“What do you want to do this weekend? It’s supposed to be beautiful,” Russ said on a Wednesday.
I took a couple of days to think about it. “I want to go canoeing.” I replied on the Friday, stuck in traffic on our way to family dinner.
I may have gotten a few sideways glances and a bit of push-back. But then I got a lot of support from all of my in-laws when I told them what I wanted to do with Russ on Saturday.
“C’mon,” my sisters-in-law said to Russ. “It’s only for a couple of hours.”
My mother-in-law said to him, “Tell her: ‘Kate, I will do whatever you ask me to.'”
And at 11:45pm on Friday night when we arrived home after family dinner, I booked a canoe rental online with Toronto Adventures. Saturday would be his first time in a canoe.
We took the TTC to go canoeing. And true to TTC form, we were late to sign in, but no matter. We signed our waivers, slapped on the sunscreen, wriggled into one-size-fits-all PFDs, sized up paddles for each other, and ambled down to the Humber River’s shore where all of the canoes were lined up duckie-style.
We grabbed a lovely red canoe and brought her down to the water’s edge. I swung the bow into the water and showed Russ how to get in. I pushed the canoe further out into the water and demonstrated a few strokes while I stood in the river, water up to my shins. Then I clambered into the stern and we set out to explore the river.
We saw snow white egrets standing in the reeds of the marshes, watched cormorants soar overhead to and from a dead tree they’d taken over for their nests (or maybe killed themselves), paddled past families of mallards and Canada geese (“Scourge!” Russ would snarl at each one). We listened to the frogs and the red-winged blackbirds. We dodged motor boats, kayaks, and dragon boats – the only vessels throwing off a wake in a no wake zone.
In a little under an hour we had meandered our way down to the lake where Russ declared that canoeing was “not bad.”
I’ll take my small canoe win, even if he was humoring me. This day ranks up there in my top five days of married life.
For more information: Toronto Adventures has a location on the Humber River, below the Old Mill TTC station. A canoe rental with PFDs and paddles for two hours cost us $59.95 plus tax. The staff were friendly and helpful. The gear all looked to be in good shape. They also run guided trips, paddling day trips, lessons, and rent kayaks or canoes for multi-day trips. And you can book online! I was very pleased with the experience. Keep in mind I also had the euphoria of finally getting Russ into a canoe going on for me. 😉