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Toronto to Thunder Bay EV Road Trip Report

The next leg of my Toronto to Vancouver EV road trip took me through Northern Ontario and over Lake Superior. Along with scenic stretches of highway, picturesque camping spots, and stops to visit family and friendly locals along the way, Toronto to Thunder Bay was one of my favourite legs of this cross country trip. Here’s my breakdown of what to see and do along the way as well as charging costs and stops.

A reminder, this was my initial plan with estimated costs:

With that, here is my Toronto to Thunder Bay EV road trip report.

What To Do While You Charge in Toronto?

As noted in my Ottawa to Toronto EV road trip report, I spent the evening exploring Toronto Island and taking in the sunset with a Toronto skyline backdrop. My departure day started with an early AM visit to the St. Lawrence Market where I grabbed a (Canadian) bacon on a bun sandwich. I also grabbed a coffee from Balzac before hitting the road.

Where To Charge and Stay in Toronto?

My downtown hotel (Westin Harbour Castle) didn’t have EV charging but the RBC Waterpark Place parkade across the street included free charging with paid parking. With that, I was able to depart with a 90% charge at no additional cost.

Toronto to Sudbury

I spread this Toronto to Thunder Bay 1,400 km trip over four legs. The first being a 400 km stretch to Sudbury. Since I spent some time in cottage country on my way east, I kept this leg to just one stop – Trestle Brewing in Parry Sound. It’s not only a great little brewery, but it also has a 50kw CHAdeMO charger out front!

This was supposed to be my only charging stop on this leg however a heavy foot and some equally heavy traffic north of Toronto had me stopping in at the Supercharger in Barrie for 10 minutes to top up. I arrived at my uncle’s place in Sudbury with 38%. I was able to trickle charge there for a couple of days while I visited.

Sudbury to Lake Superior Provincial Park

I spent three days in Sudbury and checked out a few highlights including Canada’s largest mural, a hike in Killarney Provincial Park, and the boardwalk around Ramsey Lake. If you are looking for ideas on what to see and do in Sudbury, be sure to check out this article!

On my way out of town, I stopped in to see Sudbury’s giant smokestack and Nickel before topping up to 90% at the Sudbury Supercharger. It’s located in a strip mall complex so I used this time to stock up on water and snacks for the long road ahead.

Sudbury to Sault St Marie

On the way to Sault St. Marie, I took in a couple of Canadian highlights. I stopped for butter tarts at the Copper Bean Cafe in Bruce Mines (highly recommend!) and also to stretch my legs at the Loon Dollar Monument in Echo Bay. Every road trip needs snacks and big things right?

In Sault Ste. Marie, I stopped in to check out the Canadian Bush Plane Museum (a bit of an aeroplane nerd if you haven’t already got that) then a quick tour of the 127-year-old locks. It is a national historical site and part of Parks Canada. It also has both J1172 and Tesla destination chargers, free to use. This leg was just 450 km and only called for a stop to charge in Sault Ste. Marie however since I was going to be camping that night I wanted to ensure I had a bit of a buffer. Topping up while touring the locks was an efficient way to do it and I added an extra 10% which proved to be needed.

Lake Superior Camping

I rolled into the Pancake Bay campsite at Lake Superior Provincial Park with a 35% charge and enough time to set up my campsite (fold seats down, make bed) and stroll to the beach with a couple of beers for sunset.

One thing I failed to confirm ahead of time was the accessibility of the RV plugins. Although I had an Nema 10-30 adaptor with me (commonly plug at RV campsites), I only had a heavy-duty standard 110 v extension cord. I wasn’t able to park in a way to be able to charge with the 30 amp plug so had to settle for a 110 v trickle charge overnight. This meant I had to make an extra stop in Wawa to charge the next day. Not a big deal but a good thing I topped up at the Sault Ste. Marie Locks.

Camping in the Tesla itself was great. I took in the Caribbean blue waters of Pancake Bay at sunset before retiring to my campsite fire for dinner. I packed light so just had a can of ravioli and a can opener. As I ate it sitting next to my Tesla I couldn’t help but chuckle at the contrast. Who drives an $80K vehicle only to eat Chef Boyardee and sleeps in it??

After my gourmet meal and once the fire died down I retired to my car, Tesmat already laid out and waiting for me. I the car had cell service so was able to watch a couple of episodes of the Office on Netflix before calling it a night.

Lake Superior to Terrace Bay

I was up at sunrise and on the road early as I had to work that day. I was on Vancouver time so was able to drive the 350 km before my shift started. Since I only gained 10% trickle charging at the campsite I had to detour into the Wawa Supercharger to top up. There is a Tim Hortons across from the charger so the time wasn’t wasted as I grabbed breakfast and a coffee in the time it took to add 60%

White River, home of the bear that inspired Winnie the Pooh.

Terrace Bay

In Terrace Bay, I worked out of my car using my Elon Accessories Table Tray. It was largely comfortable but I did get out to stretch a couple of times – once to climb the lighthouse, and another to check out Aguasabon Falls.

There is a Supercharger in Terrace Bay however I had Ivy credits and since I don’t see these in the west, I decided to use this charger instead. ~20 minutes added 12 kWh and cost me ~$8.

In the afternoon I worked from the Service Ontario parking lot in Terrace Bay where they offer free EV charging. It’s only 110V so not much gain there. I was constantly interrupted by locals coming up to the window and asking questions. I had no issue with this and was great to see so much interest in electric vehicles in Northern Ontario.

My day finished at the Voy motel in nearby Schriber, my stop for the night.

Terrace Bay to Thunder Bay

Speaking of locals interested in electric vehicles, Real Deschatelets reached out to me on Instagram and let me know he had a J1772 charger installed at his house and invited me by for a charge and a chat. I thought it was odd that he did not have an EV but took him up on the offer and visited him in the AM before hitting the road. Turns out, Rheal has an order in for an F-150 Lightning and is super interested in all things EV. I had a great chat with him and traded him a few beers from craft breweries I had visited in exchange for the top-up. Real is listed in Plug Share and I recommend anyone passing through to stop and say hi!

Nippigon

I made a quick stop at the Nipigon Lookout viewing platform before charging at the Supercharger in town. 10 minutes here and I was on my way for the final streatch.

Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay was my home for three days so I spent plenty of time checking out all the highlights. This included hiking in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, visiting the Terry Fox Memorial, and checking out the 150 year old Silver Islet General Store! I will cover all the details in my next post in this series – Thunder Bay to Winnipeg. Stay tuned!

Where to Stay and Charge in Thunder Bay

On my three days in Thunder Bay I stayed at the new Delta Hotel in Prince Aurthur’s Landing. Not only does it have an excellent location, it also offers free parking and charging for Tesla owners.

Lessons Learned

My Toronto to Thunder Bay EV road trip was another easy leg. Still, there were some lessons learned;

  • Research your campsite and charging setup. Most campsites have photos and maps that can give you an idea of layout. Pack your adaptors and cords accordinlgy.
  • Traffic and speed play a roll in consumption.
  • Have a backup charging plan and/or add a buffer. In my camping situation, if I was any lower on charge I would have had to stick around to make it to my next stop. Not the end of the world but it was a work day for me so added some stress.
  • If the EV community reaches out, engage! I enjoyed my visit with Real and had a great chat!

Toronto to Thunder Bay EV Road Trip – Charging Costs

So what did this 1,410 km Toronto to Thunder Bay road trip cost me? ~$8.00!

Distance – 1,410 km

201 Wh/km

Charge Cost – $33

Once again, I was able to leverage free Supercharging credits for the bulk of this trip. I also used up Ivy credits but that translated to about $8.00. All other stops were either free or included with my accommodations. I suppose it did also cost me a 4-pack of tall boy beer but worth it for the conversation!

If we look at energy use, this Toronto Thunder Bay EV road trip should cost ~$33. This excludes the free charging I had on the way.


If you are thinking about placing a Model Y order, be sure to use my referral code and get 1,500 Supercharger kilometres!

*As of Sept 2021, Tesla has put a pause on referrals 😞 I will update if/when they reinstate it.

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