Monday, September 5, 2011

Labour Day [Humber River]

Labour Day, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.Date: September 5, 2011
Time: ~8:30 AM to ~11:30 AM
Launch Point: Sunnyside Park
Destination: Humber River
Crew: Frank Lemire, Michael Mitchener & William Self
Conditions: Light chop, 17c, strong winds and cloudy skies.
Sightings: Many forms of transit including a streetcar, subway, Go Train, and a bus, as well as a number of interesting birds, an otter, several crazy fishermen, two shopping carts, and some blow-your-mind homes.

flying away, originally uploaded by syncros.

After a bit of a drought this summer as far as canoe trips go, we headed out for an overdue paddle this Labour Day up the Humber River. We hadn't paddled this far west before and we were unsure how far you could actually go up the river before you hit bottom but we intended to find out. From satellite pictures, the river seemed fairly shallow and we suspected that this might be one of our shorter canoe trips.

Rochester Bound, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Fortunately, the river is more substantial we realized and we comfortably paddled our way to Bloor just near the Old Mill subway station. The Humber is a beautiful part of Toronto with many isolated sections where there is little to remind you that you're in the city. I was surprised how few bridges cross the river south of Bloor, in fact I don't recall any north of The Queensway.

Peanut Gallery, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

After an initial blustery start with the wind in our face, we found some quieter sections of the river and were able to enjoy the wildlife, the amazing homes that hang on the edge of the river and the river itself.

Urban Colours, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

If our collective memories serve us well, the Humber figured prominently in Hurricane Hazel many years ago and much development was wiped out along the river. Today, the banks of the river are mostly free from development other than the odd winding staircase coming down from a home above and the occasional dock or marina. Hurricanes are pretty rare in Toronto but they are always a possibility.

urban voyageur, originally uploaded by syncros.

All in all, we were surprised at the size and beauty of the river and it was well worth making the trek west of Yonge Street. After our paddle, we pushed our way back through the CNE traffic, across Yonge Street and headed to OK OK Diner for a tasty brunch, and several cups of coffee. It was a perfect way to spend Labour Day and we managed to finish our paddle before the temperatures plummeted. Thanks to my fellow voyageurs for a great day.

Table For Three, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sunrise Solo [Killbear]

Sunrise Solo, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.
Date: August 2011
Time: Various early morning trips at or shortly after sunrise
Launch Point: Killbear Provincial Park, Granite Saddle campground
Destination: Daisy's Beach, Dudley's Beach & Lighthouse Point
Crew: Michael Mitchener (solo)
Conditions: Calm waters due the early hour with a light rain one morning but otherwise clear skies
Sightings: A family of deer, one noble seagull, a lighthouse, and beautiful Georgian Bay scenery.

I spent a few days at Killbear this summer camping at Granite Saddle. It's a stunning part of the world and very photogenic.

Lighthouse Eclipse, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Georgian Bay is notoriously unpredictable, so I tried to take early morning paddles for the calmer waters (and better light). My plan worked out and I had several enjoyable morning paddles where it seemed like I was the only person on the lake.

Ishmael, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.
I enjoyed touring the perimeter of the park and photographing the Group-of-Seven-ish landscape.

Granite Saddle, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

We've done so much canoeing on Lake Ontario over the last few years, it was good to get Nessie out on another Great Lake (Huron). I look forward to next year.

Croc Hunter, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Kelly Green [Leslie Spit]

Kelly Green, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.
Date: July 4, 2011
Time: ~5:15 AM to ~7:00 AM
Launch Point: Cherry Beach
Destination: Inner Harbour & Leslie Spit
Crew: Kelly Visscher & Michael Mitchener
Conditions: Smooth seas and clear skies.
Sightings: Many, many, many cormorants; Chyna and her famous Mom; wolfhounds; and a number of rowers.
I had the opportunity to take my visiting sister out for a sunrise paddle recently. With the long days, we had a very early start and launched at Cherry Beach just as the sky was brightening. It was a calm, warm morning and it didn't take long for us to cross the harbour and reach the Spit. We quietly paddled around the many boats anchored in the harbour and explored the numerous bays and inlets of the Spit. The cormorants were in full frenzy as the sun crested the horizon but we were able to avoid any unfortunate incidents. As always, I felt like I was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie as the birds flew around the canoe.

In the Weeds, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

We circled back around past the Toronto Islands, across the Eastern gap and passed along the shore where numerous dog walkers were patrolling the beach. We spotted a familiar fuzzy face (Chyna) and her talented photographer Mom and had a run in with a gaggle of wolfhounds that were fascinated by Nessie.

Sunrise 5:46 AM, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

All in all a wonderful morning which we ended with a latte at Voulez-Vous Cafe. It was great to get Nessie on the water for the first paddle of the year! Thanks Kelly.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Flannel Friendly [Voulez-Vous Cafe]

Photo by Steve Veale

With temperatures around -10 Celsius and 10 inches of snow on the ground, a group of friends and neighbours braved the elements to join Frank Lemire, Michael Mitchener and William Self for the February 3rd opening of our photography exhibition at Voulez-Vous Café.

Photo by Frank Lemire

It was a welcome evening of fun, flannel, food, fromage, drink and photography after a long, cold winter. The Urban Voyageur Show consisted of photographs taken by the trio while canoeing Toronto's waterways over the last two years.

Photo by Steve Veale

While we hadn't had the canoe on the lake since last October, Nessie made a welcome appearance inside the warm cafe and acted as a suitable mascot for the evening, as well as served up some great cheese.

Photo by Steve Veale

Many thanks to all that attended and helped to make this a successful exhibition and to Sean Lacey and his crew who hosted the evening and provided the always great cafe venue. Also, thanks to Steve Veale who took many of these Opening Night photos (along with Frank Lemire).

Photo by Steve Veale

The evening ran late (sorry Sean) and eventually wound up soon after negotiating Nessie through the crowd, out one of the cafe windows, and through the neighbourhood for a short snowy portage back to winter storage.

Photos by Frank Lemire

We were lucky enough to run the show into March for two full month's of canoe photography to help cafe customers combat the winter blues while sipping their lattes.

Photo by Steve Veale

All of us are looking forward to another season of canoeing, photography and lots of laughs. Thanks all.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Urban Voyageur Show [Voulez-Vous Cafe]

Urban Voyageur Show, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

This coming February at the Voulez-Vous Café, Frank Lemire, William Self and Michael Mitchener will be exhibiting a collection of photographs taken during our canoe voyages through Toronto's gritty waterways.
We will be holding an official opening on the evening of February 3rd starting at 7:00 PM with promises of libations, cheese, music, and tales of exploration from the high seas of Lake Ontario. Join us if you can.

Poster designed by William Self