“I’m going to tag you in these photos kids,” announces Ottawa mom Janine McReadle from the front seat of a mini-van packed with her family, their devices and chargers, a couple of sleeping bags and a bruised banana in case anyone gets sleepy or hungry. “I’ve got some really great shots of you guys in there. Nice one of both of you looking at your phones down at the lake, and another of you by the fire watching a movie on the tablet. Oh and here’s a great shot your dad took of me taking a shot of you two taking a selfie. Everyone looks so happy. That has to be my new profile pic.”
With many campgrounds now offering free wifi, cottages that are hard-wired to the net by fibre-optic tethers drilled directly into the bedrock of the Canadian shield, and Netflix setting up road-side stations where holidaymakers can receive emergency transfusions of the blood of someone who has watched every episode of Master Of None, Canadians have simply run out of reasons not to ignore each other in the great outdoors.
“We used to stay home for fear of having to actually speak to one another if we left our comfort zone of five-bar wifi connectivity,” says Jim McReadle, father of the family of four reluctant Rogers Wireless customers, before adding that, “The house has a router over every light socket, as well as a roaming hotspot built into the cat’s collar that is powered by purring. In the case of an electricity failure we just have to pet Fluffy. But now, with improvements in cellular coverage and technology, we don’t have to worry about ever having to engage in conversation.”
Wth not just a small amount of satisfaction, Mr. McReadle reports he even has LTE speeds in the freezer they keep in the cottage basement, and knows this because that’s where little Jenny watches Frozen so the rest of the family doesn’t have to listen to her sing. And it’s then, as he pilots the van into the driveway to their family home and his phone informs him he has reached his destination, that Jim makes a proud declaration.
“I spent the entire weekend with my family and honestly can’t tell you what the colour of my children’s eyes are. But what I can tell you are the results of every sporting match played between here and Costa Rica. And, judging from the fact our family used over 100 GB of data in three days, I’d say the kids had a pretty darn good time too.”