Our driving trip across Canada #RoadTripMair

Some things you just have to do before you kick the bucket. My list is fairly long, but every year I check a couple of adventures off.

#RoadTripMair began as an idea in 2013 after we bought our new Mazda 3. Driving home from a long weekend up in Muskoka my husband and I both decided that driving across Canada in our new car was a brilliant idea. One year later we did the epic drive from Toronto to Vancouver with many stops in between.

We left early on September 4 and drove to Tobermory then boarded the Chi-Cheemaun to Manitoulin Island, a hidden gem.


If you ever get the chance to visit Manitoulin Island, jump at it. Its a magical place. We stayed at The Queen’s Inn a wonderful way to start our journey. This historic inn is not only beautiful, but sits facing one of the island’s many bays.


Hiked the Bridal Falls trail and even shot a video for Cityline. I posted video blogs all along the way. Watch the video blog of Bridal Falls and me slightly losing it…… (note to self: never wear your raincoat wrapped around your butt, not slimming….yikes!)

The next day we drove (as in my husband Scott drove the entire trip)  to Ste Sault Marie and then onto Thunder Bay.

Terry Fox is a Canadian icon and one of my personal heroes. Here is my tribute to him, shot at the monument.

Swimming in Lake Superior is always a challenge, because its so dang cold. So we swam, okay – the truth, Scott swam in Lake Superior, I ran in and out of Lake Superior screaming. It was freezing. You can see my footprints in the sand.

panckae bay

Next stop was Manitoba and lucky me –  I got to ride in a combine, it was very cool. My motto, Hug a Farmer!

Saskatchewan wasn’t as flat as I thought it would be, there were rolling hills and many many, many many grain elevators.


One of our goals was to take off the beaten path adventures and Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial Park had all the earmarkings of a wonderful adventure. The picture below is before the adventure started….when everything was hunky-dorey.

cypress hills

Here’s the letter I wrote to the Park Ranger that I posted on my FB author page after we drove through Cypress Hills:

Dear Cypress Hills Ranger Staff,
First of all, on a clear day the scenery must be National Geographic worthy, but on a low cloud, rainy, cold, mucky road day, not so much.
I loved seeing the cattle up close, although, apparently cattle up close scare me as much as I scare them.
I loved the hawk that swooped our car and flew just ahead of us. We later learned that is was a falcon, I think they are luckier to have spotted? (insert me shrugging)
I even loved the three deer that ran right in front of our car.
What I didn’t love was the tire sucking, ice-like slippery ball bearing dirt/gravel road.
And nowhere was there a note or even a crummy sidebar in anything that I read that warned the scaredy cats from cities (insert my name here, Scott loved it) that having a four wheel drive would be advantageous, no….better yet…mandatory.
Had we not had a great car with front wheel drive (it’s a Mazda 3) and Scott didn’t know how to drive in slippery conditions, we would have been in a ditch without cell reception and apparently it was cougar season.
Big note: Scott loved the whole shebang, me, not so much.
Smaller note: I didn’t take any pics of those roads, I was too busy praying.
So in closing, we will be back but only when the weather is better and Fort Walsh is open.
Thanks for the “off the beaten road adventure”, grateful we made it, sort of……
Peace, love and fibre,
Who knew there were Badlands in Canada? We didn’t. Dinosaur National Park is without a doubt, amazing. I felt like we were on another planet. It’s a must see if you’re ever are in Alberta.
My bucket list was getting check marks all over the place.
Next up was having High Tea at the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary. We shot a video blog….but sadly it was shot on the Cityline iPad which two days later I inadvertently dropped into Lake Louise. Yes, its sort of funny now, but in the moment – disaster! We actually drove back and reshot the tea. The pictures below are from the original tea, the video blog is from the second go round!
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a Canadian Gem. I was there as a kid and vowed I would return to stay as an adult. It took a long while, but check!
We hiked, we ate, I lost my iPad…..all in all it was memorable on many levels, bottom-line you need to stay there at least once.
After two amazing nights (they have fabulous beds and pillows) we drove to a Dude Ranch in Cranbrook, B.C. and played City Slickers for five nights.
Three Bars Guest Ranch was the highlight of the trip. We had our own log cabin, our own horses, and our own fabulous time.
FYI: I didn’t know how to ride a horse before I got there. I wouldn’t say that I know how to ride one now, but I would say, that now, I am more than just a sack of potatoes sitting on a horse. Want a good giggle? Check my video blog post the first time I officially got off a horse.
After we sadly bid our farewell to the ranch and our horses Blink and Joe, we headed to Kelowna, B.C. to visit two of my best friends who I’ve known since I was 12 years old, Barb and Hazel and their husbands, and stay at Barb’s cabin on Lake Okanagan. We visited wineries, fruit stands, and ate and laughed way too much.

Then headed to my home town, Vancouver, B.C. visited my parents and did all things West Coast which means we ate at Go Fish  went to Stanley Park, walked along the beach, and just chilled.
After five days with my family we headed to Revelstoke , B.C. – a definite highlight, if you love trains, is the Railway Museum. I loved walking through an old CPR train including the dining car. Sidebar: Don’t ever complain that you don’t have any room to cook in, their kitchen was teeny, check out the pictures below.
didning car
We drove through the B.C. mountains before we headed back to Calgary to re-shot the High Tea, then traveled south and came home via the USA.
Epic road trip, epic adventure, and epic memories.





2 thoughts on “Our driving trip across Canada #RoadTripMair”

  1. Pingback: Fondue Recipes from Chef Jean-Luc Cortat from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise | Mairlyn Smith

  2. Pingback: Cheese Fondue from The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – Mairlyn Smith

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