Monday, April 6, 2009

Where the heck is Upsala?

Ah, Upsala, Ontario. The Gem of Northwestern Ontario, the Essence of Paradise, the Gateway to Heaven.

What. You think I'm being over dramatic, don't you. Oh, you've actually been here? And all you saw was a general store and a couple gas stations? Yep, that's the place. About an hour and a half west of Thunder Bay on the TransCanada Highway. I admit, Upsala has a pretty small fan club, and few of us consider it to be the Gem of Northwestern Ontario. Or the Essence of Paradise, for that matter. At least two or three have found it to be the Gateway to Heaven though, after head-on collisions on the big bend in the highway. But I digress.

The fact is, most folks pass through and don't even know they've been here. What a shame. 207 friendly people and an undisclosed number of moose, bears, foxes and other wildlife, just waiting to be discovered. It is easy to miss the place though, so here are a few ways to make the passage memorable:

  1. Drive a hundred and ten through the sixty zone. The local law enforcement guys will make sure that your visit was unforgettable. There is a down side to having vigilant police, in that it diminishes our reputation as the Gateway to Heaven - it's harder to get killed driving sixty - but we can live without that distinction.
  2. Pull into the village at 9:00 PM with an empty gas tank. Chances are, you'll be staying until 6:00 AM when the village wakes up. That is, unless the volunteer firefighters are training at the hall, and you happen to stop by and cry on their shoulder. We'll offer you some gas from a jerry can, which you'll accept gratefully. You might even leave a donation. And you won't likely forget Upsala.
  3. Try passing on the big bend in the highway and crash into an oncoming vehicle. If you survive (and the last person to try it did), you'll get to meet our paramedics and firefighters in person. You'll be delayed a few minutes while we assemble at the hall, gear up, and respond to the scene, but it will be worth the wait. Afterward, you'll get a one-on-one personal interview with an OPP officer, who will want to know why you were in such a big hurry to get through the Gem of Northwestern Ontario.

Of course, there are other ways to remember Upsala. You can come here to hunt or fish, or just to visit one of our (usually) friendly residents. Yes, that's boring, but at least your memories of our tiny hamlet will be good ones. And if you do come through for any reason, please drive safely.

1 comment:

  1. an ex- Upsalonian....I love this! Upsala voluteers have saved so many lives and cover such a huge area that they would be overqualified anywhere else! Susie(stevens) sinclair


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