The Canoe That Got Away

My husband defended his thesis last week and as a surprise for all of his hard work, I took him up to Algonquin to a nature retreat and to buy our first canoe as an early graduation gift from his parents and mine. I knew the Portage Store was having a canoe sale early Saturday morning, and there was another outfitter in the park that we were going to check out also. There is also a good reference for used canoes by Algonquin Outfitters if you visit their website.

We arrived just outside of the park near Dwight late Friday evening and checked into our accommodation. We sat out at night and listened to the spring peepers. There was no point in trying to carry on a conversation between the two of us because the peepers were so loud!

Our plan for Saturday morning was to get up early and drive into the park. We were hoping to see wildlife and also check out the 18.5′ Souris River Queticos before the canoe sale at The Portage Store. We seen two moose early in the morning on our way to Algonquin Outfitters on Opeongo Lake.




When we arrived at Algonquin Outfitters on Opeongo Lake, we were told that they shipped their canoes to Oxtongue Lake (but I thought they said Opeongo Outfitters) last week, and that we should check them out on Algonquin Outfitters Road. Disappointed that we drove all that way (not really because we seen 2 moose), we drove back toward the west gate of the park and to arrive early at the canoe sale at The Portage Store.


When we arrived at The Portage Store all of the sale canoes were spoken for. People had showed up super early and pulled the canoe they wanted off the rack and “claimed” it. We were devastated. We found one 18.5′ Souris River but it was in pretty bad condition. All canoes were sold “as is”. We both decided that one of us better go to Oxtongue Lake to see what they had there. So, I went.


When I turned onto Algonquin Outfitters Road, I didn’t see Opeongo Outfitters. I went inside to ask where the location was and the nice woman working there informed me that Opeongo Outfitters is located in Whitney (before the east gate to the park).

“You have got to be kidding me…” My husband and I got confused about Opeongo Outfitters in Whitney and Algonquin Outfitters on Oxtongue Lake.

I told her all about my morning and she felt pretty bad for me. She suggested that I go next door and talk to the guys at Swift Canoe & Kayak, so I did. There were 6 really nice 17.6′ Bell North Wind kevlar canoes there weighing in at 44lbs. I told Brian that I would be back with my husband.

I drove back to The Portage Store to find my husband still standing next to the Souris River, but drenched. It has stormed on him while I was gone. He was pretty sure this canoe was for us. I couldn’t agree. Would it be the right reason to purchase the canoe because it was the only one available to us? I told him about the Bell canoe.

So, B went back to Algonquin Outfitters on Oxtongue Lake to check the canoes out while I stayed with the Souris River. An hour later B returned to The Portage Store and said we’re getting a Bell, so back to Algonquin Outfitters we went.

Our morning looked something like this!

Algonquin KM copy

The guys at Swift were really nice and I was happy that we decided to purchase this great canoe from Brian. After the whole ordeal in the morning, we both realized that we didn’t need a fancy brand name canoe to get us out into the wilderness over the next several years.

Lake of Two Rivers
Lake of Two Rivers

What is so great about this canoe is that there was much research to be had (my husband loves research!). So, we found out that the canoe was manufactured in 2005 in Minnesota. It’s a boundary waters canoe. Because of this and our love for Sigurd F. Olson, we’ve decided to remove the ‘Algonquin Outfitters’ logo from the front of the canoe and call it ‘Singing Wilderness’.  We’re going to make this beauty canoe our own. We’re going to add to the adventure that it has already had. Can you image the places it has gone and seen over 1o years?!

DSC_0201  DSC_0202

Bell Canoes doesn’t exist anymore. They’re operating under a new name called Northstar Canoes. After much research, B found out who designed the canoe and gave him a call today to get some more information on the care and maintenance.

After we bought the canoe, we were exhausted! We needed to take Banjo out for a good rip and get out into the Algonquin wilderness. We hiked the Whiskey Rapids trail. Whiskey Rapids Trail is a 2.1 km loop trail leads along the Oxtongue River.

We seen a total of 5 moose over the course of the weekend, but they were all in the trees and I couldn’t get a great shot.



So, with a canoe that only weighs 44lbs, I can portage too!


Banjo loves it too!


  1. Our friends got their engagement canoe last spring at the Swift Canoe sale at Guelph Lake. They are smitten with it! It’s currently in a UHaul to make the trek to their new home in Yellowknife. They are a great company.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s