A world of white: from Toronto to North Bay

Today was day one of our trip north to go dog sledding. Vaughan and Tim picked us up from our apartment at about 9:30 and we set off in the snow.

Our first stop was a Home Depot to find something ice skating related but they didn’t have what we were looking for. We thought Home Depot would be like Bunnings but it doesn’t have as big a range. In fact, it’s only about a fifth like a Bunnings.

From there we drove up to Muskoka and stopped by the (or a) lake for lunch at Sunset Grill. Our main reason to stop here was to go ice skating on the lake but the lake, although frozen, was completely covered in snow at least a metre deep. People were Nordic skiing across it.

Being in Toronto, we haven’t really been exposed to the full force of winter but our journey showed us just how much snow covers things. Snow banks a couple of metres high, houses hidden behind great mounds of snow and their roofs covered with a thick, thick blanket of the stuff. And when you drive next to fields or open spaces, all you can see is white for miles around. It’s truly something amazing…and I’m glad I don’t live in it.

We had lunch then got back in the car and continued north to South River where we’re staying in the Algonquin Motel, a brightly painted place on the side of the highway. The room is warm, the bed is comfy and the walls are painted with clouds, rainbows and butterflies.

In the evening, we set off north again to go to North Bay for dinner. We had wanted to go to this ice skating thing about 45 minutes south but with it snowing we weren’t sure it would still be on or all that enjoyable considering the near blizzard. So we headed for the bigger town north of us.

By now the sun had gone down and we were driving on roads that were covered with snow and not very well lit. Vaughan did an excellent job of driving while the rest of us sat tensed wondering where the road had gone.

We made it into North Bay, a town of 54,000 people, that had a reasonable selection of restaurants. We drove past a few before deciding to go to a fancy Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately, being Chinese New Year and the restaurant probably being the nicest one in the whole town, it was reservation only.

We went to another Chinese restaurant that had a buffet and was on the cheap and cheerful side. Not a stellar dining experience but the waitress was nice and so excited to hear our Australian/New Zealand accents.

Then we headed back about 8pm and for part of the way travelled behind a snow plow plowing the highway. We really noticed the difference in the road surface when he turned down another street and we were once again driving down a white road.

But we made it all safely and it’s been quite an experience out here in the wintery part of Ontario. Looking on the map, I’m amazed to see that we’ve barely made a dent in the province and we’re on the same latitude as Quebec City, and more southerly than some US states. Imagine how cold it must be up in Churchill right now!

We’re hoping it won’t snow tomorrow while we are dog sledding but even if it is, we’ll manage. I can’t wait to see those dogs!


9 thoughts on “A world of white: from Toronto to North Bay

  1. Hey guys 🙂
    Just thought I’d drop a comment and let you know I enjoy reading your blog 🙂 I’m an Aussie with visions of Canada too, though unfortunately (or fortunately….too soon to tell really) I’ve just been accepted to Canberra Uni in a Bach of biomedicine with an eye to continue into a dietetics master. Which will take agggeeesss! I’ve just realised someone who’s done a medical degree/lives with that someone might not be the best person to complain at about degrees taking ages….opps. I’m curious if you’re thinking of staying on in Canada after 2015 if you can or if you’re keen to come home?
    Anyway just wanted to say hi and that I hope you keep posting 🙂
    PS If ever you have a falling-down-whilst-trying-to-skate competition you need me on your team. Seriously. I’m gold medal material.


    1. Hey Vanessa

      Thanks for the comment and for reading my blog. Congratulations on getting into Canberra Uni. I’m sure it’ll all be worth it (though I’m very glad Glen’s done with the study for now).

      The plan is to be back in 2015 though that’s still a while away so we’ll see what happens between now and then. I’m open to the possibilities 🙂

      We’ve got another skating lesson tonight so hopefully I won’t take a tumble this time. My knees can’t take much more haha.

      All the best,



      1. Hey Daniel,
        Yeah study can be a real pain LOL
        I can see you’re making the most of your time there 🙂 If you happen to go Nova Scotia I’d love to read about it-it looks so beautiful!
        I’d love lessons, a bit scarce on the ground here in oz though, I always fall backwards……and I usually take someone else out accidentally with me.


      2. If you make it over here, definitely do lessons. If someone else can skate really well, it follows that you should be able to as well. 🙂

        Hoping to go to Nova Scotia in October, probably around Thanksgiving. I’m really looking forward to it and want to check out Cape Breton, which is supposed to be beautiful.


      3. I will! But I’m not so sure I’ll be any good at it……:)
        I’ve heard Cape Breton is amazing too, as apparently are the lobster rolls, I’ll look forward to reading all about it 🙂


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