Métis youth canoe voyageur routes through northeastern Ontario

A group of Métis​ youth who are paddling a canoe more than 2,000 kilometres from Ottawa to Thunder Bay are now just south of Killarney, Ont.

Metis youth to paddle from Ottawa to Thunder Bay

8 years ago
Canoe trip retraces historic voyages of Metis in 18th and 19th century. 2:13

A group of Métis​ youth who are paddling a canoe more than 2,000 kilometres from Ottawa to Thunder Bay are now just south of Killarney, Ont. 

The group has been paddling up to 10 hours a day since leaving Ottawa in late May. They are holding cultural events at each stop along the route, which traces the history of the Voyageurs. The whole journey is expected to take 90 days.

Gerald Lavallee of North Bay is one of the paddlers. He told CBC News Morning North radio show in Sudbury that he signed up to experience history. Travelling the shoreline in northeastern Ontario has been particularly special, he added.

"Paddling Georgian Bay is really interesting for me because that is where my family comes from. I've got to see a lot of the places where my family stayed," he said.

Young Métis people from across the province canoeing from Ottawa to Thunder Bay (supplied photo)

"It was interesting to actually see the real world expression of what my history was told to me with."

Lavallee has studied ecotourism at Canadore College in North Bay and said this canoe expedition is also helping him build the skills to turn his love for the outdoors into a career. 

Adventure of a lifetime

Emily Ingram of Sault Ste Marie, who is also part of the paddling crew, said she signed up for the adventure of a lifetime.

"It was a little bit strange at first because it was a lot of urban paddling and a lot of houses everywhere, but we are getting into more of the wilderness camping now, which is really nice," Ingram said.

The expedition is funded by the Métis Nation of Ontario. A total of 10 young Metis people from across the province who are either post-secondary graduates, or still in a post-seconday program, are making the journey.

Eight people are paddling in the large canoe, while two are driving along in a van to provide ground support.

(Métis Nation of Ontario)


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