We Canoed across Canada to Make a Difference!
We both love the outdoors, especially canoeing.
We are passionate about improving the quality of life for our fellow Canadians. What better way to support Loving Spoonful in Kingston, Ontario, than to have canoed across Canada in their honour. At every opportunity, we raised awareness for this awesome organization that believes no one should be without fresh healthy food. Millions of Canadians are challenged by food insecurity, poor health and social isolation. As we paddled, our message was simple and clear, “If you eat well, you feel well; if you feel well you do well!”
We raised $29,200, surpassing our goal of $25,000! Even though we are finished our coast to coast odyssey, we encourage you to support the ongoing programs at Loving Spoonful. Just click: Donate Here
Our Canoe Across Canada Route
This has been a remarkable adventure for both of us. Anyone with determination and love of canoe adventures can do the same!
Travelling an average speed of five kilometres an hour, allowed us to reflect on the world, giving us an incredible sense of freedom and peace. Paddling eight to ten hours days, watching the sunrise on a quiet morning, listening to the wind whistling through the trees, hearing the calling of the loon or the song of coyotes’, viewing the milky way on a clear night was all a soul cleansing experience for both of us.
This adventure grew into something so much more than paddling across Canada. One of the most remarkable memories we live with, is the friendliness and kindness bestowed upon us by Canadians. Complete strangers opened their homes, invited us in for meals, fed us fresh caught fish, drove us to get supplies, allowed us to camp on their properties, gave us advice and directions, donated to our cause and opened their hearts to us like family. We can not thank them enough! We are so grateful to have crossed their paths.
The Route Part 1
Petrie Island, Ottawa on August 2, 2017, marked the first day of our journey. From there, we navigated down the St. Lawrence River, maneuvering tidal currents, freighters, mud flats and long portages. From the mouth of the St. Lawrence we headed into New Brunswick towards the St. John River.
We were in awe of the beauty that can only be seen from a canoe. Pods of seals, rocky shorelines, sandy beaches and extremely high winds and waves challenged and greeted us, as we paddled down the east coast towards Nova Scotia. The spectacular fall colours of Cape Breton Island marked our finish in Sydney, Nova Scotia mid-October, 2017.
The Route Part 2
The second stage began in Vancouver, British Columbia in May 2018. Our start was a challenge as we paddled up stream against the strong spring mountain run off along the Fraser River. When paddling was not possible, we cycled four hundred kilometres on converted railway lines over the Coastal and Cascades Mountain ranges. We cycled through picturesque towns, railway tunnels and over trestle bridges. After, we picked up our paddles to canoe through the pristine lakes and rivers of the Kootenay Mountains.
When biking or paddling was not possible, we pulled our one hundred kilogram packed canoe on a canoe cart over three hundred kilometres, with fierce determination on blistered feet. Over the Rocky Mountain Range, we walked through Crowsnest Pass over the Great Divide into Alberta.
As we entered the swift muddy waters of the Old Man River and the South Saskatchewan River, we paddled through the majestic valleys of these rivers passing canyons, badlands, and coulees, rarely seeing the flat lands of the prairies above. We canoed through the largest freshwater delta source in North America which brought us to Cedar Lake and then into the vastness of Lake Winnipeg.
Lake Winnipeg presented us with unique challenges of extreme remoteness, high winds and waves while camping on isolated beaches. Bears visiting our campsites and paddling past a pack of wolves was an exciting yet humbling experience. Plus, capsizing our canoe on this huge lake only made us more cautious for the dangers that could still lie ahead.
The Route Part 3
The third and final stage commenced in June 2019 in Fort Frances, Ontario. Our old friend the ‘head wind’ greeted us on the shores of Rainy Lake as we began. The majestic old growth pine forests and gray granite rocky shores of the Canadian Shield welcomed us as we paddled into Quetico Provincial Park and through the Boundary Waters. The massive towering cliffs, huge boulders and an intricate system of lakes and rivers did not make for easy portaging. We could only imagine what it was like for our indigenous peoples and early explorers, before light weight equipment came into existence.
We travelled into the turquoise and cold deep waters, sandy beaches and steep cliffs of Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. Paddling two hundred kilometres of untouched remote shoreline made us feel insignificant. Heading further east into northern Lake Huron, up the French River towards the Ottawa River and finally to Ottawa where we finished our cross Canada paddle at Petrie Island!
We are so blessed in Canada for many reasons and are filled with gratitude to have had the privilege to paddle across this great nation of ours. The eleven months total to traverse Canada’s water systems has taught us a valuable life lesson which is to live in the moment every day while not losing focusing on the incredible journey right in front of us. The journey has left us both with a deep appreciation of this beautiful country and its people. We look forward to paddling, many more Canadian adventures, exploring, and living life close to nature just like this journey enabled us to experience.