All summer in Edmonton, there are many interesting events, and a lot of them are free! Many students know that I’m crazy about canoeing, and it looks interesting to them. They wanted to know where they can find out more about this activity. An excellent opportunity is at Edmonton’s “River Day”, when many clubs and businesses that use the river meet together to show Edmontonians how they can enjoy the river. One of the activities is lessons for boats, including kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards. The classes are low-cost, so they’re very popular. Go sign up soon after the event begins at 10 am. There will be 4 canoeing classes and 2 kayak classes, and possibly 2 standup-paddleboard classes. Instructors will make sure you have the correct equipment, and they’ll give you the main idea for these activities. You can also enjoy a free pancake breakfast, and you can try fishing and other activities.
Another time and place when you can learn about paddling is at MEC Paddlefest, which will be held on Sunday, June 28, at Astotin Lake, Elk Island National Park this year.
Edmonton Paddlefest, Astotin Lake, Elk Island National Park is another great place to try out paddling sports. Many vendors and clubs provide instruction and the chance to try out their equipment for free. You can also register to take quite a few different classes for free.
If you want to try out paddling, and you can’t attend these special events, you can also rent equipment from MEC or Totem Outfitters to try at any river or lake, or you can rent at Astotin Lake from Haskin Canoe, for $25/hour. I recommend that you search YouTube first for a video about how to canoe. It’s not so difficult, but if you have no idea how to steer the boat, it’s really frustrating!
If you want to get more involved in paddling, and have regular practice, you can also join a paddling club. There are several in Edmonton, but I’m a member of one of the more active clubs:
Ceyana has weekly practice evenings at Rundle Park Paddling Centre (Tuesdays), instruction for many kinds of paddling, trips, and practice sessions in the big (voyageur) canoes. Members enjoy a wide range of paddling, from whitewater river paddling, to practice on a pond. For me, my favourite activity is going on canoe trips, spending at least one night away from home. A canoe club is a great place to meet other paddlers, to learn new ideas, and to share gear and knowledge.