'It is going to be a blast': Calgary family plans cross-country road trip to celebrate Canada 150

After experiencing the downturn in Alberta's energy sector first hand, a Calgary family has decided to put the job hunt on hold and hit the road. Their goal is to see as much of Canada as they can in four months to mark the 150th anniversary of the country.

Oil patch layoff spurs plan to explore during national anniversary celebrations

The Cyre family from Calgary, from left, Shelley, Jeff, Riley, Evan and Wyatt, with their dog Midas, will hit the road for four months this summer to explore Canada during the country's 150th anniversary. (Erin Collins/CBC)

From a pink slip to a road trip, a Calgary family has found a silver lining in that city's economic downturn.

Like many thousands of Albertans before him, Jeff Cyre got the news that he had been laid off from his corporate oil and gas job in January. But it is what Cyre and his family decided to do next that sets them apart.

Instead of putting all of his energy into finding a new job right away, Cyre, along with his wife, Shelley, and their three children, decided to hit the road this summer.

The family will spend four months travelling from Calgary to Newfoundland in a five-metre trailer to celebrate the country's 150th birthday.

It's a decision Jeff Cyre says wasn't easy to make.

"It was scary at first but just doing a lot of networking and meeting and talking to people in the industry, it is picking up."

Cyre says he hopes to use the time on the road to reconnect with his young family.

Evan and Riley Cyre swing from a tree outside their Calgary home with their camper in the background. (Erin Collins/CBC)

"It's going to be a great time biking, fishing and just exploring all parts of Canada, both the national parks, the provincial parks, First Nations sites. It is going to be a blast."

The family's home this summer will be a small camper that barely fits all five of them and their dog, Midas. But mom Shelley isn't worried about the cramped quarters.

"It actually has everything we need," she says.

'No electronics'

Shelley is also sure her three kids will thrive on the road.

"There will be no electronics for four months. We will be outside, we will be playing, and most importantly, I am excited to show the kids Canada."

Despite missing two months of school, Shelley believes her children will learn more on the road than they would have in the classroom.

Jeff Cyre says the plan is for the family to be in Ottawa by Canada Day on July 1. 

But that isn't what seven-year-old Riley is most looking forward to. The Grade 1 student is most excited about seeing the tall ships on the St. Lawrence River and "seeing the whales smack their tails in New Brunswick."

Four-year-old Wyatt Cyre and his family will spend four months criss-crossing Canada this spring and summer. (Erin Collins/CBC)

Riley's older sister Evan is so pumped to hit the road that she is building little campsites out of bark in her front yard. But the Grade 3 student admits it is an adventure that comes with some challenges.

"I was not looking forward to sleeping with my siblings but mom solved that problem and built a third bunk."

The eight-year-old admits that there are some unique benefits to this road trip as well. 

"I am very much looking forward to missing some school," she says.

Stretched to the limits

As four-year-old Wyatt disappears inside the trailer, the rest of the family crowds around the tiny kitchen table in the mint green trailer they have nicknamed Kermit.

There is an understanding that four months in these cramped conditions could see the camper and their family stretched to the limits.

But Jeff Cyre is confident that his decision to embrace his job and take his family on a cross-Canada adventure, which kicks off May 11, will be more cathartic than claustrophobic. 

"This is the best opportunity, this is the best time for us to do this."

Meet the family of 5 headed on an epic Canadian road trip to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary

CBC News Calgary

4 years ago
A Calgary family has decided to put the job hunt on hold and hit the road. 0:36

You can follow the Cyre family's journey on their blog at


Erin Collins

Senior reporter

Erin Collins is an award-winning senior reporter with CBC National News based in Calgary.


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