Wawa (Ontario)

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<map lat='47.985785594203556' lng='-84.7756576538086' zoom='12' view='0' float='right'/>

Wawa is a rural settlement just off the Transcanadian Highway (Route 17) in Northern Ontario, Canada.

This settlement is situated just at the junction of the national Route 17 and the provincial Route 101. It goes towards Timmins and Abitibi (Quebec), just half way between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. Basically it is a no man's land at great hundreds of km distance to any cities where many hitchhikers get stuck for days.

Wawa is generally considered by Canadian hitchers to be the absolute worst spot in Canada to wait for a ride. If hitching through northern Ontario, it might be a good idea to pass up a ride to Wawa for one going to Thunder Bay if heading west, or Sault Ste. Marie if heading east. Should you find yourself in Wawa anyway, you'll most likely get out faster by asking around for rides at the gas stations with parking lots big enough for tractor-trailers to park in. Not only will you avoid getting stuck in town for so long you move there, but your driver will certainly recognize your hitching wisdom for not standing around on the road and possibly spare you conversational gambit of "Wawa is the worst spot to hitch in Canada!" during your five hour drive together.

Well, it must have been my lucky day that day in Wawa. You can imagine my consternation at finding myself there late at night after getting a lift from Sault Ste. Marie, the hitchwiki entry going constantly around in my mind: "Wawa: hitchhiker's hell!!" The lift was going to Thunder Bay, even further... but it was around 1a.m. when we saw the sign for Wawa and the fog was getting thicker, and so the driver decided to call it quits for the night. She kindly offered to pay for a motel room for me (I had a tent, but I was already a little paranoid about the bears)... funny thing was that she said that she would check herself into the motel across the road, the one that was not dog-friendly... even though she had her little dog with her. Never mind... we had agreed to meet at 7 the next morning to continue the journey. So I was already checked-out and waiting at a quarter to seven the next morning and there was no sign of her nor her car. At eight, I started making my way to the highway and wondering if this was the start of the curse of Wawa. Walking through town, it was as dead as a doornail. Nothing moved. Sunday morning in hitchhiker's hell! I was surprised to find another hitchhiker already at the hitching point on the highway when I got there. A French guy. I asked him how long he'd been there, dreading to hear his woeful tale. However, he didn't look depressed and crestfallen, he looked quite cheery and friendly. Half an hour, he told me. He had also got into Wawa at night, and had camped out. And he had also heard about the Wawa curse, but he was optimistic. Hitchhiking isn't an exact science, but I couldn't get that hitchwiki summary out of my head! I wished him luck, saying that I would move down the road to give ourselves a better chance of scoring a lift. Half an hour later, a car came whizzing to a stop besides me... "You going to Thunder Bay?", I asked in a half desperate tone... "Yeah, jump in.... and what about that other guy...?" I beckoned the Frenchman over and, 900kms later, we were still grinning and laughing as our lift dropped us off in Vermilion Bay.

Moral of the story: may your karma make you the exception, not the rule :) And don't believe everything you read on Hitchwiki ;)

Oh, by the way, I waited 8 hours the next day before I got a lift out of Vermilion Bay.... :D

wikipedia:Wawa, Ontario