Every road leads to Toronto

What’s next? Our faith in hitch hiking Canada got restored, we spend too much money in big cities and we met more lovely people!

So there we were, in the middle of crossing highways (or motorways for our UK friends 🙂 ), in the burning sun and a bit scared we wouldn’t get picked up again for hours as we experienced at the airport of Halifax. Luckily our spirits got lifted when Kevin (not Larry’s Kevin) stopped and offered us a ride. Even though it was a short ride, just passed Moncton, he would drop us off at a service  station, which is usually a good spot to catch a ride (and if we wouldn’t get a ride we would at least have access to services 🙂 ). Feeling a bit better, we posted ourselves at the ramp of the highway again hoping someone would still get us close to the border between New Brunswick and Quebec.

Because we stayed longer with Larry then we intended to stay we were a bit behind schedule. So we were still debating if we should skip Quebec or shorten our planned stay in Toronto. We could not completely “wing” this part of our trip as we need to be in Quetico Provincial Park on the 30st of July. There we booked a canoe trip, and the park permits had to be pre-ordered with a set date.

Anyway, by then it was already late in the afternoon and dark clouds appeared on the horizon, promising a thunderstorm and lots of rain. But at that point a big pickup truck pulled over and Nina ran to the driver to check where he could bring us. While I struggled to get our bags closer to the car I asked Nina for more information: “He is going to Ontario!”. Now that was a nice surprise! A single ride from Moncton all the way to Ontario. Well, our decision was made, Quebec would be skipped! Toronto, here we come!

Our driver, Mike, made some space on the backseat to put our packs and off we went!

Apparently, Mike works in a gold mine in the North of Ontario and was on his way to his job. During the long trip through New Brunswick we enjoyed the landscape and talked with Mike about many things: The gold mine he works in, his family, cars, Canada, New Brunswick, Quebec, jobs, our lives, etc. After several hours New Brunswick turned into Quebec and we needed a place to sleep. Mike could sleep in his truck, as he always did while doing this trip, but there wasn’t room enough for the three of us. So we needed a place we could also set our tent.

Mike found the perfect spot where we could hide in the bushes, right next to the highway.

After a well deserved sleep we continued our way, Mike insisted to pay us breakfast and coffee. Later Nina got some more sleep on the backseat as Quebec’s farmland and industry rolled away under our feet, she wasn’t feeling too well and the extra rest made up for the excitement of the previous days.

As we finally entered Ontario our time in Mike’s company came to an end after roughly 1100km. Once we passed Ottawa he dropped us on the highway in the direction of Toronto and he continued his way up North. We really enjoyed our ride with him, he even gave us a piece of red jasper, a stone that brings luck for travelers.

It took some time to get our next ride, but eventually Stephen picked us up. He was driving around because he loves just doing that. We had a lively and fun conversation with him about traveling and his family (his wife did most of the traveling apparently). Anyway, we enjoyed our time very much with him during the 40mins we were in his car. In Prescott he dropped us off at a perfect spot, things started moving fast from now on.

Very soon a young woman, Natasha, stopped and offered a ride. Only to Brockville, less than 20km’s down the road, but hey, never look a gift horse in the mouth! So there we went again, and 15mins later we were a bit closer to Toronto. Natasha was very sweet, 5mins after she dropped us off she came running back to us with a bottle of peach juice and two muffins, just because she thought we could use it.

Our muffins weren’t finished yet before we were sitting in the next car, this time all the way to Toronto. Our driver Beth, both a white water canoe instructor and a ballet teacher, was on her way home from a job. Her canoe strapped on the roof of her car. We had a lot of fun talking with her about living and working in Canada, her daughter and so on… Even though she was not heading to Toronto city, she insisted on dropping us off at the door of our hosts in Toronto.

In Toronto we stayed with friends of Jane, the daughter in law of Nina’s aunt Marcela who lives in Winnipeg. Jane’s friend Adriana was not at home because she was on holidays in Hawaii but Juan, Alejandra and Gabriela welcomed us in their small cozy home. We were pretty tired and soon went to bed, glad we made it this far.

Next morning we woke up pretty late and ventured out into the big city. We enjoyed some of the pleasures of being in a multi-million metropolis such as good food and drinks and spending way too much money shopping (mostly needed stuff though).

In the afternoon we also went to Kensington market, a very multicultural part of the city with a nice atmosphere. Thanks Stephanie for the recommendation!

And of course we cannot get to a city without trying some street photography. Well, I have to admit Nina made most of these nice pictures. 🙂

Once we got home we went straight to bed. Next morning we went to have brunch in “Le petit dejeuner”, a nice breakfast/lunch house where one of our friends in Belgium worked for a while. The owner is also a Belgian so we had a little chat in our mother tongue.

Since we spent way to much money on the previous day we decided to walk back to our temporary home in the east of Toronto. Combining money saving with a “healthy” walk through some industrial area’s. Unfortunately we also witnessed a pretty nasty car crash right in front of our noses (luckily nobody got injured very bad).

Back at the house we took all of our clothes to the launderette to give them a good wash. While waiting for this we played some “loot letter”, our new Steve Jackson game. 🙂

Later in the afternoon we went out again for a trip to the beach with Alejandra and Chippa (the dog). Chippa was very enthusiast while playing with a frisbee in the water. Of course I had a lot of fun too! In the evening we had a nice time with the people in the house. Adriana came back home from her trip to Hawaii so got we to know her as well.

With this evening our stay in Toronto came to an end. The following morning we woke up early to hit the road once again.