Just What Is Northern Ontario?

One of the first questions we get asked is “What’s Northern Ontario?” This is usually asked by people living in the North, so I assume they mean “What area are you calling Northern Ontario?” Basically we’re calling everything north of Toronto Northern Ontario. You could get into some finicky details, but for our limited purposes, we’re calling it that.

The other question we got (only once, by one of the staff of Young’s General Store in Wawa) was “The Ultimate Northern Ontario Road Trip? What’s so Ultimate about it?” At the time, I said “Well…it’s 40 days on the road. 8000km. RV. Two motorcycles. Pretty ultimate, in fuel consumption alone.” But now that we’re a little further along, and have sampled lots of the different regions (although we’ve still got lots to explore) I think the incredible variety of places, people, cultures, towns, wildernesses, etc is the “Ultimate.”

However, the real reason I started this post was to draw out some of my thoughts on what the experience of Northern Ontario is – for RVers, for motorcyclists, for destination tourists who drive somewhere and stay there for a week or more, or for people road tripping and driving from place to place.

It is a lot of things. Some of the best things it is, as of now:

  • Friendly, easy-going people.
  • Spectacular scenery that varies widely.
  • Vast areas with nothing but nature.
  • Trees. Lakes. Rivers. Animals.
  • Open roads.
  • Probably most importantly: Peace of mind

Something about being out here, either at the edge of the shore of Lake Superior and all it’s majestic awesomeness, or in the forest at a campground that deer walk through as if they own the place (which they really do), or at the side of the road, taking a break to sip some water and not hearing a car coming in any direction for minutes on end, makes life make sense again. Only the things that truly matter get any attention.

People often ask another question – “So, do you guys want to kill each other yet?” And the response is no. Actually we’re too chilled out by our surroundings to ever really let the little things bother us. And even when something gets seriously screwed up, we find it easier that usual to forgive and move on, working together so we can all continue to enjoy this all-too-brief moment, and to bring the message to the rest of the world. If you want to let all the grime of the soul wash away, you’ve only got to step out into your backyard.

Join us.

– Michael Jacobs, President, The Ultimate Northern Ontario Road Trip (UNORT)