Grand Portage Dispatch: Historic Centres, Lighthouses Galore and the Final Splash
Cultural landmarks, vibrant ecosystems and warm welcomes mark the final days of an epic summer-long adventure.
Our team of adventurers made their last two big-city stops in Toronto and Montreal before forging on to the final miles of their cross-country journey. They met a famous friend in Prince Edward Island, explored the St. John river in New Brunswick and experienced stunning locales in Nova Scotia, before ending their journey at Sydney’s Low Point Lighthouse on Cape Breton Island.
Here are the highlights from the last leg of their journey courtesy of adventurer Ryan Regehr. If you’re just now joining us, make sure to check out the first and second installments of the Grand Portage Dispatch.
We started off the morning with a drive to Dwight, Ontario to visit Langford, the company that manufactures our canoes. We then made our way to a drive-in campsite in Algonquin Provincial Park.
Today we spent the morning paddling in the Sharon Creek Conservation Area where we were joined by Olympian Carling Zeeman. After some canoeing and a quick race, we headed to the CF Masonville Place where Carling was surprised by her teammates who came to check out the Grand Portage celebration.
The final Grand Portage celebration is happening today and tomorrow at the CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa. RSVP here!
Today we did a portage and paddle with the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority along the Beaver River in the Lake Simcoe watershed. We saw dragonflies, ducks, turtles and a ton of frogs! This was a unique paddle through the pristine wetlands and watershed of the area in and around The Great Trail. Afterwards, we headed to Toronto’s Steam Whistle Brewery and were treated to a private tour with the canoe.
Learn more about the Hudson’s Bay Company Steam Whistle Collection here.
Today we spent the day in Kevin’s hometown of Montreal. We started the day at the viewpoint on Mount Royal and then went to the Old Port and walked the canoe around, stopping to take photos and answer questions before making our way to the iconic Notre-Dame Basilica.
We drove around and explored the old town of Quebec City and then wandered back to take in the sunset from the Citadelle.
We stopped at Montmorency Falls for a quick walk around, and then headed to Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park where we all went for a paddle in the amazing, smooth water.
We met Mike O’Brien, the Mayor of Fredericton, and chatted about the community and the Saint John River.
We visited the Great Trail marker in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and then drove to Parks Canada’s Green Gables Heritage place where we met Anne! Then we made our way to PEI’s oldest Lighthouse, Point Primm Lighthouse built in 1845.
Yesterday we spent the morning paddling the Shubenacadie Canal, a water trail in the Great Trail system. After that, we made our way to Peggy’s Cove where we wandered around taking maybe a few too many photos.
We headed to Low Point Lighthouse, a lighthouse from the early 1800s that is still operational, and we took a dip in the Atlantic Ocean, marking the end of our Cross Canada Grand Portage. The skies cleared and gave us a beautiful sunset and private beach all to ourselves. It was the first time I’ve touched the Atlantic so it was a pretty magical moment!
Our team of adventurers is now in Ottawa for the final Grand Portage celebration, and you can follow the final moments via @hudsonsbay on Snapchat. We also invite you to join the adventure and share your own Grand Portage moments with #HBGrandPortage.
The Grand Portage is travelling across Canada in support of connecting the remaining 2,200 kilometres of The Great Trail, Canada’s cross-country network of recreational trails. Each donation supports this goal through the HBC Foundation’s Grand Portage program.
The HBC Foundation will donate $10 and $2.50 from each Grand Portage Collection paddle and keychain sold, and 10% of the sale price from the Grand Portage Collection, to the Trans Canada Trail, a non-profit, registered charity. Charitable BN 829708403R R0001