Canoeing family ends cross-Canada journey in Montreal

A family of three that travelled by canoe from Edmonton to Montreal ended their journey safe and sound on Saturday.

5,000-kilometre trip took 147 days

A family of three that canoe from Edmonton to Montreal arrived to cheers at Cap St-Jacques. 1:07

A family of three that travelled by canoe from Edmonton to Montreal ended their journey safe and sound on Saturday.

Benoît Gendreau-Berthiaume, Magali Moffatt and their five-year-old son Mali Berthiaume touched down at Cap St-Jacques to cheers from family and supporters around 1 p.m.

Since they left on May 2, they've battled large waves, driving rain and wind, long portages and a nail through the foot. 

The trip took one month longer than planned.

"We just kind of took our time at some points, realized that we had to take breaks to rest from some stretches that were harder than others," Gendreau-Berthiaume told CBC News last month.

Magali Moffatt, Benoit Gendreau-Berthiaume and their 5-year-old son Mali Berthiaume were passing through Manitoba in June. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

Facing public criticism

But one of the biggest challenges the Edmonton family faced was criticism from the public and media about the safety of the journey, especially with a young child in tow.

"It's a very safe trip. There are definitely risks involved when you go into the wild for so long, but I'm a very experienced paddler. I've been paddling since I was about his age," Gendreau-Berthiaume said.

In fact, the family was more concerned about encountering "weird human beings" at the beginning of the trip than any wild hazards.

"Just me with my family coming across a hunter that's not a happy camper could be a bad experience," he said.

The family's next project is making a documentary of the trip. Their hope is to inspire more people to explore the country, and to show that having young children is no excuse to not go on adventures.

"It was inspiring to see our young son, how easy he adapts and finds things to do in the wilderness," he said.


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