Freedom Convoy 2022

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Pinewood Drive, Wawa.

Some politicians call them extremists and terrorists, but this is not what was seen last night. Standing on Pinewood Drive with my family patiently waiting for the convoy to arrive; what I saw was quite the contrary. There were vaccinated and unvaccinated simply being peaceful and joyful. Frozen Canadians standing together in unity, undivided waiting for a convoy that as one a goal to undo the division that this pandemic and governments have caused. Participants in the convoy want the right to choose – given back to the people. So that they don’t have to worry about providing for their families because of the “jab“ as so many refer to it or a vaccine passport.

The convoy on HIghway 11, just entering Monteith.

The decision was made in Thunder Bay to split the convoy in two. Half (reefers and trucks) took Highway 11 at Nipigon and overnighted in Cochrane. The cars, pickups and transports without a trailer remained on Highway 17 to White River where they had to wait. An overnight snowstorm and many road closures caused the convoy to be delayed a few hours. Despite the bitter cold, people gathered along Highway 17 from Thunder Bay to Wawa to wave and show their support as the convoy went past. Throughout the afternoon 100’s of Wawa residents gathered on Pinewood Drive and along Highway 17. YouTubers from eastern Ontario and Canada made there way to Wawa simply to meet up with the convoy.

Residents from nearly all provinces, even American citizens are participating in the convoy demonstrating that support for the end of the division created by the vaccination mandate is not a “fringe minority” as has been termed by PM Trudeau.

At 6 p.m. horns could be heard coming from the Goose Hill, and a few short minutes later, the first vehicles of the main convoy were turning into Pinewood Drive. Not all vehicles stopped and took a break in Wawa. At one point there were so many trucks and vehicles that Pinewood Drive was full and both southbound lanes of Highway 17. Careful planning and continual communications from organizers/road captains; and with support from SE OPP with traffic control the convoy took well over an hour to make its way through Wawa. OPP estimates were that 400 vehicles were involved in the convoy.

There is no amount of pictures or video footage that could describe the immensity and magnitude of this convoy. They just kept coming… At one point the song “Convoy” was playing through my head and then the famous ‘Eastbound and Down’ (all that was missing was that black Trans Am in the lead).

Once again, Wawa showed its welcoming heart. Food was prepared and donated by residents. Some even loaded up sleighs with food, water, and even windshield washer fluid; and walked up and down the road handing the goods to members of the convoy. A handful of anti-convoy pro-vaccination protesters did make a short appearance travelling up and down Pinewood Drive amidst boos. Convoy participants and supporters acknowledged their right to also protest.

Shortly after 7 p.m., the convoy began to leave and make its way to Sault Ste. Marie. Along the route, more supporters were gathered along the highway. In the Soo, the convoy was greeted with even more crowds, and even fireworks.

Luc Berthiaume