Timbit Nation: A Hitchhiker's View of Canada

By John Stackhouse

After spending years traveling via many of the poorest countries of the area, looking for the people's tale, award-winning journalist and bestselling writer John Stackhouse turns his willing eye towards his personal country.

Most those that commute throughout Canada commence their trip at both finish of an impressively lengthy strand of nationwide road. yet Stackhouse, thumb out and knapsack in hand, chooses Saint John, New Brunswick, as a launching aspect, the place his ancestors arrived within the past due 18th century as refugees of the Loyalist uprising. From there he heads east to Newfoundland, north into Labrador and instantly west to Vancouver Island, curious to find how Canada has replaced in his lifetime -- because the creation of the superhighway, an international tradition and continental economic system have taken carry. Is Canada able to final a special nation?

Following the path of the explorers, Stackhouse endures rain, insects and gale-force winds, but additionally meets a few extraordinary personalities, every one with their very own interesting anecdotes and infrequently remarkable social and political statement in addition. as soon as and for all they dispel the parable that Canadians are a bland and complacent lot. considering a Timbit in a Tim Hortons at the street -- a very Canadian event -- leads Stackhouse to mirror on our ultimate differences from our neighbour to the south. americans can have perfected the doughnut as a fast-food staple, however it took Canadians to determine the best way to really take advantage of the hole.

A wry and perceptive examine our state within the current, Timbit country has the entire necessities of
good commute literature: a solid of colorful characters, humorous, informative writing, and a panorama of large beauty.

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There has been no larger attempt to offer a feeling of permanence, except a couple of curious Hispanic names like Espanola. in accordance with legend, the names have been assigned through French explorers who had stumble upon an area Ojibwe tribe that had realized a few Spanish whereas on a longer raid within the southwestern usa. on the village of Spanish, Les stated there has been little greater than retired people left, in addition to a couple of truckers and a handful of citizens who labored at a pulp and paper mill in Espanola, fifty kilometres away. The town’s inn and bowling alley have been boarded up. a few eating places and another hotel have been all that remained noticeable of an financial system. except the mill, he acknowledged the area’s top desire lay with part a dozen Indian groups on the most sensible of Manitoulin, the nice island that divides Georgian Bay from Lake Huron. previous to the flip to Elliot Lake, Les bogged down to teach me one of many issues he overlooked such a lot in regards to the North. forward at the street was once a small endure cub, probably 4 months previous. It scurried again into the woods whilst it observed the auto. “The mom can't be far,” Les stated, sounding as awestruck as a baby seeing his first endure. He dropped me up on the highway, on the abandoned turnoff to Elliot Lake. sunlight used to be fading. within the 3 instructions that the roads undefined, there wasn’t an indication of human lifestyles. within the fourth course, there has been thick woodland. One lost undergo cub, Les acknowledged earlier than riding off, and my hopes of attaining the Soo via dusk will be ruined. i used to be too busy anticipating bears at the highway to have spotted the large purple pickup coming round the nook from Elliot Lake. The Ford got here to a halt simply in entrance of me. the driving force was once a middle-aged guy wearing a Ford baseball cap, lengthy tights and a singlet that did not anything to manage the beer abdominal rolling over his waist. His greying beard and raspy voice gave the look that he as soon as can have performed for The Eagles. Wayne used to be headed for the Soo, the place he stayed with a brother and labored 4 days per week, operating a crane at Algoma metal as he had performed for many of his grownup existence. at the 4 days off that his rotation, he stayed in Elliot Lake together with his spouse. The air used to be purifier, the housing more cost-effective and the searching available via foot. He might trip his snowmobile from the storage in iciness. His spouse might stroll to the bingo corridor and to Tim Hortons, the place she labored. They either might stopover at family members who had additionally moved to Elliot Lake: her mom and dad, one among her daughters and a cousin. whereas Wayne boasted in regards to the sights of Elliot Lake, he admitted one more reason for his stream. He was once willing to avoid wasting as a lot cash as he might whereas racing towards retirement as his agency hurtled towards financial disaster. Algoma metal, which have been within the gap for 3 years operating, used to be endlessly close to cave in. The crew were lower to forty-five hundred from a excessive of 10000. As a part of the newest restructuring, Wayne had agreed to just about $3 an hour in salary cuts, to approximately $21 an hour, yet he wasn’t definite that may be sufficient to avoid wasting his task.

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