Truckers bear it across Canada

BRAMPTON, Ont. – Tony Boone says he’s never had a better co-pilot. This guy sits quietly in the jump seat, doesn’t talk back, and simply watches the scenery pass by.

That could be because he’s a stuffed polar bear named Snowflake. (As in the Teddy variety. No dead animals here.)

“He’s just up here looking around,” says Boone, referring to the little guy with his tartan shirt, Christmas cap and Canadian flag.

Snowflake was sent out to see the world by Cathy Watson’s Grade 4-6 class at Minesing Central Public School in Simcoe County, Ont.

“This guy from Brookville Transport walked into the Salisbury Irving Big Stop and asked the waitress for a driver he could trust,” Boone explains. That’s how the Midland Transport owner/operator from Grand Falls, Nfld. came to be entrusted with the prized possession that has been on the road since November.

“It just sort of keeps the enthusiasm up,” Watson says of the exercise. “It gives our kids a sense of the country, rather than saying, ‘Find Alberta on a map.’ One fellow sent photographs and a two-page letter. He was so patriotic and so enthusiastic about Canada.

“We’ve had more fun with (Snowflake), and I think the truckers did, too.”

So far, he’s been across the Rockies three times, spent New Year’s Day in Newfoundland, traveled as far south as Georgia, and was last seen pulling through Quebec en route to Brampton, Ont.

He’s fared much better than his predecessor, who traveled into the U.S. and vanished.

Snowflake is supposed to return to class by June, although Watson hopes he’ll travel as far north as the Northwest Territories.

Perhaps she wants the little polar bear to see home before he returns to school. n

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