K’chi Gamig…Lac Superiour….Bawating…Sault de Sainte Marie…
Whether Ojibway, French or English, our languages capture the importance of water and waterways in the Algoma area.  Join us as we celebrate water stewardship, cultural cooperation and Canada’s 150th in that most iconic mode of transportation… the canoe!  The Sault Ste. Marie Brigade will paddle from Batchawana Bay to Thessalon, via Fort St. Joseph at the southern tip of St. Joseph Island.

Registration Links

Please Read the General Plan and Schedule before registering!

Unattached Paddler  Registration
Canoe  Crew Registration (for Crew Leaders Only)


General Plan & Schedule

Last updated 2017 January 18

Dates: June 29 to July 4, 2017

Location: Sault Ste. Marie area…. beginning at Batchewana Bay (Lake Superior) through to Sault Ste. Marie (St. Marys River) and then St. Josephs Island and Bruce Mines (Lake Huron)

Why:  To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in the communities along the route, to celebrate the heritage of Bawating (Sault Ste. Marie) as a stopover for most canoe travel across North America. Bawating was also a centre for canoe building.

Big Canoes: Our brigade will consist of one Montreal style canoe and two North style canoes.  Canoes will normally carry a complement of 9-12 members.

Smaller Paddle Craft:  Smaller craft will be allowed to accompany the brigade but the organization of these craft will be entirely the responsibility of those independent paddlers.  The Brigade organizers will work with  independent paddlers in terms of schedules and information sharing but administration and liability will rest with those paddlers.

Brigade Organizer Responsibilities: Brigade organizers will be responsible for setting the schedule, registering paddlers, assuring the Safety Plan is followed, supplying the big canoes, booking camp sites, coordinating events with the local communities and facility operators.  

Paddler Responsibilities: Paddlers are responsible for arranging any non-canoe transportation throughout the event, providing paddling gear, camp gear and group cooking supplies & gear.  Paddlers new to brigading should read the 2011 David Thompson Columbia Brigade Paddlers Manual as prepared by Ted Bentley, though in reading remembering this was prepared for an international brigade of some 45 days long. A link for this can be found on the CVBS information page.  We have requests for, and opportunities to present and display the skills and character of brigade paddling; all paddlers and crews will be expected to assist and partake in these events and celebrations.

Each paddler most do their best to help share the crew work load, whether in the preparations for the brigade, in paddling on the brigade, in camp, or providing support when not paddling; or helping the crew to contribute to the overall success of the brigade with assigned brigade duties, such as clearing campsites and ensure they have been left in better condition than found on arrival. 

Fees & Registration:  This brigade is being budgeted on a break even basis. At present paddler fees are $20 per person/day.  This fee covers the cost of camping, organization of the events, insurance, some memorabilia, and some meals along the route (details will be supplied as events are confirmed).  Paddlers will also be responsible for personal food and entertainment expenses during the brigade, and personal travel costs to and from the brigade. 

Paddlers MUST attend one “Build-up” half day paddle in May and June on Trout Lake or St. Mary’s River or Batchawana Bay as a pre-requisite to participating in the Brigade.

We expect Registration to open in late November and a maximum of about 36 paddlers will be accepted for the brigade.  A deposit of $50 per paddler will be required to reserve your place and the deposit will be non-refundable unless a replacement crew is found.  Final registration will be due April 1, 2017 by which time we will know the final costs. 

Other Considerations:

The 2017 Brigade is not a competitive event. This is not a race. We will do things slowly and safely.

Previous experience: We organized a very successful two day paddle involving two Montreal and two North canoes from Sault Ste. Marie to Fort St. Joseph, in 2012. We had a great time. We learned a lot about local history, we were treated superbly by locals along the route. There were no incidents or accidents. There was great local media coverage.

Gouvernails (stern paddlers) will be selected from a group of about 6 local paddlers that passed the Ontario Recreational Canoeing Association Voyageur Canoe 1 and 2A courses held locally in 2012.

Canoes Each big canoe will fly a large CVBS 2017 flag, equipped with a hand held radio/cell phone (for communication with other lead boats, support boat and support truck), rescue gear, tow ropes, bailers, heaving lines, signal devices, binoculars, first aid kit. The canoes will stay within 300m of each other.

Support truck/car with a canoe trailer will shadow the brigade to pick-up early retirees. Big canoes will be trailered in event of poor weather to ensure that the brigade arrives on time.

All boats inspected for gear to meet Coast Guard regulations (PFD, bailer, spare paddle, whistle, buoyant heaving line)

Proposed Brigade Schedule

Day 1 – June 29, 2017

Route: 08:00 Depart Batchewana Bay to Goulais River

Day 2 – June 30, 2017

Route: 08:00  Goulais River along Red Rock beach, brief stops at Gros Cap, Pointe aux Chenes Park, Pointe aux Pins and camp at Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site.

Day 3 – July 1, 2017

Route: 11:00Through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site as part of their “Canada Day Parade of Paddles” festivities (canoes/kayaks of local paddlers will join the flotilla for this event). Continue into Sault Ste. Marie with stops at Clergue/Ermatinger NHS, Bellevue Park

13:00 Depart Sault Ste. Marie, north channel St. Mary’s River past Batchewana First Nation and Garden River First Nation, via Lake George to Womans Institute Park at Richards Landing.

Notes: Capacity of two north canoes (7 paddlers each) for a total of 14 paddlers

Day 4 – July 2, 2017

Route: 08:00 Depart Richards Landing, through Sailor’s Encampment and follow shore to Fort St Joseph. Camp at the Fort or Jocelyn Twp Park

Notes: Capacity of two north canoes (7 paddlers each) for a total of 14 paddlers

Day 5 – July 3, 2017

Route: Ceremonial brigade “arrival” at Fort St. Joseph.

13:00 depart Fort St. Joseph to Hilton Beach, more or less coasting St. Josephs Island.

Notes: Capacity of two north canoes (7 paddlers each) for a total of 14 paddlers

Day 6 – July 4, 2017

Route: 08:00 Hilton Beach to Bruce Mines to Thessalon, more or less coasting the north shore of Lake Huron.

Notes: Capacity of two north canoes (7 paddlers each) for a total of 14 paddlers

Be sure to check back on this plan, this is the initial plan and we expect that as plans develop further, and questions are answered, there will be additions with important information.

for further information please connect with
Mark Crofts   mcrofts@shaw.ca

Registration Links

Please Read the General Plan and Schedule before registering!

Unattached Paddler  Registration
Canoe  Crew Registration (for Crew Leaders Only)