Take Your Breathe Away Hoot May 2023

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A Shout to Paddlers & Campers Everywhere

We just returned from a few glorious days paddling in Algonquin. We needed forest recovery; the balm of sparkling lakes, fresh trout, cold beer and woodsmoke in our eyes. Makes me understand why there is an Algonquin Park sign on the 401. A national treasure in the backyard of millions of people. And we have so many other places to wander in this big land. The trick is to get out and breathe it in. Sometimes, when you least expect, it takes your breath away…

Franklin Challenge June 25

She’s coming up fast and furious. The glorious and goofy paddle around a really big island – not a race nor a walk in the park. And thanks to a host of generous businesses and suppliers, we have a lot of stuff to give away to those who can raise $ for the Outer Island Fund (https://www.gbbr.ca/outer-islands/) . Starting with organic Crofter’s Jam and a sought after FC bumper sticker – it ramps up to high end outdoor gear and topped off by gift certificates to Gillys – our favourite fish restaurant nestled right in Snug Harbour. I think there may be a few spots left, so have a gander at:https://www.whitesquall.com/events/  (photo credit Peter Istvan)

Paddling Centre is Open & Full!

Please drop by and say hi – we’re here 7 days a week. The old pine shop is bursting with gear, kayaks, canoes & paddleboards. And the shores of sheltered Cole Lake are a hop, skip and a jump away, so you can test paddle for free whenever you like. Our current boat inventory can be found at: https://www.whitesquall.com/kayak-canoe-sup/ In the gear department, we sell Werner, Aquabound, Grey Owl, Gear Lab, Northwater, Brooks, Salus, Stolquist, Rec Barrel Works, NRS and a bazillion more – along with maps that don’t die when your battery does. Oh yeah, and you can write poetry on them too – try that with a cell phone:)

Camp Franklin

Our friend Kenton Otterbein sent along a link from the archives of the Toronto Public Library: Camp Franklin : for adult-young people : Franklin Island, Georgian Bay – All Items – Digital Archive : Toronto Public Library (tpl.ca) For anyone who has been lucky to get out to Franklin Island, this is a fascinating look at a 1920’s camp located on the southeast corner. Back then, the benefits of simply being outside were a big part of their marketing – and now a hundred years later we’re starting to get the message.

Great Lakes Sea Kayaking Association

If you are looking for paddling buddies and trips with like-minded folk, here’s a thought: https://glska.com/. We’ve been connected to this volunteer-driven outfit in different ways over many years, and I’ve always been impressed with their generosity of spirit in welcoming new paddlers to the fold. They have some dandy club trips already planned for this season, along with the return of their ‘Sea Kayak Rendezvous’ in early June at Killbear Park.

A Coastal Canoe Route You May Not Know

A while ago we journeyed from Byng Inlet to Bayfield, taking in the sheltered channels of the Naiscoot River. A hidden gem and well worth discovering as long as you can get over the idea of paddling on Georgian Bay. The most exposed part is really the beginning, getting around Gereaux Island. Once tucked into the backwaters – there are endless route choices, so you can become Walter Mitty for a few days and go where no paddler has gone before! That’s all I’m gonna say ’cause you really need to just do it.

The Watchmans’s Gone

Gordon Lightfoot was the musical canvas to my life – especially in the early years. Not sure I would have survived high school if it wasn’t for our outer’s club and his songs. Later on, I was fortunate and bewildered to find myself working a wee bit on deck of his sailboat. Guess what music was playing on the sound system as we let her sails sing out on southern Georgian Bay. He was complicated and enigmatic, and one of the most brilliant songwriters this country has ever known – utterly Canadian. Fair winds Mr. Lightfoot…


Thanks for hanging in everyone – means a lot to write something and know that someone might be reading it! If you would rather get outside than read stuff like this, pas de perspiration – just say and we’ll make that happen. And may the bluebird of happiness fly all around your paddle and up your nose…tim
Post Script

I try not to be partisan with the hoot, but right now I feel I have to. I am profoundly dismayed with the trajectory of our provincial health system – the headlong rush to encourage private care further into public space. If you put aside for a minute all the research showing costs rise and care sinks when you privatize, just look at nursing for a moment. We have agency nurses getting paid twice as much as public nurses for the same responsibility. It’s just wrong. Solutions are complex, but starts with resourcing public care so practitioners don’t feel worn out and jump to the private sector for better pay and less hours.

The proclamation that Ontario residents will never pay for health care with a credit card is again willfully wrong – we are paying big time and costs are rapidly increasing. All to say that there is a provincial-wide effort this month to tell our government to stop. It’s called the Ontario Health Coalition: ontariohealthcoalition.ca/ There is a time-sensitive referendum that you can view here: https://www.publichospitalvote.ca/ If you don’t like what’s happening, please add your voice – don’t put it off, get ‘er done right now – will only take about 30 seconds.

Thanks for listening – and if you aren’t happy with tim ranting, just say and we’ll get your name off the list pdq. Thanks for listening…tim