Crossing Canada, Frame by Frame

DP found a beautiful broken-down frame in his parents’ basement a few weeks before they moved to Calgary. Most people would not have seen this frame’s enormous potential, this frame that has mother had intended to refinish but never found the time. DP, however, held the frame in his hands and envisioned a photography project.

He started out by taking portraits of my family. My dad, smiling his loopy grin, in front of his old truck held together by rust and dust. Mom, who thought the whole thing was a bit crazy but who played along anyway. We got some fun shots of my Mom and Littlest sister laughing as they peered through the frame together. My niece, Princess Sophia, loved every moment inside the frame. (Oh, she’s going to be high maintenance.)

When we packed for our trip across the prairies, the frame went into the trunk. We planned to capture the changing landscape as we passed through Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The first time we hauled out the frame in public was in Tobermory where we were taking the ferry over to Manitoulin island and then heading up north. A woman said, “Now that’s what I call framing a shot!” A man asked DP to take a photo of him with his little dog in the frame.

Farther north we met a group of four men riding hand cycles across Canada to raise awareness about spinal cord injuries. Their journey was called “Wheel to Walk” and you can learn more about it here.

Somewhere in Northern Ontario, we pulled into a lookout and there was a group of bikers trying, loudly and unsuccessfully, to take a group shot. DP got out of the car and volunteered to take their photograph. Then we pulled our old wooden frame out of the trunk and took a few shots of the lake. One of the women sent her partner over to help me hold up the frame. He was wearing a t-shirt that said “Got Harley?” There is, without question, a camaraderie between people travelling the TransCanada, a kindness that says we’re all in this long drive together.

Then we reached Saskatchewan. I began to think that perhaps, when God was creating the world, this was where he lay down for his afternoon nap. South of Regina, the land was so flat that we could almost see Alberta. We found ourselves driving through fields of golden canola and took some of our favourite shots from the trip.

With not a little sadness, we left the frame in Calgary. Our Barcelona life is too compact for such a large frame. Perhaps, we will find another one here. Something smaller, more European, for new photo experiments and adventures.

“Crossing Canada, Frame by Frame”
Photos by DP
1. Windmills in Grey-Bruce County, Ontario
2. Canadian flag on ship at Tobermory, Ontario
3. Masts of a ship docked at Tobermory, Ontario
4. A man and his dog in Tobermory, Ontario
5. View of the highway from Wawa, Ontario
6. Canada Goose at Wawa, Ontario
7. Lake Superior north of Thunder Bay, Ontario
8. Canola fields near Regina, Sakatchewan
9. Dirt Road near Rouleau, Saskatchewan


  1. hi monna,this is totally a random connection, but i got to your blog from jenny's site. i work at asfm, and i think i actually live in your old apartment (did you happen to live at 206 rio colorado?) i became friends with jenny and jay last year…i absolutely LOVE your postings. you express your travels so effortlessly and i feel like i have been along for the ride, even though i don't even know you!love the frame pictures… they could be used in a commercial for canada!sarah

  2. Hi Sarah.Thank you for your delightful comment. I did live at 206 Rio Colorado about seven years ago. Oh… it is a teensey, tiny world. From your blog (which is so lovely… and you have been blogging for a long time!), it looks like we also have an Ottawa connection. I grew up just outside the city.Jay and Jenny are kindred spirits… I miss them all the time.I gave DP your compliment about the framed shots. They are so cool! I was sorry to read that you got food poisoning in Barcelona near the end of your trip. Oh no! Maybe you'll give Barcelona another try some day!Enjoy Mexico while you are there… it is an amazing country!

  3. Thanks for posting these pictures – I think it is easy to forget how beautiful Canada can be. It is great to see it through (both of) your eyes. These pictures are a treat.

  4. The Lake Superior clouds and Saskatchewan canola shots belong in a 'Canada museum' somewhere, if such exists – both are MUCH MUCH more than 1000 words.You can revisit the frame again, like an old and trusted friend, next time you are in Calgary…CJ

  5. @ meredithThat D is a goodie! We were both in awe of the variousness of the landscapes as crossed the prairies. The salt lakes in southern Saskatchewan were fantastic. The glaciers did good work up north! @CJThanks for your lovely comment; I shared it with DP. He blushed.If the photos you chose were in a museum, I too would want to sit down and look at them for a while.@HeatherNo worries. Barcelona is full of great old stuff that no one wants because they are all decorating their flats with Ikea… I'm sure we'll another good frame.

  6. What a great post! I absolutely love the tour of Canada from this perspective. I've always lived in The States except for my first few months in Newfoundland, where I was born. My Mom is Canadian, and I've always wanted to see more of the country. Thanks for sharing this.

Leave a Reply