Head out on the highway
Author to share joys of driving the old Trans-canada Highway with Truro next month
TRURO, N. S. – The Bay of Fundy’s red mud and salty smell in the air seemed almost otherworldly for a young prairie boy.
It was 1959, and Clint Cannon was only seven when he saw Nova Scotia for the first time, while holidaying with family as they drove across Canada from Manitoba.
Cannon made three such road trips east to Amherst as a boy to see his grandmother, driving for days through prairies, forests, along the Great Lakes and down country back roads, all part of the old Trans- Canada Highway.
“It was delightful and enlightening,” said Cannon, who grew up near Brandon. “My sense of self as a Canadian was born on these trips.”
Years later, his evolving sense of the country produced his new book, Exploring the old TransCanada East, which he will read to the Truro public on June 7.
However, it was on his first trip east his sense of belonging to the whole of Canada took root.
Cannon recalled a narrow road winding through the rocky outcrops of northern Ontario with few places to pull over, or finding different soft drinks in the stores of a neighbouring province, making him feel like he was far from home.
In those days, drivers stopping for the night could just park on the roadside and pitch their tent on the shores of Lake Superior, falling asleep to the sound of trucks rumbling by.
“It was very exciting to be travelling, I’d never been off the prairies before,” said Cannon. “My strongest memory was hitting the Canadian Shield and seeing the change to trees, rocks and lakes.”
Somewhere in these forests the Cannon family car hit a moose, which fell onto the hood and was knocked off by the metal visor over the windscreen. Cannon’s father hammered out a few dents and the car had a busted headlight, but it could still be driven.
“New cars are much safer, but the older ones were indestructible,” said Cannon.
In later years, Cannon relived the road trips of his childhood, this time coming to Truro and Bible Hill to visit an old friend of his, and to conduct research for his book.
Cannon included a section on the historical Stanfield’s Ltd., as well as describing the hiking trails of Victoria Park and the tidal bore.
He said the bore’s parking lot is built on the site of the old Trans- Canada Highway coming into Truro, where a bridge once spanned the Salmon River.
“I fell in love with my country again,” said Cannon. “The TransCanada Highway is the ribbon that connects us all.”
Cannon’s June 7 reading in Truro will take place at the Noveltea Bookstore Café at 622 Prince Street, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Author Clint Cannon will be presenting his new book about the old Trans-canada Highway in June, which includes a section on Truro and its tourist attractions.