YouTube, skateboards and a silk hat

Kenora, Ontario – Day 35

Trans-Canada distance: 4,461 + 137  = 4,598km

Actual distance driven: 11,002 km

TCTrek Introduction

Mark and Tristan, YouTube stars

NOW: (Kenora) Since we didn’t drive far today, this seems a good time to introduce properly the car that I’m driving on this Trans-Canada Trek. I shot this video at the halfway point of the Trans-Canada Highway just south of Wawa – take a look to see what we’ve done to the Camaro and check out our souvenirs, and find out what Tristan really thinks of the Todd Medal.

THEN: The road linking Ontario to Manitoba was the final provincial road link to be completed in Canada, if you don’t count the islands of PEI or Newfoundland. Like the rest of the prairies, Manitoba was more concerned that its roads should lead to U.S. markets in the south than to eastern Canada. A working rail line was completed in 1882, which was sufficient for moving grain to the silos at Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay), so most politicians didn’t give the thought of a road much priority.

Sometime in the 1920s, Ontario’s minister for northern Ontario, James Lyons, bet a silk hat with the Manitoba minister of public works, W.R. Clubb, that his province would be first to complete the road to the provincial border. Considering that Ontario had to finish 50 km of road through rocks and swamp while Manitoba had about 60 km of fairly flat and easy highway to build, it should have been a sure thing. It wasn’t.

Check in here tomorrow to find out what happened.


iPhone Camaro appSOMETHING DIFFERENT: (Dryden) I got an email from the PR guy at General Motors this morning. “Both of your rear tires are a bit low,” he wrote. “You might want to put a bit of air in them.” The GM guy was in Oshawa; the car was parked outside my hotel room in Dryden.

The Chevy Camaro that GM’s provided to me for this cross-Canada drive comes with OnStar, but also with an available app that tells all about what’s going on with the car right on my iPhone. Because the car belongs to GM, I had to use the PR guy’s email to register the app, and he got to check out the vehicle.

“You have just over half a tank of gas,” he went on, showing off now. “Your fuel range is approx. 387 km. You’ve been averaging 11.5 L/100 km on the car.”

I can even lock and unlock the Camaro remotely with my iPhone, and if I should ever want to, I can honk the horn and flash the lights without being inside. Pretty impressive technology that we’ll probably take for granted in another decade.


SOMETHING FROM TRISTAN, 12: (Kenora) Today was a pretty great day because I went skateboarding at the local skate park in Dryden.

Tristan on a roll

Tristan on a roll

I tried to learn new tricks but it didn’t work out very well – hopefully I’ll get them soon so that I have bragging rights with my dad.

We arrived in Kenora at about 3:30 pm and went to the swimming pool where we soon realized that we had a perfect view of the skate park. I saw a guy on a BMX bike doing a back flip off a jump which I thought was pretty cool. We picked up a pizza and we were done for the night. Today was great.

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