Sunday, November 2, 2014

World's Biggest Things #3

Polar bears are the "thing" in Cochrane, Ontario, but I'm thinking a giant cup of coffee might be more in order. (Two sugars, one cream, please.)

Tim Horton: yes,
he was an actual guy
but he's dead now.
Tim Horton was born in Cochrane. YES. THEE TIM HORTON. The guy who founded the Canadian coffee empire. And, oh yeah, he played some hockey too. Frankly, I would expect a ginormous cup of Tim's at the entrance to town but instead there is Chimo, a plus-sized chub cub. Dave and I stopped by for a photo op on our way across the country last summer. As you can see from Dave's hair, we had basically just woken up after sleeping in our Jeep. (We did that. Because we are bums.)

Cochrane is in northeastern Ontario, east of Kapukasing and north of Iroquois Falls. Basically, when you get to Cochrane, you're putting the "up" in north. When you're travelling across Ontario, you have to go north for a long time before you start heading west, and if you're taking Highway 11, that turning point is here in polar bear land. 

Not that you see any polar bears roaming around. It's not THAT far north. But it is the southern terminus for the famous Polar Bear Express, the train that takes people across Ontario's real north to Moosonee on James Bay. As far as I know, there are no roads to Moosonee and, as well as being an important transportation link, the Express brings many tourists who want to see what life is really like in the far north. The trip can take anywhere between five and six hours. That's just crazy talk.

There are some polar bears in Cochrane, however. The town is home to Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat, the only captive bear facility in the world devoted to polar bears. They do research and stuff and apparently are all about raising awareness about climate change and how that negatively impacts these beauteous bears. If you'd like to know more, here's the LINK.

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P.S. I'm pretending I have not disappeared from blogland. Shhhhhh....


  1. I remember in 'Last Train Across Canada', he took the Polar Bear spur to Moosonee. There was a First Nations guy on the train that sang a song he wrote about that train...sang it in both English and I believe Ojibway. I loved it.

  2. Love you new banner. I did not know you painted. Great work!

  3. I didn't know you painted either. I'll go check it out! Polar bears might not mind the weather down here right now. I know I'm enjoying it! It's so nice not to start sweating the moment you open the front door. :)

  4. Nice that they have a facility devoted to just polar bears.

  5. Lovely to see you back in the blogosphere (however briefly). And I would LOVE to see polar bears. They are right up there in my long list of favourite animals.
    Coffee? I'll pass...
    A painter as well? Is there any end to your talents?

  6. The polar bear is big, I suppose, but Etsy is bigger. I'll be in touch.

  7. I've been in Cochrane, but as a child, so long ago that I don't remember. Most of the trips since then out into northern Ontario and the West have taken the Highway 17 route along Superior.

  8. Can't recall ever being in Cochrane. But I've been through White River lots; that's the home of Winnie the Pooh. But he wasn't a Polar Bear. He ended up as an English Zoo Bear.

    Great to see you back, however briefly. And that's a fine painting you've done.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

  9. Nice to see you back here.....I was thinking....I'm married to the worlds biggest meat head ..maybe if I put up a statue on the front lawn....put Guelph on the map so to speak.

    1. "WORLD'S BIGGEST MEAT HEAD." I laughed SO HARD at your comment, Delores!!!!

  10. Hi Cathy! I saw your hero comment on Alex Cavanaugh's blog, and I so loved it. So I thought that I would hop over and check out your blog. How I long to take that train to Moosonee on James Bay. Northern Ontario was one of the places I lived when I was a kid. So what a delightful surprise to read your post! Happy Tuesday, and welcome back to blogland!

  11. We all disappear from time to time! So long as a polar bear hasn't gotten you. I enjoyed this post, particularly for how it veered off from bears to Tim Horton so rapidly, in such a Cathy fashion. Miss you!

  12. I love the Arctic. Once you have lived there it stays in your blood. Have missed you blogging - and good in bed too, who knew? Can we look forward to some hot steamy books from you : Fifty Shades Of Snow?
    the Ol'Buzzard

  13. Polar Bears are towering beasts with a taste for seal and any other meat. Have seen only stuffed P. Bears in a hotel in Anchorage. close enough, I think.

  14. Miss your snark and comments in the blogosphere Cathy. I have been MIA lately too. My computer went porno on me and life got so crazy. But it's good to be back and see your posts.

  15. How interesting to learn more about polar bears and the fact that there are polar bear facilities! Sounds super cold up there! :)


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