Bracebridge to Ottawa

What a contrast to the fast and furious not to mention stinking hot drive to Bracebridge after we left the Falls yesterday.  10 and even 12 lanes on the expressway as we approach Toronto.  Fortunately our side of the road was flowing fairly well but the other side was stop and go for over 100 km which would have been miserable in the hot sun without air conditioning.  Canadians seem to have a fairly relaxed approach to speed limits with a margin of around +20km/h the norm.  Even in the US you tend to get mown over by huge trucks if you are driving at the speed limit and there is no backing off for roadworks.  At one point the highway was down to one lane while workers were sealing cracks in the pavement just a few metres from trucks and cars whizzing past at 110 km/h.  We learnt that the penalty for hitting a highway worker is 10 years in jail – a reasonable incentive to be cautious.

Our stop over is in Bracebridge, a picturesque town a couple of hours north of Toronto in the lakes district of Ontario.  From there we drove along Route 118 as recommended by MG people from Ottawa.  What a fantastic road!  Just two lanes winding through thick forest between the lakes and small villages for nearly four hours – MG paradise.


All good things have to come to an end and finally we reach Renfrew, just a few km from Ottawa where we are to stop over for a couple of days.  Renfrew was a very wealthy lumber town in the late 19th century but has hung on nicely and we found a newly opened slightly quirky coffee shop called The Vintage Kettle to have lunch.  Very friendly staff and good food!  After just two days in Canada we are starting to see the stark differences in cost of living between Canada and Australia.  Our respective dollars have the same exchange rate to the USD and Canadian salaries are similar to ours but eating out in Canada will cost about half the amount in Australia.  A $10 minimum wage in Canada probably explains the difference.  You could also buy a 4 br house with 3 bathrooms, all freshly renovated with its very own sandy beach on a lake less than an hour from Ottawa for less than $500k.  Of course we were seeing it at its very best, a beautiful warm summers day but we’re not so sure about the -20 deg C winters…



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