Police officer:  “You can’t take a canoe to Parliament”

The following series of events actually happened when we attempted to portage the canoe to Parliament to take a few pictures

Police car pulls up as Geoff portages the canoe towards the Parliament buildings for a triumphant photo.

Police car pulls up as Geoff portages the canoe towards the Parliament buildings for a triumphant photo.

The police officer explains that "props" are not allowed on Parliament hill.  We had a short discussion as to why we think a canoe is a mode of transport, rather than a "prop", however, he listened politely and pointed to where we need to exit immediately.

The police officer explains that “props” are not allowed on Parliament hill. We had a short discussion as to why we think a canoe is a mode of transport, rather than a “prop”.  He listened politely, then pointed to where we needed to exit immediately.

This is the closest we could get to Parliament Hill for a photo.

This is the closest we could get to Parliament Hill for a photo.

This turned out to be the best photo we could get on Parliament hill (outside of the fence.)

This turned out to be the best photo we could get on Parliament hill (outside of the fence.)

Meeting a fellow cross-country paddler

Max Finkelstein wrote the book "Canoeing a Continent" after paddlong from Montreal to Bella Coola.

Max Finkelstein wrote the book “Canoeing a Continent” after paddlong from Montreal to Bella Coola.

What are the chances that one would “bump” into a fellow cross-Canada paddler?  Obviously pretty good!  Max was watching his son’s Sprint Canoe race (which he won) when he spotted us paddling by.  He came to the lock and quietly began asking questions.  After a few moments he introduced himself.  It took me a moment for it to sink in.  After that, we were very excited.  We chatted with him until he was almost late for his son’s race.  It was a real pleasure meeting him.  We hope our paths cross again.

Ottawa Locks – some of the best and worst lock experiences of the trip

Interesting to note that our best and worst lock experiences happened in one city!

Pierre had Jude giggling with his impromptu puppet show.

Pierre had Jude giggling with his impromptu puppet show.

The best occurred at Hartwell locks where we had a friendly, enthusiastic, helpful Lockmaster.  We locked down with a wonderful group of boats.  Pierre Brazeau and his wife, Mimi, were in a boat on front of us.  He entertained Jude with a puppet show and guitar playing.  We were grateful for the cold bottles of water too.  Geoff chatted with Magda Kubasiewicz in her kayak.  Meanwhile, beside us, Jacques Gauthier offered us a place to stay 100 km downriver.  It was friendly and festive.

A flight of 8 locks called "The Ottawa Locks" that lead to the Ottawa River.

A flight of 8 locks called “The Ottawa Locks” that lead to the Ottawa River.

The worst happened at the Ottawa Locks where we had a cascade of water come over the locks onto us and into the canoe (after we were told to stay at the back.). Instead of saying they had made a mistake and were sorry – we were told “these are the locks, it can happen.”  Hey guys… a little humility goes a long way, everybody makes mistakes.

Portaging into the Chateau Laurier Hotel

Reaching Ottawa has a major milestone for us and we wanted to make the most of it.  We spent one luxurious night in the Chateau Laurier Hotel.  We took in as much as we could fit into our short time there.

There is nothing more motivating during a portage than the promise of a fine hotel at the end.

There is nothing more motivating during a portage than the promise of a fine hotel at the end.

The valets were really good sports about it all.  We stored our canoe in a ballroom.

The valets were really good sports about it all. We stored our canoe in a ballroom.

We really enjoyed the light show that evening.

We really enjoyed the light show that evening.

Views along the Ottawa River

Every town along the Ottawa River has a church steeple to mark its location along the shore.  Beautiful.

Every town along the Ottawa River has a church steeple to mark its location along the shore. Beautiful.

One of the many beautiful views on the Ottawa R.

One of the many beautiful views on the Ottawa R.

Carillon – biggest lift of any lock in Canada (that we know of…)

The Carillon lock is huge!  65 feet!  There is a floating dock inside to tie to.  I walked Rane up and down the raft while the lock lowered.  Very impressive.

Bottom of Carillon Lock

Lachine Canal – Montreal

An enthusiastic family learning to canoe almost ran into us in the Lachine Canal.  There was never any real danger, as neither of us were travelling very quickly.

An enthusiastic family learning to canoe almost ran into us in the Lachine Canal. There was never any real danger, as neither of us were travelling very quickly.

Rane loves his thumb (and his stuffed monkey.)

Rane loves his thumb (and his stuffed monkey.)

Geoff and Jude having peanut butter sandwiches while waiting for a lock.

Geoff and Jude having peanut butter sandwiches while waiting for a lock.

Media

CBC Radio Ottawa

We had a fun time during the interview with Jeanne Armstrong of CBC Radio Ottawa.  After donning a lifejacket, she climbed in beside Jude for a tour of the Ottawa River below Parliament.

Jeanne Armstrong of CBC Ottawa interviewed Jude in the canoe on the Ottawa R.

Jeanne Armstrong of CBC Ottawa interviewed Jude in the canoe on the Ottawa R.

The Montreal Gazette

Rene Bruemmer is a great interviewer.  He made us feel comfortable and asked lots of good questions.  It helps that he has a good sense of humour too!

Full pictures and article can be accessed at the following link:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Couple+nearing+seven+year+canoe+trip/8812790/story.html

Thank you!

  • Kim Holmes (Geoff’s cousin) and Laurie Holmes (Geoff’s Dad, Bob’s, cousin) met us at the top of the Ottawa locks.  They were a huge help!  Laurie watched our canoe and gear while we portaged, Kim helped with Jude, took some pictures, did some baby holding, and even looked after the kids while Geoff and I spent a few hours in Ottawa alone.  It was the first time we’d been out alone together in months.  Thank you!  Your help made our time in Ottawa really memorable.
Dinner with Kim Holmes and Laurie Holmes on La Terrasse with a beautiful view of Parliament and the Ottawa Locks.

Dinner with Kim Holmes and Laurie Holmes on La Terrasse with a beautiful view of Parliament and the Ottawa Locks.

  • Geoff had a great visit with Mayda Kubasiewicz in the Hartwell lock as well.  It was generous of her to invite us to her house for a picnic, however, we were eager to reach Parliament Hill.
  • Giles Rollin helped us fill our water jugs, then gave Geoff a ride to the local chip to buy burgers and fries for lunch.
  • We met Mau Richer for the second time this year.  We first met him on the Rideau Canal a few weeks back when we shared a lock together.  We had a nice conversation at the Rockland Park.
Mau played with Jude at the park while we finished lunch.

Mau played with Jude at the park while we finished lunch.

  • We had a nice visit with Daniel St. Jean at the Rockland park as well.  We will definitely check out his stories for children at www.pedagrowfun.blogspot.ca when we get home.
  • Meeting Stan and Sheila Twerd in Wendover, ON, turned out to be a blessing.  They were wonderful with Jude while Geoff hauled gear and I tended to poor Rane.  We had mentioned to Sheila that Rane had an ear infection the previous week and still seemed off.  She told us about a clinic in town and Stan drove us to a hotel across from it.  They were very gracious about storing our canoe and gear overnight.  Jude thoroughly enjoyed all of Stan’s model cars and boats.  It was a real pleasure meeting them.
Jude talking the ears off Stan and Sheila Twerd in their gazebo.  What a fabulous view!

Jude talking the ears off Stan and Sheila Twerd in their gazebo. What a fabulous view!

  • When Geoff brought Rane to the Chamberland Family Health Team clinic in Rockland, it was 7:30 pm and the clinic closed in 1/2 hour.  Geoff plead our case and Dr. Steve Pelletier (bless his heart) agreed to squeeze Rane in between appointments (despite us being out-of-province.).  It turns out the Rane had another ear infection and needed different antibiotics.  He explained how painful they are and gave us a treatment schedule.  We should expect improvement in 2 days.  It was tough over the next couple of days, but Rane has gotten much better.  We have our easygoing, smiley baby back – thanks to Dr. Pelletier’s big heart.
  • Jacques Gauthier invited us to stay at his place when we were in the Hartwell locks together in Ottawa.  He and his wife Suzanne took it all in stride when we called from the river in front of their house!  Even though they had just returned from their 3 week holiday, they made us feel right at home.  Rane was still getting over the ear infection, so it was wonderful to sleep inside with him.  Jude and Geoff slept in their own room, so I didn’t have to worry about waking them up when Rane got up. Veronique took Jude out onto the trampoline to burn off some energy.  He has been a star in the canoe.   Thank you for making us feel so welcome during one of the toughest days of the summer.

Jacques Gauthier, Suzanne, and Veronique

  •  We met Rita and Normand Murray on our first night camping in Quebec.  They saw us hauling all of our gear up from the water to our campsite and immediately offered to help.  Rita sat down with the maps and made calls to people she knows along the St. Lawrence.  In the morning, she and her Grandson helped us carry our gear down to the water in her truck.  Though we didn’t end up needing her help, it is truly  wonderful to know that she was a phone call away.
Rita Murray sitting at a picnic table with Geoff to point out places to camp and people she knew who could help us along the way.

Rita Murray sitting at a picnic table with Geoff to point out places to camp and people she knew who could help us along the way.

  •  The folks at the Sennville Yacht Club were very kind to take us in for the night.  Jean Murphy and Martine Dejean called Patrick Matte to get permission.  We ended up with a nice piece of grass to camp on, picnic table, washrooms, showers, and a kitchen to cook in, if needed.  Jose Bertrand gave us a couple of cold beers to top off the evening.  Luc St. Laurent and Marieve Dionne were also very welcoming.  Luc helped me translate some websites and Marieve gave us a sailboat tour (sorry…can’t remember the other friendly lady who gave the tour as well.). Sleep deprivation is taking it’s toll on my memory.
Luc St. Laurent and Marieve Dionne (and her cousin?) waved us off in the morning.

Luc St. Laurent and Marieve Dionne (and her cousin?) waved us off in the morning.

  •  Katherine Mclean took us under her wing in Ste. Anne de Bellevue.  She held Rane while I went to the bathroom and introduced us to Zeus at the Violet Angel restaurant.  He is the chef there and offered to buy us lunch.  It was delicious!  We ate fantastic food sitting on a patio overlooking our canoe (which we felt was necessary – was it here that the McGuffin’s had all of their gear stolen so many years ago?)
Zeus is the chef at the Vioilet Angel in Ste. Anne de Belleville.

Zeus is the chef at the Violet Angel at Ste. Anne de Bellevue

  • We stopped at the Canadian Forces Sailing Association (CFSA) at Point Picard completely by chance.  From the moment we pulled up to the dock, we were welcomed with open arms.  We were invited to camp and to join them for their potluck dinner and corn roast.  We met many folks that evening (some of them bought us cold beer too!). It was a pleasure meeting everyone – Larry, Yves, Susan, and many others that we didn’t get the names of.  Brian came in early to give us a CFSA pennant.  We really enjoyed meeting everyone.  A really great group of people.

CFSA Point Picard

  • Dave and Sharra Hinton have been a huge part of our trip.  We were thrilled that somehow the stars aligned and they were in Montreal for a conference the same weekend that we paddled in.  We spent a great day together.  Jude loves them so much that whenever he is asked where he’d like to paddle next, he usually answers “Winnipeg.”  (That is where they are from.)

Dave and Sharra Hinton with the boys

  •  Alain Solowy shared some good tips on the fast current of the St. Lawrence when leaving the harbour.  He also drove out to the point in a golf cart with a radio to ensure we got out safely.  Pierre Chartrand is the Captain of a yacht that was parked near us.  He and a few friends went out in “My Resi” to escort us through the dicey stuff to ensure we were safe.  We feel very fortunate to have had two guardian angels looking out for us.
Leaving Montreal Harbour with "My Resi" beside us to ensure we entered the currents safely.

Leaving Montreal Harbour with “My Resi” beside us to ensure we entered the currents safely.

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One Response to Ottawa to Montreal on the Ottawa River

  1. Just learned of your Journey visa CBC Doc on ” the National”!
    Have sent past 6 summers as a SwiftvWater Rescue and Moving Water Tip Leader with Cdn Forces .
    Innuk , British Cadets and various other Cadets from Across Canadacome to te Great Rivers of the Yukon!
    I hope you do a book , and comprehensive review of ” From Sea to Sea” . The Western Mtn Passes intrigue me as I have just only Canoed from Nordegg Ab , down the N Saskatewanwas that your Route? You have probably heard too of the Film Documentry of ” Searching For Farley( Mowet) , young coupl like you with a 3 year of left Canmore for Cape Breton Home of Farley Mowett ..great job !!

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