globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail/globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

  This site      Tips

  

  The Web Google

  





  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology


Read and Win Contest


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

  Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...



Services
  Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    
Yonge and restless
Page 3 space
Saturday, August 4, 2001

Interactive
  • Read other readers' Yonge street experiences and their reactions to Ken Wiwa's piece.

  • Related Reading
  • Yonge Street's History
  • Quick facts about a Long Road
  • Yonge Street in Pictures
  • Photo Gallery: Yonge Street: Then and Now
  • Maybe it was the weather. I had dropped off my rental car in preparation for the bus leg of my trip and had several hours to kill, but the morning was damp and overcast, so I decided to stay indoors. Twenty minutes later, it was summer again, so I decided to go for a walk. But by the time I set foot outside the hotel, the drizzle was back. When the Greyhound finally pulled out for Cochrane, more than 700 kilometres away, the sun was shining but dusk was creeping in off Lake Superior.

    There were 12 passengers on board, and our driver, a dead ringer for former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, grinned as he announced that he'd be taking us only as far as Hearst. We'd be there by 1 a.m., and "another-bus-will-be-along-at-five-ayem-to-take-you-to-Cochrane," Noriega gargled. I looked around the coach for a response, but news of this sudden change in plans was greeted with stoic silence.

    A funny thing happened on the way to Hearst. As the bus turned north and left the shoreline of Lake Superior, it began to get brighter outside. By the time we reached Beardmore - "gateway to Lake Nipigon" - we were down to five pas-sengers but it was 9:15 at night and the sun was still up. In my notebook I recorded "a fox standing by the roadside with prey hanging from its jaws." Finally, at 10:09 p.m., I reported rather somberly: "Darkness falls."

    Yonge Links
    Towns on Ken Wiwa's Yonge Street Trek
  • Town of Rainy River
  • Fort Frances
  • Thunder Bay
  • Cochrane, Ontario
  • North Bay
  • Hearst, Ontario
  • Beardmore
  • Kirkland Lake
  • Mattawa
  • Barrie
  • Toronto

    Stops along the way
  • Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship
  • Lake Superior

    Noden Causeway
  • Building of Causeway, 1958

    Thunder Bay
  • Terry Fox memorial

    Lake Nipigon
  • Parks Canada
  • Canadian centre for remote sensing

    The Yonge Street Story
  • Toronto tourism

    The Yonge Street Story, 1793-1860
  • An Account from Letters, Diaries and Newspapers

    Footpaths to Freeways
  • the story of Ontario's roads

    Related
  • Harry Oakes
  • Ben Okri

    Route 66
  • National Historic Route 66 Federation

    Dionne Brand
  • U of T bio
  • National Library of Canada bio
  • After that, I stared into the darkness, imagining how Canada must have appeared to the first Europeans - a vast unknown, an unimaginable, endless void. No wonder so many roads have been built on top of native trails, the settlers superimposing their structures on the back of the indigenous people's intuitive knowledge of the land. As I fell asleep I had a strange feeling that I was being watched by the ghosts of the past.

    The bus suddenly lurched to a halt, its interior lights flashing. I sat up and glanced at my watch: 1:15 a.m. Up ahead a gas station glowed in the darkness like a maximum-security prison. We pulled in and the three of us still on the bus were shooed off. General Noriega mumbled something and then drove away, grinning into the night.

    To pass the time, I sipped a cup of anemic coffee in the restaurant. Crazed moths peppered the windows and two truck drivers at another table managed something I'd thought impossible - they made French sound like a barbaric language. Before long, a westbound bus pulled up just long enough for a young girl to bounce out - and I spent the next two hours hearing about what it is like to grow up in a small town in Northern Ontario.

    Janice Breton had just come from Mattawa on the Ottawa River, where she had spent two weeks with her francophone father, who apparently lives on a farm but works for a timber company. He is divorced from Janice's mother, who also works for a timber company but lives in Longlac, a town west of Hearst. Janice doesn't live with her mom anymore, for various reasons, but her best friend's parents are her foster parents, so that's fine.

    All this and more poured out in a breathless stream-of-confession. Life is about solving problems, Janice sighed. Her ambition is to be a secretary for a record company. I could identify with her need to belong while, at the same time, wanting to escape a place where you have to buy music from a catalogue and the nearest decent clothes store is six hours away in Thunder Bay.

    Had she ever, I wondered, been to a big city? "I went to the Calgary Stampede last week. My aunt was getting married, but there were too many people," she replied, frowning. "It was too crowded, we got lost."

    But then she added: "I want to be far from here one day."

    Janice must have told me everything, the boyfriend who cheated on her, her love-hate relationship with her mother - "I know she loves me," she agreed when I suggested that mothers have a strange way of showing affection. I listened sympathetically as she chain-smoked my cigarettes, spilled her hot chocolate all over my notes, skipped off in mid-sentence to get a mop, and then returned to pick up the sentence where she left off.

    She was precocious, savvy and beautiful - and 14 years old.

    Next page


    7-Day Site Search
        

    Breaking News



    Today's Weather


    Inside

    Michael Posner
    Ethnic laugh lines
    Jeffrey Simpson
    Health care: Do we know better than everyone else?

    Paul Knox
    The rise of anti-anti-Americanism




    space

    Editorial Cartoon




    Click here for the Editorial Cartoon






    Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
    space

    © 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page
    [an error occurred while processing this directive]