Ford Canada recently approached me to participate in their 2018 Cross-Canada Tour campaign, where 13 influencers were selected from across the country and given the opportunity to test-drive their all-new 2018 Ford EcoSport vehicle across a section of Canada. The leg I was assigned to was Sault St Marie to Thunder Bay, Ontario. After performing a bit of research and realizing that this leg of the tour would follow the shores of beautiful and vast Lake Superior, I quickly called up my best friend Twyla and started planning a beach-hopping + hiking girls’ trip through Ontario in our Ford!
After relentlessly searching Instagram photos of the area and reading hiking trail reviews, we put together a 3-day itinerary that would take us to the area’s most beautiful views (however, narrowing this down was tricky, as this section of Ontario is seriously stunning).
Continue reading to explore this beautiful section of Ontario with me:
Day 1: We spent the majority of the day flying into Sault St Marie, Ontario from Calgary, Alberta and arrived later in the afternoon. Once we landed, we were greeted at the airport and immediately outfitted with our snazzy blue 2018 Ford EcoSport.
Our first plan of action: a good homestyle meal! We enjoyed a truly delicious BBQ meal thanks to Low & Slow Smoked Fusion BBQ in Sault St Marie, watched the CFL game at a local sports pub (sadly, Twyla’s Roughriders were defeated), cruised around the city taking in the views and even enjoyed a surprise fireworks display. We then turned in for a full night’s sleep, preparing for an early start the following day. The forecast looked gorgeous and sunny and we were ready to beach-hop our way across Lake Superior!
Day 2: We departed Sault St Marie early in the morning after a quick stop at Canadian Tire for some essentials we would need for Day 3: bug spray and bear spray (we were exploring Ontario’s remote wilderness areas, after all!) As Twyla drove us towards the highway, I quickly set up the EcoSport’s Wifi HotSpot, which allowed me to post stories from our Ontario adventures real-time on my Instagram channel and stay connected with my email inbox. Iced coffees in hand, we opened the EcoSport’s generous moon roof and enjoyed the feeling of the Ontario summer sun on our skin as we cruised the beautiful highway, waiting for the lush tree views to open up and reveal majestic Lake Superior to us.
And finally she appeared, and what a spectacular sight it was! There are no word to describe how vast, blue, and beautiful Lake Superior is, with an endless amount of inlets, bays, beaches and coves. Here are some photos from some of the stops during our beach-hopping:
All of the beaches we visited between Sault St Marie and Terrace Bay were beautiful, wild, and almost completely empty! We loved having these spaces to ourselves and had a blast exploring these unique bays and coves (and hiding from the giant bugs that frequent this part of Ontario – hello giant beetles!)
My favorite beaches between Sault St Marie and Terrace Bay: Batchwana Bay (amazing sand bars and water reflections), Sinclair Cove (such a cute little swimming spot), Katherine Cove (peace and quiet, lovely sand), and Old Woman’s Bay (hands-down my favorite – its rolling green hills, soft sand and calm bay waters are something spectacular)
After a full day of fun in the sun, we completed our journey for the day and arrived in Terrace Bay at our hotel for some shut eye. However, we had a full day of hiking planned the next day, so we were in for another early morning.
The next morning, after fueling up the EcoSport (which is amazingly good on gas!), we grabbed coffees (road trip essential) and began the 2.5-hour drive to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Here, the goal of the day waited for us: “Top of the Giant”, a 28km round-trip hike where the majority of the 610m elevation gain is within the last 3 KMs (or so). I had fallen deeply in love with a very specific view of Lake Superior framed by two towering cliff sides.
As we navigated to our trailhead using the EcoSport’s awesome 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, rain was splattering down hard on the EcoSport, and we noticed the vehicle has automatic windshield wipers that adjusted for the amount of precipitation falling, from a trickle of rain to a full splash from a passing semi. Pretty cool!
As we entered Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, the rain miraculously stopped. We took this as a positive omen and quickly geared up (including our bear spray), drenched ourselves in our bug spray (which was much needed) and set off on our long journey.
I’ll write a blog post about the Top of the Giant hike in later days, but for now, here are some photos from the hike:
The rain held off the entire hike, and the minute we crossed the end of the trailhead start/finish on our return, the clouds finally opened up and thick rain drops poured down on us. It was the most refreshing end to a long day of Ontario hiking.
We turned the EcoSport’s leather-trimmed seat heaters on high (a luxury I was loving!) and enjoyed the drive to Thunder Bay, our final destination for the day. We arrived at our hotel, showered off the bug spray, swapped our hiking clothes for dinner clothes and enjoyed a seriously delicious meal thanks to 5 Forks Restaurant in Thunder Bay. (We will be talking about the service, atmosphere and quality of food here for a long time – a must-do if you are in Thunder Bay and area.)
Day 3: Prior to our flight, we enjoyed Thunder Bay to the fullest. We visited the beautiful marina area, took in views over the city from Mount McKay, and purchased “Persians” at the recommendation of a friend. Persians are a fried cinnamon sweet roll, frosted with a pink berry-flavored icing that everyone in Thunder Bay is crazy about. We enjoyed our own Persians at Thunder Bay’s marina park, sitting on a bench looking out towards the towering Sleeping Giant (and the view that we had just climbed the day prior). It was the sweetest ending to a truly memorable trip.
Thanks, Ford Canada for an amazing experience in your incredible 2018 Ford EcoSport! To learn more about the EcoSport, visit: www.ford.ca/EcoSport #FordEcoSport