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Pam Martin & John Kernaghan

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Thunderbay, Ontario’s sleeping giant  or Nanabijou, the Spirit of The Deep Sea Water according to one Ojibway legend. Nanabijou was turned to stone when the secret location of a rich silver mine was disclosed. A beautiful view from our room at the @princearthurhotel , Thunderbay is one of those cities that we’ve stayed on the outskirts of our way west before but never explore. We had a lovely stay downtown, views of the waterfront and a really delicious meal at bight restaurant and bar. Dropping into Thunderbay for the night is highly recommended. If you stop at the Terry Fox monument the wonderful tourist centre can tell you everything you need to know😴
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@discoverontario @visitthunderbay #visittbay @ontariotravel #discoveron #roadtrip #vanlife Winter nights in small town northern Ontario have a distinct feel with their wide, snow covered main streets devoid of traffic either foot or vehicle. Wawa, home of the famous Wawa Goose monument lights up its downtown with a tribute to the famous Wawa Goose that has attracted visitors since 1963 🦆
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@wawa @wawatourism @ontariotravel @discoverontario @destinationnorthernontario @canamrv @mercedesbenzvansca #smalltowncharm #northernontario #rollydooley #roadtrip #roadtripcanada @bluejellyfishsup @fitforanythingadventures ...the big lake they called Gitche Gumee 🎶 *
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#lakesuperior #greatlakes #canadaroadtrip #rollydooley #roadtrip @discoverontario THE NEXT CHAPTER BEGINS 🚐💨
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Steering our new pal, Rolly Dooley across country on a wintery roadtrip to Vancouver Island ❄️
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#roadtripcanada #rollydooley #mercedessprinter #thegreattrail #vanlife @bluejellyfishsup #rollinrollinrollin #keepthemdogiesrollin @fitforanythingadventures @canamrv @mercedesbenzvansca The rain didn't stop Pam from her yoga routine on the Brudenell River in PEI during Canada Onboard's Canada 150 celebration. Wind and fog issues on Charlottetown Harbour meant a diversion to the broad Brudenell, whose placid surface was perfect for downward dogs 🧘‍♀️⠀
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@tourismpei @explorecanada @peinationalpark @women_who_paddle @bluejellyfishsup @fitforanythingadventures #roadtrip #crosscanadapaddlingroadtrip #explorecanada #explorepei #adventure #sup #supcanada #standuppaddleyoga #downwarddog #makingthebestoftherain ⠀
We showed the flag right across Canada during our 150 birthday celebration, holding it tight here on a blustery September day on PEI. Weather and time limited us to a single paddle on an island which boasts plenty of on-water options🇨🇦⠀
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@tourismpei @explorecanada @PEInationalpark @bluejellyfishsup @fitforanythingadventures #roadtrip #crosscanadapaddlingroadtrip #ExplorePEI #explorecanada #adventure

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The stubby branches of the submerged tree menaced so close they felt like they were reaching out to grab me. And no matter how hard I paddled, I could not seem to put any distance between my board and the dilemma of these two horns a mere metre behind me.

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A misty morning view from the wharf at Wild Renfrew. Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park & the trailhead for the West Coast Trail can be seen across Port San Juan.

We were on the San Juan River on the edge of the wilderness where the road from Victoria, on Vancouver Island, B.C., ends. And a howling wind hit peak velocity as Pam guided me closer to shore where there was a respite from wind and tide.
If only I could gain a few precious feet and pop free of this watery treadmill I was on. And my mind raced. We were off the grid with no cell service and only a footpath running alongside the river for an exit.

Stand Up Paddler in Training

This was not quite what we had in mind for me to gain more confidence in the buildup to our cross-country trip to celebrate Canada’s 150th and the nation’s waterways.
But it’s not an adventure if it doesn’t throw a scare into you and this was both test and slight fright.

So the wind abated enough to get clear of the threat and we settled down (on knees and butt respectively to minimize the wind’s resistance) to a slow, determined paddle back to our launch point.
Pam plotted a path along seams of slack water between the chop of incoming tide and the bridge where the river spilled into the estuary of Port San Juan began to take shape. I will forever call it A Bridge Too Far.

The joy of the easy ride on the tide up the river was lost in that slow slog home and I cursed my impatience in not simply idling away another hour on a pristine bar of sand while the tide turned.
Anyway, it is a sweet little river to meander along, alive with bubbling water and birdsong and almost totally ours one glorious afternoon save for a few kayakers.

Wild Renfrew – “Wilderness Within Reach”

We were able to put in about a five-minute drive from Wild Renfrew where we stayed. It was a small but well-appointed accommodation called a Wharfside Studio, with either sunrise or sunset views and little patios with gas fire pits to ward off the evening chill. There’s also cottages which enjoy bay and mountain views and lodge accommodation with kitchenettes.
Port Renfrew, which is a 90-minute drive from Victoria, has been rebranded as Wild Renfrew and recreation outfits like Pacifica Paddle Sports are setting up shop to serve leisure and adventure paddlers.

 

Local Gastronomy

The dining options are limited in this area, but the three options all scored good marks.
Renfrew Pub at the West Coast Trail Lodge offered the widest range of food and is open later, to around 8 p.m., while the Coastal Kitchen, also operated by Wild Renfrew, and Tomi’s are breakfast and lunch places.

Renfrew Pub

Renfrew Pub – an outdoor patio with stunning views & scrumptious fare, hardy enough for West Coast Trail thru hikers.

 

But there’s food for the stomach and food for the soul. Wild Renfrew delivered plenty of the latter.

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