About the Urban Paddlers

Urban Paddlers on Lake Ontario

It’s tough to be urban paddlers. We’d prefer to be on a flat blue lake, sliding past northern Ontario’s rocky, pine-spotted shores – but most of the time we’re surrounded by the grey monotone of the concrete jungle that is Toronto.

It’s more and more common for people to find themselves living in urban centres these days. Yet paddling a canoe or a kayak remains a quintessential part of the Canadian identity. That spirit of exploration was forged in the early days of this land, before it was even called Canada, by the Indigenous peoples and then the settlers who paddled deep into the forests to trade furs, tools, and luxury items.

How do we keep that sense of adventure alive? It might be challenging to maintain a passion for paddling while living in the city, but it’s far from impossible. There are rivers running through and lakes bordering your metropolis. Often, large swaths of wilderness can be driven to within a couple of hours.

Keep the paddling spirit alive. Be an Urban Paddler.

“We survive. We learn. We paddle.” –Don Starkell, Paddle to the Amazon

Urban Paddlers: Brian Jackson and Cassandra JowettBrian Jackson is a technology analyst and former journalist who lives in Toronto. When he’s not nerding out about tech, he prefers to be paddling. Brian is an experienced canoe tripper and former ORCKA instructor. He’s paddled through many Ontario parks and crown land destinations, including Algonquin Park, The Massassauga, the Leslie Frost Centre, the Black River, Magnetawan, and more.

Cassandra Jowett is a marketing professional who works at a software company in Toronto. Her love of the great outdoors first started at the base of the Rocky Mountains when her parents took her camping as a baby. It blossomed as an adult when Brian began taking her canoe tripping across the rocky, wind-swept shores of southern Ontario.


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    • Oliver Moore
    • March 15, 2021

    Hi. I write about cities for The Globe and Mail and was hoping to speak with you about urban paddling for a story I’m pursuing. Can we chat this week? Thanks

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