One-Tank Trip for April 2/16
(c) By Jim Fox
Now that spring has sprung, it’s a great time for that “Sunday drive” to enjoy life in the slow lane.
Lower gas prices and a slumping Canadian currency will likely drive the trend to stay closer to home and take such journeys.
And, what could be more fun than exploring Ontario during that iconic Sunday drive?
For anyone unfamiliar with the term, online Wikipedia weighs in with this explanation:
“A Sunday drive is an automobile trip . . . typically taken for pleasure or leisure on a Sunday, usually in the afternoon.
“During the Sunday drive, there is typically no destination and no rush.”
|The scenic Niagara Parkway wends its way past Niagara Falls and is perfect for a Sunday drive. (Jim Fox photo)|
The use of the car for the Sunday drive began in the 1920s as “the idea was that the automobile was not used for commuting or errands but for pleasure.
There would be no rush to reach any particular destination and the practice became increasingly popular throughout the 20th century.
“Parkways were constructed for recreational driving of this sort,” it said.
In fact, the Niagara Parkway is a winding 56-kilometre course from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Queenston and on to Niagara Falls, Chippawa and Fort Erie.
The late British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill called the parkway the “prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.”
Not surprisingly, auto icon Henry Ford was an advocate of the Sunday drive and promoted it as a day of activity rather than rest because it led to the sale of automobiles.
|The Petrolia Oil Museum and an old oil rig. (Tourism Ontario)|
- The province is so huge and it takes so long to drive across, you have time to think about who you are, what you want to do with your life and figure out how to achieve that – at least once.
- No one ever tells you when you cross into that extra time zone so you get a time warrior buzz when realize you’ve gone back in time, by an hour.
- You can watch polar bears up on Hudson Bay while sipping Ontario VQA Icewine and consider how weird that is.
- If you learn “Franglais (French-English)” in Ottawa, everyone will always understand at least half of what you are saying at least half of the time.
- There are still lakes you can name after your mum.
- The nickel in Sudbury came from the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, so that extra coin weighing down your pocket is intergalactic astral metal and is therefore ennobling.
- You can drive past parks big enough to contain their own eco-systems and then you’ll know how much space a caribou herd needs, to give but one example.
- You might try to drive through the downtown of North America’s fourth-largest city with the world’s most diverse population.
People will tell you in one or several of over 200 languages and dialects to get out of the car and check out a great restaurant serving food you’ve never heard of before. It happens every day (in Toronto).
- Make a substantial bet with someone that the first oil wells weren’t in Texas, then take a scenic drive along Lake Huron’s south-east coast and at Sarnia nip inland to Petrolia. Take your wagering friend to the Petrolia Oil Museum. Collect your money.
- When you get to Lake Superior, drive towards Thunder Bay, get out at Silver Islet and climb up the Sleeping Giant land formation and look out.
“What did I tell you: life-changing!” www.ontariotravel.net; 1-800-ONTARIO (668-2746)
How sweet it is
Last call to make a maple syrup journey this season.
|Come and get it – pancakes doused in maple syrup at late-season events across Ontario. (Barbara Fox photo)|
Ontario wide, there’s a website to find maple syrup events throughout April and May, including Tap into Maple around Orillia: ontariomaple.com
Happening today until 4 p.m. is the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, north of Kitchener-Waterloo.
|“Tap into Maple” runs through May in the Orillia area and take home syrup from Shaw’s. (Barbara Fox photo)|
It’s billed as the “world’s largest, single day maple syrup festival and includes pancake feasts, sugar bush tours, dog shows, Old MacDonald’s Farm, an outdoor mall and quilt, crafts, toy and antique shows. elmiramaplesyrup.com
Jim Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca