Outdoor Adventure Show #OASToronto

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The Outdoor Adventure Show, in my opinion, is the best show to visit in the off-season if you’re a paddler or camper.  Everything that you could possibly want or need, whether it’s tripping advice from Algonquin Outfitters or a new canoe or paddle, you can find right here.  Sure it’s not every outfitter or canoe company but you are able to comparison shop in a way.  The one thing I am finding though is that the show is very repetitive.  Same exhibitors, same layout, same thing.  It’s time for the show to grow and take over more space so that more people can show off the products they have.  Otherwise you’ll start losing visitors.

This year the show added an Adventures in Paddling Stage where they had various people speak including Hap Wilson, Preston Ciere (Portageur.ca) and Kevin Callan.

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The speakers above are from the Bay of Fundy Symposium(L) and Hap Wilson (R)

 

As always they had the demo pool where this year things got a little furry!  Preston Ciere and his paddling dog Nancy were showing how to take our furry companions on canoe trips.

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Something else that they added this year was a zip line above the show floor.  There were a ton of people who took part in that.  I myself didn’t feel like waiting in that line up but I still would have done it :).  Over all it was a great day.  I got to meet up with some old friends from Algonquin Outfitters and Swift, met a new friend from Some Eventful, Gayle, and got a chance to catch up with some of the speakers from TEDxAlgonquin like Preston Ciere, Kevin Callan, and Boris from Parkbus!

For more photos check out the Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/AWalkInAlgonquinPark)

~Enjoy your Trip!

Thinking Outside with #TedxAlgonquinPark

DSCN0236This week marked the return of TedxAlgonquinPark at the Algonquin Visitor’s Center.  I was thrilled to be able to attend this year!  As I posted on Tuesday some of the speakers included Kevin Callan, Preston Ciere, and Jeff McMurtrie.  The visitor’s center’s theatre was full and decorated really cool!  As you can see in the pic above they had a canoe and the Tedx logo on the stage.  To the right of the stage behind the speakers was a map made by Jamie McCrae from McCrae Lumber in Whitney!

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As I said the theatre was full!  As was the lobby!

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The theme was Think Outside.  From the very first speaker (Kevin Callan)  right to the very last (Preston Ciere) we were inspired and encouraged to get outside.  Some of the memorable quotes from the day are below!

“One month in the wilderness can change your life!”Kevin Callan

“To reconnect with yourself, you need to reconnect with nature”Kevin Callan

“Bears can’t help themselves. If natural food sources fail, they will look for other alternatives. They have no choice.”Martyn Obbard

“It’s important to be still, be silent!  I get my best ideas that way”Lyndsey Mask

“If kids are having fun, they’ll get something out if it. (Silly nature songs ) open up doors for questions.”Lyndsey Mask

“A map is a lens that shines perspective on the world around you.”Jeff McMurtrie

“Context can enliven the world around you.” – Jeff McMurtrie (Knowing what’s there is important!)

“64% of Toronto’s tree species are non-native and about half of the once native tree species are gone.” – Eric Davies

“Find a tree, get some seeds and plant a new tree!” – Eric Davies

“Barriers to camping: no experience, need comfort, no equipment, no transportation, no interest.” – Boris Issaev

“We need to refocus our message about our parks to get more people to embrace the opportunities out there.” – Boris Issaev

“Want to talk to aliens? The radio telescope in #AlgonquinPark will soon be able to let you do that” – Chris Soucy

“Get outside. It’s good for you! (And encourage other people to get outside, too!)” – Preston Ciere

It was great to rub shoulders and converse with fellow outdoors people!  The highlight for me was meeting people that I’ve admired for years like Kevin Callan, Preston Ciere, and Jeff McMurtrie.  During the breaks and evening reception we all got the chance to talk, mingle, and share ideas!

For those of you who went I’d love to hear from you your thoughts!  Thanks to the organizers for a great day and I look forward to next year!

~Enjoy your trip!

 

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CONTEST ALERT – Paddle In The Park!!

If you are a fan of giveaways and geocaching then this contest is totally for you!

Paddle in the Park is a treasure hunting contest that encourages us to unplug and get into nature.  Three celebrity paddlers – Hap Wilson, Kevin Callan, and Preston Ciere – have hidden 6 Badger Paddles along some portages in Algonquin, Temagami, and Killarney Parks.

Your goal?  Follow the hints given on the Paddle in the Park website and locate the paddles on the portages.  If you find the paddle you get to keep it and you get to win some other cool prizes too!  Can’t get to the parks this summer?  That’s ok.  You can enter the draw on the website and have a chance to win as well!

Prizes include:

  • Signed books by Kevin Callan, Hap Wilson, and Laurie Ann March as well as
  • Prizes from Portageur.ca, Jeff’s Map, North Water, Swift Canoe and Kayak, Algonquin Outfitters and more!

Are all the geocacher’s ready?  Set?  GO!

~Good Luck!!

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Once Around Algonquin – an epic canoe journey by Kevin Callan

Today Guest Blogger and Author Kevin Callan shares with us about his upcoming epic canoe journey around Algonquin called “The Meanest Link”.

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I knew it was too good to be true. The plane flying me home after I presented at the paddling show in Minneapolis was on-time; early in fact. The joyful passengers, including myself, boarded in an organized manner with everyone being considerate of each other. Life was good — or at least the best it can be at a busy airport.

Once the plane taxied out to the runway, however, things changed. The revvin engine dropped to a faint hum and brakes beneath us began to squeak. Not long afterwards, the pilot made an announcement that there was a delay in Toronto and we would have to sit patiently on the tarmac until we got the go ahead to take-off.

Ten minutes into the hour-an-a-half wait and the same friendly people became barbaric. Intolerance took over from compassion. The steward got the worst of it — but he also was one of the rudest flight attendants I’ve ever come across. The guy beside also smelled bad — made up of body odour, foot odour, bad breath and something identifiable. I hated being there. It was so claustrophobic and I felt like a goldfish in one of those tanks used at the fall fair — I prayed someone would throw the ring over the pin, win me and take me home in a baggie. To survive this I knew I needed to go to my happy place.

Sleep was impossible, I read the magazine I packed along three times already, and the battery for my minipad was totally drained. So I searched my side bag for something to entertain me and found an old Algonquin Provincial Park map stored on the very bottom. It was stained with coffee, weathered and torn at each corner, and even had a few dried up mosquitoes squashed on it. Planning my next canoe trip in Algonquin became my salvation and out of it came a 20-day, 350-km trip around the park called The Meanest Link.

It wasn’t until a couple weeks later I rethought my idea to paddle the legendary Meanest Link. After all, it has 93 portages, ranging from 50 metres to five metres, adding up to 68 km. That’s if I only walk them once across. I generally go across twice, multiplying the length. Yikes. I guess I’ll have to leave the camp chair and pillow at home for this one.

This route is the brain child of the staff at Algonquin Outfitters, Alex Hurley and Gordon Baker, devised in the summer of 2004. They combined four challenging canoe routes connecting the four Algonquin Outfitters stores serving Algonquin Park: Oxtongue Lake, Huntsville, Brent, on Cedar Lake, and Lake Opeongo.  It was named in honour and memory of Bill Swift Sr., one of the founders of Algonquin Outfitters. Swifty, as he was most often called, had other nicknames, such as Mean Dude, or Meanest, which were a tribute to his gruff exterior persona.

There’s only a few rules to follow — one is you can’t go solo, due to safety. I may have to break that one, however. I’m waiting for my regular canoe mate, Andy Baxter, to see if he can get the time off work. I hope he does.

Stay tuned for more details as the planning progresses. I’m going in June when bugs are at their prime, the water level are up and the Algonquin portages aren’t too crowded.

Kevin Callan is a Canadian canoe enthusiast, media personality, and author of thirteen books, including the bestselling The Happy Camper and “A Paddler’s Guide To” series.

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Outdoor Adventure Show 2013

DSC_0020As most of you know I am a HUGE fan of the outdoor shows!  Growing up it was a given that we would be spending one day of the March Break at the Sportsmen Show in Toronto.  It was always just a matter of which day dad would have off.  When we went to the Outdoor Adventure Show (from here on OAS) last year, dad and I knew we had found our new Sportsmen Show!  It had what we wanted out of a show – crazy and weird for him (I’m not kidding…yesterday he bought a colour changing shirt that activates in the sun…last year it was a moose hat complete with antlers) and for me its the chance to talk with those in the outdoor industry and of course visit with my friends from Algonquin Outfitters and Swift.  It’s always a nice little reunion of sorts getting to catch up on stuff and finding out what I can look forward to finding in store come the summer.

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The show has everything that an outdoor enthusiast would want: canoes, tents, backpacks, awesome trip possibilities, the weird stuff that only my dad wants to buy, and great speakers!  This year the line up for guest speakers was phenomenal and I really wish I was able to stay even if it was for Les Stroud and Kevin Callan.  Adam Van Koeverden is speaking today which is really cool!  Jeff from algonquinmap.com was there and I had to leave just before he was supposed to be at a booth which disappointed me because I use his maps constantly when planning trips.  Kevin Callan was also signing books at one of the booths later yesterday afternoon.  I’m pretty sure he’s back there today as well.

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As I was walking around I got the chance to talk to a number of outfitters and gear companies.  Expedition Toys from Ottawa (www.expeditiontoys.ca) was just one of the many companies I spoke to.  One of the products that Brenda showed me was called the Inertia X Frame Sleeping Pad.  This is an inflatable sleeping pad that can roll up as small as a pop can.  The great thing about these pads is that it takes the pressure off of your body because it “cradles” the points on your body like the hips, shoulders etc. that would typically get sore from sleeping on the ground.  The only issue I have with the sleeping pad is that I’m a side sleeper and I was told specifically that its made for sleeping on your back.  But for those who do sleep on their back..it may be worth the $100 price tag.  Check out their website because they have a lot of products available.

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Standup Paddleboards (SUP’s) were pretty big at the show as they have been at most of the shows this year.  In the pool they were doing demos of not only how to stand and paddle on a SUP board but also how to do Yoga and workouts.  It was pretty cool!  SUP Love (the two boards on the left) was there and I got chatting to the girl from there again.  The board on the left has a custom made pad.  The pad is made with whatever photo you may want to put on it.  I think that it’s pretty cool!  Paddle Shack  also had some SUP boards with them (pic 3).  I’m beginning to think that maybe a SUP get together in the Toronto area might be a cool idea :).

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They had a diving tank there this year which was pretty cool.  Of course the divers wanted their picture taken so of course I obliged :).  The Complete Paddler (twitter: @completepaddler) was there with their assortment of gear as was Eureka Tents as part of Tent City Outfitters.  But the company I have to mention the most is the Education Outdoors Game Company.  Part of that reason is he gave us free admission (well technically just my dad…I had my media pass) but they also have a ton of different board games for camping.  Ever seen the game Camp at your local outfitter or store?  It’s a pretty cool game and great for kids.  It reminds me of the Algonquin Park game that I used to have years ago.  Hmmm….wonder if I can still get that game ;).  Derek Martin from Living Waters Wholesale is the person that I was talking to and the games they carry are neat.  Games like S’mores, Hit the Trail, Mysterious Creatures, Camp, and Fishing Camp.  My dad bought a game consisting of magnetic stones that you have to keep separate I think?  I am going to invest in a few of these games myself just for the kids at work alone :).

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Of course a day at the show wouldn’t be complete with out a visit to Swift Canoe (twitter: @swift_canoe).  Bill Swift, Skip and Bob were all there and all trying to get me to purchase the Keywadin 15 which is pictured with Bill there.  Once again…it’s a gorgeous canoe…and I will get it haha.  I was told next year by my dad.  The nice thing about that canoe is that rather than the carbon gunwales, this one has wood and really makes the canoe that much more appealing to me.  It will be mine one of these days and it will be my main tripping canoe.   Overall it was a fantastic day and I did end up walking out with a Chrysalis Tent (see my sportsmen show review post for pictures) which I am looking forward to using this summer in Algonquin.
Btw, my birthday trip is booked for June 21-23 and I would love for you to come celebrate with me!  I’ll be camping in Kearney but even if you just wanted to meet up with me for a day of exploring some of the waterways around Mowat and seeing relics of the old train bridge, post office and the town let me know via twitter @algonquin_blog or via email walkinalgonquinpark@gmail.com.
~Enjoy the trip

Outdoor Adventure Show and Fond Farewell

This weekend marks the return of the Outdoor Adventure Show to the International Center in Toronto.  Touted as Canada’s Largest Outdoor Adventure show…it truly is a great experience.  I had the privilege of winning passes from Swift Canoe last year and I really enjoyed the show.

Some of the highlights this year include:

There are also a ton of outfitters and adventure tourism exhibitor’s for you to peruse.  I plan on being there most of Saturday.  If you see me stop and say hello!

With that being said I also want to take this time to wish my friend, former coworker, and fellow Algonquin enthusiast, Randy Mitson a fond farewell from Algonquin Outfitters and the best of luck in his new position over at Explorers Edge.

~Enjoy your trip!

 

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