Moving from Winnipeg to Ottawa

various sized rocks on beach

The past two months have been quite a blur with moving from Winnipeg to Ottawa. If I haven’t been cleaning, organizing, or doing administrative work, I’ve worked for my clients. That hasn’t left me much time to keep up with Army Wife Blog. However, things have quieted down, and I have a few free hours, so here is a quick summary of our move from May 17 to June 3

Pre-pack Day

Never again will I have a pre-pack before a long weekend. We ended up unpacking boxes to find stuff over the three days. It didn’t help that my husband was away training the week before the pre-pack and did not arrive home until after the pre-packing was done.

Military Move Tip: Arrange your schedule so that there is never the possibility of a pre-pack on a day before a weekend or holiday. If Monday is a holiday, schedule the truck to load on Thursday so the pack will be on Wednesday and, if required, a pre-pack on Tuesday.

Pack Day

The packing went very quickly. They even built a custom wooden crate to pack the glass top of our IKEA table. Interestingly though, when they disassembled it, some of the plastic parts fell to bits, almost dissolved. I assured the packers that I wouldn’t file a claim and reminded myself to order parts from IKEA in Ottawa as soon as possible so that they would be ready when we arrived.

Load Day

The driver and loading team were super. The only challenge was getting the massive refrigerator out the door. My husband and I ended up taking the door handles and doors off the fridge and freezer. That task is not covered by the moving company. We could have hired a special repair person to do that had we known in advance, but we didn’t know. Fortunately, I kept all the instruction manuals for our appliances, so we did it ourselves.

On the funny side… I woke up in full-panic mode in the middle of the night because I had dreamed that when we went back for the march out, we found more rooms in the house that were full of furniture that the movers forgot to take and even more rooms full of furniture that wasn’t ours. Still, we were responsible for removing it from the house.

March Out Day and Driving Day 1

9000 years of history in Thunder Bay
9000 years of history in Thunder Bay

Our march out was smooth and easy. We took a quick tour around the house, read the meters, and were eastward bound.

As we rolled along the highway out of Winnipeg, I got onto the IKEA website to order parts for the dining table. I couldn’t even find the table listed on their website, but I thought I was spelling it wrong because their items have such unique names. Instead, I did a quick internet search and found this: IKEA Canada Recalls GLIVARP Table. So we would have to take all the table parts (thank goodness it was already in parts) to IKEA for a replacement.

Driving was thankfully relatively uneventful. Manitoba is very flat. We stopped every 2-3 hours to stretch our legs and let the dog run around. We stopped in Kenora, Dryden, and a few rest areas just off the highway. We arrived in Thunder Bay about 21:00.

Driving Day 2

Again, another uneventful day. Lake Superior and the surrounding areas are beautiful. There is absolutely no cell phone service. It was kind of desolate too. There were hours at a time when we wouldn’t see another car. It was not in “full tourist season,” though. We left Thunder Bay around 7:30. We stopped in Nipigon (home of Canada’s smallest Canadian Tire), Marathon (Pebble Beach), and Wawa (big goose).

We arrived in Sault Ste. Marie at about 21:00. We were pretty tired. It was Memorial Day weekend in the U.S.A., so the hotel was busy. This meant the dog barked at all loud noises outside our hotel room. The loud noises consisted of drunk young women cackling at the top of their lungs. The dog scared them enough, so they didn’t make any more noise.

Driving Day 3

Another beautiful day driving but pouring rain. We left Sault Ste. Marie around 7:00. We stopped briefly near Algoma Mills, and we got soaked when we stopped in Sudbury for lunch. The weather cleared after that, and we arrived in Gravenhurst at about 15:00. It was so nice to stop early for a change. Muskoka is a beautiful area of Ontario. But mosquitoes! Oh my. I had forgotten how vicious they are in the woods.

Driving Day 4 – The Last Day

happy dog in car
After 4 days, still happy to “go car”

We had a more relaxed morning and didn’t leave the hotel until around 8:30. We drove across parts of Ontario that I hadn’t visited in over 30 years. We stopped in Haliburton and Renfrew. Finally, we arrived in Kanata at about 15:00. We checked into the hotel and went to see our house.

The Cleaning Begins

The house we rented had been empty for some time. It was dirty. The furnace filter was black. There was mildew around all the windows. There were layers of dust on the baseboards and cobwebs in the corners of the ceilings. The kitchen and bathrooms needed a good wipe-down. Fortunately, I hired a carpet cleaning company to clean the carpets before we arrived. Our realtor granted them access to the house (Thanks, Jan Ayers!). We cleaned for three 10-hour days. Then our furniture arrived.

Unloading Day

The unloading went very smoothly. The team was fast efficient and put our large pieces of furniture right where we wanted them. Anything that was disassembled at origin was reassembled – except the dining table. We used a folded plastic picnic-type table as a temporary dining table.

Unpacking Day

mildew around window frame
Mildew around window frames

This was a nightmare. The unpacking team didn’t arrive until noon, just when my husband went out to get lunch. The unpacking crew does a “shelf unpack.” This means they only put stuff on firm surfaces like kitchen counters (for dishes) or beds (for clothing). They do not put anything in cupboards, on shelves or floor. There were FOUR of them on the team. They kept unpacking boxes and filling counter space before I had a chance to put stuff away in the cupboards. Then, they griped at me for not clearing space for them to continue their work. Finally, I gave up trying to deal with them and let my husband handle it. Fortunately, our older child arrived (from downtown Ottawa) to help.

The After-Unpack

As it was Friday afternoon, the crew just left all the packing paper and boxes in our garage for the moving company to collect on Monday. That was very lucky for us because the team did not unpack everything! Over the weekend, we found stuff missing, and we were able to go through the boxes and sort through all the packing paper to find our items.

However, in doing this on Sunday evening, I managed to get a paper cut on my eyeball (scratched cornea) and ended up in the emergency room until 02:00 Monday morning. I did not yet have my Ontario health care card but, being so fortunate to live in a country with universal health care, the triage nurse only had to scan a copy of my Manitoba health card, and I was able to see a doctor. I got ointment for my eye and was back to normal in about four days.


We got unpacked and somewhat settled. The house is livable, but I’m nowhere near finished organizing. But getting the administrative work done was the next step.

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