The idea for the Waterways Paddling Festival has taken several forms as it has developed over the past 18 months. The inspiration behind this event lies in thinking about Canada’s 150th and what the contributing factors to it’s creation were.
Of course there are many, but a big one for me is how we have managed to connect Canada across more than 7,000 kilometers, and to stay connected over 150 years. This is a major accomplishment and it lead me to think about the waterways that First Nations people used as their highways — along the St. Lawrence, through the Great Lakes, along our three coastlines and through thousands of lakes and rivers.
That naturally made me think about the crafts that they used to do this. Canoes and kayaks in a surprising number of variations, were the the premier technology for getting around over great distances for a very long time. And even though they may have lost their status as primary movers of people and goods, the efficiency and beauty of their design has captured the imaginations of people all of the world.
To celebrate these amazing craft, the people who invented them, and those that use them, the first ever Waterways Paddling Festival will take place this June 9 to 11 on the south shore of Prince Edward Island. If you have never been, it is a very beautiful slice of Canada. Its sandy rolling hills, dunes and red cliffs are in contrast to the old granite of the Canadian shield and paddling along 17 kilometers from Borden-Carleton to Victoria-by-the-Sea will be spectacular.
Our starting place, Borden-Carleton also happens to be the site of the Confederation Bridge, at 12.9 kilometers (8 miles) it is the longest in the world crossing ice-covered water, and is one of Canada’s top engineering achievements of the 20th century. It is a pretty awesome place to start our long paddle from.
I am very thankful for the support and hard work that has gone into preparing for this new event in Prince Edward Island.
Waterways Paddling Festival Founder
Owner, Transform Events & Consulting
Here is a taste of a kayaking experience on PEI’s south shore: