There are two marathon highways in Ontario. One is Highway 11 which used to start as Yonge Street in Toronto but now starts in Barrie and ends in Rainy River just short of the Manitoba border. The other highway which actually does go through Marathon is Highway 17 which starts at the Manitoba border near Kenora and ends in Arnprior.
I can say that I’ve been the distance on both of these roads although neither in a single drive. One of the great debates is which road to take from North Bay to Thunder Bay. It seems to be visually obvious to take one route but take the time to investigate using Google Maps and asking for directions. You’ll be amazed at the results. (I won’t spoil it here but do it.)
Over the weekend, my son’s new television effort “Les Stroud’s Survivor Challenge” was aired. The setting was Hornepayne, a place that I know I’ve been though, but couldn’t quite place it. So, it was off to the internet for a little research.
From there, I started thinking about the town of Englehart. It was outside Englehart that, years ago, my father had purchased a farm years ago on speculation that there might be mining value to it. As a mining location, it offer great hay for the farmer that leased it from us.
So, I used a combination of the website above and Google Maps to try and dig into the memory to see what I could remember. I do remember a long drive and also finding out that I was allergic to penicillin during a stint at the Englehart hospital.
In my explorations, however, I can across an incredible website, http://www.highway11.ca. It’s not necessarily incredible by its flashy design but by its content. Here, you get a chance to see a passion in action. In this case, the website owner gives a personal accounting of “A Virtual Community-by-Community Trip Along the World’s Longest Street”.
Now, there are lots of websites devoted to towns and websites devoted to the occasional highway, but this website is a fascinating amalgam of the two of them completely written in the first person. It’s like being in the same car taking the drive and documenting each town or community that you visit along the way.
Navigating the site takes a while; it’s that comprehensive (and there are so many places along Highway 11). Having made the trip, it did bring back some real memories to me but it would be fascinating reading for anyone interested in making the trip.
What really struck me in all of this was the value of having a passion. Some people design websites and hope to cash in and make money from them. Others have a passion and set about honouring it. That’s what I see in this effort. The author had a passion and a desire to document this long drive and did it admirably. In addition to Highway 11, I thought, I wondered about Highway 17 so checked out http://www.highway17.ca and see that it’s a work in process. I can’t wait to see it come to fruition.
For web developers and content developers, there’s a great message here. Have a passion and see it through. You might just be developing a wonderful resource for someone like me to stumble into.