We started out bright and early (but in retrospect we should have been even earlier). We knew we had a few hours ahead of us to get to our destination: Sudbury, Ontario. Quick history lesson - nickel / copper ore was discovered in the Sudbury basin when the transcontinental railway was being put in, in the late 1800's. Nickel mining dominated this remote, almost bi-lingual community for many years with boom and bust times corresponding to war requirements, and lumbering came in a close second as a main source of employment. Unfortunately, the sulfuric acid that resulted from smelting decimated the landscape and Sudbury was long known as a "wasteland". Later, efforts were made to reclaim the natural environment with some success. Thus endeth the lesson.
Our drive north was clear and uneventful, which is a good thing. As we got farther north, the landscape began to change dramatically. Where we live is a region known as the St. Lawrence, Great Lakes Lowlands - lots of topsoil, farmland, big lakes, populated... We were entering the region of Canada known as The Canadian Shield - igneous rock, water, trees, repeat.
Here are some images from our drive:
There was quite a bit of construction going on, as some parts of the highway are being transformed from one lane each way, to a double lane highway.
This shot reminded me of a Group of Seven painting. (A group of seven, plus two, Canadian artists who, among other things, painted the wilderness of the Canadian north).
Here are a couple of examples of some famous paintings:
The top painting is by Frederick Varley and the bottom one, J.E.H. MacDonald.
We saw a very interesting bridge on the way there.
This is not a bridge for vehicles or people. I do apologize for the blurriness of the photo. We were driving. This is a wildlife overpass!! Due to the large number of deer, moose, and other animals in the area, and an area where collisions between such animals and vehicles is a serious danger, a multi-million dollar wildlife overpass has been built. You can't see from the photo, but tall fencing directs the animals toward the overpass. The overpass itself is planted with vegetation, so it is like the natural surroundings that the animals would already be used to. I checked out the web and there are photos and videos of animals (moose, bear, deer...) using it. I just love this idea! There are apparently culverts as well, in other areas, built for this purpose.
We eventually got to Sudbury, found the college, and did our tour. Our two tour guides, young women who are currently enrolled in health sciences, did a fantastic job of showing us around, and answering questions. We don't know if this is where our son will end up. There is another college in Ontario that offers the programme he is interested in, so we will also tour that one (totally opposite direction, not quite as far). He will apply before Christmas and we will see how things go.
I managed to get a little choked up thinking of him being so far away. Why is it a little harder when it is your second / last one leaving home? Of course I was teary when our daughter left, but I guess I knew she was only barely two hours from home, and I still had another child living at home. He would be about five hours away, in an area that feels so foreign and different. Perhaps. Oh well, suck it up mama, you wanted your children to be independent, self-confident individuals!!
What is the last part of the story? Well that would be the weather (of course). What was a clear day with even about five minutes of partial sunshine ("Ahhhhhh" - angels singing), became a snowy mess on the drive home. It was almost laughable as we proceeded down the highway watching snowplows/ salters/sanders travelling in the opposite direction. Over and over we saw snow removal equipment going northward as we were travelling southward. Then we had to find a gas station, the first one being closed!!! What should have taken about 4.5 hours ended up taking over 6 hours. We were exhausted upon our arrival home, but glad to be there.