For example, I discovered a new phenomenon during our semi-cross country auto voyage from Ontario to British Columbia. I was surprised to see how often travellers erected Inukshuks--- stand-alone rock formations in the shape of humans--- at regular intervals along the Canadian Shield sections of the TransCanada Highway in northern Ontario to the Manitoba border.
There are many, many mini Inukshuks along the north shore of Lake Superior. Each small statue has its distinct personality, each a reminder of a caring spirit. What intrigues me are the variations on the essential human form.
Different rock colours, sizes, and designs are as original as any piece of sculpture displayed in a contemporary art gallery. Hats off to those who stopped to build their Inukshuks for me to enjoy.
Inukshuks were not my only discovery along the northern Ontario route. I used to think Newfoundland was the only Canadian province with picturesque place names. Not. Our north westerly route took us by Pancake Bay, Pumpkin Point, Rabbit Blanket Lake, Old Woman Bay, Bear Paw Landing. We even followed a dead-end trail in Nipigon to where Paddle-to-the-Sea park was supposed to be.
First Nations names like Shawanaga and Magnetawan dot the landscape, too, conjuring up our colourful history while also dipping me in shame as I think of the plight of our First Nations people today.