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#21 Paddling Pic: Canoe Guides

#21. Rideau Hall, Ottawa Ontario.

Over the years I have come to appreciate that canoeing is not just about canoeing. What do I mean by that? Well, there are 4 people in this photo that are guiding lights who have shown me the big picture.

Grandfather William Commanda, a master canoe-builder was a crucial voice for indigenous teachings and spiritual beliefs. His message of peace for all humanity and love and respect for Mother Nature bridged all cultures and peoples' and continues to inspire me.

Kirk Wipper, an irrepressible, charismatic and passionate champion of the canoe. It is his collection that forms the backbone of the incomparable national treasure, the Canadian Canoe Museum.

Next would be James Raffan, a thinker and explorer who finds unexpected ways to interpret the cultural aspects of the canoe. This brilliant and mischievous guy is someone I would want on any canoe trip.

These three men have taught me much of the spiritual, historical and cultural aspects of my favourite vehicle but even more important than their lessons, the 4th person here is the most important to me. No, it's not Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, or John Ralston-Saul, it is of course my Mom. She is the glue that holds our family together and the one who has kept our canoe upright and on course through the years. Life with Dad was thrilling, hectic and never, ever dull but it was Mom's steady hand and calming nature as well as her tireless work in the background that kept us afloat and happy. And her selfless devotion to others continues to be an inspiration.

So what, or who, makes you think that canoeing is more than canoeing?

About Today's Paddling Pic: These last few days and weeks I've found myself looking back on some wonderful memories and images of where canoeing has taken me, and it's made me smile. I feel so fortunate and grateful for these places, people and experiences, and it's kind of nice to reminisce. And in doing so I can't help but to also look forward to a time when we can all paddle safely again! So for the next while Reid and I are posting a picture a day (with a story) that will brighten our day and hopefully yours too. I invite you to share your stories in the comment section.

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