Legendary Canoeist, Don Starkell Dies

Monday, 30 January 2012
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Don Starkell and Sons. Photo Credit: Don Starkell

Legendary Canadian canoeist and adventurer, Don Starkell passed away this past weekend after a battle with cancer. He was 79.

He was best remembered for his amazing 19,000 kilometre paddle with his son Dana from Winnipeg to the mouth of the Amazon River.

From the Winnipeg Free Press:

"Orphaned as a child, Don overcame his insecurities through paddling a canoe during the great floods of Winnipeg of 1950," family spokesperson, Chris Forde wrote. "A divorce from his wife changed the course of Don's life so he decided to give his boys an adventure they'd never forget - to paddle a canoe from Winnipeg to the Amazon River."

Doug Gibson, who edited and published the story for McClelland & Stewart under the title, Paddle to the Amazon, said he had trouble believing that his old pal’s adventurous life was over.

"To me, Don always seemed super-human, and thus, immortal, too." Gibson said.

Both The Mundane Adventures of Bryan and Canoe & Kayak Magazine have excellent posts today on Don’s life.

Now I’m hoping even more that the documentary on his famous adventure I highlighted last week gets funding on Kickstarter.

Photo Credit: Don Starkell

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.

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