Thursday, July 05, 2007

Paddling (with an accent)

During my recent trip to Montréal (note accent), I did actually plant my seat in a kayak, courtesy of H20 Adventures (dot ca), who operate beside the Atwater Market on the Lachine Canal. For $25 (plus tax,for 2 hours), they rented me a blue plastic Necky (sorry Neckyphiles, I did not note the name), kitted me out with the essentials, and launched me on the Canal. The accessible water was 3 km upsteam, 1 km downstream, with locks at either end. It was a bright, sunny day with a breeze out of the west, so I elected to go upstream first, into the breeze, and paddled determinedly up to the upper lock (photos on flickr) before turning around - with a brief flirtation with the current from the outflow channel of the lock - and drifted downstream with the breeze and the current, snapping as I went. The canal is clearly in transition between industrial and condoland, much like the inner harbor in Victoria, and a multiuse path runs alongside it, already humming with cyclists, roller-bladers, and walkers at 10 am on a Sunday morning. For a city that parties hearty, Montreal also seizes the day. There's still some natural river's edge, grasses, and bulrushes. A red-winged blackbird bounced briefly on a bulrush, bending it almost horizontal with its weight, but zipped off before I could catch a photo. Multiple bridges span the canal, from pure pedestrian, to rail-freight: there seemed to be a long freight train at least every half hour. The downstream drift passed H2O Adventures' dock, and ended in another lock. I returned to the dock with my 2 hours not quite up, so continued to mooch and take pictures until it was time to pull in.

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