Well we’ve officially been in the woods of Northwestern Ontario for a week. We flew in via Winnipeg (because it’s closer) on the Friday of last week and have since then been consumed with cleaning our new place, getting the heat working, and during daylight hours teaching. So far this has been an adventure! We had to haul some 400+ pounds of luggage through Pearson International in Toronto and pay a ransom in fees to get our stuff flown to Winnipeg. The ordeal doesn’t even include the effort it too to manhandle 5 large 80+ pound bags into a single cab and then to the hotel. But it was worth, once we arrived in Winnipeg we had sometime to explore the Forks and get a last bit of city life in for the next several months.
We spoiled ourselves in Winnipeg by staying at the Fairmont, if you ever have a chance I personally recommend spoiling yourself in such a manner. It was surprisingly cheap when we were there, and it’s right downtown so it’s a plus for exploring. What we were not expecting was the bone chilling cold of Winnipeg, no wonder they call this place Winterpeg. It was to set a theme for things to come, that is for sure. Sadly this was but a short layover on our journey. In the morning the airline shuttle was there to haul us and all of our gear to a small airport north of Winnipeg. As we made our way to the airport, the city gave way to suburbs and suburbs to farmland. Before we knew it we were at the St. Andrews airport, a swath concrete paved over the endless expanses of farmland. And there it awaited us; a small 6 person plane that was to take us to our final destination. But not before paying another small ransom in overage fees on the luggage.
To get a true understanding of the vast emptiness of our country, you must fly over the more remote regions. For the full effect it’s best to not fly in a large airliner but instead a small bush plane. To see the vast expanse of empty uninhabited hinterlands lying beneath you is beyond comprehension. Glimpses of civilization lapse quickly from memory and signs of humanity are fleeting. It fills you with both awe and despair, the mind wonders and a steady tickle of cold sweat besets you. What on earth did we get ourselves into? Why are we moving to a place that is so disconnected? How do you survive cut off from all the things you know and love? Well that is yet to be determined. But once we landed it had finally hit us, this is for real… We’ve moved to a land of lakes, snow and muskeg in January. We’d left Toronto, which the day before our departure was +7 degrees for a place that when we landed was hovering around -30 degrees. We’d left it all to come to a place we’d never seen and to meet people we never spoke to. This is a different world, and it’s just some 2,000km north of Toronto, still firmly in the confines of Ontario’s borders. So far we’ve seen little of it, work has been a priority. But of that which we have seen; it has left us bewildered, awed and stupefied. The temperature has remained consistently between -27 and -32 most of the week thus far. More to come in the near future but until then a few random shots from this week.