Naomi Harris was sitting in a Swiss Chalet in Thunder Bay when a spritely senior turned around to talk to her.
Did she like to swim? Bill Ikola asked. She did, yes.
Did she wear running shoes when she swam? No, no she didn't.
Ikola suggested she should, because she might step on a needle and get AIDS.
She knew right away she had to take his photo. "I said, 'what are you doing tomorrow? Let's go swimming.'"
Her encounter with Ikola was one of hundreds during her nearly four-month trip across Canada in 2011.
The Toronto-born photographer, who spent many years living in New York, told The Huffington Post Canada she didn't explore enough of our great land growing up, so she decided to drive across the country to capture a bit of it.
"I'm always really proud of [saying] 'I'm a Canadian', but never seeing the country, I thought it was about time to do so, and that was the premise for the road trip." It was fate that united Harris with her subjects.
Story continues below slideshow
Sikh Motorcycle Club - Vancouver, B.C.
'Angela', The "Roller Girl" on East Hastings Street, Vancouver, B.C.
The Harms Family, Vulcan, Alberta. A Mennonite family who immigrated to Vulcan from Mexico, the Harms speak a dialect of low German.
Treeplanting in Brookmere, B.C.
Colourful characters at the Penticton Speedway's Demolition Derby in Penticton, B.C.
A treeplanter in Brookmere, B.C.
An attendee at 'Spock Days' in Vulcan, AB.
Harris and her mother in the Igloo Luxury Theme room at West Edmonton Mall's Fantasyland Hotel.
'Carol' and her boys in Calgary, Alberta.
Cricket players in Vancouver's Stanley Park.
The Ojulu Family in Calgary, Alberta.
Johnnie Doonanco, Brain Child Behind the World's Largest Pierogi and Former Mayor of Glendon, Alberta
90 Year-old Monk in Mundare, Alberta
Lake Manitou, Canada's only salt lake in Watrous, Saskatchewan.
Arnold and Millie Strueby in Danceland, Manitoba.
At the Demolition Derby in Weyburn, Saskatchewan.
Teenage mother on the Poor Man's Reservation, Saskatchewan
Pearl Lutzko, Canada's oldest woman in Ituna, Saskatchewan
'International Love'- on the border between Stanstead, Que. and Derby, Vermont.
Remi Guitard in Bathurst, New Brunswick.
Sioux Valley Pow Wow in Sioux Valley, Manitoba.
A bee-keeper in Tisdale, Saskatchewan.
The population of Rowley, A.B.
Roy and Marilyn Elmer in Vulcan, Alberta, June 2011
'Louise' in Dildo, Newfoundland.
Founder of Northern Sun Farm Coop in Sarto, Manitoba.
The 2010 Fjallkona (Icelandic for Ice Queen) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, July 2011
William 'Bill' Ikola in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
The Mann Family in their cherry orchard in Oliver, B.C.
"Sometimes I seek people out, sometimes they sort of seek me out, it goes both ways."
Somehow Harris found a cast of colourful subjects for her latest series of portraits titled "Oh Canada." The photos capture a "piece of Canada," she says.
She says she didn't plan out her route, aside from roughly following the Trans-Canada Highway.
"I don't plan too far in advance," she says.
Harris' trip took her from Victoria, B.C. to Newfoundland. She mostly slept in her car but also took advantage of offers to stay with people she met and photographed.
Of all the places she went, Harris said Saskatchewan was the most overlooked.
"[It] always gets the bum rap," she says. "But it was the combination of the people, the landscape and the remoteness."
She says the goal with her photos is to show people how diverse our country is and to encourage them to stay here for travel, "rather than going across the ocean and spending all this money on airfare and going to other countries."
"There are so many amazing untapped areas in Canada."