There are some things that universally create anticipation. Browsing college applications and imagining a future on a leafy-green campus. The promise of unbridled productivity that comes with opening a crisp new notebook. The buzz that builds before the start of a road trip when you toss your bags into the trunk and slam it shut.

Heading down an open highway, wind blowing through your hair, a trail of dust behind you… it’s an iconic image of liberation. No wonder the road-trip story is one told time and time again in books and on film. (Important note: I think that the most famous novel about this topic, On the Road, is wildly overrated. There, I’ve said it.)

Long drives have always held an allure for me. When I was in grade school, my best friend’s mom and dad used to take their family on spontaneous drives to Buffalo “to get doughnuts.” This seemed extremely sophisticated to nine-year-old me. Regardless of your age, road trips hold an appeal (Junk food! A getaway from the norm! Singalongs!) that often overrides reality (cramped quarters, sketchy rest stops and questionable music choices from the person in charge of the aux cord). If ever there was a Canadian summer rite of passage, it’s peeling yourself and your bed-head out of the back seat and squinting under the fluorescent lights of the gas station as you stumble toward the Creamsicles inside.

Music is an integral part of any long drive, and we have lots of inspiration on that front in this issue. Our Canadian Music Special highlights our favourite female musicians, and our cover star is the inimitable unofficial queen of Canada, Céline Dion. (If your road-trip playlist doesn’t include the singalong classic “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” I’m judging you.) I’d love to hear what you recommend for long journeys—be it podcasts, music, games or otherwise. Here’s wishing you an amazing summer.

Vanessa Craft 

Editor-in-Chief 

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

What do you want to see in the magazine? Tell us at editors@ko-media.ca or #TellELLECanada.