Our first destination was Upper Canada's Bruce Peninsula National Park, which was every bit as beautiful as I had imagined watching Quest for Fire (1981) as a kid (minus Rae Dawn Chong). Cyprus Lake still must look much as it did 10,000 years ago. From there, we drove almost ten hours to the capital and her Canadian Museum of Civilization, one of the best I've ever visited.
I shamefully confess to not having ever known much about the country next to which I grew up, except of course that they were such nice people, and this museum did much to educate me. I never really fully contemplated the fact Canada as we know it never really existed as an English-speaking country until the French and Indian War and the desertion of American Loyalists.
This bit of history gave me an intensified respect as we crossed into Lower Canada and entered the Francophone, driving another five hours or so, through little towns dominated by beautiful Catholic churches that give each a center and a name, to our destination, La Mauricie National Park. It was there that the best day of our vacation occurred, canoeing on the pristine Lac Wapizagonke. I think I've never felt farther away.