June 11

June 11th, 2007

Icing on the cake. That’s the best I can describe it. This morning the phone rang just before I was about to leave Saint-Lin-Laurentides. It was the Montreal radio station 940 AM who we spoke to yesterday and asked me to do an interview today.


“Hi. I’m just calling to cancel the interview for today” a woman’s voice told me. “We prefer to air current news stories rather than features.”


“I’m rollerblading across Canada, and I’m just outside of Montreal right now. Isn’t that current news?” I asked politely.


Unable to give me a straight answer about their reasoning, I expressed my dissatisfaction with the media of Quebec and let her know I had plans of reaching Ontario as quickly as possible so I could concentrate on exposure from a more receptive audience. Like I said… Icing on the cake.


As I started skating, I couldn’t help but realize that I was completely unfazed by the disappointing phone call. In fact, I almost found humour in it. Look at the irony. Quebec has a population of 7,500,000 people compared to Newfoundland’s 500,000 residents. Yet the people of Newfoundland donated 12 times more than Quebec. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a slam against the people of Quebec. Far from it. I met some of the nicest people there (you may remember me talk about Patrick and Sylvie). But the media in Quebec were completely unresponsive to our requests for coverage. Even though we had a language barrier, I was truly disappointed that I couldn’t reach more people in the province.


Nevertheless, I skated on with the occasional encouraging honk and ‘thumbs up’. My sights were now set towards Ontario. I was pretty confident I could make it, but I wasn’t too sure what the remaining highway would be like. It was just outside of Saint-Jerome when the phone rang again. I was sitting in the RV taking a break and re-hydrating, so I answered the call. It turned out to be 105.1 Mike FM out of Montreal. My mom had e-mailed them the night before. The DJ, Marie, was possibly one of the most enthusiastic people about my trip thus far! Mike FM was the polar opposite of 940 AM. She had me on the air for near 10 minutes! She even made reference to Terry Fox and the struggles he endured through Quebec. She encouraged everyone to stop and donated and even offered to pay people back if they did so! If all the media in the province were as genuine as Marie, Quebec would be tough to beat. Although many people may have missed me coming through Quebec, hopefully awareness will continue to build even after I’m gone.


By lunch time I had cleared over 50 km! I was now only 25 km from the Ontario border. But the heat and humidity were wearing me down. I get a kick out of the people of BC when they complain about humidity. Try living in Ontario or Quebec! Some days you feel like you’re swimming through the air it’s so thick. But I’m looking after myself well. I stay hydrated and well nourished. So after lunch and a quick nap, I pressed on.


I was less than 10 km from the crossing to Hawkesbury, Ontario, when the Weather Gods decided to have a little bit of fun with me before I left Quebec. The sun was shining, the breeze was light, and without warning a downpour opened up directly above me. I looked around trying to figure out where the rain was coming from. There was blue sky everywhere. Everywhere except above my head. Cars driving by in the opposite lanes were bone dry, but I was getting soaked. Yup, just a small dark cloud hanging out above me. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it was pretty close to that! A little rain wasn’t stopping me from getting to Ontario. With a final left-hand turn, I was on a bridge over the Ottawa River and into my 6th province on rollerblades. A lot like Newfoundland, Quebec showed me some of the best and some of the worst conditions I could face. So when I saw the “Welcome to Ontario” sign, I got down on hands and knees and kissed the wet ground.


No sooner had I entered the Province did the rain disappear and the roads dried up. Just another taste of irony. I finished my day just outside of Hawkesbury where we found a campground willing to let us stay the night for free! And the grocery store in town donated a case of water to me! Yup, Ontario was off to a great start. We settled into our campsite along side the Ottawa River where I immediately ran down and leaped in. The water was barely over 70 degrees, but it felt better than any swim I’ve had in my life. It was a nice evening filled with little luxuries (like a picnic table, and a public toilet). We did a bit more media calling and some preparations for tomorrow. I think I should have no trouble getting into Ottawa. So for everyone in O-town, I’ll be coming along #17 highway into Orleans. Be ready with skates on. And if you miss me, I’ll be heading to Parliament Hill on Wednesday morning! Hope to see you all there!



Posted in Daily Journal | 2 Comments »


2 Responses to “June 11”

  1. Robert Werner Says:

    Peristence, Rich, persistence! Having lived in Quebec, I’m so embarrassed for what happened to you there … or didn’t. But like you said, it’s not the people per say, it’s the media there. I think things will change enormously for you now that you’re back in your home province.

  2. olivier Says:

    hi I don’t know if you remember me. During you passage in Hawkesbury you stopped at the MacEwen store and I gave you the bottle of water…. anyway just wanted to wish you good luck…. don’t stop olivier

Leave a Reply

 Comment Form