It started out as a quick message asking about a Kirk Wipper Memorial Portage and would I be interested in participating. We were a group of Ontario Educators (aka "edutweeps") along with our families, who were immediately enchanted with being a part of this memorable portage that would end up at the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough in time to mark the beginning of the Kirk Wipper public memorial.
Andy, Ross, Ryan, Jeff, Nick, Colin, Lynn, Anna, Kyla (my daughter) and I were a small but mighty team who were responsible for the first leg of the Peterborough leg of the portage. We all walked the portage and while the boys carried the canoe, Kyla and I had the chance to walk and talk with one of the organizers, Tim
McDonagh, and heard about his connection to Kirk, what the canoe meant to him, and how much he enjoyed walking with the canoe and meeting the people who had come out to participate in the portage.
Our leg of the portage was about 6 km (Hwy 28 starting at Springville United Church, up to Sir Sandford Fleming Drive, across and right onto Dobbin Road finishing at Lansdowne). After the canoe left us, I’m not
sure who carried the canoe or what their adventure entailed but I can tell you it was fun to participate in the memorial portage and be with friends who love to paddle, love to get involved, and are fun to be with. I'd like to think Kirk Wipper would have totally approved of our crew!
On a personal note, my daughter Kyla was the youngest person to carry the canoe and she was very proud to add her signature to the paddle that was given to his wife Ann Wipper after the memorial service. Although Kyla took some convincing to actually help carry the canoe, she was mighty proud to share her story with her dad at the end of the day.