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Crossing Canada in a yellow school bus

Published December 27, 2012
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Re: Trans Canada Highway’s 50th anniversary

In late July 1962, we picked up a yellow school bus from the builder in Ingersoll (or Strathroy). The arrangement was to deliver the bus to a dealer in Edmonton.

We partially loaded the bus with my parents, my wife of two years, her 10-year-old son, Richard, and her parents — seven in all.

Somehow, I must have been aware we could now go completely out west on the Trans-Canada Highway (as there was a problem 14 years earlier when a friend and I hitchhiked out to Vancouver).

We picked up the Trans-Canada at North Bay (Highway 17). After an interesting drive through many picturesque towns — Sudbury, the Soo and finally through the new passage to Wawa — we lodged at the hotel, some of us sleeping in the hallways. (We partied a little that night in that crowded hotel’s Rose Room.)

After a very impressive drive over the new Superior route, we stopped at my sister’s home in Thunder Bay (again, thinking of the many changes since our 1948 cruise on the Noronic landed us in what was then Port Arthur).

Next stop was the lovely Qu’Appelle Valley in south Saskatchewan, which my wife’s parents and many relatives called home.

Finally, the bus was delivered to Edmonton and we returned to Calgary and then went west by bus, driven by an expert (probably Greyhound).

Banff was our next layover — a very busy spot so the accommodation was a bit of a problem.

As we proceeded along No. 1 highway, we were held up for some time at the Rogers Pass (it could be that the official opening was being held at that time) but the scenery was so fantastic, the wait time was worthwhile.

Our trip concluded with a few days in Victoria where most visited Butchard Gardens. My son and I bused down to Seattle to their World’s Fair, where we saw the Space Needle.

The Trans-Canada brought us home, satisfied that this country is a very large and wonderful place to be.

I am the only survivor of that trip.

Roy Rivers, Stevensville, Ont.

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