2CV Trekking in the Maritimes

by George Dyke…..

Another opportunity presented itself for an extended 2CV road trip in the last two weeks of August with my friend Roland Voegele.  We discussed going south to Nashville and on to New Orleans, but with the heat and uncertain weather, as well as the political climate in the US these days, we thought that Canada’s Maritime region would be a better destination choice.  It turned out that we were correct on all counts!

View a full photo gallery of the adventure here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmrjrTgd

We departed Toronto, on August 20 and headed for Ottawa.  To get out of the greater Toronto area we took HWY 401 east and exited at Newcastle where we took rural roads first along the shore of Lake Ontario to Port Hope and then north to Warkworth, Campbellford and over to Marmora, where we joined HWY 7.  Arriving in Ottawa late afternoon, we checked out Parliament Hill and the Byward Market area before heading just east of Ottawa to overnight in Buckingham in the Gatineau region of Quebec.

The next day we headed along the Ottawa River to Lachute and on to Montreal where we took in old Montreal and enjoyed a dinner and beer at Dieu du Ciel in the Mount Royal area of the city.

Overnighting in Montreal, we headed east to Quebec City along the north shoreline road of the St. Lawrence River arriving in Quebec City with enough time to see the old part of the city and get favourable responses from all the tourists there who appreciated the added French culture of 2CVs among the charm of the old city.

After a rest in the outskirts of Quebec City, we crossed over the St Lawrence River on the Pierre Laporte Bridge and took the south shore road to Rivière-du-Loup, where we joined the Trans Canada Highway and headed over to Edmundston, New Brunswick.  A night there was quite a contrast to Quebec City but nevertheless the opportunity to get a good night’s sleep prepped us for the drive to Saint Andrews on the Bay of Fundy and the only day of the whole trip that we encountered rain!  Quite an amazing feat for the Atlantic provinces region!

And once in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, what wonderful place to visit!  Everyone drives 20 km/h over the posted speed limit (or maybe they just interpret km/h as mph).  Whatever the reason, we were able to wind up our 2CV’s and do some spirited driving on through the countless sweeping turns on the two-lane highways!

From St. Andrew we traveled all around the shoreline of the Bay of Fundy, overnighting in Amherst Nova Scotia and then on to Digby where we spent the night there, but not after fabulous seafood dinners at the Shoreline Restaurant on the main street overlooking the fishing dock.

The next day we headed south to Yarmouth and made a point of going around Chebogue Point just south of Yarmouth and taking Route 3 to Shag Harbour and on to 309 and coast road around North East Harbour to get an authentic feel for the rural and fishing life of Nova Scotians.  With that behind us we headed north for a late brunch at Lunenburg and over to Peggy’s Cove, a place overrun with tourists and frankly, the place has been ruined by trying to cater to them.  Seriously, the rocky point looked like an ant farm with people climbing all over it.  Having seen enough of Peggy’s Cove we headed into Halifax for the night and made our way up the east coast then the next day along the shoreline that was much more natural and had roads that were a testament to the engineering prowess of the 2CV!  It was a great drive and we managed to cross over onto Cape Breton Island and make it to Sydney for the evening.

I can’t understand why more people down here don’t own a 2CV in the Maritimes.  A 602cc engine version is more than enough power to do the shoreline roads around both provinces and we astonished a few people doing the Trans Canada Highway getting there and doing speeds that certainly kept pace with trucks that were whizzing along at 120 and then slowing (like us) on hills. To drive a 2CV on the coastal roads is a true delight!

The challenge for the following day was driving the Cabot Trail, not just for hills but the road construction that was happening in many places.  Nevertheless, we managed to take in some spectacular views and paid a visit to Ken Deal and his wife Barbara who have a lovely home on the west side of Cape Breton Island at Saint-Joesph-du-Moine.  Ken is the current owner of my very first DS, and 1972 DS21 Jubilee edition and I was happy to be reunited with it and see it is in good hands!

After an evening and a fabulous breakfast with Barbara and Ken, we made our way along the shore road of Cape Breton Island then shoreline road on mainland Nova Scotia to Shediac New Brunswick.  Along the way, we managed to even get a glimpse of the Confederation Bridge that now ties Prince Edward Island to the mainland.  We overnighted at Shediac and had another superb seafood dinner at Paturel’s Shore House.  The scallops and shrimp are to die for!  Of course, no visit to Shediac would be complete without posing in front of the giant lobster statue claiming Shediac to be the home of the world’s largest lobster.  We posted our 2CV’s in front of it much to the amusement of a busload of Chinese tourists that had arrived for their own photo op.

In the morning as we were leaving Shediac we spotted a Traction Avant on the front lawn of the Adorable Choclaterie-Café-Patisserie.  It certainly caught our attention and we discovered not only that the owner brought it over from France, but he offers freshly baked croissants that are as good as any you are going to find in France!

From Shediac, it was off to Gaspé in Quebec and more spectacular roads and coastal views.  The following morning we took some of the steepest roads on the trip on the north shore of the peninsula in around Mont-Saint-Pierre and the Saint-Anne-des-Monts area – a true test of the 2CV going uphill and on the curves going down!

The scenery was outstanding and even more so because we chose to drive the entire coastal portion of the trip where we would be in the lane closest to the ocean.  The big payoff here was that we would crest over a mountaintop and see below us villages laying by the seashore bathed in morning sunlight.

After going around Gaspé we headed back to overnight in Quebec City and continue a leisurely drive back to Toronto with our last night stay in Brockville, ON.

Everywhere we went, people were friendly and certainly curious about the cars.  Folks approached us saying they have never seen one before or recalled some driving adventure in Europe with one.

It was truly a fabulous trip and one I wholly recommend be on the bucket list of any Citroën owner, especially if you have the opportunity to do it in a 2CV or a GS.  I say a GS because I did the Gaspé trip back in 2011 in my GS. You can read about that here: https://citroenvie.com/gaspe-region-of-quebec-in-a-citroen-gs-sept-2011/

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