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Want to better appreciate Canada? Pick up Road Trip Guy's latest work

Gilford author Eric Whitehead’s 20th publication, Canada: Coast to Coast to Coast, explores Ontario, Quebec and several other provinces

Eric Whitehead’s 20th publication, Canada: Coast to Coast to Coast, explores Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Saint Pierre and Miquelon — which is a French archipelago south of Newfoundland.

Though it is not intended to be a travel guide, Whitehead thoroughly researches each place he visits. He uses his journals and notes to meticulously assemble each of his publications — which feature his photos — but his most recent publication includes something that none of his other books do. Each chapter concludes with a QR code, which, when scanned, redirects to a YouTube video that features the places noted in that chapter.

“Anyone who travels or wants to travel can enjoy it. Generally speaking, older people may identify more with my writing style and observations,” Whitehead said. “The biggest thing you will get from this book is an understanding and appreciation of just how vast and beautiful Canada is. You will never run out of wonderful things to see and do in Canada.”

Previously featured by InnisfilToday in January and March of 2021, Whitehead — who is called the Road Trip Guy — said that he writes feel-good stories that may make readers laugh.

“Many people have commented when they read my books they feel like they are on the trip with me,” he said.

Whitehead and his wife, Karen — who met in high school — have been travelling together for over 46 years. Whitehead has visited all 50 American states, and 10 provinces and two territories in Canada. He's travelled to Antarctica and 20 countries in Central America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. With his worldly experience in mind, InnisfilToday asked him what makes Canada so special.

“Canada is special for so many reasons but what stands out to me is the kindness of the people, the incredible variety of scenery and the fact that the country is enormous,” Whitehead said. “You have to drive through Canada to realize and appreciate just how vast it is. If you take your time to enjoy it, Ontario alone will take four to five days to drive through.”

Though he has always lived in Ontario, Newfoundland is his favourite province.

“Scenically, it has everything — mountains, forests, seascapes, lighthouses, crashing ocean waves, icebergs in the spring and early summer, it's all there. But the people are what makes the province special. If you've seen Come From Away, it is true to life.”

Canada: Coast to Coast to Coast includes a section about Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which is beyond the country’s borders, 90 minutes from Newfoundland.

“It is such a unique destination so readily available to Canadians,” he said. “It is part of France … Other than flying directly from France you cannot get to (Saint Pierre and Miquelon) without setting foot on Canadian soil. You can fly from St. John's or take a ferry from Fortune, (Newfoundland).”

Whitehead said that Canadians do not require passports or visas to visit Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

Readers eager to explore Canada may be interested to know that the top places Whitehead recommends that people visit are St. John’s, the Badlands in Saskatchewan, and the mountains in Alberta and British Columbia.

“I have seen and spent time in the Rockies in Colorado, the Alps and the Atlas Mountains in Africa, and the South American Andes, and none of them made me feel the awe I feel driving through our Rocky Mountains,” he said.

Whitehead said he has enjoyed writing as long as he can remember. His English teacher in high school was very encouraging. “(He) was very supportive of my efforts and was someone I admired and still do. We have remained in touch to this day — more than 50 years.”

When asked about his writing process, Whitehead explained, “I'm an early riser so (I) do most of my work in the morning. I usually spend about six hours a day writing current and future books. There's always something on the go. I take an early morning walk and I'd be lying if I didn't admit a beautiful sunrise on an hour-long walk in Gilford did not inspire me somewhat.”

An Innisfil resident for 40 years, Whitehead explained why he and his wife relocated to Gilford before their eldest son started school.

“I wanted the kids to experience life in a small town. Turns out we loved it,” he said. “You knew all your neighbours' names, or at least the names of their dogs. Innisfill is now the victim of urban sprawl like everywhere else but Gilford has remained relatively small. I can't imagine living anywhere else.”

Whitehead looks forward to releasing a second volume of Canada: Coast to Coast to Coast, which will include his travels to B.C. He and his wife will travel to Alberta this fall and they plan to visit Nunavut next year.

The book features 75 pages of photos along with 180 pages of text. It is available for $35 plus shipping and handling, but Whitehead noted that those living in Innisfil and Bradford save the shipping and handling costs, as he offers delivery to those locations.

Email Eric Whitehead at [email protected] for more information.

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Amber Green

About the Author: Amber Green

Amber is a freelance journalist with InnisfilToday. Dedicated to the craft of writing, she is a storyteller at heart who writes novels, poetry, and short stories. She lives in Innisfil.
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