The saddest highway in Canada runs along Lake Ontario, from the eastern side of Trenton, home of the air base of the same name, past farms and factories and homes through to Ontario's capital of Toronto. It is known by many names as it goes along, from Highway 2 to Highway 401 to the Don Valley Parkway. All too many hearses have travelled this sad route in the past decade, followed by a cars filled with the next of kin of those whose duty to Canada has been fulfilled to the ultimate measure and whose earthly remains lie in those hearses, on their way to the Centre of Forensic Sciences for a last post-mortem before being released to the grieving spouses and parents and children.
Every repatriated Canadian since 2001 has travelled this route. The bridges that cross this route are always filled with fire trucks flying the biggest Canadian flag the vehicle can support and the crew standing in the hosebed or on the ladder saluting the hearse and its escorts, with police cruisers and police motorcycles, their occupants likewise standing and saluting, with Cadets and Reserves and Militia, and civilians who have draped those bridge handrails with flags and banners of thanks to the deceased and support for the survivors. Few drivers have the temerity to pass the procession.
Official signs announce this highway's existence, put there by the Ontario Department of Transportation. Each sign, huge and impossible to miss, bears a blood red poppy with a black centre, and the name of this highway.
"The Highway of Heroes".