Foundation and local partners to give group paddling from First Capital to Capital a send-off in true Kingston style!

Apr 27, 2017

“We’re all in the same boat.”

On May 2nd, 2017, a diverse group of sixteen paddlers will be arriving in Kingston where they will launch a 10-day journey through the Rideau Waterway in a 36-foot Voyageur Canoe destined for Ottawa as part of a Canada 150 project.

To mark the beginning of their journey – from Canada’s First Capital to its current Capital – the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes and several local paddling groups have partnered to give them a great send off, in true Kingston style!

A flotilla of some 20 local paddlers will travel with the Voyageur canoe in a symbolic paddle and then they will give and accept greetings from the group and the Mayor on behalf of the City of Kingston at a reception at the River Mill Restaurant before they officially embark on their historic journey the next morning.

The Connected by Canoe journey is part of a sesquicentennial project of The Canadian Canoe Museum, designed to foster conversation about community and belonging: individually, as a community, and as a nation. Their journey literally reinforces the notion that “we’re all in the same boat”, and will be documented on film.

“They reached out to us as the Community Foundation to see if we would be willing to meet with them to give and accept greetings as they started their journey from Kingston” said Tina Bailey, the Foundation’s Executive Director.  “We thought this was a great initiative, so we reached out to other local groups with an interest in our waterways to see if they would be interested in being a part of it, and it just grew from there to become quite the event”.

Participating in the event are the Community Foundation, Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, Cataraqui Canoe Club, 1000 Islands Kayaking Company, Limestone Board and Boat Club, and the Sydenham Lake Canoe Club.

Everyone is welcome to come out to give their greetings to the group.  The flotilla of boats, led by the Coast Guard, will depart from one of two locations at 3:30 pm, arriving at the Kingston Rowing Club beside the Woollen Mill in the Inner Harbour in time for a reception at the River Mill Restaurant from 4:30 – 5:30 pm.  Official remarks will take place from 4:30 – 4:45 pm, to be started by the Town Crier in true Kingston style.

Winds and water conditions permitting, the flotilla will depart from the lower West Street dock at 3:30 pm and travel to the Kingston Rowing Club.

If winds exceed 15 km per hour, the flotilla will launch from the Kingston Rowing Club and paddle around the more sheltered inner harbour past the La Salle Causeway to HMCS Cataraqui and back.

About the Connected by Canoe Project

Connected by Canoe is a sesquicentennial project of The Canadian Canoe Museum and Community Foundations of Canada, in partnership with the Ottawa Community Foundation, Parks Canada, and other community organizations along the Rideau Waterway.  They will end their journey in Ottawa where they will help open the Community Foundation of Canada’s national  conference.

The 16 paddlers will consist youth and other representatives from a variety of partner organizations including Parks Canada, Curve Lake First Nation, Nunavut Sivuniksavut, the Peterborough Kawartha Rotary Club, Fulford Preparatory School, Rideau Roundtable and Confederation of First Nation Cultural Learning Centres as well as photographers and videographers.

The first “Express Leg” of the journey will take place from May 3rd to May 10th when the group will paddle from Kingston to Ottawa via the Rideau Waterway, stopping each night in different communities to celebrate and engage in conversation with local people and organizations.

Topics of discussion along the route will revolve around the on-going importance and possibilities of canoes for community building, and ideas for building an equitable, sustainable and inclusive future for Canada. Each of the 16 paddlers will bring their own open-ended questions about the future of Canada inspired by these topics for discussion.

The conversations and activities of the Express Leg will be captured in the form of videos, photos, songs and stories that will be shared daily through The Canadian Canoe Museum’s social media and other new media channels, allowing all Canadians to follow along with the journey and conversations, and engage with the project and participants.

The group will arrive in Ottawa on May 11th for the “Ceremonial Leg” of the project. There, they will be joined by 3 other large watercrafts that represent canoe building culture and traditions from across Canada including an Umiaq from the North Coast, a Haida-style Spirit Canoe from the West coast and a Voyageur Canoe.

The four canoes will paddle together from Dow’s Lake Pavilion to the Rideau Locks to celebrate and honour Canada’s waterways and indigenous cultures. This ceremonial paddle will include traditional drumming, singing and a continuation of the conversations from the Express Leg of the project.

The group will help open the Community Foundation of Canada’s national conference taking place in Ottawa May

To view the daily schedule of the Connected by Canoe journey, and for more information visit

Quotes from Canadian Canoe Museum:

“The canoe got us to where we are but in this nation of rivers that nourishes a river of nations I think it also has important lessons that can take the country forward,” says James Raffan, Director of External Relations for The Canadian Canoe Museum. “What we’re planning here is a fun canoe trip on one of the nation’s historic waterways but it is a bit of a cultural experiment too hoping to show that the canoe can remind us that ‘pulling together’ and being ‘in the same boat’ are ways to bring Canadians closer together in meaningful and productive ways.”

Read more about this great event on the Canadian Canoe Museum’s website here.

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