Todd Stewart (artist and former Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence program resident)

Highway 11, near Hearst

I feel the deepest connection with a place when I’m alone in it, surrounded by silence, the rest of the world far away. The stillness stops time and clears my mind. For me, a certain place stands out among many – Highway 11, the northern route across Ontario. I’ve driven along this road several times, not enough for it to become routine but enough for it to have a lasting memory.

I find the long unbroken stretch of spruce and pine, bisected by the simple two-lane highway, to be far from boring – a contemplative and reassuring space, particularly at that moment right after sundown before darkness takes over. Stepping out of the car and turning off the engine, I sit alone in complete quiet; no vehicles pass by, the air is completely still. It seems strange for a highway to be a place that allows an experience such as this, but for a fleeting moment I allow myself to believe that I’m really in the middle of nowhere, away from time.

Photos courtesy of Todd Stewart

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