There should have been excitement at the thought of crossing into Canada as we continued on our quest with the Hemmings Motor News Great Race 2012 presented by Hagerty. In anticipation of a big day, I was up and on the road earlier than usual, crossing into Canada before 6:30. The rain took a bit of the lustre from the moment. Driving through that rain, always on the watch for deer and moose (I did see 1 skunk!), I headed towards Elliot Lake, not knowing of the tragedy that had befallen that small community until I arrived in the town; mid afternoon yesterday part of the roof of a shopping mall in Elliot Lake collapsed, injuring several people and apparently sending cars crashing to a concourse below. That happened close to where our rally teams were to have their lunch stop today. A local state of emergency has been declared and a special Ontario Provincial Police “urban extraction” unit was dispatched to the site in case anyone was trapped and needed to be rescued. There were reports of people still missing. Out of respect for the community, our usual up-tempo welcoming of Great Racers was relocated to a venue away from the tragedy with no accompanying show. It blew me away that the host committee insisted that the drivers/navigators stop, have lunch and rest prior to departing for Sudbury. My heart goes out to the community as they await news of those who could possibly still be trapped in that inferno.
Here in Sudbury the show will go on, albeit with all of us aware of how precious each day is, and realizing that we never know what is just around the next bend.