Sunday 13th August 2023 

We departed Toronto on ‘The Canadian’ or Train 1 for the 2,795 mile journey to Vancouver. This will take 4 days and 4 nights. Overnight we stayed in the Royal York Hotel, formerly Canadian Pacific Hotel. Such hotels were provided for passengers who had to wait for connecting trains that only ran on a small number of days each week. We had to cross the road to enter the station, but the equivalent hotel in Halifax had a corridor connecting the station to the hotel.

In the early afternoon we passed through Parry Sound, named after Sir William Parry, the Arctic explorer. Starting near Toronto he worked with local fur traders and further north the Inuit to find and overland route to Hudson Bay and hopefully the entrance to the Northwest Passage.

We now started to cross the exposed 3 billion year old Precambrian rocks of the Canadian Shield. Many of the rocks are rich in minerals, in particular, copper and nickel. Eventually Sudbury became the largest nickel mining centre in the world. The mining and the smoke from the smelting ravaged the landscape. Once grey granite is now black but since our first visit in the early 1990s reforestation is transforming the landscape. Ironically, the ravaged landscape was used to train NASA astronauts in the type of cones and craters with uncommon rock formations associated with meteorite impacts. This was because 1 billion years ago a meteorite impacted with the Earth here creating a crater 35 miles long and 15 wide, known today as the Sudbury Basin. It is identified by hills surrounding the basin made from the ejected rock.

Around 6:00 p.m. we had a refuelling stop at what is known as the start of the Thousand Mile Gap. Essentially, a cut through the Shield to Manitoba and the relatively flat Prairies.

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