KIMbits & KATtales

Early spring motorcycling in Ontario is possible some years, others not so much. Here are some ideas to think about while you're wishing for warmer weather and making your plans for the upcoming riding season...

March in Ontario…it’s always a little bit of something and a whole lot of nothing, all at the same time.

From the unpredictability of the weather to choosing which sport you’re going to indulge in on a particular day, the month of March is the winding down of one season (snowmobiling, snowbiking) and the ramping up for others (ATVing, motorcycling, boating).

Here are 5 interesting items for which Ontario is ‘famous’ – How many of these things did you already know? How many of the items below might you be able to incorporate into the ‘unplanned plans’ that you already have drifting through your ‘gotta take a road trip this summer’ biker’s mind?

YOnge Street

The Longest Street in the World: The distinction of the ‘longest street in the world’ belongs to Yonge Street in the Province of Ontario. Yonge Street starts at Lake Ontario, and runs north through central and northern Ontario to the area of Rainy River, on the Ontario/Minnesota border, a distance of over 1896 kilometres. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized this claim as late as 1998. Most of Yonge Street today exists as Highway 11, north of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Due to the development of the GTA, the old highway lives on as side roads, dead-end roads, or overgrown wooded trails.

For those with a motorcycle and an adventurous nature, travelling the full length of Yonge Street is something akin to hitting the road and getting your kicks on Route 66 (in the USA).  Ontario’s ‘Highway 11’ is a remarkable stretch, running from Canada’s largest city and through some of Canada’s smallest towns & villages.  It begins in the heart of southern Ontario and travels across some of the most remote parts of the province.  It is both a lifeline of sorts to some of Ontario’s most remote regions and the backbone of the province at the same time. 

Whether you take the Yonge Street ‘Longest Street’ distinction at face value, or you ascribe to the other side of the coin which says that it’s actually only 86 kms long (including the Bradford-to-Barrie extension) because of a ‘mistaken conflation’ of Yonge Street with the rest of Ontario's Highway 11, it still makes for one heck of a great route to ride.

Borrowed from a great little site (an Ontario Highway 11 blog), you will find a list of places to visit along this great Bucket List adventure route, including information about amenities, facilities, histories and even a lesser-known fact or two that might just make you go hmmmm…

Wasaga Beach

The World’s Longest Freshwater Beach: Wasaga Beach on Georgian Bay, is located about 2 hours northwest of Toronto and is the world’s longest freshwater beach at 14 kilometres long. According to the town of Wasaga website, “Wasaga Beach has been long hailed as one of the premier tourist destinations in Ontario. For over a century, tourists have travelled to the welcoming shores of Nottawasaga Bay, to stroll along 14 kilometres of white sand beach, swim in warm, clean waters and enjoy the panoramic mountain views across the Bay.” 

When it comes to motorcycling, one of the highlights of the 2016 riding season will be the Wasaga Beach Rally, taking place July 15th-17th. Featuring three rides: The Mayor’s Ride (Saturday), with the proceeds to benefit the Wasaga Beach Rally Fire Department; Twisty’s Ride (Saturday), where you will have a meet & greet and then join Canadian Superbike Racer, Kris Garvie, on a 2 hour ride through the windy roads of Creemore and Terra Nova; and Heels on Wheels (Sunday), joining Joanne Blohm-Smith, First Lady of Wasaga Beach, for a ride through breathtaking Simcoe County.

Thousand Island Railway

North America's Shortest Railway: The Thousand Island Railway, which ran in Gananoque Ontario, is North America’s shortest railway in history, just 5.43 kms long. The service ran for 111 years between 1884 and 1995. The rails were removed in October 1997. A few small remnants of the Thousand Island Railway continue to exist. A shelter and engine have been preserved in a small roadside park in Gananoque. The former Gananoque Junction station (now renamed Gananoque) has been renovated and remains in use by VIA Rail.

The CN Tower

The World's Third Tallest Tower: Canada has the third tallest tower in the world.  Completed in 1975, the CN Tower in Toronto stands 1815' and 5" tall. Its glass paneled elevator floors are the highest in the world. The tower is located in the heart of Downtown Toronto, between the Rogers Centre and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front Street, just north of Bremner Blvd. With features including: The world-famous 360 - The Restaurant at the CN Tower, one of Toronto's finest dining establishments featuring unforgettable Canadian cuisine combined with an outstanding revolving view of Toronto more than 350 metres (1,150 ft) below; special attractions including the Lookout, Glass Floor, Sky Pod, High-Speed Elevators, and Edgewalk.

Touted as Toronto’s most extreme attraction, EdgeWalk is the first of its kind in North America. It is “the world’s highest full circle hands-free walk on a 5 ft (1.5 m) wide ledge encircling the top of the Tower’s main pod, 356m/1168ft (116 storeys) above the ground. Visitors walk in groups of six, while attached to an overhead safety rail via a trolley and harness system. Trained EdgeWalk guides will encourage participants to push their personal limits, allowing them to lean back over Toronto with nothing but air and breathtaking views of Lake Ontario beneath them.”

For those who are comfortable riding in Toronto, taking in Edgewalk (including the video and photo souvenirs that come with the adventure) is a must do for your Ontario / Canadian bucket list.

The World's Largest Coin

Sudbury's Big Nickel is the world's largest coin. It is located at Science North, Northern Ontario’s most popular tourist attraction and an educational resource for children and adults across the province. Science North maintains the second- and eighth-largest science centres in Canada: Science North, featuring an IMAX® theatre, digital Planetarium, butterfly gallery and Special Exhibits Hall, and Dynamic Earth - Home of the Big Nickel, an earth sciences centre. From the Science North website, here are some Big Nickel ‘Fast Facts’: The Big Nickel is the largest coin in the world. It was constructed in 1964. It is an identical, enlarged replica of the 1951 Canadian nickel. Heads is King George VI, Canada’s monarch in 1951; Tails is a stylized nickel refinery with one large stack. The Big Nickel weighs close to 13,000 kilograms (approximately 13 tons). It is about 64,607,747 times the size of a Canadian nickel.

If you happen to be out riding this season and snap a photo of you and your ride at any of the above-noted sites or along any of the routes, send it to me (KAT) at OR post it to the What A Ride Facebook Page; go to KAT’S PHOTO CONTEST photo album and post away! There are some terrific prizes to be won throughout the summer…

Women In Motorcycling

International Women’s Day is held around the world every March 8th. According to its page on the UN website, “International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.” 

In a nod to International Women’s Day, there are two upcoming events you should make note of when it comes to women and motorcycling:

The Women In Motorcycling Exhibit at the Toronto Motorcycle Spring Show (at the International Centre on Airport Road) is in its third year, and What A Ride is one of the sponsors of the Exhibit (located in Hall #1). Showcasing an eclectic group of ‘girls next door’, this group of women will make you think about and look at lady riders in a whole new light. Make sure to visit the exhibit and chat with some ordinary women who have embraced the extraordinary world of riding in the wind, and find out how they have taken that love and incorporated it into their everyday lives. 

Look for me, What A Ride’s ‘KAT’, along with my Yamaha VStar 650 Custom named Ruby, grab a What A Ride decal, sign the What A Ride guestbook, and enter to win some great Ontario Tourism prizes. Just look for the big pink flags with the Women In Motorcycling logo (especially designed for this year’s Exhibit by Amanda Brisebois of Black Widow Custom Paint).

International Female Ride Day: According to its website, “International Female Ride Day© (IFRD) is a campaign for women motorcycle riders with the purpose of highlighting and profiling the many numbers of woman riders enjoying the sport. It is an all brands, all forms, and all styles worldwide ride. All riders are invited to participate and join in on the universal ride day action of “JUST RIDE!”

Read about the event’s history, goals, and explore a list of frequently asked questions, all on the MOTORESS® website. 

There are countless events organized for 2016, as International Female Ride Day© (IFRD) celebrates its 10th anniversary. So, make sure to mark Saturday, May 7th on your calendar, and head on over to their facebook page to check out all the latest news, ride listings, photo contest details, and more.

KAT (aka KimberleeAnna Taplay) is a member of the ‘What A Ride!’ correspondent team, and is looking forward to sharing the next edition of KIMbits and KATtales with you in April. To reach KAT, send your questions and/or comments to

12 Pack of Canadian

Jennifer Roth

Special Links

Southern Ontario Associates of Racing

Motorcycle Wars - Speed Thrills - Tournament #1 - Ep. 1 of 6 "Practice"

About KimberleeAnna "KAT" Taplay

KimberleeAnna Taplay (more widely known as "KAT") is an empty-nester and newly-minted class M rider who has a game plan, a "BikeIt" list, and a VStar with a full tank of gas. KAT is happiest when she and her ride —Ruby— are exploring country roads and wandering from event to event and destinations throughout Ontario. Whether travelling alone, alongside her mentor, or joining small groups along the way, KAT will be chronicling her travels and sharing both her adventures on the road and her moments of quiet reflection about everything it means to be a part of the motorcycling world.

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