Hard to believe that four years have passed since we boarded a west-bound train called The Canadian in Toronto. We were celebrating 50 Canadians Who Changed the World – both the book and the individuals so designated, most of whom are alive and thriving -- by following in the tracks of those who linked this nation from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. We called this endeavor The VIA-Rail, Cross-Canada, Ocean-to-Ocean, Book-Tour Extravaganza.
Faithful readers of this blog (hi, mom!) will know that Our Hero made stops in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Canmore, Banff, and Jasper. After enduring many hardships and overcoming countless obstacles (ahem), he reached Vancouver, made his way to English Bay and, carrying a copy of his new book (which paints a vivid portrait of cutting-edge Canada, if I do say so myself), waded into the Pacific Ocean.
Then came the second leg of the train journey, traveling on VIA-Rail’s “Ocean”: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax. One afternoon, acting on the advice of locals, and assisted by a trio of volunteers, Our Hero made his way to Point Pleasant Park. There, despite a steady rain and a rocky shoreline that would have deterred a less intrepid author, he waded into the Atlantic Ocean, thus accomplishing his declared objective: ocean-to-ocean. He was tempted to build a cairn, but decided to wait until he next visited the third ocean.
Of those I wrote about in this book, let's see. Sheila Watt-Cloutier has since published a bestseller called The Right to be Cold. Naomi Klein is preparing to launch a new book, No is Not Enough, in which she argues that Trump is extreme . . . but not a Martian. And Leonard Cohen has left the building. You know he would want us to party on!
(Pix by Sheena Fraser McGoogan)