Day 43 – Owen Sound to the GTA (Caledon East) – Total distance traveled 4804kms

I don’t know if the folks in Southern Ontario are more friendly than the rest of the country or whether I’m getting more friendly. I think it’s the latter. When you enter a restaurant with a big, authentic smile on your face and say “hi” it instantly breaks through the barriers people put up.

Such was my experience this morning when I entered the restaurant for breakfast. I entered at the same time as another couple who asked me where I came from and where I was heading. “Toronto” I answered “and I started in Vancouver and this is the last day of a 6 week cycling trip across Canada”.

Soon everyone in the restaurant was talking to me, but not only to me but to each other. One gentleman was hiking the Niagara Escarpment hiking trial. It turned out that another man was one of the trail blazers. Another family was on their way to Wonderland for the day, their kids so excited they could hardly sit still. The server, who was the most talkative of them all, rang up my bill for french toast, orange juice, two eggs, ham and coffee. She only summed the first tw

o items and proclaimed “oh, close enough”.

It was a great start to my last day. The weather was great and I got out early. Only 130kms and I would be in the GTA.

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Only 185kms to Toronto. That doesn’t seem so bad.

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Southern Ontario towns are so pretty

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Flesherton

One surprise was climbing over 350m to the top of the Grey Highlands. That’s as high as the highest pass I climbed in the mountains in Northern Ontario.

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Windmill farm on the Grey Highlands

As I approached Toronto towns like Shelbourne and Primrose were very familiar. “People commute to Toronto from here” I thought. We used to camp in Primrose. I recalled every bend in the highway.

I ended my journey in Caledon East which is within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). My family was waiting for me at the bottom of the hill and crowned me with a laurel wreath.

When my family passed me in the van with 4-way flashers all I could think of was that I had to keep going. It was really weird. I was rolling down a hill and I just thought, well, you can’t waste a good hill. “Keep going” I yelled as I passed the van. But at the bottom, once I held Vicki in my arms, I knew that I’d come far enough, I was done. It was all very surreal, and still is.

In Sault Ste. Marie I honestly thought there was little hope of making Toronto by Saturday. But Vicki urged me on. “Go for it” she told me over the phone. Four days, and 650kms later, here I am.

I’m thrilled to be back. Although I passed through some amazing places and met fantastic people, as they say “there’s no place like home”.

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My Canada does not end in Toronto

Although the title of this blog is Cycling Across Canada I must end this journey in Toronto. There’s only so much you can do in 6 weeks and I miss my family. Besides, even though it was a long time ago, I’ve already cycled from Toronto to Halifax.

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Jim and I and the end of our Toronto-Halifax cycling trip (quite a few years earlier)

If anyone is interested in continuing this blog all the way to the East Coast please let me know, I would be happy to have another contributor. You can contact me at chrisjschmitt[at]gmail[dot]com.

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Stats
Distance traveled today – 130 kms
Moving time – 6 hours and 31 minutes
Moving avg – 20.9 kms/hour
Elevation – 550m (highest elevation on the Grey Highlands)

Giving

I am raising money for the United Way of Toronto. The United Way is about helping others in our community to have a better life. I hope that my journey will serve as inspiration for others, that if you sent your goals big and overcome challenges you can do great things. The United Way gives people in our community the support they need to overcome their challenges.

If you’ve enjoyed my blog and found the information useful for planning your own cross Canada cycling trip please consider making a donation here. FYI, all the donations are collected through an organization called CanadaHelps through a feature called GivingPages, which enables people to raise money online for the charities they support, such as the United Way of Toronto.

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Day 42 – South Baymouth to Owen Sound – Total distance traveled 4674kms

There were many highlights today: our Tiki breakfast in the country, being greeted by Dave after getting off the ferry, the Magic Beer Fridge and getting chased by a dog. Out-cycling the dog was a personal victory. I saw the dog running down the driveway, thirsty for blood. I put on a little steam. Then I heard the dog behind me panting. Panting hard. I put on a little more steam. I hope I didn’t give the poor dog a heart attack. No more fear of dogs. Cheetahs perhaps, but not dogs.

The Magic Beer Fridge event occurred upon arrival at my hotel in Owen Sound. After checking in I enquired about a place to get a cold beer. “There’s a Chinese restaurant down the road that’s licensed. But how many do you need?” asked the gentleman behind the counter. “Only a couple. I’d like to celebrate making it this far”. “Oh, in that case for you I have a Magic Beer Fridge. Follow me”. I followed him to the back and picked out a couple of cold ones. You see, people leave beer behind when they leave, and that’s the Magic Beer Fridge.

More later. The Greater Toronto Area, likely Caledon, is my objective today. Time to go.

For now, here are some pics from the day:

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Stats
Distance traveled today – 174 kms (40kms on the ferry)
Moving time – 8 hours and 14 minutes
Moving avg – 21.1 kms/hour
Elevation – 240m