Charles goes Canoeing
|Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing |
Henry David Thoreau
Since the early 1990s Paddle Manitoba has been hosting an open paddle at La Barriere park from May through September. I have been organizing these evenings since 2000. Starting in 2006 these paddles were moved to Wednesday evenings. The park is located 5km south of Winnipeg on Waverly Street along the La Salle River. The outings are recreational and provide an opportunity for Paddle Manitoba members and the public to get out for an evening paddle. I am willing to spend time with participants to teach some basic skills or hone paddling technique. If you want to take a canoeing course but are not sure of your skill level let me know prior to the paddle and I can do an assessment of your skills.
During the two hour paddle you can paddle as far along the river as you feel comfortable. Two canoeists with moderate skill and fitness can paddle to the bridge at River Oaks Golf Course and back for a round trip of 9km. Many people come out to enjoy the evening and look for the Great Blue Heron, beaver or deer and go no more than the distance to the walking bridge (about 1km round trip).
Paddles run from 6:30-8:30pm in May, August, and September. During June and July the start time changes to 7:00pm. Please contact me ahead of time to ensure there is a canoe available and the paddle is running. Please see the most recent Ripple or the Paddle Manitoba website for contact information. These are not 'drop in' paddles so expect to come for two hours.
Paddle Manitoba supplies canoes, paddles, and personal floatation devices (PFD) for a minimal cost of 5$ per person. If you bring your own equipment then there is no fee but donations are accepted.
Everyone must sign a waiver pior to the start of any event. All participants must wear a properly fitting PFD during the paddle.
Regarding paddles at other times: There may be periodic outings throughout the summer. Watch the Paddle Manitoba website event forums to see if any are posted (http://www.paddle.mb.ca/forum-2/).
Periodically I get questions about the river, where it flows, the kinds of fish. I found the following information and thought it would be of interest:
La Salle River Integrated Watershed Management Plan (October 2010)
La Salle River - State of the Watershed Report (2007)
La Salle River Watershed Assessment Survey (2006 Final)
OK I give up! Where is Winnipeg?
Longest Year - 2012 - Wednesday Evenings at La Barriere
I am willing to run small Paddle Canada Style, Basic, and Lake Canoe courses over the summer months at a mutually convenient location and price. Contact me at the email address at the bottom of the page. All courses follow the Paddle Canada (formerly CRCA) program.
Paddle Manitoba runs introductory through advanced tandem and solo canoeing courses La Barriere park. More information can be found on the Paddle Manitoba instruction page.
Manitoba Pioneer Camp has run more advanced canoe courses, including instructor certification, for many years in the spring (see: Canoe School and other courses). .
If you are looking for canoe instructors check the Paddle Canada website under Programs->Canoeing->Instructors for Hire. I have taken or taught courses with Don Kurt, Eric Gyselman, Gerry Hirose, Brian Johnston, Jeremiah Heinrichs, Dave Pancoe, Cameron White, Sharon Touchette, Steve Allen - all do an excellent job. Interested in seeing if there are any open Paddle Canada courses near you check the Paddle Canada website under Programs->Canoeing->Search for a Course
The following are for personal use and may not contain all of the course requirements or complete information.
Canoe and Kayak minimum safety requirments:
I believe the best way to learn something is through a little education and a lot of practice. The following links may provide some helpful information on paddling techniques. Now stop reading this dribble; go and paddle!
How to Solo Flip a Canoe for Portaging
Carrying a Canoe with a Tumpline - Concerns and Potential Dangers
Selecting the proper Paddle Length
Weight Turns (sub-heading)
Solo Starting and Stopping
A Subtile Correction - Going Straight
Going sideways solo
Why learn to solo?
Lake Canoeists can be Edgy Too
Basic Canoe Skills
Modest Assertions of a Paddling Ideologue
Biting Flies in Manitoba. OK it doesn't really belong here but they do drive us to distraction when paddling (esp portaging).
Don't be a
Buoy-Headuse a J-lean instead
Samples of Canadian and American Freestyle Canoeing
Online video clips of various skills
Sitting in the boat
Websites that might be of interest:
Paddle Manitoba home page
or Find Paddle Manitoba on Facebook
Paddling Instructor - paddlinginstructor.com
Reflections on the Outdoors Naturally
Canadian Canoe Routes (See the Forums) owned and operated by: Wilderness Canoe Association
Canoeing.com - Lots of paddling information
Series of articles on paddling and equipment from Paddling.net
Another series of articles called "Cliff Jacobson's Notes" from Piragis Northwoods Company
How to pick a Canoe - quite a nice article from GORP.
John Winters - Technical Articles on Canoe and Kayak design, terminology, resistance measures.
Hearts and Minds - some technical explanations for lay-person on paddlesports (pivots, energy/momentum).
How to Solo a Tandem Canoe more generally the whole site paddlinglight.com
Canoeing in Canada from Out There, Canada's Adventure Travel On-line
Canadian Heritage Rivers System
Brian Johnston's Canoeing Site
References (hard copy):
The following are some references that I have used in the past for learning canoe skills. Although all of these books provide some suggestions and tips on technique and skills the best way to learn is actually getting into a canoe and paddling - take a course, go to an open paddle, paddle with someone 'in the know', read & try. Out of the list below my preference is Path of the Paddle by Bill Mason.
Other associated references
Before you go romping off into the wilderness make sure you are prepared and have a realistic idea of your limitations and skills. The following resources are just starting points I would expect you to pickup appropriate topographic maps, suitable equipment, local knowledge, etc... Several of the books are out of print but you may be able to find them from local libraries or used book stores. A few of the suggested routes or locations are based on old (possibly out dated) information. Some of these resources are also included for neighbouring provincial or state regions. This is not an exhaustive list of sources; it was developed for personal information and interest.
You can get topographic maps and other canoe route information at the stores listed below or from Canada Map Sales (1007 Century Street, Winnipeg, MB). Digital topographic maps can be found online through the Atlas of Canada (Natural Resources Canada), GeoGratis has PDF or TIF images of the topo sheets or if you are handy with GIS then go to GeoGratis (Natural Resources Canada) for more detailed GIS data..
Electronic (web based)
I was not sure where to put this one but see the Historical Canoe Route Maps from Canada Map Sales (Real Berard's hand-drawn canoe route maps). Routes listed as of Sept 2009: Assiniboine, Grass River, Kautunigan, Land of Little Sticks, Little Grand Rapids, Mistik Creek, Bird-Manigotagan, Riviere aux Rats, Sasaginnigak, Middle Track & Hayes, Waterhen, Whitemouth, Winnipeg River.
If you want to buy or rent canoe equipment in Winnipeg these are the places I recommend. There are other places, some are probably great, but I have not rented or bought at other places that I would recommend. Remember to do a little homework first, before you buy - try. All of these stores have options for trying out equipment and the staff, who actually use the equipment, provide excellent advice.Wilderness Supply (Speers Rd) East side of Winnipeg (was Wave Track)
Environment Canada inconjunction with the Water Survey of Canada provides Water Station Levels Across Canada. Manitoba Water Stewardship also provides weekly information through their River Conditions page (note the link changes regularly ☹ ). The City of Winnipeg posts water levels regulary for several sites within Winnipeg. This page provides a few common bench marks as well.
Water levels from Environment Canada Hydrometric Data page that I find helpful. These are just a guide and should be checked for your own use ahead of time. Remember the difference of a few centimeters can be quite significant.
I learned how to hold a paddle at a young age while visiting my grandparents' cabin in the woods of Meadow Lake provincial park, Saskatchewan. Although I do not remember when I first paddled a canoe my passion was well developed as young teenager when I spent most of my small income from papers and camp honoraria on a paddle, PFD, and canoe. During a time when my friends spent most of their money on cars and drink I continued to feed my addiction with canoeing.
Through the late 1970s and early 80s I was well known as "Mr. Canoehead" in southern Winnipeg -- regularly making the 1.5km hike down to the river to paddle. This tradition continues to this day though the hike the trusty aluminum canoe has been replaced, usually, with a Kevlar model. I regularly took, and lead, trips through eastern Manitoba and NW Ontario during this time. Through the mid-1980s to 1990s I worked as a biologist in central Manitoba allowing me to paddle the rivers and lakes around The Pas and Flin Flon. My work also took me into Ontario rivers and lakes near Timmins.
All of that is great but what does that mean about my ability to teach people anything about this recreational activity? My first formal canoe training happened at YMCA Camp Stephens as a camper and leader. I went through the early CRCA (Canadian Recreational Canoeing Association) paddling program in the mid-1970s. I taught canoeing and wilderness awareness for a City of Winnipeg camp in the late 1970s and early 80s. I received my Red Cross Small Craft Safety instructor certification in 1982. In 1999 I received my CRCA Flatwater instructor certification, and Lake instructor in 2008. Over 2010/11 I developed the Paddle Canada Style Canoeing program. I am a Paddle Canada Advanced Lake and Style Canoe Instructor Trainer.
Mostly I just like to paddle.
The spirit has moved within me
and draws me back each year.
It calls to me each spring,
every fall it draws a tear.
Every stroke's a blessing
each spring and summer day.
Moving forward with my life
in such a wondrous way.
How I love the tranquil sound
of water rushing by.
The quiet laughter on the hull
lifts my spirit high.
To paddle with you is a joy;
across the lake each fall.
Of all the things I keep inside
this I tell to all.
Once the spirit finds you
your life will be complete.
The love of paddle and canoe
will keep your soul replete.
Back to Home Page
Paddle Manitoba Home Page
If you have any questions or comments please send me Email: burc...@cc.umanitoba.ca