Hey gang it's summertime and that means it's vacation time and there isn't anywhere better to vacation than Canada's Vacationland, Ontario! Don't believe me? Well, just let this comic pamphlet issued by the Ministry of Travel And Publicity of the Government Of the Province Of Ontario convince you!
Look, it isn't Ontario's fault that the first lines of this book read like a police blotter. "Johnny, 12, his teen-age sister Mary and his mother and dad were all found dead of gunshot wounds outside the Husky truck stop near Woodstock Ontario early Sunday morning..." Well, the government of Ontario did publish this, maybe it IS Ontario's fault. The important part is that they all travelled thousands of miles through Canada's variety vacation land and their first stop was the Maid O' The Mist at Niagara Falls! Note how the Horseshoe Falls - the Canadian falls - are more than TWICE AS WIDE as those sad American falls. Sad!
Isn't it amazing that the Niagara generating stations produce enough electricity to serve a city of two million people? That'll come in really handy if Canada ever *gets* a city of two million people! I kid, I kid. There are at LEAST two million people on any given stretch of the 401 during rush hour. Minimum.
"Johnny and I climbed the 185 foot Brock Monument and looked over the famous battleground, until the park rangers showed up with fire ladders to get us down. They sure wanted to know how we managed to climb it without ropes or gear! We'll never tell."
I love how tourists just believe whatever nonsense some random farmer makes up on the spur of the moment. "Yeah, we sell 67.375% of all the peaches eaten in the whole country! See that Tim Horton's? It sells five billion donuts a year!" "GOSH!!"
So let me get this straight, you drove from Niagara to Burlington, and then turned around to look at Hamilton, the city you'd just driven through. Okay then.
We could have spent many weeks just travelling Toronto's streets... and did, mostly because they're under constant construction and traffic is a freakin' nightmare. Did you know the Canadian National Exhibition is the world's largest annual exhibition? Just take our word for it. Or watch this fine Lorne Greene-narrated documentary film.
If YOUR vacation doesn't include a look at the world's largest hydraulic lift lock or a trip to the flight line at CFB Trenton, then you need to seriously re-evaluate the missteps you've made in your life that led you to this sorry state.
FINALLY we saw the famous Royal Canadian Mounted Police! All we had to do was drive to Ottawa with a gang of Hell's Angels, leaving a trail of cocaine and mangled bodies in our wake!
Though they aren't visible in these panels, here we're looking at the natural habitat of swarms of blood-sucking, harmful pests. And in the OTHER panel we see the lovely Rideau Lakes!
Your Ontario vacation will include lakes, sailboating, and friendly deer. They don't have any of those in America, take our word for it.
And it's north to Callander where we see the home of the Dionne Quintuplets, five sisters raised behind glass and exhibited to the general public as medical curiosity tourist attractions, because let's face it, it was the 1930s and entertainment was precious hard to come by.
I sure hope that gold mine was fascinating, because that's all you're going to have to talk about on that thousand-mile train ride up to Moosonee, where apparently they hire somebody to dress up like an Inuit even though the town is mostly Cree First Nations. At least they didn't draw him coming out of an igloo; I guess we should count our blessings.
Yes, the name of the lake is "Lake Nipissing." Go on and get all those giggles out of your system now, because nobody here thinks it's funny.
Breathe in that fine smoke from the nickel smelter! Inhale the scent of that paper mill! And once you stop coughing remind yourself that this is the smell of PROGRESS. What would the world do without Sudbury's nickel? What would Sudbury do if the price of nickel ever dropped? Hope we never find out!
(narrator: they found out.)
We side-tripped to Manitoulin Island where Junior had a chance to view, and crudely appropriate, the handicraft and customs of the Anishinaabe peoples.
Let's just say Sis didn't think much of Manitoulin's dating scene.
"Route Map Of Our Trip Through Beautiful Ontario," or, as we like to call it, "We Are So Incredibly Lost."
Let's see. Ontario's uranium mines, the famous and strategically vital Soo Locks, what other potential espionage targets will we next visit on this spying - I mean, VACATION trip, comrade, I mean, Father?
Okay, I'm calling TOTAL b.s. on this one. Nobody has EVER enjoyed shuffleboard.
GRAIN ELEVATORS? Dad, this is the BEST VACATION EVER!!
"Hey kids, one of those legends is about an Ojibwe princess who saved her tribe by leading a band of attacking warriors over the falls. Get your phones out and we'll re-enact it for Instagram! It'll be hilarious, if we survive!"
Finally we reached Lake Of The Woods, which, according to this illustration, is totally on fire.
From Lake Of The Woods to Orillia is a 20 hour car ride of over a thousand miles, but through the magic of comic books we can be there in seconds. And then it's time for some of that vacationland magic of looking, golfing, and pointing at things.
Johnny finally sat still long enough to jam some culture into his eyeballs. Meanwhile Sis spent her Stratford time wisely, stalking the childhood home of Justin Bieber. Yes he's from Canada, and no, they won't take him back.
At this point the vacation trip has degenerated into aimlessly driving around Ontario looking at buildings and telephones and cows and chemical plants.
My advice at this point is after seeing the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary, stop in at Colasanti's, hit the buffet and maybe visit the tropical garden. I think the antique mall up by the 401 has closed, but if you head west down County Rd 20 there's one in Harrow. And I know this, because some of OUR vacations also degenerate into aimlessly driving around Ontario.
Yes, it's a little known Canadian geography fact that Windsor is actually south of Detroit, so, counterintuitively, you have to travel north to enter the United States! And then you're in Detroit. God help you.
Cathcart was Minister of Travel and Publicity from 1955 until 1963, which gives this comic a firm midcentury pedigree. It, and we, extend a hearty "thank you" for selecting Ontario for your vacation, and we look forward to you and your entire family jamming our highways, wondering why all the signs are in two languages, and trying to pay for everything with American money. See you soon!
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