The day before the Outdoor Adventure Show, I received an email from David Bain. David, runs the KW Canoe Symposium and he had asked me if I might be interested in possibly speaking at next years event? I was incredibly flattered, and honoured, and, after establishing that I am mainly a kayaker, and finding out that this fact seemed irrelevant as I do also love to canoe, I said I would think about it. I thought about possibly doing a really awesome canoe trip this upcoming summer, in case I decided to present at the event next year. Then I would have a great story to share and I left it at that.
The KW Canoe Symposium is a forum for canoeists, created by David Bain. It’s held at the Princess Twin Theatre in Kitchener and is a place for people to share their love of canoeing and all that it stands for. This year marked six years the event has been running.
About a month ago, I received another email from David. He advised me one of the speakers for the show had dropped out and would very much like it, if I presented this year, in his place. I wasn’t quite sure what to say and had a great deal of anxiety and hesitation regarding the possibly of me presenting. I did have a great story I’d been wanting to share, but was limited on pictures for it and therefore had not written about it for my blog as yet. After some coercing and advice from several good friends and a few followers, I spoke to David again regarding the subject. He had mentioned that very little women speak at these types of events and he really wanted to have a female presence. I couldn’t really say no to that, so I said I would do it!
I spent 3 weeks preparing my presentation. As the trip I wanted to share was in 2002, my very first backcountry canoe trip ever, I have very little pictures. I only had pictures of pictures I’d taken before I moved last year and all the originals were in storage still, not that they’d be of much use. I had about 35 photos and as many of you who read my posts know, I like pictures and didn’t think that was nearly enough for a 35 minute presentation. I spent all my free time for the next 3 weeks gathering photos that would work with the presentation, portage signs from other Algonquin park visits, pictures of the same food I’d made on a different trip, etc, etc. It took a ridiculous amount of time, but when I had everything I thought I would need to tell the story properly, I ended up with a total of 163 photos, including the 35 originals.
Just a few days before the presentation, I was ready to go over my speech and timing for when I would click on certain words to switch each photo. At that point, I started getting overwhelmed as there were a lot of pictures and I was worried I would miss clicks while I was standing in front of 150 people, trying to speak without sounding nervous, trying to remember what I wanted to say correctly, trying not to stutter, or talk to fast and also trying to click click click the pictures on time. I asked Kevin Callan for a bit of advice as he had offered to assist me if needed and he’s done this a few times.. lol! I was curious how many photos on average he would use for a 30 minute presentation. He said 30-40, but 40 maximum. WHAT?? Oh dear!!!
I then edited my entire presentation, just a few days before the symposium, taking the photos that I painstakingly searched for for the last 3 weeks and deleted them down to just under 90 photos. I couldn’t do 40, sorry Kevin, but I needed something to go with my story and I thought 90 was manageable. After rewriting my speech a few more times, the day had come and I was ready for my first presentation!
I woke up at 4am, got myself ready, packed some breakfast and lunch and some water, and hit the road to Kitchener at 5am. We were asked to arrive by 8:15 and I pulled up to the theater just before 8am, with lots of time to spare. I found out where to park and headed into the theater.
After the audio and video was set up, my zip stick was checked to ensure my presentation was loaded and it ran correctly. This was done for each speaker as they arrived. I was so happy it worked as I’d checked it about 10 times before leaving. After all that, not having it on the stick somehow would really really suck… although, I also had it saved in my dropbox. (somehow I still didn’t sleep that night? )
In between this, we had some time to get to know the other speakers, who were all incredibly awesome, and got to meet some of the people attending, and also had time to speak to the sponsors. Susan, seen below, is Davids partner and is shown getting someone their ticket to enter the show. She is a lovely person and I really enjoyed meeting her.
At 10:00 am they were ready to start the presentations. After a great opening speech by David himself, the speakers presented as per below:
Jeff McColl has been paddling for over 50 years. He shared many special details about QEII Wildlands and showed a collection of stunning photographs of some of his visits there. Jeff knows the park well, and shared with the audience, his discoveries on how the conditions can range based on season. He also let us know what types of wildlife can be spotted there and talked about some of his favorite routes in the park. Jeff, clearly is a man full of great amount of valuable information and was willing to share information he knew with anyone who was in need. Check out Jeff on Facebook.
How do you go from setting a goal of paddling 100 Lakes in 100 Days in Algonquin to accidentally finding out you have thyroid cancer? Drew Czernik explained it all, along with going over his lists of lessons learned during his amazing journey last summer. Drew explained a bit about some of his challenging trips and shared a little of the beauty he discovered, combining it all with a well executed slideshow and adding just the right amount of humor to entertain the audience. I’m curious to see what Drew will be up to next? Check out more about Drew on his blog, his twitter and his instagram .
I was quite intrigued to hear the presentation given by Stephen Orlando. I had seen some of his pictures prior to the symposium and was very interested to hear how he went about creating such unique and beautiful images. Stephen showed the audience his lighted paddle and described how they were created, with some help from Badger Paddles. He then had some volunteers come up and show how the images are actually created with an office chair as a canoe, and a kind volunteer pushing the chair to simulate the motion of the canoe on the water. It was truly fascinating. Check out more on Stephen Orlando’s amazing work on his website, his instagram, Facebook, or his twitter.
THE TUMPLINE SYMPHONY
The Tumpline Symphony played a great set right after the lunch break! They sat on bear barrels, around a simulated campfire, that was made by the canoe symposiums’ organizer, David Bain. To my surprise, David was also in the band and did a wonderful job! They played an appropriate set list of songs related to canoeing, canoes, paddling, portages and of course, bugs. I was very impressed with their version of The Northwest Passage by Stan Roberts, and truly enjoyed all the songs they played!
Christina Scheuermann recounted her first trip into the backcountry of Algonquin Park in 2002. They say the worst trips are always the most memorable, and Christina’s was no different. It wasn’t from a lack of preparation however, as everything was pre-planned down to the finest detail. From wrong-turns to bad directions, it is always funnier when you look back at it, and Christina shared quite the tale to the enjoyment of the attendees. Who knew it would help her embrace future trips with open arms?
Jim Baird wowed the audience at the 6th Annual Canoe Symposium. His presentation was full of perfectly timed jokes, extremely well made videos, tonnes of helpful advice, information, and, incredible journeys. Let’s not forget the interesting video showing Jim’s first aid care of his freshly burnt hand, which didn’t stop him for going out on his trip, even though, by the looks of it, it should have. He is a true outdoorsman and I can’t wait to check out more of his stuff! You can find Jim on Facebook, at his website , on instagram and twitter.
In between presenters, the sponsors came up to give out prizes they had generously donated for the event.
See Sawyer Run gave out two $50.00 gift certificates to some very happy dog owners.
Paddling Adventure Radio gave away two gifts as well, each one included a flint and steel set, a booklet on tying knots, cord to practice with and a life straw.
150 FOR 150 Gave away two gift bags also, each consisting of two dry sacks, two outdoors books, fire cord, gear ties, stickers and patches.
Friends of Temagami gave out a poster for a prize as well!
I had a great time attending and presenting at the 6th Annual KW Canoe Symposium. Thank you so much to David Bain for encouraging me to participate. I met a lot of incredibly awesome people, learned a huge amount of new things and had a really fabulous day! If you have ever considered attending this event, I highly recommend you check it out next year!
CHECK OUT MY POST COMING SOON ON MY ACTUAL PRESENTATION!! I HAVE DECIDED TO TURN IT INTO A BLOG POST, MY VERY FIRST BACKCOUNTRY CANOE TRIP EVER -ALGONQUIN 2002 ! Stay tuned!!!
Thanks so much for checking out my post! If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, please leave a message!
Bios of speakers descriptions, compliments of KW Canoe Symposium website/David Bain with permission.