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Pam Martin & John Kernaghan

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Excited to see the story and photos of our cross Canada SUP trip published by Canadian Press, both in print and online. Check out the link in our bio for the National Post's online version. We had a blast exploring the waterways of Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and plenty in between. A huge thank you to everyone who helped and to those you guided us to their favourite local paddling spots. We weren't able to mention all of the highlights in the article but if you are interested check out our blog canadaonboard.ca for the full stories of our escapades 😀🚐 and great ideas for places to SUP including the people who can help you get there this summer. @canadaonboard @cdnpress @nationalpost @hamiltonspectator @supbearfoot @jodiboydrmt @queen_city_sup @pacificapaddle @cbwestsup @livelifeintents @neddies_harbour_inn @newfoundlandlabrador @tourismpei @tourismcb @nicolavalleypaddle @destinationnb @maferries @visitnovascotia @cascadiaboardco @bluwavesup @bluejellyfishsup @jkernaghan1
Anyone interested in visiting the Toronto Outdoor Adventure & Travel show this weekend can use promotion codes CANADA or PADDLING if you purchase tickets online and you will receive a $4.00 discount at check out! And we have a few free admission tickets available. We will give them to the first people to contact us until they run out :)) We will be at Booth 675 - come and say hi or check out the presentations we are doing Friday & Saturday about our crazy, fun cross Canada Stand Up Paddle road trip Canada Onboard: Coast to Coast 150. #OAS Toronto #adventure #travel #outdoors #paddle #roadtrip @theperiwinkledragonflycompany @canadaonboard
A perfect red chair roost overlooking Kidston Lighthouse in beautiful Bras D'Or Lake, a stones throw away from quaint but bustling Baddeck, NS. A welcome respite for travellers expanding their minds with the amazingly illuminating history found in the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Next stop Tatamagouche, NS. Read more about our Cross Canada Paddling Roadtrip, celebrating Canada 150, on our blog: CanadaOnboard.ca 🇨🇦 @cbwestsup @bluejellyfishsup @visitnovascotia @nstourism @tourcanada @tourcapebreton @capebretontourism @parks.canada @parkscanadaredchair #sharethechair #baddeck #explore #explorecanada #explorecanada #explorens #capebreton #nova scotia #cabottrail #adventuresforthesoul #roadtrip #canada150 #parkscanada #alexandergrahambell #alexandergrahambellmuseum #museum #crosscanadapaddlingroadtrip
Although we love the paddling and scenery our adventure is about so much more. Savouring the cuisine of local eateries is high on our list of must do experiences. The Dancing Goat Cafe & Bakery, along the Cabot Trail in Margaree, NS is one of our favourites. It's delicious food, engaging locales and comfortable ambience proved the perfect spot for us to slow our pace and get some work done. Read more about our Cross Canada Paddling Roadtrip celebrating Canada 150 on our blog: CanadaOnboard.ca
Jeremy Smith of @cbwestsup leads us swishing through the grasses with our gear. He knows all the secret, hidden launches along the Margaree River, raising the adventure factor of our afternoon paddle to a higher level. Check out our blog CanadaOnboard.ca to read more about our Cross Canada Paddling Roadtrip celebrating Canada 150🇨🇦 @cbwestsup @bluejellyfishsup @visitnovascotia @nstourism @tourcanada @tourcanada @tourcapebreton @capebretontourism @visitcapebretonisland @capebretonpost #visitnovascotia #explore #explorecanada #explorens #novascotia #capebreton #cabottrail #margaree #margareeriver #adventuresforthesoul #roadtrip #canada #canada150 #crosscanadapaddlingroadtrip
🎶 Last night I heard an owl cry And so I took a walk outside And saw the northern lights dance lightly High above a wild Cape Breton Sky Felt the north west wind blow softly All along the valley from the sea And from my doorway watched the moonrise High above the hills of Margaree🎶 The Hills of Margaree-Jim Brannigan

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You want to know how big Ontario is? Trying getting out of it going west. It took two long sweeping drives around Lake Superior to close in on the Manitoba border. Moreover, we were doing it in a 20-year-old GMC Safari which was gaudily painted and converted to a camper by the Aussie company, Wicked Campers.

Badass, named so in two-foot deep letters on the van’s right flank, would have to get us to Vancouver Island, no matter its 425,000 odometer reading.

Kill Your TVBadass drew reactions like this across Canada with it’s bold colours and counter-culture comments. 

We had got in our first Ontario paddle in 31C heat at Bluffer’s Park in Scarborough, where we had both spent our youth. So paddling in the shadow of the bluffs, one of Toronto area’s under appreciated attractions, had a nostalgic pull.

Reunion By The Water

Also, John had a grade-school reunion at the Dogfish Pub & Eatery at Bluffer’s Park, so it was a day of remembrances and stories featuring friends going back to kindergarten.
We paddled through the marina to a connecting marina and steered clear of powerboats heading into the lake. For Pam, it evoked memories of time spent visiting her grandmother and checking out the bluffs with her sister.

Paddling the BluffsJohn navigates around kayakers at Bluffer’s Park in Scarborough with the Toronto suburb’s bluffs as a backdrop.

John recalled climbing up and down the bluffs, once toppling off on a bicycle in a fit of teenage derring-do, rescuing a dog trapped on a ledge and swimming out to the gutted shell of a steamer, the Alexandria, which sank in 1915. He and friends would climb its smokestack and dive into the lake.

Getting To Know Badass

Picking up Badass was an adventure in itself. The company is based in Vancouver but has a small depot in Mississauga. Our hearts sank at first sight. Pam had warned it might come with some colourful saying painted on it, John was sure the sometimes risqué Aussie humour would be toned down for the Canadian market.
What was painted on the back hatch doors was likely to get us arrested in Saskatchewan or Alberta. As well, Badass had its idiosyncrasies. When the fuel gage read a quarter, a notice on the gauge suggested we fill up due to the unpredictability of petrol quality in some regions. And the gas pedal was sticky, meaning lunge-like starts.
Nonetheless, we would learn to love Badass as a stalwart machine that kept going when others stopped, like in a freakish Alberta blizzard featuring 80-kilometre-per-hour gusts.

Camper Van Amuses & Shocks

Until we got it home to cover offending phrases on the back hatch, the van drew thumbs up from truckers and horror from Soccer Moms. When John pulled in front of a mother and her kids at a turn lane, the mom threw her hand over the nearest kid’s eyes.
Back in Hamilton, we rushed to cover it temporarily with a tablecloth. The next day Pam hit on a clever answer, she found some blank magnetic signage panels and turned them into an ad for our website and a place to mark down our paddles.

CanadaOnboard.CAOur answer to cringeworthy graphics.

The Attitude Gets ContagiousThe attitude gets contagious.

The second Ontario paddle would involve an overnight in Badass at Pukaskwa National Park on Lake Superior, which already had a wintery feel in late September. The converted van had lots of storage space under the bed, which consisted of three sectional pads, and a small, rudimentary kitchen at the back. And we enjoyed a roomy and good sleep.

Sunrise in Pukaskwa National ParkWe made pancakes, tea and coffee as the sun crested the hills and burned off the morning mist at Pukaskwa National Park.

 

We passed that overnight test well in a camping spot about 50 metres from a little cove where Superior’s raging waves were quieted. On a nippy early fall morning we produced pancakes on a little stove and braced for a chilly paddle with tea and coffee.
One look at the lake, which lapped angrily at a narrow pass into Hattie Cove, and we opted for the protected cover, where we could paddle into rocky backwater pools and along rock faces, some topped by a hiking trail.

Meeting canine "vanlife" friends.We were joined by Occy, the Aussie Shepherd of fellow travellers we met on the beach of Hattie Cove. Occy posed like a pro on cue.

New friends @vantacruzMax, Lee and Occy near the start of their Vanlife journey. Follow their adventures on Instagram @vantacruz

Nature’s Wave-Action Pool

The park features backcountry paddling and hiking and a suspension bridge overlooking falls, but on our timeline we had to content ourselves with a paddle around the cove and some water play at the pass as Superior’s surge drove us backwards, a natural wave-action pool effect that was fun and a little scary for the novice.

Hattie Cove, Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario, CanadaThe colours of fall were already setting in on Hattie Cove as we skirted rocky shores near Lake Superior.

We marked it down as another must-visit-longer destination and headed out to Kenora on Lake-of-the-Woods, another long drive to a place we plan to return to as well.
A Google search on the highway approaching threw out The Brewers Inn as a bed for the night as it was a fine find, an upscale spot overlooking the lake with high ceilings, big comfy beds and a dock we could have launched from if we’d had the time.

Kenora Was A Delightful Surprise

Kenora was recommended to us by Jeremy Smith, who had guided us along the Margaree River in Cape Breton, see our previous post Beautiful Margaree . He called it kind of funky and a tour around town the next day revealed a nice collection of one-off restaurants, bars and coffee houses.
That included Lake of the Woods Brewing and it’s taproom, which is associated with The Brewers Inn. It was a lively spot downtown with breezy service and garage-style doors that open to the street.
The harbourfront area is a big attraction with the Whitecap Pavilion offering outdoor concerts in summer and the ‘Goodwill Geyser’ erupting with a 200-foot torrent of water on the hour. We left town with the notion of paddling around that frothing fountain during a concert, and damn local bylaws. Badass was giving us attitude!

Feature photo: Pam checks out the rocky shore of Hattie Cove off Lake Superior at Pukaskwa National Park. We had the cove to ourselves on a late September day.

 

 

 

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