This past weekend was able to get out to the annual Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show.
While I mainly go visit friends from around Ontario who I haven’t seen since warmer weather I also like to take a quick pass up and down the rows at the show to see what’s up. For me, it doesn’t take long to make the rounds once all the travel booths are knocked out (which is about ½ the show) and all the booths hocking shoe polish and better rags to clean your glasses (no streaks!). I will admit I did get distracted by the booth selling one-piece micro fleece outfits. I don’t know what they were thinking as they were more like a form fitting snuggie then anything else.
Heading down one row I was stopped in my tracks when I came upon a small booth by a canoe company I had never heard of before called Northern Sound. They are a new manufacturing company from the UK who make Birch Canoes that are absolutely the most beautiful things I have seen in a very, very long time.
Northern Sound aims to replicate the feel of birchbark canoes using both traditional materials and historical designs. Since birchbark is extremely limited in supply, the hulls are made from laminated Birch while the gunwals, ribs and thwarts are all made from Cedar. Keeping everything together are lashings made from Willow and Spruce root. The pitch they add to the hull to seal up the cracks has been formulated to still be soft yet not dry out and shrink like regular tar does.
The prices for these boats are not cheap. What you are paying for a custom built, handmade boat that is pretty much a work of art on the water so depending on the model, they range from about $2500 up to about $5400 Canadian.
Talking to company president Roberto Corradi, I found out that they would like to expand into North America so they shipped the boats over from the UK to try to work out some manufacturing/distribution deals. I really hope that they are successful I would love to them out on the water on this side of the pond.
More info: northern-sound.co.uk
The photo above from left to right: Erik Ogaard, Dave Wells from Naturally Superior Adventures, Sean and Dave Corrigan from Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre.
Just got back from the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show with mixed impressions. It's like many other outdoor adventure shows with a mix of outdoor stores, guiding companies, SCUBA companies and adventure travel companies hawking their wears.
I always seem to walk out with a medium view of it. I go to this event interested in seeing what's new and what is going to be coming out for the 2008 season. That never happens as booths really only bring a small amount of trinkets that will likely sell to the impulse shopper. Everybody and their brother seemed to have a great selection of Otter Cases and low-end PFD's though!
The pool had a nice selection of canoe and kayak demonstrations including Greenland rolling and basic canoe strokes.
I have done the pool demo thing in the past and listening to them from the dry floor, I'm reminded again that when we present demo's to the general public, we really need to leave the paddling lexicon at the door. When you are mentioning the word chine, you have gone into territory that is WAY beyond the demo pool session.
Also, keep your explanations really simple. You are talking to people who most likely have never been in a canoe/kayak before so you don't need explain the scientific design behind your carbon-fiber bent shaft canoe paddle. They just want to watch you spin around like little ducks. After watching you they can get inspired and sign-up for a course. Then you can talk about your fancy new paddle all day...