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The Suburban Canoeist

The moment spring arrived; we eagerly raced to the winter home of our canoe, Persnickety, saddled her on top of the car and took her out for our first outing to Four Mile Creek in Niagara on the Lake. It had been a long drawn out winter and we were anxious to visit those special areas that are only reachable by canoe or kayak. With our outdoor spirits rejuvenated, we were keen to spend every available moment exploring the spots on our must do list for this year.

Enthusiasm, considered by many to be a positive trait, is sometimes not such a blessing. I have often considered flying lessons, but when the flight is over the end of a canoe and the landing pad is a concrete driveway, the result can unfortunately be a broken arm. The lack of personal mobility that this incident caused could easily have ended our summer recreation, but with a little encouragement and a share of wonderful reminiscences, we decided to revisit the canoeing areas of Niagara by recording our memories for others to enjoy. Some of the places that we bookmarked for a return visit were Sulphur Creek, Mud Lake, Sixteen Mile Pond, Fifteen Mile Creek and Bogey's Creek.

There are many terrific spots in the Niagara Peninsula for paddling away a few happy hours, but be prepared for the trappings of government and homeowner control that have pasted NO TRESPASSING signs on almost every conceivable put in location. Cruising down the river has never been more fun, if you are fortunate enough to find an easy and accessible place to set your canoe adrift. Dirt roads, that once were open for a carefree afternoon drive, are now guarded with chain locked fences and dire announcements of penalties for intruders. Canoeists, being pacifists at heart, are not known for charging through a metal gateway without thought of consequence, so short of manipulating the steel obstruction a little to the left while glancing warily over your shoulder, alternative methods for access are necessary for a nice leisurely paddle.

Whether your interest lies in discovering old pioneer cemeteries, canoeing through War of 1812 battlefields, finding the beginnings of the Welland River, or the site of the filming of Niagara in Chippawa starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotton; our canoeing adventures have taken us to many of the these notable locales. We feel this book, its commentary, pictures  and colourful maps will guide you in finding your way around many of the rivers and creeks of the Niagara Peninsula, the Toronto Islands, and one of our favourite conservation areas, Luther Marsh.

*Recently, it has come to our attention that local officials at Ontario Power Generation are no longer permitting canoeists and kayakers to have access to Lake Gibson. This also includes fishing from the shore. Apparently, a Private Security Company has been hired to enforce the new ruling. Having spent countless hours on the lake, we feel a real sense of loss that this privilege has been taken away. We decided to leave the section about Lake Gibson in our book for those who have enjoyed the peaceful solitude of the area and the wonderful memories it evokes. This is just another example of our right to freely choose a less beaten path, slipping away. We sincerely hope this is just a momentary action. Please be reassured that there are many other great locations in the Niagara Peninsula for water sport and we will be researching and reporting them to you.