Saturday, May 19, 2007

Home port

Well, six months of no real holidays in this primitive country have finally reached an end. Europe, meanwhile, has probably had half the winter off, but I digress. It is time to take to the boats.

With practically every Torontonian exorcising their cabin fever on highway 400 this weekend, and with gas selling for more than Google shares, Amy and I decided to take a pass and spend the traditional first long weekend of the summer here in the city.

Which is not to say that we forsook good paddling. Far from it -- Toronto has lots of places to wet a paddle for those so inclined. One of the lesser-known is the Humber River, which runs north along the western boundary of the city. You can put in for free at Sunnyside Park and head west until you reach the river mouth, marked by a white suspended footbridge, where you turn north.

Once you pass under a low bridge that supports the Gardiner Expressway and the CN tracks (a GO commuter train once went over while I was under there and I thought for sure I'd lost my hearing), you're off to a lovely, serene paddle complete with bulrushes, hundreds of different bird species, and a surprising amount of silence. At some points, you'll forget you're actually in the middle of Canada's busiest city.

At others, not so much.

And, as always with the urban paddle, you can expect the unexpected. Here we have a fellow who has customized his lovely wooden kayak to carry his giant dog, who appears to be some sort of Japanese fighting breed. That thing that looks like a stuffed animal near the bow ... is actually Fido's head.

While it's no Georgian Bay or Lake Superior, it's still a great day out. And when you're all done, there is ice cream.

Not even the Canadian Shield can top that.

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