Canoe Tips, A Love Story

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The open canoe has always held a special place in the hearts of Canadians. Our history and outdoor culture have been defined by it, and in a CBC poll, Canadians rated the canoe as one of the Seven Wonders of Canada. Many people have fond childhood memories of canoeing at a camp, and for the legions of Canadians who spend their summers in cottage country, the tradition of canoeing is a core part of their wilderness identity. By the mid s the fur trade was essentially dead, but the canoe still had a large fan base of recreational users.

More Photos of the Yukon River, Whitehorse to Takhini River

In Peterborough, from the early s until the s a number of companies produced a variety of wooden canoes. The market for these traditional canoes was strong until the s, but when outboard motors began to gain in popularity, it signalled the beginning of the end for wooden canoe makers.

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By the late s, aluminum and fiberglass canoes had hit the market providing cheaper options for canoeing enthusiasts. Canoeing remained popular, but the less expensive and more durable models changed the industry, and the demand for handmade wooden canoes was soon reduced to a fraction of its former level. A Canadian Legend As the seventies arrived, cottagers were mostly using outboard motors to get around the lake but recreational canoeing still had widespread support, and a lot of the credit goes to one man.

You may think that Pierre Elliot Trudeau was the most famous Canadian canoeist, but the most influential man in a canoe was arguably Winnipeg-born Bill Mason.

Canoeing into Canadian Life

While the sport of whitewater canoeing has continued to draw more participants, the passion for casual canoeing that was inspired by Mason has struggled to find support with the next generation. In recent years, the popularity of the open canoe has fallen. Fewer people go to summer camps for their holidays, kayaks have become cool, and older cottage owners have taken up new hobbies. Canoeing can be hard work, especially if you are battling the wind on a long trip.

40 Best canoe pictures images in | Canoe, kayak, Beautiful scenery, Canoe pictures

These characteristics used to be perceived as appealing and were responsible for pulling people of all ages into the sport. Now, the easy road and trendy path are the routes we often search for when considering our outdoor recreation. The Appeal of Kayaks In the past decade, the popularity of competitive canoeing and kayaking has surged. And when it comes to rain gear, you get what you pay for.

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Avoid anything cotton. Bring fleece, which will retain heat even when wet. Get maps and go over them before you get to the landing. This is supposed to be fun, not a death march. And have a backup plan. What happens if the only two campsites on your destination lake are taken? Outfitters — and we have many great ones whether you enter the BWCA through Ely or the Gunflint Trail areas or elsewhere — can help you chose a route matching your ambitions and abilities. Outfitters also can point out stellar campsites, hot fishing spots or nasty portages to avoid. I still remember visiting a little Boundary Waters lake, well off the beaten path, teeming with smallmouth bass that an outfitter had recommended.

Forest Service staff are helpful, too, with routes and other specifics, including where bears are raiding camps. The great thing about traveling through a wilderness by canoe is that, unlike with backpacking, you can carry real food, and lots of it, within reason.

Canoe: Icon of the North - Full Film

Though we always hope for several meals of fresh walleye, we almost always bring one or two meals of real chicken, beef or pork. A favorite in recent years: marinated pork tenderloin, which we freeze and then grill our first night.

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We also bring dry hamburger and make tacos or spaghetti. Canoe was the only way to get around. What kinds of canoes did we have?

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It was the same one that he used, when he was much younger, to paddle from Montreal to James Bay. We had a Prospector as well, which we used on some little rapids. When my brother, Alexandre, got married, the ceremony was at our cottage. My wife, Sophie, and I gave him a beautiful cedarstrip canoe without the canvas, with the natural wood showing.

And every year I still try to get out for at least a few days or so in the summer and take a canoe trip.