More of Jeff Stumb’s commentary while on the Great Race route:
DAY 5 — Barry’s Bay and Ottawa, Ontario
This is the day I have been waiting for since the route was announced. Instead of taking the straight and easy route from Barrie east to the capital of Ottawa, we selected a route that would take the race throught the Provincial Park (a National Park of Canada). In doing so, we will see some of the most incredible screnery the country has to offer. But there are no major cities capable of hosting a lunch stop. In that part of the country, it is common for there to be only 1,000 people in a 500-square mile radius. Enter Mayor Dave Shulist and the community of Barry’s Bay. I called the mayor a month of so ago and told him of my delimma and he told me that if we would come to Barry’s Bay he would take care of everything. Barry’s Bay has a population of 1,300 people on a good day in a 10-mile radius. It does have a couple of small diners, and the mayor has everyone on board and excited about the stop at the town’s park, named after Canada’s most famous pilot, Jan Zurakowski. The mayor says the race coming to his town is the biggest thing to ever happen to Barry’s Bay. He predicts that his town will double in size that day. I think I am looking forward to that day more than any on next year’s race.
The stop in Ottawa is actually in a suburb called Kanata. And in the summer, a group of car guys have a Cruise In to raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. And on the Tuesday night we are going to bring the race to Kanata, the Cruise In will also take place with more than 400 cars. Karen and Roger Thomas, along with 1995 Great Race helper Al Jones, are going to make this a memorable stop and one that raises a lot of money for the hospital — called CHEO by the locals. More details will follow on this in the coming months. Ottawa is also the home to “Motormouth” Brian Gouge, who will be joining us again in 2012 as our P.A. man. Unfortunately, we were not in Ottawa long enough to visit Motormouth.