Part 3: The Soo and Canada

Side note:  Welcome to our new subscribers from Italy!  We were told this morning that we were mentioned on Italian radio!  Let us know in the comments what station and where in Italy you heard this!  We want to check it out!  What did the broadcast say about us?  We're super curious and excited!

To get caught up to speed, check out these links about us, our rig, and our drive plan.  To find out more about how YOU can become location independent you can purchase the Family Freedom Guide Book containing the 7 most asked topics on how to live the location independant dream as a family.

Now., on to part 3...

After visiting the the Tahquamenon Falls, we drove the rest of the way to Sault Saint Marie, MI.   We set up shop for a few nights on the St. Mary's River watching (and listening to) the huge freighters going past in and out of the Soo Locks which were a half mile upriver from our location.






We toured the Soo Locks by boat the next day and although the kids already knew what water locks were,they loved being able to ride through them. The first mate of the tour boat answered all our 'uncommon questions' and even let Josiah be the one use the long stick to pass our boat information to the dock master as we entered the lock on the return trip.


Entering the lock.


Our tour boat's first mate, Adam, who showed the kids how to keep the ropes from getting tangled and let Josiah deliver the ship details to the dock master via a long stick with a clip on the end.  Here he was gradually tightening the mooring lines as we rose in the water.


Lock doors closing for the return trip!

Going down!


Down low now!


Warming up down below deck.

The border crossing into Canada was very uneventful (thankfully) and we drove a long day into Bradford, Ontario which is a suburb of Toronto.

We went into downtown Toronto with just the van for church the next morning and attended the Metropolitan United Church which is a large neo-gothic church built in 1872.  A kind parishioner happily offered a tour of sorts after the service.  It was a lovely experience.



It was fun to teach the kids about how a prayer labyrinth can be used.


Each kid (except Zander) chose to pray for someone and light a candle.  It was very sweet.


We spent the fair weathered afternoon taking in a Iranian festival near the waterfront.  The population of downtown Toronto is so ethnically diverse even our kids picked up on it!  "Mom, there are all different looking people here."  We experienced a traditional Iranian folk dance show.  So interesting, beautiful and lively!  I most enjoyed with how the obviously Iranian crowd got into the music and pageantry. They know how to dance!!!




The Kortmans in Toronto near the CN Tower.

We left late afternoon and drove around the western end of Lake Ontario heading for Niagara Falls.

We spent 3 nights there so Paul could get caught up a bit on work.  The campground had a pool/hot tub, mini golf which could be accompanied with devices like the garmin r10, 2 playgrounds, an arcade, wagon rides, etc.  We had plenty to do and had no trouble finding fun things to keep us busy after school work was done each morning!



We went to see the falls on our last day.  Simply gorgeous!  The absolute power in that water is palpable in the air.  We were glad that we had seen the Tahquamenon Falls first as they are beautiful in their own right with the tannins in the water making it look like root beer, but Niagara is just so huge and imposing!  Seeing them in this order gave us the opportunity to enjoy them each for their own beauty without being disappointed by the size variation if seeing Tahquamenon second.








Our very first family selfie stick photo (we were thinking of you Uncle Jaco!)!!!  They were cheap in Canada!!!

At Niagara Falls we took the 'behind the falls' tour.  There are tunnels dug out of the rock so you can actually walk under the massive falls with lookouts very near to the edge of the falls and behind the falls so you are looking at the back of the waterflow.  You get wet!  It was very cool!  We chose this tour over the Maid of the Mist boat tour because we felt it was most age appropriate for our kids as we can be up close to the falls but then leave or stay for however long we want rather than being stuck on the boat even if they didn't like getting wet.  We hit the nail on the head!  Two loved it and two wanted to leave as soon as they got wet.  Those desirous of a drier venue could stand under the covered walkway on the overlook and allow those of us enjoying the experience to soak up a few more minutes of communion with this natural marvel.




Here we are in a tunnel under the waterfall.

Beside the Canadian "Horseshoe" Falls.


Canadian Falls on the right and American Falls and Rainbow bridge on the left.

We went back to our campground for dinner over the campfire and then headed back to see the rainbow lights they shine on the falls every evening.  It was very pretty.  The huge spotlights switch colors periodically and the kids loved guessing what part would change which color next.  A very fun experience!


Thys and I were guessing what color the building next door would change to next.  This is the moment when he won the guess.  Anyone who know Thys already knows what color he guessed...sure enough, it turned GREEN!


Crossing back into the US wasn't any big deal either but the border control office came inside and "varified" that we had all the people whose passports he was holding.  The kids thought having him in Gracie was cool and loved that he said MooMoo didn't need a passport.  Nice guy...devoid of the expected grumpiness!  It was unexpectedly nice.

Wait...we haven't gotten caught up quite yet...there is a part 4 after all!  Coming soon!

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Paul Kortman

Dad of 4, husband, blogger, digital marketer, follower of Jesus. I podcast at and own We're on this crazy journey to travel the world as a lifestyle. Looking for help in how to live as a digital nomad family? Join this Facebook Group!

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  1. Lois Egenes

    Enjoyed your trip through northern WI. And Ontario. I live in Wa. On Puget Sound but have made the same trip. In fact I grew up in Burlington, Ontario and am flying back for a visit next week. Land in Toronto and drive up to Owen Sound on Lake Huron. Interesting country, and very familiar. I love where I am now on Puget Sound, however. This land is full of fascinating places to visit and I envy your family’s ability to travel through it at your own speed. This is a graduate degree geography lesson for your family. Happy travels!

    • Paul Kortman

      There is so much to explore and visit! Just like there is so much to be educated in, hopefully we’ll keep the kids inspired and not overwhelmed!


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