Last June, during one of the worst rain storms of that year, fifteen Voyageur canoes of the South Wind Brigade paddled into Curry park, packed with very tired, very cold, and very wet paddlers. They had come from Merrickville that morning, but had spent the previous weeks paddling the length of the Rideau Canal. The plan was for them to camp overnight in Curry Park, but, by the time they arrived, the park was a lake. Last-minute arrangements had to be made to find a place for them to stay and dry out overnight, before they completed their journey to Ottawa the next day, where they hoped to take part in the Canada Day 150 celebrations.

However, it was a step too far for many of the exhausted paddlers, and only a few of them set out the next morning on the final leg of the trip. Some of those who were bused to Carleton University to join their colleagues there for the final stage, felt they had not properly finished the voyage. They wanted to come back to Kemptville and complete that stage to Hartwell Locks in Ottawa. They had unfinished business.

So, last Saturday morning, two Voyageur canoes arrived back at Curry Park, and two crews gathered, armed with the strength that comes from cinnamon buns from Grahame’s Bakery, determined to finish their journey at last.

Liz Elton and Max Finkelstein once again led the paddlers, and not all were veterans of the South Wind Brigade of last year. Some were newcomers, eager to set out on what was their first, or maybe second, trip in the big canoes. This time, though, all the voyageurs were met at Curry Park by sunshine and calm weather (and, of course, those Grahame’s Bakery cinnamon buns!).


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