Historic Pit Stops
"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in
finishing an activity but in doing it."
- Greg Anderson
You are on your way to visit historic places when you realize
the car is running out of gas, the kids need to use the restroom
and your stomach is growling. Luckily, there are a number of
heritage pit stops along the country to allow you to squeeze all
the culture you can into your tight travel schedule.
First things first, the car needs some gas. If you are near
Cap-Pele in New Brunswick, head over to the Justine Arsenault Building. This service
station used to be a clothing store in the 1890s and was owned by
Justine Arsenault, the first woman to do business in Acadia. The
building has changed hands and use over the years, until it was
eventually transformed into the first garage and service station of
the region in the 1930s.
Now that the tank is full, it's easier to visit historic places
that used to be gas stations, such as, 85 Euston Street in Charlottetown,
Prince Edward Island, or 231 East Pender Street in Vancouver,
British Columbia (although something tells me you'll have to fill
up the car again before arriving in Vancouver if you're leaving
from the East Coast)!
After you've made it to British Columbia, make sure to visit the
old Causeway Tower & Garage in
Victoria. This old service station was built in 1930 by the
Imperial Oil Company to fill in the need for fuel in the region and
is a rare example of prosperity in the Canadian West during the
Great Depression. The building is now a tourist center where you
can get information on fun things to do in Victoria during your
While traveling on the
Prairies, the children may need to use the restroom. The first stop
is in Manitoba at the Carberry Public Washroom. Built in 1983,
this building is one of the only public washrooms of its
kind, which was common in small towns of that era. If the kids
still need to go to the bathroom… turn on Crescent Park in Moose
Jaw, Saskatchewan, where you will find the Public Comfort Station. Built in 1920,
this building was constructed to mimic European sanitation houses
and is the only building of this type left in Saskatchewan.
Back on the East Coast of Canada, make sure to pick up a little
snack or magazine for your long travel by visiting convenient
stores in New Brunswick. On the island of Grand
Manan, enjoy the view or mail a letter at the Seal
Cove School. The school was used from 1896 to 1978 and
housed school children from grades 1 to 9. After the school's
closure in 1979, the building was used as a Community Hall. In
2005, the school was sold and was transformed into a post office
and convenience store. Further north in the province, you will find
Baldwin House in the community of
Bathurst. This convenience store is a popular place for locals and
holds different public functions over the year. The house was
originally built in 1857 as a residence for William Henry
Once you have eaten your snack and left New Brunswick, it might
be getting close to dinner time. Stop in Mississauga, Ontario, at
the road-side restaurant, Elliott House. Built on a lot that
was purchased in 1836 by Adam Elliott, a Scottish
immigrant, the residence had many owners until it was
transformed into a restaurant in 1980. If you are on the other side
of the country at dinner time, visit Burkhart House in Surrey, British
Columbia for a nice home-cooked meal at the road-side restaurant.
After an economic boom in the town of Surrey due to the B.C.
Electric Railway in 1910 two Swiss brothers, Jacob and Joseph
Burkhart, built the house in 1920 near the Newton Station. The
house was transformed into a restaurant in 1974.
Most often, the journey is more important than the destination;
so remember to take some time to satisfy your needs and learn about
Canada's historic places during your trip by visiting these
heritage pit stops.