"This plaque stands approximately at the halfway point of the Trans-Canada Highway, which runs from St. John's Newfoundland to Victoria British Columbia. The highway's construction, in conjunction with the provinces, was authorized by the federal parliament in 1949. The official opening for through traffic of this 4860 mile route, of which about 1453 miles are within Ontario, took plance of September 3, 1962. However, with the completion of a section of Highway 11 between Longlac and Hearst in 1944, it had been possible previously to cross Ontario from Quebec to Manitoba. The opening of the Trans-Canada Highway provided a shorter first-class route drawing together widely separated regions of Ontario."
Road Construction is a constant in the life of northwoods communities. (Where I live, we have a saying that there are only two seasons in the year, Winter and Road Construction.)
When I drove the Lake Superior Circle Routes, it seemed as if every hundred miles that traffic would be reduced to one lane because of bridge repairs or major resurfacing work. The delay was never more than a few minutes.
The Trans-Canada highway passes through Wawa, and a monument commemorating its construction is located at the tourist information center, right in the shadow of the big goose:
This Monument was dedicated to commemorate the opening the last link of the Lake Superior section of the Trans-Canada highway on 17th September 1960 by The Honourable Leslie M. Frost, Q.C., L.L.D., D.C.L., Prime Minister of Ontario; The Honourable F. M. Cass, Q.C., Minister of Highways; C. Harry Lyons M.L.A.; and William Quarrell, Reeve of the township of Michipicoten.
Most people who come to Wawa travel via the Trans-Canada Highway, a Federal-Provincial Highway System (not a single roadway), that connects all 10 of Canada's Provinces. Stretching from Victoria, British Columbia to St. Johns, New foundland, it is 4,860 miles long, or 8,030 km counting the ferry crossings. The longest stretch of the Trans-Canada is said to be the longest highway in the world. The halfway point, and the last stretch to be completed, is between Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa.
Although it had been possible to cross Canada by road since 1944, there was need of a better highway, a shorter first-class route, to draw together the widely seperate regions of Canada. The project was authorized by the federal Parliament, in conjunction with the provinces, in 1949, and officially opened for through traffic on Sept. 3, 1962.
There is an old joke; "How did Wawa get it's name? Because of all of the hitchhikers crying in the forest."
Wawa is the black hole of hitchhikers.
Wawa is on the north shore of Lake Superior. Wawa has an airport, downtown center and all of the modern conveniences. However, Wawa is relatively remote from other communities and a little ways off of the highway too.
Wawa is about half way between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste Marie. And Wawa is on a very lonely stretch of the Trans-Canada highway. For a driver or a hitchhiker driving across Canada Wawa is a place to get out of quick.
Most hitchhikers have some sort of Wawa horror story; being stuck for hours, days, even longer - in the elements- waiting for a lift out of Northern Ontario.
There is a tale of a hitchhiker; he could not hitch out of Wawa so he went to the local bar. The histchiker spent all of his money before he could not get a lift out. So he started a tab at the bar. But he still got no lift.
In desperation, he got a job at that bar to pay off his tab. He started dating the bar owners daughter. He married her. His father in law died. Now he inherited the bar anbd half thye town; He is the hitchhiker who never did escape.
When passing through the forests and bush of Northern Ontario, please thing twice whenb you see a poor hitchhiker at the side of the road; Help him out of Wawa.
Wawa Lake is a convenient spot to fly into town - if you have a bi-plane! (I wonder if there are any landing fees?)