Post Brigade Links & Reports

Photo Link 1 (Lund)

Photo/Video Link 2 (Thompson)


to September 29, 2017

Participants & Volunteers: 89 paddling in Big Canoes, 21 Paddlers in small Canoes and Kayaks, 20+ volunteers to help keep the brigade flowing along, and many more in Devon, Fort Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Metis Crossing and Victoria Settlement to help with the catering, local guidance and support.

Weather: generally warm to hot, and sunny for all four days of paddling.  Though the Canada Day paddle into Fort Saskatchewan was delayed by a thunder storm, and delayed long enough we pretty much had to forego the arrival ceremony and “People in Boats” paddle.

Water levels: a ten days prior to the brigade start the North Saskatchewan River was flowing at over 1000 cms (350 is normal, and 700 was our cancel threshold).  By Canada Day the rivers was down to under 150 cms, 123 cms on July 2, and we had to skip nearly one-third of the July 2 paddle to stay on schedule.

Spectators: we had approximately 200 spectators out for the Devon arrival, a similar number in place for our Fort Edmonton Arrival on Canada Day, there were a good many folk out all along the river to cheer the paddlers on as the Brigade passed through Edmonton, later nearly 50 hardy Fort Saskatchewan folk waited out the thunder storm to greet the paddlers, and nearly 100 local folk were in place at both Metis Crossing and Victoria Settlement for our arrivals at each location Sunday and Monday.

People in Boats: was our offer to give local folk a short paddle & experience with the big canoes after each arrival ceremony:  Devon – 11, Fort Saskatchewan – 0, Metis Crossing – 14, Victoria Settlement – 4, total – 29 +.

Financial: as of September 29 the brigade is well “in the black” and we are entering discussions with the Edmonton Community Foundation (the source of our Canada 150 Grant) how we may use the remaining funds to help our supporting communities and develop big canoe paddling into the future, particularly with our local indigenous communities.

Recommendations: Canada 150 has been a special year… we may not see another flurry of brigades such as this for some time.  One lesson (re)learned was that having set arrival ceremonies and catered meals, twice on Canada Day, puts a lot of pressure on the paddlers to be on time… and mother nature is not always co-operative.   Our schedule was based on our 2008 DTB experience (which was based on the ’67 Canoe Pagent schedule) and was optimistic considering our much lower water levels this year, and that for a short brigade we had a much higher proportion of less experienced paddlers.  Be generous with scheduling… I’ve never met a paddler who complained about having time for a “happy hour” prior to supper.  Again, our brigades work best when working with the community partners starts early, one to two years in advance.


(as noted pre-Brigade)

The Fort Edmonton Canoe Brigade will occur over the Canada Day Weekend 2017.  Brigade participants will be helping the communities of Devon, Edmonton, and Fort Saskatchewan, and the historic sites of Fort Edmonton and Victoria Settlement celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary.  This Brigade will be a mix of long days, easy days, big canoes, and for two sections we’ll be inviting smaller paddle craft (solo canoes, tandem canoes, kayaks, etc.) to join us.  The communities of Devon and Fort Saskatchewan will be hosting us for meals and celebrations, and arrangements have been made for a supper and voyageur dance the last evening at Metis Crossing (south of Smoky Lake, upstream of Victoria Settlement).  If you’d like to paddle in all or part of this brigade please read on!  Our Metis Crossing Paddle and Campout is still accepting Registrations!


Support Files for paddlers and spectators

12 Best Places for Public to Watch the Fort Edmonton Canoe Brigade

Fort Edmonton Canoe Brigade GPS files (both .gpx & .gbd formats)

Fort Edmonton Canoe Brigade – Maps & Site Plans

Detailed Schedule & River Distances                                Safety Plan   

(click to view these pages above!)


Please read the General Plan below prior to registering!

Registration Links

Unattached  Paddler Registration (to find a crew)
Canoe Crew Initial Registration (for Crew Leaders  only)
Canoe Crew Final Registration and Payment (for Crew Leaders only)


2017 Canadian Voyageur Brigade Society Membership

All  Fort Edmonton Canoe Brigade Participants  require a membership!

Small Boat Event paddler must take out a membership prior to registering 

for either the Canada Day Paddle, or the Metis Crossing Camp-out and Paddle

Big Canoe Paddlers  must ensure they have a crew to paddle with before taking out a membership

2017 CVBS Membership registration link

These small boat event registrations are now open!

  Canada Day – Devon to Ft. Edmonton breakfast and Paddle
Metis Crossing Camp-out & Paddle for July 2 & 3

General Plan & Schedule

Last updated 2017 Mar 01

Brigade Information:

Dates: June 29 to July 3, 2017

Location: North Saskatchewan River from above Devon, Alberta, through to Victoria Settlement south of Smoky Lake, Alberta (186 km).

Why: To celebrate the 150 anniversary of Canada’s founding, to celebrate the canoe, our history of cultural cooperation and to promote water stewardship along the North Saskatchewan River.


Big Canoes: As with our previous brigades, this brigade will be organized by canoe crews of 9-12 paddlers. Each crew will arrange for a replica fur trade (or other native) “big canoe” of 22 to 36 feet, which will normally be crewed by 5-10 paddlers at a time. Crews will normally carry a compliment of 9-12 members, with the non-paddlers each shift looking after camp and travel chores. Normally paddling and support chores are equally shared by all crew members, and as in past years full crews of 12 paddlers, members normally paddle approximately a ½ day shift, each day. In smaller crews, some members may be able to paddle, or may have to paddle, all day on some days.

**For most brigades Big Canoe crews make arrangements for their own canoes (fur trade or indigenous coastal canoes).  IF you have a crew but NO canoe, please contact the Fort Edmonton Brigade Committee ( prior to starting any registration process to see if we can help you arrange for a canoe.

Smaller Paddle Craft: We invite smaller craft (canoes & kayaks) to join us for two portions of this brigade: the Canada Day paddle in from Devon to Fort Edmonton, and for the July 2 & 3 paddle, camp-out and celebrations at Metis Crossing and the Monday morning paddle down to Victoria Settlement.

Brigade Organizer Responsibilities: Brigade organizers will be responsible for setting the schedule, registering crews and paddlers, assuring the Safety Plan is followed, booking camp sites, coordinating events with the local communities and facility operators. The Brigade organizers will assist individual paddlers in finding crews to paddle with, and will assist small crews with finding additional paddlers.

Canoe Crew Responsibilities: Individual canoe crews and their crew captain, will be responsible for assembling and registering their crews, arranging transportation for the crews throughout the brigade, providing a canoe and paddling gear, camp gear and group cooking supplies & utensils. Paddlers new to brigading should read the 2011 David Thompson Columbia Brigade Paddlers Manual  prepared by Ted Bentley, though in reading remembering this was prepared for an international brigade of some 45 days long.

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.  Present plans are for arrival events, and paddler try-outs in Devon, Fort Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, and Victoria Settlement.

Individual Crew Member Responsibilities: Those who participate, or wish to participate, in the 2017 Fort Edmonton CAnoe Brigade also have responsibilities: first to find a crew to join, or to assist in forming in a crew. Then each individual participants 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 cleaning campsites (to ensure they have been left in better condition than found on arrival), helping with our “paddler tryouts”, and other duties . All Participants must also be diligent in completing a 2017 CVBS membership on line (this will include all waivers), and providing all required information for crew registration to your crew leader (this will include your 2017 CVBS membership receipt number from Zone4).

Participants for the Canada Day, and Metis Crossing Paddle & and Camp-out, will be responsible for their transportation and own paddling gear, and camp gear and breakfast for the Metis Crossing event.

Fees & Registration: This brigade is being budgeted on break even basis.  All participants must complete a 2017 Canadian Voyageur Brigade Society membership ($15/$10).

For the Big Canoe participants the base crew fee (8 paddlers or support crew) will be $120 and then $1250 for each additional participant (to a maximun of 12 paddlers & crew). Brigade fees will include, 4 nights camping, three suppers, two breakfasts, & one lunch ! Brigade Fees will be collected on a crew basis, through crew leaders, with  crew deposit ($250) this fall/winter, and then the larger final payment in April.  Paddlers should also expect crew expenses such as transportation during the brigade, crew and personal food and entertainment for the brigade . And of course, personal travel costs to and from the brigade, in addition to the participant brigade fee and crew fees. Travel and food during the brigade will be organized by each paddling crew and costs will vary by crew choices.  A final invoice for teams will be sent in early April after initial registration is completed, deposits have been received, and final insurance, catering and campsite costs are determined.

Small boat paddlers participating in the Canada Day paddle registration fee ($50/$35)will include an early morning breakfast in Devon, a day pass to Fort Edmonton, and a shuttle bus for vehicle drivers to return to Devon for vehicle pick-up.  For the Metis Crossing  camp-out and paddle participants can expect a fee of $50/$35 and this will include the camping, Sunday supper, and lunch at Victoria settlement as part of our brigade and Canada Day weekend wind-up celebration. 

Registration is now open for all brigade events!  A a maximum of twenty crews (about 200 paddlers) will be accepted for the full big canoe brigade. We also are prepared to handle up to 100 paddlers for the Canada Day Paddle and 50 paddlers for the Metis Crossing Camp-out and paddle. We ask that final registration and payment for the Big Canoe event be submitted by April 30th, 2017 for the full brigade, and June 15th for the small boat events. Late registration if available will be penalized.

Other Considerations:

1 – The 2017 Fort Edmonton Canoe Brigade is NOT a competitive event… some crews will like to travel fast, some at a more leisurely pace. Crews will be expected to self-identify their preferred pace and to find at least one other like-minded crew to group up with so that NO canoe is traveling and navigating solo.

2 – Crews or folks traveling with RVs that require individual campsites may be charged a premium so as to cover the additional cost.

3 – Brigade leadership during the event will be shared between crews. Crew Leaders will share the daily chore of Brigade Governor, and crew members the brigade chores of “first arrival at next camp”, en route signage for ground crews, and “last to depart” camp chores.

4 – Young Paddlers – One of the goals of our brigades is pass on our skills and love of paddling and we will do our best to accommodate young paddlers. Such young folk should have the motivation and stamina to paddle a complete shift or so each day. Such paddlers are best included with supportive family members and we expect paddlers as young as 10 years of age may be able to participate in this Brigade. If you have young family members you would like to include you should connect with M. Lund ( to discuss and confirm participation.

5 – Crew support volunteers – some crews in past brigades have been so fortunate as to have their own support volunteers. These folk fully participate in all non-water activities and generally cost the brigade the same as paddlers. In past brigades the brigade fee for such volunteers has been paid for by the paddling members of the crew so that there is no cost to the support volunteer(s). This is an important matter for your crew to consider.

7 – Paddle Canada Big Canoe Leader certification – All crews are encouraged to have a number of members certified as Paddle Canada Big Canoe Leaders. If there is adequate interest we may provide a Big Canoe Leader (Intermediate) course on July 29th in the Devon area.

8 – Edmonton area skill development opportunities: 1) the Ceyana Canoe Club offers Thursday evening big canoe paddling out of their Queen Elizabeth Park storage yard.  Check the Ceyana website for information in the spring. 2) The Athabasca Canoe Brigade has proposed a weekend training clinic in the Fort Assiniboine area the last weekend of May 2017. 

Proposed Brigade Schedule

June 29 – possibly a Big Canoe Leader course
June 29 – 5:00 to 8:00 PM check-in and camping at the Devon Lions Campground for Big Canoe crews

June 30 – 9:00 AM Big Canoes gather at and then paddle from Const. Chelsey Robinson Park, to Devon Voyageurs Park (38 km)
June 30 – 4:30 PM Arrival ceremony and spectator intro’ paddles at Voyageur Park in Devon, 5:00 PM “People in Boats” for Spectators
June 30 – 6:30 PM Brigade supper provided at Devon Lions Campground
July 1 – 6:00 AM Registration and drop-off for the small boat Canada Day paddle
July 1 – 6:30 AM Pancake breakfast at Devon Lions Campground),
July 1 – 7:30 AM departure from the campground (7:30 AM for small boats, 8:30 AM for the big canoes).
July 1 – Big canoes and smaller craft paddle to Fort Edmonton for arrival ceremony (10:30 AM upstream gather, 10:45 AM arrival in Fort Edmonton) and celebration (28 km).  Shuttle buses will be available for small craft drivers to return to Devon to pick-up vehicles at 1:00 and 2:30 PM from the Laurier Park boat lauch 2 km below Fort Edmonton.
July 1 – 11:45 AM – Big canoes paddle onto Fort Saskatchewan, Red Coat Landing, (4:30 PM gather upstream) arrival ceremony (at  5:00 PM), and then “People in Boats”, provided supper (7:00 PM) and evening fireworks, camping within the Fort Saskatchewan historical site. ,  (46 / 74 km)

July 2 – 7:00 AM pancake breakfast and 8:30 AM start paddle to Metis Crossing (80 km)
July 2 – 5:00 Arrival at Metis Crossing, 5:30 PM “People in Boats” for spectators, 7:00 PM supper and 8:30 PM voyageur dance

July 3 – paddle (10:30 AM) to Victoria Settlement, arrival ceremony (Noon), and wrap-up lunch (1:00 PM) (7 km)

Be sure to check back on this plan, this is the March draft and we expect that as plans develop further, and questions are answered, there may be additional drafts with important information.

Registration Links

Unattached  Paddler Registration (to find a crew)
Canoe Crew Initial Registration (for Crew Leaders  only)
Canoe Crew Final Registration and Payment (for Crew Leaders only)

2017 Canadian Voyageur Brigade Society Membership

All  Fort Edmonton Canoe Brigade Participants  require a membership!

Small Boat Event paddler must take out a membership prior to registering 

for either the Canada Day Paddle, or the Metis Crossing Camp-out and Paddle

Big Canoe Paddlers  must ensure they have a crew to paddle with before taking out a membership

2017 CVBS Membership registration link

These small boat event registrations are now open!

  Canada Day – Devon to Ft. Edmonton breakfast and Paddle
Metis Crossing Camp-out & Paddle for July 2 & 3


The Fort Edmonton Canoe Brigade is supported by: