My Canoe Has Been Stolen!!!

The headline was blazing across the monitor and the photo made me realize the heartbreak the owner would feel to have lost such a beautiful canoe.  It later became evident it was not just the owner, but the builder, who had put his own time, thought, care , and effort into building such a quality vessel.  Well, thanks God, to the media, and we go from a share of the canoe notice to, “Hey, think you can help”, to “I’d love to have you paddle one!”

The good news is that the canoe has been recovered, and the better news is that we took Stephan up on his invitation and did a small trek out to Bell’s Lake, Grey County, to test out this years’ new launch for the Claxton Canoe Company.   The first attempt to hit the lake yielded a Provincial Police “Road Closed” barrier and so off through the woods we went. We finally got to the launch area and even Izzy was shaking his head. First impressions are usually the ones to last and there was virtually no parking so we knew were in the right spot.  The canoes in the water just demanded the attention they were due with light and dark contrast stripping and a striking contrast to the Temagami styled brush along the shore line.

The very first impression I got of Steve was his immediate, “Dave?” and the offering of his vice-like handshake.  This is a man who pays attention to his craft and is more than willing to share his experience, all the while, standing before his art.  Each of the three canoes bears a somewhat different line, either in the line of the gunwales or the tumblehome, or the upsweep of the decks, but each one, is the one!

We talked of the two canoes in the water and then focus went to the one ashore with the unique seating arrangement in the bow station.  Steve told me he has worked on an adaptation for the bow seat for wheel chair access. His system provides a wheel knock-off so the frame of the chair can slide into a set of rails and the wheels can sit behind the chair.  From the water this would look like nothing more than a comfy chair but think of the worlds it could open to other people who would like to try canoeing.

How could this not say “Freedom?”

Well, The Claxton Canoe Company has just shifted to a new home in Meaford so things may be a bit hectic over the next few weeks, but I’m confident this will be a canoe building concern, with industry innovations, for years to come.  On the plus side, this is a Company that re-works wood, and that’s a good thing.

The canoe I paddled was taken from a 1929 Peterborough and she was just a hair over the 14′ mark.  While I didn’t tape measure, I’d say the beam at the gunwales was 35″ and a depth of 14 1/2″. The wood was to cry for and this canoe just danced under a soft J-stroke. While she did have a full keel, it was evident she would track very well.  By lowering your hand on the paddle you could lift the bow right out of the water and with a twist of the paddle in tight quarters, she’d turn in her own length.

So thanks Stephan, Christina Brodie, for pointing me in the right direction and good luck with your future endeavours.




A Holy Cow Moment

A fresh breeze was against my face and the fact was, I wasn’t completely certain of where I was. The growl come from deep in his throat and I knew he was very close.  I turned my head and shifted my shoulders to see if I could detect any motion and that’s when he struck.  The attack was perfectly calculated and executed with pinpoint accuracy.  I was totally without defence.  His nose, wet and cold right in between my shoulders and I was  instantly awake!  Aw c’mon Izzy, it’s 6:00 AM…….Holy Cow!   6:00 AM and today is another adventure.

Well it was a great morning and we enjoyed our walk plus it gave Karin time to get ready for the road trip we had planned.  Water and bowl plus some road treats for Izzy, tea for Karin and COFFEE for me.  After years on the highways as a commercial driver, I selected a leisurely drive through the back roads and it was fantastic.  Just under 2 hours and after running through Mono Mills, past the Forks of the Credit, a quick right turn onto Hwy 7 and bingo, we had arrived… The Holy Cow Canoe Company.

Naomi had said that they were enjoying a very busy spring and she’s obviously not one for exaggerating.  We were met at the door by Gulam Baloch, General Manger, and even with his workload that we later became aware of, he made himself ready, willing and very able to answer our questions.

The Holy Cow Canoe Company has been satisfying the paddling needs of so many since 1978. They build their hulls in ultra-glass, Kevlar, and Carbon-Kevlar, both trademarked, and all models are available with a wide array of trim and options.  We found out today that Naomi  has a flair in the artistic and design background and the colour choice is a product of her input.  She obviously knows her stuff as the Robins Egg Blue is a show stopper!

Dan was in the shop laying up a new hull and showed us some very cool insider methods to ensure a high quality end result finish.  His efforts inside were echoed outside while viewing the canoes awaiting delivery and pick up.  Local, you bet; local only, not a chance!  These canoes are being shipped around the world and for very good reason.  These people ensure the boat you buy is going to perform the way you want it to.  Sure, we all want the right colour but colour doesn’t do the job, so wait a week and get the exact fit you want.

Well, we wandered the new facility inside and out and I don’t think the furnace is the only new thing; I can see a whole new chapter being written here.  Holy Cow!  Just a name, no I think it’s a feeling that reflects the work they put into these boats.  Izzy agreed and we’re not sure if he was upset with leaving or the snow hitting the windshield all the way home but he did enjoy his adventure.

Thanks again to the Holy Cow Canoe Company for having us and to your continued success.  It was a moo’ving experience.