IJC Canoe Commute: Challenge Completed

IJC staff
IJC
September 01, 2015
Water Matters - IJC Staff commute to work in a canoe on the Rideau Canal

An IJC canoe commute team paddled, portaged and prevailed.

In early August, the team of four staffers successfully completed a challenge of canoeing on the water and carrying their canoes over land to work at the IJC’s Canadian Section Office in Ottawa, Ontario. They did it for a week, clad in office attire, to help promote water education in Canada and sustainable commuting.

The challenge was inspired by IJC Canadian Chair Gordon Walker, and raised money for Project WET Canada, an initiative of the Canadian Water Resources Association. The team overshot an original fundraising campaign goal of $2,000 with donations that topped $3,300. The money raised will help in publishing French and English water resource education materials for classrooms across Canada. The team sincerely thanks everyone who donated to this great cause.

The IJC canoe commute team in front of the parking garage where canoes were “moored.” From left to right: Team members Glenn Benoy and Shane Zurbigg, Canadian Section Chair Gordon Walker, and team member Wayne Jenkinson. Not pictured: Team member Sarah Lobrichon.
The IJC canoe commute team in front of the parking garage where canoes were “moored.” From left to right: Team members Glenn Benoy and Shane Zurbigg, Canadian Section Chair Gordon Walker, and team member Wayne Jenkinson. Not pictured: Team member Sarah Lobrichon.

During the commute, the team was encouraged with grins, smiles and shout outs from runners and cyclists along the Rideau Canal and by pedestrians walking among them on the sidewalks.

The effort was so successful (and fun) that the IJC canoe commute team is considering making the trek into an annual event. Kayaks and paddleboards are possible contenders as a method of transportation for next year’s commute.

On one morning this year, the commute was transformed into a multi-agency effort with a third canoe of paddlers from Environment Canada joining the IJC team on its trip down the canal.

 The IJC canoe commuters (left and middle) with the Environment Canada canoe on the right.
The IJC canoe commuters (left and middle) with the Environment Canada canoe on the right.

Based on that experience, the IJC team hopes the commute can expand into a multi-agency event with participation from other organizations.

“Canoeing along the Rideau Canal was a great way to connect to this urban waterway that flows through the very heart of Ottawa,” said Sarah Lobrichon, policy and communications analyst for the IJC’s Canadian Section. “I developed a greater appreciation of my hometown.”

 Portaging downtown Ottawa, Ontario, with children.
Portaging downtown Ottawa, Ontario, with children.

The team also was joined one afternoon by youngsters, ages 4 to 15, to reinforce Project WET’s mission of reaching children “with water education that promotes awareness of water and empowers community action to solve complex water issues.”

The IJC canoe commute team would again like to thank everyone for their generous donations, support and encouragement.

For more pictures, see a short slideshow on our Flickr page.

IJC canoe commute, August 2015
IJC canoe commute, August 2015
IJC staff
IJC