A Nation Of Survivors

Peter and I have travelled to many places in the world. But there are a lot of spots in Canada that we haven’t seen. During a pandemic, our own country seems like the perfect destination: safe and close.

So last week we hopped on a river boat in Kingston, stored our suitcases under the tiny beds in the tiny cabin, and began eating. Oops I mean travelling. It was very safe: everybody on board (29 passengers and about 12 crew) was vaccinated, we all had covid tests before boarding and temperature checks every morning. Everyone wore masks except on the outer decks and while eating, (which, come to think of it, was a Lot of the time!). Our suitcases were sprayed with disinfectant on the dock, the ship was cleaned constantly and the tables and chairs were well spread out.

Our journey took us up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal, and then North-west on the Ottawa River to the nation’s capitol. We made several stops along the way: at a boating museum, a pioneer village, a fur trade museum, a fort, and a wildlife park. Our sense of Canada as a country was validated.

The history of our people is one of trying to survive in a hostile climate of winter snow and summer bugs, wildfires and tornados. We stay in touch with nature because we are surrounded by it; bushes, trees, and entire forests are everywhere. We owe a lot to those scary grizzlies, annoying raccoons and other small animals that were the mainstay of the fur trade industry, and helped us build a thriving economy through trade with Europe.

We also owe a lot to those early settlers who built homes from logs that had to be cut down first, and who grew vegetables with no tools and no commercial fertilizer. They made bread by first milling their hone-grown wheat and then baking the loaves over an open fire. They created clothes from scratch, starting with killing the animals and then tanning their hides. There was no Home Depot, no Sobey’s and no Winners nearby.

Our trip confirmed that we are primarily a peace-loving country. Our one major war was back in 1812 when forts popped up along the waterways that separated us from our enemy at the time – the US. Families followed soldiers and often lived together in the forts as battles were won and sometimes lost. Kids had to sleep on the floor under their parents’ beds, with the rats scurrying around them. Our soldiers fought hard, using primitive defenses, and the loss of life was high.

We saw on this trip how much we all love being in and on the water. We navigated through 5 lift locks, one so big it held 15 power boats along with our ship, and one so narrow we could touch the sides as we went through. Before the locks were built, Indigenous people had to portage around all the rapids they found on the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, which they used as highways for their dugout canoes.

Nowadays life is different for us Canadians. We buy up cottages on those same rivers as well as lakes, at exorbitant prices, so we can conveniently use our power boats, sail boats, canoes, kayaks and paddle boards. We visit bears safely enclosed behind barriers in the zoo. We shop at malls and super stores. And or biggest battle in the last 100 years has been against a virus. All it takes for us to win is to stick out an arm and get vaccinated. Seems like a small price to pay when we look back at the sacrifices made by our ancestors.


Cruising through one of the bigger locks
Grizzlies saying hi to the tourists
Oh Canada!

8 thoughts on “A Nation Of Survivors

  1. Water…always a moving way to see the world at a meditative pace. What a lyrical picture, that last one with sun and water.
    Are you sure those are grizzlies? They look like black bears.


  2. Good morning Susan. I absolutely loved this history lesson re Canada . We are so lucky to Be born in this great country and I wish I had done this trip with you two. Oh well next time. Cheers ruth


  3. Hi Sue

    Thank you for another Tuesday inspirational message. I especially liked the eating part, however the whole itinerary sounds great. Vera and I are ready for a “get away”. Would you be kind enough to tell us the contact information for the company running the tour, should we decide to follow in your foot steps.

    Cheers Gary.

    Gary McNally

    garymcnally@mac.com 4165608211 59 Edenbrook Hill, Toronto, ON, M9A 4A1, Canada



  4. Lovely report Sue and delighted you enjoyed your Canadian expedition so much. You learned a lot about your great country. Super pictures! Moira

    Sent from my iPhone



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