Kayaking In the City…Really?

When my husband Peter and I lived in the country, one of our favourite pastimes was shoving our double kayak onto the roof of the car and driving off in search of a river or a lake. We had lots of adventures. Twice we almost got swamped in big waves. Once we left our water shoes in the car overnight and the smell the next day was overwhelming. And another time we unknowingly paddled through a golf course and almost got hit by several errant balls. We loved it all.

When we moved to the city we sadly gave up our kayak, to our daughter Andrea who has a cottage. We moved on to other, more city-like, activities such as walking and visiting museums. Then two things happened to change all that: Andrea decided she preferred single kayaks to the double, and she bought those instead. And as for us, we found a river – the mighty Humber – not far from our house! So recently we went back to Andrea’s cottage to retrieve our faithful old kayak and bring her home.

Then we discovered another thing that had changed: we had gotten older! Hoisting the kayak on top of the car was not as easy as it had been. And getting ourselves into and out of it wasn’t as easy either! We needed transport for the kayak and a sandy beach for us.

First of all Peter went shopping at CTC and found some wheels which strap onto the bottom of the kayak near the middle, and a handle for one end with which to pull the kayak along. Then we found a sandy beach at the bottom of a boat ramp just a few blocks away from our house. We were set for another adventure.

We chose a perfect day, mild and sunny. We put the kayak on her leash and headed through our subdivision towards the river. We must have been a strange sight – wheeling a kayak down the sidewalk along with baby strollers and dog-walkers, but no water anywhere! Soon we got to the street which leads to the ramp and the river at the bottom.

The launch went well, although it would have been better if we’d had rubber boots. Our feet got a little cold in the October water as we climbed in. We strapped the wheels on the front and set off. We enjoyed the ride down the Humber, passing trees in their full fall splendor, a coyote sunning himself on a big rock, and even a few other paddlers. Only one of them mentioned our wheels, wondering if we had some kind of amphibian?

After travelling under the Humber bridge, we paddled to Sunnyside beach, stopping to smile at the swans giving us their “butts-up” salute as we went by. We landed on the sand and got out of the kayak, with only a few creaks and groans. We found a bench where we could eat our picnic lunch. Then I needed one last thing before our trip home. And you ladies know what that is, don’t you? We went for a walk and there they were – washrooms. This was the best trip ever!

When it was time to leave, Peter said we needed a photograph of ourselves in the kayak, because who would ever believe a story about 2 old farts paddling down a river in the middle of a big city? We spotted another kayaking couple that had waved to us on our outward trip. We pointed our little ship in their direction and handed over our phone for the Kodak moment.

Then we paddled back up the Humber, landed safely on the sand beach, and walked our kayak back home on her leash. it was only later that we discovered the photographer had accidently put his finger over the lens when he took our picture. Peter says we’ll have to go kayaking again; for evidence. He is talking about going farther next time, maybe back to the country.

So, if you see a blue kayak being walked on a leash in the slow lanes of a 400-series highway, give us a honk!


The launch
The Humber bridge
The swans saluting us

10 thoughts on “Kayaking In the City…Really?

  1. Good one, Sue! Wish I could have been there to see you walking your kayak on its leash through the neighbourhood! Bet that raised a few eyebrows. But one thing I find about getting older, is that I care less about what other people think. What’s wrong with being considered eccentric?

    And another thing – what is it about older women and their bladders? A male friend of ours said that this is a male problem, but I disagree. And I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who says so.

    You can tell Peter that I think it was his daughter Andrea that I saw in a video link from Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation. It was a panel discussion about dementia moderated by Jay Ingram. Very interesting. I don’t think there are too many Andrea Iaboni’s around. Her way of speaking and voice reminded me of Peter.


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  2. You two are awesome. I love your energy for life! You are not old, especially when you venture on these kinds of outings. Must have been stunning views on the Humber. Bravo!


  3. I am really impressed with your physical prowess and your mental stamina. You are always redefining what 70s can do. Great fun to read Sue.

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  4. You and Peter made me laugh a few times reading all about your kayaking adventure. What a great story and experience. Bravo to you two.


  5. Love the photos Susan….great way to stay young. John and I used to do this. When we met, he asked me to
    go to Paris and I had just seen Pretty Woman so I was really excited. Turned out it was canoeing in Paris, ONTARIO but it was fun anyway.


  6. What a marvellous expedition! Sights galore — the city, the wildlife, the people — and your outlook on everything, so joyful, so up-beat, so brave


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