June 29 – July 3, 2017
Do you have plans on or around the Canada Day long weekend yet?
In celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary, the Fort Edmonton Canoe Brigade will connect the past and the present down the length of the Capital Region North Saskatchewan River! You can join in on the water for two portions or take on the whole paddle as part of a big canoe crew. Celebrate at one of several stopping points, give a big canoe a short trial paddle, or wave to the Brigade as they stream past!
To register, or for more information, click here
“This Brigade will be long, easy days in the big canoes,” says organizer Mark Lund, “and for two sections we’ll be inviting smaller paddle craft – canoes, kayaks, or stand-up paddle boards – to join us. The communities of Devon and Fort Saskatchewan will be hosting us for meals and celebrations, we will be stopping over in Fort Edmonton on our way past, and arrangements have been made for an old time supper and Voyageur dance the last evening at Métis Crossing south of Smoky Lake. If you’d like to join us, drop us a note!”
Part of the 2017 Canadian Voyageur Brigades, the Fort Edmonton Canoe Brigade is organized primarily by crews of 9 to 12 people, who arrange for their own canoe, camp gear, transportation and cooking supplies. If you have a crew but no canoe – or wish to join a crew – please contact Mark Lund at email@example.com. Smaller craft are welcome to join two portions of this brigade: the Canada Day paddle from Devon to Fort Edmonton, and/or the July 2-3 camp-out and celebrations at Métis Crossing and Monday morning paddle down to Victoria Settlement. “This is by no means a competitive event,” says Lund. “Some crews will be faster and some will be slower. We will have retirees and ten year olds in the Brigade.”
The 2017 Canadian Voyageur Brigades includes brigades in every region of the country, with collaboration among organizations across Canada. Voyageurs traveled these rivers to explore and transport goods across our country from 1690 to 1850, while Indigenous populations traveled on and beside them long before that: this Canada Day long weekend, you can be a part of that history and that experience.
Right now, the Fort Edmonton Canoe Brigade expects about 10 big canoes and around 100 paddlers, along with another 150 in the small craft options. However, these 250 people on the water doesn’t include spectators for the arrival ceremonies at each stop, or the opportunities for spectators at these stops to give the big canoes a short try. Each stop along the trip will be an exciting event in itself!
“With up to 12 people in a boat crew, you have time to form some strong connections – with each other, but also with the land and the water,” explains Lund. “Plus, this may be the first time you get a chance to see the communities you will paddle through from the water. It’s a whole new experience from the usual car, bike or foot travel we use today. Take out your canoe or your kayak and join up because it’s going to be an amazing spectacle.”
“If you do want to get a little practice in before Canada Day, Edmonton’s Ceyana Canoe Club offers Thursday evening paddles in the big canoes and the Athabasca Canoe Brigade plans a weekend training clinic in May,” says Lund. “We even have funds set aside for an Indigenous group to join us on the water.”
“We just hope to get as many people as possible out celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canada’s founding, to celebrate the canoe, our history of cultural cooperation, and to promote water stewardship along the North Saskatchewan River,” he continues. “Whether you join us on the water, at one of the parties, volunteer with the Brigade itself, or wave at us as we go by, we hope to see you there!”
To register, or for more information, click here.
Proposed Brigade Schedule:
• Evening check-in at Devon Lions Campground
• Possible Big Canoe Leader course for certification
• Paddle from Const. Chelsey Robinson Park to Devon Voyageur Park (38km)
• Arrival ceremony and dinner at Devon
• Pancake breakfast at Devon
• Paddle from Devon to Fort Edmonton celebration (28km) – shuttle busses will be available to return paddlers to Devon
• Paddle from Fort Edmonton to Fort Saskatchewan (46km)
• Arrival ceremony, paddling exhibitions, dinner and fireworks at the Fort Saskatchewan Historic Site.
• Pancake breakfast at Fort Saskatchewan
• Paddle to Metis Crossing (80km)
• Ceremonial arrival, supper and Voyageur Dance
• Paddle to Victoria Settlement (7km)
• Arrival ceremony and wrap-up lunch
Be sure to check back on this plan as there may be updates to come.
Fees & Registration: All participants must complete a 2017 Canadian Voyageur Brigade Society membership.
For the Big Canoe participants, the base crew fee for 9 paddlers will be $1125 and $125 for each additional participant to a maximum of 12 paddlers. Brigade fees will include four nights camping, three suppers, two breakfasts, & one lunch. Paddlers should also expect crew expenses such as transportation during the brigade, crew and personal food and entertainment for the brigade. Travel and food during the brigade will be organized by each paddling crew and costs will vary by crew choices.
For small boat paddlers participating in the Canada Day paddle, the fee includes a pancake breakfast in Devon, a day pass to Fort Edmonton, and a shuttle bus for vehicle drivers to return to Devon for vehicle pick-up. For the Metis Crossing to Victoria Settlement camp-out and paddle participants can expect a fee of $45 and this will include the camping, Sunday supper, and lunch at Victoria settlement as part of our brigade and Canada Day weekend wind-up celebration.
Click here to register or for more information.
The Fort Edmonton Canoe Brigade was made possible by several important sponsors, as well as volunteers and organizations along the entire route. We would like to thank the River Valley Alliance for assisting with the Canada 150 Edmonton Community Foundation grant application, as well as the Edmonton & District Historical Society, the Fort Saskatchewan Historical Society, the Town of Devon and the Devon Lions Club, Fort Edmonton Historical Park, the City of Fort Saskatchewan and the Victoria Settlement Historical Site.
If you liked this story and want to support River Valley Alliance efforts to protect, preserve and enhance the Capital Region River Valley Park, please donate today.