In the 1960s hitchhiking seemed to be the norm for high school students and no one thought twice about it. Every few weeks a friend and I would hitchhike to Granby, Quebec for a day of window shopping and socializing. What was the allure?
I think it was a sense of being free and being on the road. Jack Kerouac was one of our idols, and ‘On the Road’ was my mantra. It was nothing to climb into a car with a perfect stranger and chat. It was well known that boys would get rides faster if they paired off with girls, and well girls, they had no issues.
My friend and I spent the summer of 1965 cruising back and forth unbeknownst to my father. If he had found out, he would have had put his foot down–loudly. Frankly, he had had enough of my shenanigans that summer with my hippie ways wearing Roger McGuinn round glasses, and bell bottoms.
One Saturday in August my friend and I decided to go to Granby one last time before school. We hitched a ride in the morning with a local farmer in the back of a pickup on the way down. Were we fearless then, or dumb as a bucket of gravel? Coming back from Granby was slow, and we stood on the roadside for a good hour until a car pulled up. We got into the back seat and thanked the driver and he turned around and said,”Linda?”
The ride home was quiet and embarrassing as our ride’s driver was a good friend of my father and stepmother. That was the last time I ever hitchhiked or even thought about it. So what happened to hitchhiking?
I think the super highway system took over as the principal route of long-distance travel, and hitchhiking was a no no on these well-patrolled roads. Then a generation of horror tales of what can happen if you hitchhike scared the bejesus out of most people who might otherwise have taken up this unique form of “carpooling” and this popular pastime eventually got sort of a flat tire.
Susan Elliott Topping My husband and I hitchhiked to Cape Breton and back in 1972! What an experience!
Bob Camelon Hitchhiked from Calgary to Almonte in 1975
Marty Taylor–We used to hitchhike to the dances in Carleton Place and Arnprior, for the music of course, NOT the girls.
Michael Doyle A way of life in my youth. Hitchhiked from Montreal to Cornwall in 1954 for my first job in radio at CKSF.
Diane L Brown— Did it a lot in the 60 & 70 never entered my head that it was a problem….times have changed
Earl E. Guthrie I have in my younger days hitch-hiked Coast to coast, the Youkon, and the Northwest Territories. It is not something I would advise now. For now it is just to dangerous. Times have changed in Canada and not for the better. I was 15 when I stared my exploration of Canada. I ran away from home at 15 years with the clothes on my back and five dollars in my pocket. I will never forget those day’s on the road. I then travelled by motorcycle to Vancouver for the last Word’s fair in Vancouver. In my travels I met people of all different types.
I was on a Dragger on the Grand Bank’s and the further west and north you can go in this beautiful country. I have been on a search and rescue flight in a C130 Herc over the Arctic looking for a downed plane, rode horses on a ranch in BC and a transport driver. I took my pilots licence here at Rockcliffe Airport in Ottawa and mountain flying in Revelstoke BC and many more adventures across this beautiful land that are starting to fade away due to my health and my memory which is also fading away on me.
When was the last time you have seen people hitchhiking. WOW– Four kids and man from Almonte looking map planning on hitchhiking to the CCE, August 27, 1954 City of Ottawa Archives/CA030605 CA030605
Kathryn Carriere My dad grew up in Mirimichi, New Brunswick. A very large family! He got an engineering scholarship, very prestigious. He only completed one year. When I asked him why, he said it was because they moved the university. His mode of transportation washitchhiking. ❤️