Like many Calgarians, the Cyre family felt the sting from the crashing economy when husband and father Jeff Cyre found himself our of work earlier this year.
But rather than sit around and lament the layoff, the family of five have decided to make the most of a tough situation and hit the road on a cross-Canada road trip.
“Instead of getting depressed about it and moaning and groaning we decide that this was a gift of time,” said Shelley Cyre.
“We’re Canadian through and through … we’re laid off, what better timing to travel across the country and be in Ottawa for Canada Day?”
Shelley said both her and husband Jeff worked in the oil and gas industry before she took some time off from work to raise a family. Now with Jeff laid off, the road trip will serve as the family’s very own Canada 150 celebration so they can ring in the country’s 150th birthday by taking in as much Canadiana as they can.
The four-month-long journey starts on May 9, with their first stop at Dinosaur Provincial Park, and the Cyres will drive from Calgary all the way to St. John’s, Nfld., with their three children and Giant Schnauzer named Midas in tow.
The Cyres are planning to camp primarily at Provincial Parks on the journey and have planned stops at the Plains of Abraham in Quebec, the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg and the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.
“I think what we’re really going to gain (from the trip) in this busy, fast-paced world … is a connection to the kids, a connection to each other, and also a connection to Canada and what it means to be Canadian.”
The Cyre clan will be driving from Alberta’s prairies to Atlantic Canada with a refurbished and renovated 17-ft trailer, complete with extra bunks for all three kids.
Shelley said the living quarters will be tight with three kids aged five, seven and eight. Shelley said her oldest daughter isn’t that excited about bunking with her younger siblings all summer, but added the family are road trip veterans after a trek to Victoria Island in the camper last year.
“It’s not all going to be all unicorns and rainbows,” Shelley said. “I’m sure there’s going to be times where we want to strangle each other … but we always get through it and they make great memories.”
Shelley and the rest of the Cyre family will be documenting the journey on their blog, www.cyreiouslycanadian.com.
“They’re outdoor kids and my husband and I have a saying — ‘not all classrooms have four walls’,” Shelley said. “And they’ll learn so much traveling across the country.”
— With files by Ryan McLeod