Canada’s Mountain Equipment Co-op has been a big partner with P&H for the past several years. If you are unfamiliar with Canada, it’s a place just north of us here in the United States but is a real, live foreign country. Funny, because they look just like us and are utterly indistinguishable from their southern neighbors aside from their preternatural ability to be polite. Even crossing the boarder, it is obvious that the Canadians have a different world view when they ask, “Where are you going? Where are you from? Oh, how’s the weather down there? And is your Mom doing okay? You should call her more often! Have a nice, responsible time in our native land and don’t forget to try your french fries with gravy!” And that is precisely why a U.S. born lad like myself is so excited when June comes a’ callin’. You see, I have been going up to MEC’s Paddlefest for some years now and it is always a great time! The students that I teach are great; the instructors that I work with are top notch; The city is beautiful; and MEC knows how to put on an event!

Paddlefest is located on Lake Onterio at Sunnyside Park, June 11-12th with classes and boat demos going nonstop from start to finish. The classes are reasonably priced so that anyone can come down and have a go at a watersport but that doesn’t mean they skimp on the instructors…no, siree! They get some of the best Canada has to offer…and then they bring me up for comedic value. I personally think it’s because they find my “American” rants funny and charming like watching a small boy throw a temper tantrum in a department stop. And every year the list of phenomenal coaches gets longer and longer. It’s simply the best fun you can have in a boat in Toronto!

And this year, as an added bonus to say thank you to all of the instructors who help out, Lizz “The Raptor” Burnside will be bringing me (Kelly Blades) and Michael Pardy in the Friday before to do a private lesson.

So, if you live anywhere in the English or French speaking world you would indeed be a damned fool not to come over to paddlefest and join us all for some great paddling, stellar instruction, and bushel baskets full of laughs!