of the Sir Robert Bond. We hadn’t wanted to purchase one until we had actually survived the highway, so we wouldn’t jinx our chances, but oddly there were none to be found in the city. We hit the hardware store because we needed a coffee pot and an under-van water tap. They couldn’t help us with the coffee pot but we did get the tap head and Step repaired ours right in the parking lot. Go Step!

The Unassuming CBC of Labrador West

Robin Has a Dream

Mike works for the beloved Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and in fact, he is the Voice of Labrador West. Anyone who knows me can attest that I love radio and I love the CBC, so I was excited to take him up on the offer of an office visit. I have visited the CBC in Vancouver many times, where it is housed right downtown in a giant, security guarded, concrete bunkeresque building that also goes deep underground, so you might understand my laughing delight when I saw this CBC office. It was also right downtown, but located inside the Labrador Mall next to the Wal-Mart, consisting of one room and the studio booth. I think only Mike and one other guy work there. You know, maybe I’m idealising, but that seems like a perfect life to me. We hung out while Mike interviewed a teenage girl who was on an Arctic boating expedition, and then Mike let me sit in his chair and Step took pictures of me pretending to be Mike.

We walked around Labrador Mall a bit, which looked exactly like Any Mall Anywhere, and I am ashamed to say we went to Wal-Mart and bought some new camping chairs. I don’t usually have anything to do with Wal-Mart but our old ones had literally fallen apart and the shopping pickings were pretty slim. Sorry, World. We also stopped by a local corner store and I bought some frozen Toutons. Then we got in the van and drove about 10 kilometres and we were back in Quebec, and ready for another stint of Trans-Labrador Highwaying.

A Mall Like Any Other