It’s the start of a new year and a new decade today, Jan 1st 2020. I’m not usually one for new year’s resolutions, probably because I know that the things I ought to do around improving health, or not biting my nails, are destined to fail.
But I am pretty good at walking more than the average person. It’s tough to find the time to take on challenges at particular places – I wanted to tackle The Bruce Trail, but work makes it tough to get out to the trail. I still intend to pick that up, eventually.
In the meantime, I thought it might be cool to see if I could walk across Canada “virtually”. Obviously I don’t have a spare six months to do it in person, but I could take the distance I walk each day for all of 2020, and plot it on a map.
The route I will take will not be a simple straight line, but will roughly follow the route of the Trans-Canada Highway. This adds a fairly significant distance, but is more realistic.
The route is 8,871km (5,512 miles) and I’ll start on the West coast in Vancouver, British Columbia. I will head East through The Rockies, into Calgary in the province of Alberta, Regina in Saskatchewan, Winnipeg in Manitoba and then into my home province of Ontario. Adding considerable distance, The Trans-Canada Highway heads south into Toronto before heading to the capital, Ottawa. Into Quebec next and Montreal and Quebec City. In New Brunswick I will visit Fredricton and Saint John. Adding a ton more distance, I will diverge from the Trans-Canada to cross The Bay of Fundy so that I can hit Nova Scotia which would otherwise be missed. I’ll swing through Halifax, then head back North through Truro. Back in New Brunswick I’ll follow Highway 11 until I’m back in Quebec. At Matane, I’ll cross the St Lawrence river and finally head back east for a long walk to the border with Newfoundland and Labrador. At Blanc-Sablon I will cross The Gulf of St Lawrence into Newfoundland at Sainte Barb. Via Highway 430, I’ll rejoin The Trans-Canada at Deer Lake to Gander, Conception Bay and finally St John’s.
Walking aggressively across Canada via a more direct route (about 6100km) takes about 150 days. Driving non-stop takes about 160 hours (7 days).
I will try to do it in 366 days (it is a leap year). I will need to walk an average of about 25km every day, which I think will be tough, especially if I am sick at any point. My fitbit will log my steps which I will use to plot my progress and I’ll try to update about once per week.