I’m about to become a tad busy, travelling and speaking at a number of outdoor shows. This has all become a bit of a routine for me. Taking early flights, driving home in the early hours, being addicted to coffee (and whisky) and battling stage fright.
In the next couple of months, I have 26 presentations to give across North America. I’ll reach a total audience of more than 15,000 people. So why the heck are people still telling me that canoe-tripping is a dying activity?
During so many past outdoor shows I’ve listened to countless crusty, old, bearded, Tilley hat-capped, plaid-wearing folks of my age say that canoeing is dead, that kayaks and stand-up paddleboards will soon rule the world and that us canoeists will just fade away.
Take it from an “aging” canoeist who’s been around the bend on a lot of rivers. They’re wrong! Canoe sales have increased 110 per cent since 2016. Canoeing, especially amongst young families and new Canadians, has increased 40 per cent since 2014. Paddle Canada has reported more canoe instructors than ever before, and half of their participants in the courses are under 18 years of age.
Why the surge? It’s simple. The new generation—the ones with lighter canoes, bigger credit card debt, fewer children—all seem to better understand the importance of reconnecting with the natural world.
The canoe has always been a great way to get us out in the wilderness. It just seems more and more people are focused on the "why."
Here’s a list of my shows so far—more to come. And thanks to my sponsors (friends) for helping this all come together.
- February 23 to 25: Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show
- March 2 to 4: Quiet Water Symposium (East Lansing, Michigan)
- March 9 to11: Canoecopia (Madison, Wisconsin)
- March 27: Durham Outdoor Club (Oshawa, ON)
- March 29: London Library (London, ON)
- April 5: ArmChair Series Adventure Guide (Kitchener, ON)
- April 10: Kawartha Seniors for Nature Outdoor Club
- April 21 to 22: Ottawa Outdoor Show
- April 27 to 29: Mid-west Spring Expo (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- May 10: Friends of Quetico (Thunder Bay, ON)
- Adventure Medical Kits
- Outdoor Research
- Kelly Kettle
- Eureka Canada
- Young and Mackenzie Distributers
- Council Tools
- Nova Craft Canoe
- Badger Paddles
- The Canadian Canoe Museum