November 4, 2021

I invested in a solo canoe during the summer of 2020.


After my annual backcountry canoe trip with five amazing women from northern Ontario I reflected during my drive back to the city. I was revelling in feeling restored! I hadn’t realized how much the pandemic had depleted my strength not only physical but mental.


As I was nearing Toronto on the dreaded highway 400 I thought “why can’t I continue canoeing?”. I live next to the Humber River. There are solo canoes! So the hunt began. I of course started with used canoes. Oh gosh I found some crazy DIY solo canoes, along with too heavy, too long, too expensive, until I found the one that was just right. I’m a Goldilocks and the three canoes kinda story.

I had parameters you see. I even drove my rental car all the way to London Ontario to check out some canoes! Nothing there was right BUT I learned a lot. They suggested I go to The Complete Paddler in Etobicoke. hahahaha so close yet so far! Back I drove dreaming of a little canoe of my own.

The woman at The Complete Paddler really listened to what I was looking for! I left the shop that day having bought a solo canoe from NORTHSTAR CANOES that met all my requirements.

delivery in december

I had to wait till December for delivery. I was going to take it out for a trip that month but thankfully I listened to my son who said wait till it’s warmer.

He is wise beyond his years while I’m not! I waited and I’m glad because the water in the spring was cold enough as I stepped into it numerous times. But first, let me tell me about my boat!


The ADK Lt is so light that it floats on top of the water.

All Aramid. NORTHSTAR CANOES proprietary yellow and black makes a stunning moiré pattern. Full wet bag minimizes resin and creates the lightest weight canoe available. Foam core, ribs and internal reinforcements make a stiff, efficient hull. The choice of flat-water paddlers everywhere. Exterior resin coated for maximum weight savings.


Length is 10 feet 6 inches and it weighs 18lbs and looks so stranded in my before garden driveway!


I love wood so I upgraded to the oiled white ash gunwales; sculpted and laminated black walnut and ash end decks; walnut and ash laminated contoured web seats hung on walnut trusses; walnut and ash laminated thwarts and yoke; stem mounted tie down loops. Laminated black walnut and ash creates a distinctive and refined canoe that is stronger and lighter. Wood trim added 2-3 lbs per canoe.


inaugural voyage

First I had to name my canoe.

After talking to it for a while, I decided on NOVA. Borrowed from New Latin, “newly visible star or nebula” (probably originally as ellipsis of nebula nova, later taken as ellipsis of stella nova “new star”), from feminine of Latin novus “new”.

views from the river


The Humber Marshes are one of the few remaining river mouth marshes in Toronto. These extensive marshes provide a breeding habitat for ducks, turtles and fish. Humber River’s significance is being recognized by its designation in 1999 as a Canadian Heritage River.


I purchased this Paddle from The Complete Paddler earlier in the year. LOVE IT!

The Woodland features a finely tipped blade with a quiet entry, but widens up much more up top to give more surface area and therefore a little more catch in the middle part of the stroke where the most power is desired.

The grip is straighter on top as opposed to our traditional grip which is much more rounded, for those who prefer a more aggressive grip and do not want the rounded grip for “palming the paddle”. This paddle is well suited to tripping and recreational paddling.


This paddle is hand finished to ensure soft, graceful lines and a smoother, more refined finish – one that will last for many, many years and many many trips, and includes a protective made-in-Canada paddle sock.



Easter Sunday 2021 I carried NOVA to the Humber River. Short story. I put in and took out a few times, once forgetting about the dam! Thankfully I’m a strong paddler!


After carrying NOVA back on my shoulder the 3km from the Old Mill launch, I decided I would get a cart from WIKE the Walk and Bike Company located in Guelph, Ontario. The Kayak/Board Cart was perfect for my little canoe.

The ultra-light design is made of aluminum, and 16” bicycle wheels which can be quickly removed for storage and tucking into the canoe. This cart keeps the canoe 17” off the ground, but the axel is 7” off the ground.The cart can also be used for portaging…pulling the boat by hand or behind your bicycle. It can carry a maximum of 75 lb behind a bicycle or 100 lb if pulled by hand. The cart holds the boat above the wheels, so it can hold a boat of any width (which can be great for canoes on narrower paths), however, wider heavier boats will be top heavy and tippy with this cart.


I bought the Smart Stick so I can haul NOVA with my Brompton Bicycle! The hitch needs adjusting for my seat post so that is still a work in progress!


But in the meantime, the cart makes it so easy to walk NOVA from my house to the launch downstream with opportunities to take pretty photos in front of the historic Lambton House!


autumn thoughts

I prefer paddling on the Humber River in the fall as the canoe and kayak rental company is closed and the Toronto Humber Yacht Club has all their boats tucked into plastic.


It’s just me with the birds!

thoughts from the water


Can’t help but smile when I can stop and sip my cafe mocha. I bring a thermos and after an hour of paddling I stop for second breakfast and the addition of hot chocolate to my coffee makes my travels more delicious.



Pointing my canoe in the right direction takes some technique that I keep learning as the conditions change with the wind.


What I do know is that this brings me joy. Exploring the river and its shoreline is different every time I launch NOVA into its waters. It also reinforces to me that this is OURS TO PROTECT. Freshwater conservation is at a critical point right now as demand for water increases around the world. Don’t wait to join a Shoreline Cleanup, do it yourself anytime you go walking outdoors. Encourage others not to litter and not to feed waterfowl.

Feeding geese can pollute the environment. Uneaten bread can rot and release noxious odors, and it can also lead to the growth of algae, which can clog natural waterways and endanger the health of fish and other wildlife.

Geese and other birds that rely on humans for food lose their natural fear and may place themselves in dangerous situations, such as crossing roads in search of food. They may also become aggressive toward humans who do not provide them with the food they want.

While you may think that you are helping geese by providing them with food, you can be jeopardizing the health of the birds, other animals, and humans, as well as polluting the environment. Wild geese have plenty of healthy food in their habitat to sustain them. Let the geese find food on their own so that they and other animals in the environment can stay healthy.

Food for thought.


my theme song

Sara Harmer’s LODESTAR of course! Out of the night, into the water

I had to use this wonderful song as background for a TikTok video because when something feels so good you want to share it from your solo canoe named NOVA.

We push the boat from shore Breaking the air in the stillness of the bay

created by robertson mcclure