About


About Me
About This Site

About Me

I grew up in a small town in Northern Nova Scotia and even when I was still an age that could be counted with single digits we would disappear into the nearby woods for the weekend without parental supervision.  And although I was an active outdoorsman throughout my adult life, it was not until the ripe old age of 40-something that I discovered canoeing.  My first time in a canoe was with my son's Scout troop, and my first canoe trip was a weekend white-knuckle trip with some pretty extreme weather paddling back to the vehicles off the island we were camping on.

And that did it - I had the bug.  I was immediately obsessed.

My first canoe was purchased a month later - and almost immediately resold before even using it after realizing my mistake.  It was a behemoth Coleman Ram-X that was so heavy it broke the roof rack on my mini van when I loaded it up to take it home.  Bought and sold for $275.

My next canoe was a 16 foot Scott Tripper in chopper-gun fibreglass.  I picked it up from a couple who lived right on the Ottawa River in the Fitzroy Harbour area.  $500 and in extremely good shape but very well used and loved.  It was a good 10 lbs lighter than that Coleman but still pretty heavy on the portages at around 65 lbs.  It was a horrid purple colour but I loved it just the same - until I sold it to a friend a few years later for $400 as I shuffled various canoes into and out of my stable.

Next came my prize possession - my 16 foot Nova Craft Prospector in Royalex.  My dear old dad who had tried to keep us interested in the outdoors our entire lives had passed away the year before, and the small amount of money he left to us had finally cleared the lawyers.  It amounted to 5 or 6 thousands dollars for each of the kids - and I blew almost all of mine on outdoors gear including about $3K on this beauty.  I had been fully intending to buy the same canoe in aramid (a no-name kevlar clone) but then the whole Royalex fiasco happened so I decided to pick up a Royalex while I still could.  At the time nobody knew that T-Formex would eventually come in to replace it and do just as good a job if not better.  But I have no regrets - I love that canoe.

Then came my Evergreen Maple 17 asymmetrical in light-weight fibreglass sheets.  Google told me it had to be a good 10 years old because that's how long ago Evergreen went out of business due to a family feud of some sort.  Google also told me that this used to be the brand of canoe that MEC carried before Nova Craft, so it had to be good.  The guy said it hadn't been in the water 10 times since he bought it, and when I went to see it on Clayton Lake it sure looked like it!  Wow it almost still sparkled.  $850 seemed like a bargain for that canoe.  I never did weight it, but it was easily 5 lbs lighter than my Nova Craft.

That's when I had to rebuild my canoe rack to hold 3 canoes instead of 2.

Sometime later a guy I used to train with in Aikido contacted me and told me he had a canoe he wanted to get rid of and I had first dibs on it for $600.  He'd used it 3 times.  I went to see it and it turned out to be a 16 foot Trailhead Prospector in Royalex in near mint condition, and the same colour of green as my Nova Craft.  When I realized what it was I told him that he could easily sell it for twice  what he was offering it to me for, but he insisted I take it for what he asked, as much as he appreciated my honesty.  It had one less thwart than my Nova Craft, and plastic gunwales to my Nova Craft's aluminum, but damned if they were not pretty close to identical when you put them side-by-side.  The most obvious thing that stuck out were the skid plates on the Trailhead since the Nova Craft did not have those.

That's when I had to make the tough decision to get rid of my Scott Tripper.   4 canoes was too many.

And then one spring as I was perusing kijiji there was an amazing deal on an older kevlar - $500 and only a few blocks from my house!  I got lucky and was the first one to reply to the ad - by the time I'd gotten there an hour later the elderly couple told me they'd had a couple of dozen more responses to the ad in the meantime.  No kidding!  This canoe was very well used and it showed it, but it was also very well cared for.  They had no idea what brand it was it had been so long ago that they purchased it, and they were almost in tears at the thought of giving it up.   But it was a Prospector 16!  "So many memories in this canoe", they said.  They were an older German couple in their early to mid 70s, and when I asked whether they were giving up paddling they exclaimed "oh, no!".  They simply had to finally upgrade to an ultralight carbon-kevlar ringing in at about 36 lbs!  I got my new prize home and weighed it in just shy of 50.

That's when I had to sell the Evergreen to a friend.  We originally agreed to $750 but before we actually made the transaction the mate to it showed up on kijiji for $500.  OK that one had a single minor patch which reduces the price.  And mine was still not much more used than when I bought it even though I had put significantly more scrapes in the paint in 2 years than the previous owner had in 10.  Since this was a very good friend I told him I had to in good conscience lower my price  to $650.  He protested but I convinced him it was the right price.

And I was back down to 3 canoes.

But the thing is I check kijiji 10 times a day even in the dead of winter.  Because there are sometimes some amazing deals that come up.  Like the Alchemist Prospector 16 in kevlar that came up in the late summer 2017 - for $1200.  It was already on its second owner by the time I saw it, but neither of them had used it very much at all by the looks of it.  A month earlier I had finally gotten a big cheque from the Nortel bankruptcy - after 8 years of waiting.  I told myself at the time I was not going to use any of it to buy a new canoe and was instead going to use it on responsible things around the house, but wow that sure was a good price.  "Who am I kidding?" I finally exclaimed on facebook.  My wife had long-since told me that I could have as many canoes as I wanted as long as we had space to store them, so I grabbed a tape-measure and walked out to my 3 canoe rack which used to be a 2 canoe rack and started measuring.  Yup, I could definitely move the support spars around to get another canoe on there.

And then there were 4.  All Prospector 16s.  Even though I swore up-and-down 2 or 3 canoes ago that I needed a canoe with keel because I'd been blown around more than a few times on big flatwater in rough weather.  But the deals on Prospector 16s just kept presenting themselves.

And then there was the fact that my wife wanted a kayak.  I had a thing against kayaks only because they seemed to be taking over.  It seemed that nobody wanted a canoe anymore, it was all about the kayaks.  And manufacturers and retailers alike were bending over backwards to cater to the kayak community, all the while forgetting about canoes.  I don't know if that was a real thing or just something in my head, but I did not like kayaks.

Nonetheless I replied to a few kijiji ads over the years.  For kayaks.  Most recently there was a Swift fibreglass tripping kayak for $750.  In the little research I'd done on kayaks I knew that most of them these days were made out of plastic and were relatively heavy if extremely durable.  Fibreglass kayaks were a lot lighter and a lot more expensive, so $750 for a good one was a good deal.  I replied in mid summer but the summer got busy and I never followed up.  About 2 months later I got an email from the guy out of the blue saying "hey if you are still interested in that kayak I'll give it to you for $500".  Wow!   I went to see it to find out that it was his mother's and he got it when she passed away a few years ago, but he had never used it.  It was old but in really great shape.  When I sent a picture to Swift they told me it was one of their first kayaks back in the 90s I think they said.  I still have not had it on the water but am looking forward to it this coming summer.  And luckily it fits in snugly on my rack alongside one of the Prospectors - no need to rebuild!

And that is the story of my obsession thus far.   Well, almost.  It does not count the numerous canoes that I helped others procure.  I love helping others find deals on canoes because it gives me that rush of getting a good deal without having to shell out money, rebuild my canoe rack, or explain it to my wife :-)  In fact I'll just as happily drop everything at work in the middle of the day and run out for a good deal for someone else, as I will for myself.  Because that's what you have to be prepared to do when a good deal on a canoe comes up on kijiji any time between April and August.  They go quickly.

About This Site

Before I started making paddling maps I spent hours and hours on google maps just looking at various places that seemed to be interesting to a paddler. The Magnetawan area always fascinated me and it was a special thrill to have Jonathan from Backcountry Angling Ontario offer me his data on the area. It was a good number of hours of work to turn that data into the maps you see on the site right now, but it is something I just simply love doing. Spending time researching and drawing maps is the next best thing to paddling as far as I am concerned. I went to work Monday morning this week and when coworkers asked what I'd done this weekend I told them I spent time in a canoe in Magnetawan, and in Temagami as well. Of course, being there in a canoe is far better. But spending time researching, making maps, and watching videos of those areas is a pretty good second best!

I've taken down my Algonquin Maps - which were hours of my time - because it turned out the data I found online was not free to use as I please. The owner of the data told me I was a "commercial site" because I have ads on the site. That's fine, his data, his rules. I took it down and offered the cleaned up data back to him. I also had a similar reaction from someone on the MyCCR website who did not want me making my maps from his data. That is unfortunate and I hope to one day change their minds. But I've been here before about 15 years ago.

My passion used to be making beer, and once upon a time I had one of the best websites on the internet for learning to make your own beer at home. I eventually took it offline because my passion moved elsewhere and I ran into a situation where comment spam got out of control so it was not even worth my time to try to fix that. But you can still see my site right here on the Wayback Machine. Maybe you even remember me now? When someone accused me of "selling out" I wrote this essay explaining a bit about myself and my motivations. In short, I believe that the world is a better place when people volunteer their time for a cause they believe in, and making information available to people for free happens to be something I believe in. Back then it was my passion for making beer which drove me to create a world-class resource where people could come and learn to do that for free. Today it is my passion for canoeing and more generally the outdoors which drives me to create a resource that is useful to people who want to enjoy the outdoors.

So what's the deal with the ads?

Well, please read my link above as well. I definitely have no plans to get rich off them! I have a mildly successful YouTube channel right here which has ads on it, and I make maybe $500 to $600 a year off it. I would expect that if this site became reasonably well used I might enjoy a similar amount of revenue. Which is nice little extra for buying another piece of camping gear or something like that. Really I just have a passion for paddling and want to make resources for others who might want to get into it as well. That type of giving back to society is just the way I was raised. And it is part of what the Internet originally was.

That's about it.

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