While Canada celebrates its 150-year milestone, we celebrate 15 years with a few excerpts from our many travel articles across this great country we proudly call home
There are a vast number of amazing roads to experience in Canada, and each possesses its own charm and challenges. In the east, you move from the breathtaking beauty of our Maritime roadways, as well as the less travelled ones leading to quaint fishing villages of Newfoundland, to the colourful red roads of Prince Edward Island and the charming roadside churches and architecture of days gone by in Quebec. As you travel farther west into Ontario, you can’t help but be impressed by the rugged scenery as you skirt Lake Superior. The landscape changes drastically upon your arrival in Manitoba, where the land eventually becomes wonderfully flat with a seemingly endless sky. Southern Saskatchewan is rife with beautiful, sweeping river valleys that are well worthy of a journey in themselves, and who cannot be impressed with the foothills and glorious Rockies as you pass through Alberta? Yes, the majestic Rockies are a wonderful site of grandeur and elegance. As you travel past, through, over – whatever the case may be, you are simply humbled and left awestruck at the sight of such a magnificent backdrop.
2. Winter 2004/2005
The 1,000-Kilometre Day (Ontario)
By Steve Bond
We took Highway 41 north from Napanee, Ont., basically a boring two-lane, farmland drudge until approximately 20 klicks from Kaladar, where we hit some interesting fast sweepers through dramatic rock cuts.
Just past Northbrook on 41, we hung a right on 506 (which becomes the 509) and on through Plevna and Ompah (home of the Ompah stomp). Highway 509 is an excellent bike road with varying landscapes ranging from swamps, lakes, rock cuts and elevation changes – but mostly countless corners.
3. September/October 2005
A Room with a View (Yukon)
By Mike Missalla
After two more days of exploring and a night in an abandoned mining camp, we rode into Dawson, Yukon. It had been five days since we last bathed and things were getting a little ripe. It was time to treat ourselves to some civilization. Dawson is a friendly town of about 2,000 people, and despite the fact that it is geared almost entirely to the short tourist season, it does so without the usual tackiness that often accompanies a tourist town in so many other places. The gold rush spirit and small-town northern charm really grow on you, and we could have easily spent several days exploring the town and its surroundings.
4. September/October 2006
New Boots and a Wee Ride (Alberta)
By Stu Seaton
As you start coming into the Rockies, you see the outline of the huge, jagged snow-capped mountaintops – fabulous. I couldn’t help but wonder what the first settlers who were hell bent for leather to get to the Pacific coast thought of that mess. This is more than just a picket fence; this sight gives you a “Holy-Crrrap-lookat-that” kind of feeling. I start the climb into Canmore and pass the Three Sisters mountains. I have goosebumps. The weather changes, a little rain then sun, there are great roads and I feel what it’s like to lean into a corner again. Far-out! I’m finally in the Rockies on two wheels!
5. November 2015
Shediac Motorcycle Rally (New Brunswick)
By Glenn Roberts
Unlike my usual modus operandi – which leaves me with the absolute minimum amount of time to get from point A to point B and forces me to take the Trans-Canada superslab – I changed my ways this time and left with a whopping extra half a day and just a ballpark time to be at my destination. The resulting ride took me from Ontario along the west and then east side of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and then once in New Brunswick, the Saint John River Route, which was the highlight of my trip east this time and one I would do again in a heartbeat.
6. September/October 2007
Alberta Bound on the Road Less Travelled (Saskatchewan)
By Glenn Roberts
I was about halfway to Shaunavon, Sask., my intended stop for the night, and the road was glass smooth leading me into Frenchman River Valley, a beautiful deep valley with a few houses and, of course, Frenchman River snaking its way along the bottom. There have been quite a few times on this ride that, as I rounded a corner, a view unfolds that will knock your socks off, and this was one of them. Not bad for a “flat province.”
7. May 2014
PEI – Personable, Extraordinary, Incredible (Prince Edward Island)
By Ron Keys
Suddenly, a voice calls out, “Can I help you find your way?” A lady steps down from her porch and asks where we are going. We tell her, and she insists on driving us back to our B&B. Unaccustomed to this kind of genuine friendly outreach, I am taken aback by her hospitality and do not know what to say. On this island, people actually stop their cars so they will not spoil the picture you are taking, and they insist that you cross the road while they wait. Maybe it’s because many islanders are fishermen and farmers who are dependent on each other, or maybe it is just the island mindset. Regardless, people here are refreshingly polite and friendly.
8. January/February 2012
Tofino Turnaround (Vancouver Island)
By Lawrence Hacking
I tanked up for the ride out to the coast, and then headed west on Highway 4. Civilization quickly disappeared from my rearview mirrors, and this section of my trip turned out to be a 124 km romp on a remote mountain road with virtually no service or support until Tofino. The route has to be one of the best riding roads in the world, with its major elevation changes and jaw-dropping views of dense rainforests and towering mountains. The farther west I went, the more challenging the road became.
9. May 2017
Going Coastal on the Eastern Shore (Nova Scotia)
By Ron Keys
Over the hills and through the spruce forests, we enjoy the gentle curves on the recently resurfaced highway to Canso. Canso is land’s end, a postcard-perfect fishing village established in 1604. At the pier, we strike up a conversation with a young lad who is fishing for mackerel. I thought the locals would eat the mackerel, but he tells us it’s actually used to bait lobster traps.
10. March/April 2006
The Gaspé Peninsula (Quebec)
By Glenn Roberts
Most of Hwy 132 is only a couple of feet above sea level along this stretch of road, so close, at times, that you swear if a half-decent wave rolled up, it would wash you right off the road. The steep terrain on the south side of the road makes it evident why the tarmac is at water’s edge and forces the road to twist and turn as it follows the shoreline. The road was impeccable at the lower elevations, affording time to look out over the vast stretch of water beside us, when corners didn’t take all our attention.
11. August 2016
From Cow Head to Tilting and Back (Western Newfoundland)
By Ron Keys
Just past Sally’s Cove, we park the bike. It’s a 3 km hike across bogs and boardwalks to one of the most awesome places on earth: Western Brook Pond, a freshwater fjord nestled between the mountains. Surrounded by 600-metre-high stone cliffs, the lake is as deep as the walls are high. Waterfalls abound around every turn, with 350-metre Pissing Mare Falls being the highest.
12. October/November 2009
Atlanticade 2009 (New Brunswick)
By Stu Seaton
Moncton is right in the heart of the Maritimes, history flows everywhere and the main drag is loaded with one very good microbrewery after another, not to mention the many pubs that line Main Street and the immediate side streets.
I remember hearing a few years ago on CBC that Moncton was declared “the friendliest city in Canada,” and after this weekend, I think that still holds true. Establishments throughout Moncton welcomed motorcyclists and opened doors to our motley crew of riders from all over.
13. June 2017
Mountain Madness (B.C. Rockies)
By Emily Roberts
Once we arrived, an overwhelming sense of serenity and joy came over us. We had made it. This mystical, wild place allowed us to be engulfed in its absolute beauty. As we sat and took in the sun and crisp breeze this place offered, the rider with the 1190 that we had passed earlier rode up.
I had to stop again – this time to take in the immensity of this mountain that we had made our way onto. I looked down upon my friends, who were now ant-size at the bottom of the bowl.
14. April 2015
Monashee Madness (British Columbia)
By Glenn Roberts
I was pumped to learn that Emily had reserved a couple of snow bikes for us. In basic terms, they are off-road bikes with a ski replacing the front wheel, and the rear wheel and swingarm assembly are swapped out for a frame made to accommodate a track.
We had a hot sunny day on the mountain and could see the cloud cover more than 1300 metres below us hovering over Revelstoke. It was the most spectacular view I had ever seen.
15. January/February 2014
Just a Casual Winter Ride to Hudson Bay (Manitoba)
By Oliver Solaro
Sure, there are a few areas where small lakes and salt swamps level things out a bit, but for the most part this is a snowmobile trail, complete with invisible white ruts and holes large enough to swallow a pickup truck.
I have no choice but to ride in the dark at minus 30 degrees. It’s here that the cornea in my right eye freezes to my eyelid, making it even harder to keep things vertical for more than a few hundred metres at a time.