It felt a little like the movie Groundhog Day this week. Ontario’s pandemic lock down turned into a stay-at-home order for the next four weeks. I’m a few days into it and I find myself going back into the routine of last year’s spring shut down. I’m showering less, wearing the same clothes, walking around the block every couple of hours, hoarding my toilet paper, stocking up on mac & cheese… and filming more of my virtual Whisky Fireside Chats.
During the first lockdown I did two dozen Zoom interviews with prominent paddlers in Canada, US and the UK. With Covid forcing us to once again adorn our sweatpants and lengthen our hair—it’s time to pour a dram of whisky and have a solid conversation with even more incredible outdoorsy people that have done amazing things.
The first out of the gate is Tori Baird. She’s an avid canoeist and backcountry adventurer who has tripped on countless remote wilderness rivers across Canada (East Natashquan in northern Quebec, the Porcupine River in northern Saskatchewan and the Mountain River in the Northwest Territories, to name just a few). She has also completed a 100-mile, eight-day backpacking trip through the Rockies from Jasper to Grand Cache.
Tori is the owner of Paddle Like A Girl program, which is a workshop that teaches women to go off on their own canoe trips. Her goal is to instill confidence in the participants to start planning and executing their own backcountry journeys. The workshops cover all the basics of backcountry canoeing, from trip planning and map reading to meal prep, waterproofing gear and fire lighting, but the focus is on paddling skills.
Tori has contributed to Outpost Magazine, Explore Magazine, has been a guest on several podcasts, CBC Radio, and was featured in Export Development Canada’s profile of Nova Craft Canoe commercial in 2019 (this is a very cool commercial you have to check out).
She’s also a mom; her son Wesley is now three years old and has tagged along with her on several interior trips. Her husband, Jim Baird, is an outdoor film maker, writer and was the winner of History’s show Alone, season four.
Check out my Whisky Fireside Chat with Tori on my KCHappy Camper YouTube channel: