MEC Paddlefest Toronto - The Sinking Kayak

Jealous that I can’t make my way to Canoecopia this weekend, I decided to troll through my friend Birgit's Facebook gallery of photos from the Toronto edition of MEC’s Paddlefest last year.

As you can see it’s really more about having fun then anything else.

MEC Paddlefest Toronto - Stand-up Kayaking

The dates for the 2011 Paddlefest were just announced and this year it is taking place June 11-12 at Sunnyside Beach right in the heart of Toronto.

Fun fact: Did you know that MEC Paddlefest Toronto gets more people on the water then any other event in North America? Yep, it’s true. When clinics are about to start it seems like there are 10,000 people running around the beach all trying to find their canoe or kayak. Well not 10,000 but at least 8 of us that’s for sure!

Here is what I love about Paddlefest. It is completely an urban paddling event taking place in downtown Toronto on Lake Ontario. With Toronto being a true cosmopolitan city, the participants at the event reflect that huge diversity. It’s a completely different atmosphere then anything you have ever been to before. At least ½ of all the students in my clinics had never been in a canoe or kayak before and it’s so exciting introducing large groups of new Canadian’s to paddling.

You can get more fun facts and all the details of the event via their website If you are thinking of going, make sure you book first thing on May 29th when registration opens. Last year all 800+ clinic spots completely sold out in just over 24 hours. That’s a true fun fact.

Published in Events

G8 and African leaders

The Canadian Government released documents today outlining all the expenses related to the world's most expensive weekend party G8/G20 Summits which were held in Huntsville and Toronto back in June 2010. No final tally has been revealed yet but it’s estimated that the total cost (which was three days long) is nearly $1.24 billion Canadian dollars.

Police keep an eye on the G8 Summit designated speech area outside Huntsville, Ontario. Photo Credit: ReutersThat seems a tad expensive you might say? Well the politicians in charge of the event had this to say today, “Of course it was expensive. We were up in cottage country so a lot of camping gear was required. Look at the expense report and you will see it’s all justified. We shopped around. Yes, we bought $14,306 worth of bug shirts from Mountain Equipment Co-op but they were the cheapest we could find. If we went to a small camping retailer, it would even be more expensive!”

Other outdoor related expenses include:
$13,000 for "miscellaneous textiles, headgear and umbrellas"
$300,000 for sun screen and insect repellant
$12,747 for sun, rain, bug shelters and coolers from La Barron Outdoor Products Ltd.
$14,306 for bug jackets from Mountain Equipment Co-op

Oh yeah, that didn't include the $57,000 to build an indoor fake lake in Toronto so the media could pretend they were three hours north in cottage country.

More info:
Top Flickr Photo Credit: The Prime Minister's Office
Second Photo Credit: Reuters

Published in General News

Mountain Equipment Co-Op LogoVancouver - Access to outdoor activity and support for environmental conservation in Canada took another step forward recently as Mountain Equipment Co-op™ (MEC) announced the latest results of its community grants program. In all, the member-owned retailer invested more than $730,000 for 76 community-based projects in 9 provinces.

Published in Press Releases
Mountain Equipment Co-OpVancouver - Mountain Equipment Co-opTM, Canada's largest retail co-operative with over 2.9 million members, today disclosed the names of factories that make clothing and gear under the outdoor retailer's MEC-brand label. With the move, MEC becomes the first Canadian company to disclose its factory base.

"Factory disclosure is about transparency," said MEC CEO David Labistour. "By casting light on MEC's global supply chain we endeavour to reveal more about the companies and countries we do business with in the course of bringing MEC-brand products to our customers, the member-owners we serve."
Published in Press Releases
Friday, 25 April 2008 07:57

BPA Bottle Fall Out - The Landfill Issue

Nalgene Waterbottle The Winnipeg Free Press this morning is reporting on the unintended fall out from the Bisphenol-A report that was released by the Canadian Government early last week.

The released report labelled food and drinking products made from polycarbonate plastic as dangerous because of the leaching effect of the plastic.

Over the past week, the media has run with the story and retailers have been pulling the products off the shelves.

Now retailers are stuck with trying to sort out what to do now with their pulled stock. In many places polycarbonate isn't recyclable and it is difficult to donate them anywhere as there is a very high chance that somebody will try to return them back to your store. Finally, dumping them in a landfill seems to go against everything you stand for and the chemicals in the plastic will leach out into the water table causing even bigger problems...
Published in Issues
Thursday, 24 April 2008 12:07

The Big Wild

Mountain Equipment Co-Op I recently received an email from Mountain Equipment Co-op with the really great. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and Mountain Equipment Co-op partnered together to start

The vision is keep at least half of Canada's public land and water wild forever. The website has a large education component explaining why it is important to keep large tracks of roadless, bridgeless land wild and free.

They are also offering The Big Wild Challenge and encouraging people to dedicate their next wilderness trip (big or small) to protecting big wild spaces.

More info: The Big Wild
Published in Environment
Monday, 10 December 2007 16:24

Mountain Equipment Co-Op Rumors

MEC Logo Stopped into my local MEC tonight to pick up some winter cycling wear. It's getting cold and slushy.

I asked about the general public response to MEC removing the polycarbonate bottles from the shelves. They said that members have been coming in with mixed response. Some have been happy about the decision to take a higher road in the wake of all the uncertainty around BPA. They said that a good amount of people have been quite angry about the decision. "How dare you get rid of our stocking stuffers!"

Me: Why didn't you drop the bottles after Christmas?
MEC Insider: If we removed them from the shelves before Christmas then we would have had a huge rush of people returning their new but used bottles.
Me: Where are your unsold bottles?
MEC Insider: They are all in storage until March when we decide what to do with them after the Industry Canada report on the safety of BPA comes out.

Also, there are rumors of a major price drop for ‘08 on the price of glass kayaks. I guess the feeling is that over time, the price of glass boats has become just too expensive for the common man. Oh course it hasn't been confirmed but it is something to dream about...

Published in Gear
MEC LogoMountain Equipment Co-op® (MEC) has looked to within its own senior management team for its next chief executive officer. David Labistour, presently MEC's senior manager of buying and design, has been appointed CEO of Canada's leading outdoor retailer, the co-operative announced today.
Published in Press Releases

Strategic partner

Paddle Canada Logo