Canoe: Film Celebrates Canadian Canoe Culture (WATCH HERE!)
An evocative documentary celebrating the canoe and how it connects five paddlers
Directed by Toronto filmmaker (and paddler!), Goh Iromoto, this film tells the story of five paddlers in Ontario and their connection to Canada’s iconic watercraft, the canoe.
Released earlier this year, I watched the award-winning film at the Reel Paddling Film Festival and loved the powerful cinematography and storytelling. The way it captures the stunning waterscapes and the personal ‘why I paddle’ stories shows just how the canoe is so much more than a national symbol.
Here’s a look at the five paddlers featured in the film:
- The Connector: Make a Real Connection
Paddling has been in several generations of Michelle Savoie’s family, tracing back to the voyageurs! Alongside some of the most breathtaking shots of the film, Michelle shares her moving story of how paddling is not only a way for her family to connect with nature but to each other. She had me at “you strip away all these materialistic things…”
- The Champion: Challenge Yourself
For all the competitive paddlers out there! Alexandra M. McGee’s story of training and the fun to be had while white water paddling on the Madawaska River will get your adrenaline flowing! “Paddling brings out the best emotion in me. I’ll get in the boat, I’ll instantly feel happier.” I agree, Alexandra!
- The Explorers: Paddle the Painted Landscapes
I don’t know anyone who goes to Algonquin Provincial Park without a camera! Gary and Joanie McGuffin’s paddling trips always inspires creativity in their photography and writing, similar to how it Ontario’s rugged landscapes inspired the Group of Seven.
- The Settler: Proud to be a Canadian
Paddling is a quintessential national experience and connects Canadians new and old. Michael Zhang shares his experience as a newcomer and how paddling gave him a different perspective of his new home, Toronto.
- The Mentor: Shared Knowledge
- Gail Bannon, leads indigenous youth in the art and journey of building birch bark canoes, reawakening a powerful sense of culture and tradition in Fort William First Nation. “I don’t know of anybody in my mother’s generation that knows—and maybe they do, but they just don’t do it anymore. And I thought: how could we have lost that?”
As a stand-up paddleboarder who is out on the water all year long and has paddled everything from a canoe to a dragonboat, I can relate to every paddler’s story about the preciousness of sharing the paddle experience with loved ones, embracing the beauty of the landscape around rivers and the stunning sunsets on the lake, as well as the connection to nature and others whether in calm waters or in waves and rapids.
The Canoe definitely inspired some paddling trips and ideas this year and I’m excited to say that I’ll be sharing some of my SUP stories as part of Ontario’s Canadian Canoe Culture Campaign with Northern Ontario this summer, so stay tuned!
With over 400,000 lakes, rivers and heritage waterways in Ontario, I’m sure you’ll find a place to paddle, and if you need some inspiration and suggestions, visit Ontario Travel’s page for paddling - http://bit.ly/CanadianCanoeCulture or check out #PaddleON to see where paddlers are exploring!
Get Out There with Diana this summer as she’ll be sharing some of her SUP adventures as part of the Canadian Canoe Culture Campaign. See where she’s SUP’ing by following her on Twitter and Instagram - @only1phoenixx
Check out the Get Out There Magazine YouTube channel for some of Diana’s paddling event reviews: