Toronto to Tobermorey (228m / 367km)
(Please check out our Instagram profile for regularly updated photos of our cycling adventures!)
We flew to Toronto without a hitch; Air Transat were amazing and looked after our bikes very well. In fact, both bikes cost only £40 for 60kg of weight.
We spent an awesome 4 days in Toronto chilling with our friends Michelle and Greg, and their little un Eli. The bikes got a check up and some new parts at a specialist store, then we cycled through the incredible segregated cycle paths along Lake Ontario and through the city. We also got to spend a day on Toronto Island and hired a quadricycle to check out the cute town there and the breathtaking views of the Toronto skyline. Huge thanks to Michelle and Greg for their incredible hospitality.
Wildlife spots; skunk (spraying a dog in the face!), raccoon, black squirrels
Toronto to Barrie
We left Toronto on 7 July and headed north through the industrial and retail parks, and past the vast Canada’s Wonderland amusement park. Before we’d even left the city boundary we experienced some incredible Canadian hospitality, including a guy who handed us ice-cold, unopened bottles of water out of his car window and another guy who handed us money out of his car window. We’d been warned (by Ontarians!) that Ontario has the most uptight Canadians, so we were astonished with the kindness and generosity at such an early stage of the trip.
Once we crossed Highway 400 we were in Holland Farm Marshes were we found all the Dutch references very weird! We read on the plane that the Dutch have an affinity for Canada because of the Canadian support during the dying stages of WWII. The connection is clearly still very strong and we’ve laughed a lot at all the Dutch names on mailboxes and business hordings.
The Holland Farm Marshes were expectedly flat and, despite the temperature being late 30’s all day, we churned the miles out pretty quickly. We camped about 6 miles east of Barrie, where we realised the gas canister we’d bought at Canadian Tire didn’t fit our stove. There was no food at the site, and we weren’t about to make a 12 mile round trip to Barrie, so we made do with some nuts, energy bars and other leftovers from our kitchen cupboard in London.
Wildlife spots; red cardinals, blue jays, chipmunks, beaver, groundhogs
Distance; 59m / 94km
Barrie to Thornbury
We headed west the next day to Barrie and through the flat farmlands to Wasaga Beach. En route we saw a very cool, but very spooky tree in the middle of nowhere covered with shoes of all sorts. Spookiest of all was the little tree next to it covered in children’s shoes! We got hungry soon after but couldn’t find anywhere to prop our bikes up or sit; we’d come to realise early on that this is an issue with our 50kg (110lb) rigs. Our prayers were answered by someone who had left a sofa and a couple of sideboards outside! We prepped some peanut butter sandwiches and flicked the armchair to lazy boy mode…
We followed the Nottasawaga River to Wasaga Beach. We’ve had a lot of fun with place names but this one beats everything so far! Then we jumped on Highway 26 and head for our campsite. With about 5 miles to go we saw a lady (Barb) on the side of the road flagging us down. We thought we were going to get told for cycling on the highway but unexpectedly, Barb invited us to a local town planning meeting about cycling and economic development. And we even got invited to stay! We jumped at the opportunity and were not disappointed.
We found Barb and Chuck’s house easily, as they’ve made a banner and left this tied to Barb’s bike at the end of the road! The house was unbelievable. We were incredibly grateful and bowled over by the generosity. The meeting was very interesting and it was great to find out more about the local area and meet local people. A buffet dinner was laid on but as we were about to eat an almighty thunderstorm came in and within seconds all the gazebos where either bent double or tumbling through the car park. It soon passed and we had a delicious feed before heading to Barb’s friend’s awesome beachfront house for drinks and tips from the local cycling club route master.
Distance; 54m / 87km
Thornbury to Wiarton
Barb made us an amazing breakfast and Chuck drove us around the local area to try and find a gas canister. We took Highway 26 to Meaford where we eventually found the right size canisters and stocked up. Our road ahead was blocked a giant 1,000ft water slide thatcher for the day! It looked like loads of fun but we had a long way to go so we headed off for the long slog to Owen Sound. From there we enjoyed an incredible ride around the Georgian Bay shoreline.
Barb had told us about a monument to the Women’s Institute at Kemble and some gardens at Keppel Croft. Both were en route and we stopped for a rest. At Kemble we met the amazing Baecklund family who offered us a place to stay in the future and gave us a contribution for the evening. Amazing generosity and kindness. After enjoying the view all day we met out biggest hill right at the end of the day. We drugged to the top and the rolled down to Wiarton to find out campsite and see the memorial statue to the retired Wiarton Willy groundhog. Not joking, seriously, Google it!
As soon as we rolled onto our pitch, a couple from Guelph offered us dinner and a beer. Couldn’t believe it. We gladly accepted and then set about setting up camp for the night.
Distance; 60m / 97km
Wiarton to Tobermorey
The highlight of the day was definitely the stretch of shoreline north of Lion’s Head. The water was crystal clear, sky was perfectly blue and there even white pebble beaches. Really did feel and look like the Caribbean at times. We left the shore and headed up Forty Hills Road. It quickly became densely wooded and then turned into a gravely track. There were signs for a cycle route so we continued on thinking it would became paved soon but it didn’t and we started to become conscious of bears for the first time in the trip. Which we didn’t expect on day 4! Ties started ringing her bell constantly, we turned on some music from our phones and we both sang along loudly. We don’t know if there are bears in this woods, but if so, it worked!
We were very relieved to finally leave this road and rejoin the busy Highway 6. Lots of people have warned us about these highways but we’ve cycled on a few already and think they’re great. 99% of all drivers have given us a wide berth and a good number have honked, waved or smiled in support. When we got to Tobermorey we celebrated by sharing some fish n chips and then made our way to our campsite.
Distance; 55m / 89km
Our trip has started incredibly. Obviously it’s not all plain sailing; the Brexit fiasco has put a huge dent in our already tight budget, the mosquitos are a pain, saddle sore is pretty grim, we’re still working out the best way to arrange all the panniers etc and maintaining clean cycling clothes is a challenge with only 2 sets each! But we love it. We’re so excited about the road ahead, all the wildlife we hope (and hope not!) to spot and all the amazing people we think we’ll meet.