Friday, July 20, 2012

Canoeing: the perfect prescription to ease queasiness

Cruising down Queens Quay, my family and I were searching for some entertainment on a scorching, clammy afternoon. Once we hit the Harbourfront, we noticed sailboats and decided to hunt down what we hoped would be affordable rentals.

Sailboats and Power boats at Harbourfront Centre

Already feeling queasy from a heavy lunch and spending hours circling through the jam-packed streets
in a car, my stomach hoped all the boats were taken. To my stomachs relief, upon inquiring about rates we found out that because of the summer rush, the sailboats and power boats were all rented for the day. Ready to leave disappointed, we were stopped by a Canoe & Kayak Centre instructor who took us outside to a little picnic table where we saw a sign that had affordable rates for canoe and kayak rentals.

Kayaks available for rental at Harbourfront

Despite my uneasy stomach, I let my cousins convince me join them on a four-person canoe tour on Lake Ontario. With rates as cheap as $10 for 30 minutes and double the price for an hour, it seemed like a hard deal to refuse.

Once we made the payment, we waited for our instructor to bring us life jackets and paddles. Walking towards the dock, we geared up; locking our life jackets into place. As I stomped across the wooden planks, I realized how unprepared we were for our spontaneous trip. I was in a long summer dress with uncomfortable shoes, while my cousin was in black dress pants and a white business shirt (we had just picked him up from work!).

Safety first: For first-timers and the experienced, wearing a life jacket during all water activities is a must

Our instructor, Nick, hopped onto the boat first and held out a hand for the rest of us. He noticed our uneasiness and explained that preparation and experience for our canoe adventure was overrated. Nick claimed the experience would be exciting regardless of whether we were dressed for the part or not.

He explained the simplest way of holding the paddle and paddling. “There is no need to try and be creative with your paddling because it has worked for us and those before us for centuries. Please don’t try to outsmart the simple paddling techniques,” laughed Nick.

Once we got a rhythm going on both sides, the paddling seemed simple enough. That is when I began to look past the vast ocean to notice the majestic view of the Toronto skyline. The panoramic view of the striking city made me put down my paddle more than once to take in the grandeur of nature against the city.

The Toronto skyline looked fantastic from our canoe. The view had us awe-struck.

With airplanes taking route over our heads and ferries at a paddles distance away from our tiny canoe, I was certain we would run into a kayak or boat at some point along our journey. Thanks to Nick’s amazing steering though, we were able to tour the water and make it back to land safely.
Our crew made it back to land safely :)

After a few minutes on the canoe, all my queasiness disappeared with the exhilarating calm of the water. The affordability of the rental and helpful guidance of our instructor made the journey an easy one to take. As we climbed out of the boat, Nick invited us to come back for a two-and-a-half hour canoe tour to the nearby islands, where stand-up paddle boarding was also available. With promises to return for the cheap tour later this summer, we stored his number and bid him farewell for his next journey through the waters of Lake Ontario. 


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