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Historic Pit Stops

"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it."

- Greg Anderson

You are on your way to visit historic places when you realize the car is running out of gas, the kids need to use the restroom and your stomach is growling. Luckily, there are a number of heritage pit stops along the country to allow you to squeeze all the culture you can into your tight travel schedule.Justine Arsenault Building, Village of Cap-Pelé / L'Édifice Justine Arsenault, village de Cap-Pelé

First things first, the car needs some gas. If you are near Cap-Pele in New Brunswick, head over to the Justine Arsenault Building. This service station used to be a clothing store in the 1890s and was owned by Justine Arsenault, the first woman to do business in Acadia. The building has changed hands and use over the years, until it was eventually transformed into the first garage and service station of the region in the 1930s. Causeway Tower & Garage, City of Victoria / Garage et tour Causeway, ville de Victoria

Now that the tank is full, it's easier to visit historic places that used to be gas stations, such as, 85 Euston Street in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, or 231 East Pender Street in Vancouver, British Columbia (although something tells me you'll have to fill up the car again before arriving in Vancouver if you're leaving from the East Coast)!

After you've made it to British Columbia, make sure to visit the old Causeway Tower & Garage in Victoria.  This old service station was built in 1930 by the Imperial Oil Company to fill in the need for fuel in the region and is a rare example of prosperity in the Canadian West during the Great Depression. The building is now a tourist center where you can get information on fun things to do in Victoria during your stay.

Carberry Public Washroom, Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture Heritage and Tourism / Toilettes publiques de Carberry, Direction des resources historiques, tourism et patrimoine du gouvernement du ManitobaWhile traveling on the Prairies, the children may need to use the restroom. The first stop is in Manitoba at the Carberry Public Washroom. Built in 1983, this building is one of the onlyPublic Comfort Station, Government of Saskatchewan / Public Comfort Station, gouvernement du Saskatchewan public washrooms of its kind, which was common in small towns of that era. If the kids still need to go to the bathroom… turn on Crescent Park in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where you will find the Public Comfort Station. Built in 1920, this building was constructed to mimic European sanitation houses and is the only building of this type left in Saskatchewan.

Back on the East Coast of Canada, make sure to pick up a little snack or magazine for your long travel by visiting convenient stores in New Brunswick. On Seal Cove School, Grand Manan Historical Society / L'École de Seal Cove, Société historique de Grand Manan the island of Grand Manan, enjoy the view or mail a letter at the Seal Cove School. The school was used from 1896 to 1978 and housed school children from grades 1 to 9. After the school's closure in 1979, the building was used as a Community Hall. In 2005, the school was sold and was transformed into a post office and convenience store. Further north in the province, you will find Baldwin House in the community of Bathurst. This convenience store is a popular place for locals and holds different public functions over the year. The house was originally built in 1857 as a residence for William Henry Baldwin.

Once you have eaten your snack and left New Brunswick, it might be getting close to dinner time. Stop in Mississauga, Ontario, at the road-side restaurant, Elliott Elliott House, Chelsey Tyers / Maison Elliott, Chelsey TyersHouse. Built on a lot that was purchased in 1836 by Adam Elliott, a Scottish immigrant, the residence had many owners until it was transformed into a restaurant in 1980. If you are on the other side of the country at dinner time, visit Burkhart House in Surrey, British Columbia for a nice home-cooked meal at the road-side restaurant. After an economic boom in the town of Surrey due to the B.C. Electric Railway in 1910 two Swiss brothers, Jacob and Joseph Burkhart, built the house in 1920 near the Newton Station. The house was transformed into a restaurant in 1974.

Most often, the journey is more important than the destination; so remember to take some time to satisfy your needs and learn about Canada's historic places during your trip by visiting these heritage pit stops.