Canada’s Soul (1983): Toronto to Truro

I spent the summer of 1983 “in search of Canada’s Soul”, or as my parents saw it, hitchhiking around the country. I set out to keep a journal, documenting every ride, idea and expenditure…and I actually did that.

The trip began June 3, 1983, a rainy morning, at the eastern outskirts of Toronto:

Ride One: Toronto to Ajax (Blue Rally STX Van). Driver told me that “Hitchhiking is against company policy.”

Ride Two: Ajax-Highway 11 (Beige VW Rabbit). Driver gave me a Medallion cigarette.

Ride Three: Highway 115 to Ottawa Turnoff (Red 1977 MGB) Driver’s daughter does Pepsi commercials although she hates the stuff.

Ride Four: Ottawa Turnoff to Cornwall (1979 Thunderbird) Driver, a Catholic priest from Poland, said that Canada is “free and nice”. He doesn’t want anything more in life. 20161203_175412Ride Five: Ottawa Turnoff to Montreal (Brown 1977 Dodge Dart) Tim Paquette smoked me up. “My fingers tingle and life goes on.” He offered a night on the town and a place to sleep. I accepted.

June 4, 1983:

Ride One : West End to East End of Montreal (Brown bakery van): Driver told me, “You’ll get murdered.”

Rides Two, Three & Four: (Forgot makes of cars, too tired)

Ride Five: Victoriaville Turnoff to Quebec City Turnoff (VW Rabbit) Nice French couple who spoke no English at all. Saw a moose.

Ride Six: Quebec City Turnoff to St. Jean Port Joli Turnoff (Large old car)  All loving and Catholic. “We learn from what we see, not hear.”

Ride Seven: St. John Turnoff to Riviere Du Loup Turnoff (Blue Chevy Van) Driver going to Gaspe to his boat and Greenland. Told hitchhiking stories from his youth, being “fucked by horny broads” in Nova Scotia, bad acid in Wyoming for hitchers who then ate their ride.

Ride Eight: Riviere Du Loup Turnoff to Highway 17 (Camper Van) Nice old WWII veteran full of war stories.

Ride Nine: Highway 17 to Truro, Nova Scotia (Mack truck cab) Ed Haggerty, a non-unionized driver who had logged over four million miles. I saw the signposts turn into cyclists due to exhaustion.20161203_175615

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