Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

A Fire Reignited

I’m not sure what happened after I returned from the Yukon.  It was the experience of a lifetime (and I promise that I will get around to telling you all about it), but when I got back home my drive to explore was gone.  Maybe it was because I’d squeezed a couple of years worth of tripping into 30 crazy days.  Maybe it was because I’d travelled to my dream destination…what else was left?  Whatever the reason, I surrounded myself with all of my favourite comforts and hunkered down for the winter, only emerging to hunt for food and yarn.  I built myself a nest insulated with cowls and mittens and casseroles.  Last weekend, I peeked my head out and for the first time in months, I saw the light.NOLS Yukon

The fates aligned when I was asked to attend the Wilderness Canoe Symposium here in Toronto for Rapid Media and do a little write-up for their website.  I loaded a daypack with my thermos,  iPad and camera and off I went, not knowing exactly what to expect.  I arrived to what can only be described as a party atmosphere.  Attendees traded stories in the lobby like old friends, and they probably were.  It can sometimes feel like we trippers are a dying breed and when we find others of our species, we hold on tight.

wilderness canoe symposium

I took my seat and the presentations began.  As speaker after speaker recounted their unforgettable trips and spoke passionately about their causes, I admit that I became emotional.  Clearly my experience in the Yukon had affected me more than I had realized.  All I wanted to do was flee my chair, grab my gear and my family and run away into the forest.  I felt the desire to be on trip more strongly than I ever had before.  I texted as much to Fraser and I’m sure that I could hear his sigh of relief all the way across the city.  He’d been patiently waiting for me to find that spark.  I hadn’t just found a spark though, I’d found a fire.

Toronto Paddlefest 2011 – Reflections in Photos

safety first

It was an ominous forecast.  Thunderstorms and 100% chance of rain for the better part of the

lookin' for an adventure

day.  It seems though, that our collective hopes turned the tides.  The rain held off on Saturday and the cool overcast weather made for perfectly comfortable paddling.  Admittedly the water was a little (read: a lot) cool, but there were still smiles all around.

early morning day two

Sunday was picture perfect.  As the clouds passed over the sun, the air see-sawed between chilly and warm.  It couldn’t have been better weather.  Very few sunburns and even fewer blue lips.

zach enjoys the sand

The instructors were top-notch

lambie tags along

and the enthusiasm was infectious.  Unsuspecting passersby on the boardwalk were sucked into the party and many were in boats before they knew what was happening.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing many of them back next year.

zach in it up to his neck

luke chillin'

It all seemed to go off without a hitch due to the meticulous planning by a crack team from Mountain Equipment Co-op.  In attendance was a strong contingent of vendors, instructors, volunteers, staff and participants.  The whole paddling community came out to support this wonderful event.

Thanks again for another unforgettable year everyone.  No matter where in the world our family may end up, we will always make time to come back for the best paddling event in North America.  Yay paddling!

helping clean up garbage after the festivities

Paddlefest Toronto Rocks Sunnyside

early morning set up

It only happens once a year.  Like a special occasion without the cake, although I do accept cake donations.  The family looks forward to the event with unrestrained enthusiasm, counting the days, planning the wardrobe and bragging to anyone who will listen.  We are going to Paddlefest.

kids camp

Paddlefest is a celebration of all things aquatic.  At least all things aquatic that

you need to paddle.   We’re talking kayaks, canoes, stand up paddleboards, dragonboating and more.  It’s a big old paddle party, and you’re invited.

brotherly love

There are tonnes of courses and demos.  Although registration for paid courses is now closed, that’s no reason not to attend.  There is a registration booth at the beach and any empty spots can be signed up for free of charge, or add your name to the waiting lists and

painted face and a quick drink

cross your fingers that there is a no-show.  There are boat demonstrations for adults and kids, a marketplace to purchase anything from sunscreen to a new boat.  There are over 40 exhibitors so you can shmooze with some of the industries best and brightest and

gaining skills

try out some of their products.  Also don’t miss the trips up the Humber River in a North Canoe.

bumper boats

The event happens rain or shine.  Water courses will run in inclement weather as long as the sky keeps the thunder and lightning to itself.  Otherwise courses will be suspended until the rattling and lightshow is done, at which point they will resume.  We have seen some crazy weather in Paddlefests past, believe me, it would be hard to top some of those!

passing the torch

Bring your bathing suit, your  towel, your verve and your joie de vivre, cause it’s Paddlefest time baby!

Paddlefest runs all day June 11th and 12th.  Stop by and get inspired.

show off

Happy 100th Birthday Parks Canada!

So it is Parks Canada’s centennial year! They are launching the celebration this Saturday May 21st at the CN Tower/Rogers Centre. Between 11am and 7pm you can participate in all sorts of fun activities and meet the Parks Canada mascot, Parka (I met him today!). Today is day one of their year long celebration that will include themes for each month. Celebrate May’s theme “New Beginnings” and be sure to check out the website at

The boys are at the Rogers Centre this Saturday May 21st

you can't beat the view from these sleeping bags!

Just another example of how my boys are a couple of the luckiest little guys in Toronto!

Fraser is giving a talk on “camping with kids” at the Rogers Centre (where the Blue Jays play) this Saturday May 21st. Needless to say, I’m super glad that it isn’t me talking to potentially thousands of people! I would probably throw up!

Zach and Luke are of course tagging along to give their two cents on the subject. Goodness knows that they’ll probably steal the show. The best part though? All three of them, and me if I’m not too tired after a full day of retail, are invited to sleep overnight on the field! They are going to show a movie on the jumbo tron and everything. How cool is that?!

It just goes to show you that there are fun things happening every day in Toronto. There are plenty of opportunities to participate in “outdoorsy” activities within the city limits. I’ll try to give a heads up on some of them so you can join in next time! I’ll be sure to post a synopsis of the day and some pics. Stay tuned!

%d bloggers like this: