2012 MEC Toronto Paddlefest Round-up

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

This past weekend was the annual MEC Toronto Paddlefest and once again it was a hugely successful event with over 618 people pre-registered and approximately 120 people walking in and registering on the spot. That doesn’t include the 60 or so instructors, boat helpers and staff running around keeping the machine running smooth. With those numbers, it’s easily one of the biggest events of its kind in North America.

This year I had the pleasure to teach a bit on the water but to also teach a bunch of on-land sessions including weather, navigation and technology in the wilderness. Over the years I have taught lots of symposium kayak sessions so it’s sometimes a nice change for me to get out and stand on dry-land every once in a while.

Rolling Lesson

This was the first time that I was asked to run a session on technology in the wilderness and they wanted me to talk about personal locator beacons as well as more recreational focused devices like the SPOT or the Delorme inReach. I decided to expand the session topic a bit and try to put this technology in a bit more context by also exploring the Canadian Search and Rescue (SAR) system and explain to people how that monster works and what exactly happens when you hit that SOS button or activate your PLB. It made it a bit more interesting then just listening to a sales pitch about gear as you could get that by going to your local store and talking to the sales lady.

Of course teaching and running clinics are fun; but for me the real attraction of the weekend is hanging out with the other instructors who come into Toronto for the event. This year we had a bunch of out-of-towners including my podcast partner-in-crime, Kelly Blades, Michael Pardy, Sharon and Alec Bloyd-Peshkin, Paul Mason as well as my local Ontario friends who are always supportive and make their way south to Toronto.

Kids Canoeing

Special thanks for Mountain Equipment Co-Op for putting on the event once again.

Here is a mini slideshow of some of the photos I took over the weekend:

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

Strategic partner

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